I disagree about what you said about FC. They may be bigger but not stronger. WB was stronger and bigger than Wells until about 3 months ago. Much has changed, and you can't see it all on paper. Look at my post about WB before it "didn't fail/government backed sellout to Citi" and about GM, Ford, etc. NCC was taken down "under opening" on a futures limit down Friday, another on my death list. I know it is rare, but someone on a message board knows what they are talking about.
SCBT may down the road buy a smaller bank in NC, but management is hard core tight in Columbia. They won't be just buying because it is fun. They will split the stock again in January (1.05-1) and maintain the dividend. The stock could actually use more volume. You have too many of the long term buy and holds in on this. Plus, you have the old school First Nat Orangeburg people sitting on their buyout shares using them as a lotto ticket. They are building branches in Charleston and starting a name here, and after that they want in North Carolina. They think they have a shot of picking up market share from the WB void. I kinda agree, in theory. Unless Wells keeps the WB name, people in the South won't rush into a San Fran bank backed by Buffett. Wells doesnt get that. Income arent as high and credit scores are MUCH worse. Expect to see that in marketing from lots of banks in by 2011 or 2012, even if they dont "change the signs". Wells will also have to lower lending standards to move any real paper here int he south as well. Incomes arent as high and credit scores are MUCH worse.
Remember, Golden West seemed like a good idea to WB 2 years ago. Buying banks is not always a good thing unless your base is like BAC, where you can pay for Merrill and CFC with less than you spend on your quarterly dividend. The regs like SCBT and money centers like BAC will be the banks who make it out of this and grow into the future.