Banking Buybacks

05/06/2015 8:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

David Fried

Editor, The Buyback Letter

Buyback expert David Fried specializes in recommending companies that are undergoing share repurchase programs; here, the editor of The Buyback Letter looks at two new portfolio additions, both in the financial sector.

Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) is a financial services holding company which—through subsidiaries and services—originates mortgage loans.

Ocwen is headquartered in Atlanta, GA, with offices throughout the US and support operations in India and the Philippines.

President and CEO Ron Faris expects the company to be profitable in 2015, to generate substantial cash flow from pending asset sales and operations. The company reported a Q4 loss of $598.4 million ($4.77 per share). Earnings were 26 cents per share.

Revenue was $493.3 million in the period. For the year, the company reported a loss of $546.3 million ($4.18 per share); revenue was $2.11 billion. OCN has reduced shares outstanding by 6.9% in the past 12 months.

Regions Financial Corp. (RF), with $120 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is the 17th largest bank in the US (based on assets) and a leading regional bank in the Southeastern US.

A full-service consumer and commercial bank, Regions provides wealth management, mortgage, and insurance products and services.

Regions serves customers in 16 states across the South, Midwest, and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates some 1,650 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs.

It has won awards of excellence for providing distinguished service to small business and middle market clients and was ranked among the top 10% of companies for customer service in 2015.

A large portion of its growth has been through acquiring other financial institutions, including commercial banks and thrifts. Profits at the Fortune 500 company increased slightly for 2014, but were down in Q4.

Some analysts muse that the stock is undervalued, trading at a low price-to-book ratio, with a valuation lower than its peers.

The bank has posted steady profits since the end of the recession by reducing bad loans and controlling expenses. RF has reduced its shares outstanding by 5.4% in the past 12 months.

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