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On Jun 26, Zacks Investment Research upgraded WSFS Financial Corp. (WSFS - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

WSFS Financial has been witnessing rising earnings estimates due to its first-quarter earnings, which increased nearly 55% year over year. Moreover, this bank holding company has a long-term earnings growth forecast of 5.0%.

On Apr 25, WSFS Financial’s first-quarter earnings of $1.02 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 76 cent by 34.2%. Better-than-expected results were driven by rise in fee income, partially offset by fall in non-interest income and higher operating expenses.

Further, WSFS Financial witnessed an improvement in loan balances. As of Mar 31, 2013, total net loans were $2.8 billion, up roughly 1% year over year. Additionally, deposit balance was almost stable at $3.2 billion as of Mar 31, 2013.

Moreover, WSFS Financial’s credit quality remarkably improved during the quarter. Almost all the credit metrics – net charge-offs, nonperforming loans, total nonperforming assets, problem loans and delinquencies – declined or remained stable.

Profitability ratios grew for WSFS Financial during the reported quarter. As of Mar 31, 2013, return on average assets and return on average equity were 0.91% and 9.19%, respectively, increasing from 0.61% and 6.47% as of Mar 31, 2012.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 1.9% to $3.69 per share over the last 60 days. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate rose by a penny to $3.90 per share over the same period.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other stocks in the banking sector that are worth a look include First Pactrust Bancorp, Inc. (BANC - Snapshot Report), Mutualfirst Financial Inc. (MFSF - Snapshot Report) and Provident Financial Holdings, Inc. (PROV - Snapshot Report) – all of which carry a Zacks Rank #1.

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