A Wall Street Journal article said Tuesday claimed that commercial real estate loans could generate losses of $100 billion. Jim Cramer, for one, thinks that may not be such a bad thing. With typical contrarian flare, Cramer ticked off six local banks on last night's "Mad Money" that are poised to buy up others when the housing sector bottoms out. All six stocks soared during morning trading, but settled in negative territory by midday. FirstMerit ( FMER was down 4 cents to $18.62. The company recently announced first quarter EPS of 34 cents, besting analysts' projections but below the previous quarter's 36-cent mark and the 39-cent mark from a year ago. First Niagara Financial ( FNFG was soaring up 1.4% just after the open, but later changed hands down 5 cents at midday. The upstate New York operation earlier announced plans to buy 57 Pennsylvania branches, which will add $4.2 billion in deposits and $839 million in loans after the expected close in September. At the end of April, the board announced a 14 cent dividend. The bank also announced the close of a stock offering of a little over 31 million shares for a net of $360.7 million. Like First Niagara and other banks, BB&T ( BBT - Get Report) has been on a capital-raising spree too. The bank was a big early mover today, but has fallen off 4 cents to $22.46. Last week, the bank announced a public offering of 75 million shares that it priced at $20. Underwriters exercised an option to buy additional shares, which brought the total share tally to 86.25 million. That gives BB&T net proceeds of about $1.7 billion.
Also last week, BB&T cut its third quarter dividend by 68 percent from the previous year to 15 cents. The move will be used to pay the U.S. Treasury for TARP funds. Cramer's three other calls -- Glacier Bancorp ( GBCI - Get Report), NewAlliance Bank ( NAL and People's United Financial ( PBCT - Get Report) -- were mixed today, too. Kalispell, Montana-based Glacier Bancorp was down 13 cents by midday after starting the day in positive territory. NewAlliance Bank, the fourth largest among New England-based banks, was off half a percent by early afternoon. People's United Financial, parent of People's United Bank, with 300 branches throughout New England and $20 billion in assets, fell off 6 cents after jumping up 5 cents during morning trading. Many bank stocks were pushed up early today as a result of Bank of America's ( BAC - Get Report) announced capital-raising efforts. The bank announced the sale of 1.25 billion shares, bringing in $13.47 billion in fresh capital.