CommunityOne Bancorp (NASDAQ: COB) and First Financial Bancorp. (NASDAQ:FFBC) are both financials companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, earnings, valuation, institutional ownership, profitability, risk and analyst recommendations.

Dividends

First Financial Bancorp. pays an annual dividend of $0.68 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.5%. CommunityOne Bancorp does not pay a dividend. First Financial Bancorp. pays out 43.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

65.8% of CommunityOne Bancorp shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 74.2% of First Financial Bancorp. shares are held by institutional investors. 49.2% of CommunityOne Bancorp shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 1.9% of First Financial Bancorp. shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares CommunityOne Bancorp and First Financial Bancorp.’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
CommunityOne Bancorp 16.60% 5.49% 0.66%
First Financial Bancorp. 26.49% 11.33% 1.17%

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares CommunityOne Bancorp and First Financial Bancorp.’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
CommunityOne Bancorp N/A N/A N/A $0.39 36.15
First Financial Bancorp. $339.87 million 5.03 $98.20 million $1.58 17.41

First Financial Bancorp. has higher revenue and earnings than CommunityOne Bancorp. First Financial Bancorp. is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than CommunityOne Bancorp, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations and price targets for CommunityOne Bancorp and First Financial Bancorp., as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
CommunityOne Bancorp 0 0 0 0 N/A
First Financial Bancorp. 1 3 3 0 2.29

First Financial Bancorp. has a consensus price target of $28.29, indicating a potential upside of 2.86%. Given First Financial Bancorp.’s higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe First Financial Bancorp. is more favorable than CommunityOne Bancorp.

Volatility & Risk

CommunityOne Bancorp has a beta of 0.72, suggesting that its stock price is 28% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, First Financial Bancorp. has a beta of 1.2, suggesting that its stock price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

First Financial Bancorp. beats CommunityOne Bancorp on 10 of the 12 factors compared between the two stocks.

CommunityOne Bancorp Company Profile

CommunityOne Bancorp (COB) is a bank holding company. The Company, through the ownership of CommunityOne Bank, N.A., or the Bank, a national banking association, offers consumer, mortgage and business banking services, including loan, deposit, treasury management, online and mobile banking services, as well as wealth management and trust services, to individual, and small and middle market businesses through financial centers located across central, southern and western North Carolina. The Bank operates over 40 branches. In addition to the Bank, the Company owns FNB United Statutory Trust I, FNB United Statutory Trust II, and Catawba Valley Capital Trust II, which were formed to facilitate the issuance of trust preferred securities. The Bank’s loans totaled approximately $1.54 billion. The Bank’s total investment securities totaled approximately $546.782 million. The Bank’s deposits totaled approximately $1.95 billion.

First Financial Bancorp. Company Profile

First Financial Bancorp. (First Financial) is a regional bank holding company. First Financial is engaged in the business of commercial banking and other banking and banking-related activities through its subsidiary, First Financial Bank, National Association (the Bank). The range of banking services provided by First Financial to individuals and businesses include commercial lending, real estate lending and consumer financing. It offers deposit products that include interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing accounts, time deposits and cash management services for commercial customers. First Financial’s Wealth Management division provides a range of trust and asset management services. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 102 banking centers. Its banking operating markets are located within the three state region of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. As of December 31, 2016, it operated 60 banking centers in Ohio, 38 banking centers in Indiana and four banking centers in Kentucky.

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