Two planned acquisitions of Midwestern thrifts announced over the weekend could be just the tip of the iceberg, analysts said.
A number of small and midsize Midwestern thrifts are likely contemplating putting themselves on the block, they added.
"I do think absolutely, we're going to see more consolidation, and the Midwest continues to be a focus," said Caren E. Mayer, an analyst with Montgomery Securities.
She said thrifts hold 25% of the deposits in Wisconsin and 12% of the deposits in Illinois, so bank companies that want to locate in those markets are going to have to take a look at S&Ls.
Analysts named $4.4 billion-asset St. Paul Bancorp of Chicago; $5.7 billion-asset First Financial Corp. of Stevens Point, Wis., and $1.4 billion-asset St. Francis Capital Corp. of Milwaukee as possible targets.
Marshall & Ilsley Corp. announced Saturday that it plans to buy Milwaukee competitor $3.7 billion-asset Security Capital Corp. for cash and stock worth $945 million.
Minneapolis-based TCF Financial Corp. said Sunday it would buy $2.4 billion-asset Standard Financial Inc. of Chicago for $424 million in cash and stock.
Joseph Roberto, an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., said it's time for small thrifts to consider selling. Unless a company has diversified and operates more like a bank, it's going to find it much harder to survive in a banking industry that is becoming more competitive.
"The whole problem with the traditional thrift is that it has one product line"- mortgage lending, Mr. Roberto said. Security was able to sustain strong earnings, but the thinly traded company was probably considering what it's future growth opportunities would be a few years down the road, analysts said. It also has an aging chief executive, 74-year-old William G. Schuett Sr., and no clear succession plan.
For both Marshall & Ilsley, with $14.8 billion in assets, and TCF, which is a thrift converting to a bank, the announcements represent major strategic moves. The acquisition of Security Capital would vault Marshall & Ilsley-already Wisconsin's largest bank-over Firstar Corp. into first place in Milwaukee deposits with $5.1 billion. The $7.1 billion-asset TCF, which focuses on large urban markets in the Midwest, would move from $700 million of Illinois deposits to $2.4 billion while increasing its presence in the fragmented Chicago market.
TCF chairman and chief executive officer William A. Cooper said that Standard Financial's retail branch network complements TCF's 35 Illinois bank branches, 26 of which are in the Chicago area. "This union significantly expands our profitable and growing Illinois franchise," he said.