Considering the size of the economy and the above-average population growth, it makes sense that both investors and other banks are interested in Texas-based banks. Although worries that weak oil/gas prices would undermine the entire state's economy pressured the shares of many Texas banks earlier this year, many have rebounded strongly and now sit at or near 52-week highs.
Southside Bancshares (NASDAQ:SBSI) is one such bank, and while I'm certainly interested in finding some good investment ideas in the Texas bank sector, I'm not convinced this one qualifies. In its favor, Southside could be an acquisition target for a bank looking to acquire a bigger presence in East Texas, and banks ranging from larger super-regionals like BB&T (NYSE:BBT) and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB) to other Texas-based banks like Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) and Prosperity (NYSE:PB) are looking to build their deposit share in the state. Against that, though, is more leverage than I'd like, a heavily CRE-dependent loan book, and a valuation that already factors in some pretty solid growth expectations.
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Southside Seems Priced Like A Better Bank Than It Appears To Be