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Four Healthy Community Banks Worth Watching

Stocks in this article: LBAI OZRK CBSH WBS

At the end of 2007 the FDIC list had 76 banks on it, and since the end of 2009 the list has had more than 700 banks on it.

Because the FDIC does not disclose the names of the banks on its list, I study data from the FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile and publish the ValuEngine List of Problem Banks on

We limit our list to publicly traded banks. The primary reason for producing this list is to help investors choose healthy community banks for investment and to avoid those that have too much exposure to commercial real estate loans and significant loan pipeline risk.

Four Healthy Community Banks

The table above shows the FDIC assets in billions, the construction and development loans in millions, the percent of C&D loans vs. risk-based capital, the percent of CRE loans vs. risk-based capital, and pipeline, which is the total real estate loans outstanding vs. total real estate loan commitments.

The pop-up table above also shows ValuEngine data. If a bank is undervalued, the percentage to which it is undervalued appears with a minus sign. If it's overvalued, the percentage will appear without a minus sign. There are also stock ratings (3-Engine is a Hold), (4-Engine is a Buy), the return over the past 12 months, the expected percentage gain over the next 12 months and the price-to-earnings ratios.

Lakeland Bancorp ($10.57) reports quarterly results on Thursday, and analysts expect earnings of 19 cents per share.

We rate the stock a Hold (3-Engine) and have a one-year price target of $10.84 (2.8% expected 12-month gain).

This bank has a modest overexposure to CRE loans, but the pipeline is a healthy 43.5% funded. The daily chart shows LBAI overbought with the stock above its 21-day, 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at $10.17, $9.53 and $8.91, respectively. My monthly value level is $9.67 with a quarterly pivot at $10.83.

Bank of the Ozarks ($30.03) reports quarterly results on Thursday, and analysts expect it to report earnings of 52 cents per share. We rate the stock a Buy (4-Engine) and have a one-year price target at $32.36 (7.8% expected 12-month gain).

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