Is Signature Bank (NASDAQ:SBNY) Over-Exposed To Risk?

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The banking sector has been experiencing growth as a result of improving credit quality from post-GFC recovery. As a small-cap bank with a market capitalisation of US$7.3b, Signature Bank’s (NASDAQ:SBNY) profit and value are directly affected by economic growth. This is because borrowers’ demand for, and ability to repay, their loans depend on the stability of their salaries and interest rates. Risk associated with repayment is measured by bad debt which is written off as an expense, impacting Signature Bank’s bottom line. Today I will take you through some bad debt and liability measures to analyse the level of risky assets held by the bank. Looking through a risk-lens is a useful way to assess the attractiveness of Signature Bank’s a stock investment.

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NASDAQGS:SBNY Historical Debt February 12th 19
NASDAQGS:SBNY Historical Debt February 12th 19

Does Signature Bank Understand Its Own Risks?

The ability for Signature Bank to accurately forecast and provision for its bad loans shows it has a strong understanding of the level of risk it is taking on. If the bank provisions for more than 100% of the bad debt it actually writes off, then it is considered to be relatively prudent and accurate in its bad debt provisioning. With a bad loan to bad debt ratio of 211.69%, the bank has extremely over-provisioned by 111.69% compared to the industry-average, which illustrates perhaps a too cautious approach to forecasting bad debt.

How Much Risk Is Too Much?

Signature Bank is considered to be in a good financial shape if it does not engage in overly risky lending practices. So what constitutes as overly risky? Generally, loans that are “bad” and cannot be recovered by the bank should make up less than 3% of its total loans. When these loans are not repaid, they are written off as expenses which comes directly out of the bank’s profit. The bank’s bad debt only makes up a very small 0.30% to total debt which means means the bank has very strict bad debt management and faces insignificant levels of default.

How Big Is Signature Bank’s Safety Net?

Handing Money Transparent Signature Bank makes money by lending out its various forms of borrowings. Deposits from customers tend to bear the lowest risk given the relatively stable amount available and interest rate. As a rule, a bank is considered less risky if it holds a higher level of deposits. Signature Bank’s total deposit level of 85% of its total liabilities is very high and is well-above the sensible level of 50% for financial institutions. This may mean the bank is too cautious with its level of its safer form of borrowing and has plenty of headroom to take on risker forms of liability.

Next Steps:

SBNY’s acquisition will impact the business moving forward. Keep an eye on how this decision plays out in the future, especially on its financial health and earnings growth. The list below is my go-to checks for SBNY. I use Simply Wall St’s platform to keep informed about any changes in the company and market sentiment, and also use their data as the basis for my articles.

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for SBNY’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SBNY’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is SBNY 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 SBNY 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.