Reviewing East West Bancorp (EWBC) and Westamerica Bancorporation (WABC)

East West Bancorp (NASDAQ: EWBC) and Westamerica Bancorporation (NASDAQ:WABC) are both financials companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, dividends, institutional ownership, risk, earnings, valuation and analyst recommendations.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations for East West Bancorp and Westamerica Bancorporation, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
East West Bancorp 1 6 6 0 2.38
Westamerica Bancorporation 1 2 0 0 1.67

East West Bancorp presently has a consensus price target of $67.00, indicating a potential downside of 0.48%. Westamerica Bancorporation has a consensus price target of $56.00, indicating a potential downside of 6.88%. Given East West Bancorp’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities research analysts plainly believe East West Bancorp is more favorable than Westamerica Bancorporation.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares East West Bancorp and Westamerica Bancorporation’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
East West Bancorp $1.32 billion 7.37 $431.67 million $3.65 18.44
Westamerica Bancorporation $180.63 million 8.77 $58.85 million $2.30 26.15

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

Dividends

East West Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.2%. Westamerica Bancorporation pays an annual dividend of $1.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.7%. East West Bancorp pays out 21.9% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Westamerica Bancorporation pays out 69.6% 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. Westamerica Bancorporation has increased its dividend for 5 consecutive years. Westamerica Bancorporation is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

91.4% of East West Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 86.0% of Westamerica Bancorporation shares are held by institutional investors. 0.9% of East West Bancorp shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 4.9% of Westamerica Bancorporation shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares East West Bancorp and Westamerica Bancorporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
East West Bancorp 37.60% 14.28% 1.47%
Westamerica Bancorporation 33.38% 10.28% 1.12%

Volatility and Risk

East West Bancorp has a beta of 1.46, meaning that its stock price is 46% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Westamerica Bancorporation has a beta of 1.07, meaning that its stock price is 7% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

East West Bancorp beats Westamerica Bancorporation on 12 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About East West Bancorp

East West Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company. The Company’s principal business is to serve as a holding company for East West Bank (the Bank) and other banking or banking-related subsidiaries. The Bank is a California state-chartered bank, which operates in the United States and Greater China. The Bank provides a range of personal and commercial banking services to businesses, business executives, professionals, and other individuals. It operates through three segments: Retail Banking, Commercial Banking and Other. The Retail Banking segment focuses primarily on retail operations through the Bank’s branch network. The Commercial Banking segment primarily generates commercial and industrial (C&I) loans and commercial real estate (CRE) loans through the domestic commercial lending operations in California, New York, Texas, Washington, Massachusetts, Nevada and Georgia, and through the foreign commercial lending operations in China and Hong Kong.

About Westamerica Bancorporation

Westamerica Bancorporation is a bank holding company. The Company provides a range of banking services to individual and corporate customers in Northern and Central California through its subsidiary bank, Westamerica Bank. The communities served are located in Northern and Central California, from Mendocino, Lake and Nevada Counties in the north to Kern County in the south. It provides a range of loans, including commercial loans, commercial real estate loans, construction loans, residential real estate loans, and consumer installment and other loans. It maintains a securities portfolio consisting of securities issued by the United States Treasury, United States Government sponsored entities, agency and non-agency mortgage backed securities (MBS), non-agency commercial MBS, agency residential collateralized mortgage obligations (CMO), non-agency residential CMO, obligations of states and political subdivisions, asset-backed securities, corporate securities and other securities.

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