Ameris Bancorp (NASDAQ:ABCB) and Oritani Financial (NASDAQ:ORIT) are both finance companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, earnings, institutional ownership, dividends, analyst recommendations, valuation and risk.

Dividends

Ameris Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.4%. Oritani Financial pays an annual dividend of $0.72 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.9%. Ameris Bancorp pays out 17.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Oritani Financial pays out 61.0% 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. Oritani Financial has raised its dividend for 1 consecutive years. Oritani Financial is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Ameris Bancorp and Oritani Financial’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Ameris Bancorp $531.74 million 5.70 $121.03 million $3.38 12.88
Oritani Financial $160.51 million 5.23 $52.06 million $1.18 15.76

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for Ameris Bancorp and Oritani Financial, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Ameris Bancorp 0 0 4 0 3.00
Oritani Financial 0 0 1 0 3.00

Ameris Bancorp currently has a consensus target price of $49.50, indicating a potential upside of 13.71%. Oritani Financial has a consensus target price of $19.00, indicating a potential upside of 2.15%. Given Ameris Bancorp’s higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Ameris Bancorp is more favorable than Oritani Financial.

Profitability

This table compares Ameris Bancorp and Oritani Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Ameris Bancorp 19.46% 11.71% 1.53%
Oritani Financial 31.46% 9.63% 1.26%

Risk & Volatility

Ameris Bancorp has a beta of 1.47, indicating that its share price is 47% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Oritani Financial has a beta of 0.69, indicating that its share price is 31% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

82.3% of Ameris Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 68.3% of Oritani Financial shares are held by institutional investors. 2.0% of Ameris Bancorp shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 10.2% of Oritani Financial shares are held 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.

Summary

Ameris Bancorp beats Oritani Financial on 11 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Ameris Bancorp

Ameris Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for Ameris Bank that provides banking services to retail and commercial customers primarily in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina. The company operates through five segments: Banking Division, Retail Mortgage Division, Warehouse Lending Division, SBA Division, and Premium Finance Division. It offers commercial and retail checking, regular interest-bearing savings, money market, individual retirement, and certificates of deposit accounts. The company also provides commercial real estate, residential real estate mortgage, agricultural, and commercial and industrial loans; consumer loans, including motor vehicle, home improvement, and home equity loans, as well as loans secured by savings accounts and small unsecured personal credit lines; and municipal and commercial insurance premium finance loans. It operates 125 domestic banking offices and 16 loan production offices. Ameris Bancorp was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Moultrie, Georgia.

About Oritani Financial

Oritani Financial Corp. operates as a savings and loan holding company for Oritani Bank that provides various banking services for individual and corporate customers. The company accepts a range of deposit products, such as non-interest and interest-bearing demand and NOW checking accounts, money market deposit accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and time deposits. Its loan products include residential commercial real estate loans comprising mortgage loans secured by apartment buildings; commercial real estate loans, consisting of mortgage loans secured by retail anchor shopping centers, commercial offices, retail space, warehouses, and mixed-use buildings; residential real estate loans, such as one to four family residential real property and home equity loans; and second mortgage and equity loans, and home equity lines of credit, as well as construction loans. The company also invests in securities and real estate properties. As of June 30, 2018, it operated 25 full service branches in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, and Passaic counties, New Jersey; and lending offices in New York City and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Oritani Financial Corp. was founded in 1911 and is headquartered in Washington Township, New Jersey.

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