First Republic Bank 'Firing on all Cylinders'
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bank stock investors "impatient about revenue recovery" and "wary of macro tail risk" should consider First Republic Bank (FRC) , according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Erika Penala.
Penala on Friday reiterated her "Buy" rating for the San Francisco lender, with a price objective of $36, after meeting the bank's management and touring its branch facilities in Boston, saying that First Republic "offers both high quality, superior loan growth and a defensive balance sheet," and forecasting "best in class annual organic loan growth" of "18% in 2012; 17% in 2013; and 12% in 2014."
First Republic was acquired by Bank of America (BAC) as part of the purchase of Merrill Lynch in January 2009, and then sold in July 2010 to an investor group that included Colony Financial (CLNY) and General Atlantic LLC and was led by First Republic's original management team.
First Republic completed a public offering in December of 2010.
The shares closed at $32.79 Wednesday, returning 7% year-to-date, following a 5% return during 2011.
First Republic trades for 1.7 times tangible book value, according to Thomson Reuters Bank Insight, and for 11 times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of $2.89 a share, among analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The consensus 2012 EPS estimate is $2.78.