10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014

Next month, China’s leaders will outline at the Communist Party’s Third Plenum precisely how they plan on slowly cracking the door open on the economy.

“We are expect some positive reform info from Communist Party leaders,” said Marc Tommasi, head of international investment strategy for Manning & Napier in Rochester, NY. “I’ve been more constructive on China this year than consensus. I’m  not yet concerned about growth deceleration,” he said. “I think a lot of that has been engineered by the government.”

What are investors going to learn next month about China’s new growth strategy?

Yu Zhengsheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Party’s Central Committee, said the meeting would be about “unprecedented” reforms. “The reforms this time will be broad, with major strength, and will be unprecedented,” Xinhua news agency reported Yu saying.

Yu’s comments on the reforms are among the first from China’s leaders about the Third Plenum, where President Xi Jinping is expected to press for greater economic reforms. The idea is to steer China from a reliance on government investment to a more balanced growth model driven more by consumption, services and innovation rather than exports. The meeting will mark the third time the 200-member Central Committee has gathered since a leadership transition last March.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: Flagstar Bancorp Inc (FBC)

Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. incorporated on October 28, 1993, is a savings and loan holding company. The Company’s business is primarily conducted through its principal subsidiary, Flagstar Bank, FSB (the Bank), a federally chartered stock savings bank. At December 31, 2012, its total assets were $ $14.1 billion. The Bank’s wholly owned subsidiary is Flagstar Capital Markets Corporation (FCMC). The Company operates in two segments: Community Banking and Mortgage Banking. The Community Banking segment offers a line of financial products and services to individuals, small and middle market businesses, and mortgage lenders. Its Mortgage Banking segment originates, acquires, sells and services residential first mortgage loans on one-to-four family residences. The Bank’s Other segment include corporate treasury, tax benefits not assigned to specific operating segments, and miscellaneous other expenses of a corporate nature.

Community Banking

Communit y Banking segment includes Branch Banking, Commercial and Business Banking, Government Banking, and Warehouse Lending. Community Banking segment originates loans and deposits to consumer, business and mortgage lending customers through its Branch Banking, Business and Commercial Banking, Government Banking, and Warehouse Lending groups. Products offered include checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, consumer loans, commercial loans and warehouse lines of credit. Other financial services available to consumer and commercial customers include lines of credit, revolving credit, customized treasury management solutions, equipment leasing, inventory and accounts receivable lending and capital markets services such as interest rate risk protection products. At December 31, 2012, Branch Banking included 111 banking centers located throughout Michigan. As of December 31, 2012, the commercial loans held-for-investment totaled $0.7 billion , and consisted of commercial real estate, commercial and in! dustrial and commercial lease financing. At December 31, 2012, its commercial real estate loans held-for-investment totaled $640.3 million.

Commercial and industrial held-for-investment loan facilities include lines of credit to its small or middle market businesses for use in normal business operations to finance working capital needs, equipment purchases and expansion projects. At December 31, 2012 its commercial and industrial held-for-investment loans totaled $90.6 million. Its commercial lease financing held-for-investment loan portfolio is comprised of equipment leased to customers in a direct financing lease. At December 31, 2012 its commercial lease financing held-for-investment loans totaled $6.3 million. The Company offers warehouse lines of credit to other mortgage lenders. As of December 31, 2012, there were 311 warehouse lines of credit to other mortgage lenders with an average size of $7.5 million.

Mortgage Banking

The Co mpany’s Mortgage Banking segment originates, acquires, sells and services one-to-four family residential first mortgage loans. Mortgage loans are originated through home lending centers, national call centers, the Internet, unaffiliated banks and mortgage brokerage companies. Also, the Mortgage Banking segment services mortgage loans for others and sells MSRs into the secondary market.

