Critical Investigation: Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST) vs. Emclaire Financial (NASDAQ:EMCF)

Southern First Bancshares (NASDAQ:SFST – Get Rating) and Emclaire Financial (NASDAQ:EMCF – Get Rating) are both small cap financials, but which stock is better? We will compare the two companies based on their risk strength, analyst recommendations, earnings, valuation, institutional ownership, dividends and profitability.


This table compares the net margins, return on equity and return on assets of Southern First Bancshares and Emclaire Financial.

Net margins Return on equity return on assets
Southern First Bancshares 40.68% 16.51% 1.55%
Eclaire Financial 25.39% 11.39% 0.95%

Benefits and evaluation

This table compares the revenue, earnings per share and valuation of Southern First Bancshares and Emclaire Financial.

Gross revenue Price/sales ratio Net revenue Earnings per share Price/earnings ratio
Southern First Bancshares $110.27 million 3.20 $46.71 million $5.51 8.04
Eclaire Financial $41.17 million 2.29 $10.17 million $3.72 9:25 a.m.

Southern First Bancshares has higher revenues and profits than Emclaire Financial. Southern First Bancshares trades at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Emclaire Financial, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and risk

Southern First Bancshares has a beta of 0.94, indicating its stock price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500. In comparison, Emclaire Financial has a beta of 0.5, indicating its stock price is 50 % less volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent recommendations and price targets for Southern First Bancshares and Emclaire Financial, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sales Ratings Hold odds Buy reviews Strong buy odds Rating
Southern First Bancshares 0 0 0 0 N / A
Eclaire Financial 0 0 0 0 N / A

Institutional and Insider Ownership

83.9% of Southern First Bancshares shares are held by institutional investors. By comparison, 12.0% of Emclaire Financial’s shares are held by institutional investors. 7.3% of Southern First Bancshares shares are held by insiders. By comparison, 15.5% of Emclaire Financial’s shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds, and large money managers believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


Southern First Bancshares beats Emclaire Financial on 9 out of 11 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Southern First Bancshares (Get a rating)

Southern First Bancshares, Inc. operates as a banking holding company for Southern First Bank which provides various banking products and services to the general public in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. It operates through three segments: Commercial and Retail Banking, Mortgage Banking and Corporate Operations. The Company accepts various deposit products, including checking accounts, business checking accounts and savings accounts, as well as other term deposits, including daily money market accounts and long-term certificates of deposit. Its loan portfolio includes commercial real estate loans; real estate construction loans; business enterprise loans for various industries, such as manufacturing, service industry and professional services fields; consumer real estate loans and home equity loans; and other consumer loans, including secured and unsecured installment loans and revolving lines of credit. In addition, the Company provides other banking services, such as internet banking, cash management, safe deposit boxes, direct deposit, automatic drafts, bill payment and mobile banking. It operates through eight retail offices located in Greenville, Charleston and Columbia; three retail offices located in the Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte markets; and a retail office located in Atlanta. The company was incorporated in 1999 and is headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina.

About Eclaire Financial (Get a rating)

Emclaire Financial Corp operates as a bank holding company for Farmers National Bank of Emlenton which provides retail and commercial financial products and services to individuals and businesses in Western Pennsylvania. The Company’s deposit products include checking, savings and term certificate accounts; savings and term deposits; interest-bearing and non-interest-bearing demand deposit accounts; and money market accounts. Its loan portfolio includes one to four family mortgages, home equity loans, commercial and commercial real estate loans, consumer loans and single borrower loans. The company operates a network of 19 retail locations in Venango, Allegheny, Butler, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Jefferson and Mercer counties, and Pennsylvania. The company was founded in 1900 and is based in Emlenton, Pennsylvania.

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