The overhaul of American health insurance is creating some headaches, and a few opportunities, for commercial bankers.
Senior executives at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and TD Bank (TD) are preparing to lose some customers as a result of the Affordable Care Act, they said in separate interviews last month. But their banks might find a silver lining in some increased M&A advisory business.
Both banks have businesses banking health care providers, such as hospitals and retirement homes. Now some of those customers are considering mergers as they prepare to comply with the health care reform law, the executives said.
"We see a lot of consolidation in the businesses," says Greg Braca, head of corporate and specialty banking at TD Bank.
For health care provider customers considering mergers, "it's a one-off strategic conversation with a lot of our health care clients," he adds. "It's a very active time right now."
Doug Petno, the chief executive of JPMorgan's commercial bank, also said he is bracing for more mergers among that subset of his customers.
"I think there's going to be a lot of M&A" among health care providers, he said. "There will be more consolidation."
The health care reform law is having an impact on all types of banks' business customers, as many have to rethink whether and how they provide benefits to their employees. Businesses got a temporary reprieve on July 1, when the Obama administration delayed an important provision of the law and said that employers will not be required to provide insurance for employees before 2015.
Petno, speaking before that delay, said that many of his business customers have yet to fully understand the law's effects on their operations or on their finances.
"There's a lot of uncertainty in the client base," he said. "It comes up in almost every client conversation."