12-month Performance: +17.9%
Most people think of the “big four” when they think of U.S. banks, but we decided to go with the fifth-largest bank by assets: U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB).
While Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) was a possibility — since, unlike JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) or Citigroup (NYSE:C), it doesn’t have much exposure to international markets — we stuck with one focused on domestic lending.
This super-regional bank has roared back from the financial crisis of 2009, increasing its earnings by 200% since then, including year-over-year gains of 78% and 42% in 2010 and 2011. Such rocket growth is slowing, of course, but it’s hardly dead. In 2014, USB expects another double-digit gain.
Plus, the company rewards investors with a solid 2.3% dividend.