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

Risk & Volatility

Associated Banc has a beta of 1.21, meaning that its stock price is 21% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Bank of the James Financial Group has a beta of 0.44, meaning that its stock price is 56% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

73.5% of Associated Banc shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 33.0% of Bank of the James Financial Group shares are owned by institutional investors. 2.7% of Associated Banc shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 10.4% of Bank of the James Financial Group shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Dividends

Associated Banc pays an annual dividend of $0.72 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Bank of the James Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $0.24 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.6%. Associated Banc pays out 36.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Associated Banc has raised its dividend for 4 consecutive years. Associated Banc is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Associated Banc and Bank of the James Financial Group’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Associated Banc $1.55 billion 2.04 $326.79 million $1.97 10.12
Bank of the James Financial Group $37.00 million 1.76 $5.61 million N/A N/A

Associated Banc has higher revenue and earnings than Bank of the James Financial Group.

Profitability

This table compares Associated Banc and Bank of the James Financial Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Associated Banc 20.79% 9.17% 1.01%
Bank of the James Financial Group 15.15% 9.48% 0.81%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations for Associated Banc and Bank of the James Financial Group, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Associated Banc 2 4 0 0 1.67
Bank of the James Financial Group 0 0 0 0 N/A

Associated Banc currently has a consensus target price of $21.00, suggesting a potential upside of 5.37%. Given Associated Banc’s higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe Associated Banc is more favorable than Bank of the James Financial Group.

Summary

Associated Banc beats Bank of the James Financial Group on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Associated Banc

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.

About Bank of the James Financial Group

Bank of the James Financial Group, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Bank of the James that provides general retail and commercial banking services to individuals, businesses, associations and organizations, and governmental authorities in Virginia. It accepts checking, savings, and individual retirement accounts, as well as other time deposits, including money market accounts and certificates of deposit. The company also offers loans to small- and medium-sized businesses for the purchases of equipment, facilities upgrades, inventory acquisition, and various working capital purposes; commercial and residential construction and development loans; commercial real estate mortgage loans; and secured and unsecured consumer loans, such as lines of credit and overdraft lines of credit, as well as personal, automobile, installment, demand, and home equity loans for personal, family, or household purposes. In addition, it provides other banking services comprising safe deposit boxes, traveler's checks, direct deposit of payroll and social security checks, automatic drafts for various accounts, and treasury management and credit card merchant services. Further, the company offers securities brokerage and investment services; and telephone and Internet banking services comprising online bill pay, as well as acts as an agent for insurance and annuity products. It operates 13 full service locations, 3 limited service branches, 1 loan production offices, and 3 mortgage production offices. The company was incorporated in 2004 and is headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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