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NFL Wildcard Weekend Bank Stock Brackets

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- How to pick a winning horse?

"Which horse's name reminds you of a bad old western Grandpa would watch?"

I was nine years old, and this advice from my mother essentially revealed that handicapping was designed to "even the odds" just like the point spreads that are equally applied to the upcoming NFL playoff season.

The odds are considerably better - especially when coming out of a credit crisis - for investors looking for bank stock bargains.

Using data supplied by SNL Financial for publicly traded banks and thrifts, along deposit market share data supplied by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, TheStreet has selected an actively-traded bank or thrift to represent each of the eight cities whose teams will battle it out in the NFL's Wildcard Weekend, beginning on Saturday.

For each city, we selected the bank or thrift with the greatest deposit market share that was also headquartered in the same state and held by an actively-traded U.S. holding company. For Philadelphia, this approach excluded Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, which is held by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Sovereign Bank, which is not publicly traded.

For New Orleans, we excluded Whitney National Bank, which has the highest deposit market share in the city for any bank headquartered in Louisiana, since its parent company Whitney Holding Corp. (WTNY) has agreed to be acquired by Hancock Holding Co. (HBHC) of Gulfport, Miss. in a $1.4 billion deal.

Here are the four matchups, in order of the game schedules:

Terms

For each of the eight banks discussed on the following pages, we'll be looking at capital strength, earnings quality and asset quality. For an explanation of some of the terms you can click on the box below.

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