Another earnings season is coming to a close. For those investors who follow the financial sector, earnings might have started when JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo posted their results. However, a handful of smaller banks followed their much larger cousins with results released this week.
Not to be forgotten, regional banks and savings and loans tend to limit operations to smaller regions of the country but are generally less exposed to the risky and exotic activities of some of their larger brethren. Their results can often be a small indicator of what has been happening in smaller segments of the economy.
Average Estimated EPS
Northfield Bancorp (NAS: NFBK)
Old National Bancorp (NYS: ONB)
Provident Financial Services (NYS: PFS)
TFS Financial (NAS: TFSL)
Sources: Yahoo! Finance and company press releases. N/A = not applicable.
Northfield Bank continues to improve the quality of its assets, with nonperforming loans at the lowest level since September 2009. The New Jersey bank recently announced a merger with Flatbush Federal Bank, which will further expand the bank's reach in New York City.
Old National Bank was recently lauded by fellow Fool Alyce Lomax for behaving ethically in a sector not known for strong ethics, remaining focused on growing its community banking model within its community and not doing anything too exotic. Quarterly income was up 32% from the same quarter last year, and nonperforming loans experienced a decrease of 9% from the fourth quarter last year.
Provident Financial experienced a 42% increase in net income from the same quarter last year. The bank spent the quarter improving its asset quality, seeing a reduction in the provision for loan losses, as well as a $2.2 million gain on the sale of certain mortgage-backed securities. Nonperforming loans also fell to 2.58% of total loans, further strengthening the bank's balance sheet going forward.
Though it may look like TFS Financial had no earnings for the quarter, the Cleveland bank actually earned just over $1 million for the quarter. Earnings were down from the same quarter last year, though net interest income was up 8% during the same period.
Opportunities in regional banks
Personally, I like the potential of regional banks, but they may not be for everyone. Earnings are just one thing to consider when choosing an investment, so view these results as a small piece of a much larger puzzle. In fact, a bank similar to the ones here is featured prominently in our new free report "The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors are Buying." To find out which one it is, get your copy today before it's too late.
At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Robert Eberhard holds no position in any company mentioned. Follow him on Twitter @GuruEbby, or click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. The Fool owns shares of and has created a covered strangle position in Wells Fargo. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
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