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Cheap Bank Stocks Exist Despite Rally

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bank stocks have gotten expensive this year, with some doubling and even tripling from their March lows.

Still, there were 645 publicly traded U.S. banks and thrifts trading for less than $10. Of those, there are five companies whose shares trade below tangible book value, with positive returns on assets for the first three quarters of the year and three-month average daily trading volume of at least 50,000 shares, according to SNL Financial.

File these under: five plays for 2010.

5. Westfield Financial (WFD - Get Report) of Westfield, Mass., is a thrift recently included as one of's three overlooked and undervalued banks. It's the only company on the list that didn't participate in the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

The numbers: Westfield had total assets of $1.2 billion as of Sept. 30. Net income for the first three quarters was $3.5 million, or a return on average assets (ROA) of 0.41%, down from $6.5 million and 0.75% a year earlier because of increased provisions for loan-loss reserves.

Credit quality was strong, with a ratio of net charge-offs to average loans of 0.92% for the first three quarters and nonperforming assets (nonaccrual loans and repossessed real estate) comprising 0.5% of total assets as of Sept. 30.

The stock: Westfield has fallen 17% this year. The stock, which is close to tangible book value, yields 2.47%.

The company has a buyback plan in place to repurchase up to 700,000 shares between Dec. 28 and Feb. 2, 2010.

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