Magazine article American Banker

Yes, Virginia, Fulton Plans More Deals

Magazine article American Banker

Yes, Virginia, Fulton Plans More Deals

Article excerpt

Rufus A. Fulton Jr. does not want his first deal in Virginia to be his last one.

The $8.6 billion-asset Fulton Financial Corp. of Lancaster, Pa., said last week that it would buy the $860 million-asset Resource Bankshares Corp. of Virginia Beach. But Mr. Fulton, the buyer's chairman and chief executive (the identical names are a coincidence), said it is far from finished expanding in Virginia -- and might not even wait for that deal to close before making its next move.

"If a good bank in Virginia or elsewhere came to us, we couldn't just ignore it," Mr. Fulton said. "You can't say, 'We have one going, so we can't talk.' "

Fulton, which had been eyeing a move into Virginia for a year, said it would pay $195 million in stock for Resource, whose six branches, all in Virginia, stretch from the Washington suburbs to the Tidewater region, near the North Carolina border.

Resource would be the biggest banking company Fulton has ever bought, but it has paid more -- $212 million in 1997 for the $647 million-asset Keystone Heritage Group Inc. of Lebanon, Pa.

Henry Coffey, an analyst with Ferris, Baker Watts Inc. in Baltimore, said he expects Fulton to look for deals that would give it more branches in northern Virginia. Resource has just one there, in Herndon.

Newport News, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Richmond, where it has five in all, "have a lot of positive features about them, but they are not as rich or as densely populated as northern Virginia," Mr. Coffey said.

In an Aug. 28 report SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of the $121 billion-asset SunTrust Banks Inc. in Atlanta, identified Fulton as a possible buyer of the $1.1 billion-asset Southern Financial Bancorp. Headquartered in Warrenton, Southern Financial is particularly attractive as an acquisition target because it has 13 branches in northern Virginia, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey said. …

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