Magazine article American Banker

After a Breather, BB&T Will Seek Florida Deals

Magazine article American Banker

After a Breather, BB&T Will Seek Florida Deals

Article excerpt

BB&T Corp. of Winston-Salem, N.C., told investors this week to expect it to start buying Florida banks again after a self-imposed moratorium on bank deals ends in 2006.

"It's just a great market," Kelly S. King, the chief operating officer, told investors Monday at a Lehman Brothers financial services conference in New York. "It's a very large market, it's growing very rapidly," and BB&T wants to expand there faster than it can without making acquisitions.

On April 15 the $97 billion-asset company completed its second Florida deal, acquiring the $2.8 billion-asset Republic Bancshares Inc. of St. Petersburg for $436 million in cash and stock. Regulators had derailed another Florida deal earlier in the year.

Now the once acquisitive company is concentrating on boosting revenue.

Until 2006 it will probably pursue some organic growth in Florida and beyond by building branches, Mr. King said. It plans to open branches in Orlando and Atlanta and has already opened four in Jacksonville, Fla., he said.

The company will continue to invest in insurance and asset management companies, Mr. King said, but "we do not expect to make any material bank and thrift announcements in the rest of 2004 and 2005."

BB&T wants to concentrate on wringing an additional $1 billion of revenue from some of the banks it has acquired in recent years, he said. He conceded that during the last 15 months its earnings have been less than stellar. …

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