If Bill Clinton is elected President a week from today, stock prices of banks in the West and Midwest are likely to benefit, say some analysts on Wall Street.
East Coast banks, in general, would fare better if George Bush is reelected.
Analyst Brent B. Erensel of UBS Securities Inc. reasons that a win by the Democratic candidate would mean an uptick in inflation, a development viewed traditionally as more favorable to resource-based and agriculture-dominated economies.
BankAmerica Corp., San Francisco, theoretically would see the most positive impact because of its huge market share in such areas.
Chemical Banking Corp., though based in New York, would benefit via its Texas subsidiary.
Barnett Banks Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., would gain from enactment of interstate banking -- possibly as a major acquisition target. So would First Interstate Bancorp, Los Angeles.
On the other hand, asserted Mr. Erensel and a colleague, Michael L. Mayo, eastern banks have customarily done better with lower inflation, which the analysts link to Mr. Bush.
Chase Manhattan Corp., meanwhile, is not regarded as strong enough to take advantage of expansion opportunities, and bank regulators appointed by Mr. Clinton may view Bankers Trust New York Corp. and J.P. Morgan & Co., as "embodying too much financial power."
But a "regional play" by investors, in the event of a Clinton win, is not favored by everyone.
Differences Called Secondary
"The key problem that banks face now is their inability to consolidate and create large interstate networks and to manage their balance sheets on a basis that is appropriate to their business," said Felice M. Gelman of Dillon, Read & Co.
These national issues considerably outweigh any regional advantages, she contends.
As intermediate-term lenders, banks should not be required to engage in mark-to-market accounting, she said. The Bush administration, acting through the Securities and Exchange Commission, "has been very, very tough on the banks."
Only Time Will Tell
A Clinton administration would have to be judged primarily on its handling of such issues, she said.
As for interstate banking, the Bush administration has declared itself favorable "but has been unable to deliver," Ms. Gelman said. Congress might be more easily persuaded with a Democrat in the White House.
But Mr. Erensel and Mr. Mayo said regulatory and legislative relief for bankers "may be granted only gradually." They noted that Arkansas banking laws, passed in Mr. Clinton's time as governor, "are very restrictive."
If elected, they expect Mr. Clinton to "increase deposit insurance premiums, require additional Community Reinvestment Act lending, and use the presidency as a bully pulpit to persuade banks to lower consumer loan rates."
The UBS analysts said "some form of interstate banking relief" will be forthcoming under either a Bush or Clinton administration. But they believe mergers during a Clinton presidency would be subjected to more rigorous scrutiny under the anti-trust laws.
Banks Seen Doing Better Under Clinton
* BankAmerica * Barnett Banks * Chemical Banking * First Interstate
Bank Seen Doing Better Under Bush
* J. P. Morgan * Bankers Trust * Bank of Boston * Mellon Bank
Source: UBS Securities