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KBW upgrades Green Bancorp to 'outperform'

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Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Brady Gailey raised Houston-based Green Bancorp Inc.'s stock rating to "outperform" from "market perform" and increased the price target to $30 from $26.

Green Bancorp and unit Green Bank NA are merging into Veritex Holdings and unit Veritex Community Bank, respectively, in a deal valued at approximately $1.0 billion, or $25.89 per Green common share, based on Veritex's July 23 closing price of $32.77.

The analyst wrote that he liked Green Bancorp's second-quarter results that displayed "notable improvement in credit quality as well as nice loan growth and [net interest margin] expansion."

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Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Meta Financial Group Inc. was downgraded to "neutral" from "buy" by Steve Moss of B. Riley FBR.

The rating has been downgraded to reflect Meta Financial's greater earnings uncertainty and higher-than-expected expenses associated with additional investments in its consumer lending program.

Moss reduced Meta Financial's EPS estimates to $6.05 from $6.13 for 2018, and to $6.70 from $8.15 for 2019.