Is it time to buy Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd and Bank of Queensland Limited?

There’s no getting away from the fact that 2016 has been a frustrating time for shareholders of banking shares. Even though it is the best performer of the big four banks, National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) shares are still down by over 4% this year, after a 16% gain in the last three months.

Whilst the big four have been a big disappointment, spare a thought for shareholders of regional banks Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ) and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX: BEN). Both these shares are sitting on declines in excess of 18% so far this year.

So is it time to give the regional banks a chance? I believe it could be. I wouldn’t recommend buying both shares at the same time, but I feel that adding one of the two to your portfolio could be a good move today.

My pick of the two would be Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. This is down to the fact it is currently the cheapest of all Australian banks when valued on a price to book ratio. Its price to book ratio is just 0.9 compared to the sector average of 1.2. The price to book ratio is a key metric used by investors when comparing banks, as it compares the current share price with the book value of net assets per share.

Additionally, its half-year results revealed it had managed to reduce bad and doubtful debts by 32% year-on-year to $20.6 million. This is all the more impressive when you consider that a number of the bigger banks have been reporting increases in bad debts.

Both shares are expected to provide investors with above average fully franked dividends. According to CommSec, analysts estimate Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland to pay out dividends of 6.9% and 6.7% in FY 2016, respectively.

Finally, one catalyst that I expect has the potential to send Bendigo and Adelaide’s share price rocketing higher is its advanced accreditation application. It is still waiting for its application to be approved by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

But when it does I feel sure the market will react positively. Advanced accreditation would allow it to operate at lower risk weightings for loans because it recognises a much higher level of knowledge in relation to the loan book.

At present Bendigo and Adelaide bank has a mortgage book of approximately $37 billion and holds about $1.1 billion tier one capital against it. Advanced accreditation would allow it to lend out around $20 billion more on the same level of capital it currently holds.

This could be a real boost to earnings growth for the bank and provide solid share price gains for shareholders in the future.

Foolish takeaway

I believe the sell off it has suffered this year has made it a bit of a bargain with a fantastic dividend. If dividends are what you are looking for then Bendigo and Adelaide Bank could be for you. Similar could be said for the three shares our dividend expert just picked out. You can find out his just released picks by clicking the link below.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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