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The Best and the Worst in Banking

How do you make money with banks after their recent tremendous run, especially heading into earnings season? Needless to say, Cramer’s got a unique perspective, as someone who owned 9.9% of 6 banks at the end of the Savings and Loan crisis.

Cramer’s big piece of advice here is simple: Don’t listen to Mike Mayo. Hailing from Calyon Securities, Cramer says Mayo has been making erratic calls for years, but always with a splash - most notably making a range of bad calls on Lehman Brothers all the way up to its collapse.

So, when Mayo tells you to sell of banks across the board – advice which Cramer thinks would have been a good piece of research in 2007 – you’re better off doing your own homework, instead of relying on his, especially now that we have some changes in the accounting rules that govern the whole group.

But who are the big winners from the changes in mark to market accounting?

First, Goldman Sachs , who doesn’t have any mortgage exposure, is also in position to pay back its TARP obligations. Cramer would be a buyer of Goldman ahead of earnings.

The second winner, JPMorgan, another name Cramer would buy ahead of earnings, as he thinks it will end up being the go-to bank out there.

Third, Cramer would buy the trust banks, like Bank of New York and State Street. But should you trust the all trust banks? No, but these are two Cramer thinks are the safest, as repositories of securities around Wall Street… this is where the banks bank, which is good business.

But who should you avoid? Cramer’s bearish on “every single” regional bank. This is because the change in mark to market won’t affect them very much and because they have a huge number of loans going bad. He urges you to be careful of BB&T , Suntrust , PNC Financial , First Horizon and US Bancorp , and thinks it’s time to sell these names. Not only that, but he thinks the big Ohio banks should be sold off as well - Keycorp , Fifth Third and Huntington Banchares – although he points to FirstMerit as not only the winner in the state, but the winner in the region.

Watch the videofor Cramer’s explanation on mark to market accounting and how the changes will affect the banks, as well as some more big names to avoid, and some big names to keep in mind!


Cramer's charitable trust owns Goldman Sachs.

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