As a large-cap stock with market capitalization of US$13b, Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (NASDAQ:HBAN) is classified as a major bank. As these large financial institutions revert back to health after the Global Financial Crisis, we are seeing an increase in market confidence, and understanding of, these “too-big-to-fail” banking stocks. Following the crisis, a set of reforms termed Basel III was enforced to bolster risk management, regulation, and supervision in the financial services industry. These reforms target banking regulations and intends to enhance financial institutions’ ability to absorb shocks resulting from economic stress which could expose banks to vulnerabilities. HBAN operates predominantly in and is held to stringent regulation around the type and level of risk it can take on, exposing it to higher scrutiny on its risk-taking behaviour. Investors should be more cautious when it comes to financial stocks given the different type of risk to which they are exposed. Today we will analyse some bank-specific metrics and take a closer look at leverage and liquidity.
Why Does HBAN’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, Huntington Bancshares’s leverage level of 9.66x is very safe and substantially below the maximum limit of 20x. This means the bank has a sensibly high level of equity compared to the level of debt it has taken on to maintain operations which places it in a strong position to pay back its debt in unforeseen circumstances. Should the bank need to increase its debt levels to meet capital requirements, it will have abundant headroom to do so.
What Is HBAN’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 the bank’s total asset. Generally, they should make up less than 70% of total assets, which is the case for Huntington Bancshares’s ratio at 69%. This is a reasonable ratio and suggests that slightly over half of the bank’s total assets are tied up in the form of illiquid loans, striking an appropriate balance between liquidity and interest income.
What is HBAN’s Liquidity Discrepancy?
Banks operate by lending out its customers’ deposits as loans and charge a higher interest rate. Loans are generally 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. This mismatch between illiquid loans and liquid deposits poses a risk for the bank if unusual events occur and requires it to immediately repay its depositors. Since Huntington Bancshares’s loan to deposit ratio of 89% is within the sensible margin, below than the appropriate maximum of 90%, this level positions the bank cautiously in terms of liquidity as it has not disproportionately lent out its deposits and has retained an apt level of deposits.
Huntington Bancshares passes all of our liquidity and leverage checks which shows it is prudent in managing those factors. This gives us confidence in the operational side of the business, an important aspect to consider before investing in the stock. The bank’s favourable liquidity and leverage position exposes it to less risk when it comes to repaying financial obligations, in particular, in the case of an adverse macro event. We’ve only touched on operational risks for HBAN in this article. But as a stock investment, there are other fundamentals you need to understand. Below, I’ve compiled three important factors you should further research:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for HBAN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for HBAN’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is HBAN 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 HBAN 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.