Latest News

CEO Jon Winick American Banker Feature-December ’20

Jon Winick, CEO featured in American Bankers December ’20 monthly magazine.


Pandemic puts bank M&A on pause Merger and acquisition activity proved robust in 2019, as buyers searched for scale and efficiencies. Banks announced 257 deals, driving one of the liveliest years of the past decade. Expectations ran high early in 2020 for another banner run as buyers announced 17 deals in January alone. But then the pandemic arrived in March and “brought almost
everything to a standstill — M&A included,” said Jacob Thompson, a managing director of investment banking at
SAMCO Capital Markets. Deal activity has yet to recover — a few notable deals aside — and may not do so until deep into 2021, Thompson
and others say. Several deals announced late last year or early this year have been called off and many would-be buyers are staying
on the sidelines because they say it’s simply too difficult to assess what troubles could be lurking in sellers’ loan
portfolios. Banks made clear in third-quarter earnings calls that they did not know how the health crisis would affect credit quality because there was no telling how long it
would last.

“We could see the worst of the impact on banks next year,” said Jon Winick, chief executive of Clark Street Capital. Winick and others say that once clarity returns, bank M&A is bound to increase to the pace of 2019 — or perhaps exceed it because of pent-up demand. The principal motivators for M&A, scale and cost savings, have only become more important amid the economic malaise
of 2020.

The few deals announced this year touted those benefits. The $489 million merger of Bridge Bancorp in Bridgehampton, N.Y., and Dime Community Bancshares in Brooklyn, N.Y.,
announced in July, is a case in point. The combined company would instantly double its assets, to more than $12 billion, and the plan is to carve out more than $30
million in overlapping expenses. “Increased size and scale cannot be scoffed at,” Kevin O’Connor, Bridge’s president and CEO, said shortly after
announcing the deal. “We’d be able to use the scale to invest in some revenue-generating areas.” — Jim Dobbs

BAN Report Sign-up