In a home lending center transaction, loans are originated through a network of its loan origination centers, as well as referrals from its Banking segment and the national call center. At December 31, 2012, the Company maintained 31 loan origination centers. In a broker transaction, an unaffiliated bank or mortgage brokerage company completes the loan paperwork, but the loans are underwritten on a loan-level basis to its underwriting standards and it supplies the funding for the loan at closing thereby becoming the lender of record. As of December 31, 2012, the Company had acti ve broker relationships with over 1,700 banks, credit unions! , and mor! tgage brokerage companies. In a correspondent transaction, an unaffiliated bank or mortgage company completes the loan paperwork and also supplies the funding for the loan at closing. As of December 31, 2012, the Bank had active correspondent relationships with over 1,300 companies, including banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jessica Alling]

    Outside the Dow, insurer MBIA (NYSE: MBI  ) is up 11.3% after settling a legal case with lender Flagstar Bancorp (NYSE: FBC  ) over two mortgage-backed securities transactions. MBIA alleged that Flagstar misrepresented the securities, resulting in the insurer’s payout of $165 million on the policies. Flagstar has agreed to pay MBIA $110 million to settle the case. This legal dispute is similar to the current battle between MBIA and Bank of America. The insurer recently lost its bid for a pretrial ruling on the case, driving the stock lower.

  • [By Brian Pacampara]

    What: Shares of mortgage insurer MBIA (NYSE: MBI) climbed 10% today after settling its lawsuit against Flagstar Bancorp (NYSE: FBC), in which it accused the bank of misrepresenting the loan quality underlying $1.1 billion in mortgage-backed securities.  

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: Citigroup Inc.(C)

Citigroup, Inc., a global financial services company, provides consumers, corporations, governments, and institutions with a range of financial products and services. The company operates through two segments, Citicorp and Citi Holdings. The Citicorp segment operates as a global bank for businesses and consumers with two primary businesses, Regional Consumer Banking and Institutional Clients Group. The Regional Consumer Banking business provides traditional banking services, including retail banking, and branded cards in North America, Asia, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The Institutional Clients Group business provides securities and banking services comprising investment banking and advisory services, lending, debt and equity sales and trading, institutional brokerage, foreign exchange, structured products, cash instruments and related derivatives, and private banking; and transaction services consisting of treasury and trade solutions, and securiti es and fund services. The Citi Holdings segment operates Brokerage and Asset Management, Local Consumer Lending, and Special Asset Pool businesses. The Brokerage and Asset Management Business, through its 49% stake in Morgan Stanley Smith Barney joint venture and Nikko Cordial Securities, offers retail brokerage and asset management services. The Local Consumer Lending business provides residential mortgage loans, retail partner card loans, personal loans, commercial real estate, and other consumer loans, as well as western European cards and retail banking services. The Special Asset Pool business is a portfolio of securities, loans, and other assets. Citigroup Inc. has approximately 200 million customer accounts and operates in approximately 160 countries. The company was founded in 1812 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jon C. Ogg]

    Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and Toyota Motors Corp. (NYSE: TM) are said to be making history with the first “green bond” of asset-backed securities in the auto industry. Green bonds are securities or contracts where the proceeds are applied exclusively toward projects and activities that promote climate or other environmental sustainability initiatives. Citigroup and 12 other banks introduced new Green Bond Principles earlier in 2014.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Nearly everyone passed the bank stress tests, but if this is passing, I would hate to see what happens to banks like JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC) if they’d failed.

  • [By Lee Jackson]

    Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) makes the list, trading at just 9.9 times forward earnings. In addition, Citigroup is trading right in the middle of its 52-week price range and not at all-time highs. With a tremendous global business model, the bank is a solid holding for investors. Citigroup still just pays a tiny 0.1% dividend. The company also made our low P/E high-dividend leaders list recently. The consensus price target for the stock is $60.33. Shares closed Wednesday at $48.94.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: Northern Financial Corp (NFC)

Northern Financial Corporation (Northern) is engaged in full service investment dealer business, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Northern Securities Inc. (Northern Securities), providing financial advisory services to retail and institutional clients and investment banking services to small capitalization companies. The Company’s business generates revenue from commissions and advisory fees earned on investment banking activities, and commissions from institutional sales and trading and retail investment advisors, and from principal trading. Northern is also engaged in merchant banking business that supplements the investment dealer business. Northern Securities is a member firm of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    Several financial institutions and credit card companies along with companies like Google, Inc. (GOOG), Apple, Inc. (AAPL), and Paypal have aspirations to be players in the emerging sector of mobile payments. Mobile payments allow you to pay for goods or service from your phone instead of paying with cash, check, or credit cards. Today, these payment mechanisms are restricted to premium SMS, direct carrier billing, website purchases through a mobile browser, and Near Field Communications (NFC). NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices that allow them to communicate with each other without touching, but by being in close proximity. NFC devices can be used in contactless payment systems, similar to those used in credit cards, to allow mobile payment to replace or supplement existing credit card and debit card type systems. The combined market for all types of mobile payments is expected to reach more than $600 billion globally by 2013. Google, Inc., a Ba ron investment, is currently the only company that has a large commercial NFC deployment in the market today. As Google pushes further into local advertising and promotions, it plans to utilize Google Wallet to enhance its relationship with consumers and businesses. Google Wallet is a mobile payment system developed by Google that allows smartphone users to store credit cards, loyalty card, and gift cards on their mobile phones, utilizing NFC for the payment of goods and services. Consumers will be able to redeem promotions or loyalty programs through Google Wallet, enabling stores to enhance their relationships with consumers.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: UniCredit SpA (UCG)

