Given that you clicked on this article, it seems safe to assume you either own shares of Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) or are considering buying them in the near future. If so, then you've come to the right place. The table below reveals the nine most critical numbers that investors need to know about Regions before deciding whether to buy, sell, or hold its stock.
But before getting to that, a brief introduction is in order. Regions was formed in 1971 as First Alabama Bancshares, a bank holding company for three previously independent banks. While it began with only $543 million in assets and 40 banking locations, it has since grown into one of the nation's largest regional banks -- it took on its present name in 1994 to "better reflect its growing presence throughout the South." Based in Birmingham, Alabama, it currently operates approximately 1,700 branches across 16 states. And as of the end of 2012, it had $121 billion of assets on its balance sheet, ranking it in size between Fifth Third Bancorp at $122 billion and KeyCorp at $89 billion.
As you can see in the table above, from a shareholder's perspective, Regions still has considerable progress to make before it can be considered a first-rate investment, as the majority of its primary metrics are either at or below the industry average. That being said, its best showings are its noninterest income, which currently makes up 40% of the bank's total revenue and thereby helps to hedge during periods of low interest rates, and its efficiency ratio, which comes in at one percentage point better than the industry overall.
With this in mind, it's much easier to identify Regions' areas of opportunity. In the first case, its net interest margin is woefully low, coming in nearly 60 basis points lower than the average. In the second case, its nonperforming loans ratio is far too high, thanks to its residual hangover from the financial crisis. And finally, its dividend payout ratio is abysmal, at only 9% of net income in all of 2012. To add insult to injury, moreover, it trades for 1.17 times tangible book value. That's a dear price for a bank with so many issues.
John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.