NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Banks that have strong deposit "moats," that is, large reservoirs of depositor dollars, will benefit the most when the Federal Reserve eventually raises interest rates, according to Morningstar.

It's unclear when in 2015 the Fed will raise interest rates, though the consensus is that it will happen. According to the Fed's own statement following its meeting on Dec. 17, it plans on being "patient" in determining when to raise rates and that a hike earlier than the next couple of months was unlikely. Meanwhile, prognosticator Byron Wien believes the rate rise will come in the first half of 2015.

If and when the increase comes, there are certain companies that stand to benefit. Morningstar, as part of its sector outlooks for 2015, called out bank stocks that would be most likely to benefit. "We expect rising interest rates to be a tailwind to banks across the board and to be disproportionately favorable to banks with strong, moaty funding," the Dec. 30 report said, alluding to banks that have large sums of depositor money.

"Banks with the strongest deposit bases have funding costs that are 50-150 basis points lower than those with the least deposits, and the benefits of moaty funding will strengthen as interest rates rise," the report went on to note.

TheStreet paired Morningstar's investment perspectives on the five stocks with ratings from TheStreet Ratings, its proprietary research tool, to give an added perspective on the stock picks.

TheStreet Ratings projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 30 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating stocks. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Check out which bank stocks are poised to get a tailwind from rising interest rates.

Cullen/Frost (CFR) - Get Report

Morningstar Rating: three stars (out of five)

Morningstar says:Cullen/Frost is the largest Texas-based bank and prides itself on knowing the Texas market better than any other bank. Historically, it has implemented a relationship-based approach to banking that has garnered strong loyalty in its customer base, which is evident in that its clients often accept little to no interest on its deposits (40% of deposits are non-interest-bearing). We think that Cullen/Frost is the best bank at attracting small and midsize Texas businesses that value continuity and comfort of doing business with a bank, which will lead to reliable profitability in the future.

The great strength of Cullen/Frost's approach is the strict adherence to its long-term strategy to attract high-quality borrowers and retain them with uniquely personal service. ... Cullen/Frost's style isn't going to produce colossal returns, but we believe that it will produce highly sustainable returns that exceed our 10% estimated cost of equity. Further, we see it as a nearly pure play on Texas that will benefit from its strong job market and economic growth.

TheStreet Ratings: Buy, B

TheStreet Ratings says: We rate CULLEN/FROST BANKERS INC (CFR) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, increase in net income and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: CFR Ratings Report

Bank of New York Mellon (BK) - Get Report

Morningstar Rating: three stars (out of five)

Morningstar says:BNY Mellon is a goliath in asset custody and servicing--the business of holding assets for institutional clients (like pensions and mutual funds) and providing related bookkeeping services. While this can be a commodity-like service, it's one of our favorite segments of the financial services industry because the importance of scale and the stickiness of clients have helped the largest firms competing in the space to build wide moats--and BNY Mellon is the largest of the large. We think that BNY Mellon benefits from some tailwinds in this business, as increasing regulation is encouraging firms like hedge funds to outsource their back-office operations for greater security and oversight. However, this is balanced by headwinds, like growing demands for more transparent fee structures, fees that depend on client asset and activity levels, which move up--and down--with markets, and persistently low net interest margins. As a result, revenue growth has been sluggish--assets under custody/administration grew 24% between 2009 and 2013, while revenues in Investment Services grew only 10%. We anticipate that BNY Mellon will be able to maintain pricing at current levels, given its strong market position, and will eventually benefit as the interest rate environment normalizes, but we'll be watchful for signs that downward pressure on pricing is continuing despite an improving economic outlook.

TheStreet Ratings: Buy, A

TheStreet Ratings says: We rate BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON CORP (BK) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: BK Ratings Report

Northern Trust (NTRS) - Get Report

Morningstar Rating: three stars (out of five)

Morningstar says:Northern Trust is the combination of two moaty businesses: a private bank that serves wealthy investors, primarily in the U.S., and a custodian bank and asset manager that serves institutional customers around the world.

Northern Trust's Corporate and Institutional Services segment, which provides asset custody and back-office administration services to institutional clients benefits from several tailwinds, in our opinion. The first is the growing importance of scale and scope in this business. Increasingly complex regulations benefit firms like Northern Trust that have the scale to build and leverage strong technology and compliance systems. Similarly, the increasingly global nature of client requirements helps firms with international footprints like Northern Trust that can provide services across multiple currencies, jurisdictions, and languages. Second, we think that Northern Trust, like its peers, benefits from the increasing pressure on financial-services firms, like hedge funds, to outsource their back-office operations for increased transparency. These tailwinds, however, are being offset by increased pressure on pricing. Custody banks have historically bundled services, and debundling them, as clients increasingly demand, will at a minimum require firms to rationalize prices on a product-by-product basis and appears to be resulting in lower pricing overall. We expect pricing to stabilize around current levels as economic and trading activity increases, and expect total revenue to get a big boost when interest rates eventually rise.