UniCredit SpA is an Italy-based holding company engaged in the financial sector. The Company’s division model is based on four pillars: Customer Centricity, A Multi-Local Approach, Global Product Lines, and Global Service Lines. The Customer Centricity area focuses on the Retail, Corporate & Investment Banking and Private Banking areas. The Centralized Multi-Local Approach takes responsibility for the distribution networks and customer relationships. The Global Products Lines are responsible for developing the products and services across all geographic areas. The Global Service Lines which supply the network coverage functions and product factories with specialized services, including Banking Back Office, Information and Communication Technology, Credit Collection, Procurement Services, Real Estate and Shared Service Centers. On October 28, 2013, the aggregate sale by UniCredit SpA of Fondiaria Sai SpA equal to 6.7% was complied. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Corinne Gretler]

    Norsk Hydro (NHY) ASA slumped the most in one year after Vale SA sold a stake in the aluminum maker. UniCredit SpA (UCG) and Infineon Technologies AG added at least 1 percent each after posting quarterly profit that beat projections. Henkel AG rose 2.1 percent as third-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.

  • [By Alexis Xydias]

    Banks led the rally over the past four months, with Paris-based Societe Generale SA (GLE) and UniCredit SpA (UCG), Italy’s biggest lender, surging more than 45 percent.

  • [By Sarah Jones]

    Banco Popolare SC led Italian lenders higher as the country’s 10-year bond yields declined. Popolare rallied 7 percent to 1.05 euros in Milan. Banca Popolare di Milano Scrl increased 4.7 percent to 52.4 euro cents. And UniCredit SpA (UCG), Italy’s biggest bank, climbed 3.6 percent to 3.63 euros.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: J P Morgan Chase & Co(JPM)

JPMorgan Chase & Co., a financial holding company, provides various financial services worldwide. Its Investment Bank segment provides various investment banking products and services, including advising on corporate strategy and structure, capital-raising in equity and debt markets, risk management, market-making in cash securities and derivative instruments, prime brokerage, and research services serving corporations, financial institutions, governments, and institutional investors. The company?s Commercial Banking segment provides lending, treasury, investment banking, and asset management services to corporations, municipalities, financial institutions, and not-for-profit entities. Its Treasury & Securities Services segment offers cash management, trade, wholesale card, and liquidity products and services to small and mid-sized companies, multinational corporations, financial institutions, and government entities. It also holds, values, clears, and services securities, cash, and alternative investments for investors and broker-dealers, and manages depositary receipt programs worldwide. JPMorgan?s Asset Management segment provides investment and wealth management to institutions, retail investors, and high-net-worth individuals. This segment offers investment management in equities, fixed income, real estate, hedge funds, private equity, and liquidity products, as well as trust and estate, banking and brokerage services, and retirement services. Its Retail Financial Services segment offers retail banking and consumer lending services that include checking and savings accounts, mortgages, home equity and business loans, and investments through ATMs, online banking, and telephone banking, as well as auto dealerships and school financial-aid offices. The company?s Card Services segment issues credit cards and processes various credit card payments. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was founded in 1823 and is headquartered in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jim Jubak]

    Zions Bancorp isn’t the only bank in danger of getting a “No” from the Fed this week. Bank of America (BAC), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) all came in with capital ratios below 7% in the Fed’s test. That puts them relatively close to the 5% limit and might lead the Fed to veto their plans for buybacks and dividend increases. Last year, the Fed gave an initial “No” to both Bank of America and Citigroup (C). (Citigroup is a member of my Jubak’s Picks portfolio.)

