Critical Contrast: Columbia Financial (NASDAQ:CLBK) versus Meta Financial Group (NASDAQ:CASH)

Meta Financial Group (NASDAQ:CASH) and Columbia Financial (NASDAQ:CLBK) are both small-cap finance companies, but which is the better stock? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, dividends, earnings, profitability, analyst recommendations, valuation and risk.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of current ratings and recommmendations for Meta Financial Group and Columbia Financial, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Meta Financial Group 0 0 2 1 3.33
Columbia Financial 0 1 1 0 2.50

Meta Financial Group presently has a consensus price target of $38.00, indicating a potential upside of 12.69%. Columbia Financial has a consensus price target of $15.50, indicating a potential downside of 2.30%. Given Meta Financial Group’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, research analysts clearly believe Meta Financial Group is more favorable than Columbia Financial.

Profitability

This table compares Meta Financial Group and Columbia Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Meta Financial Group 16.57% 11.64% 1.52%
Columbia Financial 19.53% 5.31% 0.77%

Dividends

Meta Financial Group pays an annual dividend of $0.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 0.6%. Columbia Financial does not pay a dividend. Meta Financial Group pays out 7.1% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Volatility & Risk

Meta Financial Group has a beta of 1.26, indicating that its stock price is 26% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Columbia Financial has a beta of 0.46, indicating that its stock price is 54% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Meta Financial Group and Columbia Financial’s top-line revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Meta Financial Group $343.06 million 3.72 $51.62 million $2.81 12.00
Columbia Financial $247.98 million 7.44 $22.74 million N/A N/A

Meta Financial Group has higher revenue and earnings than Columbia Financial.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

75.2% of Meta Financial Group shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 15.2% of Columbia Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. 7.7% of Meta Financial Group shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 0.7% of Columbia Financial shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, hedge funds and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Summary

Meta Financial Group beats Columbia Financial on 12 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Meta Financial Group

Meta Financial Group, Inc. operates as the holding company for MetaBank that offers various banking products and services in the United States. The company accepts various deposit products, including statement savings accounts, money market savings accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, and checking accounts; and deposits related to prepaid cards, which primarily comprise checking accounts and certificate accounts. It also provides loans, such as commercial finance loans, commercial and multi-family real estate loans, one-to-four family mortgage loans, consumer finance loans, taxpayer advance loans, agriculture loans, consumer and commercial operating loans, and commercial insurance premium finance products. In addition, the company issues prepaid cards and consumer credit products; sponsors automated teller machines into various debit networks; and offers tax refund transfer and other payment industry products and services. It operates 10 full-service branch offices in Storm Lake and Des Moines, Iowa; and Brookings and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as well as 17 non-branch offices located in South Dakota, Texas, California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Michigan, and Canada. The company was founded in 1954 and is headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

About Columbia Financial

Columbia Financial, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Columbia Bank that provides financial services to businesses and consumers in the United States. The company offers non-interest bearing demand deposits, such as individual checking and commercial checking accounts; interest-bearing demand accounts comprising interest earning checking accounts and municipal accounts; and savings and club accounts, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. It also provides loans, including commercial real estate and multifamily loans, one- to four-family residential loans, commercial business loans, construction loans, home equity loans and advances, and other consumer loans. In addition, the company offers title insurance products; and wealth management services. It operates 50 full-service banking offices in 10 of New Jersey's 21 counties. The company was founded in 1927 and is headquartered in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Columbia Financial, Inc. is a subsidiary of Columbia Bank MHC.

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