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Shares of Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. (CFR - Analyst Report) crafted a new 52-week high, touching $78.96 during the trading session on March 24. The closing price of this commercial and consumer banking services provider represents a solid year-to-date return of 6.2%. The trading volume for the session was 334,785 shares.

Despite hitting its 52-week high, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has plenty of upside left, given its strong estimate revisions over the last 60 days and expected long-term earnings growth of 7.67%.

Growth Drivers

Impressive fourth-quarter 2013 results including organic growth and a strong capital position were the primary growth drivers for Cullen/Frost.

On Jan 29, Cullen/Frost reported its fourth-quarter 2013 earnings of 99 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as the year-ago earnings of 97 cents by 2.1%. A year-over-year increase of 6.2% in total revenue along with a solid increase of 5.4% and 9.1% in average loans and deposits, respectively, were the tailwinds for the quarter.

Moreover, as of Dec 31, 2013, non-performing assets declined 33.7% year over year to $69.8 million. The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total loans stood at 0.97%, down 16 basis points from the prior-year quarter.

On the flip side, Cullen/Frost’s non-interest expense climbed 5.8% year over year to $154.5 million. This was due to an increase in personnel expenses and net occupancy costs, partially offset by a decline in deposit insurance costs and intangible amortization costs.

Estimate Revisions Show Potency

Over the last 60 days, 8 out of 13 estimates for 2014 have been revised upward, lifting the Zacks Consensus Estimate around 1% to $4.11 per share. For 2015, 8 out of 13 estimates moved north, helping the Zacks Consensus Estimate advance 1.2% to $4.29 per share.

Other Southwest banks worth considering include Southside Bancshares Inc. (SBSI - Snapshot Report) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Prosperity Bancshares Inc. (PB - Analyst Report) and First Financial Bankshares Inc. (FFIN - Snapshot Report) carry a Zacks Rank #2.

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