Nearly all of the central San Joaquin Valley’s locally based banks and credit unions maintained their four- or five-star “recommended” ratings for the third quarter of 2015, based on their financial standing and performance through the first nine months of the year.
BauerFinancial, a Florida-based bank-rating firm, issued its quarterly star ratings Tuesday. Of the nine community and business banks headquartered in Fresno and Tulare counties, six earned a superior rating of five stars: Bank of the Sierra in Porterville; Central Valley Community Bank, Fresno First Bank and Murphy Bank in Fresno; and Visalia’s Valley Business Bank and Suncrest Bank.
Two other Fresno banks, Premier Valley Bank and Security First Bank, received four-star “excellent” ratings on the BauerFinancial scale. The firm considers its four- and five-star banks to be recommended financial institutions. Premier Valley Bank has since gone through a merger and is no longer headquartered in the Valley. Security First Bank is in the process of a merger with a Los Angeles company.
Falling just shy of the recommended status was Fresno’s United Security Bank, with 3 1/2 stars and a “good” rating from BauerFinancial.
Bauer analysts consider publicly available data that banks and credit unions report to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the National Credit Union Administration. Its rating criteria include total assets, capital ratios, quarterly and year-to-date income, and the proportion of an institution’s loans that are failing to generate any interest income.
Nationwide, Bauer reports that 82.4% of banks ranked in the four- and five-star tiers, compared with 84% of all California banks. Banks with one or two stars are considered to be problematic or troubled.
Local credit unions also fared well in the BauerFinancial ratings. Eleven of the 15 credit unions based in Fresno, Tulare or Kings counties received five stars: Educational Employees Credit Union, Fresno County Federal Credit Union, San Joaquin Power Employees Credit Union, United Local Credit Union, First California Federal Credit Union, Fresno Fire Department Credit Union, Greater Valley Credit Union and the Fresno Grangers Credit Union, all in Fresno; Families and Schools Together (FAST) Credit Union and Kings Federal Credit Union, both in Hanford; and Valley Oak Credit Union in Three Rivers.
The only local credit union without a rating was the Fresno Police Department Credit Union. Bauer Financial does not rate credit unions whose shares are not insured through NCUA.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Security First Bank had completed its merger.