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Farmers & Merchants Bancorp (FMCB) - Wall Street’s Best Digest Daily Alert - 4/19/21

This bank is undervalued, and has profited during the pandemic.

This bank is undervalued, and has profited during the pandemic.

Farmers & Merchants Bancorp (FMCB)
From Sure Dividend

Founded in 1916, Farmers & Merchants Bancorp is a locally owned and operated community bank with 32 locations in California. Due to its small market cap (~$600 million) and its low liquidity, it passes under the radar of most investors. Nevertheless, F&M Bank has paid uninterrupted dividends for 86 consecutive years and has raised its dividend for 56 consecutive years.

The company is conservatively managed and, until four years ago, had not made an acquisition since 1985. However, in the last four years, it has begun to pursue growth more aggressively. It acquired Delta National Bancorp in 2016 and increased its locations by 4. Moreover, in October-2018, it completed its acquisition of Bank of Rio Vista, which has helped F&M Bank to further expand in the San Francisco East Bay Area.

In early February, F&M Bank reported (2/4/21) financial results for 2020. Despite the pandemic and the suppressed interest rates, the bank grew its earnings-per-share 4.8% over the prior year, and thus achieved record earnings-per-share of $74.03 for the full year. Net interest income grew 6.2% in 2020, thanks to 16.1% growth in loans, while deposits grew 24%.

Unlike most banks, which recorded significant loan loss provisions due to the pandemic, F&M Bank has booked provisions for loan losses equal to only 1.9% of its total portfolio. It was also able to enhance its net interest margin from 3.80% in the third quarter to 3.86% in the fourth quarter. Despite the impact of the pandemic on the economy, management is optimistic for this year thanks to the sustained business momentum.

Shares trade for a P/E ratio of ~10, compared with our fair value estimate of 12. An expanding valuation multiple could increase annual returns modestly each year. Combined with 5% expected EPS growth and the dividend yield, total returns are expected to reach 10.2% per year over the next five years.

Ben Reynolds & Bob Ciura, Sure Dividend Newsletter,,, 800-531-0465, April 9, 2021