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Is FS Bancorp Inc’s (NASDAQ:FSBW) 13.10% ROE Good Enough Compared To Its Industry?

Autumn Haas

FS Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ:FSBW) delivered an ROE of 13.10% over the past 12 months, which is an impressive feat relative to its industry average of 6.46% during the same period. While the impressive ratio tells us that FSBW has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if FSBW has borrowed debt to make this happen. We’ll take a closer look today at factors like financial leverage to determine whether FSBW’s ROE is actually sustainable. Check out our latest analysis for FS Bancorp

Breaking down Return on Equity

Return on Equity (ROE) weighs FS Bancorp’s profit against the level of its shareholders’ equity. For example, if the company invests $1 in the form of equity, it will generate $0.13 in earnings from this. Generally speaking, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are other factors we must also consider before making any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. FS Bancorp’s cost of equity is 9.97%. This means FS Bancorp returns enough to cover its own cost of equity, with a buffer of 3.13%. This sustainable practice implies that the company pays less for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be dissected into three distinct ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

Dupont Formula

ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage

ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)

ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity

NasdaqCM:FSBW Last Perf Jan 24th 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from FS Bancorp’s asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt FS Bancorp currently has. Currently the debt-to-equity ratio stands at a low 17.13%, which means its above-average ROE is driven by its ability to grow its profit without a significant debt burden.

NasdaqCM:FSBW Historical Debt Jan 24th 18

Next Steps:

While ROE is a relatively simple calculation, it can be broken down into different ratios, each telling a different story about the strengths and weaknesses of a company. FS Bancorp exhibits a strong ROE against its peers, as well as sufficient returns to cover its cost of equity. ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of high returns. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For FS Bancorp, I’ve compiled three key factors you should look at:


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.