Understated Factors To Consider Before Investing In Punjab National Bank (NSE:PNB)

As a small-cap finance stock with a market capitalisation of ₹248.04b, the risk and profitability of Punjab National Bank (NSE:PNB) are largely tied to the underlying economic growth of the region it operates in IN. 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. Following the Financial Crisis in 2008, a set of reforms termed Basel III was enforced to bolster risk management, regulation, and supervision in the financial services industry. Basel III target banking regulations to improve the sector’s ability to absorb shocks resulting from economic stress which may expose financial institutions like Punjab National Bank 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. Low levels of leverage coupled with sufficient liquidity may place Punjab National Bank in a safe position in the face of adverse headwinds. We can measure this risk exposure by analysing three metrics for leverage and liquidity which I will take you through today. See our latest analysis for Punjab National Bank

NSEI:PNB Historical Debt June 21st 18
NSEI:PNB Historical Debt June 21st 18

Why Does PNB’s Leverage Matter?

Banks with low leverage are better positioned to weather adverse headwinds as they have less debt to pay off. A bank’s leverage may be thought of as the level of assets it owns compared to its own shareholders’ equity. Though banks are required to have a certain level of buffer to meet its capital requirements, Punjab National Bank’s leverage level of 18x is significantly below the appropriate ceiling 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 firm up its capital cushion, it has ample headroom to increase its debt level without deteriorating its financial position.

What Is PNB’s Level of Liquidity?

Handing Money Transparent Since loans are relatively illiquid, we should know how much of the bank’s total assets are comprised of these loans. Generally, they should make up less than 70% of total assets, which is consistent with Punjab National Bank’s state given its ratio of 56.33%. 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 PNB 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, conversely, on the liability side, customer deposits must be paid in very short notice and on-demand. 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%, Punjab National Bank’s ratio of over 67.67% 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.

Next Steps:

Punjab National Bank ticks all the boxes for operational prudency in terms of liquidity and leverage. These factors often sideline next to other fundamentals but are equally important to consider as part of the investment thesis. High liquidity and low leverage places the bank in an ideal position to repay financial liabilities in case of adverse headwinds. We’ve only touched on operational risks for PNB in this article. But as a stock investment, there are other fundamentals you need to understand. Below, I’ve compiled three key factors you should look at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for PNB’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for PNB’s outlook.
  2. Historical Performance: What has PNB’s returns been like over the past? Go into more detail in the past track record analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of our analysis for more clarity.
  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.