US REGIONALS ARE POWERED BY A MODEL THAT GLOBAL BANKS ARE TOO BIG TO COPY
Since the global financial crisis, US regional banks have taken market share in corporate banking away from the national money-center banks, which have dialed back on risk to rebuild their balance sheets. Playing to their greater familiarity with the business risks of local industries, regional banks snapped up midmarket corporate clients by offering services tailored in a fashion that would be uneconomic for bigger banks. Every corporate client deals with a single relationship manager for a full range of services—from treasury to checking to loans, payroll, lockbox and even wealth management.
Companies can expect to pay 50 to 100 basis points more for a loan from some regional banks. In return, the lender is unlikely to call in a credit line at the first sign of trouble. Clients of the best of these banks tend to be so loyal that, at the moment, about half of their deposits do not pay interest. That gives the banks a free supply of capital with which to compete on pricing with national players, lowering the cost of capital that they are required to hold against their liabilities, and generally lowering their risk profile.
The largest bank headquartered in Massachusetts, with $8.7 billion in assets, Eastern Bank has grown its commercial loans and leases by 92% since 2009, mainly in real estate, to $3 billion, while many national banks have reduced their lending in New England. The mutual bank will add $500 million in commercial loans with the acquisition of Centrix Bank & Trust of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, later this year.
Richard Holbrook, CEO
PNC has expanded its Pittsburgh-based Mideast footprint, which Greenwich Associates cited this year for excellence in middle-market corporate banking, into a North American business. PNC earned a record annual net income of $4.2 billion in 2013 as commercial lending increased by 8%, to $117.1 billion, mainly in real estate, public finance and other lending businesses.
William Demchak, CEO
U.S. Bancorp recently doubled its presence in Chicago by opening small branches in business offices, supermarkets, hospitals and colleges. The bank increased its loan book by 5.6%, to an average of $227.5 million, last year. Net income rose by 4.4%, to $5.7 billion.
Richard Davis, CEO
UMB Financial is known for its expertise in agribusiness, which is growing with land prices and crop values in Kansas and Missouri, and energy, high prices for which are driving growth in Oklahoma. The Kansas City‒based bank’s loan book grew by 14.7%, to $6.5 billion, during the fiscal year ended September 30, 2013, and is expected to grow by 12% this year, according to research firm FIG Partners.
Mariner Kemper, CEO
SunTrust has built up its financial skill set—and regional coverage—through the acquisition of several regional corporate banks. With $175 billion in assets, Atlanta-based SunTrust is known for its expertise in seaports, agriculture and logistics. Total loans increased by 5%, to $122.7 billion last year, owing to growth in commercial and industrial lending and commercial real estate lending, late in the year.
William Rogers Jr, CEO
Comerica is known for its expertise in the energy industry, which accounts for about two-thirds of its customers, most of which have an annual revenue of about $25 million. Last year the bank’s lending increased by 3%, to $44.4 billion, thanks to a 7% increase in commercial loans, mainly to energy and technology companies. Deposits increased by 4%, to $51.7 billion.
Ralph Babb Jr, CEO
With nearly one-fifth of its $35.9 billion loan-and-lease portfolio in small business loans with real estate as collateral, Zions Bancorporation, a conglomerate of eight community banks, failed the Fed’s “stress test” this spring. Nonetheless, the Salt Lake City‒based group says efforts to raise new capital will not affect its services. The bank is known for its strengths in light industry, wholesaling, hospitality, energy, transportation, healthcare and agriculture.
Scott McLean, president
Silicon Valley Bank
Known for its aggressive yet patient approach to corporate finance for start-ups in the technology, life sciences and cleantech industries, SVB’s lending has increased by 117%, to $9.8 billion, since 2009. Based in Santa Clara, California, SVB is expanding globally to help meet clients needs: It has offices in the UK and is opening offices in China, India and Israel.
Greg Becker, CEO