US regional bank United Bankshares in talks to buy rival Cardinal Financial

US regional bank United Bankshares Inc is in talks to buy rival Cardinal Financial Corp in an all-stock deal, Bloomberg today reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

United could announce a deal as soon as this week, but the transaction could still fall through, the report said.

Virginia-based Cardinal Financial is a financial services holding company operating 50 bank branches and mortgage offices in Virginia, Maryland and Washington.

Cardinal, which has assets worth $4.2 billion, and market cap of about $837 million, also operates George Mason Mortgage, a residential mortgage lending company based in Fairfax, Virginia.

United Bankshares, based in both Washington and West Virginia, is a $12.6 billion regional bank holding company providing commercial banking operations, credit card services, trust services, mortgage banking services, investment banking services, and investment advisory services.

Founded in 1839, United employs 1,700 people and has 129 offices in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC.

Bloomberg said that regional bank mergers are accelerating as lenders look to sell or bulk up to counter challenges as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. Low rates have squeezed the profitability of the industry's business model: collecting more interest from borrowers than they pay for deposits.