Expect few deals from two notable Southeastern players in the coming year.
Executives at BB&T (BBT) and EverBank Financial (EVER), two traditionally acquisitive banks, made little mention Wednesday of acquisition plans in back-to-back presentations at the Goldman Sachs Financial Services Conference in New York. Instead they pledged to concentrate on digestion of their past acquisitions and internal growth next year.
In October the $16.5 billion-asset EverBank completed the acquisition of a business property lending unit of GE Capital, which included $2.4 billion in assets and $2.9 billion in servicing rights. The huge deal was enough to put the Jacksonville company on the sidelines for a bit.
"Our focus is going to be on integration and organic growth going forward. We have all the pieces in place today and I don't feel a need to fill a void," Chief Executive Robert Clements said during a question-and-answer session.
Like most serial buyers, Clements qualified his statement by saying that EverBank could act given the right opportunity.
"We could possibly see some asset-generation opportunity that would complement a platform in place today," he said. "There are other products that could be interesting."
Kelly King, the CEO of BB&T, did not discuss future acquisitions in his presentation. The length of his presentation left no time for questions from the audience.
The $182 billion-asset company has completed a few high-profile deals in the last few years, including its deal with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for the failed Colonial Bank in 2009. It also acquired BankAtlantic in July after a protracted legal battle with debtholders.
Since then, King seems to have chosen to shy away from acquisitions and is instead focusing on de novo branching. The Winston-Salem, N.C., company announced last month that it would spend more than $40 million to open 30 branches across Texas. The branches will be geared toward building its commercial business, King said Wednesday.
"Retail takes a very, very long time. It's best done through acquisition," King said. "Commercial, on the other hand, can be done organically. And that's what we're going to do."
BB&T entered Texas through its Colonial transaction. King says he likes the market.
"We've been sizing up the market and until very recently, frankly we wanted to see how our brand strategy worked out in Texas," King said. "I've concluded Texas is just one really big North Carolina. And so they're very much alike, we talk alike, we tend to think alike, and so our brand is playing very well in Texas. They like us, we like them."
Though Clements and King plan to take M&A breathers, 2013 might be the year for Fifth Third (FITB) in Cincinnati to make good on its plans to grow.
The $117.5 billion-asset company estimates it can grow assets by about 10%, either through acquisitions, organic growth or a combination of both, Kevin Kabat, its president and CEO, said at the Goldman conference.
Kabat reiterated comments from earlier this year that Fifth Third is eyeing fill-in deals that would boost density in its existing 12-state territory and is less interested in expanding into markets where it has little or no name recognition. Its goal is to attain top 3 market share in at least 65% of its markets.