BB&T's (BBT) purchase of BankAtlantic Bancorp may not be its last big grab for market share in Florida.
"We will — in Florida — be opening up new branches," says Michael Oster, the president of BB&T's South Florida operations. "We also still have an eye on acquisition possibilities."
Bringing BankAtlantic's 78 branches from Port St. Lucie to Miami into the fold is BB&T's primary focus, he says. Systems integrations and sign changes are slated for the fourth quarter.
BB&T will raise its profile the most in southeast Florida, where the Winston-Salem, N.C., company previously had 63 branches from its 2009 purchase of the failed Colonial Bank. With the addition of BankAtlantic, BB&T now has 133 branches, $6.4 billion of deposits and the No. 6 market share in the Miami area. It was No. 14 before the $316 million deal closed Tuesday.
BB&T likely will close redundant branches, Oster says, though it has yet to determine which ones. The two operations overlapped the most between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, according to regulatory data.
BB&T wanted to bulk up in South Florida because it is the densest, most urban part of the state, Oster says. Business activity is rebounding, and the real estate market is firming up there, he says.
"The recession was bad for Florida but things are starting to turn around," he says.
He would not comment on specific takeover targets in Florida, saying BB&T will be opportunistic as it goes about developing its core business there.
"We look at everything," he says.
BankAtlantic marks BB&T's 100th acquisition since 1931, Oster says. It plans to hew to its traditional strategy of converting customers and trying to sell them more products.
"[BankAtlantic] didn't have the resources that we do in terms of providing the full array of financial services to their clients," he says. "We can get in there and deploy many, many different financial solutions."
BankAtlantic was primarily a loan and deposit operation with a big focus on home equity and residential mortgage loans. BB&T offers many additional services, such as venture capital investing, investment banking and insurance.
The BankAtlantic deal was first announced in November and was amended in March after BankAtlantic investors objected to the terms. Under the revised terms, BB&T agreed to assume roughly $285 million of BankAtlantic's obligations to investors holding trust-preferred securities.
BB&T acquired $2 billion of loans and $3 billion of deposits from BankAtlantic.
Before the deal, BB&T had 268 branches throughout the state in markets such as Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami.