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Zacks Value Investor Highlights: First Republic Bank, Comerica, WesBanco, Washington Trust Bancorp and United Community Banks

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – March 19, 2021 – Zacks Value Investor is a podcast hosted weekly by Zacks Stock Strategist Tracey Ryniec. Every week, Tracey will be joined by guests to discuss the hottest investing topics in stocks, bonds and ETFs and how it impacts your life. To listen to the podcast, click here:

Should You Buy Community Bank Stocks in 2021?

Welcome to Episode #229 of the Value Investor Podcast.

Every week, Tracey Ryniec, the editor of Zacks Value Investor portfolio, shares some of her top value investing tips and stock picks.

With the 10-year treasury on the move higher, trading above 1.5% in early 2021, bank earnings are also on the move higher.

Dozens of smaller regional and community banks are now Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buys).

Bank stocks, which had been ignored by Wall Street the last few years, and which have lagged the overall market terribly, are suddenly in the spotlight.

Many bank stocks have rallied over 20% to start 2021 but they remain cheap.

Is now the time to buy?

How Do You Screen for Great Community Banks?

Investing in bank stocks can be intimidating.

The problem is, there are thousands of community banks in America, with hundreds of them publicly traded.

Even trying to narrow it down using the Zacks Rank isn't really going to narrow it down much with the earnings on the rise for the whole industry.

What's an investor to do?

Tracey Shares Her Favorite Bank Stocks

Tracey has had the same dilemma over the years.

That's why she is sharing her favorite bank stocks that she has uncovered over the years running her Zacks portfolios: the Insider Trader and the Value Investor.

There are dozens of other great banks investors could be looking at.

This is a list to get investors started.

5 Bank Stocks for Your Short List

1.       First Republic Bank (FRC - Free Report)  is headquartered in San Francisco and has a market cap of $29.4 billion. It's a large regional bank but it's still little-known outside of California. It's a private wealth bank and is considered to be a "growth" bank so you're not buying it for the dividend, which is only yielding 0.5%. Shares are trading near 5-year highs to start 2021, can it continue to rally?

2.       Comerica (CMA - Free Report)  is a regional bank headquartered in Texas. But it also does business in Michigan, Florida and Arizona. With a market cap of $9.8 billion, it pays a hefty dividend, currently yielding 3.8%. It's cheap with a forward P/E of just 13.

3.       WesBanco, Inc. (WSBC - Free Report)  was founded in 1870 and is headquartered in West Virginia. It operates in 6 states in the Ohio Valley. Shares are up 23.6% year-to-date. This $2.5 billion market cap bank has a price-to-book ratio of just 0.9.

4.       Washington Trust Bancorp (WASH - Free Report)  was founded in 1800 and its website says it's the oldest community bank in the nation. With a market cap of $931 million, it pays a dividend yielding 3.8%. This Northeast based bank never halted its dividend during the financial crisis. Impressive.

5.       United Community Banks, Inc. (UCBI - Free Report)  is one of the largest banks in the Southeast, one of the hottest parts of the country economically, with 160 offices in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. This bank has a market cap of $3.13 billion. It's cheap, with a forward P/E of 15.3.

What else should you know about buying bank stocks this year?

Tune into this week's podcast to find out.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit https://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.