What are they advertising, loans or deposits? I'd guess it's the latter, relating to savings &/or checking accounts, since they really would benefit from a solid increase in their core deposit base. Their reliance on higher cost borrowed funds to finance loans has been a drag on profits for quite a while.
I think that what they really want, but are not willing to do yet since the $50B SIFI threshold is still in place, is to buy another bank that's rich in deposits. In the meantime they'll spend advertising dollars to increase their deposits.
Other than believing (aka: hoping, praying, dreaming) that the bank will be sold at a premium this year, is there a compelling reason to hold or purchase FNFG shares? Given the track record of the bank's board & management, it's difficult to make an argument for why this bank--compared to hundreds of other publicly traded banks--is a desirable investment.
If management were to declare at the upcoming shareholder meeting that it's committed to its long term strategy to "enhance shareholder value" through improved performance & is firmly not interested in selling the bank, the share price could drop 20% in a day. Conversely, if the comment were that the board--despite its belief in its long term operational strategy--is open to "strategic alternatives," including the sale of the bank at an attractive price, the stock could bounce 20%.
I'd expect the issue of selling the bank will be raised during the Q&A session, and that management already knows how it will respond. My guess: a middle of the road answer that expresses the board's fiduciary responsibility to act in the shareholders' interests without indicating a bias in either direction. I think their bias is actually to keep at what they've been doing & to reassess in a couple of years. We shall see.
It does appear that NYCB is intentionally holding back below the $50b level even though stepping across that line would not initiate a SIFI designation until they had 4 quarters averaging $50+b in assets.
Were they to make a major purchase now the risk is that the SIFI level won't be increased to $100b this year & that the regulators would require a dividend payout percentage reduction or some other negative action early next year.
On the other hand, there may be an opportunity cost associated with NYCB's waiting for the SIFI increase. It's possible that another bigger bank (ie, one with assets already over $100b) may step in and make a deal with AF (assuming AF is willing to sell) while NYCB waits for the SIFI change.
I agree that AF would make a great fit with NYCB. I'm thinking that HCBK may also come into play soon since MTB has been unable to finalize its deal. HCBK has had its problems but its geographic proximity, its deposit base & its share price to TBV ratio make it attractive.
I know some analysts have suggesred that NYCB may be an acquisition target itself, but I'm not convinced. NYCB's very focused lending niche & its extremely low efficiency ratio would seem to argue against a bigger fish swallowing it. Doesn't seem to fit the profile of an accretive to earnings buyout.