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Bank M&A started off 2017 with a bang, with eight of the year’s 10 biggest deals taking place in the first six months. Volume picked up after that, mostly due to smaller mergers.

The total number of deals announced in 2017 has topped the prior year by about 6%, with 252 acquisitions, based on data from Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and S&P Global Market Intelligence. Average deal sizes and premiums also rose, generating some optimism among industry experts that momentum could continue into 2018.

“The environment right now trends toward [more] banks getting together,” Jonathan Hightower, a lawyer at Bryan Cave in Atlanta, said earlier this month. “We have a lot of different complimentary strengths across the banking landscape right now.”

North Carolina, where many local banks were backed by private equity after the financial crisis, was a hot market for consolidation. Three of the year’s biggest acquisitions involved sellers in the Tarheel State as out-of-state buyers were drawn to a growing population and ample opportunities for commercial lending. North Carolina has lost more than a third of its banks since the end of 2010.

Florida accounted for three of the other top deals, with each of those acquisitions having buyers that were based outside the state. The Sunshine State is well-known for boom-and-bust cycles that have tripped up banks unfamiliar with these risks in the past.

Sellers in California, Indiana, New York and Virginia accounted for the other big deals.

Here is a breakdown of the biggest bank acquisitions of 2017.


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