MILWAUKEE, WI (WSAU) More of Wisconsin’s banks are merging with each other in the wake of the Great Recession. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says a half-dozen bank mergers were either completed or proposed this year – and three other banks voluntarily liquidated and sold their assets to other institutions.
The activity is about three times as high as in each of the previous three years. The largest merger was announced in late November, when Nicolet National Bank of Green Bay said it would acquire the Mid-Wisconsin Bank of Medford -- thus making Nicolet one of the 10 biggest Wisconsin-owned bank chains.
Peter Bildsten, who heads the state Department of Financial Institutions, says smaller banks which made it through the recession and now deciding whether to keep going on their own. That’s because the demand for loans is not the strongest right now – and as low interest rates continue on deposits, some banks may not see prospects for growth. In those cases, Bildsten says it sometimes make sense to merge with a bank that provides a broader market.