Bull Of The Day: Great Southern Bancorp

As the Fed prepares to raise interest rates, financial sector has been on the uptrend this month. With higher interest rates and solid loan growth seen of late, Great Southern Bank is expected to maintain its strong earnings momentum.

About the Company

Founded in 1923 and headquartered in Springfield, Mo.,Great Southern Bancorp (GSBC -Snapshot Report) is the holding company for Great Southern Bank, operates 109 retail banking centers in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and Nebraska. The bank has about $4.1 billion in total assets.
Excellent Quarterly Results
Earnings for the quarter were $0.83 per share up from $0.63 per share in the same quarter a year ago and significantly better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.68 per share. Results were driven mainly by strong loan growth.
Gross loans increased by 3.9% from the previous quarter to $102.9 million with solid growth in the areas of commercial real estate loans, other residential loans, consumer loans, and construction loans.
Net interest income for the quarter increased $6.1 million to $44.1 million from $38.0 million for the same quarter in 2014. Net interest margin expanded to 4.82% up from 4.66% a year ago, thanks mainly to the increases in average loan balances and reductions in interest expense.  
Asset quality improved during the quarter with non-performing assets decreasing to $42.4 million, or 1.04% of total assets as of March 31, 2015, from $55.9 million, or 1.48% of total assets as of March 31, 2014.
The capital position of the bank remained strong, with Tier 1 leverage ratio at 11.0%, Tier 1 capital ratio at 13.6%, and total capital ratio at 14.8%. 
Positive Earnings Estimate Revision

As a result of strong quarterly report, analysts have raised their estimates for the company. Zacks Consensus Estimates for the current and next year are now 3.03 per share and $3.02 per share respectively, up from $2.79 per share and $2.93 per share, 30 days ago. 

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