Best Bank Stocks to Invest in 2024

Over the past year, bank stocks have underperformed the S&P 500, rising roughly 6.7% to the 22% the S&P 500 climbed in the same period. The collapse of three mid-sized banks early in 2023 didn’t help. While high interest rates, on the surface, may seem to help banks, they also hurt bond values and banks frequently have bond investments in their portfolios. On top of that, the higher interest rates meant less loan activity. 

Looking forward to 2024, bank stocks could rebound, particularly if there are interest rate cuts and the economy has what the Fed is seeking – a soft landing. With that in mind, here are 10 bank stocks to keep an eye on in 2024:

Best Bank Stocks to Buy in 2024

  1. JPMorgan Chase: The largest bank in the world, based on market cap, fared better than most, seeing its shares climb more than 24% over the past year. That’s because, at a time when bank stocks scared some investors, the size and reserves (including more than $3.3 trillion in assets) made JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) seem like a safe harbor.
  2. Wells Fargo: The company, the fourth-largest bank in North America, operates in 35 countries. It has cut back on its workforce and increased profitability. A fake accounts scandal in 2018 means that regulators are still closely monitoring what the bank is allowed to do. Despite those concerns, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) stock rose more than 16% over the past year.
  3. HDFC Bank: The largest bank in India in terms of market cap and the fourth-largest bank in the world is also involved in insurance and home loans and took over parent company Housing Development Finance Corporation last summer for $40 billion. Shares of HDFC Bank (NYSE: HDB) have fallen more than 2% over the past year. 
  4. Deutsche Bank: The Germany-based multinational bank and financial services company has struggled with labor issues, but continues to grow revenue, especially in its corporate banking segment. Shares of Deutsche (NYSE: DB) are up more than 10% over the past year. 
  5. Bank of America: Shares of Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) are down less than 1% over the past year. However, with interest rates likely to decline, that should help boost the value of the company’s large holdings in mortgage securities and government bonds.
  6. Ally Financial: Unlike most large banks, this digital banking company is more a growth stock than a value stock, though it also has a decent dividend. Ally has increased its customer base for 58 consecutive quarters and stock in Ally (NYSE: ALLY) shares are up more than 34% over the past year.
  7. M&T Bank: The company is one of the largest regional banks in the U.S., with branches mainly in the Northeast. Shares of M&T Bank (NYSE: MTB) are down nearly 8% over the past year. 
  8. First Citizens BancShares: The U.S.-based bank operates 500 branches in 30 states and a nationwide direct bank. It made a big move this year by acquiring the failed Silicon Valley Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Shares of First Citizens (NASDAQ: FCNCA) are up more than 75% over the past year.
  9.  Nu Holdings: The Brazilian-based digital bank is only a decade old and already has 89 million customers. Shares of Nu Holdings (NYSE: NU) are up more than 142% over the past year.
  10. Wintrust Financial: The medium-sized bank has more than 150 locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. The company is on track for record earnings in 2023 and shares of Wintrust (NASDAQ: WTFC) are up more than 10% over the past year.

A Closer Look at the Top Bank Stocks to Invest in

Examining in more detail the top bank stocks that investors should be looking at this year:

1. JPMorgan Chase: Best Bank Stock to Invest in 2024

The company has built-in diversification and operates in four segments: consumer and community banking, corporate and investment banking, commercial banking, and asset and wealth management.

JPMorgan dwarfs most banks, delivering its services to more than 79 million customers in more than 100 countries and has led global banks in investment fees for 14 consecutive years.

JPMorgan chart.As of the third quarter, the company had $1.4 trillion in cash and securities, the type of cushion other banks would love to have. Counting its acquisition earlier this year of failed bank First Republic, the company reported $39.8 billion in revenue, up 22%, year over year and net income of $13.2 billion, up 35% over the same period last year.

Some of those profits will likely decline because they’re tied to higher interest rates, but the purchase of First Republic gives the company room to grow.

JPMorgan has an above average quarterly dividend, which it raised every year since 2009, including a 5% increase last year to $1.05, equaling a yield of around 2.43%. The payout ratio is only 24%, so the increases are likely to continue.

JPMorgan Chase price chart.

2. Wells Fargo: Best Bank Stock in 2024 for Improved Profitability

The bank operates in four segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management.

