NEW YORK (TheStreet) – With better-than-expected results coming in from other regional banks like PNC Financial (PNC) - Get Report , SunTrust Bank (STI) - Get Report and Comerica (CMA) - Get Report , investors should take a long look at BB&T (BBT) - Get Report , North Carolina's second largest bank.

With its shares down 8% year to date, compared with declines of 1.73% and 1.77% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) and S&P 500 (SPX) , respectively, BB&T has had a weak start in 2015. But that's likely to turn around once it reports its fourth quarter results on Thursday. Here are a couple of reasons why.

First, BB&T recently received a price target increase by Barclays' analysts, who raised the target to $43 a share from $40. The analysts cited BB&T's improved profitability prospects, as a result of easing regulatory and legal burdens for the banking industry. With this price target increase, it suggests gains of more than 20% from current levels of around $35 a share. As GDP growth picks up, loan demand should increase, said Barclays.

Barclays is also bullish about BB&T's core business, adding, "We expect commercial real estate, home equity and credit card growth rates to all accelerate, while commercial and industrial [loans] and consumer growth rates remain above historical averages." All of which bodes well for BB&T's ability to grow fees and higher profits for its ever expanding footprint, which currently spans 12 states.

BB&T, which is headquartered in North Carolina, is largely centered in the Southeast, with an increasing presence in the Midwest, Southwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.  

Secondly, to better compete with other regional banks like SunTrust and Fifth Third (FITB) - Get Report , BB&T has been actively snapping up other bank branches and banks. In November, for example, BB&T agreed to buySusquehanna Bancshares (SUSQ)  for $2.5 billion.

Susquehanna, headquartered in Pennsylvania, bolstered BB&T's presence in the Northeast, in addition to helping it save approximately $160 million annually from this deal. And only a couple months before it acquired Susquehanna, BB&T had purchased 41 retail branches in Texas from Citigroup (C) - Get Report . Texas has been an important growth area for many banks, including BB&T. With its Citigroup branch acquisitions, BB&T is now one of the largest banks in Texas with more than $5 billion in deposits.

BB&T also struck a $1.6 billion deal for the Bank of Kentucky (BKYF) , which gave BB&T access to almost $2 billion worth of deposits and elevating BB&T to the No. 2 bank in the state of Kentucky.

Given BB&T's growth and Barclays projections for its potential to increase its loan generation, BB&T is a bargain at its current level, especially when you consider it has Barclays' 12-month price target of $41. And aside from paying a 2.68% dividend yield, analysts expect BB&T to grow earnings at an annual rate of 7% over the next five years. Moreover, this doesn't factor in the money it will save from finding efficiencies from its recent acquisitions.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.