When looking for value in the banking sector, I'm pretty underwhelmed with the prospects for 2011. Sure, many of the small regional banks trade around 1 time tangible book value, which I agree on a historical level has been a good valuation to buy. In addition, Bank of Montreal's
Most bank balance sheets have improved a great deal since the financial crisis, but there are still many questions about the quality of loans outstanding with regard to many of the regional banks. In addition, if the recovery begins to slow in 2011, it could seriously hamper the asset quality and balance sheets of said banks.
Although a strong continuation of the U.S. economic recovery would certainly help boost U.S. banking stocks in 2011, I think there's a better way to play the financial sector that doesn't involve owning a bank or relying on the U.S. economy.
A diverse business
Many are familiar with NCR
Although NCR is still growing this business, it represents a small part of its overall revenue and growth. The real growth driver and value of this company is in its banking ATM business. NCR has been the world leader in terms of ATM market share since 1986. Today it has market share of nearly 30% of the world ATM market, which includes market leadership in America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Global ATM growth
The ATM market has grown substantially, from a total of 284,000 total machines in 1999 to more than 2 million today. Much of this growth was fueled by the American market, but with large rollouts of new ATM technology nearly complete at JPMorgan Chase
For example, China is expected to become the largest ATM market in the world, with an estimated 545,000 machines, while the U.S. market is expected to grow to only 435,000. The expected Chinese growth over the next five years represents a growth of 160% over the 210,000 ATMs that were in China at the end of 2009.
NCR has a key foothold in China through its relationship with the country's largest ATM service provider, ATMU Technology. The company just made a large 1,500-unit order with NCR and has now purchased more than 3,000 machines from the company over the past three years.
Another large opportunity for NCR is in India, where the ATM market is still much smaller than China's, but according to a recent report from Report Buyer, the country's installed ATM base is growing at 100% year over year.
Finally, NCR's large manufacturing presence in Brazil gives the company a natural competitive advantage in this rapidly growing economy. As the country continues its buildout for the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, growth should remain high, and so will demand for ATMs.
For those who aren't bullish on the financial sector, I believe that NCR provides a great opportunity to gain exposure to growth without the same downside risk. If ATMs and DVD kiosks don't provide enough bang for your buck, NCR is also showing strong growth in its self-serve kiosks at grocery stores, big-box retailers, and airports.
So if you still don't trust the financial sector but are looking for a way to gain exposure, NCR is my top pick for 2011.
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Andrew Bond owns no shares in the companies listed. Netflix is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @Bond0 or on his RSS feed. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Fool has a disclosure policy.