Regional Banks: Random thoughts

Given the recent issues with NYCB, and commercial real estate issues, that will impact regional banks more than big banks, I thought I will start this thread where I could post my thoughts.

Amongst the regional banks, OZK, Bank of Ozark, Little Rock Arkansas, has greatest exposure to NYC CRE at $4.5B (17% of loans) and total office exposure at $5.1B (19% of loans).

The above is from Wells Fargo, and they have taken the price target to $39, while the market price is $42.5. These loans are not going to go bad overnight. It will take some time as the loans mature, the true value of collaterals will be discovered, etc. So, it may be difficult to short the stock, as the catalyst may take some time.

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I ran below screen on finviz.com site, Regional Banks, dividend > 3%, part of R2K, and have positive Insider transaction, i.e., Insider buys. There are 19 stocks. If Insiders are buying, it may be worth a bet. Of course like any other screen, it is only a starting point. Please do further research into these names. Separately this tells me the KRE may not be a bad hold. :slight_smile:

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Yesterday NYCB announced they cannot file 10-K because of internal control issues. So it is not like they suddenly realized they have “internal control issues”. I think regulators are going through with fine-tooth comb. If you do that with any firm, you are going to find few things. NYCB is not going to get out of this anytime soon. I think NYCB is being made an example, but the wider implications is, all banks will be subject to/ or voluntarily they will review their operations, i.e., take less risk, spend more money on fixing issues, i.e., non-interest expense will go up. The small-regional banks have real estate headwind and higher expenses to deal with the regulations.

As of today, I have completely out of all regional banks.

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I still own large banks, Citi, WFC and BAC. They have all gone through regulatory review and their regulatory related expenses are well known. On any weakness I will buy more Citi and WFC.

Financials are rallying and the big banks have all moved up. if the interest rates stays higher, it is going to be positive for WFC, and the asset cap could come off sometime this year and that will become a tailwind. WFC could move higher even from here.

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The 1st bank failure of 2024 is here… It is relatively a small bank, yet FDIC is going to take $667 m hit. Wondering why FDIC waits so long and why not move early and minimize the hit it takes?

I am back in KRE again :joy: :joy: The short interest is still very high

This is against 48 M shares. Separately,

There are still commercial real estate risk, new liquidity requirements (i.e., banks with over $100 B deposits are going to require higher reserves) are going to impact regionals.

I will be nimble and may get out quickly.

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You cannot time it any better… :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Huntington Bank yesterday in Morgan Stanley conference mentioned their NII will be -1% to -4%, they reduced it from 2% to -2%. The reason behind that is deposit costs are high and loan growth is slightly bad. Both are not unknown, the FED data was showing loan growth is weak and we all know the deposit costs are going to be higher than original forecast because the expected rate cut hasn’t materialized yet. Still banks are forecasting rates will be lower in the second half and this could bring some more pain. Separately, the buyback is going to be on hold.

https://www.barrons.com/articles/huntington-bank-stock-price-regional-55f5945c

In addition to this, PIMCO is forecasting CRE defaults is going to start anytime … so far the banks are not talking about any CRE deterioration and most of the office challenges are known and hopefully banks have provisioned… It could be PIMCO trying to talk about real estate deals but nevertheless it impacts the market.