M&A activity has slowed this year, and D. Bryan Jordan, chairman and chief executive of First Horizon National in Memphis, Tenn., doesn't see that changing anytime soon.
Regulatory issues, such as concerns over compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering practices, and the time it takes to get a deal approved are among the factors holding up deals, Jordan said during a presentation Tuesday at a conference hosted by Barclays. Other bankers may be holding out in hopes that rising rates could boost revenue and sellers' valuations, he said.
"I don't see a tremendous pickup in M&A discussions right now," Jordan said. "I don't think it will pick up over the next several months."
Low-premium transactions and mergers of equals "are by far the much more preferable and probably the most logical way to consolidate the industry and create shareholder value for both sets of shareholders," Jordan added.
The $27 billion-asset First Horizon has been an active acquirer in the past. The company announced in June that it would buy $637 million in restaurant franchise loans from GE Capital. Its last bank deal was for the $446 million-asset TrustAtlantic Financial in October 2014.
While First Horizon could pursue more deals, doing so isn't necessary to the company's performance, Jordan said.
"We don't have an absolute need to do M&A," Jordan said. "We have positioned the company to be sustainable for the long term and to grow the franchise in an organic fashion. We can benefit by picking up some efficiencies by making some additional acquisitions and having a broader base to spread these costs over, but we don't think it is a necessity."