5 Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now

LONDON — The shares of BP  (LSE: BP  ) (NYSE: BP  ) climbed 12 pence to 469 pence during early London trade this morning after the FTSE 100 member reported a first-quarter profit of $17 billion.

BP said the performance was bolstered by the disposal of the group’s TNK-BP operation, which was sold to Rosneft during the period and prompted an accounting gain of $12 billion.

Adjusting for the TNK-BP sale and other items, BP said its underlying profit for January, February and March came to $4.2 billion — some $400 million less than the underlying level achieved during the first quarter of 2012.

The oil group also claimed the TNK-BP disposal had helped net debt reduce from $31 billion to $17.7 billion during the 12 months to March 2013. Gearing was calculated to be 11.9%, and within the lower half of the firm’s 10%-20% target range.

Notably, BP said the gain following TNK-BP disposal would be exempt from UK corporation tax under the provisions of the substantial shareholdings exemption introduced for U.K, companies in 2002.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now: New York Community Bancorp Inc (NYCB)

New York Community Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company and a producer of multi-family mortgage loans in New York City, with an emphasis on apartment buildings that feature below-market rents. It has two bank subsidiaries: New York Community Bank (the Community Bank),New York Commercial Bank (the Commercial Bank. The Community Bank has 241 branches and operates through seven divisional banks. The Commercial Bank has 34 branches in Manhattan and operates 17 of its branches under the divisional name Atlantic Bank.

During the year ended December 31, 2011, all of the one-to-four family loans the Company originated was sold to government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). In New York, the Company serves its Community Bank customers through Roslyn Savings Bank, with 55 branches on Long Island; Queens County Savings Bank, with 34 branches in the New York City borough of Queens; Richmond County Savings Bank, with 22 branches in the borough of Staten Island, and Roosevel t Savings Bank, with eight branches in the borough of Brooklyn. As of December 31, 2011, in the Bronx and neighboring Westchester County, the Company had four branches that operated directly under the name New York Community Bank.

In New Jersey, the Company serves its Community Bank customers through 51 branches that operate under the name Garden State Community Bank. In Florida and Arizona, where it has 25 and 14 branches, respectively, the Company serves its customers through the AmTrust Bank (AmTrust) division of the Community Bank. In Ohio, the Company serves its Community Bank customers through 28 branches of Ohio Savings Bank. Customers of the Community Bank and the Commercial Bank have access to their accounts through 261 of its 285 automatic teller machines (ATMs) locations in five states. The Company also serves its customers through three Websites, which include www.myNYCB.com, www.NewYorkCommercialBank.com and www.NYCBfamily.com.

Lending Activities

The Company’s principal asset is l! oans. Its loan portfolio consists of three components: covered loans, non-covered loans held for sale and non-covered loans held for investment. As of December 31, 2011, the balance of covered loans was $3.8 billion, of which $3.4 billion were one-to-four family loans. Non-covered loans held for sale consists of the one-to-four family loans that are originated for sale, primarily to GSEs. At December 31, 2011, the held-for-sale loan portfolio totaled $1.0 billion

As of December 31, 2011, loans held for investment consisted of loans that it originates for its own portfolio, and totaled $ 25.5 billion.

In addition to multi-family loans, loans held for investment include commercial real estate loans (CRE); acquisition, development and construction (ADC) loans; commercial and industrial loans (C&I), and one-to-four family loans. As of December 31, 2011, its multi-family loans represented $17.4 billion, or 68.3%, of total loans held for investment, and represe nted $5.8 billion, or 64.1%, of the total loans that it originated for investment. The multi-family loans it originates are typically secured by non-luxury apartment buildings in New York City. It also makes multi-family loans to property owners who are seeking to expand their real estate holdings by purchasing additional properties.

As of December 31, 2011, CRE loans represented $6.9 billion, or 26.9%, of total held for investment; ADC loans represented $445.7 million, or 1.7%, of total loans held for investment. Its ADC loan portfolio consists of loans that were originated for land acquisition, development, and construction of multi-family and residential tract projects in New York City and Long Island.

C&I loans represented $600.0 million, or 2.4%, of total held for investment. It also offers a range of loans to small and mid-size businesses for working capital (including inventory and receivables), business expansion, and the purchase of equipment and machinery. Non-covered one-to-four family loans totaled $127! .4 millio! n at December 31, 2011.

Investment Activities

The Company’s securities portfolio primarily consists of mortgage-related securities, and debt and equity (other) securities. Its investments include GSE certificates, GSE collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and GSE debentures. The Community Bank and the Commercial Bank are members of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLB-NY), one of 12 regional Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBs) consisting of the FHLB system. As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s securities represented $4.5 billion, or 10.8%, of total assets. As of December 31, 2011, 93.7% of its securities portfolio consisted of GSE obligations; held-to-maturity securities represented $3.8 billion, or 84.0%, of total securities, and its investment in bank-owned life insurance (BOLI) was $769.0 million.

Source of Funds

The Company has four primary funding sources. These include the deposits that it added throug h its acquisitions or gathered through its branch network, and brokered deposits; wholesale borrowings, primarily in the form of FHLB advances and repurchase agreements with the FHLB and various brokerage firms; cash flows produced by the repayment and sale of loans, and cash flows produced by securities repayments and sales. As of December 31, 2011, deposits totaled $ 22.3 billion, which included certificates of deposit (CDs) of $7.4 billion; negotiable order withdrawal (NOW) and money market accounts of $8.8 billion; savings accounts of $ 4.0 billion, and non-interest-bearing accounts of $2.2 billion. As of December 31, 2011, the Company’s borrowed funds totaled $14.0 billion, loan repayments and sales generated cash flows of $15.0 billion, and securities sales and repayments generated cash flows of $4.2 billion.

Subsidiary Activities

As of December 31, 2011, Community Bank had 34 subsidiary corporations. Of these, 22 are direct subsidiaries of the Community Bank and 12 are subsidiaries of Community Bank! -owned en! tities. The 22 direct subsidiaries of the Community Bank include DHB Real Estate, LLC, Mt. Sinai Ventures, LLC, NYCB Community Development Corp., NYCB Mortgage Company, LLC, Eagle Rock Investment Corp., Pacific Urban Renewal, Inc., Somerset Manor Holding Corp., Synergy Capital Investments, Inc., 1400 Corp., BSR 1400 Corp., Bellingham Corp., Blizzard Realty Corp., CFS Investments, Inc., Main Omni Realty Corp., NYB Realty Holding Company, LLC, O.B. Ventures, LLC, RCBK Mortgage Corp., RCSB Corporation, RSB Agency, Inc., Richmond Enterprises, Inc. and Roslyn National Mortgage Corporation.

The 12 subsidiaries of Community Bank-owned entities include Bronx Realty Funding Company, LLC, Columbia Preferred Capital Corporation, Ferry Development Holding Company, Peter B. Cannell & Co., Inc., Roslyn Real Estate Asset Corp., Walnut Realty Funding Company, LLC, Woodhaven Investments Inc, Your New REO, LLC, Ironbound Investment Company, Inc.,The Hamlet at Olde Oyster Bay, LLC , The Hamlet at Willow Creek, LLC and Richmond County Capital Corporation.

The two direct subsidiaries of the Commercial Bank include Beta Investments, Inc., and Gramercy Leasing Services, Inc. The two subsidiaries of Commercial Bank-owned entities include Omega Commercial Mortgage Corp. and Long Island Commercial Capital Corp.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tim Melvin]

    Khan was not incredibly active in the quarter, which isn’t surprising — he follows strict buying criteria related to book value and margin of safety, and tends to hold for much longer than most investors. Khan Brothers did take a stake in embattled smart phone company Blackberry (BBRY), which has gone on the auction block. The firm also upped its stake in BP (BP) by more than 500% during the third quarter and bought more shares of New York Community Bank (NYCB).

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    Among holdings in which Kahn Brothers increased its stake were New York Community Bancorp (NYSE: NYCB  ) and oil giant BP (NYSE: BP  ) . New York Community Bancorp, known for prudent management of credit risk, has grown by an annual average of 28%(!) since its IPO in 1993. It has been buying other banks and expanding its commercial and industrial lending business. The bank’s third quarter featured estimate-topping earnings (albeit lower than those from a year ago) and improving credit quality. Some see the bank’s sizable multifamily loan portfolio as a particularly promising asset, offering refinancing-related income. New York Community Bancorp stock sports a whopping 6.2% dividend yield.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now: HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC)

HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC), incorporated on January 1, 1959, is a global banking and financial services organizations. As of December 31, 2010, it provided a range of financial services to around 95 million customers through two customer groups, Personal Financial Services (PFS), including consumer finance, and Commercial Banking (CMB), and two global businesses, Global Banking and Markets (GB&M), and Global Private Banking (GPB). Its international network covers 87 countries and territories in six geographical regions; Europe, Hong Kong, Rest of Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, North America and Latin America. As of December 31, 2010, the Company had an international network of some 7,500 offices in 87 countries and territories in six geographical regions; Europe, Hong Kong, Rest of Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, North America and Latin America. PFS incorporates the Company’s consumer finance businesses, which include HSBC Finance Corporation (HSBC Finance). In April 2011, the Company closed its retail banking operation in Russia. In July 2011, the Company sold its unsecured written-off personal loan and credit card portfolio to J M Financial Asset Reconstruction Co. Pvt. Ltd. On May 20, 2012, HSBC Holdings PLC’s wholly owned subsidiary HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and other wholly owned subsidiaries, sold 195 retail branches to First Niagara Bank, N.A. (First Niagara). In May 2012, the Company’s 70.03% owned subsidiary, HSBC Bank Malta plc, sold its card acquiring business to HSBC Merchant Services Ltd. In June 2012, the Company’s indirect wholly owned subsidiary, HSBC Iris Investments (Mauritius) Ltd, sold its 4.73% interest in Axis Bank Limited and 4.74% interest in Yes Bank Limited. In July 2012, its subsidiary, HSBC Europe (Netherlands B.V.), sold its 100% interest in HSBC Credit Zrt, to CentralFund Kockazati Tokealap. On March 31, 2013, Enstar Group Ltd’s subsidiary completed the acquisition from Household Insurance Group Holding Company of HSBC Insurance Company of Delaware and Household Life Insur! ance Company of Delaware, as well as its three subsidiary insurers.

The Company’s principal banking operations in Europe are HSBC Bank plc in the United Kingdom, HSBC France, HSBC Bank A.S. in Turkey, HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) S.A. and HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt AG. Through these operations it provides a range of banking, treasury and financial services to personal, commercial and corporate customers across Europe. HSBC’s banking subsidiaries in Hong Kong are The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and Hang Seng Bank Limited.

The Company offers a range of banking and financial services in the People’s Republic of China, mainly through its local subsidiary, HSBC Bank (China) Company Limited. It also participates indirectly in the People’s Republic of China through its four associates. Outside Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China, it conducts business in 22 countries and territories in the Rest of Asia-Pacific region, through branches and subsidiaries of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, with coverage in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

In the Middle East, the Company has network of branches of HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, together with HSBC’s subsidiaries and associates. Its North American businesses are located in the United States, Canada and Bermuda. Operations in the United States are conducted through HSBC Bank USA, N.A., which is concentrated in New York State, and HSBC Finance, a national consumer finance company based near Chicago. HSBC Markets (USA) Inc. is the intermediate holding company of, inter alia, HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. HSBC Bank Canada and HSBC Bank Bermuda operate in their respective countries.

The Company’s operations in Latin America consists of HSBC Bank Brasil S.A.-Banco Multiplo, HSBC Mexico, S.A., HSBC Bank Argentina S.A. and HSBC Bank (Panama) S.A. In addition to bankin g services, it operates insurance businesses in Brazil, Mexi! co, Argen! tina, Panama and a range of smaller markets.

Personal Financial Services

PFS offers the Company’s products and services to customers based on their individual needs. Premier and Advance services are for customers who value international connectivity and benefit from its global reach and scale. It offers a range of banking products and services reflecting local requirements. In addition, it issues card globally, offering HSBC branded cards, co-branded cards with selected partners and private label (store) cards. Its customer offerings include personal banking products, including current and savings accounts, mortgages and personal loans, credit cards, debit cards and local and international payment services, and wealth management services, including insurance and investment products and financial planning services.

