CIT Group Inc’s (NYSE:CIT) 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$6.83B. Given that banks operate by reinvesting deposits in the form of loans, negative economic growth may lower the level of saving deposits and demand for loans, directly affecting those banks’ levels of cash flows. 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. The Basel III reforms are aimed at banking regulations to improve financial institutions’ ability to absorb shocks caused by economic stress which could expose banks like CIT Group 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. High liquidity and low leverage could position CIT Group favourably at the face of macro headwinds. A way to measure this risk is to look at three leverage and liquidity metrics which I will take you through today. See our latest analysis for CIT Group
Why Does CIT’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. Financial institutions are required to have a certain level of buffer to meet capital adequacy levels. CIT Group’s leverage level of less than the suitable maximum level of 20x, at 7x, is considered to be very cautious and prudent. With assets 7 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 CIT’s Level of 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. Usually, they should not be higher than 70% of total assets, which is the case for CIT Group’s ratio at 56.28%. 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.
What is CIT’s Liquidity Discrepancy?
Banks operate by lending out its customers’ deposits as loans and charge a higher interest rate. These loans tend to be fixed term which means they cannot be readily realized, conversely, on the liability side, customer deposits must be paid in very short notice and on-demand. 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. Relative to the prudent industry loan to deposit level of 90%, CIT Group’s ratio of over 94.81% is higher, which positions the bank in a risky spot given the potential to cross into negative liquidity disparity between loan and deposit levels. Essentially, for $1 of deposits with the bank, it lends out more than $ 0.9 which is risky.
The bank’s prudent management of its risk levels is reflected in its sensible leverage and liquidity ratios. This means it is well-positioned to meet its financial obligations in case of any unforeseen and adverse macro events. We’ve only touched on operational risks for CIT in this article. But as a stock investment, there are other fundamentals you need to understand. There are three important aspects you should look at:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for CIT’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for CIT’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is CIT 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 CIT 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 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.