Reviewing Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) & Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB)


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Citizens Financial Group (NYSE:CFG) and Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB) are both finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, institutional ownership, earnings, risk, valuation, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations and price targets for Citizens Financial Group and Ameris Bancorp, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Citizens Financial Group 1 5 9 0 2.53
Ameris Bancorp 0 0 4 1 3.20

Citizens Financial Group currently has a consensus price target of $35.42, indicating a potential downside of 11.99%. Ameris Bancorp has a consensus price target of $33.20, indicating a potential downside of 24.58%. Given Citizens Financial Group’s higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe Citizens Financial Group is more favorable than Ameris Bancorp.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

92.8% of Citizens Financial Group shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 81.9% of Ameris Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. 0.4% of Citizens Financial Group shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 5.4% of Ameris Bancorp shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Risk & Volatility

Citizens Financial Group has a beta of 1.87, suggesting that its share price is 87% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Ameris Bancorp has a beta of 1.46, suggesting that its share price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Citizens Financial Group and Ameris Bancorp’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Citizens Financial Group $8.07 billion 2.13 $1.79 billion $3.84 10.48
Ameris Bancorp $834.51 million 3.67 $161.44 million $3.80 11.58

Citizens Financial Group has higher revenue and earnings than Ameris Bancorp. Citizens Financial Group is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Ameris Bancorp, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Citizens Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $1.56 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.9%. Ameris Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.4%. Citizens Financial Group pays out 40.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Ameris Bancorp pays out 15.8% 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. Ameris Bancorp has increased its dividend for 1 consecutive years.

Profitability

This table compares Citizens Financial Group and Ameris Bancorp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Citizens Financial Group 13.04% 5.30% 0.62%
Ameris Bancorp 20.24% 10.68% 1.39%

About Citizens Financial Group

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Citizens Bank, National Association that provides retail and commercial banking products and services in the United States. The company operates in two segments, Consumer Banking and Commercial Banking. The Consumer Banking segment offers traditional banking products and services, including checking and savings accounts, home and education loans, credit cards, business loans, mortgage and home equity lending, and unsecured product finance and personal loans, as well as wealth management and investment services to retail customers and small businesses. This segment also provides indirect auto finance for new and used vehicles through auto dealerships. The Commercial Banking segment offers various financial products and solutions, such as loans and leasing, trade finance, deposit and treasury management, cash management, and foreign exchange and interest rate risk management solutions; and loan syndications, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. It serves government banking, not-for-profit, healthcare, technology, professionals, oil and gas, asset finance, franchise finance, asset-based lending, commercial real estate, private equity, and sponsor finance industries. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. operates approximately 2,700 ATMs and 1,100 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest regions, as well as through online, telephone, and mobile banking services; and maintains approximately 135 retail and commercial non-branch offices. The company was formerly known as RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc. and changed its name to Citizens Financial Group, Inc. in April 2014. Citizens Financial Group, Inc. was founded in 1828 and is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island.

About Ameris Bancorp

Ameris Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for Ameris Bank that provides banking services to retail and commercial customers primarily in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina. The company operates through five segments: Banking Division, Retail Mortgage Division, Warehouse Lending Division, SBA Division, and Premium Finance Division. It offers commercial and retail checking, regular interest-bearing savings, money market, individual retirement, and certificates of deposit accounts. The company also provides commercial real estate, residential real estate mortgage, agricultural, and commercial and industrial loans; consumer loans, including motor vehicle, home improvement, and home equity loans, as well as loans secured by savings accounts and small unsecured personal credit lines; and municipal and commercial insurance premium finance loans. It operates 170 domestic banking offices and 31 mortgage and loan production offices. Ameris Bancorp was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

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