SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

March 24, 2011 08:46 ET

Which Stronger Regional Banks Will Go on Acquisition Sprees?

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Huntington Bancshares and BB&T

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - March 24, 2011) -  As the economic recovery gains momentum, analysts are predicting a surge in regional banking acquisitions. As stronger banks experience diminishing returns in their core business, they are showing willingness to utilize their large resource pools to acquire smaller institutions in a race to diversify and to build their reach. Given the limited opportunities for meaningful acquisitions, the companies in stronger financial positions, and the willingness to act, stand to gain the most from such activities. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Regional Banking Sector and provides research reports on Huntington Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: HBAN) and BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

BB&T has made a name for itself due to its acquisition strategy. Earlier this year, BB&T's CEO and chairman, Kelly King, told CNBC that the company is interested in acquiring banks with "good consolidation features related to acquisition." The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company is looking at banks in the mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Texas.

Considered a financially "strong" bank, BB&T recently increased its dividend to 16 cents from 15 cents, a special one-time 1-cent payout.

The Bedford Report releases regular market updates on the Regional Banking Sector so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

Huntington Bancshares made an important step towards financial strength late last year when it successfully repaid the $1.4 billion of preferred shares held by the government as a part of TARP. The company also bought back the warranties it had issued to the Treasury for $49.1 million. The company issued $920 million of common stock and $300 million of subordinated debt and used the net proceeds along with existing cash for the bailout repayment.

A recent article from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Huntington could be a potential buyer of the struggling Citizens Republic Bancorp. Citizens owe the Treasury $300 million -- slightly less that the company's current market capitalization.

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