As many investors move their attention to smaller, less scandal-prone banks, savings and loan institutions are beginning to emerge as a viable alternative to the megabank stocks. Earnings season is always a good time to take the pulse of any given sector, so let's take a look at some S&Ls that have just offered up some numbers to dig into.
The standout here is New York Community Bancorp
The company increased the number of multi-family mortgages it originated, as well as handling many more refinances – which had the additional benefit of increasing pre-payment penalty fees, to the tune of $32 million this past quarter. Indeed, NYB is especially flush, holding $2.4 billion in cash on its books.
Other S&Ls performed admirably this past quarter, as well. Flushing Financial
Other S&Ls reported mixed results, as they work through various issues weighing down profits. Hudson City Bancorp
People's United Financial
Fellow S&L Brookline Bancorp
New York Community seems to be the best of breed here, but all of these institutions are making an effort to work through their issues, and -- with the possible exception of Brookline -- look to be moving forward.
They also have piles of cash on hand. In addition to New York Community, Hudson City and People's have been recognized as having plump cash stores of $830 million and $500 million, respectively. In addition, these institutions are much less apt to have exposure to Europe's economic woes, something that has been dogging the big banks this year. Along with regional banks, S&Ls are looking better all the time.
The financial sector is varied and vast, and if S&Ls aren't your cup of tea, there are many other options out there. Let our banking analysts show you "The Stocks Only the Smartest Investors Are Buying," which will clue you in to how the biggest banking investors are making their picks. This special report is right here, and it's free.Fool contributor Amanda Alix owns no shares in the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.