With a sluggish economy and low rates making for a challenging banking environment, lenders are subject to growing ranks of shareholder activists, reports SNL Financial.
A bank with an ROE in the 5-6% range when the cost of capital is closer to 9% or 10% is going to make for a ripe target, says RBC's Gerard Cassidy. And those activists have an ally in proxy advisory firms which have recently been in favor of the shareholders instead of management teams, says Sandler O'Neill's Emmett Daly. Daly notes the pending sale of Metro Bancorp (NASDAQ:METR) to F.N.B. Corp. (NYSE:FNB) - Metro went from having no activists to a handful. "I don't think anyone is too strong," says Daly.
Other campaigns include Trian and Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) and State Street (NYSE:STT), Greenlight and Citizens Financial (NYSE:CFG) and CIT Group (NYSE:CIT), and Basswood and First California (NASDAQ:FCAL), Bank of California (NYSE:BANC), Hudson Valley Holding (NYSE:HVB), Synovus (NYSE:SNV), Astoria (NYSE:AF), and the above-mentioned Metro.