Lakeland Bancorp Inc’s (NASDAQ:LBAI) 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$916.5m. 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. After the GFC, a set of reforms called Basel III was imposed in order to strengthen regulation, supervision and risk management in the banking sector. The Basel III reforms are aimed at banking regulations to improve financial institutions’ ability to absorb shocks caused by economic stress which could expose banks like Lakeland Bancorp 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. Sufficient liquidity and low levels of leverage could place the bank in a safe place in case of unexpected macro headwinds. Today we will be measuring Lakeland Bancorp’s financial risk position by looking at three leverage and liquidity metrics.
Is LBAI’s Leverage Level Appropriate?
A low level of leverage subjects a bank to less risk and enhances its ability to pay back its debtors. Leverage can be thought of as the amount of assets a bank owns relative to its shareholders’ funds. While financial companies will always have some leverage for a sufficient capital buffer, Lakeland Bancorp’s leverage ratio of 9.26x is very safe and substantially below the maximum limit of 20x. This means the bank exhibits very strong leverage management and is well-positioned to repay its debtors in the case of any adverse events since it has an appropriately high level of equity relative to the debt it has taken on to remain in business. If the bank needs to increase its debt levels to firm up its capital cushion, there is plenty of headroom to do so without deteriorating its financial position.
What Is LBAI’s Level of Liquidity?
As abovementioned, loans are quite illiquid so it is important to understand how much of these loans make up Lakeland Bancorp’s total assets. Generally, they should make up less than 70% of total assets, however its current level of 76.6% means the bank has lent out 6.63% above the sensible threshold. This indicates that revenue is dependent on this particular asset but also the bank is more exposed to default compared to banks with less loans.
What is LBAI’s Liquidity Discrepancy?
A way banks make money is by lending out its deposits as loans. These loans tend to be fixed term which means they cannot be readily realized, conversely, on the liability side, customer deposits must be paid in very short notice and on-demand. The disparity between the immediacy of deposits compared to the illiquid nature of loans puts pressure on the bank’s financial position if an adverse event requires the bank to repay its depositors. Compared to the appropriate industry loan to deposit level of 90%, Lakeland Bancorp’s ratio of over 96.4% is higher which puts the bank in a risky position as it borders negative liquidity disparity between loan and deposit levels. Essentially, for $1 of deposits with the bank, it lends out more than $0.9 which is risky.
Today, we’ve only explored one aspect of Lakeland Bancorp. However, as a potential stock investment, there are many more fundamentals you need to consider. Below, I’ve compiled three key aspects you should further examine:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for LBAI’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for LBAI’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is LBAI 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 LBAI is currently mispriced by the market.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.