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Top 5 Buy-Rated Regional Bank Stocks

Stocks in this article: C BAC BPOP WFSL CSE EWBC IBKC

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Analysts covering the regional bank stocks are mostly sitting on the fence these days with hold ratings.

That may be understandable with the ink barely dry on the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation and the economy sputtering, but there are names among TheStreet's list of regional bank and thrift holding companies -- those with significant analyst coverage and high trading volume -- that are getting the thumbs up from Wall Street.

The list that follows features the five regional banks with the largest percentage of buy ratings vs. the total number of analysts who cover the stock, using Bloomberg data as of August 4.

To compile the list, we screened publicly traded domestic bank and thrift holding companies with between $10 billion and $100 billion in total assets, coverage by at least five analysts, and three-month average trading volume of at least 100,000 shares.

Of the 44 bank holding companies that met the above criteria, the only two that lacked any buy ratings from analysts were BancorpSouth (BXS) of Tupelo, Miss. and Whitney Holding Corp. (WTNY) of New Orleans. For both of these banks, the great majority of analysts had hold recommendations.

The bank with the highest percentage of sell ratings was Wilmington Trust (WL) of Wilmington, Del., with three out of 11 analysts recommending investors part with the shares. Next was Valley National Bancorp (VLY) of Wayne, N.J., with sell ratings from three out of 12 analysts.

Among the regional banks with the highest percentage of buy recommendations only two had any sell ratings -- one apiece. Here's the list going from the smallest percentage of buy ratings to the largest, with additional information provided by SNL Financial and Thomson Reuters.

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