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DA Davidson initiates coverage of Simmons First National at 'buy'

Initiation

Steve Moss from B. Riley FBR initiated coverage of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based BayCom Corp. at "buy" with a price target of $28.

Moss said the bank is well run and that its focus on acquiring attractive commercial banks with solid core deposit bases creates long-term franchise value and drives earnings growth. The bank also has strong liquidity with a loan-to-deposit ratio of 78%, Moss said.

According to the analyst, BayCom's focus on credit quality is shown by low nonperforming assets and net charge-offs over the years. Moss also expects organic loan growth to be flat in 2019 given the more aggressive lending standards of competitors.

His EPS estimates for BayCom are $2.05 for 2019 and $2.25 for 2020.

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Moss also initiated coverage of Bloomington, Minn.-based Bridgewater Bancshares Inc. at "buy" with a price target of $14.

According to the analyst, the bank's loan pipeline remains solid, as it focuses on smaller and middle-market clients in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minn. The analyst expects net interest margin to stabilize after the first quarter.

Moss believes the bank's strong profitability will be supported by highly efficient bank operations. Bridgewater's credit quality is also expected to remain healthy.

His EPS estimates for Bridgewater are $1.05 for 2019 and $1.20 for 2020.

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Gary Tenner from DA Davidson initiated coverage of Pine Bluff, Ark.-based Simmons First National Corp. at "buy" with a price target of $31.

Tenner wrote that during the last downturn, Simmons outperformed the industry from a credit point of view. He also believes the bank maintains many positive characteristics including a focus on concentration management and an inclination toward diversifying its loan portfolio on a product and geographic basis. These characteristics could support the bank's performance in the next downturn, Tenner said.

Simmons' "Next Generation Bank" initiative is expected to generate long-term upside through positive operating leverage and market-share gain. The initiative, which began in 2018, will continue in 2019 with commercial loan-platform integration, upgraded back-office and risk-management applications, and a new mobile banking platform, the analyst said.

His core EPS estimates for Simmons are $2.44 for 2019 and $2.67 for 2020.