In the third quarter, the company reported revenue of $20.9 billion, up 2% sequentially and 7%, year over year. It took a huge leap in net income to $5.8 billion, up 61% over the same period last year and 17% over the second quarter. The one concern is customer deposits have been steadily dropping, thanks to increased consumer spending and the outflow of deposits to higher yielding securities, the company said.

Wells Fargo deposit chartWells Fargo raised its dividend by just under 17% this year to $0.35, bringing a yield of 2.82%. The company has increased its dividend for three straight years and the payout ratio of 31.58% leaves room for additional increases.

Wells Fargo price chart

3. HDFC Bank: Top Bank Stock for Continued Growth

HDFC Bank’s stock has taken a beating since it scooped up its parent, mortgage company HDFC Limited, but considering the growth expected in India, the stock’s drop presents an opportunity for investors. The merger should provide synergy and certain economies of scale for the company.

HDFC customer chartHDFC Bank operates 7,945 branches and 20,596 ATMs in 3,836 cities. It also is the majority owner in two life insurance companies and owns 98% of HDB Financial Services Limited, which offers loans and other financial products.

One glance shows the company’s financials are strong. Consolidated revenue in the quarter was INR 663.2 billion (roughly $7.9 billion), up 89.1%, year over year, while earnings per share were flat at INR 22.2 (approximately $0.27). 

The company’s dividend is relatively parsimonious compared to the rest of the industry. It raised its quarterly dividend by 29% this year to $0.23, equaling a yield of only 0.88%, with a conservative payout ratio of 24%.

HDFC price chart

4. Deutsche Bank: Best Bargain Among Bank Stocks

Germany’s largest bank has strong liquidity and recently finished a round of €450 million in stock buybacks. Deutsche operates in five segments: Corporate Bank, Investment Bank, Private Bank, Asset Management and Corporate & Other. 

Deutsche Bank total return price chartTo me, it appears to be an undervalued gem, as it is trading at around 5.5 times earnings, while the industry price-to-earnings standard for similar diversified banks is around 9.26.

In the third quarter, the company reported post-tax profit of  €1.7 billion (roughly $1.86 billion), up 157%, year over year. It listed third-quarter revenue of €7.78 billion (approximately $8.52 billion), up 7% over the same period last year. Corporate Bank had the best quarter, growing 21%, year over year, while Investment Bank dropped 10%. One downside for Deutsche Bank is it is facing pressure from labor unions to raise salaries.

Deutsche Bank has committed to increasing its yearly dividend by 50% a year from 2021 through 2024 and is on track for that goal. Last year, it increased its dividend by 50% to €0.30 (around $0.33), equaling a yield of around 2.38%. Even with its buybacks, the payout ratio is below 50%. 

Deutsche Bank Price Chart
Deutsche Bank price chart

5. Bank of America: Embracing Digital Revolution

Bank of America, instead of waiting to adjust to the growth of digital banking, has jumped in, courting younger customers with its digital debit card and an improved mobile banking app.

The company added 200,000 net new checking accounts in the quarter, the 19th consecutive quarter it has increased new accounts. It also increased net small business checking accounts for the 35th consecutive quarter.

Bank of America digital salesIn the third quarter, the company reported revenue of $25.2 billion, up 3%, year over year and net income of $7.8 billion, up 10% over the third quarter of 2022.

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 9% last year to $0.24, the 11th consecutive year it has boosted its dividend. The yield is around 2.71% and the payout ratio is 29%, safe enough to allow continued dividend growth.

Bank of America price chart

6. Ally Financial: Best Bank Stock for Disruption

Ally has to follow all the banking regulations other big banks do, but with one edge – it doesn’t have any physical branches. That’s an advantage because that significantly reduces costs for the company, allowing it to deliver higher interest rates on its checking and savings accounts. The company’s customer retention rate of 96% is among the highest in the industry.

The case for investing in Ally is it continues to increase total deposits while that number is falling for most banks. In the quarter, it reported it had $153 billion in deposits, up $7.1 billion from the same quarter a year ago. 

Ally, in the third quarter, reported net income of $269 million, up 7%, year over year and EPS of $0.88, even with the same quarter a year ago. 

Ally has increased its dividend by 275% since 2016. It didn’t increase its dividend in 2023 and last raised its quarterly dividend by 20% in 2022 to $0.30. The yield is around 3.45%. The payout ratio is 32%, which considering the company’s growth, should allow it to increase its dividends.

