CU Bancorp (CUNB) and First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) Critical Survey

CU Bancorp (NASDAQ: CUNB) and First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) are both small-cap financials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, analyst recommendations, valuation, risk, dividends, institutional ownership and profitability.

Dividends

First Financial Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. CU Bancorp does not pay a dividend. First Financial Bancorp pays out 43.6% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares CU Bancorp and First Financial Bancorp’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
CU Bancorp N/A N/A N/A $1.67 22.46
First Financial Bancorp $409.21 million 4.30 $96.78 million $1.56 18.17

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

Institutional & Insider Ownership

56.4% of CU Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 77.7% of First Financial Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. 9.1% of CU Bancorp shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 1.9% of First Financial Bancorp shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares CU Bancorp and First Financial Bancorp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
CU Bancorp 29.03% 10.78% 1.21%
First Financial Bancorp 26.11% 11.51% 1.19%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings for CU Bancorp and First Financial Bancorp, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
CU Bancorp 0 1 3 0 2.75
First Financial Bancorp 1 3 5 0 2.44

CU Bancorp presently has a consensus price target of $42.50, suggesting a potential upside of 13.33%. First Financial Bancorp has a consensus price target of $29.67, suggesting a potential upside of 4.64%. Given CU Bancorp’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe CU Bancorp is more favorable than First Financial Bancorp.

Summary

CU Bancorp beats First Financial Bancorp on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About CU Bancorp

CU Bancorp is the bank holding company of California United Bank (the Bank). The Bank is a full-service commercial bank offering a range of banking products and services designed for small and medium-sized businesses, non-profit organizations, business owners and entrepreneurs, and the professional community. The Bank provides a range of deposit products, such as savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts, and loan products. The Bank also provides cash management services, online banking, commercial credit cards and other primarily business-oriented products. Its other services include commercial and stand-by letters of credit, domestic and international wire transfers, on site Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), and Visa Debit Cards and ATM cards. It also provides bank-by-mail services, courier services, armored transport, lock box, cash vault, cash management services, telephone banking, night depositories, commercial credit cards and international services.

About First Financial Bancorp

First Financial Bancorp. (First Financial) is a regional bank holding company. First Financial is engaged in the business of commercial banking and other banking and banking-related activities through its subsidiary, First Financial Bank, National Association (the Bank). The range of banking services provided by First Financial to individuals and businesses include commercial lending, real estate lending and consumer financing. It offers deposit products that include interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing accounts, time deposits and cash management services for commercial customers. First Financial’s Wealth Management division provides a range of trust and asset management services. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 102 banking centers. Its banking operating markets are located within the three state region of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 60 banking centers in Ohio, 38 banking centers in Indiana and four banking centers in Kentucky.

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