Insider buying in the open market is generally considered a bullish indicator. Corporate insiders often have the inside track on the company's prospects. What's more, their income is typically closely tied to their company's stock. Often a big chunk of that income is in the form of stock options or restricted stock. What's more, diversification argues for minimizing exposure to any one company rather than adding to it with insider buys.

While insider selling may indicate nothing more than a college tuition bill coming due, a home remodeling or a high-end vacation, buying is typically a sign the insider expects the stock to rise. Buying in the open market could be considered more bullish than exercising stock options because the insider found some other way to fund the purchase.

With that in mind, I ran a screen to find companies that have had at least one insider make an open market buy in the last 30 days. Here are 10 bank stocks that made the list with at least $50,000 of open market insider buys:


Net Number of Buys

No.  of Shares Bought

Total Value

Market Cap
(in Millions)

Oritani Financial (Nasdaq: ORIT) 2 39,861 $485,000 $719
National Penn Bancshares (Nasdaq: NPBC) 6 56,898 $384,000 $1,202
Western Alliance Bancorporation 11 47,479 $240,000 $584
Cathay General Bancorp (Nasdaq: CATY) 1 10,000 $150,000 $1,289
MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG) 2 17,500 $102,000 $1,197
PrivateBancorp (Nasdaq: PVTB) 11 36,943 $100,000 $991
Glacier Bancorp 2 5,900 $81,000 $969
People's United Financial (Nasdaq: PBCT) 1 5,000 $64,000 $4,812
Washington Federal 1 4,000 $60,000 $1,825
BancorpSouth (NYSE: BXS) 1 5,000 $59,000 $1,036

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, as of 6/30/11.

When it comes to the number and total value of insider open market buys, more could be considered better. The table is sorted accordingly. For example, there were six open market purchases of National Penn Bancshares worth $384,000, compared with one open market purchase of BancorpSouth totaling $59,000. Both are bullish signs, but the National Penn Bancshares sign is more likely to be marking an on-ramp you want to take.

Foolish takeaway
Insider buying is a sign that someone who should be in the know is betting that the stock is going to rise. You can use this list of open market insider purchases in the past 30 days to generate research ideas and/or reinforce a contrarian view.

Are these insiders right? To help you find out, The Motley Fool recently introduced a free My Watchlist feature. You can get up-to-date news and analysis by adding companies to your Watchlist now:

Fool contributor Cindy Johnson does not currently own shares of any stock in this story. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.