What This Under-the-Radar Acquisition Could Mean For Banks

With the financial news dominated by mergers and acquisitions lately, there is one smaller move that may have gone under the radar, though it may be just as important as some of the moves grabbing headlines.

On Tuesday, F.N.B. Corporation (NYSE: FNB  ) , a regional bank headquartered in Western Pennsylvania, announced the all-stock acquisition of microbank PVF Capital (NASDAQ: PVFC  ) for just over $106 million. The move is expected to close by the third quarter of 2013 and will immediately assist F.N.B. in growing its presence in the Cleveland metropolitan area, giving it a top 15 market share in the area.

Why should investors care?
Investors of F.N.B. and PVF Capital will be the ones that benefit directly from this move. F.N.B. will gain additional assets, including $634 million in deposits and $600 million in loans. They will also acquire 16 new offices in the Greater Cleveland area. PVF Capital shareholders will see each share turn into 0.3405 shares of F.N.B., and will immediately reap the benefit of F.N.B.'s 4% dividend yield.

Those not directly affected by this merger should take notice as well, as bank consolidations could become the rule rather than the exception. Other banks merged last year to expand geographical reach, including M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB  ) acquiring Hudson City Bancorp (NASDAQ: HCBK  ) to expand its reach farther north from its Virginia base. Even the rumor of exploring a sale was enough to boost shares of Virginia Commerce Bancorp (NASDAQ: VCBI  ) earlier this year, a mere two weeks before it was acquired by United Bankshares (NASDAQ: UBSI  ) . Small acquisitions are a great way for these banks to expand their deposit base at minimal expense, so I don't think this will be the last move like this in 2013.

The Foolish bottom line
It may not be as attention grabbing as Berkshire Hathaway acquiring Heinz, or two office stores potentially joining forces, but this small acquisition by a bank you've probably never heard of continues a trend among smaller banks that started in earnest last year. Investors should take note of these small moves as they indicate the general thinking among people running regional banks. If it happened once, nobody would have noticed, but multiple occurrences might actually make this a trend to watch going forward.

With so many of the big finance firms getting bad press these days you may be inclined to stay away from the sector entirely, but that could be a huge mistake. In fact, some of the best opportunities over the next few years can be found there, including one small, under-the-radar bank. It's been called one of "The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying." You can learn about it, and more, in The Motley Fool's exclusive free report. Just click here to keep reading.


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