The NCUA corporate assessment coupled with depressed capital and net worth ratios is producing a definite "lowered appetite" for credit union mergers in 2010, according to a New York CPA firm which issued a study this week on the banking industry's interest in failing banks.
"We do see a lack of willingness and caution by large credit unions to entertain mergers in this very challenging, unprecedented climate," said James Norfleet, senior manager of Grant Thornton LLP.
It's hard to forecast what the outcome might be on the industry of this "discerning attitude in due diligence" as large CUs approach voluntary and involuntary merger partners, said Norfleet. Grant Thornton found that 62% of bank executives it surveyed were interested in pursuing a failed bank.
While 42% of those banks would be interested, only 2% have actually made bids and 7% have been unsuccessful in a process in which the FDIC provides assistance to partner banks, according to Grant Thornton's 17th annual Bank Executive Survey.
"When you look at the NCUA assessments and hits the credit unions are taking on their balance sheet, you can see a much more cautious attitude about taking on a distressed credit union," said Norfleet.