M&T nears finish of customer review

M&T nears finish of customer review
M&T nears finish of customer review

M&T Bank Corp. is close to completing a detailed review of its customers’ information, which would reopen the door to potential acquisitions.

M&T has had a “letter of agreement” with the Federal Reserve since 2013, concerning the bank’s anti-money laundering and Bank Secrecy Act programs. Once regulators determine M&T has fulfilled its requirements and lift the letter, M&T would be permitted to again make deals, said Darren J. King, M&T’s chief financial officer.

“We have to do our work and complete everything, and then the regulators will come in and do theirs, to assess how we’ve done against the requirements, and whether they think what we’ve built is sustainable, which, given that we’ve been at this for a number of years, we feel pretty good that it’s sustainable,” King said on Wednesday. He spoke at a Barclays Global Financial Services Conference that was streamed online.

King said the bank has already finished its thorough review of customers considered “high risk” and “moderate risk,” based on their transaction patterns. M&T is now completing its review of customers considered “low risk.”

“We should complete that activity no later than the end of the first quarter of next year,” he said.

The bank has to verify it has up-to-date information about its customers. Such “know your customer” requirements are aimed at thwarting illegal activities like money laundering.

King was also asked at the Barclays conference about the potential for M&T to make other deals.

“Once the written agreement is lifted, that puts us back in a space where we can consider and think about acquisition,” he said. “Obviously, that’s been an important part of how we’ve grown the bank over time and something that we think is a piece of our growth strategy. We try to complement organic growth with acquisition, so having that as a tool in our arsenal would be great.”

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