NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Citigroup downgraded KeyCorp (KEY), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Citizens Financial (CFG) to a "neutral" rating from a "buy" rating earlier today. However, the firm kept a "buy" rating on Wells Fargo (WFC). 

Deltec owns Wells Fargo because it "likes regional banks" for three reasons, the firm's CIO Atul Lele said on CNBC's "Halftime Report" on Tuesday afternoon.

First, the improving economy means "top line growth by virtual line growth will improve," he said. 

Second, rising interest rates are usually a positive for regional banks. 

Third, valuation favors this group, he claimed. "You can get 3%-plus dividend yields on some names trading below tangible book value."

Overall, this is a sector "we want to be in," he said. "We're in it long already. We're happy to be there."

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