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6 Banks Actually Growing Their Banking Business

2. Cathay General Bancorp

Shares of Cathay General Bancorp (CATY) of Los Angeles closed at $17.4 Tuesday, returning 17% year-to-date, following a 10% decline last year.

The company owes $258 million in TARP money.

Cathay General reported first-quarter net interest income of $80.6 million, increasing 2% from the previous quarter and 7% year-over-year. The first-quarter net interest margin was 3.29%, according to HighlineFI, increasing from 3.22% in the second quarter, and 3.00% in the first quarter of 2011.

The company reported first-quarter net income attributable to common stockholders of $24.8 million, or 32 cents a share, increasing from $23.6 million, or 30 cents a share in the fourth quarter, and $18.0 million, or 23 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2011.

The company transferred $4 million from loan loss reserves during the first quarter, compared to provisions for reserves of $2 million the previous quarter, and $6 million a year earlier. Factoring-in loan losses, the company released $11.5 million in reserves during the first quarter, directly boosting operating earnings.

The shares trade for 1.4 times tangible book value, according to HighlineFI, and for 11 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of $1.56. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate is $1.31.

D.A. Davidson analyst Gary Tenner rates Cathay General a "Buy," with a 12-18 price target of $21, and a five-year price target of $25, saying on April 18 that the expansion of the bank's net interest margin was "driven by additional debt repayments as well as continued focus on reducing deposit costs," and that Cathay's "management is now focused on loan growth."

Tenner s estimates that Cathay General will earn $1.34 a share this year, followed by 2013 EPS of $1.70.

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