Community Banks Remain Reluctant To Lend

TheStreet.com

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The 7,019 FDIC-insured financial institutions earned a record $40.3 billion in the first quarter of 2013, up a solid 15.8% year-over-year. This marks the 15th consecutive quarter of YoY gains. The improvements however, continue to be dominated by increased noninterest income, lower noninterest expenses and reduced loan loss provisions, not increased lending. An FDIC concern is tighter net interest margins.

The FDIC list of problem banks fell to 612 from 651 in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2012. This remains extremely elevated given the fact that at the end of 2007 when the "Great Credit Crunch" began the list totaled only 76.

Year to date bank failures total only 16 bringing the total for the credit crunch to 481. My prediction remains that 500 will fail before the crisis ends. The Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) rose to $35.7 billion primarily on assessments from member banks. Insured deposits rose 2.6% in the quarter to about $7.6 trillion. If this were September 2020 the DIF would have to be funded at $102.6 billion.

Noncurrent loans peaked at $405.4 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2010. In the first quarter of 2013 noncurrent loans were down to $261.2 billion, still up 137.6% since the end of 2007. Loan loss provisions fell to $155.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013 down 4.1% sequentially and down 15.2% year over year.

Other Real Estate Owned (OREO) peaked at $53.2 billion in the third quarter of 2010. Currently OREO is down to $35.9 billion, still up 195.5% since the end of 2007.

The number of publicly traded banks overexposed to C&D loans fell to 67 from 73 in the first quarter. Those overexposed to CRE loans only fell to 404 from 451. 50 publicly traded banks have their CRE loan pipelines 100% funded, while 250 have at least 80% of their CRE loan commitments fully funded.


At ValuEngine we show that 471 publicly traded banks qualify to be on the ValuEngine List of Problem Banks, a clear sign that the stresses of the "Great Credit Crunch" continue.

The stock market is still trading under a ValuEngine valuation warning with 70.2% of all stocks overvalued. The finance sector is 15.5% overvalued.

My benchmark for community banks is the America's Community Bankers Index (193.91) has a neutral weekly chart profile with the five-week modified moving average at 190.44 and the May 28 high at 197.27. My monthly value level is 190.61 with weekly risky level at 194.18. My quarterly value level is 174.20 with a semiannual risky level at 198.58.

Chart Courtesy of Thomson/Reuters

Most strategists say that the housing marker is robust. The chart below questions that notion:

In the first quarter of 2013 total real estate loans were down $36.7 billion sequentially. Comprising this reduced lending, residential mortgages on the books of the banks declined $18.3 billion with C&D loans down $268,000 million and home equity loans down $16.0 billion. This sounds like reduced lending to me.

We recently learned that mortgage applications plunged 11.5% as mortgage rates rise. This was the worst drop since June 2009. Without increased lending how can the housing market be described as robust, and statistics say banks are not increasing lending to the real estate market.


On May 9 I wrote, 7 Buy Rated Community Banks, and today I profile how they performed since then. In addition I have added six more buy rated community banks as four of the seven profiled a month ago have been downgraded to hold from buy.

Reading the Table

OV/UN Valued: Stocks with a red number are undervalued by this percentage. Those with a black number are overvalued by that percentage according to ValuEngine.

VE Rating: A "1-engine" rating is a strong sell, a "2-engine" rating is a sell, a "3-engine" rating is a hold, a "4-engine" rating is a buy and a "5-engine" rating is a strong buy.

Last 12-Month Return (%): Stocks with a red number declined by that percentage over the last 12 months. Stocks with a black number increased by that percentage.

Forecast 1-Year Return: Stocks with a red number are projected to decline by that percentage over the next 12 months. Stocks with a black number in the table are projected to move higher by that percentage over the next 12 months.

Value Level: Price at which to enter a GTC limit order to buy on weakness. The letters mean; W-weekly, M-monthly, Q-quarterly, S-semiannual and A-annual.

Pivot: A level between a value level and risky level that should be a magnet during the time frame noted.


Risky Level: Price at which to enter a GTC limit order to sell on strength.

Banner ($32.94) is above its 200-day simple moving average at $29.74 with a monthly risky level at $34.70.

Popular ($29.05 vs. $29.46 on May 9) has a quarterly value level at $23.25 with a weekly pivot at $29.49 and monthly risky level at $33.83.

Capital City Bank Group ($11.33 vs. $11.84 on May 9) has an annual value level is $9.87 with a weekly pivot at $11.42 and monthly risky level at $12.17.

Cardinal Financial ($15.38 vs. $15.52 on May 9) has been downgraded to hold from buy with a semiannual value level is $14.50 and semiannual risky level at $17.42.

Central Pacific Financial ($18.33) is above its 200-day SMA at $15.46 with a monthly pivot at $18.04 and weekly risky level at $19.57.

Flagstar Bancorp ($13.49) has a weekly value level at $12.45 with the 200-day SMA at $14.39 and monthly risky level at $28.93.


First Bancorp ($6.34) has a monthly value level at $6.21 with a multi-year high at $6.52 set on June 4.

Farmers Capital Bank ($22.00 vs. $20.04 on May 9) is well above its 200-day SMA at $14.71 with a weekly pivot at $21.89 and monthly risky level at $22.31, which was tested at the multi-year high at $22.92 set on June 6.

First M&F ($15.50) is well above its 200-day SMA at $10.27 with a monthly pivot at $15.59 and weekly risky level at $15.77, and a multi-year high at $15.88 set on May 22.

Bank of the Ozarks ($43.51 vs. $41.76 on May 9) has been downgraded to hold from buy. My monthly value level is $42.26 with an annual pivot at $43.44 and weekly risky level at $44.77.

Provident Financial ($15.87 vs. $16.23 on May 9) has been downgraded to hold from buy. My semiannual value level is $14.19 with a weekly pivot at $15.24, the 200-day SMA at $15.85 and quarterly risky level at $17.10.

Sterling Financial ($21.90) is just above its 200-day SMA at $21.51. My monthly value level is $20.89 with a quarterly pivot at $21.35 and weekly risky level at $22.64, and the multi-year high at $23.50 set on May 28.


United Community Banks ($11.93 vs. $11.26 on May 9) has been downgraded to hold from buy. The bank is trading above its 200-day SMA at $9.81 with a weekly pivot at $12.12 and monthly risky level at $12.52, and the multi-year high at $12.37 set on June 3.

At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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