On Sep 4, Zacks Investment Research upgraded
West Bancorp., Inc.
) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
BANNER CORP (BANR): Free Stock Analysis
PROVIDENT FINL (PROV): Free Stock Analysis
WASH FEDL INC (WAFD): Free Stock Analysis
WEST BANCORP (WTBA): Free Stock Analysis
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Why the Upgrade?
West Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the
back of strong second-quarter 2013 results and strong capital
deployment activities. Moreover, this well-known community
banking and trust services provider recorded a year-to-date
return of 13.4%. The year-over-year expected earnings growth rate
for this stock is 6.5%.
West Bancorp reported its second-quarter results on Jul 26 with
earnings per share of 25 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus
Estimate of 24 cents by 4.2% and coming in line with the year-ago
earnings. Results were positively driven by higher net interest
income and reduced non-interest expenses. The company maintained
a strong capital position with solid loans and deposit balances
during the quarter.
Net interest income surged 10.6% year over year to $11.5 million.
This upsurge reflected growth in interest income and lower
interest expenses. Non-interest expenses decreased 5.1% to $7.4
million, as compared with the prior-year period.
However, on the downside, non-interest income declined 39.4% to
$2.0 million, as compared with the prior-year period. Reduced
gains and fees on sales of residential mortgages was the primary
reason for the decline.
In Jul 2013, West Bancorp announced a 10% increase in its
quarterly cash dividend. The increased dividend of 11 cents per
share was paid on Aug 27, 2013 to shareholders of record on Aug
7, 2013. Moreover, the board of directors approved the
repurchase of common stock up to $2 million through Apr 2014.
Following second-quarter 2013 results, the Zacks Consensus
Estimate for 2013 increased 8.9% to 98 cents per share, over the
last 60 days for West Bancorp. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus
Estimate advanced 8.8% to 99 cents per share over the same time
Other Stocks to Consider
Besides West Bancorp, other companies in the same sector with a
Zacks Rank #1 include
Provident Financial Holdings, Inc.
Washington Federal Inc.