First Foundation (FFWM) Cut to Strong Sell at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of First Foundation (NASDAQ:FFWM) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research report report published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “First Foundation Inc. engages in providing integrated investment management, wealth planning, consulting, trust and banking services. It operates in two segments, Banking and Wealth Management. The company offers a range of bank deposit products; loan products; specialized services comprising trust services, on-line banking, remote deposit capture, merchant credit card services, ATM cards, Visa debit cards, and business sweep accounts, as well as insurance brokerage services. It offers investment portfolio management and financial planning services; advisory and coordination services and wealth management services. First Foundation Inc. is headquartered in Irvine, California. “

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Several other brokerages have also issued reports on FFWM. B. Riley reaffirmed a buy rating and set a $22.00 target price (down from $23.00) on shares of First Foundation in a research report on Thursday, February 1st. TheStreet raised First Foundation from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Monday, March 19th. BidaskClub lowered First Foundation from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research report on Friday, January 26th. Piper Jaffray reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $20.00 target price on shares of First Foundation in a research report on Tuesday, January 9th. Finally, Sandler O’Neill reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of First Foundation in a research report on Thursday, March 29th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating, four have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $20.70.

Shares of NASDAQ:FFWM opened at $18.39 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $736.54, a P/E ratio of 18.96, a P/E/G ratio of 2.12 and a beta of 0.70. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.72, a current ratio of 1.13 and a quick ratio of 1.09. First Foundation has a 12-month low of $15.06 and a 12-month high of $19.84.

First Foundation (NASDAQ:FFWM) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, January 31st. The bank reported $0.25 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.24 by $0.01. The business had revenue of $42.60 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $40.94 million. First Foundation had a return on equity of 10.28% and a net margin of 15.71%. analysts expect that First Foundation will post 1.27 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, insider John Hakopian sold 10,800 shares of First Foundation stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $18.78, for a total value of $202,824.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now directly owns 33,200 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $623,496. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Director Max Briggs sold 5,305 shares of First Foundation stock in a transaction dated Friday, February 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $19.11, for a total value of $101,378.55. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 6,415 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $122,590.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 123,791 shares of company stock valued at $2,304,202. Corporate insiders own 18.50% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of FFWM. Banc Funds Co. LLC raised its position in shares of First Foundation by 25.2% in the 4th quarter. Banc Funds Co. LLC now owns 1,125,099 shares of the bank’s stock worth $20,859,000 after acquiring an additional 226,326 shares in the last quarter. Basswood Capital Management L.L.C. raised its position in shares of First Foundation by 6.0% in the 4th quarter. Basswood Capital Management L.L.C. now owns 2,072,115 shares of the bank’s stock worth $38,417,000 after acquiring an additional 118,108 shares in the last quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. raised its position in shares of First Foundation by 583.0% in the 4th quarter. Alliancebernstein L.P. now owns 130,461 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,419,000 after acquiring an additional 111,361 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of First Foundation by 21.7% in the 3rd quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 442,734 shares of the bank’s stock worth $7,921,000 after acquiring an additional 78,969 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its position in shares of First Foundation by 120.2% in the 3rd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 112,765 shares of the bank’s stock worth $2,018,000 after acquiring an additional 61,565 shares in the last quarter. 53.06% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About First Foundation

First Foundation Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides financial services to individuals, businesses, and other organizations in the United States. It operates in two segments, Banking; and Investment Management and Wealth Planning. The company offers a range of bank deposit products, including personal and business checking accounts, savings accounts, interest-bearing negotiable order of withdrawal accounts, money market accounts, and time certificates of deposit; and loan products consisting of multifamily and single family residential real estate loans, commercial real estate loans, and commercial term loans and lines of credit, as well as consumer loans, such as personal installment loans and lines of credit, and home equity lines of credit.

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