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10 Well-Run, Profitable Banks (Update 3)

10. Investors Bancorp

Shares of Investors Bancorp (ISBC) of Short Hills, N.J., closed at $13.48 Friday, returning 3% during 2011.

The company's third-quarter efficiency ratio was 42.00, according to SNL Financial.

The company has an agreement in place to expand its New York City presence and expand into Nassau County, N.Y., through the acquisition of Brooklyn Federal Bancorp (BFSB) for $10.3 million. Brooklyn Federal's shareholders approved the merger on Dec. 22.

Investors Bancorp reported third-quarter net income of $20.0 million, or 19 cents a share, increasing from $16.6 million, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier, reflecting solid loan growth, along with a decline in interest expense. The third-quarter operating return on average assets (ROA) was 0.77%, according to SNL.

Investors Bancorp is part of a mutual thrift holding company structure, with Investors Bancorp MHC holding 58.3% the common shares. Sterne Agee analyst Matthew Kelley in November said that with Investors Bancorp's tangible common equity "expected to fall below 8% early next year following the Brooklyn Federal acquisition, we believe a fairly well telegraphed second step conversion is likely to be announced over the next 3-6 six months.

A second-step conversion would bring the company to full stock ownership. Kelley thinks the conversion could provide a catalyst for the shares, since "fully converted" peer thrifts "with similar capital levels and business models currently trade at 115%" tangible book value, while Investors Bancorp trades at just "90% - 95% of fully converted tangible book value."

Kelley has a $16 price target for the shares, and estimates that the company will earn 86 cents a share in 2012.

The shares trade for 15.5 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of 87 cents a share, among analysts polled by FactSet, and for 1.6 times their Sept. 30 tangible book value of $8.28, according to SNL Financial.

Out of seven analysts covering Investors Bancorp, five rate the shares a buy, while the remaining two analysts have neutral ratings.

Interested in more on Investors Bancorp? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.
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