NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citigroup (C - Get Report) and other big banks including Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) , J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC - Get Report) will see double-digit percentage gains in 2015 on an improving economy and easing regulatory burdens, Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg argued in a report published Monday.
The Barclays analyst also raised his 12-month price target on Bank of America to $20 from $18, while retaining an equal weight rating on the stock. A $20 price target implies upside of 15% based on Monday's mid-morning Bank of America share price of $17.40.
Goldberg's top pick among large cap banks is Citigroup. He has a $65 price target on Citi, suggesting upside of 23% based on Monday's mid-morning share price of $52.75.
Though some analysts, such as Goldman Sachs's Richard Ramsden, see regulatory burdens increasing, possibly forcing big banks to break themselves up, Goldberg contends the regulatory tide is turning in favor of the banks. He points to the recent Republican takeover of Congress, and legislators' decision to repeal a 2010 "swaps push-out" rule that required banks to hold their riskiest derivatives in separate units that do not benefit from FDIC deposit insurance, as examples of a more bank-friendly regulatory environment.
Goldberg also writes that more than 75% of Dodd-Frank rules have been proposed, while half have been finalized. He also contends that "after a record $35bn-plus in legal fees in 2014, we believe these costs, and the associated negative headlines, have peaked."