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10 Midwest Bank Stocks Finally Paying Off

Stocks in this article: BAC C JPM WFC HBAN FITB KEY USB TCB ASBC FMER CRBC MBFI FFBC

5. Citizens Republic Bancorp

Shares of Citizens Republic Bancorp (CRBC) of Flint, Mich., closed at $15.22 Friday, returning 34% year-to-date, following an 85% return during 2011.

The shares underwent a 1-for-10 reverse split on July 5, 2011.

Citizens Republic owes $300 million in TARP money and has deferred its last eight quarterly dividends to the government. CEO Cathleen Nash said in a letter to shareholders on Feb. 29 that "we expect to pay the accrued dividends on our trust preferred and TARP obligations. We also continue to explore options to repay TARP in the most shareholder friendly way possible, though no firm timetable has been established to do so."

A silver lining for the company is its "deferred tax asset, which was valued at $311 million at year end," according to Nash. Now that the company has been profitable for three quarters, it is looking to "reverse the valuation allowance in 2012," with Nash estimating that "our current valuation allowance would have the effect of increasing our tangible common equity by over 76% as of December 31, 2011."

The company's tangible common equity ratio was a rather low 4.47%, as of Dec. 30.

Citizens Republic Bancorp trades for 1.5 times tangible book value, and for 14 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate of $1.11.

Oppenheimer analyst Terry McEvoy said in late January that "positive news related to the company's deferred tax asset (DTA) should be the next catalyst for the stock, as it would increase tangible book value by ~80%," adding that he saw "tangible book value growing to $19.21 by the end of '12."

McEvoy rates Citizens Republic "Outperform," with a 12-18 month price target of $15.00. The analyst estimates the company will earn $1.05 a share during 2012, followed by 2013 EPS of $1.15.

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

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