The other half of Northern Trust is its private bank, which serves more than 20% of the Forbes 400 richest families and boasts client relationships that can span generations. While many financial-services companies have recently intensified their push into wealth management, we think that Northern Trust's deeply entrenched position with high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth investors, which often have complex needs that require expert attention, help to protect the bank from increased competition. The bank's long history and sterling reputation make it very difficult for competitors to lure clients away.

TheStreet Ratings: Buy, A

TheStreet Ratings says: We rate NORTHERN TRUST CORP (NTRS) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: NTRS Ratings Report

State Street (STT) - Get Report

Morningstar Rating: two stars (out of five)

Morningstar says:State Street is one of the two largest custodian banks in the United States, built on a series of large acquisitions begun in 2003. As a dominant player, now boasting more than $27 trillion in assets under custody, State Street has the scale and scope necessary to serve institutional clients, which few competitors can hope to match. Asset custody and asset servicing is a business with naturally sticky customers who are loath to risk changing providers and who value the one-stop shopping that State Street can provide. As such, it is a naturally high-return and highly scalable business. Despite these advantages, revenue growth has been a challenge in recent years as a result of persistently low interest rates and increasing client attention on fee levels. We expect that fee levels to stabilize as the economic environment improves and that investors will see the benefit of the business' operating leverage as net interest margins eventually normalize. We expect returns on equity to improve from 10.2% in 2013 to just under 15% in the medium term.

State Street's asset management business is also attractive, if less inherently advantaged. The firm provides a variety of investment choices for institutional investors, but focuses on passive investments, like index funds, and exchange-traded funds, where scale and cost control are key competitive advantages. With more than $2 trillion in assets under management, State Street is taking advantage of investors' increased interest in cost-effective investments both at home and in international markets.

While we think State Street has squandered some of its natural advantages with poor capital-allocation decisions--note the 2007 purchase of Investors Financial Services at a 38% premium--we're more impressed by management's recent performance. In particular, we think State Street has been much more effective than rival Bank of New York Mellon at cutting costs in response to revenue pressures, and with $130 million of expense savings planned for 2014 (1.8% of 2013 noninterest expense), we think State Street is poised to see an increase in returns on equity even if interest rates remain flat.

TheStreet Ratings: Buy, A-

TheStreet Ratings says: We rate STATE STREET CORP (STT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: STT Ratings Report

J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) - Get Report

Morningstar Rating: three stars (out of five)

Morningstar says:Jamie Dimon, Morningstar's 2002 CEO of the Year, earned his reputation as one of the best bankers in the business. However, the firm's luster is fading even as its operating results improve. While its mortgage headaches can be blamed on the bank's predecessors, JPMorgan Chase has not fared much better than peers in avoiding other troubles. The firm recently settled over allegations that it manipulated foreign exchange markets and was the victim of a cyberattack that no doubt contributed to its plans to redouble information security efforts. Regulators are taking notice, and it appears that JPMorgan will be forced to operate with more capital than peers for the foreseeable future.

Despite these pressures, we believe the company will create value for shareholders over the next decade. Customers are still flocking to the bank despite its recent troubles, and it is generating capital at a rate of more than $5 billion per quarter. Its massive branch and ATM network, combined with exceptional customer service, draws deposits and contributes to economies of scale, while its topnotch investment bank and asset management operations boost revenue and increase customer switching costs. We think scale will continue to be important even as the banking industry evolves. For example, JPMorgan already serves millions of customers using its well-rated mobile banking app, and was a key player in the rollout of the Apple Pay payment system.

In our view, JPMorgan should command a valuation consistent with its position in a competitive, slow-growing, heavily regulated industry. JPMorgan is dealing with an unprecedented increase in regulatory oversight and arguably the most difficult environment for consumer loan growth in 50 years. These factors, as well as the risks inherent to the universal bank business model, are well worth considering for long-term investors. Furthermore, new competitors such as shadow banks and peer-to-peer lenders are now vying for a piece of the mature loan market. Some of these competitors may have lower operating and regulatory costs than traditional banks, making things difficult for firms like JPMorgan Chase.

TheStreet Ratings: Buy, A

TheStreet Ratings says: We rate JPMORGAN CHASE & CO (JPM) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year, impressive record of earnings per share growth and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski