Slideshow Top Bank M&A Deals of 2015

  • December 21 2015, 8:00am EST
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Merger activity gained steam in 2015. Total bank-deal value reached its highest level since the financial crisis as more big agreements were announced. Regional banks were among the hungriest buyers, suggesting that tougher regulatory hurdles had become less of an M&A deterrent than in previous years.

BUYER: Royal Bank of Canada

SELLER: City National

DEAL VALUE: $5.3 billion


STATUS: Completed on Nov. 2

Royal Bank of Canada, led by David McKay, made a notable return to U.S. banking by acquiring City National in Los Angeles. The deal was a strategic shift for RBC compared with its first foray into the United States, when it focused on real estate and mortgages in the Southeast. This time, it bought a bank known best for courting affluent clients.

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BUYER: KeyCorp

SELLER: First Niagara Financial Group

DEAL VALUE: $4.2 billion


STATUS: Expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016

KeyCorp CEO Beth Mooney took a risk in agreeing to buy the $39 billion-asset First Niagara, which has been hampered in recent years by costly acquisitions and an ill-timed technology upgrade. KeyCorp has been criticized by some analysts for agreeing to pay 170% of First Niagara's tangible book value and for consenting to some highly dilutive terms.

BUYER: New York Community Bancorp

SELLER: Astoria Financial

DEAL VALUE: $2 billion


STATUS: Expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2016

Joseph Ficalora, CEO of New York Community, had long wanted a significant acquisition so his $49 billion-asset company could well surpass the asset threshold for systemically important financial institutions. Adding the $15 billion-asset Astoria would accomplish that goal, though it wouldn't do much to change New York Community's geography or business mix.


SELLER: National Penn Bancshares

DEAL VALUE: $1.8 billion


STATUS: Expected to close by mid-2016

BB&T may have paved the way for other big banks to do deals when it bought Susquehanna Bancshares in Pennsylvania earlier this year. CEO Kelly King returned right away to the Keystone State, agreeing to buy National Penn in a move that should add scale and provide cost-cutting opportunities.

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SELLER: Wilshire Bancorp

DEAL VALUE: $1 billion


STATUS: Expected to close in mid-2016

BBCN in Los Angeles rejected an unsolicited takeover bid by Hanmi Financial, choosing instead to buy Wilshire in order to cement BBCN's position as the nation's biggest Korean-American bank. Kevin Kim (pictured), BBCN's president and CEO, would keep those posts, while Steven Koh, Wilshire's chairman, would fill the same role at the combined company.

BUYER: PacWest Bancorp

SELLER: Square 1 Financial

DEAL VALUE: $847 million


STATUS: Closed Oct. 7

PacWest in Los Angeles needed low-cost liabilities to support its lending, while Square 1 in Durham, N.C., had a ton of cheap deposits on its balance sheet. From that perspective, the far-flung deal made sense for PacWest CEO Matt Wagner.

BUYER: Bank of the Ozarks

SELLER: Community & Southern Holdings

DEAL VALUE: $800 million


STATUS: Expected to close in the second quarter

Bank of the Ozarks' purchase of Community & Southern in Atlanta would bring together companies that have made a combined 28 acquisitions in the last five years. George Gleason, Bank of the Ozarks' CEO, has shown a determination to do big deals to cross over $10 billion in assets.

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BUYER: F.N.B. Corp.

SELLER: Metro Bancorp

DEAL VALUE: $474 million


STATUS: Expected to close in February

Metro Bancorp in Harrisburg, Pa., had been facing intense pressure from activist investors to sell itself, providing an opportunity for Vincent Delie Jr., chief executive of F.N.B., to step in and make a deal.

BUYER: MB Financial

SELLER: American Chartered Bancorp

DEAL VALUE: $449 million


STATUS: Expected to close in mid-2016

MB Financial has agreed to pay a decent premium to buy one of the few sizable banks based in Chicago. Mitchell Feiger, MB Financial's CEO, made it clear last month that he had long wanted to buy the $2.8 billion-asset American Chartered.

BUYER: Yadkin Financial

SELLER: NewBridge Bancorp

DEAL VALUE: $446 million


STATUS: Expected to close in the second quarter

While the merger would create the biggest community bank based in North Carolina, with $7.1 billion in assets, Scott Custer, Yadkin Financial's CEO, said he has no immediate plans to pursue another big deal to hit $10 billion.