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Three Undervalued and Overlooked Banks

Chief Credit Officer Louis Gorman said the institution had been focused on building its commercial portfolio for many years, having "assembled a team of very experienced C&I lenders with solid skills and reputations." He said Westfield shied away from riskier loans, wasn't focusing on any particular industry, and that its largest credit was to a local college.

Westfield makes for another compelling investment, also selling for below book value and much less than its 52-week high of $10.55. It has by far the highest level of capital among our three picks, giving the company many options, including continued share buybacks, dividend increases and expansion through acquisitions. The stock has dropped 21% this year.

-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

Philip W. van Doorn joined TheStreet.com Ratings., Inc., in February 2007. He is the senior analyst responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. He also comments on industry and regulatory trends. Mr. van Doorn has fifteen years experience, having served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Florida, and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Long Island University.
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