Amid all the market noise about possible M&A activity, BB&T Corp. CEO Kelly King doesn't want there to be any confusion about his bank's approach.

"We consider potential mergers as an important part of our future," he said during a conference call with analysts Thursday discussing the bank's first-quarter results. "We think about mergers as having to meet three very strict criteria."

For one, "they have to be strategically attractive," he said. That means providing the bank with the ability to reduce expenses and expand in attractive markets.

Secondly, "we're not going to do a merger that, you know, increases our risk," King said. And thirdly, "all of that has to turn into meaningful accretion for our shareholders," King said. "We're simply not interested in mergers just for mergers' sake."

King's comments came after the Winston-Salem, N.C., bank reported net income available to common shareholders of $225 million, or 32 cents per share. That was a 20% increase over the $188 million, or 27 cents-per-share, profit reported a year earlier. Total revenue declined 7% year-over-year to $2.04 billion

The bank took a big hit on fee revenue, with noninterest income dropping to $714 million, down 26% from the fourth quarter and 15% from the first quarter of last year. Fourth-quarter noninterest income got a boost from securities gains that were absent in the most recent quarter. Mortgage banking income was also down sharply from the previous quarter.

BB&T has been able to manage its expenses, helping to offset the decline in revenue. Total noninterest expense fell 14% from the fourth quarter to $1.37 billion. It was 2% higher than in the year-ago period.

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