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Five Banks with CEO Purchases in the Past Week: BKMU, MSFG, BDGE, UVSP, CNBC

February 16, 2011 | About:
Below is a new collection of CEO insider buying. All of these are small banks, some with attractive valuations and guru ownership. You can do a search for yourself by looking at GuruFocus’s insider trading list located here. You can see all insider purchases, just CEO purchases, and just CFO purchases. If you’re a premium subscriber, you can also see guru purchases as well. This is a great way to find some stocks that have positive sentiment within the company. A few names below sport attractive yields and stable operations and would be good additions to your research list.

Bank Mutual: (BKMU): CEO Michael Crowley bought 5,000 shares of company stock on February 14. He currently directly holds about 1.3 million shares. This month there have also been some other insider purchases including a director, the president, and a senior vice president. Bank Mutual operates out of Wisconsin and has a $201 million market cap. They had a difficult 4th quarter, but management is optimistic going forward. They are considered well-capitalized, have a P/B ratio of 0.7, and yield 2.7%. Jim Simons holds a small position in the bank.

MainSource Financial Group (MSFG): MainSource operates 83 branches in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. The bank recently reported 2010 earnings with an EPS of $0.58. Their net interest margin is improving YoY and non-performing assets declined. Their book value stands at $12.24, making their P/B 0.75.

Perhaps this improvement prompted CEO Archie Brown to pick up 1,316 shares on February 14. He currently owns about 11,000 shares. Arnold Schneider owns about 2% of the bank and Jim Simons owns a few shares as well.

Bridge Bancorp (BDGE): Bridge Bancorp is a $140 million market cap bank that operates 19 branches out of New York. The bank has an impressive 4% dividend yield, and recently reported 2010 EPS of $1.45. The bank celebrated its 100 year anniversary by acquiring Hamptons State Bank for $6.3 million in shares on February 8. Management appears bullish on the transaction since CEO Kevin O’Connor picked up 1,000 shares on February 11. Another member of management and two directors have also picked up shares since the transaction was announced.

Univest Corp. of Pennsylvania (UVSP): Univest is a Pennsylvania-based bank and trust with a $291 million market cap. Most notably for investors, they have a 4.6% dividend yield. Univest impressively navigated their way through the financial crisis, staying profitable throughout. They just announced 2010 EPS of $0.95. Book value is at $15.99 and P/B is at 1.1. This is half of their historic average P/B. Not surprisingly, their historic dividend yield is also half of what the current yield is.

It’s also no surprise, then, that there have been numerous insider purchases lately. CEO William Aichele bought 5,201 shares on February 10. Four other insiders have made purchases in the last three weeks with the share price below $18. This one is certainly safe, and with this dividend, very attractive.

Center Bancorp (CNBC): Center Bancorp is bumping up against its 52 week high. They’re a New Jersey-based bank with a $150 million market cap and 13 branches. Book value stands at $6.83 per share, making P/B 1.35. They made $0.43 per share in earnings for 2010 with another $0.38 removed because of adjustments. CEO Anthony Weagley bought 5,270 shares on February 9, pushing his total ownership over 40,000 shares. Three other directors have made significant purchases since the beginning of the year as well. Chuck Royce and Jim Simons own a small number of shares in Center Bancorp.

Disclosure: No positions

  • CEO Buys, CFO Buys: Stocks that are bought by their CEO/CFOs.
  • Insider Cluster Buys: Stocks that multiple company officers and directors have bought.
  • Double Buys:: Companies that both Gurus and Insiders are buying
  • Triple Buys: Companies that both Gurus and Insiders are buying, and Company is buying back.

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About the author:

Steven Kiel
Steven Kiel is the president and chief investment officer for Arquitos Capital Management, a Virginia-based investment management firm. He is a graduate of George Mason School of Law and a captain in the Army Reserves. He manages two spoke funds, The Freedom Fund, a value-oriented portfolio, and The Hayek Fund, a portfolio dedicated to free market principles. He can be contacted at steven.kiel@arquitos.com or through the firm's website at www.arquitos.com.

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