Earnings season is here once again. We're about a week in, but we have already seen some impressive numbers from banking behemoths JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) , Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C ) , and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) . While these results are important to those of us that follow the banking sector, my interest lies in some of the smaller banks beyond the behemoths.
With that in mind, I turn my attention to a regional bank that will be reporting earnings Friday. Here are some things I will be watching when it comes to the Regions Financial (NYSE: RF ) .
What analysts are expecting
Analysts are expecting a decrease in revenue and an increase in earnings from the same quarter last year, with $1.36 billion in revenue and $0.21 in earnings per share. Regions' second quarter saw the bank repaying its remaining TARP loans, clearing up that obligation for the bank going forward.
Balance sheet improvement
Repayment of its TARP loans have helped make the past year pretty stellar for Regions, especially when compared to a certain tech company out in Cupertino. For this to continue, Regions needs to continue to shore up its balance sheet, so I'll be looking for an improvement in nonperforming assets during the quarter. With banks, the better loans you have, the more income the loans generate.
What else to look for
Being based in the Southeast may hurt Regions because of unemployment numbers in the region being higher than the national average. While the bank may not specifically mention it with its earnings release tomorrow, it is something worth keeping an eye on during the quarter. As its potential customers return to work, one would hope that deposits would increase, as well as open future possibilities in loans and other banking products.
Regions Financial is one of many smaller banks that could be worth keeping an eye on. In fact some of the best opportunities over the next few years can be found there, including one small, under-the-radar bank. It's been called one of The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying. You can learn about it, and more, in our exclusive free report. Just click here to keep reading.