On Jan 22 the Northern California bank chain TriCo Bancshares (TCBK) acquired North Valley Bank ($NVOB) for $178 million, expanding operations for TriCo to 80 locations whilst further consolidating their dominant presence in the region.
While looking at the particulars of the regional banking sector in the Western US, we noticed something peculiar. A high percentage of bank plays in the region were lauded by analysts. Highly lauded.
In fact, of the 52 (soon to be 51) individual Pacific region bank plays, four of them scored the highest possible marks from a consensus of analysts. That is, the general agreement of experts is that the stock is a strong buy.
One of these plays has been singled out in Equities.com before. 1st Century Bancshares (FCTY) , a bank with a unique “come to the customer” business model, lack of ATMs, and only two physical branches. We spotlighted 1st Century previously in our five fundamentally strong regional bank stocks profile, as that play not only sports high marks from experts, but an ROI over 25 percent and a P/C and P/B greater than 1.
The four are from disparate parts of the West, from the LA metropolis to Montana to the farthest reaches of Alaska. But regardless of the size of the market, all four bank chains share the distinction of receiving expert accolades, and are thus worthy of a closer look:
Eagle Bancorp Montana Inc. (EBMT)
Market Cap: $42.81 million
1st Century Bancshares (FCTY)
Market Cap: $62.83 million
Region: Los Angeles, CA
Northrim Bancorp Inc. (NRIM)
Market Cap: $162.12 million
Preferred Bank (PFBC)
Market Cap: $275.50 million
Region: Southern California