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Illinois Banks: Strongest and Weakest

Stocks in this article: BAC NTRS PVTB MBFI

PrivateBancorp's shares closed at $14.70 Thursday, returning 34% year-to-date, following a 23% decline in 2011.

The holding company owes $243.8 million in federal bailout funds received through the Troubled Assets Relief Program in January 2009. During the company's earnings conference call on Jan. 24, PrivateBancorp CFO Kevin Killips said "we have not set a timetable for repaying these funds, but are continuing to evaluate the best timing for us and our shareholders."

PrivateBancorp's shares trade for 1.1 times tangible book value and 23 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate of 65 cents. The 2013 EPS estimate is $1.02.

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

Next is MB Financial Bank, NA of Chicago, with $9.8 billion in total assets as of Dec. 30. The bank is held by MB Financial (MBFI).

The bank subsidiary achieved a fourth-quarter ROA of 0.82%, although its NPA was still rather high at 3.60% as of Dec. 30, improving from 3.85% the previous quarter and 5.62% a year earlier.

The holding company owes $196 million in TARP money and CEO Mitchell Feiger chose his words quite carefully, when trying to soothe investor fears of a possible common equity raise to repay the government, during MB Financial's earnings conference call on Jan. 27.

"We are in the midst of discussions with our regulators about TARP repayment and expect a resolution soon," Feiger said, adding that MBFI was "more committed than ever to a very shareholder-friendly repayment program," and that "our holding company cash amount continues to grow and soon, without issuing equity or borrowing money, that cash amount will be close to the amount necessary to repay our TARP and repurchase our warrants."

The CEO hedged by saying "please don't misunderstand me. Even if we have exactly sufficient funds on hand to repay TARP, we may still need to borrow money because prudence dictates that our holding company needs to keep a certain amount of cash on hand."

MB Financial's shares closed at $20.41 Thursday, returning 19% year-to-date, following a 1% pullback in 2011.

The shares trade for 1.4 time tangible book value and for 14 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate of $1.48. The consensus EPS estimate for 2013 is $1.72.

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