Real Risks You Need To Know Before Investing In SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ:SIVB)

Large banks such as SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ:SIVB), with a market capitalisation of US$11b, have benefited from improving credit quality as a result of post-GFC recovery, leading to a strong growth environment. Growth stimulates demand for loans and impacts a borrower’s ability to repay which directly affects the level of risk SVB Financial Group takes on. With stricter regulations as a consequence of the recession, banks are more conservative in their lending practices, leading to more prudent levels of risky assets on the balance sheet. It is relevant to understand a bank’s level of risky assets on its accounts as it affects the attractiveness of its stock as an investment. Today I will be taking you through three metrics that are useful proxies for risk.

View our latest analysis for SVB Financial Group

NasdaqGS:SIVB Historical Debt January 8th 19
NasdaqGS:SIVB Historical Debt January 8th 19

How Much Risk Is Too Much?

If SVB Financial Group does not engage in overly risky lending practices, it is considered to be in good financial shape. Loans that cannot be recuperated by the bank, also known as bad loans, should typically form 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 0.42% to total debt which means means the bank has very strict bad debt management and faces insignificant levels of default.

Does SVB Financial Group Understand Its Own Risks?

SVB Financial Group’s ability to forecast and provision for its bad loans indicates it has a good understanding of the level of risk it is taking on. If the bank provision covers more than 100% of what it actually writes off, then it is considered sensible and relatively accurate in its provisioning of bad debt. Given its large bad loan to bad debt ratio of 247.75%, SVB Financial Group excessively over-provisioned by 147.75% above the appropriate minimum, indicating the bank may perhaps be too cautious with their expectation of bad debt.

Is There Enough Safe Form Of Borrowing?

Handing Money Transparent SVB Financial Group 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. SVB Financial Group’s total deposit level of 92% 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:

The recent acquisition is expected to bring more opportunities for SIVB, which in turn should lead to stronger growth. I would stay up-to-date on how this decision will affect the future of the business in terms of earnings growth and financial health. The list below is my go-to checks for SIVB. 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 SIVB’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for SIVB’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is SIVB 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 SIVB 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