Fundamental analysis – the branch of analysis that deals with the fundamentals underpinning the value of a security (be it debt or equity) largely is based on a study of the business model, financial condition & the management of that company.
The business model of a banking company is different in 2 ways as compared to the ‘manufacturing’ sector.
- It relies on a lot of judgement in decision making – While financial analysis can paint a picture of the past performance and future potential, it is the lender’s judgemental call on the borrower’s willingness & ability that is the backbone of the lending decision.
- Loss distributions are asymmetrical – When defaults happen, income (interest) stops accruing and the entire principal turns into loss. Thus, the bank faces a double whammy when loan defaults happen.
For instance, let us consider an investment outlay of Rs.5bn in a new factory that needs to be evaluated by General Manager of a FMGC Company & a lending proposal of similar amount to be evaluated by the Corporate Banking Head of a Bank. What would be the factors they take into consideration in their decision?
Expansion proposal in Company
Lending proposal in Bank
Capital budgeting tools like payback period, NPV etc
Ratios like Return on Equity (ROE), Return on Risk Adjusted Capital(RAROC)
As we saw, the business model of a Bank is completely different than that of a manufacturing company. Therefore, standard metrics used in company analysis like – volume & price growth, gross profit margins, debt to equity ratios etc won’t work in analysis of banks. That is to say, that, while an analyst would look at the same three factors viz. business model, financial condition & management quality, the parameters used within them differ. These are outlined below.
1. Business Overview
- Business Mix: A breakup between Retail (lending to individuals/ small businesses through the branch network) Corporate lending, Trade Finance (financing import/export) and Project Financing (Funding infrastructure). This will help in understanding tenor of assets (how long is your principal at risk), granularity (size of each loan & therefore impact if it defaults), susceptibility to currency fluctuations, etc.
- Funding Mix: Share of low cost & sticky CASA (Current & Savings accounts) versus the more fickle but relatively costlier time deposits.
- Focus: Is it a universal banking offering all services or a retail/corporate/trade focussed bank.
- Growth strategy: Retail takes longer (and hence costlier) to penetrate into but is relatively less risky. Corporate assets can be built up relatively faster.
- Efficiency: Metrics like business (loans +deposits) per employee, revenues/profits per employee are used to analyse the efficiency of business
2. Financial Analysis
Select financial indicators that are studied are provided in the table below:
Prev Yr Actual
Prev Yr Actual
Current Year (Est)
Next yr Projected
Next yr Projected
Net Interest Income($)
Fee Income ($)
Profit After Tax ($)
Net Interest Margin%
Cost/Income Ratio %
Capital Adequacy Ratio – Tier I &II %
Gross NPA %
Net NPA %
Return on Assets %
Return on Equity%
- Capital Adequacy % is the minimum amount of capital that must be pumped in for every $100 of risky assets (loans given+ investments) Of this Tier I capital is from equity and equity like instruments & Tier II is by way of hybrid instruments or subordinated debt. The ability of a Bank to source equity at lowest cost and from wide variety of investors and maintain Capital adequacy well above the threshold stipulated by the regulators is a sign of its strength.
- Asset Quality: The assets (loans/investments) of a Bank are its primary revenue generators. An in depth study of the asset composition will include analysing the maturity profile, industry & geographic concentration and trends in NPA ratios.
- Earnings Quality: Sustainability is the key here – steady NII growth in $ terms and maintaining a steady NIM signal stable accruals. Fee income boosts profitability and therefore is a key metric; besides ROA & ROE ratios. Cost to Income Ratio is studied to understand what is the amount spent to earn each $ of revenue.
- Funding Quality: What is the level of dependence on term deposits (wholesale funding). While CASA is sticky it also entails cost in the form of Branch network. Another critical area of study is the Asset Liability Mismatch i.e. the time when assets mature to generate cash inflows versus the time liabilities have to be paid off. A negative mismatch (time when liabilities to be paid exceeds assets maturing) will need to be refinanced.
3. Management Quality
This is a subjective analysis comprising of understanding the Composition of the Board of Directors & Key management of the Bank, frequency of changes in top management. Attrition levels are also analysed across the Bank functions as the key assets for a Bank are its employees.