Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) and First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ:FFBC) are both finance companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, profitability, risk, earnings, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations and dividends.

Dividends

Regions Financial pays an annual dividend of $0.62 per share and has a dividend yield of 6.7%. First Financial Bancorp pays an annual dividend of $0.92 per share and has a dividend yield of 8.0%. Regions Financial pays out 40.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. First Financial Bancorp pays out 43.0% 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. Regions Financial has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years and First Financial Bancorp has raised its dividend for 3 consecutive years.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

72.7% of Regions Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 79.2% of First Financial Bancorp shares are owned by institutional investors. 0.5% of Regions Financial shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.0% of First Financial Bancorp shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Profitability

This table compares Regions Financial and First Financial Bancorp’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Regions Financial 20.35% 9.09% 1.09%
First Financial Bancorp 24.60% 8.82% 1.34%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for Regions Financial and First Financial Bancorp, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Regions Financial 0 10 6 1 2.47
First Financial Bancorp 0 1 1 0 2.50

Regions Financial presently has a consensus price target of $14.27, indicating a potential upside of 55.24%. First Financial Bancorp has a consensus price target of $26.50, indicating a potential upside of 130.03%. Given First Financial Bancorp’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe First Financial Bancorp is more favorable than Regions Financial.

Volatility and Risk

Regions Financial has a beta of 1.69, meaning that its stock price is 69% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, First Financial Bancorp has a beta of 1.27, meaning that its stock price is 27% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares Regions Financial and First Financial Bancorp’s revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Regions Financial $6.76 billion 1.31 $1.58 billion $1.55 5.93
First Financial Bancorp $738.95 million 1.53 $198.07 million $2.14 5.38

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

Regions Financial Company Profile

Regions Financial Corporation, a financial holding company, provides banking and bank-related services to individual and corporate customers in the United States. It operates through three segments: Corporate Bank, Consumer Bank, and Wealth Management. The Corporate Bank segment offers commercial banking services, such as commercial and industrial, commercial real estate, and investor real estate lending; equipment lease financing services; corresponding deposit products; and securities underwriting and placement, loan syndication and placement, foreign exchange, derivatives, merger and acquisition, and other advisory services. It serves corporate, middle market, and commercial real estate developers and investors. The Consumer Bank segment provides consumer banking products and services related to residential first mortgages, home equity lines and loans, branch small business and indirect loans, consumer credit cards, and other consumer loans, as well as the corresponding deposit relationships. The Wealth Management segment offers credit related products, and retirement and savings solutions; and trust and investment management, asset management, and estate planning services to individuals, businesses, governmental institutions, and non-profit entities. The company also provides investment and insurance products; low income housing tax credit corporate fund syndication services; and other specialty financing services. As of February 21, 2019, it operated 1,500 banking offices and 2,000 automated teller machines across the South, Midwest, and Texas. Regions Financial Corporation was founded in 1852 and is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

First Financial Bancorp Company Profile

First Financial Bancorp. operates as the bank holding company for First Financial Bank that provides commercial banking and related services to individuals and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois. The company accepts various deposit products, such as interest-bearing and noninterest-bearing accounts, time deposits, and cash management services for commercial customers. It also provides real estate loans secured by residential property or commercial property; commercial and industrial loans for various purposes, including inventory, receivables, and equipment; consumer loans comprising new and used vehicle loans, second mortgages on residential real estate, and unsecured loans; and home equity lines of credit. In addition, the company offers commercial financing to the insurance industry, registered investment advisors, certified public accountants, indirect auto finance companies, and restaurant franchisees. Further, it offers a range of trust and wealth management services; and long-term, lease, and equipment financing services. As of December 31, 2018, the company operated 67 banking centers in Ohio; 3 banking centers in Illinois; 73 banking centers in Indiana; and 16 banking centers in Kentucky. First Financial Bancorp. was founded in 1863 and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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