Two Bank Stocks on Our Radar Right Now

Each week on the Industry Focus: Financials podcast, host Jason Moser and contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, each discuss one stock that's on their watch list.

This week, Frankel discusses why investment banking giant Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) is looking like a bargain right now, while Moser recently purchased shares of Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ: ABCB) and thinks the stock looks rather interesting.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Dec. 3, 2018.

Jason Moser: Let's wrap up the week, as always, with One to Watch. Matt, what is your one to watch for the coming week?

Matt Frankel: Last week, I suggested a financials index fund. This week, I'm going to narrow it down. I'm going to say Goldman Sachs, ticker GS, which is one of my favorites. Listeners know that. I've mentioned before that Goldman has a lot of room to run with their consumer banking business. They're still arguably the No. 1 brand name on Wall Street. When you hear Wall Street, it's pretty much synonymous with Goldman Sachs for a lot of people. And now, they're in this legal problem with Malaysia. Malaysia is trying to get back $600 million in fees that it paid in a bond fund that went bad. Now that they're wrapped up in this, the stock's taken another hit down, and it's actually trading for less than its book value for the first time in over two years. I think Goldman looks really, really interesting at this point.

Moser: And what is the ticker for Goldman?

Frankel: GS.

Moser: GS. OK. Folks who follow me on Twitter may know that on November 20th, I bought Ameris Bancorp, along with another stock, Etsy, but I'm going to go ahead and shine the light on Ameris Bancorp this week, because I did add shares of Ameris to my portfolio. Most folks, you've probably heard it on this show before. Ameris is a small-cap bank down there in southwest Georgia. About a $2 billion market cap, but it really has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years. The FDIC found it to be a very good partner in rolling up some of those failed institutions from the financial crisis. Ameris has always been able to maintain healthy capital ratios, which is really encouraging. I think the stock is a little bit on sale around this time of year here, around 20 times earnings today. In their most recent quarter, they announced they grew total assets to close to $11.5 billion versus approximately $7.5 billion at the end of 2017. With a bank like this, growing that asset base, growing that deposit base, really helps them generate the return on assets that we value a lot of these banks by.

And then, they have a nice diverse lending book, which is a testament to smart leadership. They're good stewards with the capital and look after shareholders. I think this is an attractive long-term idea, one that I look forward to holding for many years to come, and I think listeners would benefit from probably looking into it there.

So, we got a big, megabank, and we got a little, tiny bank. Those are a couple of good ideas for listeners out there.

Jason Moser owns shares of Etsy and Twitter. Matthew Frankel, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Etsy and Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.