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Is United Community Financial Corp’s (NASDAQ:UCFC) ROE Of 7.40% Sustainable?

Petra Goodwin

With an ROE of 7.40%, United Community Financial Corp (NASDAQ:UCFC) outpaced its own industry which delivered a less exciting 5.08% over the past year. While the impressive ratio tells us that UCFC has made significant profits from little equity capital, ROE doesn’t tell us if UCFC has borrowed debt to make this happen. We’ll take a closer look today at factors like financial leverage to determine whether UCFC’s ROE is actually sustainable. Check out our latest analysis for United Community Financial

Breaking down Return on Equity

Firstly, Return on Equity, or ROE, is simply the percentage of last years’ earning against the book value of shareholders’ equity. It essentially shows how much the company can generate in earnings given the amount of equity it has raised. While a higher ROE is preferred in most cases, there are several other factors we should consider before drawing any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

Returns are usually compared to costs to measure the efficiency of capital. United Community Financial’s cost of equity is 10.89%. Given a discrepancy of -3.49% between return and cost, this indicated that United Community Financial may be paying more for its capital than what it’s generating in return. ROE can be dissected into three distinct ratios: net profit margin, asset turnover, and financial leverage. This is called the Dupont Formula:

Dupont Formula

ROE = profit margin × asset turnover × financial leverage

ROE = (annual net profit ÷ sales) × (sales ÷ assets) × (assets ÷ shareholders’ equity)

ROE = annual net profit ÷ shareholders’ equity

NasdaqGS:UCFC Last Perf Apr 18th 18

The first component is profit margin, which measures how much of sales is retained after the company pays for all its expenses. Asset turnover reveals how much revenue can be generated from United Community Financial’s asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. Since financial leverage can artificially inflate ROE, we need to look at how much debt United Community Financial currently has. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a balanced 121.50%, meaning the above-average ROE is due to its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NasdaqGS:UCFC Historical Debt Apr 18th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is a simple yet informative ratio, illustrating the various components that each measure the quality of the overall stock. United Community Financial exhibits a strong ROE against its peers, however it was not high enough to cover its own cost of equity this year. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For United Community Financial, there are three pertinent aspects you should further examine:

  1. Financial Health: Does it have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Valuation: What is United Community Financial worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether United Community Financial is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of United Community Financial? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!


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.