Top 5 Bank Stocks To Buy Right Now

Although business headlines still tout earnings numbers, many investors have moved past net earnings as a measure of a company’s economic output. That’s because earnings are very often less trustworthy than cash flow, since earnings are more open to manipulation based on dubious judgment calls.

Earnings’ unreliability is one of the reasons Foolish investors often flip straight past the income statement to check the cash flow statement. In general, by taking a close look at the cash moving in and out of the business, you can better understand whether the last batch of earnings brought money into the company, or merely disguised a cash gusher with a pretty headline.

Calling all cash flows
When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on WNS (NYSE: WNS  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

Top 5 Bank Stocks To Buy Right Now: BNP Paribas SA (BNP)

BNP Paribas SA is a France-based bank group with four core businesses: Retail Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, Investment Solutions and Other Activities. Retail Banking comprises the French retail banking division, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro in Italy, BeLux Retail Banking, Europe-Mediterranean, all BNP Paribas Group retail banking businesses out of Euro Zone: in the United States, in Asia, in the Mediterranean Basin and Africa, in Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, personal finance and equipment solutions. The Corporate & Investment Banking business provides to its clients financing, advisory and capital markets services. The Investment Solutions division offers private banking, asset management, securities services, real estate and insurance services. In November 2013, the Company launched ‘Hello Bank!’, a mobile, digital bank operating in France, Belgium and Germany. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Namitha Jagadeesh]

    BNP Paribas SA (BNP), Societe Generale SA (GLE) and Credit Agricole SA (ACA), France’s largest banks by market value, reported second-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Paris-based Societe Generale, which said income more than doubled from a year earlier, trades at 10.8 times projected earnings, 64 percent below its 2009 high. Credit Agricole trades at 8.6 times projected profit and BNP Paribas at 10.7 times, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Top 5 Bank Stocks To Buy Right Now: National Bank of Canada (NBC)

National Bank of Canada (the Bank) is a bank. The Bank provides integrated financial services to retail, commercial and corporate/institutional clients. The Bank’s offerings include securities brokerage, insurance, wealth management, mutual and pension-fund management as well as banking and investment solutions across three business segments: Personal and Commercial, Wealth Management, and Financial Markets. The Personal and Commercial segment meets the financial needs of some 2.4 million retail banking clients and approximately 130,000 business clients throughout Canada. The Wealth Management segment includes National Bank Financial Wealth Management and National Bank Direct Brokerage Inc. The Financial Markets segment provides banking and investment banking services. On August 1, 2012, Maple Group Acquisition Corporation (Maple) acquired Alpha Trading Systems Inc., Alpha Trading Systems Limited Partnership and The Canadian Depository for Securities Limited. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By USATODAY 2:27 p.m. EST February 4]

    NBC's Winter Olympics app.(Photo: NBC)

    You can follow the Sochi games digitally on NBCOlympics.com or on the NBC Sports Live Extra app — available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. The Live Extra app is free and getting a refresh in time for the Olympics. It also covers other sports NBC is involved in, including the NHL, PGA Tour and Triple Crown Horse Racing.

Top 5 Bank Stocks To Buy Right Now: BB&T Corp (BBT)

BB&T Corporation (BB&T) is a financial holding company. BB&T conducts its business operations primarily through its commercial bank subsidiary, Branch Banking and Trust Company (Branch Bank), which has offices in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Washington D.C and Indiana. In addition, BB&T’s operations consist of a federally chartered thrift institution, BB&T Financial, FSB (BB&T FSB), and a number of nonbank subsidiaries, which offer financial services products. BB&T’s operations are divided into six business segments: Community Banking, Residential Mortgage Banking, Dealer Financial Services, Specialized Lending, Insurance Services, and Financial Services. Branch Bank provides a range of banking and trust services for retail and commercial clients in its geographic markets, including small and mid-size businesses, public agencies, local Governments and individuals, through 1,779 offices as of December 31, 2011. During the year ended December 31, 2011, BB&T announced the acquisitions of Liberty Benefit Insurance Services, Atlantic Risk Management Corporation and the Precept Group. In April 2012, it acquired the life and property and casualty insurance operating divisions of Roseland, New Jersey – based Crump Group Inc. On July 31, 2012, it acquired BankAtlantic.

