Everyone wants them to shoot the entire cache of cash on a big acquisition in the hopes they get a fast pop on the stock price. While the acquisitions they have done are not huge, they fit into their current business area of expertise and enhance the existing footprint which will probably work out just fine. Personally I would rather have them execute acquisitions they can manage rather than blowing it all on a coin toss.
You're right on the money! Big acquisitions are dangerous because it's more possible of large customer exodus. Smaller acquisitions in strategic areas, is the best way to proceed.
The positive side of large acquisitions is that they may bring new technologies or processes to the table. Peoples is already spending millions on Metavante conversion.
Peoples is in a sweet spot right now. More banks were shut down this week and will continue to be shut down. I would like to see them extend their reach all the way down to Florida.
The area to avoid is probably the DC area. The DC market probably has the biggest chance for property values going down since that market keeps going up. At some point the economic forces has to bring the property values down. Buying into Florida, SC,NC, Virginia should be the next steps.