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Can Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:BPFH) Survive The Next Financial Crisis?

Austin Wood

Boston Private Financial Holdings, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:BPFH) profitability and risk are largely affected by the underlying economic growth for the region it operates in US given it is a small-cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$939m. A bank’s cash flow is directly impacted by economic growth as it is the main driver of deposit levels and demand for loans which it profits from. Post-GFC recovery brought about a new set of reforms, Basel III, which was created to improve regulation, supervision and risk management in the financial services industry. These reforms target banking regulations and intends to enhance financial institutions’ ability to absorb shocks resulting from economic stress which could expose banks like Boston Private Financial Holdings to vulnerabilities. Unpredictable macro events such as political instability could weaken its financial position which is why it is important to understand how well the bank manages its risk levels. High liquidity and low leverage could position Boston Private Financial Holdings favourably at the face of macro headwinds. A way to measure this risk is to look at three leverage and liquidity metrics which I will take you through today.

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NasdaqGS:BPFH Historical Debt January 18th 19
NasdaqGS:BPFH Historical Debt January 18th 19

Is BPFH’s Leverage Level Appropriate?

Banks with low leverage are exposed to lower risks around their ability to repay debt. A bank’s leverage can be thought of as the amount of assets it holds compared to its own shareholders’ funds. Financial institutions are required to have a certain level of buffer to meet capital adequacy levels. Boston Private Financial Holdings’s leverage level of 11.17x is significantly below the appropriate ceiling of 20x. With assets 11.17 times equity, the banks has maintained a prudent level of its own fund relative to borrowed fund which places it in a strong position to pay back its debt in times of adverse events. If the bank needs to firm up its capital cushion, it has ample headroom to increase its debt level without deteriorating its financial position.

What Is BPFH’s Level of Liquidity?

Handing Money Transparent
Handing Money Transparent

Due to its illiquid nature, loans are an important asset class we should learn more about. Usually, they should not be higher than 70% of total assets, however its current level of 79% means the bank has lent out 9.36% above the sensible threshold. This indicates that revenue is dependent on this particular asset but also the bank is more likely to be exposed to default compared to its competitors with less loans.

Does BPFH Have Liquidity Mismatch?

Banks profit by lending out its customers’ deposits as loans and charge an interest on the principle. These loans tend to be fixed term which means they cannot be readily realized, yet customer deposits on the liability side must be paid on-demand and in short notice. This mismatch between illiquid loans and liquid deposits poses a risk for the bank if unusual events occur and requires it to immediately repay its depositors. Relative to the prudent industry loan to deposit level of 90%, Boston Private Financial Holdings’s ratio of over 98% is higher, which places the bank in a relatively dangerous territory to go into negative discrepancy in liquidity. Essentially, for $1 of deposits with the bank, it lends out more than $0.9 which is risky.

Next Steps:

We’ve only touched on operational risks for BPFH in this article. But as a stock investment, there are other fundamentals you need to understand. Below, I’ve compiled three relevant aspects you should further research:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BPFH’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BPFH’s outlook.

  2. Valuation: What is BPFH worth today? Has the future growth potential already been factored into the price? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether BPFH is currently mispriced by the market.

  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

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.