As of December 31, 2011, the principal operating subsidiaries of BB&T included Branch Banking and Trust Company, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; BB&T Financial, FSB, Columbus, Georgia; Scott & Stringfellow, LLC, Richmond, Virginia; Clearview Correspondent Services, LLC, Richmond, Virginia; Regional Acceptance Corporation, Greenville, North Carolina; American Coastal Insurance Company, Davie, Florida, and Sterling Capital Management, LLC, Charlotte, North Carolina. Branch Bank’s principal operating subsidiaries include BB&T Equipment Finance Corporation, BB&T Investment Services , Inc., BB&T Insurance Services, Inc., Stanley, Hunt, DuPree! & Rhine (a division of Branch Bank), Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation, Inc., Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, LLC, Lendmark Financial Services, Inc., CRC Insurance Services, Inc. and McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc.

Community Banking

BB&T’s Community Banking serves individual and business clients by offering a range of loan and deposit products and other financial services. As of December 31, 2011, Community Banking had a network of 1,779 banking.

Residential Mortgage Banking

Residential Mortgage Banking segment retains and services mortgage loans originated by Community Banking, as well as those purchased from various correspondent originators. Mortgage loan products include fixed and adjustable rate Government and conventional loans for the purpose of constructing, purchasing or refinancing residential properties. Substantially all of the properties are owner occupied. BB&T retains the servicing rights to all loans sold. Residential Mortgage Banking earns interest on loans held in the warehouse and portfolio, fee income from the origination and servicing of mortgage loans and recognizes gains or losses from the sale of mortgage loans. BB&T’s mortgage originations totaled $23.7 billion in 2011. BB&T’s residential mortgage servicing portfolio, which includes both retained loans and loans serviced for third parties, totaled $91.6 billion in 2011.

Dealer Financial Services

Dealer Financial Services originates loans to consumers on a prime and nonprime basis for the purchase of automobiles. Such loans are originated on an indirect basis through approved franchised and independent automobile dealers throughout the BB&T market area and nationally through Regional Acceptance Corporation. This segment also originates loans for the purchase of boats and recreational vehicles originated through dealers in BB&T’s market area. In addition, financing and servi cing to dealers for their inventories is provided through a ! joint rel! ationship between Dealer Financial Services and Community Banking.

Specialized Lending

BB&T’s Specialized Lending consists of eight business units that provide specialty finance products to consumers and businesses. The internal business units include Commercial Finance that contains commercial finance and mortgage warehouse lending; and, Governmental Finance that is responsible for tax-exempt Government finance. Operating subsidiaries include BB&T Equipment Finance which provides equipment leasing within BB&T’s banking footprint; Sheffield Financial, a division of FSB Financial, a dealer-based financer of equipment for both small businesses and consumers; Lendmark Financial Services, a direct consumer finance lending company; Prime Rate Premium Finance Corporation, which includes AFCO and CAFO, insurance premium finance business units that provide funding to businesses in the United States and Canada and to consumers in certain markets within BB&T’s banking footprint, and Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, a commercial mortgage banking lender providing loans on a national basis.

Insurance Services

BB&T Insurance Services provides property and casualty, life and health insurance to businesses and individuals. It also provides small business and corporate products, such as workers compensation and professional liability, as well as surety coverage and title insurance. In addition, Insurance Services also underwrites a limited amount of property and casualty coverage.

Financial Services

Financial Services provides personal trust administration, estate planning, investment counseling, wealth management, asset management, employee benefits services, corporate banking and corporate trust services to individuals, corporations, institutions, foundations and Government entities. Financial Services also offers clients investment alternatives, including discount broker age services, equities, fixed-rate and variable-rate annuiti! es, mutua! l funds and governmental and municipal bonds through BB&T Investment Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Branch Bank. Financial Services includes Scott & Stringfellow, LLC, a brokerage and investment banking firm. Scott & Stringfellow provides services in retail brokerage, equity and debt underwriting, investment advice, corporate finance and equity research and facilitates the origination, trading and distribution of fixed-income securities and equity products in both the public and private capital markets. Scott & Stringfellow also has a public finance department that provides investment banking services, financial advisory services and municipal bond financing. Scott & Stringfellow’s investment banking and corporate and public finance areas conduct business as BB&T Capital Markets. This segment includes BB&T Capital Partners that is a group of BB&T-sponsored private equity and mezzanine investment funds that invest in privately owned middle-market operating companies. Finan cial Services also includes the Corporate Banking Division that originates and services corporate relationships, syndicated lending relationships and client derivatives.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Maxfield]

