Challenged better than broken

April 17, 2008

broken.jpgIf your bank is broken, BB&T may look but don’t count on it to buy it.

“We would look at companies that maybe have some specific challenges and have a good long-term client base, but we would be real cautious in getting very aggressive about assisted transactions,” said John Allison, BB&T’s chief. “We don’t really like to fix up things that are broken too badly.”

Real estate weighed on results of several other large U.S. regional banks on Thursday, and speaking on a conference call after BB&T posted its own results, Allison said the bank had been getting feelers from potential sellers.

“I think that there are a lot of banks for sale and no buyers right now just based on the calls we get,” he said.

But Allison said BB&T wants to be careful about what it buys. “We traditionally have been very cautious on buying companies that were in financial trouble because we are basically a quality oriented business.”

The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank is feeling the pinch like many others, as homeowners and developers struggle to keep up with payments.  

BB&T more than tripled what it set aside for loan losses. Allison said the bank’s residential construction portfolio showed strains in Atlanta, Florida, the Washington, D.C., area and the West Virginia panhandle.

Photo credit: Reuters

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