On May 25th, media reports indicated that Yadkin Valley Bank – a U.S. mid-cap bank holding of the actively managed Hamilton Capital Global Bank ETF (HBG; TSX) – had engaged an investment bank to “explore a sale”. The North Carolina based bank has ~$7.5 bln in assets, a ~US$1.4 bln market capitalization and represents ~1.5% of the fund. Private equity firms own ~13% of the company.

Hamilton Capital Global Bank ETF has positions in 19 U.S. banks, including 17 U.S. mid-cap banks (assets less than US$75 bln), representing approximately 32% of the fund, all of which could be considered viable takeover targets. As we have written before, relative to the regional/mega-cap banks, we believe U.S. mid-cap banks offer the following advantages: (i) higher percentage of net interest income increases sensitivity to rising central bank rates, (ii) greater opportunities to find higher EPS growth (from exposure to faster growing regions/states/MSAs), (iii) less regulatory risk than their larger peers, and, finally, as YDKN demonstrated (iv) mid-cap U.S. banks are one of the few parts within global banking sector where there is a viable M&A theme.

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For other comments on U.S. bank M&A, please see our Insights Another U.S. Mid-Cap Bank Deal as HBAN Buys FMER (January 26th, 2016) and U.S. Banks: Revisiting “100 Bank Mergers, 3 Years Later” (November 25th, 2015).

Note: Comments, charts and opinions offered in this commentary are produced by Hamilton Capital and are for information purposes only. They should not be considered as advice to purchase or to sell mentioned securities. Any information offered is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed.

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