Ally price chart

7. M&T Bank: Focusing on Profitability

M&T Bank has nearly 1,000 branches across 12 states. It is one of the most profitable regional banks – as of the third quarter, it had a net interest margin (NIM) of 3.79%, compared to the industry average of 3.3%. The company is conservative in its approach and while it focuses a lot on small businesses, its loan portfolio is diverse.

M&T Loan Portfolio chartThe company reported third-quarter revenue of $2.34 billion, up 4%, year over year and net income of $690 million, or $3.98 in EPS, compared with $647 million or $3.53 in EPS in the same period a year ago. The company trades at only eight times earnings, so it appears to be a bargain.

The one concern is deposits were down, 2% year over year, but at $162.7 billion, they were up 2% over the prior quarter.

M&T raised its dividend by 8% last year to $1.30. The yield is a stellar 3.75% and the payout ratio is only 30%. It is also the only bank in the S&P 500 Index that didn’t trim its dividend during the Great Recession.

M&T price chart

8. First Citizens BancShares: Medium-sized Bank With Big Ambitions

The family-run company gambled and won when it acquired the failed Silicon Valley Bank from the FDIC, obtaining $119 billion of its deposits and $72 billion worth of loans from SVB at a $16.5 billion discount. While acquiring a failed bank brings with it risk, it is a calculated one because First Citizens has bought nearly 50 banks since 1990, most of them from the FDIC.First Citizens deposits chartThrough nine months, First Citizens reported $10.9 billion in net income, compared to $841 million in the same period a year ago. It also reported a net interest margin of 3.91% compared to 3.14% in the first nine months of 2022. In the third quarter, First Citizens said it had net income of $682, up 116.5%, year over year. Net revenue rose to $2.6 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2022. The company also continues to increase deposits.

While the stock has climbed considerably this year, that move is warranted, and the stock is trading for less than three times earnings. The stock offers a quarterly dividend, which it raised for three straight years, including a 119% increase in 2023 to $1.64 per share, though the yield is only 0.47%. 

First Citizens price chart

9. Nu Holdings: Best Bank Stock with Better-than-Expected Growth

The company just had its initial public offering a little more than two years ago and has come a long way in a short time. While that lack of a history presents some risk, the company had, as of the third quarter, a net interest margin of 18.8%, more than six times the average.

Nu Holdings NIM chartIn the third quarter, the company reached the 90-million customer level, including 85 million in Brazil, though it is beginning to make inroads in Mexico and Colombia. The company said it is gaining slightly more than 1.5 million customers each quarter.

Nu Holdings reported record revenue in the quarter of $2.1 billion, up 53%, year over year, as well as net income of $303 million, up 3,7% compared to just $7.83 million in the third quarter of 2022. The company also increased total deposits by 26%, year over year, to $19.1 billion.

Investors have caught on to the company’s upward trajectory, and for that reason, the stock is expensive, with a price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 113.5. Unlike the rest of the stocks on this list, Nu Holdings does not yet offer a dividend.

Nu Holdings price chart

10. Wintrust Financial: Well-Managed and Solidly Profitable

The company continues to grow deposits and customers. In the third quarter, it said it had total deposits of roughly $1 billion, up 9%, year over year.

The company has considerably improved its profitability this year, reporting nine-month net income of $499.1 million, up 33% over the same period last year. Net income margin was listed as 3.6%, down four basis points from the prior quarter, but up 24 basis points over the third quarter of 2022.

Wintrust net income chartIn the third quarter, the company said it had net income of $164.2 million, up 6% sequentially and 15%, year over year. It also had EPS of $2.53, up 14% year over year and 6% sequentially. Revenue for the quarter was reported as $574.8 million, up 7% over the prior quarter and 15% over the same period a year ago.

Wintrust Financial increased its quarterly dividend by 18% last year to $0.40, the 10th consecutive year it has increased its dividend. Over that period, it has boosted its dividend by 566%. The yield is below average, though, at around 1.75%.

Wintrust Financial Price chart

How to Pick the Best Bank Stocks to Invest in

Bank stocks can make great long-term investments, particularly with their lack of volatility and high-paying dividends. However, they are hardly set-it and forget-it type investments, as economic changes can adversely affect banks quickly. 