HSBC Premier provides preferential banking services to high net worth customers and their immediate families with a rela tionship manager, wealth advice and solutions. Customers can access emergency travel assistance, telephone banking and an online global view of their Premier accounts globally with free money transfers between them. HSBC Advance provides a range of preferential products and services customized to meet local needs. With a telephone service, access to wealth advice and online tools to support financial planning, it gives customers an online global view of their Advance accounts with money transfers between them. Wealth Solutions & Financial Planning process designed for global individual customer needs to help its clients to protect, grow and manage their wealth through investment and wealth insurance products manufactured by in-house partners, including Global Asset Management, Global Markets and HSBC Insurance, and by selected third party providers. During 2010, PFS provided 92 million individual and self-employed customers with financial services in over 60 markets globally .

Commercial Banking

The Company ! segments ! its CMB business into Corporate, to serve both Corporate and Mid-Market companies, and Business Banking, to serve the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) sector. It provides support to companies as they expand both domestically and internationally, and ensures a focus on the business banking segments. It offers a range of financing, both domestic and cross-border, including overdrafts, receivables finance, term loans and syndicated, leveraged, acquisition and project finance. Asset finance is offered in selected sites, focused on leasing and instalment finance for vehicles, plant and equipment. It is a provider of domestic and cross-border payments and collections, liquidity management and account services globally, delivered through its e-platform, HSBC net. It provides international trade products and services, to both buyers and suppliers, such as export finance, guarantees, documentary collections and forfeiting to improve efficiency and help mitigate risk throu ghout the supply chain.

CMB customers are volume users of its foreign exchange, derivatives and structured products. Capital markets & advisory is raising capital on debt and equity markets and provide advisory services. Commercial cards issuing helps customers enhance cash management, credit control and purchasing. Card acquiring services enable merchants to accept credit and debit card payments in person or remotely. CMB offers key person, employee benefits and a range of commercial risk insurance, such as property, cargo and trade credit. Direct channels include online and direct banking offerings, such as telephone banking, HSBCnet and Business Internet Banking.

Global Banking and Markets

GB&M provides tailored financial solutions to government, corporate and institutional clients and private investors globally. Managed as a global business, GB&M operates a long-term relationship management approach to build a understanding of clie nts’ financial requirements. Sector-focused client service! teams co! nsisting of relationship managers and product specialists develop financial solutions to meet individual client needs. GB&M is managed as four principal business lines: Global Markets, Global Banking, Global Asset Management and Principal Investments.

Global Markets operations consist of treasury and capital markets services. Products include foreign exchange; currency, interest rate, bond, credit, equity and other derivatives; government and non-government fixed income and money market instruments; precious metals and exchange-traded futures; equity services; distribution of capital markets instruments, and securities services, including custody and clearing services and funds administration to both domestic and cross-border investors. Global Banking offers financing, advisory and transaction services. Its products include capital raising, advisory services, bilateral and syndicated lending, leveraged and acquisition finance, structured and project finance, le ase finance and non-retail deposit taking; international, regional and domestic payments and cash management services; and trade services for large corporate clients.

Global Asset Management offers investment solutions to institutions, financial intermediaries and individual investors globally. Principal Investments includes its relationships with third-party private equity managers and other investments. GB&M is a global business, which provides financial solutions to government, corporate and institutional clients globally.

Global Private Banking

GPB works with the Company’s high net worth clients to offer ways to manage and preserve wealth. HSBC Private Bank is the principal marketing name of its international private banking business, GPB. GPB works with its clients to offer both ways to manage and preserve wealth while optimising returns. GPB accesses six advisory centers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Geneva, New York, Paris and Lon don. Private Banking services consist of multi-currency depo! sit accou! nts and fiduciary deposits, credit and specialist lending, treasury trading services, cash management, securities custody and clearing. GPB works to ensure that its clients have access to other products and services available in HSBC, such as credit cards, Internet banking, corporate banking and investment banking.

Private Wealth Management consists of both advisory and discretionary investment services. A range of investment vehicles is covered, including bonds, equities, derivatives, options, futures, structured products, mutual funds and alternatives (hedge funds, private equity and real estate). Corporate Finance Solutions helps provide clients with solutions for their companies, working in conjunction with GB&M. Private Wealth Solutions consist of planning, trustee and other fiduciary services to protect wealth and preserve it for future generations. Its expertise includes trusts, foundation and company administration, charitable trusts and foundations, in surance, family office advisory and philanthropy.

