With lending by St. Louis-area retail banks sluggish, local mergers and acquisitions could pick up in 2014 as banks try to boost earnings, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis senior vice president Julie Stackhouse said.
“There will be some mergers,” Stackhouse said, “and the end result will be improved earnings.”
More than 80 locally chartered banks had $21.59 billion in loans at the end of December, essentially flat from $21.54 billion at the end of 2012, according to a summary of bank performance by the St. Louis Fed. The lack of growth represents the difficulty banks are having in finding creditworthy borrowers.
However, St. Louis-area banks did have a relatively good year in 2013, boasting profit gains of more than 20 percent and continuing declines in nonperforming loans.