On May 28, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Customers Bancorp, Inc. (CUBI) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
The rank upgrade of this Pennsylvania-based bank was driven by strong estimate revisions on the back of impressive first-quarter 2014 results as well as the recent declaration of a special stock dividend.
On May 15, Customers Bancorp declared a special stock dividend of 10% for all its shareholders. This dividend will be paid on Jun 30 to shareholders of record as of May 27.
On Apr 21, Customers Bancorp released its first-quarter 2014 results. The company reported earnings per share of 32 cents, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.6%. However, the figure was down 15.8% year over year.
With this, the company has delivered positive earnings surprises in the trailing 4 quarters with an average beat of 9.3%.
Results benefited from top-line growth, partially offset by higher operating expenses and increased provision for credit losses.
Total revenue (net of interest expenses) stood at $37.1 million, up 35.3% year over year. The rise was primarily driven by increase in both net interest income and non-interest income. However, operating expenses increased 28.5% to $21.2 million.
Customers Bancorp’s balance sheet reflected growth in both loans and deposits. Loans grew significantly to $2.8 billion as of Mar 31, 2014 while deposits were up 42.2% to $3.6 billion.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 advanced 8.7% to $1.50 per share over the past 60 days. Also, for 2015, it moved north 4.7% to $1.78 per share.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other stocks in the finance sector worth considering include Capital City Bank Group Inc. (CCBG), Middleburg Financial Corp. (MBRG) and Midsouth Bancorp Inc. (MSL). All three stocks hold the same rank as Customers Bancorp.