This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

10 Bank Stocks Ready for a 2012 Dividend Boost

4. Westamerica Bancorporation

Shares of Westamerica Bancorporation (WABC - Get Report) of San Rafael, Calif., closed at $44.72 Friday, down 17% year-to-date. Based on a quarterly payout of 37 cents, the shares have a dividend yield of 3.31%. The dividend was increased by a penny, on Oct. 27.

Westamerica had $5.0 billion in total assets as of Sept, 30, with over 90 branches in Northern and Central California.

Third-quarter net income was $22.4 million, or 79 cents a share, increasing from $21.3 million, or 74 cents a share, in the second quarter, but declining from $23.7 million, or 81 cents, in the third quarter of 2010. The provision for loan losses was $2.8 million during all three periods.

Net interest income declined 3.5% year-over-year to a tax-adjusted $54.7 million, with reduced loan volumes "placing greater reliance on lower-yielding investment securities."

While Westamerica's earnings decline was mainly attributed to a narrowing interest rate spread, the company's third-quarter net interest margin was a stellar 5.32% (tax-adjusted), declining from 5.54% a year earlier.

The third-quarter ROA was 1.82%, according to SNL Financial. Over the past five quarters, the ROA has ranged between 1.73% and 1.95%.

CEO David Payne said that during the third quarter, Westamerica retired "$10 million in high-coupon trust-preferred debt, and [repurchased] 316 thousand shares of common stock."

KBW analyst Julianna Balicka has an "Outperform," on Westamerica, with a $55 price target, saying on Oct. 20 that "the fundamental thesis of our model is a sustainable tangible ROE between 23% and 25%."

A return on equity of 20% was long considered the threshold for strong earnings performance by a bank, at least before the real estate bubble burst.

Balicka also called Westamerica a "high-quality, low risk banking franchise that provides a compelling value proposition for investors looking for low volatility earnings, consistently increasing dividends, and active capital management in the form of share buybacks or well priced acquisitions."

The shares reflect Westamerica's strong and consistent earnings performance, trading for 13.5 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate of $3.25, among analysts polled by FactSet, and just over three times tangible book value, according to SNL.

Out of nine analyst covering Westamerica Bancorporation, two rate the shares a buy, six have neutral ratings, and one analyst recommends investors sell the shares.

Like First Financial Bankshares, Westamerica appears fully valued, or "loved" by investors, because of its strong long-term earnings performance. While sell-side analysts -- who mainly focus on "long-term" picks with a one-year horizon -- are mostly on the fence, Westamerica looks like a keeper for truly long-term investors who can stay in for a period of many years.
8 of 11

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
DCOM $17.36 2.20%
FFIN $32.56 1.20%
HCBK $10.05 0.85%
HBAN $10.93 0.28%
JPM $62.12 -0.02%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,050.75 +138.46 0.82%
S&P 500 1,995.83 +15.91 0.80%
NASDAQ 4,806.5330 +15.3810 0.32%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs