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Top West Coast Bank Stock Picks as M&A Heats Up: A Wall Street Transcript Interview with Aaron James Deer, a Managing Director and Equity Research Analyst for Sandler O'Neill + Partners L.P.

67 WALL STREET, New York - March 12, 2014 - The Wall Street Transcript has just published its Pacific and Southwest Banks Report offering a timely review of the sector to serious investors and industry executives. This special feature contains expert industry commentary through in-depth interviews with public company CEOs, Equity Analysts and Money Managers. The full issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.

Topics covered: Interest Rates and Loan-Growth Strategies - Regulatory Outlook Gains Clarity - Heightened M&A Activity - Consolidation in Regional Banking - Prolonged Interest Rate Environment Challenges - Investing in Regional Banks - Pockets of Growth in Western Banking - Recovery in the Pacific Northwest

Companies include: SVB Financial Group (SIVB), City National Corp. (CYN), Bank of Hawaii Corporation (BOH), East West Bancorp Inc. (EWBC), Preferred Bank (PFBC), Wilshire Bancorp Inc. (WIBC), PacWest Bancorp (PACW), CapitalSource Inc. (CSE)

In the following excerpt from the Pacific and Southwest Banks Report, an expert analyst discusses the outlook for the sector for investors:

TWST: Who do you like in your coverage right now?

Mr. Deer: There are lot of banks I really like from an operational standpoint. There are fewer names that I'm really enthusiastic about from a stock perspective, given that the bank stocks in general over the past year have significantly outperformed the broader market, which itself is up sharply over the past year. So there aren't many bank stocks that are value plays right now.

From an operational standpoint, there are several companies that are really interesting - banks like SVB Financial (SIVB), City National Corp. (CYN) and First Republic Bank (FRC) are very special and unique. In fact, I'd add Bank of Hawaii (BOH) to that list as well. Those are some of my favorite companies. They have really terrific franchises and are doing an outstanding job from an operational perspective.

And then there are other banks I think are also doing a great job but have more upside potential in their stocks. On that list, I would include East West Bancorp (EWBC), Preferred Bank (PFBC), Wilshire Bancorp (WIBC) and BBCN Bancorp (BBCN), all of which are posting above-average growth and profitability but trade at attractive valuations. Another name worth mentioning is PacWest Bancorp (PACW), which is merging with CapitalSource (CSE). That was the largest merger announced last year and should have very positive returns for the shareholders of those banks as they come together and realize a lot of synergies.

TWST: What specifically do you like about Bank of Hawaii?

For more of this interview and many others visit the Wall Street Transcript - a unique service for investors and industry researchers - providing fresh commentary and insight through verbatim interviews with CEOs, portfolio managers and research analysts. This special issue is available by calling (212) 952-7433 or via The Wall Street Transcript Online.