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10 Bank Stock Picks for Bottom-Fishing Investors

7. Virginia Commerce Bancorp

Shares of Virginia Commerce Bancorp (VCBI) of Arlington closed at $5.79 Wednesday, down 11% from a week earlier -- for the best one-week performance among this group of 10 bank stocks -- and down 6% year-to-date.

The shares traded for 0.9 times tangible book value as of Wednesday's market close, according to SNL Financial.

The company owes $71 million in TARP money.

Virginia Commerce reported second-quarter net income to common stockholders of $7.5 million, or 24 cents a share, increasing from $3.7 million, or 12 cents a share, in the first quarter, and $4.3 million, or 15 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2010. The operating improvement reflected a decline in credit costs, with a second-quarter provision for loan losses of $1.4 million, declining from $5.8 million the previous quarter and $4.2 million a year earlier.

A $3.2 million release of loan loss reserves provided a direct boost to the company's second-quarter results, however, the company's ratio of reserves to total loans was a strong 2.47% of total loans, when compared to an annualized second-quarter ratio of net charge-offs (loan losses less recoveries) to average loans of 0.75%.

CEO Peter Converse said on July 20 when the company announced its second-quarter results that provisions for loan losses would likely "range between the first and second quarter levels through the remainder of this year."

Virginia Commerce's second-quarter net interest margin was 3.99%, which was the same as the previous quarter but up from 3.89% a year earlier. Maintaining a margin of close to 4% in such a low-rate environment is an impressive achievement for the bank.

Total loans were $2.1 billion as of June 30, declining 4% from a year earlier. Converse said that the bank's loan "pipeline is building, our loan officers are heavily involved in prospecting, and our focus on [commercial and industrial] lending is yielding positive growth. As a result, we expect a reversal of negative loan growth to emerge in the second half."

While Virginia Commerce said its tangible common equity ratio was 7.18% as of June 30, and Converse didn't discuss the company's plans for repaying TARP.

The shares trade for 8.4 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of 74 cents a share, among analysts polled by FactSet.

Two of the six analysts covering Virginia Commerce Bancorp rate the shares a buy, while the remaining analysts all have neutral ratings.

While the TARP overhang is placing a drag on the shares, Virginia Commerce appears to be a relatively low-risk play at its reduced valuation.

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