    While it’s not obvious from the chart, you can separate these institutions into three different buckets. The first bucket concerns the most widely discussed too-big-to-fail banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo. Then comes the unofficial too-big-to-fail lenders (those with assets in excess of $50 billion and thus subject to the Federal Reserve’s more stringent stress test process). This group contains U.S. Bank (NYSE: USB  ) , PNC Financial (NYSE: PNC  ) , and BB&T Bank (NYSE: BBT  ) , among others. And the final group encompasses lesser-known banks like First Niagara Financial (NASDAQ: FNFG  ) and People’s United Financial (NASDAQ: PBCT  ) with between $20 billion and $50 billion in assets.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    BB&T (NYSE: BBT  ) is keeping its common stock dividend policy steady. The company has declared a quarterly distribution of $0.23 per share to be paid on June 3 to shareholders of record as of May 10. This amount matches that of the previous payout, which was distributed in February, but is 15% higher than the year-ago disbursement of $0.20 per share.

  • [By Amanda Alix]

    It’s not hard to understand why banks such as BB&T (NYSE: BBT  ) , PNC Financial (NYSE: PNC  ) , and Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS  ) might fear Walmart’s entry into full-blown banking. As it turns out, this trepidation is long-lived, and the industry has worked tirelessly over the years to keep the giant retailer out of its neck of the woods.

  • [By The Part-time Investor]

    The following stocks met the criteria in January of 2008 and were put into the initial portfolio:

    Abbot Labs (ABT)Advanced data processing (ADP)Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC)Bank of America (BAC)BB&T Corp. (BBT)Bemis Company (BMS)Anheuser Busch (BUD)The Chubb Corporation (CB)Clorox (CLX)Comerica Inc. (CMA)Diebold Inc. (DBD)Emerson Electronics (EMR)First Dollar Corp. (FDO)First Third BanCorp. (FITB)Gannett Co, Inc. (GCI)General Electric (GE)Hershey (HSY)Illinois Tools Works (ITW)Johnson and Johnson (JNJ)Leggett and Platt (LEG)Eli Lilly (LLY)La-Z-Boy (LZB)McDonald’s (MCD)Marsh and Ilsley (MI)M&T Bancorp (MTB)PepsiCo (PEP)Pfizer (PFE)Procter & Gamble (PG)Pentair Ltd. (PNR)Regions Financial Corp. (RF)Rohm and Haas (ROH)RPM International (RPM)Sherwin Williams (SHW)Sysco Corp. (SYY)UDR Inc. (UDR)

    Historical quotes were taken from Yahoo Finance. $10,000 was put into each position, to the nearest whole share, so a total of $349,262.89 was invested. From 1/15/08 throu gh 5/16/13 all dividends were reinvested back into the stock that paid them. If a dividend cut was announced, that stock was sold on the ex-div date of the new, lower dividend.

Top 5 Bank Stocks To Buy Right Now: Westpac Banking Corp (WBK)

Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac), incorporated on August 23, 2002, is a banking organization. Westpac provides a range of banking and financial services, including retail, business and institutional banking, and wealth management services. It operates through three divisions: Australian Financial Services (AFS), Westpac Institutional Bank (WIB) and Westpac New Zealand. AFS encompasses Westpac’s retail and business banking operations in Australia, and includes the businesses of Westpac Retail & Business Banking, St.George Banking Group and BT Financial Group Australia (BFTG). Westpac RBB is responsible for sales and service for Westpac’s consumer, small-to-medium enterprise customers and commercial customers in Australia under the Westpac brands. St.George is responsible for sales, and service for its consumer, business and corporate customers in Australia under the St.George, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne and RAMS brands. BTFG is Westpac’s Australian wealth manageme nt division. WIB delivers a range of financial services to commercial, corporate, institutional and government customers with connections to Australia and New Zealand. Westpac New Zealand is responsible for the sales and service of banking, wealth and insurance products for consumers, business and institutional customers in New Zealand. In January 2014, the Company completed the acquisition of Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s Australian asset finance business, Capital Finance Australia Limited, and its Australian corporate loan portfolio, BOS International (Australia) Ltd.

Westpac RBB

Westpac RBB’s activities are conducted through its network of branches and business banking centers, home finance managers (HFMs) and specialized consumer and business relationship managers, with the support of cash flow, financial markets and wealth specialists, customer service centers, automated teller machines (ATMs) and Internet channels.

