Fleet Financial Tops Keefe's Bank 'Honor Roll;' Security Firm's Annual Listing Ranks 184 Holding Companies

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Fleet Financial Group of Providence, R.I., topped Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.'s "honor roll" listing this year, with a 25.5% compound growth rate and no declines in annual earnings per share over the past 10 years, according to a report by the bank stock firm.

The honor roll is an annual ranking of the 184 bank holding companies in Keefe's universe of bank stocks by 10-year compound growth rates in earnings per share.

In the latest survey, Fleet was followed by Northwestern Financial Corp. of North Wilkesboro, N.C., which had a 22.8% compound growth rate for the past decade. Virginia's Central Fidelity Banks, Allied Banc-shares of Texas, and Citizens and Southern Corp. of South Carolina filled out the top five spots.

At the other end of the ranking were the worst performances of the period, including Continental Illinois Corp., Crocker National Corp., and First Pennsylvania Corp., all of which reported losses in 1984.

The best regional performance in the survey was turned in by the 48 banking firms in Keefe's southern area, which had an average 10-year compound growth rate in earnings per share of 18.7%. This performance was led by Northwestern Financial.

The next best performance by region was at the 44 banks in Keefe's western sector, which posted a 15.9% compound growth rate. United Bancorp. of Arizona took top honors in this group with a 19.5% compound growth rate for the 10 years.

This western average barely edged the 15.8% average rate at 55 eastern banks, which was led by Fleet's performance.

This group of banks includes most of the major money center institutions. The highest 10-year compound growth rate among New York banks in the Keefe universe was 13.7% by Republic New York Corp., which was followed by a 10.9% rate at Bankers Trust New York Corp.

A group of 37 midwestern banking firms reported a 14% 10-year compound growth rate, which was the bottom rung in the survey. …