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What is Behind United Security Bancshares’s (NASDAQ:UBFO) Superior ROE?

Liz Campbell

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to start learning about core concepts of fundamental analysis on practical examples from today’s market.

With an ROE of 10.4%, United Security Bancshares (NASDAQ:UBFO) outpaced its own industry which delivered a less exciting 8.2% over the past year. While the impressive ratio tells us that UBFO has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if UBFO has borrowed debt to make this happen. In this article, we’ll closely examine some factors like financial leverage to evaluate the sustainability of UBFO’s ROE.

See our latest analysis for United Security Bancshares

Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs United Security Bancshares’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. While a higher ROE is preferred in most cases, there are several other factors we should consider before drawing any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of United Security Bancshares’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 10.9%. Given a discrepancy of -0.6% between return and cost, this indicated that United Security Bancshares may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating in return. ROE can be broken down into three different ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

Dupont Formula

ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage

ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)

ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity

NasdaqGS:UBFO Last Perf September 6th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. Asset turnover shows how much revenue United Security Bancshares can generate with its current asset base. Finally, financial leverage will be our main focus today. It shows how much of assets are funded by equity and can show how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. Since ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check United Security Bancshares’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. At 9.6%, United Security Bancshares’s debt-to-equity ratio appears low and indicates the above-average ROE is generated from its capacity to increase profit without a large debt burden.

NasdaqGS:UBFO Historical Debt September 6th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. United Security Bancshares’s ROE is impressive relative to the industry average, though its returns were not strong enough to cover its own cost of equity. ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of industry-beating returns. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For United Security Bancshares, I’ve compiled three important aspects you should further examine:

  1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Valuation: What is United Security Bancshares worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether United Security Bancshares is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of United Security Bancshares? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.