New York Community Bank’s path to $100 billion club and share slide

(This Jan. 31 factbox has been corrected to say $185 million, not $185 billion, in paragraph 11)

By Nupur Anand

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nearly a year ago, New York Community Bank waded into the regional bank crisis, buying up assets in failed Signature Bank, helping secure a spot in the list of banks with over $100 billion in assets.

On Wednesday, the bank became the one under investor scrutiny after it posted an unexpected quarterly loss and its shares sank nearly 40%.

The surprise loss drove down other regional bank shares, dragging the KBW regional index down 6%, as it reignited concerns over the health of smaller lenders some of which are still recovering from bank failures in the U.S. last year.

Here are key facts about NYCB. The bank did not respond to an email request seeking comment.

* Thomas Cangemi, the CEO of NYCB, a long time bank veteran took over its reins in December 2020 and has been working to transition NYCB into a full-service commercial bank.

* Founded in 1859, the bank long served as a small regional bank. Between 2000 and 2023, NYCB completed 13 acquisitions. With two recent acquisitions, including Flagstar Bank, it expanded its footprint across the country.

* As of Dec. 31, the bank had $116.3 billion in total assets, $85.8 billion of loans, and $81.4 billion of deposits.

* In 2023, NYCB emerged as a buyer of failed Signature bank that was shuttered after unsustainable deposit outflows. NYCB acquired $34 billion of deposits, $13 billion in loans and $25 billion in cash from the failed bank, catapulting it into the over-$100 billion-in-assets club. These banks are required to follow stricter capital and liquidity requirements as mandated by the regulators.

Cangemi said on Wednesday the changes in its financial profile that pushed it into the new category occurred faster than expected.

“This (Signature’s) acquisition allows us to advance our strategy while strengthening and diversifying our balance sheet. However, we will become a $100 billion-plus bank sooner than we had anticipated,” Cangemi said on an analyst call on Wednesday. The bank crossed the $50 billion asset threshold in 2018.

* The bank had to set aside a higher sum to meet the regulatory requirements this quarter along with parking more money in its rainy day funds to cover potential losses, which led to an adjusted loss of $185 million. The bank also slashed its dividend by 70%.

* Regional banks that have a higher share of commercial real estate loans have been in the spotlight as concerns around these loans going sour have remained elevated since the March 2023 banking crisis. NYCB made increased provisions around its CRE loan books which once again raised concerns around this portfolio, said Ken Usdin, an analyst at Jefferies.

* A sluggish and cloudy outlook for 2024 also weighed on the bank’s stock performance. Despite a few repeated requests for clear guidance on net interest income by analyst Steven Alexopoulos at JPMorgan, management did not provide a number. JPMorgan declined to comment.

Keith Horowitz, analyst at Citigroup said there was a lot of uncertainty about the guidance due to missing pieces of information on net interest income and credit.

It is likely the stock will remain under pressure as a result of the dividend cut and the poor outlook, said Christopher McGratty, an analyst at KBW.

(Reporting by Nupur Anand in New York; editing by Megan Davies and Sonali Paul)