Understated Factors To Consider Before Investing In Southside Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SBSI)

Southside Bancshares, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SBSI) profitability and risk are largely affected by the underlying economic growth for the region it operates in US given it is a small-cap stock with a market capitalisation of US$1.1b. Since banks make money by reinvesting its customers’ deposits in the form of loans, strong economic growth will drive the level of savings deposits and demand for loans, directly impacting the cash flows of those banks. 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 Southside Bancshares 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. High liquidity and low leverage could position Southside Bancshares favourably at the face of macro headwinds. A way to measure this risk is to look at three leverage and liquidity metrics which I will take you through today.

See our latest analysis for Southside Bancshares

NasdaqGS:SBSI Historical Debt, April 5th 2019
NasdaqGS:SBSI Historical Debt, April 5th 2019

Is SBSI’s Leverage Level Appropriate?

A low level of leverage subjects a bank to less risk and enhances its ability to pay back its debtors. Leverage can be thought of as the amount of assets a bank owns relative to its shareholders’ funds. While financial companies will always have some leverage for a sufficient capital buffer, Southside Bancshares’s leverage ratio of 8.37x is significantly below the appropriate ceiling of 20x. With assets 8.37 times equity, the banks has maintained a prudent level of its own fund relative to borrowed fund which places it in a strong position to pay back its debt in times of adverse events. If the bank needs to firm up its capital cushion, it has ample headroom to increase its debt level without deteriorating its financial position.

How Should We Measure SBSI’s 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. Usually, they should not be higher than 70% of total assets, which is the case for Southside Bancshares’s ratio at 54%. This means slightly over half of the bank’s total assets are tied up in the form of illiquid loans, leading to a sensible balance between interest income and liquidity.

Does SBSI Have Liquidity Mismatch?

Banks operate by lending out its customers’ deposits as loans and charge a higher interest rate. These loans may be fixed term and often cannot be readily realized, however, customer deposits are liabilities which must be repaid on-demand and in short notice. The discrepancy between loan assets and deposit liabilities threatens the bank’s financial position. If an adverse event occurs, it may not be well-placed to repay its depositors immediately. Since Southside Bancshares’s loan to deposit ratio of 74% is within the sensible margin, below than the appropriate maximum of 90%, this level 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.

Next Steps:

Southside Bancshares passes all of our liquidity and leverage checks, suggesting it is prudent in managing those factors. This gives us confidence in the risk management side of the business, an important aspect to consider before investing in the stock. Its high liquidity and low leverage levels mean the bank is well-positioned to meet its financial obligations in the case of any adverse and unpredictable macro events. Today, we’ve only explored one aspect of Southside Bancshares. However, as a potential stock investment, there are many more fundamentals you need to consider. I’ve put together three pertinent factors you should further examine:

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

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.