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On Feb 23, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Riverview Bancorp Inc. (RVSB) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Riverview Bancorp has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong fiscal third-quarter 2013 results. Moreover, this well-known commercial banking services provider delivered positive earnings for the second consecutive quarter.    

Riverview Bancorp reported fiscal third-quarter results (ended on Dec 31, 2012) on Jan 30. Earnings per share came in at 5 cents, significantly surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 1 cent and prior-year quarter’s loss of 74 cents.

Earnings were primarily aided by prudent expense management, which yielded a 17.6% fall in non-interest expenses and a 47.9% decrease in interest expense.

Results marked a substantial improvement in credit quality for Riverview Bancorp. With declining net charge-offs, non-performing loan balances also reduced.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2013 more than tripled to 10 cents per share over the last 30 days. For fiscal 2014, the Zacks Consensus Estimate more than doubled to 22 cents per share over the same time frame.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides Riverview Bancorp, other stocks in the same sector with a Zacks Rank #1 include First Financial Holdings Inc. , Meta Financial Group Inc. (CASH - Snapshot Report) and Center Bancorp Inc. .

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