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Headwinds to M&T Bank's trust business subside, says CFO

Six years after its acquisition of Wilmington Trust, M&T Bank is finally seeing its trust business gain traction.

In the early years following the May 2011 acquisition, the bank did some restructuring, a euphemism for exiting trust businesses that M&T Bank chose not to compete in, the bank's CFO Darren King told analysts at the Deutsche Bank global financial services conference in New York.
The jettisoning of those businesses "put pressure on the fee line," he said.

King noted that the restructuring is largely over and that the bank continues to improve its service teams' skill sets to "manage customer defections."

With business slowing down and customers "going out the door," the trust unit faced strong headwinds but has now begun to turn around, he said.

As the market moved off the lows of the first quarter of 2016, "balances have grown and fees have grown with it," he said.

In the first quarter of 2017, the trust business generated $120 million in revenue, up 8% year-over-year but down 2% from the $122 million it generated in the prior quarter.

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