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to finding the best bank stocks for 2024 :

Crunch the Numbers

Analyze a bank stock’s financial health, taking a good look at a bank’s reserves and loan portfolios, along with the typical metrics of revenue growth and profitability. A key number to understand is a bank’s net interest margin — the spread between the interest it earns on assets and that it pays to its depositors and other lenders. As of the third quarter, the average NIM for an FDIC-insured bank was 3.3%.

Many of the picks in this list are big banks because they have more substantial reserves and larger deposits, giving them leverage in making profitable acquisitions as well as the stability to survive an economic downturn.

Don’t Overpay for Bank Stocks 

Bank stocks tend to trade at lower valuations than other sectors, so compare a prospective bank stock to other similar companies. If a bank stock is trading at more than 10 times earnings, it had better be showing tremendous growth in revenue.

For example, the expected growth in banking in India explains why HDFC Bank trades for a P/E of 20, which is more than twice that of most bank stocks. 

Pros of Investing in Bank Stocks

Bank stocks are relatively stable investments and consistently pay dividends that are above market averages. That makes bank stocks especially attractive to value-oriented and income-seeking investors.

When the economy picks up, bank stocks are among the first to show rising stock prices. 

Cons of Investing in Bank Stocks

Bank stocks are particularly sensitive to rapidly falling interest rates, which can squeeze their margins. They are also heavily regulated by governments, and regulation changes can hinder long-term planning and profitability.

Banks rarely fail, but three mid-sized banks failed last year, costing their investors considerable money. Also, when a recession hits, banks often see revenues decline while loan defaults rise.

How to use AltIndex to Find and Track Promising Bank Stocks in 2024 

AltIndex is an AI-assisted investment tool designed to better inform investors to make decisions using alternative data, such as social media sentiment, news and media mentions and website analytics, such as traffic, user engagement and search trends.

AltIndex stock alerts chart

The service can provide AI-centric stock picks, real-time price alerts and show which way consumer sentiment is swaying regarding a stock.

The service has its own listing of top banking stocks, based on AltIndex’s AI score for each stock. The AI score is updated every 30 minutes and it’s based on an analysis of a company’s prevailing stock outlook from investors, the company’s own business outlook, plus its app downloads and webpage traffic.

AltIndex’s customizable stock screener can also be useful for investors looking at bank stocks, as it allows the investor to use AltIndex’s data to search for stocks based on their share price, job posting, app downloads, webpage traffic, Reddit mentions, business outlook, sentiment, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook followers, patents and the number of employees a company has that are active on LinkedIn.

In doing your research on potential stocks to invest in, it is important to go to several places for your information, including company reports. AltIndex also has a news feature that includes trends affecting companies. You can even search a stock ticker specifically on AltIndex to see news on a particular stock, along with basic details from its quarterly reports and recent insider trading activity.

AltIndex is free to try out, and there are different subscription levels for its services that allow you to follow and get alerts on more stocks, the higher level you sign up for. 

AltIndex Insight and News graphicThe most basic level is free, but that comes with only two followed stocks and no visits to the service’s dashboard. The $29 per month starter subscription allows investors to have unlimited dashboard use, it will follow 10 stocks in an investor’s portfolio and will deliver 10 AI stock picks and 10 stock alerts a month, plus unlimited use of the company’s stock screener. 

The pro subscription level, which costs $99 a month, includes investors to have 100 stocks in their portfolio, plus 25 AI stock picks each month, 100 stock alerts each month, unlimited stock screener and AI analysis. There’s also a higher level, called Enterprise, which is designed for hedge funds and investment firms. 

Conclusion

Bank stocks had a bumpy ride in 2023, but it is worth remembering that bank stocks are less volatile than other equities and often deliver above-average dividends.

Remember to explore a company’s financials, including its net interest margin to make sure that it isn’t overpriced compared to its growth rate and peers. Bank stocks tend to have lower P/Es than other industries.

References

FAQs 

What are the Best Bank Stocks to Invest in for 2024?

Should I Buy Bank Stocks

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Jim Halley

I am an experienced journalist who has also worked as an editor and writer at the Savannah Morning News, Salt Lake Tribune, USA Today, Stars and Stripes, and The Motley Fool. I spent the first half of my career in sports journalism, but in recent years have switched to writing about my other passion, stocks, particularly healthcare, real estate and consumer staples stocks. I've won numerous journalism awards from the Associated Press and state press associations and have been a judge for the Georgia Sportswriters Association. I've written one non-fiction book, Just One More Time, about Georgia Southern football, and…