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M&T Bank CFO does not believe '18 sell-off driving bank executives to deal table

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M&T Bank CFO does not believe '18 sell-off driving bank executives to deal table

M&T Bank Corp. CFO Darren King does not believe the late 2018 sell-off in bank stocks is driving executives to seek out potential deals.

Bank stocks tumbled in 2018, potentially opening up a door for M&A as valuations became more attractive. The SNL U.S. Bank and Thrift Index dropped 19.8% in the year, marking the index's worst performance since 2011.

Yet while the Buffalo, N.Y.-based bank has previously indicated that it would be interested in an in-market deal or something within its existing base, King does not believe much has changed from a few months ago, as the banking sector's fall was wide-ranging. M&T Bank has not struck a bank acquisition since 2015, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

"When you look at the market and what's happened with the bank stocks and multiples, the whole industry [fell] basically together," King said Jan. 17 during a fourth-quarter 2018 earnings conference call. "I don't think we've heard too much where people are thinking that the world is coming to an end and it's time to [sell]."

There were 15 U.S. bank deals announced between Dec. 1 and Dec. 25, 2018, compared with 29 in the same period of 2017, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis recently found.

In December 2018, M&T's stock fell 15.1%, capping a year when the bank's share price fell 17.0% overall.

The company has since recovered a large portion of the losses it saw in its stock during December, as its shares were up 7.89% so far in 2019, as of Jan. 16. The company's shares rose 4.67% to $161.63 as of 1:58 p.m. ET on Jan. 17, the day it reported its fourth-quarter 2018 results, which included a 73.7% year-over-year jump in net income available to common shareholders.

"We had a better December than some others did, but we're still all relatively down," King said.