by Michael Bradwell, Observer Reporter, Business Editior, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 5, 2015
CB Financial Services, the parent company of Carmichaels-based Community Bank, was designated a “Sm-All Star” by a New York City Investment Banking Firm.
The latest award for the NASDAQ-traded bank, which places it in the top 34 banks out of a universe of 435 financial institutions, was bestowed by Sandler O’Neill, a full-service investment banking firm and broker-dealer focused on the financial services sector with an emphasis on banks, thrifts and other financial service firms.
The Sandler O’Neill Sm-All Star ranking looked at banks and thrifts across the United States with a market capitalization of less than $2.5 billion.
CB Financial, with a market cap of $87 million, was among the smallest banks to win the award, which was based on an evaluation of seven financial variables.
Sandler O’Neill analysts looked at year-over-year growth trends in earnings per share, loans and deposits. To measure profitability the analysts included 12 months of return on average equity.
It also looked at nonperforming assets to loans plus other real estate owned (foreclosures) ratio and the net charge-off ratio. It also included the tangible common equity to tangible assets ratio as an indicator of capital levels.
According to Sandler O’Neill, CB Financial, which in December completed its merger with First Federal Savings Bank, has a price to 2016 estimated earnings of 9.3 times earnings.
Its earnings per share growth of 12.2 percent was nearly twice the median of all of the 435 banks of 6.6 percent while its other metrics were well above the median, including loan growth of 71.2 percent compared to the median of 9.2 percent; deposit growth of 46.5 percent compared to 6.5 percent and ROA of 10.2 percent versus the median of 7.9 percent.
CB Financial also outperformed the other Sm-All Stars in several metrics. Its 71.2 percent loan growth was well above the All Stars’ median of 19 percent, while its deposit growth of 46.5 percent was more than three times that of the other top performers, while its ROAE was in line with the median of the other winners.
CB Financial 0.5 percent figure for nonperforming assets and loans matched those of the other All Star winners, while the figure was half of the median of all banks and thrifts.
Sandler O’Neill noted banks in the Mid-Atlantic region held the dominant share in each Sm-All Star class since the downturn, noting the trend continued in this year’s class, where 38 percent of the group hailed from Maryland, New jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
CB Financial was one of three banks to earn the All Star designation in Pennsylvania.
By Michael Bradwell, Observer Reporter Business editor, email@example.com
August 22, 2015
CB Financial Services Inc. has been on a roll since completing its merger with First Federal Savings Bank and its start of trading on the NASDAQ Exchange in November.
In the months after the merger, the Carmichaelsbased bank holding company, which sports the Community Bank badge at its 16 offices, has been recognized for its financial performance by the American Bankers Association, which in June placed CB Financial among its top 200 publicly traded community banks and thrifts with less than $2 billion in assets, as well as placement on the prestigious ABA NASDAQ Community Bank Index.
But more recent events may promote even broader interest in the stock.
Last month, CB Financial executives gathered at the NASDAQ Exchange in New York’s Times Square to ring the closing bell, but perhaps the biggest reverberation to come out of the Big Apple is that CBFV, as it’s known by its ticker symbol, is now being covered by a major New York equity research firm.
On Wednesday, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, which specializes in financial services, initiated coverage of CB Financial with an “outperform” rating.
Writing in his initial report, KBW analyst Michael Perito noted the bank’s century-plus legacy in the region’s banking, before turning his attention to itsmore recent history.
“Despite its long-tenured roots in Southwestern Pennsylvania, CB Financial Services Inc. has experienced multiple changes over the past several years, including the quick rise of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale but also its transformational acquisition of FedFirst Financial, which grew the bank’s size by approximately 60 percent,” Perito wrote in his introduction. “Today, given its above- average return profile, 4.2 percent dividend yield, additional excess capital and cheap valuation, we believe the shares represent an attractive long-term investment opportunity in small-cap bank land.”
According to Perito, with its acquisition of FedFirst Financial, “CB Financial is well on its way to becoming one of the major community bank players in the Southwestern part of Pennsylvania. With approximately $850 million in assets today and aspiration to surpass $1.0 billion over the next several years, the company already boasts an above-average return profile compared to other banks of similar size.”
Perito gave the stock an outperform rating and a $25 price target, or a 26 percent upside to its Wednesday share price of $19.90. On Friday, the stock was trading at $21.
Perito, who notes CB Financial’s footprint is located squarely in the heart of the Marcellus Shale region, has, despite recent volatility in the energy sector, “seen meaningful benefit from heightened economic activity in their local markets, including a higher need for wealth management services, increasing indirect auto activity, as well as more real estate and hotel lending opportunities.
“While the future economic impact of natural gas drilling to the region is uncertain, we would note that considerable resources are still being spent in the region on infrastructure and future extraction opportunities,” he wrote.
CB Financial CEO Pat McCune said Thursday that receiving analyst coverage is the next step in giving the stock, which had been closely held, a much broader play in the market.
“I can’t think of another local bank” that is receiving analyst coverage, he said.