Critical Comparison: Westamerica Bancorporation (NASDAQ:WABC) versus Nicolet Bankshares (NASDAQ:NCBS)

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Westamerica Bancorporation (NASDAQ:WABC) and Nicolet Bankshares (NASDAQ:NCBS) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their earnings, profitability, risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership and valuation.

Profitability

This table compares Westamerica Bancorporation and Nicolet Bankshares’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Westamerica Bancorporation 37.08% 11.78% 1.36%
Nicolet Bankshares 28.06% 11.63% 1.48%

Dividends

Westamerica Bancorporation pays an annual dividend of $1.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.6%. Nicolet Bankshares does not pay a dividend. Westamerica Bancorporation has raised its dividend for 6 consecutive years.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Westamerica Bancorporation and Nicolet Bankshares, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Westamerica Bancorporation 0 2 0 0 2.00
Nicolet Bankshares 0 0 1 0 3.00

Westamerica Bancorporation currently has a consensus target price of $53.00, suggesting a potential downside of 14.74%. Nicolet Bankshares has a consensus target price of $71.00, suggesting a potential upside of 11.65%. Given Nicolet Bankshares’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Nicolet Bankshares is more favorable than Westamerica Bancorporation.

Risk and Volatility

Westamerica Bancorporation has a beta of 0.97, indicating that its stock price is 3% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Nicolet Bankshares has a beta of 0.83, indicating that its stock price is 17% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Westamerica Bancorporation and Nicolet Bankshares’ revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Westamerica Bancorporation $199.87 million 8.40 $71.56 million N/A N/A
Nicolet Bankshares $165.05 million 3.60 $41.04 million $4.12 15.43

Westamerica Bancorporation has higher revenue and earnings than Nicolet Bankshares.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

82.4% of Westamerica Bancorporation shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 36.1% of Nicolet Bankshares shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.4% of Westamerica Bancorporation shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 17.4% of Nicolet Bankshares shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Westamerica Bancorporation beats Nicolet Bankshares on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

Westamerica Bancorporation Company Profile

Westamerica Bancorporation provides banking solutions. The bank offers demand deposits and interest and non-interest bearing time and savings deposits. The company's deposits include jumbo deposits and retail time deposits. The company provides commercial and industrial loans, consumer loans, commercial real estate loans, and other loans and leases. The company offers consumer loans, including credit card loans, revolving credit plans, and automotive loans. The company offers commercial real estate loans for land development and on-site construction of industrial, commercial, residential, or farm buildings in the United States; real estate-backed residential loans; and commercial loans collateralized by real estate properties. The company offers domestic and foreign commercial and industrial loans. The bank offers loans for the purpose of financing agricultural production; loans which include planned and unplanned overdrafts, to governments in non-U.S. countries, to their official institutions, and to international and regional institutions. For 2017, the company has an asset value of 5.6 million USD. It has generated a net income of 71,564 USD in December 31, 2017. The company was formerly known as Independent Bankshares Corporation and changed its name to Westamerica Bancorporation in December 1982. Westamerica Bancorporation was founded in 1972 and is based in San Rafael, California.

Nicolet Bankshares Company Profile

Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. operates as the holding company for Nicolet National Bank that provides commercial and retail banking services for businesses and individuals. The company accepts checking, savings, and money market accounts; various certificates of deposit; and individual retirement accounts. It also offers commercial loans, including commercial, industrial, and business loans and lines of credit; owner-occupied commercial real estate loans; agricultural (AG) production and AG real estate loans; commercial real estate investment real estate loans; construction and land development loans; residential real estate loans, such as residential first lien mortgages, junior lien mortgages, home equity loans, lines of credit, and residential construction loans; and consumer loans. In addition, the company provides cash management, international banking, personal brokerage, safe deposit boxes, and trust and fiduciary services, as well as wealth management and retirement plan services. Further, it offers mortgage refinancing; online services, such as commercial, retail, and trust online banking; automated bill payment, mobile banking deposits and account access, remote deposit capture, and telephone banking services; and other services consisting of wire transfers, debit cards, credit cards, pre-paid gift cards, direct deposits, and official bank checks. Additionally, the company provides investment strategy and transactional services to financial institutions. As of December 31, 2018, it operated 38 branches located in northeast and central Wisconsin, as well as in Menominee, Michigan. The company was formerly known as Green Bay Financial Corporation and changed its name to Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. in March 2002. Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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