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A Bad Quarter Offers a Good Opportunity to Get In on This Historically Strong Bank Stock



M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB) turned in disappointing second-quarter results last month as the bank continues to deal with loans affected by the pandemic as well as muted loan growth. Investors have been wary of the stock this year (the price is up only about 8.4%), while many bank indexes are up more than 20% year to date.

As a result, the struggles of M&T have brought the bank down to a historically low valuation that makes this a potentially good time for interested investors to buy in on the stock. Here’s why.

A tough second quarter

The regional bank (it manages $150 billion in assets) generated diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.41 on total revenue of $1.47 billion in the second quarter. Both EPS and revenue missed analysts’ expectations for the quarter.

A man intently looking at a stock chart on the computer.

Image source: Getty Images.

There were some one-time expenses baked into the quarter, including $4 million related to M&T Bank’s acquisition of People’s United Financial (NASDAQ:PBCT), which will propel M&T past $200 billion in assets when the deal is complete. Without such expenses, M&T would have generated diluted operating EPS of $3.45, which still would have come up short of analysts’ consensus of $3.60 for the quarter. Net interest income for the quarter, which is essentially the profit made on loans and securities, fell 4% from the first quarter of the year. Loan growth continues to be very hard to find across the banking industry, but even more so for M&T, which is mainly a commercial lender — consumer lending is seeing more momentum than the commercial side.

Additionally, M&T is unique in that it continues to see credit quality heading in the wrong direction. In the second quarter, the bank saw its nonaccrual loans, those that have gone 90 days without receiving a payment, climb 15% from the first quarter of the year. CFO Darren King also said that the bank expects to disclose in its second-quarter regulatory filing an increase in criticized loans, which are not necessarily past due but have given the bank reason to believe they could be headed that way. King attributed the rise in nonaccrual loans to “the prolonged recovery in certain sectors of the economy, notably hospitality and healthcare.” M&T Bank also released only $15 million from its reserve capital built up for loan losses back as profits in the quarter, which is a lot less than many of its peers.

Expenses at the bank in Q2 rose more than 7% year over year, and King said there could be some pressure on expenses for the remainder of the year. King said that excluding one-time expenses like those related to the acquisition of People’s United, he expects core operating expenses for the year to be 3% to 5% higher than in 2020, mainly because of items such as corporate incentives and expenses related to fee income growth. 

Some optimism on credit

While credit is concerning, there are reasons to remain optimistic. Net charge-offs (debt unlikely to be collected and a good indicator of actual losses) continued to fall in the quarter, and King said the bank is seeing some good signs for loans in its hard-hit sectors.

For criticized loans, King said that while certain properties are struggling, many are still earning interest because the loan sponsors have outside sources of funding to support the deals. King also said that appraisals on underlying properties in its criticized and nonaccrual loans have remained strong. Occupancy rates in the bank’s hotel portfolio are up across the board, but not yet at pre-pandemic levels, he said, largely due to the continued lack of business travel. King believes that as vacancy rates and revenue per available room pick up, those assets should revert from criticized to performing. Obviously, there are risks of this not happening due to the surging delta variant of the coronavirus, but M&T has traditionally been a pretty conservative bank when it comes to credit, so I’m not ready to panic just yet. 

We also know that M&T has underwritten its hotel and retail loans fairly conservatively. Last year, the bank disclosed that the average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, which essentially tells you how much equity a borrower has put into a property, came in at 53% in M&T’s hotel portfolio and 57% in the retail portfolio. That means that borrowers put down 47% and 43% of equity, respectively, on the property at origination. In New York City, where retail and hotels got hit particularly hard at the beginning of the pandemic, the LTVs are even better, in the low 40s.

People’s United acquisition

Other good signs are that M&T Bank continues to grow non-interest-bearing deposits, those it pays no interest on, nicely, with non-interest-bearing deposits in Q2 up nearly 4% from the sequential quarter. These deposits now make up roughly 43% of total deposits.

The last reason to remain positive is M&T’s upcoming acquisition of People’s United, a bank based in Connecticut with roughly $60 billion in assets. The addition of People’s United is going to significantly enlarge M&T and create a very dense footprint between Buffalo, N.Y.,  Washington, D.C., and Boston. The acquisition will immediately increase M&T’s tangible book value (TBV), which is equity minus goodwill and intangible assets. Banks trade based on TBV, so a growing TBV typically helps the stock.

The deal is also supposed to boost M&T’s EPS by 10% to 12% in 2023. The deal should open up some new revenue opportunities as well because People’s United has lots of small business commercial customers, which M&T does very well with in its own markets. M&T can cross-sell a lot of its fee income products to these customers, while People’s United brings a solid equipment financing business that it can expand to M&T customers.

Getting in at a good valuation

Currently, M&T is trading at about 161% to TBV, which is low for the bank historically — it has traded this low over the past decade only during the pandemic.

MTB Price to Tangible Book Value Chart

MTB Price to Tangible Book Value data by YCharts

M&T is also a bank that regularly puts up a strong return on equity, the technical rate of return the company makes on its capital.

MTB Return on Equity Chart

MTB Return on Equity data by YCharts

While credit quality is the big question, and it’s never good to see nonaccrual and criticized loans rising, I do think the bank is likely acting conservatively right now, as it has in the past. I also think that commercial lending will eventually pick up (although likely not this year). There’s also the acquisition of People’s United, which gives M&T increased scale, and the fact that this is the same bank with the same management team and the same business model that has been successful for a long time now.

While there may be some short-term pain, this is an opportunity to buy a long-standing, strong-performing bank stock at a historically low valuation.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?



When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances



Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit



Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.



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