Westamerica Bancorporation (NASDAQ:WABC) and Banc of California (NYSE:BANC) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, risk, valuation, profitability, earnings, analyst recommendations and institutional ownership.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares Westamerica Bancorporation and Banc of California’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Westamerica Bancorporation $199.87 million 8.96 $71.56 million N/A N/A
Banc of California $446.71 million 1.94 $45.47 million $0.49 34.76

Westamerica Bancorporation has higher earnings, but lower revenue than Banc of California.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

81.5% of Westamerica Bancorporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 99.3% of Banc of California shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.4% of Westamerica Bancorporation shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 11.1% of Banc of California shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Westamerica Bancorporation and Banc of California’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Westamerica Bancorporation 38.24% 11.75% 1.41%
Banc of California 4.79% 7.67% 0.57%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for Westamerica Bancorporation and Banc of California, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Westamerica Bancorporation 0 2 0 0 2.00
Banc of California 0 4 0 0 2.00

Westamerica Bancorporation presently has a consensus price target of $58.00, suggesting a potential downside of 12.41%. Banc of California has a consensus price target of $15.50, suggesting a potential downside of 8.98%. Given Banc of California’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Banc of California is more favorable than Westamerica Bancorporation.

Risk & Volatility

Westamerica Bancorporation has a beta of 0.98, indicating that its share price is 2% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Banc of California has a beta of 1.41, indicating that its share price is 41% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Westamerica Bancorporation pays an annual dividend of $1.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. Banc of California pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.4%. Banc of California pays out 49.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Westamerica Bancorporation has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years. Westamerica Bancorporation is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Summary

Westamerica Bancorporation beats Banc of California on 8 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

Westamerica Bancorporation Company Profile

Westamerica Bancorporation provides banking solutions. The bank offers demand deposits and interest and non-interest bearing time and savings deposits. The company's deposits include jumbo deposits and retail time deposits. The company provides commercial and industrial loans, consumer loans, commercial real estate loans, and other loans and leases. The company offers consumer loans, including credit card loans, revolving credit plans, and automotive loans. The company offers commercial real estate loans for land development and on-site construction of industrial, commercial, residential, or farm buildings in the United States; real estate-backed residential loans; and commercial loans collateralized by real estate properties. The company offers domestic and foreign commercial and industrial loans. The bank offers loans for the purpose of financing agricultural production; loans which include planned and unplanned overdrafts, to governments in non-U.S. countries, to their official institutions, and to international and regional institutions. For 2017, the company has an asset value of 5.6 million USD. It has generated a net income of 71,564 USD in December 31, 2017. The company was formerly known as Independent Bankshares Corporation and changed its name to Westamerica Bancorporation in December 1982. Westamerica Bancorporation was founded in 1972 and is based in San Rafael, California.

Banc of California Company Profile

Banc of California, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Banc of California, National Association that provides banking products and services in the United States. The company offers deposit products, including checking, savings, money market, retirement, and interest and noninterest-bearing demand accounts, as well as certificates of deposits. It also provides various commercial and consumer loan products, such as commercial and industrial loans; commercial real estate loans; multifamily loans; construction and renovation loans; single family residential mortgage loans; warehouse loans; asset, insurance, or security-backed loans; home equity lines of credit; consumer and business lines of credit; small business administration loans; and other consumer loans. In addition, the company offers automated bill payment, cash and treasury management, foreign exchange, card payment, remote and mobile deposit capture, automated clearing house origination, wire transfer, direct deposit, and Internet banking services; and master demand accounts, interest rate swaps, and safe deposit boxes. As of December 31, 2018, it operated 32 full service branches in San Diego, Orange, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles counties in California. The company was formerly known as First PacTrust Bancorp, Inc. and changed its name to Banc of California, Inc. in July 2013. Banc of California, Inc. was founded in 1941 and is headquartered in Santa Ana, California.

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