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The trend: large banks will acquire smaller banks

KBW Inc., the New York-based boutique that advises financial institutions, expects 500 to 1,000 U.S. banks to fail by 2011, Chief Executive Officer John Duffy said.

"We think we are going to see quite a number of failures here in the next two years, and we’ll see another wave of consolidation," Duffy said. "There will be a lot of consolidation among the smaller players."

Regulators are shutting U.S. banks at the fastest pace in 17 years, with 92 failing this year. Of the 8,200 lenders operating in the U.S., a total of 416 are on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s "problem bank" list after failing tests for asset quality, liquidity and earnings in the second quarter, the most since June 1994.

As the residential mortgage market begins to stabilize, Federal Reserve supervisors are examining the vulnerability of medium-sized lenders to falling commercial real estate values, a central bank official said yesterday.

Commercial real estate will be "the major shoe to drop," Duffy said. "We are in the second inning if this is a baseball game."

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets, and No. 4 Wells Fargo & Co. will probably acquire smaller banks to fill geographic expansion plans, Duffy also said.

Citigroup Inc., which has had talks with the Treasury Department about the government selling its 34 percent stake in the bank, will likely be the last bank to shed state ownership, according to Duffy.

"They are viewed as the being the most damaged of the large franchises, so they'll probably be the last to get out," Duffy said. "When there's more stability in the environment, they may well be able to get out from underneath the government. But I think that that's a ways off."

Duffy said the U.S. Treasury could unload its stake in Citigroup using a series of managed sales over the next two years with multiple buyers. The Treasury owns 7.69 billion common shares.

Source: Bloomberg
Date: 18.09.2009 [230]

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