The Best Bet in Banking
Maxwell is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) may very well be the stock you wish you had in the current climate, as it does not have any of the problems that many of its competitors seem to be facing, and it was also recently lauded as one of the world’s most valuable brands.
U.S. Bancorp is number seventy two on the list of the most valuable brands in the world, which is not a bad position at all. It ranks four spots above the major company Target. This list is the annual BrandZ study conducted by market researcher Millward Brown. Almost needless to say, companies like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Apple dominated the top of the chart. It still is quite an impressive position for U.S. Bancorp when you look at the full list and notice that there are not many other financial companies on it. Also, when you take some time to look at U.S. Bancorp’s competitors, you will see that there are a number of problems that U.S. Bancorp has somehow managed to escape. If you are looking for a financial stock to invest in at the present time, this is the one that I would recommend.
In other news, U.S. Bancorp has released a co-branded credit card app for Android. This is quite a nice innovation for the company. Essentially, it is a way for customers at select retail stores to apply for a credit card while shopping and use the card before they even leave the store. In other words, it is a way to get almost instant access to a credit card. The app was already in existence for iPhone users, and now it is available for Android users as well. The plan is that the app will continue to become more widely used across a multitude of different mobile devices. This is also an innovation that will drive consumers to use the services of U.S. Bancorp, as this has made it far easier for consumers to make purchases.
John Owens—a senior vice president—stated, "U.S. Bank is continually looking for mobile opportunities to enhance the relationship with our partners and the experience our customers have interacting with us." This is the kind of attitude I want to hear. It is focusing on growth and improving satisfaction for both customers and partners.
Let us investigate how this app works. You can download the app for free from REI's website or at Google Play. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can apply for the cobranded credit card. When the card is approved, you receive secure information on your phone that you give to the sales representative. This will allow you to purchase the item even though you do not have a physical card to swipe for the purchase. In addition, you will be able to easily view your account and your account activity at any time, which makes the management of your funds far easier.
Citigroup (NYSE: C)—a competitor of U.S. Bancorp—recently had a significant loss following a glitch in the debut of Facebook. The stock debuted 30 minutes late, which caused significant losses for investors. This was the fault of the exchange operator, and legal action will most likely be taken by the companies that suffered the most. Stockholders can only hope that the loss will be balanced by other actions by Citigroup, such as its decision to sell 10.1% of its equity interest in Akbank to generate $1.15 billion in capital.
Citigroup was one of several companies recently involved in a problematic foreclosure settlement. Other companies that were involved include JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Wells Fargo, and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC). Of these four U.S. Bancorp competitors, Bank of America is currently standing in the worst position by far. It is finding it very difficult to recover from the backlash of the settlement and is one of the less attractive options to consider at the present for anyone looking at purchasing bank stocks. U.S. Bancorp was not even involved in this situation, and it remains the best option in my opinion.
JPMorgan has suffered a number of losses recently. It may be able to counteract the negative consequences of these losses, however, through its attempts to increase its presence in China. This is one the world’s fastest growing markets, and by establishing a firm foothold, JPMorgan may well become one of the stocks that are worth watching in the near future. This is the good news that JPMorgan stockholders have been waiting for. Expansion in China is imminent, and it seems that the company may be able to use this opportunity to turn its fortunes around.
Wells Fargo is not doing too badly, as there is not a lot of bad news to report about the company. In more notable news, we are reminded about the facility the company introduced that allows Mac users to make deposits to Wells Fargo from any location. This is very convenient for businesses, as it cuts out the time frequently spent going to a bank and making the deposit physically. Instead, one can use a Panini Scanner to scan checks and deposit them directly to Wells Fargo. This will make the lives of businessmen far easier and will help Wells Fargo stock remain stable.
Many banks are continuing to recover from a sticky situation from earlier in the year, and some are doing quite well. U.S. Bancorp is continuing to innovate, however, and it had no involvement in the foreclosure settlement that has caused many problems. In comparison to its competitors, therefore, U.S. Bancorp is doing quite well, and I believe it would be the best bank stock to invest in at the moment.
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