SB Financial Group (NASDAQ:SBFG) and Associated Banc (NYSE:ASB) are both finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, risk, valuation, analyst recommendations, earnings, institutional ownership and profitability.

Dividends

SB Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $0.36 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. Associated Banc pays an annual dividend of $0.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.3%. SB Financial Group pays out 23.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Associated Banc pays out 33.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. SB Financial Group has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years and Associated Banc has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Risk and Volatility

SB Financial Group has a beta of 0.84, suggesting that its share price is 16% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Associated Banc has a beta of 1.17, suggesting that its share price is 17% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

47.5% of SB Financial Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 73.3% of Associated Banc shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.1% of SB Financial Group shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.7% of Associated Banc shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares SB Financial Group and Associated Banc’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SB Financial Group $56.10 million 1.88 $11.64 million $1.51 10.83
Associated Banc $1.51 billion 2.25 $333.56 million $2.03 10.16

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

Profitability

This table compares SB Financial Group and Associated Banc’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SB Financial Group 20.19% 10.45% 1.22%
Associated Banc 22.56% 9.87% 1.05%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for SB Financial Group and Associated Banc, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SB Financial Group 0 0 0 0 N/A
Associated Banc 2 5 2 0 2.00

Associated Banc has a consensus price target of $24.88, suggesting a potential upside of 20.64%. Given Associated Banc’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe Associated Banc is more favorable than SB Financial Group.

Summary

Associated Banc beats SB Financial Group on 10 of the 15 factors compared between the two stocks.

SB Financial Group Company Profile

SB Financial Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides range of banking and wealth management services to individual and corporate customers primarily in northwest Ohio and northeast Indiana. It accepts deposits, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, demand deposits, and time certificates of deposit. The company's loan products include commercial and agricultural, commercial real estate, residential mortgage, and consumer loans. It also offers personal and corporate trust, commercial leasing, bank credit card, safe deposit box rental, Internet banking, automatic teller machine, private client group, and other personalized banking services; and various trust and financial services comprising asset management services for individuals and corporate employee benefit plans, as well as brokerage services. In addition, the company sells various insurance products to retail and commercial customers. It operates 19 banking centers located within the Ohio counties of Allen, Defiance, Franklin, Fulton, Hancock, Lucas, Paulding, Wood, and Williams; 1 banking center located in Allen County, Indiana; and 7 loan production offices located in Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lucas, and Seneca Counties, Ohio, as well as Kosciusko and Steuben County, Indiana and Monroe County, Michigan. The company was formerly known as Rurban Financial Corp. and changed its name to SB Financial Group, Inc. in April 2013. SB Financial Group, Inc. was founded in 1983 and is based in Defiance, Ohio.

Associated Banc Company Profile

Associated Banc-Corp, a bank holding company, provides various banking and nonbanking products to individuals and businesses in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Its Corporate and Commercial Specialty segment offers deposit and cash management solutions, such as commercial checking and interest-bearing deposit products, cash vault and night depository services, liquidity solutions, payables and receivables solutions, and information services; and lending solutions, including commercial loans and lines of credit, commercial real estate financing, construction loans, letters of credit, leasing, asset based lending, and loan syndications. This segment also provides specialized financial services comprising interest rate risk management, foreign exchange solutions, and commodity hedging. The company's Community, Consumer, and Business segment offers checking, credit, debit and pre-paid cards, online banking and bill pay, and money transfer services; residential mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit, personal and installment loans, real estate financing, business loans, and business lines of credit; savings, money market deposit accounts, IRA accounts, certificates of deposit, and fixed and variable annuities, as well as full-service, discount, and online investment brokerage; investment advisory services; trust and investment management accounts; and insurance and other related products and services. This segment also engages in the administration of pension, profit-sharing and other employee benefit plans, fiduciary and corporate agency services, and institutional asset management services. Its Risk Management and Shared Services segment provides corporate risk management, credit administration, finance, treasury, operations, and technology services. As of April 30, 2019, the company operated approximately 230 banking locations serving approximately 110 communities. Associated Banc-Corp was founded in 1861 and is headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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