  • [By Wallace Witkowski]

    A handful of companies report earnings this week including Walgreen Co. (WAG) , Carnival Corp. (CCL) , Accenture PLC (ACN) , Red Hat Inc. (RHT) , Paychex Inc. (PAYX) , and GameStop Corp. (GME) First-quarter earnings season won’t be in full swing until mid-April when J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM)  reports.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Nearly everyone passed the bank stress tests, but if this is passing, I would hate to see what happens to banks like JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC) if they’d failed.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    What a difference a day makes. After plunging yesterday, stocks gained today as investors came to terms with the Federal Reserve’s revised schedule for higher rates, sending shares of Invesco (IVZ), Zions Bancorporation (ZION), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Charles Schwab (SCHW) soaring.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ)

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) provides a range of banking and financial products and services to retail, small business, corporate and institutional clients. The Company conducts its operations in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region. It also operates in a range of other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. The Company operates on a divisional structure with Australia, International and Institutional Banking (IIB), New Zealand, and Global Wealth and Private Banking. As of September 30, 2012, the Company had 1,337 branches and other points of representation worldwide, excluding automatic teller machines (ATMs). In September 2012, it sold its remaining shareholding in Visa Inc. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Adam Haigh]

    Komatsu Ltd. tumbled 8 percent in Tokyo after the world’s second-largest maker of construction equipment cut its full-year profit forecast by 26 percent. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. gained 1.4 percent in Hong Kong, pacing an advance among Chinese lenders, after China’s central bank added funds to the financial system for the first time in two weeks. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) climbed 1.4 percent to a record in Sydney after posting its highest profit and raising its dividend more than forecast.

  • [By Adam Haigh]

    Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) sank 3 percent after Australia’s third-largest bank by market value forecast interest margins will keep dropping. Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. jumped 6.9 percent in Seoul after North Korea and South Korea agreed to reopen the Gaeseong industrial complex. Chinese stock exchange officials are investigating a spike in the Shanghai Composite Index, which soared from a loss of as much as 1 percent to a gain of 5.6 percent in two minutes. Everbright Securities Co. said it experienced a trading error.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: M&T Bank Corporation (MTB)

M&T Bank Corporation operates as the holding company for M&T Bank and M&T Bank, National Association that provide commercial and retail banking services to individuals, corporations and other businesses, and institutions. It offers business loans and leases; business credit cards; deposit products, such as demand, savings, and time accounts; and financial services, including cash management, payroll and direct deposit, merchant credit card, and letters of credit. The company also provides residential real estate loans; multifamily commercial real estate loans; commercial real estate loans; one-to-four family residential mortgage loans; investment and trading securities; short-term and long-term borrowed funds; brokered certificates of deposit and interest rate swap agreements related thereto; and branch deposits. In addition, it offers foreign exchange, as well as asset management services. Further, the company provides consumer loans, and commercial loans and leases; cred it life, and accident and health reinsurance; and securities brokerage, investment advisory, and insurance agency services. As of December 31, 2009, it had 738 banking offices in New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia; a commercial banking office in Ontario, Canada; and an office in George Town, Cayman Islands. The company was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Buffalo, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Mike Deane]

    M&T Bank (MTB) announced its fourth quarter and full year earnings before the bell on Friday, with quarterly GAAP earnings falling from last year’s Q4 while full year earnings rose 11%.

    MTB Earnings in Brief

    M&T Bank reported quarterly net income of $245.72 million, which was down from last year’s Q4 net income of $296.19 million. The company’s diluted EPS came in at $1.79 for the quarter, down from the $2.23 per diluted common share reported in last year’s Q4 results. MTB missed analysts’ estimates of $1.92 EPS. For the full year, MTB reported EPS of $8.38, marking an 11% increase from last year’s EPS of $7.54

    CFO Commentary

    Rene F. Jones, CFO and executive VP, had the following comments about the company’s earnings: “While expenses were elevated by investments in our infrastructure during 2013, M&T achieved a net operating return on average tangible common shareholders’ equity of 18.17% for the full year.  Our core capital position strengthened, as the Tier 1 common ratio grew to 9.25% at the 2013 year-end, up 17 basis points from September 30 and 168 basis points higher than at December 31, 2012.  We are also pleased with the continued improvement in credit quality.  M&T’s liquidity and risk profile was enhanced during the year through several actions, including replacing less liquid investment securities with Ginnie Mae securities and the securitization of loans held in the loan portfolio.  During the final two quarters of 2013 we invested heavily in several key areas, including risk management, capital planning and stress testing, regulatory compliance, and other operational and technology initiatives.  Those investments will better position M&T for the future.”

