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Analyst: Most bullish on banks I've been in 20 years

A turbulent economic environment and sliding profits for big banks have not tempered one analyst's expectations.

In fact, Mike Mayo of brokerage CLSA said Thursday he is the most bullish on banks he has been in 20 years.

"The risk that you're taking is so much less than it was any time since the financial crisis," he told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report."

Bull fighting, bull market
Bertrand Langlois | AFP | Getty Images

Investors in U.S. banks have had little to cheer this year. Amid a slowing global economy, a sluggish trading environment and monetary policy uncertainty, the S&P 500 financials have dropped more than 3 percent.

Shares of Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo have shed roughly 15, 13 and 9 percent of their value this year, respectively. While better-than-expected earnings lifted JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America this week, both companies reported that first-quarter profit dropped from the previous year.

Still, Mayo believes banks could rally. He contended risk has dropped since the 2008 financial crisis with increased oversight and capital requirements.

"(JPMorgan CEO) Jamie Dimon can't leave the building without someone watching what he's doing," Mayo said.

Concerns have also grown recently about loan losses in the struggling energy sector, which has dealt with sustained low oil and natural gas prices. JPMorgan cited energy loans as a factor as its first-quarter net income fell 7 percent from last year to $5.5 billion.

However, Mayo contended loan quality is "fine." He called JPMorgan an "A student," adding that Wells Fargo is currently a "B student." He has a "buy" rating on both banks.