8. First Republic Bank

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San Francisco- based First Republic ( FRC) also had a record year, posting a net income of $352 million in 2011.

The bank saw a 20% increase in loan volume, even as it maintained high credit quality. Non performing assets account for about 11 basis points.

The bank's return on assets improved from 1.33% in 2010 to 1.41% in 2011. The management attributes its profitability to its focused business model.

"We are in well-established lines of businesses and operate in a limited number of urban coastal markets which we understand and know very well," CEO Jim Herbert said in a conference call. "In short, First Republic is a simple, almost one of a kind entity. A traditional bank focused intently on a few core businesses but with very modern delivery."

First Republic has solid capital ratios, with Tier I Capital ratio oat 13.36% and Tier 1 Risk-based Capital ratio of 13.81%.

The stock trades at 11 times forward earnings. Two analysts rate the stock a buy or outperform, while 7 rate it a hold.

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