10. Investors Bancorp

Shares of Investors Bancorp ( ISBC) of Short Hills, N.J., closed at $13.98 Monday, returning 7% year-to-date.

Investors Bancorp is part of a mutual holding company structure, with roughly 42% of common shares outstanding and the mutual holding company (the depositors in main subsidiary Investors Savings Bank) holding the other 58%. Sterne Agee analyst Matthew Kelly said in a July 29 report that he expects Investors "will announce a second step conversion over the next year," through which the company would give up the mutual holding company structure, and that "fully converted tangible book value in current terms would be roughly $15.93 - $16.78 per share." Kelly estimates that Investors Bancorp's tangible book value was $8.01 per share as of June 30.

Kelly told TheStreet that the second-step conversion would likely lead to tremendous gains for the current common shareholders, since "roughly $1 billion in new capital" would be raised, with "no dilution for the common shareholders."

Second-quarter net income was $19.6 million, or 18 cents a share, increasing from $15.3 million, or 14 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2010. Running counter to the industry trend -- especially for a holding company with increased earnings -- the second-quarter provision for loan losses was $18.5 million, increasing from $15.5 million a year earlier.

According to SNL Financial, Investors Bancorp's pre-provision net revenue for the second quarter was $49.1 million, increasing 28% year-over-year. Net interest income was up 27% from a year earlier to $82.4 million in the second quarter. The second-quarter net interest margin -- the difference between the average yield on loans and investments and the average cost of funds -- for the second quarter was 3.46%, increasing from 3.10% a year earlier.

The operating return on average assets (ROA) for the second quarter was 0.79% according to SNL.

Total loans -- including those held for sale and in the portfolio -- grew 18% year-over-year to $8.6 billion as of June 30, as the company focused on adding more multifamily and commercial real estate loans.

Chief operating officer Domenick Cama told TheStreet that "the net interest margin expansion comes from the continued transformation" of the balance sheet toward loans, "and the steep yield curve." Cama added that in addition to the multifamily lending focus and growth in commercial real estate loans, Investors Bancorp is "looking to expand our commercial and industrial lending business. "

Following Investors Bancorp's second-quarter earnings announcement, Kelly reiterated his "Buy" rating for the shares, with a $16 price target, in a report entitled "Growth Train Keeps Rolling,"

The shares trade for 16.6 times the consensus 2012 earnings estimate of 84 cents a share, among analysts polled by FactSet.

Four of the seven analysts covering Investors Bancorp rate the shares a buy, while the remaining analysts all have neutral ratings.

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