Banking

Regulators plan public hearings on TD, BMO deals

Federal regulators on Tuesday scheduled public hearings on two large bank mergers — a move that indicates they are opting to hold hearings on bigger transactions more frequently.

A hearing on the merger between Canada’s Bank of Montreal and BancWest Holding, the French-owned parent company of Bank of the West, will take place virtually on July 14, regulators said. They scheduled an Aug. 18 virtual hearing on the merger between Toronto-Dominion Bank, also a Canadian bank, and First Horizon in Memphis, Tennessee.

The announcements from the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency follow their decision to schedule a similar hearing earlier this year on U.S. Bancorp’s proposed acquisition of MUFG Union Bank.

The Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency plan to hold at least three public hearings on proposed bank mergers this year, the first such hearings since 2019.

Bloomberg

At that March 2022 hearing, key community groups withheld their support for the deal as negotiations over a community benefits agreement continued, though the groups have since said they will support the merger following the finalization of a $100 billion agreement.

Earlier this month, Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu said that his agency was considering holding more hearings on large M&A deals, pointing to the “value that public input can provide on mergers.”

Regulators have faced pressure from community groups and some congressional Democrats, including House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters, D-Calif., to hold public hearings on larger mergers.

Before the U.S. Bancorp-MUFG hearing, regulators had not held a public hearing on a bank merger since 2019, when BB&T and SunTrust Banks combined in a deal that formed the $541 billion-asset Truist Financial.

The Fed and the OCC on Tuesday also extended the deadline for the public to comment on the pending two deals. They plan to accept comments on the Bank of Montreal-Bank of the West merger through July 19, and on the TD-First Horizon deal through Aug. 23.

Both deals involve Canadian banks expanding their U.S. footprints.

BMO Financial, which operates Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank, announced its $16.3 billion proposed acquisition of Bank of the West in December, The deal for Bank of the West, which is a unit of the French banking giant BNP Paribas, would give BMO Harris an entree in California and nearby states.

TD, meanwhile, is looking to expand its presence in the Southeast with its $13.4 billion deal for First Horizon.



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