Remember how I’ve spent some of this “Fool Revisited” breaking down some regional banks? (Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Pacific in case you missed them). My next article was me further laying the foundation of regional banks being better than the “too big to fail” banks that everyone knows and loves – in this context Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo.
In one attempt to find a niche as a financial writer, I decided that there might be hay to be made among these “lower-tier” banks. Everybody and their mother covered the day-to-day happenings at the big banks (I even did it for a while towards the end of my Foolish tenure), but the regionals seemed to be a relatively untapped market aside from a few of the larger ones or merger/failure news. This article was the first brick that I laid my foundation as a “regional bank expert,” and was a theme that I would come back to in the future when looking for opportunities in the financial sector. Continue reading →
The final “best regional bank” article in my “Fool Revisited” series covers the Midwest region, which spans from Ohio to Minnesota. All banks were screened based on the region they fell under using FinViz.com, my screener of choice back when I was writing for the Fool (it still is pretty cool, though a lot of the things I used it for in the past are no longer free and I don’t have the resources at present to pay for them).
As with the other articles within this mini “series within a series,” instead of writing about all of the banks in the region, I screened them down to a much more manageable list. First, I eliminated all banks with a market cap below $300 million. Then I used four other factors to get to my final list: only profitable banks (over the prior 12 months), a low P/B (looks like I only featured banks under 2, though lower is better), a positive dividend, and quality net income margin.
Note: I was trying to do all these “Fool Revisited” posts sequentially based on when they were initially published but I somehow managed to miss this one. So while it was the ninth article I ever had published at The Motley Fool, it has become the 23rd article published in this series. This will probably happen again, but I didn’t want anyone to be confused by the weird start date after having so many other recent articles with an October 2011 publication.
My next “Fool Revisited” piece was the first of many articles that I would write about small or regional banks. Little did I know at the time that I would eventually make my “living” writing about small regional banks, but I thought I had found a niche and tried to exploit it. Whether or not it worked remains to be seen, but I was able to use my “expertise” about these banks to do pretty well for myself as a writer, generating a ton of articles when these little banks came up on earnings or were acquired in along the way. Continue reading →