BCB Bancorp Inc’s (NASDAQ:BCBP) 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$235.2m. Since banks make money by reinvesting its customers’ deposits in the form of loans, strong economic growth will drive the level of savings deposits and demand for loans, directly impacting the cash flows of those banks. After the Financial Crisis in 2008, a set of reforms called Basel III was created with the purpose of strengthening regulation, risk management and supervision in the banking sector. Basel III target banking regulations to improve the sector’s ability to absorb shocks resulting from economic stress which may expose financial institutions like BCB Bancorp to vulnerabilities. Its financial position may weaken in an adverse macro event such as political instability which is why it is crucial to understand how well the bank manages its risks. Strong management of leverage and liquidity could place the bank in a protected position at the face of macro headwinds. We can gauge BCB Bancorp’s risk-taking behaviour by analysing three metrics for leverage and liquidity which I will take you through now.
Why Does BCBP’s Leverage Matter?
Banks with low leverage are better positioned to weather adverse headwinds as they have less debt to pay off. A bank’s leverage may be thought of as the level of assets it owns compared to its own shareholders’ equity. While financial companies will always have some leverage for a sufficient capital buffer, BCB Bancorp’s leverage ratio of 12.97x is significantly below the appropriate ceiling of 20x. With assets 12.97 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 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 BCBP’s Level of Liquidity?
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, but its current level of 84.2% means the bank has obviously lent out 14.24% above the sensible upper limit. This level implies dependency on this particular asset class as a source of revenue which makes the bank more exposed to defaulting relative to banks with less loans.
Does BCBP Have Liquidity Mismatch?
A way banks make money is by lending out its deposits as loans. These loans may be fixed term and often 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. Since BCB Bancorp’s loan to deposit ratio of 107% is higher than the appropriate level of 90%, this level positions the bank in a risky spot given the adverse liquidity disparity between loan and deposit levels. Essentially, for $1 of deposits with the bank, it lends out more than $1 which is unsustainable.
We’ve only touched on operational risks for BCBP in this article. But as a stock investment, there are other fundamentals you need to understand. There are three pertinent factors you should further research:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BCBP’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BCBP’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is BCBP 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 BCBP 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.