5 Best Bank Stocks To Invest In Right Now

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) — It’s been little more that two weeks since Seattle celebrated its Seahawks’ first Super Bowl football championship win and the city’s first major sports championship since 1979 with a parade, but that hasn’t stopped certain elements of the sports world from raining on it.

With the confetti scarcely swept off the streets, Seattle got a fresh layer of dark clouds and new deluge of bad tidings from the National Basketball Association this week — because of course it did.

The Seahawks’ parade could have doubled as a going-away party for longtime NBA Commissioner David Stern, who stepped down at the beginning of this month. Stern had not only signed off on the Seattle SuperSonics move to Oklahoma City in 2008, but last year played an instrumental role in blocking the sale of the Sacramento Kings to an ownership group that would have moved them to Seattle. With Stern gone, it was believed that new commissioner Adam Silver would be more amenable to giving Seattle an expansion team and bringing back the Sonics.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB)

Itau Unibanco Holding S.A., incorporated on September 9, 1943, is a bank in Brazil. The Company has four operational segments: Commercial Banking, Itau BBA, Consumer Credit and Corporate and Treasury. Commercial banking, including insurance, pension plan and capitalization products, credit cards, asset management and a variety of credit products and services for individuals, small and middle-market companies). Itau BBA includes corporate and investment banking. Consumer credit includes financial products and services to its non-accountholders. Corporate and treasury includes the results related to the trading activities in its portfolio, trading related to managing currency, interest rate and other market risk factors, gap management and arbitrage opportunities in domestic and foreign markets. It also includes the results associated with financial income from the investment of its excess capital.

On October 24, 2010, Itau Unibanco completed the integration of customer service locations throughout Brazil. In total, 998 branches and 245 customer site branches (CSB) of Unibanco were redesigned and integrated as Itau Unibanco customer service locations, thus creating a network of approximately 4,700 units in the country under the Itau brand. The Company is a financial holding company controlled by Itau Unibanco Participacoes S.A. (IUPAR). As of December 31, 2010, it had a network of 3,747 service branches throughout Brazil. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 913 CSBs throughout Brazil. As of December 31, 2010, it operated 28,844 automated teller machines (ATMs) throughout Brazil.

Commercial banking

The commercial banking segment offers a range of banking services to a diversified base of individuals and companies. Services offered by the commercial banking segment include insurance, pension plan and capitalization products, credit cards, asset management, credit products and customized products and solutio ns. The commercial banking segment comprises the specialized! areas and products, such as retail banking (individuals); public sector banking; personnalite (banking for high-income individuals); private banking (banking and financial consulting for wealthy individuals); very small business banking; small business banking; middle-market banking; credit cards; real estate financing; asset management; corporate social responsibility fund; securities services for third parties; brokerage, and insurance, private retirement and capitalization products.

The Company’s credit products include personal loans, overdraft protection, payroll loans, vehicles, credit cards, mortgage and agricultural loans, working capital, trade note discount and export. Its investments products include pension plans, mutual funds, time deposits, demand deposit accounts, savings accounts and capitalization plans. Its services include insurance (life, home, credit/cash cards, vehicles, loan protection, among others), exchange, brokerage and others. Its core business is retail banking, which serves individuals with a monthly income below R$7,000. In October 2010, it completed the conversion of branches under the Unibanco brand to the Itau brand and as of December 31, 2010, it had over 15.2 million customers and 4,660 branches and CSBs. Its public sector business operates in all areas of the public sector, including the federal, state and municipal governments (in the executive, legislative and judicial branches). As of December 31, 2010, it had approximately 2,300 public sector customers. Itau Personnalite’s focus is delivering financial advisory services by its managers, who understand the specific needs of its higher-income customers; a portfolio of exclusive products and services; special benefits based on the type and length of relationship with the customer, including discounts on various products and services. Itau Personnalite’s customer base reached more than 600,000 individuals as of December 31, 2010. Itau Pe rsonnalite customers also have access to Itau Unibanco netwo! rk of bra! nches and ATMs throughout the country, as well as Internet banking and phone.

Itau Private Bank is a Brazilian bank in the global private banking industry, providing wealth management services to approximately 17,951 Latin American clients as of December 31, 2010. The Company serves its customers’ needs for offshore wealth management solutions in major jurisdictions through independent institutions in the United States through Banco Itau Europa International and Itau Europa Securities , in Luxembourg through Banco Itau Europa Luxembourg S.A. , in Switzerland through Banco Itau Suisse , in the Bahamas through BIE Bank & Trust Bahamas and in Cayman through Unicorp Bank & Trust Cayman. As of December 31, 2010, it had over 565 very small business banking offices located throughout Brazil and approximately 2,500 managers working for over 1,235,000 small business customers. Loans to very small businesses totaled R$5,981 million as of December 31, 2010. As of Decembe r 31, 2010, it had 374 small business banking offices located nationwide in Brazil and nearly 2,500 managers who worked for over 525,000 companies. Loans to small businesses totaled R$28,744 million as of December 31, 2010.

As of December 31, 2010, it had approximately 115,000 middle-market corporate customers that represented a range of Brazilian companies located in over 83 cities in Brazil. The Company offers a range of financial products and services to middle-market customers, including deposit accounts, investment options, insurance, private retirement plans and credit products. Credit products include investment capital loans, working capital loans, inventory financing, trade financing, foreign currency services, equipment leasing services, letters of credit and guarantees. The Company also carries out financial transactions on behalf of middle-market customers, including interbank transactions, open market transactions and futures, swaps, hedging and arb itrage transactions. It also offers its middle-market custom! ers colle! ction services and electronic payment services. The Company is able to provide these services for virtually any kind of payment, including Internet office banking. It charges collection fees and fees for making payments, such as payroll, on behalf of its customers.

The Company is engaged in the Brazilian credit card market. Its subsidiaries, Banco Itaucard S.A. (Banco Itaucard) and Hipercard Banco Multiplo S.A. (Hipercard), offers a range of products to 26 million customers as of December 31, 2010, including both accountholders and non-accountholders. As of December 31, 2010, it had approximately R$16,271 million in outstanding real estate loans. As of December 31, 2010, it had total net assets under management of R$291,748 million on behalf of approximately 2.1 million customers. The Company also provides portfolio management services for pension funds, corporations, private bank customers and foreign investors. As of December 31, 2010, it had R$184,496 million of assets under management for pension funds, corporations and private bank customers. As of December 31, 2010, the Company offered and managed about 1,791 mutual funds, which are mostly fixed-income and money market funds. For individual customers, it offered 154 funds to its retail customers and approximately 287 funds to its Itau Personnalite customers. Private banking customers may invest in over 600 funds, including those offered by other institutions. Itau BBA’s capital markets group also provides tailor-made mutual funds to institutional, corporate and private banking customers.

The Company provides securities services in the Brazilian capital markets. Its services also include acting as transfer agent, providing services relating to debentures and promissory notes, custody and control services for mutual funds, pension funds and portfolios, providing trustee services and non-resident investor services, and acting as custodian for depositary receipt pr ograms. The Company also provides brokerage services to inte! rnational! customers through its broker-dealer operations in New York, through its London branch, and through its broker-dealers in Hong Kong and Dubai. Its main lines of insurance are life and casualty (excluding Vida Gerador de Benefucio Livre), extended warranties and property. Its policies are sold through its banking operations, independent local brokers, multinational brokers and other channels. As of December 31, 2010, it had 9.9 million in capitalization products outstanding, representing R$2,620 million in liabilities with assets that function as guarantees of R$2,646 million. The Company distributes these products through its retail network, Itau Personnalite and Itau Uniclass branches, electronic channels and ATMs. These products are sold by its subsidiary, Cia. Itau de Capitalizacao S.A.

Itau BBA

Itau BBA is responsible for its corporate and investment banking activities. As of December 31, 2010, Itau BBA offered a portfolio of products and servic es to approximately 2,400 companies and conglomerates in Brazil. Itau BBA’s activities range from typical operations of a commercial bank to capital markets operations and advisory services for mergers and acquisitions. As of December 31, 2010, its corporate loan portfolio was R$ 76,584 million. In investment banking, the fixed income department was responsible for the issuance of debentures and promissory notes that totaled R$18,888 million and securitization transactions that amounted to R$4,677 million in Brazil in 2010. In addition, Itau BBA advised 35 merger and acquisition transactions with an aggregate deal volume of R$16,973 million in 2010.

Itau BBA is also active in Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) on-lending to finance large-scale projects, aiming at strengthening domestic infrastructure. In consolidated terms, total loans granted by Itau BBA under BNDES on-lending represented more than R$9,010 million in 2010. Itau BBA f ocuses on the products and initiatives in the international ! business ! unit, such as structuring long-term, bilateral and syndicated financing, and spot foreign exchange. In addition, in 2010 Itau BBA continued to offer a large number of lines of credit for foreign trade.

Consumer Credit

As of December 31, 2010, its portfolio of vehicle financing, leasing and consortium lending consisted of approximately 3.8 million contracts, of which approximately 71.1% were non-accountholder customers. The personal loan portfolio relating to vehicle financing and leasing reached R$60,254 million in 2010. The Company leased and financed vehicles through 13,706 dealers as of December 31, 2010. Sales are made through computer terminals installed in the dealerships that are connected to its computer network. Redecard S.A. (Redecard) is a multibrand credit card provider in Brazil, also responsible for the capturing, transmission, processing and settlement of credit, debit and benefit card transactions. As of December 31, 2010, the Compan y held approximately 50% interest in Redecard’s capital stock.

The Company competes with Bradesco, Banco do Brasil S.A. (Banco do Brasil), Banco Santander, Caixa Economica Federal (CEF), BNDES, HSBC, Banco Citibank S.A, Banco de Investimentos Credit Suisse (Brasil) S.A., Banco JP Morgan S.A., Banco Morgan Stanley S.A., Banco Merrill Lynch de Investimentos S.A., Banco BTG Pactual S.A., Banco Panamericano S.A, Citibank S.A., Banco GE Capital S.A. and Banco Ibi S.A.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Will Ashworth]

    Cencosud is one of the largest retailers in Latin America. It operates grocery stores, home improvement stores and department stores in five countries including Chile, its home base. Its stock is down 51% over the past year for several reasons, including a deal falling through that would have seen it sell 51% of its credit card operations in Chile and Argentina to Itau Unibanco (ITUB) and using the proceeds to reduce its heavy debt load. Add to that a major devaluation of the peso in Argentina, where it generates a quarter of its overall revenue, and you have investors in a full-on panic.

  • [By Charles Sizemore]

    And speaking of top dividend stocks with high capital gains potential, next on the list of are Brazilian banking groups Banco Bradesco (BBD) and Banco Itau (ITUB) — two monthly dividend stocks you must consider.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Bank of Ozarks Inc (OZRK)

Bank of the Ozarks, Inc. is a bank holding company. The Company owns an Arkansas state chartered subsidiary bank, Bank of the Ozarks (the Bank). At December 31, 2011, the Company, through the Bank, conducted banking operations through 111 offices, including 66 offices in Arkansas, 27 in Georgia, 10 in Texas, four in Florida, two in North Carolina, and one each in South Carolina and Alabama. Subsequent to December 31, 2011, the Company opened its 11th and 12th Texas offices in Austin and The Colony. The Company also owns Ozark Capital Statutory Trust II, Ozark Capital Statutory Trust III, Ozark Capital Statutory Trust IV and Ozark Capital Statutory Trust V, all 100%-owned finance subsidiary business trusts formed in connection with the issuance of certain subordinated debentures and related trust preferred securities, and, indirectly through the Bank, a subsidiary engaged in the development of real estate, a subsidiary that owns a private aircraft and various other entities that hold foreclosed assets or tax credits or engage in other activities. Effective July 31, 2013, Bank of the Ozarks Inc acquired the entire interest of The First National Bank of Shelby.

The Company provides a range of retail and commercial banking services. Deposit services include checking, savings, money market, time deposit and individual retirement accounts. Loan services include various types of real estate, consumer, commercial, industrial and agricultural loans and various leasing services. The Company also provides mortgage lending; treasury management services for businesses, individuals and non-profit and governmental entities, including wholesale lock box services; remote deposit capture services; trust and wealth management services for businesses, individuals and non-profit and governmental entities, including financial planning, money management, custodial services and corporate trust services; real estate appraisals; credit-related life and d isability insurance; automated teller machines (ATMs); telep! hone banking; online and mobile banking services, including electronic bill pay; debit cards, gift cards and safe deposit boxes, among other products and services. Through third party providers, the Company offers credit cards for consumers and businesses, processing of merchant debit and credit card transactions, and full service investment brokerage services.

On January 14, 2011, the Company, through the Bank, entered into a purchase and assumption agreement, pursuant to which the Bank acquired the former Oglethorpe Bank (Oglethorpe) with two offices in Georgia, including Brunswick and St. Simons Island. On April 29, 2011, the Company, through the Bank, entered into a purchase and assumption agreement, pursuant to which the Bank acquired the former First Choice Community Bank (First Choice) with seven offices in Georgia, including Dallas, Newnan (2), Senoia, Sharpsburg, Douglasville and Carrollton. On July 1, 2011, the Company closed one of the offices in New nan, Georgia, and on October 26, 2011 the Company closed the office in Carrollton, Georgia.