    No Dividend Change

    MTB did not announce a change to its quarterly dividend, and has not raised its dividend since 2007. It should be noted that MTB did not cut its dividend

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Sterne Agee’s top pick among regional banks is M&T Bank Corp. (NYSE: MTB). Sterne Agee cut its 2014 earnings per share (EPS) estimate on the Buy-rated bank from $8.20 to $7.90 and the 2015 estimate has been cut from $9.50 to $9.00. The bank’s fundamentals are strong and it continues to experience good organic lending growth. The consensus estimate on M&T shares from Thomson Reuters is around $121.20 yielding an implied gain of 6% based on Friday’s closing price of $114.34. The forward multiple is 13.86 based on the consensus estimate for 2014 EPS of $8.25. Based on the Sterne Agee estimate of $7.90, the forward P/E ratio is around 15.4. M&T’s 52-week range is $95.68 to $119.54.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    M&T Bank Corp.(MTB) and Hudson City Bancorp Inc.(HCBK) said they expect additional delays in completing their merger deal, and any action isn’t expected to occur until the latter half of 2014. “While all parties are disappointed that the transaction is delayed further, we are gratified that M&T continues to see the value in the Hudson City franchise,” said Hudson City CEO Ronald E. Hermance Jr.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: Danske Bank A/S (DANSKE)

Danske Bank A/S (the Bank) is a Denmark-based bank. Its operations are divided into five business segments: Banking Activities caters to personal and business customers, comprising finance centers, mortgage finance operations and real estate agency operations, as well as property finance operations; Danske Markets and Treasury is responsible for the Bank’s activities in the financial markets, such as trading in fixed income, foreign exchange, equities and interest-bearing securities, as well as equity portfolios, among others; Danske Capital is engaged in the development and marketing of wealth management products and services; Danica Pension encompasses the Bank’s activities in the life insurance and pensions market; Other Activities encompasses the Bank’s real estate activities and support functions, as well as the elimination of returns on own shares and bonds. Is operational in 15 countries, with emphasis on the Nordic region. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    Kabel Deutschland Holding AG rose to a record after getting an offer from Liberty Global Plc. Aveva Group Plc (AVV) jumped 5.4 percent as Citigroup Inc. upgraded the shares. Danske Bank A/S (DANSKE) dropped 6.1 percent after Denmark’s financial regulator ordered it to increase its risk-weighted assets. Royal Imtech NV fell to the lowest price since 2004 after posting a first-quarter loss on costs relating to a fraud investigation.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: Astoria Financial Corp (AF)

Astoria Financial Corporation, incorporated on June, 14, 1993, is the unitary savings and loan association holding company of Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association (Astoria Federal). The Company’s principal business is the operation of its wholly owned subsidiary, Astoria Federal. Astoria Federal’s primary business is attracting retail deposits from the general public and investing those deposits, together with funds generated from operations, principal repayments on loans and securities and borrowings, primarily in one- to four-family mortgage loans, multi-family mortgage loans, commercial real estate loans and mortgage-backed securities. Astoria Federal also invests in consumer and other loans, the United States Government, government agency and government-sponsored enterprise (GSE), securities and other investments.

Lending Activities

The Company’s loan portfolio consists primarily of mortgage loans. As of December 31, 2012, 74% o f its total loan portfolio was secured by residential properties and 24% was secured by multi-family properties and commercial real estate. The remainder of the loan portfolio consists of a variety of consumer and other loans, including commercial and industrial loans originated in 2012 through its business banking initiatives. As of December 31, 2012, its net loan portfolio totaled $13.08 billion, or 79% of total assets. The Company originates mortgage loans either directly through its banking and loan production offices in New York or indirectly through brokers and its third party loan origination program. It also originates mortgage loans for sale. The Company’s primary lending focus is on the origination and purchase of first mortgage loans secured by one- to four-family properties that serve as the primary residence of the owner.

