S.B.C.P. Bancorp, Cross Plains, WI (SBBI)

A Case of an SBFC Lookalike?


Way back in June 2012, I said that if I could own just one bank stock, SBFC was it. Since then SBFC shares have nearly tripled in value. (See The Case of a Juicy Bank Stock in the Peachtree State.)

Fast forward to today, I feel the same way about SBBI. If I'm right in perceiving the similarities, its book value will be above $80 in three years, SBBI will trade over $100 per share — (triple today's bargain price) — and investors will be sitting pretty.


Disclosure: As of this posting, I own shares of SBBI and may subsequently either dispose of them or purchase more.


Prospective Buyers

Although the State Bank of Cross Plains is unlikely to sell (and I'm more than happy to hang onto its stock), I suspect these suitors would agree it's a beauty.

Associated Banc-Corp, Green Bay, WI (ASB)
Bank of Montreal, Toronto, Canada (BMO)
Old National Bancorp, Evansville, IN (ONB)

Financial Snapshot
as of 12/31/2015
Total assets:
$807M
Tangible book value per share:
$59.40
NPAs to assets:
3.3%
Price to book:
0.55%
Market cap:
$33.7M
Dividend yield:
1.4%
Trailing 12-month return on assets:
0.76%
Trailing 12-month return on equity:
6.3%

Luminaries

Charles L. Saeman, Chairman and CEO
James L. Tubbs, Bank CEO and President
Mark DeBiasio, Executive VP, CFO, and Treasurer

Gold Stars

The similarities between SBFC in 2012 and SBBI today are remarkable:
  • Both trade at a big discount to book value, although SBBI's discount today is even bigger than SBFC's was then.
  • Both showed self reliance by raising needed capital through their boards, families, and friends.
  • Both have astute, capable management teams with serious skin in the game in terms of insider ownership.
  • Like SBFC then, SBBI now is largely done cleaning up asset quality, and trades at barely a third of the price it did just a few years prior.

The differences make SBBI today an even more appealing stock pick than SBFC was then:
  • SBBI has a dominant share in more towns. It's #1 in five great Wisconsin communities, whereas SBFC was dominant only in Augusta, GA.
  • SBBI trades at a lower multiple of book value than SBFC did then, making it a cheaper buy with more upside.
  • SBBI's CEO is much younger than SBFC's was at the time, which suggests less risk of turnover.

So, I can imagine making money on this stock for another 20 years!

Assuming even modest growth from here, say 7% a year, we could see SBBI's book value grow from today's $64 to $240 before Tubbs reaches retirement age.*

Presuming SBBI trades at twice book by then, again, not unreasonable for a high performer, I could be holding a stock worth $500 per share.

*His grandfather worked at the bank for 66 years. His 86-year-young dad still works at nearby Bank of Sun Prairie, and owns over 10% of SBBI. If Tubbs is a Tubbs, he'll be running the State Bank of Cross Plains for at least another 20 years.

Too far out for your investment horizon?

If SBBI keeps looking like SBFC, book value will reach $100 in just three to four years and the stock should trade at 150% of book — quadruple today's price.

Sources

  • Confidential interviews with management and shareholders

5 comments :

  1. Nice - your article jumped the stock 23%

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  2. I have the opportunity to purchase some SBBI. Do you still favor it?

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    Replies
    1. Hello Sara!
      Thank you for the question. I do still favor $SBBI. The stock is up quite a bit since I wrote this but the value of the bank has grown nearly as much. I recently bid $70 per share for some stock but was unsuccessful. The shares they are using to pay for their acquisition of Union Bank & Trust were valued at $110 per share.

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  3. Phil - Thanks for highlighting this bank. Though, it does seem like most of the trading is done through private sellers, not OTC.

    In all of my travels, I've run across a few banks with private bulletin boards or that have president's desk lists (where IR will connect buyers and sellers), but I'm sort of curious how often you have run across this sort of activity. As well as if you know of others that do so (as they really don't seem to be widely published by the investee, and hard to find for potential investors, which I can understand, given the SEC).

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  4. Hello Dave!
    Thanks for reading and commenting. There are quite a number of banks where the CEO or an assistant keeps a list of interested buyers and sellers. $SBBI does a good job with this by sending them out regularly. $EXCH in Georgia seems to as well but if you're not a local you can't get any info. Queenstown Bank of Maryland also says they keep a list and help but instead they often buy shares for their buy back at lower prices than investors are willing to pay. If I were a customer/shareholder I would not be happy to find out I was taken advantage of like this. In the land of bank stock investing it is both Caveat Emptor and Caveat Venditor
    Good Luck!
    Phil

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