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Is TD Bank a Better Bargain Than Ever?

Published by Bob Ciura on March 14th, 2017

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) stock is down 5% in the past one month.

The sudden decline is largely due to a recent report in a Canadian newspaper, which alleged that the bank has pressured employees to open accounts for customers that they did not need.

The article raises questions about TD Bank’s sales targets. In the aftermath of the report, several analysts downgraded TD, with some drawing parallels to the Wells Fargo (WFC) fake accounts scandal.

TD Bank does not qualify as a Dividend Achiever, a group of 271 stocks with 10+ years of consecutive dividend increases.

You can see the full Dividend Achievers List here.

However, it does have a consistent track record of dividend growth. It recently hiked its dividend by 9%.

And, thanks to its recent share price dip, the stock has a dividend yield almost twice the S&P 500 Index average yield.

This article will discuss why TD Bank may be a bargain stock.

Business Overview

TD Bank is a major financial institution. In fact, it is the fifth-largest bank by total assets, and the sixth-largest bank by market capitalization.

It has more than 2,400 locations across North America, most of which are in Canada.

TD Snapshot

Source: 2017 Investor Presentation, page 4

TD has three main segments:

The Canadian & U.S. retail segments operate basically the same businesses, which are personal banking, credit cards, auto loans, and commercial banking.

The Wholesale Banking segment includes research, investment banking, and capital markets services.

With a huge network of branches and ATMs and a strong brand, TD has generated strong earnings growth for many years.

TD Earnings

Source: 2017 Investor Presentation, page 12

Over the past five years, TD grew earnings-per-share by 8.4% per year, on average.

Future growth will come from several potential catalysts, which include rising interest rates and cost controls.

Growth Prospects

In the Canadian retail segment, TD’s growth will be fueled by cost cuts, and higher loans and deposits. This will help turn around the Canadian business, which saw earnings inch up by 0.8% last year.

Separately, the company’s U.S. retail business is an even more attractive growth catalyst. Last year, the U.S. retail business posted an 8.8% increase in profits.

TD U.S. Retail

Source: 2017 Investor Presentation, page 27

The U.S. business will benefit from expanded productivity measures, but more importantly rising interest rates.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates in 2016, for the first time since the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2007-2009.

The Fed is expected to raise rates as many as three more times in 2017.

This will help banks like TD increase profitability, by expanding net interest margin. This is the spread banks earn between what they pay to depositors, versus the interest collected from loans.

As a result, a return to a rising-rate environment would be a strong tailwind for TD.

The benefits of rising interest rates are already being felt. In the first quarter, TD’s revenue and adjusted earnings rose 6% and 13%, respectively, from the same quarter last year.

One potential headwind for TD’s future growth is its exposure to oil and gas loans.

TD Oil and Gas

Source: 2017 Investor Presentation, page 18

This is particularly worrisome for banks that operate in Canada, because the energy sector represents a large portion of the Canadian economy.

When commodity prices crashed in 2015-2016, banks with heavy exposure to the oil and gas industry suffered losses from increasing loan defaults.

TD Bank has $2.7 billion of outstanding loans made to oil and gas producers. This is worrisome, because production companies are among the most vulnerable to falling commodity prices.

The concern is exacerbated by the fact that 63% of loans made to production companies have credit ratings below investment grade.

Fortunately, TD also has $2.7 billion in loans outstanding made to midstream and refiners, which are much less exposed to commodity prices. Approximately 67% of these loans have investment grade credit ratings.

And, now that commodity prices have significantly recovered since February 2016, TD has seen much improved performance in its credit portfolio.

Overall, TD expects to grow adjusted earnings-per-share by 7%-10% per year over the next several years.

This would be more than enough growth to generate satisfactory shareholder returns moving forward.

Valuation & Expected Total Returns

TD Bank is an attractively valued stock. Based on trailing earnings-per-share, the stock trades for a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.9.

This compares very favorably to the S&P 500 Index, which trades for a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.

This is what could make TD stock a true bargain. A higher valuation multiple is easily justified, based on the company’s strong brand and high single-digit earnings growth.

In addition to expansion of the valuation multiple, future returns will be based on earnings-per-share growth and dividends.

A potential breakdown of future returns is as follows:

Using these assumptions, total returns could reach approximately 10.6%-12.6% per year.

Dividend Analysis

TD Bank has a long history of delivering steady dividend increases to shareholders each year.

TD Dividend

Source: 2017 Investor Presentation, page 14

From 1995-2016, the company grew its dividend by 11% per year.

Importantly, TD maintains a strong credit portfolio. It has kept credit losses at a manageable level, which helps the sustainability of its dividend.

TD Credit

Source: 2017 Investor Presentation, page 17

TD holds a credit rating of AA- from Standard & Poor’s, with a stable outlook. It also gets a Aa1 rating from Moody’s.

These are strong credit ratings in both cases.

This has helped the company maintain a strong balance sheet. For example, the company holds a 10.9% Common Equity Tier 1 ratio.

In U.S. dollars, TD has an annual dividend payout of roughly $1.78 per share. This comes out to a 3.6% dividend yield.

Final Thoughts

TD Bank has a strong, highly profitable business model, and pays consistent dividends to shareholders.

The recent newspaper report has resulted in an elevated level of headline risk.

But, after the newspaper article, TD Bank responded with a strong defense of its sales practices. The company stated it received a relatively small number of customer complaints last year, and will continue to investigate the matter.

Assuming the scandal does not escalate further, income investors could view the recent decline as a buying opportunity.

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