First up is North Carolina-based BB&T (BBT - Get Report), a $21.6 billion regional bank that boasts 1,800 branches in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. I've been a fan of BB&T for a while now -- back in October, it made my list of four banks you should still buy. And now, even though shares have rallied hard in the months since, BB&T is still one of the best-positioned banking names.
Like other regional banks, BB&T has remained focused on retail and commercial banking (rather than exotic, higher-risk ventures), and the firm has been able to collect double-digit net margins for its trouble. A major part of that success has been the underwriting standards that regional names maintained before and after the financial crisis.More recently, BB&T has been pushing to generate more fee-based revenue, leveraging its relationships with banking customers to sell them on insurance and other financial services. During the crisis, BB&T used its strength (relative to struggling peers) to snatch up assets of Colonial BancGroup from the FDIC at a bargain basement price. Now, the firm is benefitting from the cheap deposits it picked up. A well-capitalized balance sheet also means that BB&T has been able to continue to pay a dividend (albeit a slashed one) before, during, and after the financial crisis. A 2.58% dividend yield is gravy for this stock. BB&T shows up on a list of 7 Bank Stocks Loved by Deutsche Bank. Follow @stockpickr