June Issue of Bank Watch Newsletter Released

The lead article in the June 2013 issue of Bank Watch is “Old National Repositioning via M&A While Many Others Sit Still,” authored by Jeff Davis, managing director, and originally published on SNL Financial (republished with permission). The article begins …

Sy Jacobs of Jacobs Asset Management was featured in this week’s Barron’s (“Bullish on Community Banks”). He was quoted as having a “slightly bullish bias” on small cap banks, primarily because credit trends are positive and pending M&A. Jacobs also noted the sector’s revenue conundrum due to intensifying pressure on loan yields at a timewhen the country is over-banked and over-branched. Among his picks was Old National Bancorp, of which his fund held 2.0 million shares (2.0%) as of year-end 2012 per the 13F. Jacobs cited Old National as an active, accretive acquirer as the crux of his investment thesis.

I agree with Jacobs on the strategic positioning of Old National. CEO Robert Jones has moved on opportunities while many have sat on their hands; however, the shares, like most, are not a layup given the need to continue to execute on future deals, a liquid balance sheet at a time when loan demand is not robust, and a valuation that is middle of the road rather than inexpensive at 1.6x tangible book value and 13x full-year 2013 consensus EPS. Old National, like other acquirers, has one other hurdle that may limit its shares in the near-term: Street expectations. Old National has a wide gap between its GAAP net interest margin and NIM ex-accretion. I do not think the Street focuses on the issue until the narrowing of the differential is material to earnings. Old National’s NIM in the first quarter was 4.04% compared to 4.20% a year earlier; ex-accretion for three deals it was 3.31% versus 3.52%. To Old National’s credit and stated goal to be as transparent as possible, this is plainly laid-out for investors.

The same issue could be ascribed to many acquisitive banks….

To read the full article, click here.

Published monthly, there are five regional editions of Bank Watch. Regions covered are the northeast, the midwest, the Atlantic coast, the southeast, and the west. Each issue contains an article of interest to bankers and their advisors, public market indicators, M&A market indicators, as well as a regional peer group.

For a complimentary subscription, click here.