Head-To-Head Survey: First Bancshares (NASDAQ:FBMS) vs. AmeriServ Financial (NASDAQ:ASRV)

First Bancshares (NASDAQ:FBMS) and AmeriServ Financial (NASDAQ:ASRV) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their valuation, risk, analyst recommendations, profitability, institutional ownership, dividends and earnings.

Dividends

First Bancshares pays an annual dividend of $0.32 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.0%. AmeriServ Financial pays an annual dividend of $0.10 per share and has a dividend yield of 2.4%. First Bancshares pays out 14.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. AmeriServ Financial has increased its dividend for 3 consecutive years. AmeriServ Financial is clearly the better dividend stock, given its higher yield and longer track record of dividend growth.

Profitability

This table compares First Bancshares and AmeriServ Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
First Bancshares 20.99% 10.06% 1.26%
AmeriServ Financial 12.51% 8.01% 0.68%

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares First Bancshares and AmeriServ Financial’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
First Bancshares $120.54 million 4.47 $21.23 million $2.29 13.72
AmeriServ Financial $61.32 million 1.19 $7.77 million N/A N/A

First Bancshares has higher revenue and earnings than AmeriServ Financial.

Risk and Volatility

First Bancshares has a beta of 0.35, indicating that its stock price is 65% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, AmeriServ Financial has a beta of 0.32, indicating that its stock price is 68% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for First Bancshares and AmeriServ Financial, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
First Bancshares 0 1 0 0 2.00
AmeriServ Financial 0 0 0 0 N/A

First Bancshares presently has a consensus price target of $34.00, suggesting a potential upside of 8.18%. Given First Bancshares’ higher probable upside, equities research analysts clearly believe First Bancshares is more favorable than AmeriServ Financial.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

59.5% of First Bancshares shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 42.7% of AmeriServ Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. 4.3% of First Bancshares shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 9.7% of AmeriServ Financial shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

First Bancshares beats AmeriServ Financial on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About First Bancshares

The First Bancshares, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for The First, A National Banking Association that provides general commercial and retail banking services. The company operates through three segments: Commercial/Retail Bank, Mortgage Banking Division, and Holding Company. It offers deposit services, including checking, NOW, and savings accounts; other time deposits, such as daily money market accounts and longer-term certificates of deposit; and individual retirement accounts. The company also provides commercial loans comprising secured and unsecured loans for working capital, business expansion, and purchase of equipment and machinery; consumer loans consisting of equity lines of credit, as well as secured and unsecured loans for financing automobiles, home improvements, education, and personal investments; and real estate construction and acquisition loans. In addition, it originates loans to purchase existing residential homes or construct new homes, and to refinance existing mortgages; and provides financial and wealth management services. Further, the company offers Internet banking services, automated teller machines, voice response telephone inquiry services, commercial sweep accounts, cash management services, safe deposit boxes, merchant, mobile deposit, direct deposit of payroll and social security checks, automatic drafts for various accounts, and credit card services. It primarily serves small to medium-sized businesses, professional concerns, individuals, associations and organizations, and governmental authorities. As of December 31, 2018, the company operated through a network of 61 full-service branches, 1 motor branch, and 4 loan production offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia. The First Bancshares, Inc. was incorporated in 1995 and is headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

About AmeriServ Financial

AmeriServ Financial Inc. operates as the bank holding company for AmeriServ Financial Bank that provides various consumer, mortgage, and commercial financial products. It offers retail banking services, such as demand, savings, and time deposits; checking and money market accounts; secured and unsecured consumer loans, and mortgage loans; and safe deposit boxes, holiday club accounts, money orders, and traveler's checks. The company also provides lending, depository, and related financial services, such as commercial real estate mortgage loans, short and medium-term loans, revolving credit arrangements, lines of credit, inventory and accounts receivable financing, real estate-construction loans, business savings accounts, certificates of deposit, wire transfers, night depository, and lock box services to commercial, industrial, financial, and governmental customers. In addition, the company offers personal trust products and services, including personal portfolio investment management, estate planning and administration, custodial services, and pre-need trusts; institutional trust products and services comprising 401(k) plans, defined benefit and defined contribution employee benefit plans, and individual retirement accounts; financial services consisting of the sale of mutual funds, annuities, and insurance products; and union collective investment funds to invest union pension dollars in construction projects that utilize union labor. Further, it engages in underwriting as reinsurer of credit life and disability insurance. The company operates through a network of 16 banking locations in Allegheny, Cambria, Centre, Somerset, Westmoreland counties, Pennsylvania, and Washington County, Maryland; and operates 17 automated bank teller machines. AmeriServ Financial, Inc. is headquartered in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

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