As a small-cap bank stock with a market capitalisation of US$5.94b, CIT Group Inc’s (NYSE:CIT) 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 CIT Group to vulnerabilities. Its financial position may weaken in an adverse macro event such as political instability which is why it is crucial to understand how well the bank manages its risks. 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 CIT Group’s financial risk position by looking at three leverage and liquidity metrics. View out 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. Though banks are required to have a certain level of buffer to meet its capital requirements, CIT Group’s leverage level of 7.23x 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. Should the bank need to increase its debt levels to meet capital requirements, it will have abundant headroom to do so.
What Is CIT’s Level of Liquidity?
Due to its illiquid nature, loans are an important asset class we should learn more about. Usually, they should not be higher than 70% of total assets, consistent with CIT Group’s case with a ratio of 56.28%. At this level of loan, the bank has preserved a sensible level between maintaining liquidity and generating interest income from the loan.
What is CIT’s Liquidity Discrepancy?
Banks profit by lending out its customers’ deposits as loans and charge an interest on the principle. These loans may be fixed term and often cannot be readily realized, however, customer deposits are liabilities which must be repaid 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. Compared to the appropriate industry loan to deposit level of 90%, CIT Group’s ratio of over 94.81% is higher which puts the bank in a risky position as it borders negative liquidity disparity between loan and deposit levels. Basically, for $1 of deposits with the bank, it lends out over $ 0.9 which is imprudent.
The bank’s prudent management of its risk levels is reflected in its sensible leverage and liquidity ratios. This means it is well-placed to meet its financial obligations in the case of any adverse and unpredictable macro events. Keep in mind that a stock investment requires research on more than just its operational side. I’ve put together three pertinent factors 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.