Lending and Leasing Activities

The Company’s primary source of income is interest earned from its loan and lease portfolio and its investment securities portfolio. The Company’s portfolio of real estate loans includes loans secured by residential one- to four-family, non-farm/non-residential, agricultural, construction/land development, multifamily residential (five or more family) properties and other land loans. Non-farm/non-residential loans include those secured by real estate mortgages on owner-occupied commercial buildings of various types, leased commercial, retail and office buildings, hospitals, nursing and other medical facilities, hotels and motels, and other business and industrial properties. Agricultural real estate loans include loans secured by farmland and related improvements, including some loans guaranteed by the Farm Service Agency. Real estate construction/land development loans include loa! ns secure! d by vacant land, loans to finance land development or construction of industrial, commercial, residential or farm buildings or additions or alterations to existing structures. Included in the Company’s residential one- to four-family loans are home equity lines of credit.

The Company offers a variety of real estate loan products that are generally amortized over five to thirty years. The Company’s portfolio of consumer loans generally includes loans to individuals for household, family and other personal expenditures. The Company’s commercial and industrial loan portfolio consists of loans for commercial, industrial and professional purposes, including loans to fund working capital requirements (such as inventory, floor plan and receivables financing), purchases of machinery and equipment and other purposes. The Company offers a variety of commercial and industrial loan arrangements, including term loans, balloon loans and lines of credit with the purpos e and collateral supporting a particular loan determining its structure. These loans are offered to businesses and professionals for short and medium terms on both a collateralized and uncollateralized basis. The Company obtains as collateral a lien on furniture, fixtures, equipment, inventory, receivables or other assets. The Company’s leases are primarily equipment leases for commercial, industrial and professional purposes, have terms generally ranging up to 48 months and are collateralized by a lien on the lessee’s interest in the leased property.

The Company’s portfolio of agricultural (non-real estate) loans includes loans for financing agricultural production, including loans to businesses or individuals engaged in the production of timber, poultry, livestock or crops. The Company’s agricultural (non-real estate) loans are generally secured by farm machinery, livestock, crops, vehicles or other agricultural-related collateral. A portion of the Co mpany’s portfolio of agricultural (non-real estate) loans ! consists ! of loans to individuals which would normally be characterized as consumer loans but for the fact that the individual borrowers are primarily engaged in the production of timber, poultry, livestock or crops.

Deposits

The Company offers an array of deposit products consisting of non-interest bearing checking accounts, interest bearing transaction accounts, business sweep accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, time deposits and individual retirement accounts. The Company acts as depository for a number of state and local Governments and Government agencies or instrumentalities. The Company’s deposits come primarily from within the Company’s trade area. As of December 31, 2011, the Company had $41 million in brokered deposits.

Other Banking Services

The Company offers an array of residential mortgage products, including long-term fixed and variable rate loans to be sold on a servicing-released basis in the s econdary market. The Company originates residential mortgage loans to be resold on the secondary market primarily through its banking offices located in Arkansas’ markets, many of its Texas banking offices and in certain of its acquired offices in the Southeastern United States. The Company offers a range of trust and wealth management services from its headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas, with additional staff in Rogers, Arkansas. These trust and wealth management services include personal trusts, custodial accounts, investment management accounts, retirement accounts, corporate trust services, including trustee, paying agent and registered transfer agent services, and other incidental services. As of December 31, 2011, total trust assets were approximately $1.02 billion.

The Company offers treasury management products which are designed to provide specialized support to the treasury operations of business and public funds customers. The Company’s treasu ry management services include automated clearing house serv! ices (dir! ect deposit, direct payment and electronic cash concentration and disbursement), wire transfer, zero balance accounts, current and prior day transaction reporting, lock box services, remote deposit capture services, automated credit line transfer, investment sweep accounts, reconciliation services, positive pay services, credit line analysis and account analysis. It offers an online banking service for both business customers and consumers. Through this service customers can access their account information, pay bills, transfer funds, view images of cancelled checks, reorder checks, buy the United States Savings Bonds, change addresses, issue stop payment requests, receive detailed statements and handle other banking business electronically. The Company also provides businesses and consumers the option to electronically receive monthly bank statements and provides a 13-month archive of monthly statements and cancelled check images.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Monica Gerson]

    Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ: OZRK) is expected to post its Q3 earnings at $0.60 per share on revenue of $69.57 million.

