Green Bancorp Chief Executive Geoff Greenwade, eager to tamp down speculation of a potential sale, stressed during a conference presentation that the Houston company plans to remain independent.
Greenwade's comments, made at conference hosted by RBC Capital Markets, were made just days after Bloomberg News, citing unnamed sources, reported that the $3.8 billion-asset company was working with Sandler O'Neill on a potential deal.
"Any articles on us last week are out of left field," Greenwade said, blasting recent coverage as "rumors" and "gossip."
Green, instead, plans to remain a buyer in the coming months. The company, which bought the $1.4 billion-asset Patriot Bank in October, plans to announce another deal by the end of the year, Greenwade said.
Like many smaller banks along the Gulf Coast, Green has taken hits in its energy portfolio. Oil and gas loans account for about 9% of Green's total portfolio.
During the fourth quarter, nonperforming assets jumped nearly fivefold, to $57 million, or 1.5% of total assets, mostly because of bad energy credits.
Still, Greenwade insisted that recent media coverage – of both oil lending and Green's M&A plans — has exaggerated the challenges his company faces.
"The problem with journalists is that they've just got to sell some newspapers or magazines," he said.