A theme we have hammered on recently is that most banks are not in trouble, most banks made money last year, and most banks will survive just fine thankyouverymuch. The collapse of the banking index, with the BKX falling 85% top to bottom, has offered some enormous, once-in-a-generation bargains to those willing to do the dirty work and dig for opportunities.
The New York Times takes up this theme in an article on how most small banks are healthy.
Forget “too big to fail.” These banks consider themselves too small to risk embarrassment. They are run by people who grew up in the towns where they work, and their main fear is getting into a financial jam that will shame them in the eyes of their neighbors.
The steep profits earned by national banks didn’t turn their heads in the last decade because they were inherently skeptical of double-digit growth rates.
“We like a nice, gentle, upward slope,” said Donald E. Goetz, the president of DeMotte State Bank, an 11-branch operation in the northwest part of Indiana.
I have culled a list of banks that I think are healthy and great values, and expect to start buying into this downdraft.