St.George

Consumer activities are conducted through a networ! k of branches, third party distributors, call centers, automated teller machines (ATMs), electronic funds transfer point-of-sale (EFTPOS) terminals and Internet banking services. Business and corporate customers are provided with a range of banking and financial products and services, including specialist advice for cash flow finance, trade finance, automotive and equipment finance, property finance, transaction banking and treasury services. Sales and service activities for business and corporate customers are conducted by relationship managers through business banking centers, Internet and customer service centre channels.

BTFG

BTFG’s funds management operations include the manufacturing and distribution of investment, superannuation and retirement products; investment platforms, such as Wrap and Master Trusts, and private banking and financial planning. Its Insurance solutions cover the manufacturing and distribution of life, general and lender s mortgage insurance. BTFG’s brands include Advance Asset Management, Ascalon, Asgard, BT, BT Investment Management (64.5% owned by Westpac), BT Select, Licensee Select, Magnitude, Securitor and the advice, private banking and insurance operations of Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, St.George and Westpac.

Westpac Institutional Bank (WIB)

WIB operates through industry relationship and specialist product teams, with knowledge in transactional banking, financial and debt capital markets, specialised capital, margin lending, broking and alternative investment solutions. Customers are supported through branches and subsidiaries located in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, United Kingdom and Asia.

Westpac New Zealand

Westpac conducts its New Zealand banking business through two banks in New Zealand; Westpac New Zealand

Limited, and Westpac Banking Corporation. Westpac New Zealand operates through network of branches a nd ATMs across both the North and South Islands. Business an! d institu! tional customers are served through relationship and specialist products teams. Banking products are provided under the Westpac and WIB brands, while insurance and wealth products are provided under Westpac Life and BT brands.

Westpac’s other business divisions includes Pacific Banking, which provides banking services for retail and business customers in seven Pacific countries. Branches, ATMs, telephone banking and Internet banking channels are used to deliver its business activities in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Samoa. Pacific Banking’s financial products include personal savings accounts, business transactional accounts, personal and business lending products, business services and a range of international products; Group Services which include technology, banking operations, legal and property services; Treasury which focuses on management of the Group’s interest rate risk and funding requirements, and Cor e Support which include functions performed centrally including finance, risk and human resources.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Fede Zaldua]

    Most Australian banks seem to comply with (1) and (2). On the other hand, Australian banks have a loan to deposit ratio of 120% and around 9% of their funding is short term foreign funding. This means that their results shall be severely damaged by a steep depreciation of the local currency. A good example of a bank that is easy to short from the US (since it trades in the New York Stock Exchange) is the Westpac Banking Corporation (WBK). Westpac generates 90% of its revenues domestically and sells for 2014 13.1 times earnings and 2.1 times its 2014 expected book value. That said, there is one problem that you will find when you short Westpac’s shares: The bank pays a +5% cash dividend yield.

  • [By Selena Maranjian]

    More than a handful of international companies had strong performances over the past year. Australia-based Westpac Banking (NYSE: WBK  ) , for example, soared 54% — and still yields a fat 5.4%. It’s been hampered, though, by the slowdown in China, as China uses many commodities produced by Australia. Some worry about a housing slowdown hurting the company, too.

Top 5 Bank Stocks To Buy Right Now: Tompkins Financial Corp (TMP)

Tompkins Financial Corporation (Tompkins) is a bank holding company. The Company is a locally oriented, community-based financial services company that offers an array of products and services, including commercial and consumer banking, leasing, trust and investment management, financial planning and wealth management, insurance, and brokerage services. The Company operates in two segments: banking and financial services. Banking services consist primarily of attracting deposits from the areas served by the Company’s banking subsidiaries’ 45 banking offices and using those deposits to originate a variety of commercial loans, agricultural loans, consumer loans, real estate loans, and leases in those same areas. Financial services activities consist of the results of the Company’s trust, financial planning and wealth management services, broker-dealer services, and insurance and risk management operations. On June 1, 2011, its subsidiary, Tompkins Insurance Agencies, I nc. (Tompkins Insurance), acquired Olver & Associates, Inc. (Olver), a property and casualty insurance agency. In August 2012, it acquired VIST Financial Corp.

The Company maintains a portfolio of securities, such as obligations of the United States Government agencies and the United States Government sponsored entities, obligations of states and political subdivisions thereof, and equity securities. Tompkins provides a variety of financial services to individuals and small business customers

Commercial Services

The Company’s subsidiary banks provide financial services to corporations and other business clients. Lending activities include loans for a variety of business purposes, including real estate financing, construction, equipment financing, accounts receivable financing, and commercial leasing. Other commercial services include deposit and cash management services, letters of credit, sweep accounts, credit cards, purchasing ca rds, Internet-based account services, and remote deposit ser! vices.

