Limestone Bancorp (NASDAQ:LMST) and Banc of California (NASDAQ:BANC) Head to Head Survey

Limestone Bancorp (NASDAQ:LMST) and Banc of California (NYSE:BANC) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their earnings, dividends, profitability, institutional ownership, risk, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Profitability

This table compares Limestone Bancorp and Banc of California’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Limestone Bancorp 21.28% 11.65% 1.01%
Banc of California 10.28% 7.94% 0.57%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Limestone Bancorp and Banc of California, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Limestone Bancorp 0 1 2 0 2.67
Banc of California 0 4 0 0 2.00

Limestone Bancorp presently has a consensus target price of $18.00, suggesting a potential upside of 19.52%. Banc of California has a consensus target price of $17.00, suggesting a potential upside of 19.21%. Given Limestone Bancorp’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Limestone Bancorp is more favorable than Banc of California.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

28.6% of Limestone Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 98.8% of Banc of California shares are owned by institutional investors. 17.0% of Limestone Bancorp shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 11.1% of Banc of California shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Limestone Bancorp and Banc of California’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Limestone Bancorp $49.24 million 1.91 $8.79 million $1.23 12.24
Banc of California $446.71 million 1.62 $45.47 million $0.49 29.10

Banc of California has higher revenue and earnings than Limestone Bancorp. Limestone Bancorp is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Banc of California, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

Banc of California pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.7%. Limestone Bancorp does not pay a dividend. Banc of California pays out 49.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Volatility and Risk

Limestone Bancorp has a beta of 0.22, indicating that its stock price is 78% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Banc of California has a beta of 1.33, indicating that its stock price is 33% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Limestone Bancorp beats Banc of California on 10 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Limestone Bancorp

Limestone Bancorp, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Limestone Bank, Inc. that provides a range of commercial and personal banking products and services. The company offers deposit products, including checking, savings, and term certificate accounts, as well as money market accounts and fixed rate certificates. It also provides commercial loans for equipment purchases, working capital, and other financing needs of business enterprises; and commercial real estate loans that include loans on properties occupied by borrowers and tenants, as well as construction and development loans secured by land under development, or homes and commercial buildings under construction. In addition, the company offers residential real estate loans; consumer loans; agriculture loans secured by livestock, crops, and equipment; and other loans, including loans to municipalities, loans secured by stock, and overdrafts. Further, it provides drive-through banking facilities, automatic teller machines, personalized checks, credit and debit cards, electronic funds transfers through ACH services, domestic and foreign wire transfers, and loan and deposit sweep accounts; and night depository, Internet and mobile banking, treasury management, remote deposit, cash management, and vault services. The company primarily serves small to medium-sized businesses, and business owners and employees, as well as other executives and professionals. It operates 15 banking offices in 12 counties in Kentucky. The company was formerly known as Porter Bancorp, Inc. and changed its name to Limestone Bancorp, Inc. in May 2018. Limestone Bancorp, Inc. was founded in 1902 and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

About Banc of California

Banc of California, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Banc of California, National Association that provides banking products and services in the United States. The company offers deposit products, including checking, savings, money market, retirement, and interest and noninterest-bearing demand accounts, as well as certificates of deposits. It also provides various commercial and consumer loan products, such as commercial and industrial loans; commercial real estate loans; multifamily loans; construction and renovation loans; single family residential mortgage loans; warehouse loans; asset, insurance, or security-backed loans; home equity lines of credit; consumer and business lines of credit; small business administration loans; and other consumer loans. In addition, the company offers automated bill payment, cash and treasury management, foreign exchange, card payment, remote and mobile deposit capture, automated clearing house origination, wire transfer, direct deposit, and Internet banking services; and master demand accounts, interest rate swaps, and safe deposit boxes. As of December 31, 2018, it operated 32 full service branches in San Diego, Orange, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles counties in California. The company was formerly known as First PacTrust Bancorp, Inc. and changed its name to Banc of California, Inc. in July 2013. Banc of California, Inc. was founded in 1941 and is headquartered in Santa Ana, California.

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