United Bankshares (NASDAQ: UBSI) and Howard Bancorp (NASDAQ:HBMD) are both finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, dividends, profitability, institutional ownership and valuation.

Dividends

United Bankshares pays an annual dividend of $1.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.5%. Howard Bancorp does not pay a dividend. United Bankshares pays out 69.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Risk & Volatility

United Bankshares has a beta of 1.06, suggesting that its stock price is 6% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Howard Bancorp has a beta of -0.01, suggesting that its stock price is 101% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares United Bankshares and Howard Bancorp’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
United Bankshares $537.56 million 7.28 $199.43 million $1.90 19.63
Howard Bancorp $50.84 million 4.04 $7.55 million $0.77 27.21

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

Profitability

This table compares United Bankshares and Howard Bancorp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
United Bankshares 25.20% 6.42% 1.00%
Howard Bancorp 11.01% 5.93% 0.60%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for United Bankshares and Howard Bancorp, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
United Bankshares 0 4 0 0 2.00
Howard Bancorp 0 0 1 1 3.50

United Bankshares currently has a consensus target price of $42.50, indicating a potential upside of 13.94%. Howard Bancorp has a consensus target price of $21.50, indicating a potential upside of 2.63%. Given United Bankshares’ higher possible upside, research analysts clearly believe United Bankshares is more favorable than Howard Bancorp.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

62.3% of United Bankshares shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 65.0% of Howard Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. 6.2% of United Bankshares shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 10.6% of Howard Bancorp shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Summary

United Bankshares beats Howard Bancorp on 10 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

About United Bankshares

United Bankshares, Inc. (United) is a bank holding company. The Company operates through community banking segment. United’s Banking Subsidiaries offer a range of commercial and retail banking services and products. United, through its subsidiaries, engages in community banking and offers banking products and services permitted by law and regulation. Included among the banking services offered are the acceptance of deposits in checking, savings, time and money market accounts; the making and servicing of personal, commercial, floor plan and student loans, and the making of construction and real estate loans. Also offered are individual retirement accounts, safe deposit boxes, wire transfers and other standard banking products and services. As part of its lending function, the Banking Subsidiaries offer credit card services. The Company’s loan portfolio consists of commercial, real estate and consumer loans, including credit card and home equity loans.

About Howard Bancorp

Howard Bancorp, Inc. is the bank holding company of Howard Bank. The Company’s primary business is to own all of the capital stock of Howard Bank. The Company operates through Community Banking segment. Howard Bank is a trust company, which has approximately four operating subsidiaries. The Company offers a range of services to its customers, including wire transfer services, automated teller machine (ATM) and check cards, ATMs at all of its service branch locations, safe deposit boxes at all service locations and credit cards through a third-party processor. Additionally, it provides Internet banking services to its customers and merchant card services for its business customers. The Company’s primary market focus is on making loans to and gathering deposits from small and medium size businesses and their owners, professionals and executives, and high-net-worth individuals in its primary market area.

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