SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

February 08, 2011 11:25 ET

Improved Employment Numbers Lead Savings & Loans Industry Higher

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Flagstar Bancorp & People's United Financial

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 8, 2011) - Last week the US economy was given a boost when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that the US unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in January from 9.4 percent in December. Paul Zemsky, the head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management, argues that "The U.S. economy is all about jobs and anything that leads folks to believe that there's a better job market will be good for equities." This is especially true for the savings and loans sector. When the Obama Administration administered the much publicized stress tests on the financial sector, banks were tested for their ability to withstand the pressure stemming from a hefty 10% unemployment rate. High unemployment has led to a wave of foreclosures, a series of delinquencies in consumer lending and has compressed most banks' bottom lines. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Savings & Loans Industry and provides research reports on Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: FBC) and People's United Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: PBCT). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

The saving and loans industry has been volatile in recent months. While many companies in the industry continue to report improving credit quality, the high unemployment rate and the poor housing market have spoiled hopes of a robust recovery.

In recent quarters, savings and loans have begun to post improved credit quality. More thorough and cautious credit checks have led to fewer delinquent loans and greater financial stability. As such, Banks are setting aside less money to cover bad loans, and some are seeing loan losses recede. While credit quality improved, the high unemployment rate has been damaging to banks' long term loan growth. Improving employment numbers will hopefully, in time, lead to a boost in loan growth across the savings and loans sector.

The Bedford Report releases regular market updates on the Savings and Loans Industry so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

The murky economic climate has led to a surge in M&A activity in the savings and loans industry. People's United Financial announced last month that it agreed to acquire Danvers Bancorp and its 28 branches for about $493 million in cash and stock.

People's United's fourth quarter net income increased to $32 million, or 9 cents a share, from $24.9 million, or 7 cents, a year earlier.

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