Oak Valley Bancorp’s (NASDAQ:OVLY) 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$162.8m. 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. These reforms target bank level regulation and aims to improve the banking sector’s ability to absorb shocks arising from economic stress which could expose financial institutions 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. Sufficient liquidity and low levels of leverage could place the bank in a safe place in case of unexpected macro headwinds. Today we will be measuring Oak Valley Bancorp’s financial risk position by looking at three leverage and liquidity metrics.
Why Does OVLY’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, Oak Valley Bancorp’s leverage level of 11.36x 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. 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 OVLY’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, consistent with Oak Valley Bancorp’s case with a ratio of 60.3%. 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.
Does OVLY Have Liquidity Mismatch?
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, 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. Relative to the prudent industry loan to deposit level of 90%, Oak Valley Bancorp’s ratio of over 66.5% is markedly lower, which 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. There is opportunity for the bank to increase its interest income by lending out more loans.
Oak Valley Bancorp 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. Keep in mind that a stock investment requires research on more than just its operational side. I’ve put together three pertinent aspects you should look at:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for OVLY’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for OVLY’s outlook.
- Valuation: What is OVLY 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 OVLY 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.