Fulton Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: FULT) and Associated Banc-Corp (NYSE:ASB) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, valuation, institutional ownership, dividends, analyst recommendations, risk and earnings.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and target prices for Fulton Financial Corporation and Associated Banc-Corp, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Fulton Financial Corporation 1 6 0 0 1.86
Associated Banc-Corp 0 11 0 0 2.00

Fulton Financial Corporation presently has a consensus target price of $18.40, suggesting a potential upside of 3.66%. Associated Banc-Corp has a consensus target price of $25.50, suggesting a potential upside of 5.15%. Given Associated Banc-Corp’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Associated Banc-Corp is more favorable than Fulton Financial Corporation.

Risk & Volatility

Fulton Financial Corporation has a beta of 1.16, suggesting that its stock price is 16% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Associated Banc-Corp has a beta of 1.2, suggesting that its stock price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares Fulton Financial Corporation and Associated Banc-Corp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Fulton Financial Corporation 21.15% 8.28% 0.92%
Associated Banc-Corp 19.54% 7.81% 0.79%

Dividends

Fulton Financial Corporation pays an annual dividend of $0.44 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Associated Banc-Corp pays an annual dividend of $0.48 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.0%. Fulton Financial Corporation pays out 42.7% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Associated Banc-Corp pays out 33.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Fulton Financial Corporation and Associated Banc-Corp’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Fulton Financial Corporation $793.28 million 3.92 $161.62 million $1.03 17.23
Associated Banc-Corp $1.14 billion 3.20 $200.27 million $1.45 16.72

Associated Banc-Corp has higher revenue and earnings than Fulton Financial Corporation. Associated Banc-Corp is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Fulton Financial Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

62.9% of Fulton Financial Corporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 77.5% of Associated Banc-Corp shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.7% of Fulton Financial Corporation shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 1.8% of Associated Banc-Corp shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Associated Banc-Corp beats Fulton Financial Corporation on 9 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Fulton Financial Corporation Company Profile

Fulton Financial Corporation is a financial holding company. The Company is the bank holding company of Fulton Bank N.A. (the Bank). As of December 31, 2016, the Company’s six subsidiary banks were located primarily in suburban or semi-rural geographic markets throughout a five-state region (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia). Each of the Company’s subsidiary banks offers a range of consumer and commercial banking products and services in its local market area. Personal banking services include various checking account and savings deposit products, certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts. The subsidiary banks offer a range of consumer lending products to creditworthy customers in their market areas. Commercial banking services are provided to small and medium sized businesses. It also offers investment management, trust, brokerage, insurance and investment advisory services to consumer and commercial banking customers in its market areas.

Associated Banc-Corp Company Profile

Associated Banc-Corp is a bank holding company. The Company, through its banking subsidiary Associated Bank, National Association (the Bank) and various nonbanking subsidiaries, provides a range of banking and non-banking products and services to individuals. The Company operates through three segments: Corporate and Commercial Specialty; Community, Consumer, and Business, and Risk Management and Shared Services. The Corporate and Commercial Specialty segment consists of lending and deposit solutions to businesses, developers, not-for-profits, municipalities and financial institutions. The Corporate and Commercial Specialty segment consists of lending and deposit solutions to businesses, developers, not-for-profits, municipalities and financial institutions. The Risk Management and Shared Services segment includes Corporate Risk Management, Credit Administration, Finance, Treasury, Operations and Technology, which are shared functions.

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