M&T Bank (MTB) will not let a regulatory red flag stop it from acquiring Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK) in Paramus, N.J.
"We are optimistic that we can make the progress we need to make to satisfy our regulators," Rene Jones, M&T's chief financial officer, said during a Monday conference call to discuss the company's first-quarter results. "I know both parties are as firm as ever that this is a deal worth getting done."
The Buffalo, N.Y., company must first improve its anti-money-laundering procedures after the Federal Reserve Board raised concerns. The $81 billion-asset company disclosed last week that those developments would delay its closing of the Hudson City deal.
M&T and Hudson City, which has $44 billion in assets, will "do whatever we need to do to see it through," Jones added. "We have every intention that we're going to remediate the issues that are outstanding and we're going to do so quickly and we are going to do so in a manner that probably exceeds expectations."
M&T's shareholders will vote on the $3.7 billion acquisition on Tuesday; Hudson City will hold a special meeting on Thursday. Last week, the companies pushed back the deadline for completing the merger by five months, to Jan. 31, to give M&T time to address the Fed's concerns.
There were no new details from Monday's call, though Jones said M&T could have a better sense of when the deal will close "toward the end of summer" as the company makes progress on the regulatory front. "I think internally, we're just going to focus on hitting this one out of the park," he said.
"Each of the institutions must focus on their own issues," Jones added. "Hudson City will continue to focus on managing its balance sheet and trying to keep themselves safe and sound. On our front, we're going to focus heavily on this [regulatory] issue and make sure that, when the time comes, we're ready."
M&T on Monday reported that it made $274 million in the first quarter, up 33% from the same period last year. Its earnings per share of $1.98 were in line with estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.