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5 Community Bank Stocks for Long-Term Investors

3. First Midwest Bancorp

Shares of First Midwest Bancorp (FMBI) of Itasca, Ill., closed at $11.50 Monday, returning 14% year-to-date, following a 12% decline during 2011.

Rodis has previously called First Midwest "one of the premier Chicago-based franchises growing both organically and through strategic acquisitions," and has called the company an attractive target for potential acquirers.

The analyst in late January lowered his rating on First Midwest to "Market Perform," with a price target of $11, from "Outperform," since the shares had returned 20% since he initiated his coverage on the company in mid-November.

During the fourth quarter, First Midwest saw an increase in nonperforming loans, which made up 3.86% of total loans as of Dec. 30, compared to 3.47% the previous quarter and 4.24% a year earlier. Rodis said "the Company is moving in the right direction as it relates to credit" but that its fourth-quarter results "remind us that the improvement will not be linear and one or two bigger credits can sometimes have a material impact on the results."

First Midwest's quarterly ROA ranged between 0.34% and 0.53% during 2011.

The shares trade for 1.3 times tangible book value and 16 times the 2012 EPS estimate of 72 cents. The consensus 2013 EPS estimate is 96 cents.

Looking ahead, Rodis said that First Midwest's regulatory capital ratios "remain solid," and that he sees the company growing its tangible common equity "in excess of 9% by YE12," and that "if no deal activity materializes we believe the Company will be in a position to increase its common dividend."

First Midwest is currently paying a quarterly dividend of a penny a share, and Rodis's "FY13 estimate assumes an annual dividend of $0.20/share with a target payout ratio of 20-25%" of earnings."

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

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