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Georgia Banks Bounce Back

Sterne Agee analyst Todd Hagerman on Tuesday included Synovus Financial among five bank holding companies "potentially" at risk from mandatory stress tests that will be required by regulators later this year.

Hagerman rates Synovus "Underperform," with a $2.00 price target, and said in April that he expected to repay TARP in "2013 at the earliest," and that "although most credit measures continued to show incremental improvement, problem asset levels remain exceedingly high."

The analyst estimates that Synovus will earn five cents a share this year, followed by 2013 EPS of 15 cents.

Synovus's shares closed at $1.91 Tuesday, trading for 0.9 times tangible book value, and 11 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of 18 cents. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate is 10 cents.

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

The third-largest Georgia bank is United Community Bank of Blairsville, with $7.2 billion in total assets as of March 31. The bank earned $13.7 million during the first quarter, compared to $14.2 million the previous quarter, and a loss of $235.0 million during the first quarter of 2011, when the holding company United Community Banks (UCBI - Get Report) reported $231.6 million in net charge-offs, as part of its accelerated plan to dispose of problem loans and reposed properties.

United Community Banks owes $180 million in TARP money. The holding company's shares closed at $8.32 on Tuesday, returning 19% year-to-date, after falling 28% last year. The shares trade for 1.3 times tangible book value, and for 11 times the consensus 2013 EPS estimate of cents. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate is 71 cents.

FIG Partners analyst Christopher Marinac rates United Community Banks "Market Perform," with a $10 price target, saying on May 8 that "the stock should trade at 12x forward EPS in 2013 and a modest premium to our future tangible book value estimate including the partial recapture of valuation allowances on its DTA-Deferred Tax Allowance."

The company reported that as of March 31, its allowance for deferred tax assets totaled $274 million.

Marinac estimates that United Community Banks will earn 62 cents a share this year, followed by earnings of 83 cents a share during 2013.
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