The Company also originates multi-family and commercial real estate loans. As of December 31, 2012, multi-family mortgage loan s totaled $2.41 billion, or 18% of its total loan portfolio,! and commercial real estate loans totaled $773.9 million, or 6% of its total loan portfolio. At December 31, 2012, $264.1 million, or 2%, of the Company’s total loan portfolio consisted of consumer and other loans which were primarily home equity lines of credit. The Company also offers overdraft protection, lines of credit, commercial loans and passbook loans. Consumer and other loans, with the exception of home equity and commercial lines of credit, are offered primarily on a fixed rate, short-term basis.

Investment Activities

At December 31, 2012, the Company’s securities portfolio totaled $2.04 billion, or 12%, of total assets. The Company does not use derivatives for trading purposes. Its securities portfolio consists primarily of mortgage-backed securities. At December 31, 2012, its mortgage-backed securities totaled $1.94 billion, or 95%, of total securities, of which $1.92 billion, or 94%, of total securities, were real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMIC) and collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) securities, substantially all of which had fixed rates. Of the REMIC and CMO securities portfolio, $2.35 billion, or 98.7%, are guaranteed by Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) or Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) as issuer. At December 31, 2012, its securities available-for-sale totaled $336.3 million and its securities held-to-maturity totaled $1.7 billion. At December 31, 2012, it had no investments in repurchase agreements and federal funds sold.

Sources of Funds

The Company’s primary source of funds is the cash flow provided by its investing activities, including principal and interest payments on loans and securities. Its other sources of funds are provided by operating activities and financing activities, including deposits and borrowings. The Company offers a variety of deposit a ccounts with a range of interest rates and terms. It offers ! passbook ! and statement savings accounts, money market accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) and demand deposit accounts, liquid certificates of deposit (Liquid CDs), and certificates of deposit, which include all time deposits other than Liquid CDs. Liquid CDs have maturities of three months, require the maintenance of a minimum balance and allow depositors the ability to make periodic deposits to and withdrawals from their account. At December 31, 2012, its deposits totaled $10.44 billion. Of the total deposit balance, $1.28 billion, or 12%, represented individual retirement accounts during the year ended December 31, 2012. It held no brokered deposits at December 31, 2012. Core deposits represented 53.3% of total deposits at December 31, 2011. Reverse repurchase agreements are accounted for as borrowings and are secured by the securities sold under the agreements. At December 31, 2012, borrowings totaled $4.37 billion. It also obtains advances from the Federal Home Loan Ba nk of New York (FHLB-NY).

Subsidiary Activities

In addition to Astoria Federal, the Company has two other subsidiaries, AF Insurance Agency, Inc. and Astoria Capital Trust I. AF Insurance Agency, Inc. is a life insurance agency. Through contractual agreements with various third parties, AF Insurance Agency, Inc. makes insurance products available primarily to the customers of Astoria Federal. Astoria Federal’s wholly owned subsidiaries include AF Agency, Inc., Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association Revocable Grantor Trust, Astoria Federal Mortgage Corp. (AF Mortgage), Fidata Service Corp. (Fidata), Marcus I Inc. and Suffco Service Corporation (Suffco). AF Agency, Inc. makes various annuity products available to the customers of Astoria Federal through an unaffiliated third party vendor. AF Mortgage is an operating subsidiary through which Astoria Federal engages in lending activities outside the State of New York through its third party loan origination program. Fidata mortgage loans totaled $5.09 bi! llion at ! December 31, 2012. Suffco serves as document custodian for the loans of Astoria Federal and Fidata and certain loans being serviced for Fannie Mae and other investors.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) and Air France-KLM (AF) Group rose with as a gauge of travel stocks as oil prices fell after Iran’s accord. PSA Peugeot Citroen gained 3.7 percent after people familiar with the matter said its chief executive officer plans to step down next year. Fresenius Medical Care AG surged the most in five years after U.S. regulators scrapped a plan to cut Medicare payments next year.

  • [By Jonathan Morgan]

    Air France-KLM Group (AF), Europe’s second-biggest airline by sales, retreated 2.8 percent. Mediaset SpA climbed 2.8 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG raised its price target on the Italian broadcaster. Serco Group Plc added 2.7 percent after predicting that its revenue growth in the first half will exceed its previous estimates.

