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The Buffalo economy: Taking advantage of fixer-uppers

   In Business Today the last day or so, news about how Buffalo, forlorn center of recession before recession was everywhere, is now a center of making lemonade out of lemons:

M&T sees good fit in takeover - David Robinson/The Buffalo News
  Don’t think of M&T Bank Corp.’s $351 million deal to buy Wilmington Trust as a takeover.
  Think of it as a take-under. ...
   With a painfully high 12 percent of its loans classified as non-performing, it isn’t the type of bank Mtlogo you’d normally expect M&T’s conservative bankers to buy. ...
   The reason is twofold: For starters, it gives M&T a leading position in Delaware, ranking first in deposits and near the top in lending, which goes nicely with its No. 2 share in neighboring Maryland. There’s no overlap in the two banks’ branch networks. ...
   But this deal is all about the fees.
   M&T coveted Wilmington Trust’s wealth management and trust business, which generates a stream of fee income strong enough to make M&T willing to take on its loan problems. Wilmington Trust’s wealth management business is almost three times the size of M&T’s similar unit and has the added advantage of being based in Delaware, where its clients can take advantage of favorable trust laws to protect their assets. ...
M&T has become a legend in small-business lending - Eric Ruth/Wilmington News Journal
   ... M&T is something of a legend within the banking industry for its aggressiveness in the small-business lending market, raising the potential for some easing of the state's still-tight credit market -- and some tough new competition for local rivals.
Wilmington to Test M&T's Skills - Barron's
Wilmington Trust's $3.84 Take Under Catches ... Sellsiders With Pants Down - Tyler Durden/ZeroHedge
- Wilmington Trust Sued by Shareholder Claiming M&T Takeover Price Too Low - Bloomberg

Franchised firms upbeat on growth - Matt Glynn/The Buffalo News
   Buffalo Niagara's economy may not be booming, but a number of franchised companies see opportunities to grow here and are searching for suitable franchisees to open more locations. ...
   Among the expanding companies is AAMCO, which plans to open four additional auto service centers in the area in the next three to five years. Snap Fitness wants to grow from its six area locations to about 20. Pump It Up, which hosts children's parties and other events, wants to open its first area location, and Cartridge World plans to add several more stores.
   Their expansion plans might seem to run counter to Buffalo's reputation as a steady, slow-growth market. But looking in from the outside, they say the region's demographics suit them and they see a chance to capitalize on trends in their respective industries. ...
   J. Randy Steiner bought his first AAMCO franchise in 1999. Today he has four ...
   Steiner said a "middle market" like Buffalo makes sense for AAMCO to target for expansion. Residents have enough money to maintain their vehicles, he said, but aren't so affluent that they are constantly replacing them. "People around here aren't foolish with their cars." ...

   That is to say, we don't do this. [Good luck tonight, Conan]


-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News


Auto Industry | Banks | Current Affairs | The Economy
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