Market corrections, like the one we're experiencing now, needn't be feared. Rather, they are a natural part of the investing game, and should be looked at as an opportunity to load up on the stocks of great companies while they're trading at a discount. In the banking sector, there are several stocks on sale right now, and many of them are stronger than they've ever been. The two that come most immediately to mind are Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) and US Bancorp (NYSE:USB).
Two rock solid consumer-oriented banks
Wells Fargo and US Bancorp are regarded as two of the most rock-solid big banks in the industry.
Both banks have a strong history of responsible risk management, which has prevented them from being seriously hurt by any recent market declines. In fact, I would say that both companies actually came out of the financial crisis in a better position than before.
Wells Fargo and US Bancorp both focus on the consumer side of banking. While there are certainly more complex operations going on at both companies, the majority of Wells Fargo and US Bancorp's revenue comes from simply taking in deposits and loaning money out at a higher interest rate.
As far as growth is concerned, both banks are doing an excellent job. As of the end of the second quarter, Wells Fargo's loan portfolio grew by 8% over the previous year, and so did its deposits. And, it did this while improving its asset quality at the same time -- net charge-offs are down 9% year-over-year.
US Bancorp has been growing at an even more impressive rate, with nearly 9% annual deposit growth -- including 13.3% growth in low-cost (savings accounts, etc.) deposits. The bank has been focusing on growing its commercial lending operations, and with a double-digit growth rate in that area (11% year-over-year), the effort seems to be paying off. US Bancorp already had some of the best asset quality in the business, and its 15.2% drop in charge-offs just makes it even better.
Perhaps most impressively, both banks have consistently delivered profitability and efficiency that are above that of its peer group. Take a look at how the banks compare to some of the other big banks in ROE (return on equity), ROA (return on assets), efficiency ratios, and charge-offs.
Both stocks have lost nearly 12% of their value since mid-July, and thanks to the ongoing correction are trading at their lowest price-to-tangible-book-value multiples since 2013. And since the banking industry (and these two in particular) is much stronger than it was at that time, the two most rock-solid big banks are looking like bargains
So, why am I telling you that now is a good time to buy these banks? Couldn't the market keep falling?
Absolutely! It's impossible to predict when this correction will be over. For all we know, the Dow Jones could fall another 2,000 points before we see a rebound and take these stocks down further with it. Or, the worst could be over by the time you're reading this -- nobody knows for sure.
What we do know is that these banks have rock-solid businesses and a proven track record of delivering results for shareholders in all markets, good and bad. That's what makes a long-term winner, and there isn't a bad time to buy a long-term winner.