Why Access National Corporation (NASDAQ:ANCX) Delivered An Inferior ROE Compared To The Industry

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to begin learning the link between Access National Corporation (NASDAQ:ANCX)’s return fundamentals and stock market performance.

Access National Corporation (NASDAQ:ANCX) generated a below-average return on equity of 5.15% in the past 12 months, while its industry returned 8.45%. ANCX’s results could indicate a relatively inefficient operation to its peers, and while this may be the case, it is important to understand what ROE is made up of and how it should be interpreted. Knowing these components could change your view on ANCX’s performance. I will take you through how metrics such as financial leverage impact ROE which may affect the overall sustainability of ANCX’s returns. View out our latest analysis for Access National

Peeling the layers of ROE – trisecting a company’s profitability

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. Investors that are diversifying their portfolio based on industry may want to maximise their return in the Regional Banks sector by choosing the highest returning stock. But this can be misleading as each company has different costs of equity and also varying debt levels, which could artificially push up ROE whilst accumulating high interest expense.

Return on Equity = Net Profit ÷ Shareholders Equity

ROE is assessed against cost of equity, which is measured using the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) – but let’s not dive into the details of that today. For now, let’s just look at the cost of equity number for Access National, which is 9.96%. This means Access National’s returns actually do not cover its own cost of equity, with a discrepancy of -4.81%. This isn’t sustainable as it implies, very simply, that the company 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

NasdaqGM:ANCX Last Perf July 6th 18
NasdaqGM:ANCX Last Perf July 6th 18

Essentially, profit margin shows how much money the company makes after paying for all its expenses. The other component, asset turnover, illustrates how much revenue Access National can make from its asset base. The most interesting ratio, and reflective of sustainability of its ROE, is financial leverage. We can determine if Access National’s ROE is inflated by borrowing high levels of debt. Generally, a balanced capital structure means its returns will be sustainable over the long run. We can examine this by looking at Access National’s debt-to-equity ratio. The ratio currently stands at a sensible 43.90%, meaning Access National has not taken on excessive debt to drive its returns. The company is able to produce profit growth without a huge debt burden.

NasdaqGM:ANCX Historical Debt July 6th 18
NasdaqGM:ANCX Historical Debt July 6th 18

Next Steps:

ROE is one of many ratios which meaningfully dissects financial statements, which illustrates the quality of a company. Access National’s below-industry ROE is disappointing, furthermore, its returns were not even high enough to cover its own cost of equity. Although, its appropriate level of leverage means investors can be more confident in the sustainability of Access National’s return with a possible increase should the company decide to increase its debt levels. Although ROE can be a useful metric, it is only a small part of diligent research.

For Access National, 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 Access National 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 Access National is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Growth Alternatives : Are there other high-growth stocks you could be holding instead of Access National? Explore our interactive list of stocks with large growth potential to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!