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These bank stocks could double: Top value investor

Pzena's big bank picks

Shares of big banking institutions could double under a best-case scenario, value investor Rich Pzena said Tuesday.

The founder of Pzena Investment Management told CNBC's "Halftime Report" that the most compelling risk-reward came from such names as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America and Citigroup.

"Banks have rebuilt their capital, and they've started to earn positive returns," he said. "We're sitting in an environment where the upside far exceeds the downside, so it's a great place for a value investor to be."

What's holding Staples back

Pzena, who oversees $26.4 billion in assets, manages the John Hancock Classic Value fund, which saw a 40.5 percent return in 2013.

Three things have to happen for banking stocks to reach their potential, Pzena said, including a recovery in trading volume, putting their litigation expenses behind them and a normalization of interest rates.

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If those three things occur, Citigroup could see its $4½ earnings per share climb toward $8 per share, he added.

"If those things don't happen, you sit around and you collect your 7 or 8 percent return on that book, which you're buying at a discount," he said. "And if the good things happen and rates go back to normal and volumes go back to normal and expenses come down, you've got a big upside. So, it's a really nice risk-reward trade-off."

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro