9. Signature Bank

Shares of Signature Bank ( SBNY) of New York closed at $54.41 Monday, returning 9% year-to-date. The shares closed 12% ahead of the consensus price target of 48.71 at the end of last year.

The bank had $13.9 billion in total assets as of Sept. 30, with 25 branches in New York City and in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties, in New York, focusing on private banking services as well as commercial lending.

Signature Bank's balance sheet grew 19% year over year through the third quarter, with total loans growing 23%, to $6.4 billion as of Sept. 30. Third-quarter net income was $38.4 million, or 83 cents a share, compared to $27.4 million, or 66 cents a share, in the third-quarter of 2010. CEO Joseph DePaolo said that the third quarter marked "the eighth consecutive quarter in which Signature Bank reported record net income."

A 24% year-over-year increase in net interest income to $148.9 million in the third quarter, was partially offset by a decline in noninterest income to $8.8 million, from $11.3 million in the third quarter of 2010, as the bank saw declines in gains on the sale of loans and securities.

The third-quarter net interest margin was 3.51% during the third quarter, increasing from 3.41% a year earlier. The third-quarter ROA was 1.13%, according to SNL.

The bank had strong loan quality, with a nonaccrual loans making up 0.79% of total loans as of Sept. 30.

Signature Bank's tangible common equity ratio was a strong 9.85% as of Sept. 30, following a common equity raise in July, which netted $253.3 million to fund continued expansion.

Sterne Agee analyst Peyton Greene reiterated his "Buy" rating and price target of $64 for Signature Bank in late October after the bank's earnings announcement, saying the institution was one of his firm's "top organic growth picks," and that the company's earnings momentum would "remain strong" through 2013.

The shares trade for 14 times the consensus 2012 EPS estimate of $3.67 among analysts polled by FactSet, and for 1.8 times tangible book value, according to SNL.

Out of 17 analysts covering Signature Bank, seven rate the shares a buy, while the remaining analysts all have neutral ratings.

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