Retail Services

The Company’s subsidiary banks provide a variety of retail banking services, including checking accounts, savings accounts, time deposits, individual retirement accounts (IRA) products, brokerage services, residential mortgage loans, personal loans, home equity loans, credit cards, debit cards and safe deposit services. Retail services are accessible through a variety of delivery systems, including branch facilities, automated teller machines (ATMs), voice response, Internet banking, and remote deposit services.

Trust and Investment Management Services

The Company offers a range of financial services to customers, including trust and estate services, investment management, and financial and insurance planning. These services are offered through Tompkins Investment Services (TIS), a division of Tompkins Trust Company, and AM&M. Tompkins Financial Advisors has office locations at all three of the Comp any’s subsidiary banks, and provides a range of money management services, including investment management, trust and estate, financial and tax planning, as well as life, disability and long-term care insurance services.

Broker-Dealer Services

AM&M operates a broker-dealer subsidiary, Ensemble Financial Services, Inc. Ensemble Financial Services, Inc. is an outsourcing company for financial planners and investment advisors.

Insurance Services

The Company provides property and casualty insurance services and employee benefits consulting through Tompkins Insurance. Tompkins Insurance is an independent insurance agency. Tompkins Insurance has automated systems for record keeping, claim processing and coverage confirmation, and can provide insurance pricing comparisons from a range of insurance companies. Tompkins Insurance provides employee benefits consulting to employers in Western and Central New York, assisting them with their medical, group life insurance and group disability in! surance. ! In addition to its seven offices, Tompkins Insurance shares several offices with The Bank of Castile and The Trust Company. AM&M also provides insurance services for financial planning and wealth management clients, offering risk management plans using life, disability and long-term care insurance products.

Subsidiary Activities

The Company’s subsidiaries include: three wholly owned banking subsidiaries, Tompkins Trust Company (the Trust Company), The Bank of Castile, and The Mahopac National Bank (Mahopac National Bank); AM&M Financial Services, Inc., doing business as Tompkins Financial Advisors, a wholly owned and an investment advisor (AM&M), and a wholly owned insurance agency subsidiary, Tompkins Insurance. AM&M and the trust division of the Trust Company provides an array of investment services under the Tompkins Financial Advisors division, including investment management, trust and estate, financial and tax planning, as well as life, disa bility and long-term care insurance services. The Trust Company has a full-service office in Cortland, New York and a full-service office in Auburn, New York. Both of these offices are located in counties contiguous to Tompkins County. The Trust Company operates 15 banking offices, including two limited-service banking offices in the counties of Tompkins, Cortland, Cayuga and Schuyler, New York.

The Bank of Castile is a New York State-chartered commercial bank and conducts its operations through its 15 banking offices, in towns situated in and around the areas commonly known as the Letchworth State Park area and the Genesee Valley region of New York State. The Bank of Castile’s lending portfolio includes loans to the agricultural industry. The Mahopac National Bank (Mahopac National Bank) operates 15 banking offices, including one limited-service office in counties north of New York City. The 15 banking offices include five full-service offices in Putnam Coun ty, New York, three full-service offices in Dutchess County,! New York! , and six full-service offices, and one limited-service office in Westchester County, New York.

Tompkins Insurance Agencies, Inc. (Tompkins Insurance) offers property and casualty insurance to individuals and businesses primarily in Western and Central New York. AM&M Financial Services, Inc. (AM&M) offers financial services through three operating companies: AM&M Planners, Inc., which provides fee-based financial planning and wealth management services for corporate executives, small business owners and high-net-worth individuals; Ensemble Financial Services, Inc., an independent broker-dealer and outsourcing company for financial planners and investment advisors, and Ensemble Risk Solutions, Inc., which creates customized risk management plans using life, disability and long-term care insurance products. Tompkins Capital Trust I and Sleepy Hollow Capital Trust I are Delaware statutory business trusts.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Marc Bastow]

    Ithaca, N.Y.-based financial services company Tompkins Financial (TMP) raised its quarterly dividend 5.3% to 40 cents per share, payable Nov. 15 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 4.
    TMP Dividend Yield: 3.25%

  • [By Fredrik Arnold]

    Tompkins Financial Corp. (TMP) netted $44.97 based on a mean target price estimate from three analysts combined with projected annual dividend less broker fees. The Beta number showed this estimate subject to volatility 27% less than the market as a whole.