U.S. Bank Meltdown: These 2 Canadian Banks Are Safer

Canadian banks like Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) are safer than the collapsing U.S. banks.

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U.S. regional banks experienced a meltdown last week, the likes of which haven’t been seen since 2008. It all started when Silvergate, a crypto bank, collapsed, followed shortly by Silicon Valley Bank. The contagion eventually spread to more banks, leading to fears of systemic risk.

At this point, small U.S. banks are looking pretty risky. No doubt, somebody who buys the right community bank at the right time will get rich, but you’ll have to wade through a large pile of risky bets before you find such an opportunity. The risk of permanent loss of capital in the space is high.

As an alternative, you might want to consider investing in large Canadian banks. Canada’s biggest banks have never endured a single financial crisis in their entire history — a history stretching back 150 years. When you look at Canada’s banking regulations, you can see why that is the case.

Canada regulates its banks very strictly and doesn’t let many players enter the market. As a result, Canadian banks tend to be safer than U.S. banks.

In this article, I will explore two Canadian bank stocks that are relatively safe compared to their U.S. cousins.

TD Bank

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD) is the “safest” Canadian bank going by capitalization. Today, it has a 16.2% common equity tier-one (CET1) ratio. The CET1 ratio is cash plus equity divided by all risk-weighted assets. It means that TD’s high-quality, low-risk assets are high as a percentage of total assets. In other words, the bank is not taking on an inordinate amount of risk.

This is a good thing, because “too much risk” is exactly what’s getting U.S. banks in trouble right now. The reason Silicon Valley Bank collapsed, apart from the bank run, was the fact that it was taking too much risk with its investments. It was a similar situation with the other regional banks.

Despite the fact that TD has very good risk-management practices, it has nevertheless been beaten down with the rest of the banking sector. As a result, it now trades at a mere 8.95 times earnings, 2.9 times sales, and 1.32 times book value. I’ve liked TD at much higher prices than today’s prices, so I consider it a real steal right now.

Royal Bank of Canada

Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) is Canada’s largest bank by market cap. Much like TD Bank, it’s cheap, it’s growing, and it has relatively good risk management. Royal Bank’s CET1 is not quite as high as TD Bank’s. It’s 12.1%, which is not extremely high, though is higher than what you’ll find among the failing U.S. regional banks.

Royal Bank delivered a pretty strong showing in its most recent quarter. In it, the bank delivered a 12.5% increase in revenue and a 7% increase in adjusted earnings. It was a pretty good showing. Despite all the macroeconomic issues banks are facing right now, RY managed to pull off positive growth in revenue and even earnings on an adjusted basis. This bank’s 150-year track record of financial stability speaks for itself. If you’re looking for a bank you won’t lose your shirt on, look to Royal Bank of Canada.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Andrew Button has positions in Toronto-Dominion Bank. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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