« Back to All Press

Former Bank Execs Anticipate M&A Surge

New Orleans City Business covered Loan Evaluation Services, and the need for portfolio evaluation services in the current banking climate. Scroll down for excerpts from the article, or subscribe to City Business for the entire post.

A team of former New Orleans-area financial executives has come together to create a new business that targets the buying, selling and merging of banks, activity that they expect to be steady in the coming years.

Loan Evaluation Services provides exactly that, a look inside the portfolios of banks looking to sell or targeted by buyers. Its co-owners are Kyle Waters, a longtime executive with Hibernia National Bank and then Capital One, and Andy Bower, a CPA whose practice concentrates on loan review.

The company will work with banks that are ready to make moves, including those ready to put their business in someone else’s hands or those that want to expand their service area.

“If you have a tired board of directors or a tired CEO … or if you have an invigorated board and CEO, that’s where we expect to see business opportunities,” Waters said.

The climate for banking M&A is ideal, he added, citing increasing prices for recent transactions.

For example, when IberiaBank announced in January it would buy Teche Federal Bank, its offer was a 32 percent premium on the Teche share price at the time. The $161 million deal closed in June.

Community banks are also considering acquisitions to help absorb the cost of increased regulation following the financial sector scandals of the last decade and ensuing government reform attempts.


Loan Evaluation Services won’t directly determine a bank’s book value, but it will assess the quality of its tangible assets.

“It’s not our job to tell you what to pay for a bank,” Waters said. “What we will do is tell you the quality of its loan portfolio.”

He said Loan Evaluation Services intends to provide more insight into a bank’s standing than what can be derived from reviewing their filings with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which requires extensive quarterly, biannual and annual updates from its insured institutions.

“In a lot of ways, evaluating banking is a science, especially when you look at the many ratios with which you can measure a bank’s performance,” Waters said. “But it’s also an art because you learn how people handle themselves in deals. It’s something you won’t find in the FDIC reports.”

In addition to Waters, the Loan Evaluation Services team includes: former Metairie Bank CEO Ric Smith and senior lending officer Jack Blanke; former Hibernia National Bank and Capital One executives Paul Bonitabus, Carol Gordon and Karen Penney; former national bank examiner Margie Goris; former Omni Bank credit department manager Annette Glahn; and “data guy” Ryan Murphy.


Click here to read the article on City Business (for subscribers only)