Other

The Company’s Other contains the results of certain property transactions and unallocated investment activities. It also includes centrally held investment companies, movements in fair value of own debt, HSBC’s holding company and financing operations.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sara Sjolin]

    Banks posted some of the biggest gains in London, with Barclays PLC (UK:BARC)   (BCS)  up 1.6%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (UK:RBS)   (RBS)  rising 1.1% and sector heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC (UK:HSBA)   (HBC)   (HK:5)  0.7% higher.

  • [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 Sara Sjolin]

    Banks led the benchmark lower, with Société Générale SA (FR:GLE)  down 2.1% in Paris, HSBC Holdings PLC (UK:HSBA) (HBC)   (HK:5)  off 1.4% in London, and Banco Santander SA (ES:SAN)   (SAN)  1.6% lower in Madrid.

  • [By Barbara Kollmeyer]

    U.S.-listed shares of HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC)   (UK:HSBA)  could rise after the investment bank reported a 30% rise in third-quarter pretax profit, news that boosted shares more than 2% in London.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now: 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?

5 Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now: Akbank TAS (AKBNK)

Akbank TAS (Akbank) is a Turkey-based commercial bank. The Bank operates in five segments: the Retail banking segment offers a range of retail services, such as deposit accounts, consumer loans, commercial installment loans, credit cards, insurance products and asset management services; the Corporate and Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SME) banking segment provides financial solutions and banking services to large, medium and small size corporate and commercial customers; the Treasury Activities segment conducts regional and foreign currency spot and forward transactions, treasury bonds, government bonds, Eurobond and private sector bond transactions, as well as derivative trading activities; the Private banking segment offers banking and investment transactions for upper-income groups, and the International banking segment provides services for foreign trade financing, foreign currency and Turkish Lira (TL) clearances, and money transfers through agent financial institut ions. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Julia Leite]

    Turkey’s equity benchmark rallied as Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS and Akbank TAS (AKBNK) advanced at least 5.4 percent. The lira gained for the fourth day.

  • [By Anuchit Nguyen]

    The Borsa Istanbul National 100 Index capped the longest slide since July 26 as Akbank TAS (AKBNK) and Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS dropped at least 2.9 percent.

5 Best Bank Stocks To Watch Right Now: Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc (CFR)

Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. (Cullen/Frost), incorporated in 1977, is a financial holding company and a bank holding company. The Company offers commercial and consumer banking services, as well as trust and investment management, mutual funds, Section 1031 property exchange services, investment banking, insurance, brokerage, leasing, asset-based lending, treasury management and item processing services. At December 31, 2011, Cullen/Frost had consolidated total assets of $20.3 billion. The Company operates in two segments: Banking and Frost Wealth Advisors. The Company serves a variety of industries including, among others, energy, manufacturing, services, construction, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, military and transportation. On January 1, 2012, the Company acquired Stone Partners, Inc., a Houston-based human resources consulting firm that specializes in compensation, benefits and outsourcing services. During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company acquired an insurance agency in the San Antonio market area.

Cullen/Frost’s subsidiaries include The New Galveston Company, Cullen/Frost Capital Trust II (Trust II), The Frost National Bank (Frost Bank), Frost Insurance Agency, Inc., Frost Brokerage Services, Inc. (FBS), Frost Premium Finance Corporation, Frost Investment Advisors, LLC, Frost 1031 Exchange, LLC, Frost Securities, Inc. and Main Plaza Corporation. The Banking operating segment includes both commercial and consumer banking services, Frost Securities, Inc. and Frost Insurance Agency. Commercial banking services are provided to corporations and other business clients and include an array of lending and cash management products. Consumer banking services include direct lending and depository services. Frost Insurance Agency provides insurance brokerage services to individuals and businesses covering corporate and personal property and casualty products, as well as group health and life insurance products. F rost Securities, Inc. provides advisory and private equity s! ervices to middle market companies. The Frost Wealth Advisors operating segment includes fee-based services within private trust, retirement services, and financial management services, including personal wealth management and brokerage services. The parent company’s principal activities include the direct and indirect ownership of the Corporation’s banking and non-banking subsidiaries and the issuance of debt and equity.

The New Galveston Company

The New Galveston Company is a wholly owned second-tier financial holding company and bank holding company. The Company directly owns all of Cullen/Frost’s banking and non-banking subsidiaries with the exception of Cullen/Frost Capital Trust II.

