The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

NEW YORK ( InvestorPlace) -- Financial stocks have been showing signs of life after a rather disappointing 2010. Take Bank of America ( BAC) and Wells Fargo ( WFC), both up +10% since the first of the year. That's almost double the broader market. This has caused many investors to view financials as some of the best stocks for 2011.

But the big banks aren't the only stocks on the rise in 2011. A number of financial penny stocks and cheap banks trading for just a few dollars a share are heating up. These bargain financials have seen some very impressive gains lately. And if this trend continues, these picks could soar in the months ahead as financials hit their stride.

Related Article: Why Bank of America is Your Best Buy

Here are six top financial penny stocks for you to consider buying this week:

Village Bank & Trust Financial Corp. (VBFC)

Bank holding company Village Bank & Trust Financial Corp. ( VBFC) leads off the list of top financial penny stocks to buy. Over the past 12 months, this penny stock is up +32%, compared to gains of +30% and +21% for the NASDAQ and Dow Jones. This stock lost some ground towards the end of 2010, but in the three months has gained an impressive +52%. It should also be noted that in its last income statement, VBFC reported a remarkable quarterly revenue growth of +769%, year-over-year.