10 Best Bank Stocks To Watch For 2014: Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG)

Lloyds Banking Group plc, incorporated on October 21, 1985, is a holding company. The Company is a financial services group providing a range of banking and financial services, primarily in the United Kingdom, to personal and corporate customers. The Company operates in four segments: Retail, Commercial Banking, Wealth, Asset Finance and International and Insurance. Retail provides banking, mortgages and other financial services to personal customers in the United Kingdom. Commercial Banking provides banking and related services to business clients, from small businesses to large corporate. Wealth, Asset Finance and International provides private banking and asset management and asset finance in the United Kingdom and overseas and operates the Company’s international retail businesses. Insurance provides long term savings, protection and investment products in the United Kingdom and Europe and provides general insurance to personal customers in the United Kingdom.

Retail

The Retail division operates the retail bank in the United Kingdom and is a provider of current accounts, savings, personal loans, credit cards and mortgages. This includes a range of current accounts including packaged accounts and basic banking accounts. It is also the provider of personal loans in the United Kingdom, as well as being the United Kingdom’s credit card issuer. Retail is the private sector savings provider in the United Kingdom. It is also a general insurance and bancassurance distributor, offering a range of long-term savings, investment and general insurance products.

Commercial Banking

The Commercial Banking division supports the Company’s business clients from small businesses to corporate. Commercial Banking provides support to corporate clients through the provision of core banking products, such as lending, deposits and transaction banking services whilst also offering clients expertise in capita l markets (private placements, bonds and syndicated loans), ! financial markets (foreign exchange, interest rate management, money market and credit) and private equity.

Wealth, Asset Finance and International

Wealth, Asset Finance and International consists of the Company’s the United Kingdom and international wealth businesses, the Company’s the United Kingdom and international asset finance and online deposit businesses along with its international retail businesses. The Wealth business consists of private banking and asset management. Wealth’s private banking operations cater to the range of wealth clients from affluent to Ultra High Net Worth within the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, and internationally. Asset Finance consists of a number of leasing and speciality lending businesses in the United Kingdom, including Lex Autolease and Black Horse Motor and Personal Finance along with its leasing and specialty lending businesses in Australia and its European online deposit business. T he international business comprises its non-core banking business outside the United Kingdom, with the exception of corporate business written through the Commercial Banking division. This primarily consists of Ireland, Retail Europe and Asia.

Insurance

The Insurance division provides long-term savings, protection and investment products and general insurance products to customers in the United Kingdom and Europe. The United Kingdom Life, Pensions and Investments business provides long-term savings, protection and investment products distributed through the bancassurance, intermediary and direct channels of the Lloyds TSB, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows brands. The European Life, Pensions and Investments business distributes products primarily in the German market under the Heidelberger Leben and Clerical Medical brands. The General Insurance business is a distributor of home insurance in the United Kingdom, with products sold through the branch network, direct channels and strategic corporate! partners! . It operates primarily under the Lloyds TSB, Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sara Sjolin]

    Shares of Lloyds Banking Group PLC (UK:LLOY)   (LYG)  lost 3.8% after the U.K. bank posted a full-year loss as provisions for mis-selling payment-protection insurance continued to weigh on its bottom line.

  • [By Sara Sjolin]

    Banks were among major decliners, playing a part in dragging the FTSE 100 index lower. Shares of Barclays PLC (UK:BARC)   (BCS)  fell 2.7%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (UK:RBS)   (RBS)  dropped 2.9%, Lloyds Banking Group PLC (UK:LLOY)   (LYG)  gave up 2.3% and sector heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC (UK:HSBA) (HBC)   (HK:5)  erased 1.3%.

  • [By Andrew Marder]

    The banks facing the first wave of investigation are Barclays (NYSE: BCS  ) , Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS  ) , HSBC (NYSE: HBC  ) , and Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG  ) . These companies are going to pay out something, as they’ve already admitted that rules were broken. The question remains — how much will it cost?

  • [By Mark Rogers]

    Lloyds Banking (LSE: LLOY  ) (NYSE: LYG  )
    The shares of Lloyds Banking have jumped 2.7% to 49 pence after the bank successfully issued 713 million new shares to raise 350 million pounds. Rumors continue to circulate that the group could dispose of the Menzies hotel chain it inherited from HBOS for about 100 million pounds or sell fund management division Scottish Widows Investment Partnership for close to 820 million pounds, with Ameriprise Financial mentioned as a potential suitor.