As a small-cap finance stock with a market capitalisation of US$986.0m, the risk and profitability of Bryn Mawr Bank Corporation (NASDAQ:BMTC) are largely tied to the underlying economic growth of the region it operates in US. Since a bank profits from reinvesting its clients’ deposits in the form of loans, negative economic growth may lower deposit levels and demand for loan, adversely impacting its cash flow. 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. These reforms target banking regulations and intends to enhance financial institutions’ ability to absorb shocks resulting from economic stress which could expose banks like Bryn Mawr Bank to vulnerabilities. Since its financial standing can unexpectedly decline in the case of an adverse macro event such as political instability, it is important to understand how prudent the bank is at managing its risk levels. Strong management of leverage and liquidity could place the bank in a protected position at the face of macro headwinds. We can gauge Bryn Mawr Bank’s risk-taking behaviour by analysing three metrics for leverage and liquidity which I will take you through now.
Why Does BMTC’s Leverage Matter?
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. While financial companies will always have some leverage for a sufficient capital buffer, Bryn Mawr Bank’s leverage ratio of less than the suitable maximum level of 20x, at 8.1x, is considered to be very cautious and prudent. 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 firm up its capital cushion, it has ample headroom to increase its debt level without deteriorating its financial position.
What Is BMTC’s Level of Liquidity?
As I eluded to above, loans are relatively illiquid. It’s helpful to understand how much of this illiquid asset makes up Bryn Mawr Bank’s total asset. Generally, they should make up less than 70% of total assets, however its current level of 76.7% means the bank has lent out 6.69% 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.
What is BMTC’s Liquidity Discrepancy?
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. The discrepancy between loan assets and deposit liabilities threatens the bank’s financial position. If an adverse event occurs, it may not be well-placed to repay its depositors immediately. Since Bryn Mawr Bank’s loan to deposit ratio of 100% 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.
Today, we’ve only explored one aspect of Bryn Mawr Bank. However, as a potential stock investment, there are many more fundamentals you need to consider. Below, I’ve compiled three essential aspects you should look at:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BMTC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BMTC’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is BMTC 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 BMTC 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 email@example.com.