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On the other hand, it would be difficult to call Buffalo-based
M&T Bank (
MTB) anything but cheap. By most valuation measures, the $13.5 billion regional banking name enjoys a bargain price tag, even if its short interest ratio of 11.84 indicates that short sellers are still actively betting against the stock.
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M&T Bank was a shining star during the financial crisis of 2008. While the firm got sold off alongside every other stock with "bank" in its name, its regional positioning meant that it maintained stricter underwriting policies heading into the housing crisis, and writeoffs were limited as a result. As recently as last year, M&T was charging off less than a quarter of what big banks were still determining to be worthless.
That financial strength has carried to shareholders' pocketbooks. With a 2.69% dividend yield, M&T tips the scales on the higher end of payouts from the financial sector. And while relatively low interest rates have made this environment a challenge for financial institutions such as MTB, the bank has been making up for it by increasing lending volume with that cheap money, particularly in its commercial loan book.
Earnings later this summer will give investors another glimpse at MTB's performance - the numbers could be a catalyst for shorts to get squeezed out.