Monday, June 18, 2012
Small Banks Put Up 'For Sale' Sign
Thanks to Will for passing this along.
Edward McKeon, chief executive of Western Reserve Bank in Medina, Ohio, was so fed up with new regulations that he jumped at the chance to sell the two-branch lender when a local rival recently made a lucrative offer.
"When I hand them the keys and walk out, I'm going to be on the beach with a margarita," says Mr. McKeon, who this month announced the sale of Western Reserve to Westfield Bancorp., a unit of Ohio Farmers Insurance Co.
Mr. McKeon may have some company on the sand.
A growing number of tiny community banks are deciding it's time to put out the "for sale" sign. Like Mr. McKeon, many executives of these small lenders are frustrated by costly, new regulations. Other bankers are throwing in the towel because their companies have limited growth prospects in a period of weak loan demand, low interest rates and thinning profit margins.
With more than 90 deals announced so far this year, 2012 is shaping up to be the biggest year—as measured by number of deals—for bank mergers since 2007, when there were 286 transactions.