In a positive sign for bank stocks, Russell Investment Group has added 25 banks to its index of 3,000 publicly traded companies while removing just three banks from its influential list.
The firm rebalances its Russell 3000 index each year based on a company's market capitalization as of May 31, and this year it added 197 companies, including 39 that went public in the last year. Among the additions is EverBank Financial (EVER) in Jacksonville, Fla., which began trading publicly in early May and has a market cap of just under $1.3 billion.
Returning to the index this year after being removed a few years ago is Citizens Republic Bancorp (CRBC) in Flint, Mich. Its stock price has more than doubled in the past year as the company has returned to profitability after three straight years of losses and now has a market cap of nearly $660 million.
FNB United was created last fall through the merger of two troubled banks and with the aid of a $310 million investment from a handful of private equity groups. It completed a 1-for-100 stock split late last year when its shares were hovering around $1 and its shares are now trading at above $12.
Guaranty, meanwhile, has regained its footing over the last six quarters after struggling with losses on real estate loans. Its share price is up nearly 50% in the last year, to $2.05 Tuesday morning.
Perhaps just as noteworthy as the number of banks added to the list was that only three were removed, compared to 11 that were jettisoned last year.
The largest banking company removed from the index this year is the $14 billion-asset Flagstar Bancorp (FBR) in Troy, Mich. Its shares have been trading at under $1 for much of the past year due to continued losses on real estate loans. Other struggling companies that are no longer part of the index are Orrstown Financial Services (ORRF) in Shippensburg, Pa., and Hampton Roads Bancshares (HMPR) in Norfolk, Va.
The remaining banks and thrifts added to the index were: American National Bancshares (AMNB) in Danville, Va.; Bar Harbor Bankshares (BHB) in Maine; Berkshire Bancorp (BERK) in New York; BSB Bancorp (BLMT) in Belmont, Mass.; Crescent Financial Bancshares (CRFN) in Cary, N.C.; Farmers National Banc (FMNB) in Canfield, Ohio; First California Financial Group (FCAL) in Westlake Village; First Financial Northwest (FFNW) in Renton, Wash.; Heritage Oaks Bancorp (HEOP) in Paso Robles, Calif.; Home Bancorp (HBCP) in Lafayette, La.; Horizon Bancorp (HBNC) in Michigan City, Ind.; Kaiser Federal Financial Group (KFFG) in Covina, Calif.; Mercantile Bank (MBWM) in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Metrocorp Bancshares (MCBI) in Houston; Middleburg Financial (MBRG) in Virginia; Pacific Mercantile Bancorp (PMBC) in Costa Mesa, Calif.; Peapack-Gladstone Financial (PGC) in Bedminster, N.J.; Peoples Federal Bancshares (PEOP) in Brighton, Mass.; Preferred Bank (PFBC) in Los Angeles; Provident Financial Holdings (PROV) in Riverside, Calif.; SI Financial Group (SIFI) in Willimantic, Conn.