Why these banks favor hiring, branching over M&A

By Jim Dobbs7 days ago

For all the talk about a mounting wave of mounting wave of mergers, a number of banks in recent weeks have announced plans to hire talent and open offices to enter new markets or expand in existing ones.

While acquisitions can provide a buyer with immediate scale, bankers say there are still advantages to slow-and-steady organic growth, adding that hiring lenders with built-in relationships is often the most seamless way to extend a footprint.

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Howard Bancorp in Baltimore is a case in point.

The $2.6 billion-asset company in April announced it had hired three senior commercial lenders to enter the Washington area. The goal is to capitalize on the economic strength of the nations capital and the ties that come with bringing on bankers with years of experience in the market.

Weve been fortunate to attract some very talented people, said Howard President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Kunisch Jr. When you can do that, you can follow with retail capabilities and smart ATMs as you grow. It is more efficient than the long process of finding an acquisition and seeing it through.

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