News flash: At The Motley Fool, we're not huge fans of Wall Street.
Whatever the reason, we Foolishly believe that Joe and Jane Investor can pick stocks just as well as Nigel and Vivian, CFA. That's why we created Motley Fool CAPS, harnessing the small-w wisdom of the capital-F Foolish crowd to pick the winners of tomorrow. Problem is, not everyone is pulling their weight.
For the most part, the 96,000 investors currently on CAPS are telling us what we already know: Freeport-McMoRan and Vale -- good. Trouble twins Lehman Bros.
Thanks for playing. No, really!
Not that we don't appreciate the effort. We do. But today, I'm asking you to broaden your horizons a bit. We still have literally hundreds of stocks out there in CAPS-land that lack the 10 ratings necessary to earn them a CAPS "star" rating.
Where you come in
I'd like to introduce you to just three of these hundreds. If you know the companies in question, please take a moment to tell us whether you like them or hate them, and why. It's really as simple as that.
For the third time running, we're holding a special on tiny banks. There are more of 'em than you can shake a stick at, and we need your help rating as many as possible. First up is BNC Bancorp, the holding company for Bank of North Carolina. BNC provides basic consumer banking services and commercial loans (including, yes, home mortgages) across half a dozen counties in -- you guessed it -- North Carolina. It's not a particularly good bank, earning a return on assets of 0.7% and a return on equity of 9.4%. But at least it's cheap. At just 1.7 times tangible book value, twice as many CAPS players think this one will outperform the S&P 500 as those who think it will underperform. Here's your chance to make it official.
Strangely, investors have an entirely different reaction to BNC near-neighbor Colony Bankcorp. The holding company for Colony Bank of Fitzgerald operates four locations in the Peach State and offers many of the same services that its "Northern" (no offense intended) rival provides, and additionally issues MasterCard
And finally, we turn away from this Southern civil war to head way, way up north. Our third contestant today is the holding company for Massachusetts-based Enterprise Bank and Trust Company, which has served the good people of Massachusetts and New Hampshire for almost 20 years. Offering checking, savings, and money market accounts from its 14 locations, Enterprise Bancorp puts its Southern banking brethren to shame with its performance. Enterprise scores an almost respectable 1.0% return on assets and a 12.1% return on equity, and it doesn't cost a whole lot, either -- just more than 1.3 times tangible book. Investors mainly agree that this is the best value of the bunch, with seven out of nine CAPS players polled giving Enterprise the thumbs-up. Agree or disagree, here's your chance to vote for free.
Share your karma
Each of the above stocks currently falls just one vote short of earning its CAPS stars. That gives you the chance to play the hero today. Literally, with just a click of your mouse, you can provide the deciding vote that puts any one of these stocks over the top and lets everyone else on CAPS know whether it's ready to trounce the market, or trip over its own feet.
Once again, our candidates are:
Give 'em some love, people.
Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 1,667 out of more than 96,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.