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On Sep 3, Zacks Investment Research upgraded PrivateBancorp, Inc. (PVTB - Snapshot Report) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

PrivateBancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong second-quarter 2013 results. Moreover, this well-known business and personal financial services provider delivered positive earnings surprises in 3 of the last 4 quarters, with an average beat of 19.95%. The long-term expected earnings growth rate for this stock is 7.75%.

PrivateBancorp reported its second-quarter results on Jul 18 with earnings per share of 37 cents beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 33 cents by 12.1% and the year-ago earnings of 19 cents by 94.7%. Results were positively driven by higher net revenue, reduced provision for loan losses and lower non-interest expenses.

Net revenue surged 0.9% year over year to $132.7 million. This upsurge reflected growth in interest and non-interest income. Further, non-interest expenses decreased 7.9% to $77.3 million, as compared with the prior-year period.

Provision for loan and covered loan losses substantially declined 48.2% year over year to $8.8 million. However, on the downside, interest expenses escalated 11.2% to $17.9 million, as compared with the prior-year period.

Following second-quarter 2013 results, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2013 increased 8.1% to $1.47 per share on the back of all 11 estimates upward revisions, over the last 60 days for PrivateBancorp. For 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate advanced 6.2% to $1.54 per share as 10 of the 11 estimates moved north, over the same time period.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides PrivateBancorp, other Midwest banks with a Zacks Rank #1 include First Interstate Bancsystem Inc. (FIBK - Snapshot Report), Firstbank Corporation (FBMI - Snapshot Report) and Mercantile Bank Corp. (MBWM - Snapshot Report).

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