Head to Head Survey: First Financial Bancorp (FFBC) & CU Bancorp (CUNB)

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

Analyst Recommendations

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

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
First Financial Bancorp 1 3 4 0 2.38
CU Bancorp 0 1 3 0 2.75

First Financial Bancorp presently has a consensus target price of $29.50, indicating a potential upside of 8.86%. CU Bancorp has a consensus target price of $42.50, indicating a potential upside of 13.33%. Given CU Bancorp’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe CU Bancorp is more favorable than First Financial Bancorp.

Dividends

First Financial Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. CU Bancorp does not pay a dividend. First Financial Bancorp pays out 42.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

77.5% of First Financial Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 56.4% of CU Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. 1.9% of First Financial Bancorp shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 9.1% of CU Bancorp shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

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

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
First Financial Bancorp $409.21 million 4.11 $96.78 million $1.60 16.94
CU Bancorp N/A N/A N/A $1.67 22.46

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.

Profitability

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

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

Summary

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

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.

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.

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