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Housing Market Shows Signs Of Recovery: Regional Banks

Monday, 18 May 2009 | 9:39 AM ET

CEOs from several regional banks around the country told CNBC they are seeing some signs of “green shoots” in the housing market.

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“The mortgage business is booming—70 percent in refinancing and 30 percent in new home purchases,” Kelly King, CEO of BB&T , told CNBC. “On the low end of the houses, we’re beginning to see some movement…There’s a long way to go, but there’s definitely activity.”

“It’s green sprouts just like springtime in Chicago,” said Steve Calk, CEO of Chicago Bank. “We’re seeing large correspondent warehouse providers coming back into the market making money available to larger mortgage regional bankers. It’s a clear sign that people are looking back at supporting the mortgage market.”

Harris Simmons, CEO of Zions Bancorp said despite the “green shoots” that show signs of a turnaround; it will be at least 2010 before he expects any signs of stabilization in the housing industry.

Biggest Names in Regional Banks
Four regional bank CEOs weigh in on the current condition of banking, with Kelly King BB&T Corporation; Harris Simmons, Zions Bancorporation; Richard Evans, Cullen/Frost Bankers; Steve Calk, Chicago Bank Corp. with Donald Powell, former FDIC chairman.

“The tax credits are helping…[but] with the rising unemployment rates, it’s still a question mark for us,” said Simmons.

  • Watch part 2 of the interview with the CEOs Here

The CEOs also discussed their outlook on the future of regional banks and possible mergers that may take place in the future.

“We’ve been on the acquiring side,” said Simmons. “It’s a fabulous way for [regional banks] to be growing at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Calk said he wants the FDIC to be more open to regional banks acquiring smaller banks and to allow greater growth on the federal level.

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