A recent report by KBW Regional Banking Index (KBW) suggests that Comerica, Zions, and First Horizon are at risk of being acquired by greater competitors. Larger banks with strong returns, such as Huntington, Fifth Third, M&T, and Regions Financial, are positioned to grow by acquiring smaller lenders. Additionally, KBW analysts noted that Western Alliance and Webster Financial could also consider selling themselves. The report highlights that regional banks with assets between $80 billion and $120 billion are facing increasing pressure on returns and profitability, making them potential targets for acquisition by larger rivals.
This analysis underscores the challenges faced by banks in this asset range, as they have the lowest structural returns among banks with at least $10 billion in assets, necessitating growth to help pay for upcoming regulations. The report also mentions that banks with higher returns, such as East West Bank, Popular Bank, and New York Community Bank, could end up as acquirers rather than targets. This analysis reflects the evolving landscape of the banking industry and the potential for consolidation among regional banks.
Three banks have already collapsed in the US this year. New proposed regulations would require banks with over $100 billion in assets to hold onto long-term debt equal to 3.5% of total assets or 6% of risk-weighted assets. Now banks just below the $100 billion mark will potentially face the burden of adhering to these new regulations. Regional bank shares have fallen by over 20% this year. Smaller banks are already struggling to remain profitable, while midsized banks will be forced to join a larger banking organization to stay afloat.