Deep Dive: These bank stocks trade at discounts of up to 54% — and Wall Street loves them

Marinac and his team track more than 350 publicly traded U.S. banks, specializing in community and regional players. The research group was formerly FIG Partners, which was acquired by Janney in September.

On May 19, Marinac said in a report that 57% of the banks tracked by his team of analysts were trading below tangible book value. He listed 11 that are rated “buy” by his team. (A bank’s tangible book value is the book value of its common shares, less intangible assets, such as loan servicing rights, goodwill and deferred tax assets.)

Here’s the Janney list, sorted by ticker:

Bank holding company Ticker City, State Price/TBV Dividend Yield Janney’s estimated forward dividend payout ratio Total return – 2020
BankUnited Inc. US:BKU Miami Lakes, Fla. 56% 6.20% 56% -59%
First Horizon National Corp. US:FHN Memphis, Tenn. 83% 7.23% 59% -49%
First Midwest Bancorp Inc. US:FMBI Chicago, Ill. 85% 5.00% 46% -51%
F.N.B. Corp. US:FNB Pittsburgh, Pa. 89% 7.19% 65% -47%
Hancock Whitney Corp. US:HWC Gulfport, Miss. 62% 6.05% 51% -59%
Investors Bancorp Inc. US:ISBC Short Hills, N.J. 79% 6.02% 62% -32%
Bank OZK US:OZK Little Rock, Ark. 76% 5.37% 55% -33%
PacWest Bancorp US:PACW Beverly Hills, Calif. 84% 6.23% 39% -57%
Sterling Bancorp US:STL Montebello, N.Y. 83% 2.63% 19% -49%
TCF Financial Corp. US:TCF Detroit, Mich. 95% 5.63% 50% -46%
Wintrust Financial Corp. US:WTFC Rosemont, Ill. 71% 3.15% 30% -49%
Sources, Janney Montgomery Scott, FactSet

The numbers in the table are as of the close on May 19, as calculated by FactSet, except for Janney’s estimated dividend payout ratios (cash dividends per common share divided by earnings per share) over the next four quarters.

You will have to scroll the table to see all of the data.

The list features attractive dividend yields, and it is natural to worry about dividend cuts during the unprecedented pandemic-driven economic slowdown. Marinac expects 80% of the banks covered by his team will maintain their dividends.

A deeper dive

Among the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 Index US:SPX, the financial services sector has been this year’s second-worst performer, with a 30% decline (energy has been the weakest of the sectors, down 38%).

It isn’t surprising to see the banks lagging during the rally that began after the benchmark index hit its low for the year on March 23. The U.S. economy went from riches to rags, with a massive spike in unemployment when the lockdowns began in March. It takes time for banks’ financial results to reflect an expected wave of loan losses, and with loan forbearance (payment deferral) agreements, we are not likely to see a spike in problem loans until the third quarter, and some analysts believe problem loans will peak in the first quarter of 2021.

Investors with long memories of the 2008/2009 financial crisis, bank bailouts and bank failures are understandably afraid of bank stocks now. But Marinac wrote that investors’ “fear and irrationality overlooks how banks operate today with 25% less leverage in 2020 than 2009.”

He went on to say that in addition to higher capital levels, the banks had the advantage of much lower loan-to-value ratios for commercial real estate loans than in 2008.

“Investors know this is today’s lending reality, yet they’ve lost their common sense. I have seen it before — this is the fourth financial crisis in my career,” Marinac added.

So even though the coronavirus pandemic makes this crisis different from the 2008/2009 banking crisis, Marinac believes the higher capital levels brought about by regulatory reform in 2010, along with tighter credit standards, will allow most banks to weather the storm.

What follows is a much larger list of banks trading below tangible book value, along with consensus price targets among analysts polled by FactSet.

Starting with the Russell 3000 Index (which includes the largest 3,000 stocks traded in the U.S.), there are 48 bank holding companies with market capitalizations of at least $1 billion that traded below tangible book value as of the close on May 19, according to FactSet. The list includes all of Janney’s buy-rated group listed above. This table has been sorted by percentage of “buy” ratings among analysts polled by FactSet:

Bank holding company Ticker Price/ TBV Dividend Yield Total return – 2020 Share ‘buy’ ratings Share price – May 19 Cons. price target Implied 12-month upside potential
Popular Inc. US:BPOP 64% 4.42% -37% 100% $36.23 $53.00 46%
Flagstar Bancorp Inc. US:FBC 88% 0.77% -32% 100% $26.00 $32.83 26%
Investors Bancorp Inc. US:ISBC 79% 6.02% -32% 100% $7.97 $10.86 36%
Sterling Bancorp US:STL 83% 2.63% -49% 91% $10.66 $15.08 41%
F.N.B. Corp. US:FNB 89% 7.19% -47% 89% $6.68 $9.11 36%
First Horizon National Corp. US:FHN 83% 7.23% -49% 85% $8.30 $11.04 33%
Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. US:PPBI 96% 5.41% -42% 83% $18.50 $26.17 41%
Citizens Financial Group Inc. US:CFG 66% 7.26% -48% 80% $20.67 $27.50 33%
First Bancorp US:FBP 52% 3.93% -52% 80% $5.09 $8.00 57%
WSFS Financial Corp. US:WSFS 98% 1.95% -44% 80% $24.57 $32.80 33%
Citigroup Inc. US:C 62% 4.59% -43% 79% $44.43 $60.27 36%
TCF Financial Corp. US:TCF 95% 5.63% -46% 79% $24.86 $32.43 30%
Ally Financial Inc. US:ALLY 46% 4.76% -47% 76% $15.96 $24.75 55%
Synovus Financial Corp. US:SNV 64% 7.59% -54% 76% $17.39 $23.79 37%
Iberiabank Corp. US:IBKC 70% 4.76% -49% 75% $37.82 $53.33 41%
Wintrust Financial Corp. US:WTFC 71% 3.15% -49% 73% $35.55 $43.67 23%
Capital One Financial Corp. US:COF 65% 2.66% -41% 69% $60.25 $74.54 24%
Banner Corp. US:BANR 93% 5.16% -42% 67% $31.78 $42.67 34%
Morgan Stanley US:MS 91% 3.56% -22% 65% $39.33 $47.60 21%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. US:GS 80% 2.81% -22% 60% $177.83 $214.26 20%
Hilltop Holdings Inc. US:HTH 78% 2.25% -35% 60% $16.01 $23.20 45%
Fifth Third Bancorp US:FITB 77% 6.34% -44% 58% $17.03 $20.88 23%
CIT Group Inc. US:CIT 31% 8.97% -65% 50% $15.60 $28.70 84%
First Midwest Bancorp Inc. US:FMBI 85% 5.00% -51% 50% $11.21 $15.10 35%
Umpqua Holdings Corp. US:UMPQ 89% 8.31% -42% 50% $10.11 $13.06 29%
Webster Financial Corp. US:WBS 89% 6.76% -55% 50% $23.66 $27.86 18%
Regions Financial Corp. US:RF 83% 6.43% -43% 46% $9.64 $12.09 25%
PacWest Bancorp US:PACW 84% 6.23% -57% 45% $16.05 $22.05 37%
WesBanco Inc. US:WSBC 91% 6.68% -49% 43% $19.17 $27.60 44%
KeyCorp US:KEY 79% 7.25% -49% 41% $10.21 $12.75 25%
BankUnited Inc. US:BKU 56% 6.20% -59% 31% $14.85 $22.50 52%
Hancock Whitney Corp. US:HWC 62% 6.05% -59% 30% $17.84 $24.83 39%
Bank OZK US:OZK 76% 5.37% -33% 30% $20.12 $23.78 18%
UMB Financial Corp. US:UMBF 87% 2.79% -35% 29% $44.37 $55.86 26%
Zions Bancorporation N.A. US:ZION 81% 4.65% -43% 29% $29.22 $33.05 13%
Huntington Bancshares Inc. US:HBAN 96% 7.61% -47% 24% $7.88 $9.37 19%
Cathay General Bancorp US:CATY 99% 5.17% -36% 20% $24.00 $26.80 12%
Heartland Financial USA Inc. US:HTLF 97% 2.85% -43% 20% $28.03 $35.50 27%
Simmons First National Corp. Class A US:SFNC 98% 4.55% -44% 17% $14.93 $21.10 41%
Texas Capital Bancshares Inc. US:TCBI 54% 0.00% -50% 17% $28.25 $30.18 7%
Wells Fargo & Co. US:WFC 73% 8.52% -54% 12% $23.95 $30.57 28%
Associated Banc-Corp US:ASB 86% 5.73% -42% 10% $12.56 $15.33 22%
Comerica Inc. US:CMA 66% 8.46% -54% 8% $32.14 $34.64 8%
BOK Financial Corp. US:BOKF 83% 4.46% -47% 0% $45.75 $53.33 17%
First Financial Bancorp. US:FFBC 97% 7.97% -54% 0% $11.54 $15.40 33%
Fulton Financial Corp. US:FULT 93% 5.18% -42% 0% $10.04 $12.00 20%
Hope Bancorp Inc. US:HOPE 68% 6.55% -41% 0% $8.55 $10.00 17%
International Bancshares Corp. US:IBOC 94% 4.04% -36% N/A $27.20 N/A N/A
Source: FactSet

This is a very wide table, and you will need to scroll to see most of the data.

A list of stocks will only include a small amount of information. It is very important to do your own research before making any investment, and consider how well a company can perform over the next decade, at least.

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