9. Commerce Bancshares

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Kansas City- based Commerce Bancshares ( CBSH) reported record earnings in 2011, as it witnessed strong growth in core deposits, improving credit quality and higher auto and commercial real estate loans.

Net income amounted to $256.3 million in 2011 compared to $221.7 million in 2010, or an increase of 15.6%.

The return on average assets was 1.34% in 2011, up from 1.22% in 2010.

The stock, which was among the top performers in the banking sector in 2011, is up about 3% so far in 2012.

The bank has about $20 billion in assets and a tangible common equity ratio of 9.72% as of the end of 2011.

The stock trades at 14.5 times on-year forward earnings, which explains why most analysts seem more inclined to a hold rating than a buy. Only one analyst currently has a buy rating on the stock, while 11 have a hold rating and 2 have a sell.

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