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Why Provident Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PROV) May Not Be As Efficient As Its Industry

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This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to begin learning the link between Provident Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PROV)’s return fundamentals and stock market performance.

Provident Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PROV) delivered a less impressive 1.41% ROE over the past year, compared to the 5.71% return generated by its industry. An investor may attribute an inferior ROE to a relatively inefficient performance, and whilst this can often be the case, knowing the nuts and bolts of the ROE calculation may change that perspective and give you a deeper insight into PROV’s past performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of PROV’s returns. See our latest analysis for Provident Financial Holdings

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. An ROE of 1.41% implies $0.014 returned on every $1 invested. Generally speaking, a higher ROE is preferred; however, there are other factors we must also consider before making any conclusions.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is measured against cost of equity in order to determine the efficiency of Provident Financial Holdings’s equity capital deployed. Its cost of equity is 9.59%. Since Provident Financial Holdings’s return does not cover its cost, with a difference of -8.19%, this means its current use of equity is not efficient and not sustainable. Very simply, Provident Financial Holdings pays more for its capital than what it generates in return. ROE can be split up into three useful 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:PROV Last Perf June 25th 18
NasdaqGS:PROV Last Perf June 25th 18

Basically, profit margin measures how much of revenue trickles down into earnings which illustrates how efficient the business is with its cost management. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Provident Financial Holdings can make from its asset base. Finally, financial leverage will be our main focus today. It shows how much of assets are funded by equity and can show how sustainable the company’s capital structure is. Since ROE can be artificially increased through excessive borrowing, we should check Provident Financial Holdings’s historic debt-to-equity ratio. The debt-to-equity ratio currently stands at a balanced 92.59%, meaning the ROE is a result of its capacity to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NasdaqGS:PROV Historical Debt June 25th 18
NasdaqGS:PROV Historical Debt June 25th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Provident Financial Holdings’s below-industry ROE is disappointing, furthermore, its returns were not even high enough to cover its own cost of equity. However, ROE is not likely to be inflated by excessive debt funding, giving shareholders more conviction in the sustainability of returns, which has headroom to increase further. ROE is a helpful signal, but it is definitely not sufficient on its own to make an investment decision.

For Provident Financial Holdings, there are three important aspects you should further research:

  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. Future Earnings: How does Provident Financial Holdings’s growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.

  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Provident Financial Holdings? 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.