A savings bank on the tony north shore of New York's Long Island could stand tall among its peers if it would make some changes, says Bruce Harting, a banking analyst at Lehman Brothers.

Roslyn Bancorp of Roslyn, N.Y., would be a prize for value investors eager to take advantage of the consolidation of savings banks in the New York metropolitan area, he said.

Mr. Harting said Roslyn's price could rise to $20 a share within several months, taking into account an expected share buyback. The savings bank closed Friday at $17.75, up 0.35%. The Standard & Poor's bank stock index closed at 714.85, or 0.16% higher than Thursday's close. The S&P 500 gained 0.64%, to close at 1,403.28, and the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.6% to 11,193.70.

Roslyn's stock could go beyond the $20 mark if its management would articulate and arry out an asset-generation strategy, Mr. Harding said.

He advised that Roslyn increase its proportion of noninterest revenue by starting new businesses or producing higher levels of consumer banking services. He also recommended that management announce goals for returns on assets, returns on equity, and earnings-per-share growth.

Farther south, shares of Republic Security Financial Corp. of West Palm Beach, Fla., rose 2.72%, to $8.25, apparently in response to a report by Mark Fitzgibbon, an analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners, that said the stock could rise to $10, which would be a 27% premium over Friday's price.

The banking company has grown rapidly through internal growth and acquisitions to become the largest independent bank in the state, Mr. Fitzgibbon noted.

"Republic's broad product mix, community orientation, and nimble organizational structure have allowed it to compete very effectively with the giant regionals that operate in its backyard," Mr. Fitzgibbon said.

Republic will continue to benefit from "the dearth of midsize banking competitors in its locale."

His 1999 and 2000 earnings per share estimates are $0.65 and $0.73, implying growth of more than 12%.

In Birmingham, Ala., Compass Bancshares rose 6.46%, to $27.1875, after being added to the Standard & Poor's mid-cap 400 index. This will probably increase demand for Compass shares because funds indexed to the 400 must add the stock to their portfolios. Inclusion in the index also gives Compass a higher profile, another potential boost to its share price.

A further boost to its shares is speculation that it could become a takeover target, said Joan Goodman, a banking analyst at Pershing, a division of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Ms. Goodman said she sees Bank One Corp., First Union Corp., or SunTrust Banks Inc. as potential buyers.

Analysts don't rule out an in-market merger for Compass. But that wouldn't necessarily make its shares rise because it would be more like a merger of equals without too much of a premium offered.

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