    Emmis Communications (NASDAQ: EMMS) is expected to report its Q2 earnings.

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Arkansas-based Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK) announced a 10.5% dividend increase to 21 cents per share, payable Oct. 18 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 11. This is the 13th consecutive quarter in which OZRK has raised its dividend.
    OZRK Dividend Yield: 1.77%

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    Bank of the Ozarks (NASDAQ: OZRK  ) is rewarding its shareholders by paying a higher dividend. The company has declared a common stock dividend of $0.19 per share, to be handed out on July 19 to shareholders of record as of July 12. That amount is $0.02, or 12%, higher than the company’s previous disbursement of $0.17 per share, which was paid in mid-April.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Northern Trust Corporation(NTRS)

Northern Trust Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides asset servicing, fund administration, asset management, and fiduciary and banking solutions for corporations, institutions, families, and individuals worldwide. The company offers corporate and institutional services, including global master trust and custody, trade settlement, and reporting; fund administration; cash management; investment risk and performance analytical services; investment operations outsourcing; and transition management and commission recapture services. It also provides personal financial services, such as personal trust, investment management, custody, and philanthropic services; financial consulting; guardianship and estate administration; brokerage services; and private and business banking services, as well as customized products and services. In addition, the company offers active and passive equity and fixed income portfolio management, as well as alternative asset classes comprisin g private equity and hedge funds of funds, and multi-manager products and advisory services. Further, it engages in fund administration, investment operations outsourcing, and custody business that provides specialized services to a range of funds, which include money-market, multi-manager, exchange-traded funds, and property funds for on-shore and off-shore markets. Additionally, the company provides administrative and middle-office services consisting of trade processing, valuation, real-time reporting, accounting, collateral management, and investor servicing. Northern Trust Corporation was founded in 1889 and is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By E.S. Browning]

    This view is spreading. When Northern Trust(NTRS) surveyed 100 outside investment managers at the end of last year, 34% called themselves more risk averse, up from 20% in the third quarter. Only 36% said U.S. stocks are undervalued.

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Northern Trust (NASDAQ: NTRS  )

    To earn their high scores, the companies above engaged in a variety of good practices, including applying their human rights policy to their suppliers and vendors, and committing to quantifiable targets and goals.

  • [By Holly LaFon]

    In the fourth quarter, Yacktman’s biggest additions to his holdings were Research In Motion (RIMM) and Avon Products (AVP). He also surprised followers by venturing into financials, with new positions in Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC), State Street Corp. (STT) and Northern Trust Corp. (NTRS).

5 Best Bank Stocks To Invest In Right Now: Umpqua Holdings Corp (UMPQ)

Umpqua Holdings Corporation (Umpqua) is a financial holding company. Umpqua has two principal operating subsidiaries, Umpqua Bank (the Bank) and Umpqua Investments, Inc. (Umpqua Investments). The Bank is primarily engaged in the business of commercial and retail banking and the delivery of retail brokerage services. The Bank provides a range of banking, wealth management, mortgage banking and other financial services to corporate, institutional and individual customers. Umpqua Investments is a broker-dealer and investment advisor with offices in Portland, Lake Oswego, Medford, Oregon, and in many Umpqua Bank stores. Umpqua Investments offers a range of investment products and services, including stocks, fixed income securities (municipal, corporate, and government bonds, Certificate of Deposits (CDs), and money market instruments), mutual funds, annuities, options, retirement planning, money management services and life insurance. In December 2011, the Bank launched a comm ercial real estate division. In November 2012, the Company acquired Circle Bancorp, parent company of Circle Bank. In July 2013, Umpqua Holdings Corp completed its acquisition of Financial Pacific Holding Corp.

The Company offers a Switch Kit, which allows a customer to open a primary checking account with Umpqua Bank in less than 10 minutes. Other avenues, through which customers can access its products, include its Website equipped with an e-switchkit, which includes Internet banking through umpqua.online, mobile banking, and its 24-hour telephone voice response system. Umpqua Private Bank serves high net worth individuals with liquid investable assets by providing customized financial solutions and offerings. Umpqua private bank works collaboratively with the Bank’s affiliate retail brokerage Umpqua Investments and with the independent capital management firm Ferguson Wellman Capital Management. Umpqua Investments provides a range of brokerage services, inc luding equity and fixed income products, mutual funds, annui! ties, options, retirement planning and money management services. Additionally, Umpqua Investments offers life insurance policies. At December 31, 2011, Umpqua Investments had 41Series seven-licensed financial advisors serving clients at three stand-alone retail brokerage offices and Investment Opportunity Centers located in many Bank stores.

