When fear, uncertainty, and doubt (or FUD) about bank stocks took hold in early March, following the collapse of SVB Financial’s (NASDAQ:SIVB) Silicon Valley Bank, SOFI stock experienced a sharp slide in price. However, shares have picked back up in more recent trading days.
On one hand, this may make it seem like now is not the time to buy SOFI. With the sector falling out of favor, it may be the opportune moment to build a position. Here’s why.
SOFI Stock: Why It’s not the Next SVB
At first glance, it may seem as if SoFi, compared to other banks, is more exposed to the Silicon Valley Bank meltdown. After all, SoFi’s rise from lending startup to digital-first bank is closely tied with the big tech boom and bust that preceded Silicon Valley Bank’s spectacular fall.
However, not only does SoFi have very limited direct exposure to this collapse. Based on its business model, this bank has a very strong chance of not having the same fate as Silicon Valley Bank/SIVB stock.
For starters, SVB’s deposit base was heavily skewed towards large, uninsured deposits from corporations. SOFI’s deposit base comprises individual accounts, with balances below the FDIC’s insurance limit. This considerably lowers the chances of the sort of bank run that felled SVB.
Also, SVB had too many of its assets in “hold to maturity” securities. This led to heavy losses because of rising interest rates. SOFI’s loan portfolio is made up largely of shorter-term loans, limiting interest rate risk. As a result, according to a Seeking Alpha commentator, this has resulted in SoFi having an unreleased loss-to-equity ratio of just 0.2%.
The Real Reason to Buy
That SoFi is not SVB should assuage concerns from existing shareholders. Admittedly though, I can see why this alone may compel no one to run out and buy SOFI stock. That said, it’s not so much that “SoFi isn’t SVB” that should encourage you to “buy the dip.”
Rather, it’s SoFi Technologies’ “story,” in place before the crisis, that should make you bullish. For starters, this bank will likely not only survive, but thrive, as has been the case in recent years. SoFi’s transformation into a full-fledged bank last year has been a boon for growth. For the full year 2022, the bank’s membership base and annual revenue grew by more than 50%.
Reporting a big jump in adjusted EBITDA last year, SoFi expects to hit GAAP profitability by the end of 2023. As I have argued previously, factors such as the forthcoming end to the student loan repayment pause boost the chances of this happening.
Shares have only moved lower only because of the crisis. As focus shifts back to company-specific factors with SOFI, shares could bounce back fully, then continue moving gradually towards loftier price levels.
Looking over a longer time horizon, analysts expect SoFi to not only get out of the red, but continue to increase its earnings at a rapid pace. For instance, earnings forecasts call for SOFI to earn 50 cents per share by 2026.
To some this may imply limited runway, given that bank stocks typically sell at low to moderate-sized earnings multiples. However, if the bank’s for-now sideline Technology Platform segment eventually becomes a major contributor to its bottom line, the stock may sustain a more tech-like valuation (20 to 30 times earnings).
Given this high long-term upside, it’s no wonder that CEO Anthony Noto has been buying while others have been selling, as Louis Navellier recently pointed out.
“Buy the dip” is an overused phrase, but considering the market’s overreaction following the SVB collapse, it definitely applies here with SOFI stock.
On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.