Cullen/Frost Capital Trust II

Trust II is a business trust formed for the purpose of issuing trust preferred securities and lending the proceeds to Cullen/Frost. Trust II is a variable interest entity for which the Company is not t he primary beneficiary.

The Frost National Bank

The Frost National Bank (Frost Bank) is primarily engaged in the business of commercial and consumer banking through approximately 115 financial centers across Texas in the Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio regions. At December 31, 2011, Frost Bank had consolidated total assets of $20.3 billion and total deposits of $16.8 billion. Frost Bank provides commercial banking services to corporations and other business clients. Loans are made for a variety of general corporate purposes, including financing for industrial and commercial properties and to a lesser extent, financing for interim construction related to industrial and commercial properties, financing for equipment, inventories and accounts receivable, and acquisition financing, as well as commercial leasing and treasury management services.

Frost Bank provides a range of consumer b anking services, including checking accounts, savings progra! ms, autom! ated teller machines, overdraft facilities, installment and real estate loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, drive-in and night deposit services, safe deposit facilities, and brokerage services. Frost Bank provides international banking services to customers residing in or dealing with businesses located in Mexico. These services consist of accepting deposits, making loans, issuing letters of credit, handling foreign collections, transmitting funds, and to a limited extent, dealing in foreign exchange.

Frost Bank acts as correspondent for approximately 316 financial institutions, which are primarily banks in Texas. These banks maintain deposits with Frost Bank, which offers them a range of services, including check clearing, transfer of funds, fixed income security services, and securities custody and clearance services. Frost Bank provides a range of trust, investment, agency and custodial services for individual and corporate clients. These services i nclude the administration of estates and personal trusts, as well as the management of investment accounts for individuals, employee benefit plans and charitable foundations. Frost Bank’s Capital Markets Division offers services, such as sales and trading, new issue underwriting, money market trading, and securities safekeeping and clearance.

Frost Insurance Agency, Inc.

Frost Insurance Agency, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Frost Bank. Frost Insurance Agency, Inc. provides insurance brokerage services to individuals and businesses covering corporate and personal property and casualty insurance products, as well as group health and life insurance products.

Frost Brokerage Services, Inc.

FBS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Frost Bank. FBS provides brokerage services and performs other transactions or operations related to the sale and purchase of securities of all types.

Frost Premium Finance Corporat ion

Frost Premium Finance Corporation is a who! lly owned! subsidiary of Frost Bank. Frost Premium Finance Corporation makes loans to qualified borrowers for the purpose of financing their purchase of property and casualty insurance.

Frost Investment Advisors, LLC

Frost Investment Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor entity and a wholly owned subsidiary of Frost Bank. Frost Investment Advisors, LLC provides investors access to various Frost-managed mutual funds.

Frost 1031 Exchange, LLC

Frost 1031 Exchange, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Frost Bank. Frost 1031 Exchange, LLC assists customers in structuring the exchange of property such that the transactions result in a tax-deferred exchange in compliance with Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Frost Securities, Inc.

Frost Securities, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The New Galveston Company. Frost Securities, Inc. provides advisory and private equity services to middle m arket companies in Texas.

Main Plaza Corporation

Main Plaza Corporation is a wholly owned non-banking subsidiary of The New Galveston Company. Main Plaza Corporation occasionally makes loans to qualified borrowers.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sarah Jones]

    Richemont (CFR) rallied 8.3 percent to 73.80 Swiss francs, the biggest gain since December 2008. The Swiss company said full- year net income climbed about 30 percent as the dollar’s strength against the euro boosted sales growth. Analysts had expected a 25 percent gain in profit, according to the average of 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

  • [By Jack Adamo]

    Steve Halpern: Another new recommendation is Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR). There you’ve been recommending the 5.375% Perpetual Preferred Series A (CFR-PA). Now, you call Cullen/Frost one of the best little banks in Texas. What makes this such an attractive issue?

  • [By Sofia Horta e Costa]

    Sanofi fell 2.6 percent after withdrawing a U.S. application for a diabetes drug. Cie. Financiere Richemont (CFR) SA dropped 2.3 percent as revenue missed analysts’ estimates. Vivendi SA advanced 2.7 percent after saying it will begin a formal study to separate its French phone unit from its media businesses. Home Retail Group Plc (HOME) surged 5.4 percent to a two-year high as sales exceeded projections.