Gauging Capital One’s Sensitivity To The Fed’s Planned Rate Hikes

by Trefis Team
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To understand how the Fed’s rate hike process directly impacts the financial performance of the largest U.S. banks, we have created a series of interactive models that quantify the gains or losses in these banks’ share prices, revenues and profits based on whether or not the Fed follows through on its plan to hike interest rates three times in 2018. This article captures the impact on the card-focused bank Capital One (NYSE:COF). You can access our interactive model for Capital One here. You can modify assumptions such as interest-earnings assets, non-interest income, earnings multiple, forward P/E rate and others to see how sensitive Capital One’s shares are to the Fed’s rate hikes.

We maintain a $95 price estimate for Capital One’s shares, which is about 5% below the current market price.

How Capital One’s Key Metrics Change Based On The Number of Rate Hikes In 2018

The analysis above assumes that each 25 basis point (0.25%) rate hike by the Federal Reserve results in a 12.5 basis point (0.125%) increase in net interest margin (NIM) for Capital One, which represents a sensitivity factor for the bank’s NIM figure of 12.5/25 = 50%.

Think the sensitivity factor, or other parts of our estimates are off? Create your own estimates by changing the inputs in our interactive model.

Why Does The Pace Of The Fed’s Rate Hike Process Matter To The Banks?

The U.S. banking sector has seen a notable improvement in interest revenues over the last few quarters, as the Federal Reserve has stuck to its plan of raising benchmark interest rates by at least three times each year over 2017-19 as of now. The Fed laid out its rate hike plan in late 2016, and given the upbeat outlook for the U.S. economy in the wake of the Tax Act, there is little reason to believe that the benchmark rate will not be raised three times in 2018.

However, as the Fed has ensured that key economic metrics including growth rate, unemployment rate and inflation are at acceptable levels before each interest rate hike, unexpected macroeconomic events could potentially derail the rate hike process. This is particularly true given the high level of dependence between the largest economies in the world – as a destabilizing event in a foreign nation could eventually have a substantial impact on the U.S. economy.

While a Fed decision to delay any rate hikes would affect all industries, the country’s banking sector would be hurt the most. This was already seen over 2014-15, when record-low net interest margin figures eroded profits across banks. As low interest rates limit the interest banks can charge on their loan portfolio, it weighs on their revenue figure.

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