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10 Most Profitable Bank Stocks (Update 1)

4. City Holding

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City Holding (CHCO) operates as the bank holding company for City National Bank of West Virginia that offers community banking services to consumers and local businesses.

The Company reported net income per diluted share for 2011 of $2.67 compared to $2.47 per diluted share 2010. Net income for 2011 was $40.7 million compared to $39.0 million for 2010.

Loan balances increased by $108 million, helping net interest margins to remain relatively stable despite lower interest rates.

The bank delivered a return on asset of 1.51%, up from 1.47% in 2010.

City announced in Nov. 2011 the execution of a definitive agreement to acquire Virginia Savings Bancorp of Front Royal, Virginia. The proposed merger is expected to close in the first half of 2012;

TheStreet Ratings recently upgraded the stock to a buy. "The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, revenue growth, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

The stock trades at 14 times its forward earnings estimates.

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