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Valley National's New "LIFT" Program to Improve Earnings

Zacks Equity Research

Valley National Bancorp VLY has announced an earnings enhancement program called “LIFT.” It is expected to be conducted during the first half of 2017 and implemented soon thereafter.

The company operates as the holding company for Valley National Bank, which provides commercial, retail, trust, and investment services.

This initiative is a comprehensive and sustained effort by the company, which seeks to identify operating expense reduction along with revenue enhancement opportunities. This will likely help in continuous and sustained earnings improvement in the future, thereby boosting the company’s operating performance.

The Chief Executive Officer, Gerald Lipkin said, "This program follows our success in recognizing over $19 million in operating cost savings derived from a program announcement made in 2015 and executed in 2016."

He added, "While Valley has shown its ability to produce strong growth as evidenced in the first three quarters of 2016, exceptional financial performance requires a commitment to accomplishing growth on an expense platform that is efficient and effective and delivering a customer experience that is second to none."

Moreover, according to his statement made in the latest press release, the program’s ultimate goal of cost saving and revenue enhancement will be owned by the senior most executives supported by the line managers and various project teams who will be engaged in identifying, valuing and presenting the outcomes of the same.

EHS Partners, LLC, a New-York based consulting firm specializing in leading such efforts, will help the company with the project.

The news which was released during the trading session yesterday probably contributed to the 2.5% gain in the shares of the company which closed at $11.50.

Notably, shares of Valley National have gained 16.8% year to date, underperforming the 32.3% growth for the Zacks categorized Banks-Northeast industry.

Currently, Valley National carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the same space include Horizon Bancorp HBNC, Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc. SASR and Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc. BPFH.

Horizon Bancorp has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 2.7% for the current year, over the past 60 days. Moreover, its share price is up 10.6% in the last six months. It sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Sandy Spring also sports a Zacks Rank #1. It has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of nearly 5.9% for the current year, over the past 60 days. Its share price is up 36.8% in the last six months.

Boston Private Financial carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and has witnessed an upward earnings estimate revision of 1.3% for the current year, over the past 60 days. Also, its shares have gained 33.3% in the last six months.

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