M&A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY FOR SMALL BANKS: FROM LEGAL TO THE STREET

By Dylan James / Managing Director, Nasdaq Listing Services

On Wednesday June 22, Nasdaq hosted a webinar for regional and community banks on the topic of communication strategy for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A). The webinar was presented as part of the Nasdaq Amplify program designed to provide insights and intelligence to Nasdaq-listed companies with up to $750M in market cap.

We were honored to host a group of presenters including some of the brightest minds in legal, banking, and investor relations. Nasdaq would like to thank KBW, Sullivan and Cromwell, and Financial Profiles for their participation in our webinar.

Top 10 Takeaways from the Webinar
1. Let investors know what your bank is looking for in an acquisition.
Investors do not like surprises. Present them with the company’s acquisition criteria such as finances, strategy, and size parameters.
2. Keep an ongoing dialogue with regulators
Keeping consistent, regular communication with regulators regarding strategy eliminates the element of surprise later.
3. Adopt a “One Voice Policy.”
No person should speak for the company about potential transactions or M&A strategy unless authorized.
4. Keep a consistent message for customers and employees.
Consistency of messaging avoids confusion and maintains trust as customers and employees transition with their bank.
5. Emphasize greater convenience for customers.
Notify customers that numbers of ATMs, branches, lending limits, and services will increase.
6. Ensure customers there will be no change in core values.
Inform customers that similar commitment will be shown to supporting local organizations.
7. Be straightforward with employees.
The CEO or other senior executive should be on-site on the day of announcement. Be straightforward about job cuts and the timeline for decision-making. Nothing good comes out of uncertainty.
8. Provide investors with your projections.
Supply both modeling assumptions and an impact statement.
9. Prepare in advance for M&A regulators.
The key to communication strategy is advanced preparation. Understand fiduciary duties, know your defensive posture, and stay abreast on industry developments. Periodically update your bank’s strategic plan to prepare for unexpected developments.
10. Ensure critical employees are comfortable with changes.
When you buy a bank, you’re buying the bankers. Identify critical employees and make sure they are comfortable with the transition.

This Webinar provides useful, in-depth information about presenting the transaction to investors, considering the regulatory audience, and messaging to employees and customers. In a merger or acquisition, well-planned communication can make for a smooth and beneficial transition. Learn more about M&A communication strategies in the full webinar here: (http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/za49xw9y/lan/en/)