Critical Survey: Summit Financial Group (SMMF) versus Sierra Bancorp (BSRR)

Sierra Bancorp (NASDAQ:BSRR) and Summit Financial Group (NASDAQ:SMMF) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their risk, analyst recommendations, dividends, institutional ownership, profitability, valuation and earnings.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for Sierra Bancorp and Summit Financial Group, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Sierra Bancorp 0 2 1 0 2.33
Summit Financial Group 0 0 0 0 N/A

Sierra Bancorp presently has a consensus price target of $30.33, suggesting a potential upside of 7.95%. Given Sierra Bancorp’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe Sierra Bancorp is more favorable than Summit Financial Group.

Dividends

Sierra Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.64 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.3%. Summit Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $0.52 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.2%. Sierra Bancorp pays out 41.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Summit Financial Group pays out 27.5% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years. Sierra Bancorp has raised its dividend for 5 consecutive years. Sierra Bancorp is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Volatility & Risk

Sierra Bancorp has a beta of 0.67, indicating that its share price is 33% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Summit Financial Group has a beta of 0.65, indicating that its share price is 35% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Sierra Bancorp and Summit Financial Group’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Sierra Bancorp $102.70 million 4.18 $19.53 million $1.55 18.13
Summit Financial Group $98.95 million 3.03 $11.91 million $1.89 12.70

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

Profitability

This table compares Sierra Bancorp and Summit Financial Group’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Sierra Bancorp 21.45% 10.98% 1.18%
Summit Financial Group 20.37% 12.48% 1.20%

Insider and Institutional Ownership

51.9% of Sierra Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 26.1% of Summit Financial Group shares are owned by institutional investors. 10.2% of Sierra Bancorp shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 8.0% of Summit Financial Group shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Sierra Bancorp beats Summit Financial Group on 12 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

Sierra Bancorp Company Profile

Sierra Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for Bank of the Sierra that provides retail and commercial banking services to individuals and businesses in California. The company accepts various deposit products, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, money market demand accounts, time deposits, retirement accounts, and sweep accounts. Its loan products include real estate loans secured by commercial, professional office, and agricultural properties; construction loans for residential and commercial development; permanent mortgage loans, land acquisition and development loans, and multifamily credit facilities; secondary market services for residential mortgage loans; agricultural production loans; commercial and industrial loans and leases, including SBA loans and direct finance leases; mortgage warehouse loans; and consumer loans. The company also offers automated teller machines; electronic point-of-sale payment alternatives; online and automated telephone banking services; and remote deposit capture and automated payroll services for business customers. As of December 31, 2017, it operated 39 full service branches, an online branch, a real estate industries center, an agricultural credit center, and an SBA lending unit. Sierra Bancorp was founded in 1977 and is headquartered in Porterville, California.

Summit Financial Group Company Profile

Summit Financial Group, Inc. operates as a financial holding company for Summit Community Bank, Inc. that provides community banking and other financial services to individuals and businesses primarily in the Eastern Panhandle and South Central regions of West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, and Southwestern regions of Virginia. The company operates through three segments: Community Banking, Trust and Wealth Management, and Insurance. Its community banking services include demand, savings, and time deposits; commercial, commercial real estate, construction and land development, residential real estate, and consumer loans; and mortgage warehouse lines of credit, as well as trust and wealth management, and cash management services. The company also offers insurance brokerage services, such as corporate and personal property and casualty insurance products, as well as group health and life insurance products, and consulting services. It operates thirty banking locations. Summit Financial Group, Inc. was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Moorefield, West Virginia.

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