UPDATE: Banc of California, Irvine, CA (BANC)

BANC is sweeter without Sugarman.

Since I reviewed Banc of California in 2014, almost nothing about the bank is the same except its name. And that's a good thing!

Now, BANC investors can probably double their dough over the next four years. By then, its book value should approach $20 per share and earnings $2.00 per share.


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


Prospective Buyers

PacWest Bancorp, Los Angeles, CA (PACW)
Umpqua Holdings, Portland, OR (UMPQ)
Zions Bancorp, Salt Lake City, UT (ZION)

Financial Snapshot
as of 09/30/2017

Total assets:
$10.3B
Tangible book value per share:
$13.80
NPAs to assets:
0.2%
Price to book:
146%
Market cap:
$1.09B
Dividend yield:
2.4%
Trailing 12-month ROA:
0.73%
Trailing 12-month ROE:
7.93%
TARP:$0M*

*Redeemed $19.3M 12/15/2010

Luminaries

Robert D. Sznewajs, Chairman
Douglas H. Bowers, President and CEO
John A. Bogler, Executive VP and CFO

Gold Stars

Sugarman and Co-Scoundrels are long gone.* 

Thankfully, these high-performing, adult banking professionals are now in charge.
  • Chairman Robert Sznewajs helped pull Michigan National Bank (MNCO) out of the ditch in the early 90’s, sold it to National Australia Bank and, more recently, presided over the turnaround and sale of West Coast Bancorp (WCBO).
  • CEO Doug Bowers is a 35-year bank veteran who ran Square 1 Financial (SQBK) until its successful sale to PacWest in 2015.
  • New board member Kirk Wycoff of Patriot Financial Partners is known for impeccable due diligence. 
  • New board member Richard Lashley from PL Capital has maximized shareholder value in dozens of banks and thrifts.
*For more of the backstory on how and why BANC went Sugarman-free, see this October 2016 exposĂ© by Aurelius

Three other reasons I am sweet on this now-Sugarman-free enterprise include:
  1. The size of combined stake PL Capital and Patriot Financial have in the game — a hefty 6,250,000 shares* worth $134M –gives me confidence there will be no more shenanigans here.
  2. CEO Bowers owns 92,000 shares worth $1.97M, 57,000 of which he bought in the open market last September. This tells me Bowers is confident in his ability to create value here.
  3. The OCC finished an exam of BANC late last summer, suggesting the problems Sugarman created have likely been reduced to mere crumbs by now. 
*12.5% of BANC's outstanding shares

Sources

  • Confidential interviews with shareholders and analysts

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