Buy BB&T

Looks like the Federal Insurance Deposit Corp. finally took Cramer’s advice.

The Mad Money host has been calling for failing banks to be broken up into two parts: the good and the bad. The pieces worth keeping, such as the deposits, could be sold to a stronger bank, while the government absorbed the rest, namely the bad loans.

Well, that’s just what happened with Integrity Bank. Regions Financial , a mediocre outfit at best, bought $900 worth of deposits, and the FDIC absorbed $250 million to $350 million worth of the bad stuff.

Cramer called this huge news because it shows a shift in strategy by the feds. Now, instead of swallowing up an entire bank like IndyMac, the FDIC is following the Resolution Trust model that helped pull us out of the savings and loan debacle of 1990.

If a so-so name like Regions Financial can benefit, what about all the much stronger banks out there? Names like BB&T , a well-run, conservative lender from the South. This is just the type of firm to which the FDIC is looking to sell deposits. And in these types of situations, the buying bank usually gets a great deal.

BB&T has proved itself a wiser bank than many of its peers. Just look at these numbers: Subprime residential lending makes up less than 1% of its portfolio. Non-performing assets make up just 1.36% of its loans and real estate portfolio, compared to 1.76% for its peers. Those non-performers are just .95% of BB&T’s total assets, compared to 1.28% for the other guys. And net charge-offs were .63%, while comparable banks saw 1.06%.

Here are some other good things to note about BB&T:

  • 40% of income is non-interest related, meaning it comes from fees. That’s a nice, stable source of income.
  • While competitors scale back loans due to lack of capital, BB&T grew its loans 9% last quarter.
  • The bank’s net interest margin – the difference between the rates at which BB&T borrows and lends – is 3.65% versus 3.1% for its peers.
  • About 8% of shares outstanding are left in a stock buyback.

Cramer’s point is that BB&T is just the kind of bank the FDIC will be looking for as it unloads the better parts of failing banks. And since BB&T has great exposure is troubled areas like Florida and Georgia, so that extra business could come soon.

And if you have to wait a bit, no worries. BB&T offers a juicy 6.3% dividend yield. So you’re getting paid to sit on your hands.

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