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10 Community Bank M&A Targets

5. Boston Private Financial Holdings

Shares of Boston Private Financial Holdings closed at $6.66 Friday, down 4% from a year earlier.

The company had $6 billion in total assets as of March 31.

KBW Chris McGratty told TheStreet that Boston Private is "a good opportunity for investors to consider," since it has "been under a lot of stress and has raised capital from Carlyle," with the private equity investor looking to "monetize that in the next 18 months."

Over the past year, major events for Boston Private have included the company's repayment of its remaining TARP preferred shares last June, the appointment of Clayton Deutsch as new CEO, various other board of directors and senior management changes, the consolidation of its three banking subsidiaries, and $35 million in common equity raised.

Boston Private reported a first-quarter net loss to common shareholders of $425 thousand, or a penny a share, compared to net income to common shareholders of $1.6 million, or 2 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2010. The first-quarter loss reflected a $13.4 million provision for loan losses, increasing from $7.6 million a year earlier.

Nonperforming assets - including nonaccrual loans and repossessed real estate - totaled $122.7 million, or 2.05% of total assets, increasing from 1.73% a year earlier. The first-quarter net charge-off ratio was a low 0.26% of total loans, while reserves covered 2.25% of total loans as of March 31.

The bank reported that loan balances were flat during the first quarter, with planned declines in commercial real estate and construction exposure offset by "residential mortgage and commercial and industrial balances remaining strong at an annualized growth rate of 9%.

First-quarter fee revenue totaled $27.4 million, increasing 8% year-over-year, with improvements in private banking, investment management and advisory fee revenue.

Following the earnings announcement, Christopher Marinac of FIG Partners reiterated is neutral "market perform" rating for Boston Private, saying he expected "the company to post quarterly losses the next two quarters as credit marks over $125 million are necessary" on a total of "$430 million in classified loans."

The shares trade for 13 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of 51 cents.

Out of nine analysts covering Boston Private, two rate the shares a buy, while the remaining analysts all have neutral ratings.

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