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Understated Factors To Consider Before Investing In Fidelity D & D Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:FDBC)

Declan Brown

As a small-cap bank stock with a market capitalisation of US$245m, Fidelity D & D Bancorp, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FDBC) 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. Post-GFC recovery brought about a new set of reforms, Basel III, which was created to improve regulation, supervision and risk management in the financial services industry. 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 Fidelity D & D Bancorp 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 Fidelity D & D Bancorp 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.

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NasdaqGM:FDBC Historical Debt January 15th 19

Why Does FDBC’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. While financial companies will always have some leverage for a sufficient capital buffer, Fidelity D & D Bancorp’s leverage ratio of less than the suitable maximum level of 20x, at 10.55x, is considered to be very cautious and prudent. 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. 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.

How Should We Measure FDBC’s Liquidity?

Handing Money Transparent

As abovementioned, loans are quite illiquid so it is important to understand how much of these loans make up Fidelity D & D Bancorp’s total assets. Usually, they should not be higher than 70% of total assets, but its current level of 74% means the bank has lent out 3.85% above the sensible upper limit. This means its revenue is reliant on these specific assets which means the bank is also more exposed to defaulting relative to banks with less loans.

What is FDBC’s Liquidity Discrepancy?

Banks operate by lending out its customers’ deposits as loans and charge a higher interest rate. These loans may be fixed term and often cannot be readily realized, yet customer deposits on the liability side must be paid 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%, Fidelity D & D Bancorp’s ratio of over 90% 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.

Next Steps:

Today, we’ve only explored one aspect of Fidelity D & D Bancorp. However, as a potential stock investment, there are many more fundamentals you need to consider. Below, I’ve compiled three essential aspects you should look at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for FDBC’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for FDBC’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is FDBC 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 FDBC is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.com.