"While there will be some innovative outliers with highly focused and specialized business models and some of the smallest banks will achieve sufficiently rapid growth, those that don't will languish and eventually fail or sell for a low multiple of book value. It is far better for the shareholders of such institutions if the boards have the insight to trade their moribund small company shares for those of a larger, better capitalized and rapidly growing community or regional bank. By doing so they can ride with a winner, enjoying the benefits of both an increased rate of growth and potentially expanding the P/E multiple."
You don't see growth in the plans do you? So sale looks more likely. I don't really see going with another community bank. It's unlikely there is one solid enough - or with liquid stock. (Don't stick us with TOWN shares.) You need an acquirer with size - but they aren't going to be interested in a tiny bank. It's not worth their due diligence cost. So the pool of potential acquirers would seem rather small. Another reason to move sooner rather than later.
Not that easy to line up a sale ... in addition to taking an acquirer's stock that's worth something, you need liquidity in the stock you're taking; jobs for the HBKS management; and the right price. That's why the market doesn't see it. But no one ever confused the market with the Cayce Center either.
Bank stocks are no longer tied to the fundamentals of a specific bank ... everything turns on the macro economy and interest rates; the Federal Reserve; Congress; the CFPB; the President and HARP II; Basel and Dodd-Frank. It's just not economical to be a small bank.