Lending Activities

Umpqua offers loans for business and commercial customers, including accounts receivable and inventory financing, equipment loans, international trade, real estate construction loans and permanent financing and SBA program financing, as well as capital markets and treasury management. Additionally, it offers designed loan products for small businesses through its Small Business Lending Center. It also has a business banking division to increase lending to small and mid-sized businesses. The Company is also engaged in initiatives that continue to diversify the loan portfolio, including a focu s on commercial and industrial loans in addition to financing owner-occupied properties.

Real estate loans are available for construction, purchase and refinancing of residential owner-occupied and rental properties. Borrowers can choose from a variety of fixed and adjustable rate options and terms. It sells residential real estate loans that originate into the secondary market. It also supports the Home Affordable Refinance Program and Home Affordable Modification Program. The Bank also provide loans to individual borrowers for a variety of purposes, including secured and unsecured personal loans, home equity and personal lines of credit and motor vehicle loans. The Bank makes both secured and unsecured loans to individuals and businesses. During 2011, its commercial real estate, commercial, residential, and consumer and other represented approximately 64%, 25%, 10%, and 1%, respectively, of the total non-covered loan and lease portfolio.

Source of Funds

The Company offers an array of deposit p! roducts, ! including non-interest-bearing checking accounts, interest-bearing checking and savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. These accounts earn interest at rates established by management based on market factors. It also offers a seniors program to customers over fifty years old, which includes an array of banking services and other amenities, such as purchase discounts, vacation trips and seminars.

Investment Activities

As of December 31, 2011, Umpqua’s portfolio of investments securities included securities issued by United States Treasury and agencies, and residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized mortgage obligations. It also includes obligations of states and political subdivisions, other debt securities, and investments in mutual funds and other equity securities.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Umpqua (UMPQ) is engaged in the business of commercial and retail banking and the delivery of retail brokerage services. This stock closed up 5% at $17.11 in Monday’s trading session.

    Monday’s Volume: 2.16 million

    Three-Month Average Volume: 686,781

    Volume % Change: 235%

    From a technical perspective, UMPQ ripped sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $16.51 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of UMPQ within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if UMPQ manages to take out Monday’s intraday high of $17.46 and then once it clears its 52-week high at $17.48 with high volume.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in UMPQ as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $16.51 or above more near-term support at $16 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that’s near or above 686,781 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then UMPQ will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $20 to $23.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Invest In Right Now: FirstMerit Corporation(FMER)

FirstMerit Corporation operates as the bank holding company for FirstMerit Bank, N.A. that provides a range of banking, fiduciary, financial, insurance, and investment services to corporate, institutional, and individual customers in northern and central Ohio, and western Pennsylvania. The company?s commercial business offers commercial term loans, revolving credit arrangements, asset-based lending, leasing, commercial mortgages, real estate construction lending, letters of credit, cash management services, and other depository products. Its retail business provides various financial products and services, including consumer direct and indirect installment loans, debit and credit cards, debit gift cards, residential mortgage loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, fixed and variable annuities, and ATM network services, as well as deposit products comprising checking, savings, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. The company?s wealth business provides a sset management, private banking, financial planning, estate settlement and administration, and credit and deposit products and services. FirstMerit Corporation also offers trust and investment services, including personal trust and planning, and investment management; retirement plan services; retail mutual funds, other securities, variable and fixed annuities, personal disability and life insurance products, and brokerage services; and private banking services, including credit, deposit, and asset management solutions. As of December 31, 2009, it operated a network of 160 full service banking offices and 182 ATMs. The company was founded in 1855 and is headquartered in Akron, Ohio.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tim Melvin]

    The year ahead should be a great one for the smaller bank stocks. Larger regionals like Huntington Bancorp (HBAN) and Capital Ban Financial (CBF) have made it clear they intend to grow by acquisition in the years ahead. Banks like First Merit (FMER) and First Merchants (FRME) have done deals in the past year and are open to doing more to increase their market share and footprints. This should be the year the floodgates open and we see the first wave of merger activity in small banks.