As a small-cap bank stock with a market capitalisation of US$184.74m, Auburn National Bancorporation Inc’s (NASDAQ:AUBN) risk and profitability are largely determined by the underlying economic growth of the US regions in which it operates. 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. Basel III target banking regulations to improve the sector’s ability to absorb shocks resulting from economic stress which may expose financial institutions like Auburn National Bancorporation 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. Strong management of leverage and liquidity could place the bank in a protected position at the face of macro headwinds. We can gauge Auburn National Bancorporation’s risk-taking behaviour by analysing three metrics for leverage and liquidity which I will take you through now. View out our latest analysis for Auburn National Bancorporation
Why Does AUBN’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. Though banks are required to have a certain level of buffer to meet its capital requirements, Auburn National Bancorporation’s leverage level of 9.76x 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.
How Should We Measure AUBN’s Liquidity?
As abovementioned, loans are quite illiquid so it is important to understand how much of these loans make up the bank’s total assets. Generally, they should make up less than 70% of total assets, which is the case for Auburn National Bancorporation’s ratio at 52.85%. This means slightly over half of the bank’s total assets are tied up in the form of illiquid loans, leading to a sensible balance between interest income and liquidity.
Does AUBN Have Liquidity Mismatch?
AUBN profits 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, however, customer deposits are liabilities which must be repaid on-demand and in short notice. 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 Auburn National Bancorporation’s loan to deposit ratio of 59.55%is well-below than the appropriate maximum of 90%, this means the bank is lending out less than its total level of deposits and places the bank in a relatively safe liquidity position given it has not excessively lent out its deposits and has maintained a suitable level for compliance. Given the large headroom for growth in loans, the bank has opportunity to grow its interest income.
Auburn National Bancorporation ticks all the boxes for operational prudency in terms of liquidity and leverage. These factors often sideline next to other fundamentals but are equally important to consider as part of the investment thesis. High liquidity and low leverage places the bank in an ideal position to repay financial liabilities in case of adverse headwinds. Today, we’ve only explored one aspect of Auburn National Bancorporation. However, as a potential stock investment, there are many more fundamentals you need to consider. There are three key factors you should further research:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for AUBN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for AUBN’s outlook.
- Historical Performance: What has AUBN’s returns been like over the past? Go into more detail in the past track record analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of our analysis for more clarity.
- 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 pass 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.