Safe and Sound

The North Country Savings Bank

Canton, NY
4
Star Rating
Canton, NY-based The North Country Savings Bank is an FDIC-insured bank founded in 1909. As of December 31, 2017, the bank held equity of $33.7 million on assets of $245.6 million.

With 64 full-time employees in 4 offices in NY, the bank has amassed loans and leases worth $206.2 million, including real estate loans of $199.1 million. U.S. bank customers currently have $190.1 million in deposits with the bank.

Overall, Bankrate believes that, as of December 31, 2017, The North Country Savings Bank exhibited a good condition, earning 4 out of 5 stars for safety and soundness. Here's a breakdown of how the bank did on the three major criteria Bankrate used to score American banks.

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SAFE AND SOUND?

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THE INSTITUTION'S SCORE

Capital Score

Capital works as a buffer against losses and provides protection for account holders during periods of economic instability for the bank. It follows then that when it comes to measuring an a bank's financial strength, capital is essential. When it comes to safety and soundness, the more capital, the better.

On our test to measure the adequacy of a bank's capital, The North Country Savings Bank achieved a score of 18 out of a possible 30 points, beating the national average of 13.13.

One way to measure this buffer is looking at a bank's Tier 1 capital ratio. The North Country Savings Bank's Tier 1 capital ratio was 25.53 percent, above the 6 percent level regulators consider adequate, but under the national average of 25.65 percent. The higher the capital ratio, the better the bank will be able to weather economic difficulties.

Overall, The North Country Savings Bank held equity amounting to 13.72 percent of its assets, which exceeded the national average of 12.03 percent.

Asset Quality Score

This test's purpose is to try to understand how the bank's loan loss reserves and overall capitalization could be affected by troubled assets, such as past-due mortgages.

A bank with extensive holdings of these types of assets could eventually be forced to use capital to absorb losses, diminishing its equity cushion. It also means that there are likely to be many assets that are in non-accrual status and thus aren't earning interest for the bank, decreasing earnings and increasing the chances of a future failure.

On Bankrate's asset quality test, The North Country Savings Bank scored 40 out of a possible 40 points, better than the national average of 37.49 points.

A widely used indicator of asset quality is the percentage of problem assets a bank holds compared to its total assets. As of December 31, 2017, 0.97 percent of The North Country Savings Bank's loans were noncurrent, meaning they were more than 90 days past due or were in non-accrual status. That's below the national average of 1.01 percent.

Banks keep a reserve known as an "allowance for loan and lease losses" to deal with problem assets . The size of that reserve can be a useful indicator when evaluating a bank's ability to manage problem assets, especially when compared to the total amount of at-risk loans. Unfortunately, the FDIC did not provide information on The North Country Savings Bank's loan loss allowance in its most recent filings.

Earnings score

How profitable a bank is affects its safety and soundness. A bank can retain its earnings, boosting its capital buffer, or use them to deal with problematic loans, potentially making the bank more resilient in tough times. However, banks that are losing money have less ability to do those things.

The North Country Savings Bank underperformed the average on Bankrate's test of earnings, achieving a score of 10 out of a possible 30.

Return on equity, calculated by dividing net income (essentially, profit) by the total amount of equity, is one key measure of a bank's earnings. The most recent annualized quarterly return on equity for The North Country Savings Bank was 4.51 percent, below the national average of 8.10 percent.

The bank recorded net income of $1.5 million on total equity of $33.7 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017. The bank had an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 0.58 percent, below the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards and below the average for U.S. banks of 1.00 percent.

WHAT IS SAFE & SOUND?

Bankrate.com's Safe & Sound Ratings provide a star rating system to evaluate the current financial status of financial institutions. The information gathered about banks, credit unions and thrifts is updated as set forth in the Terms of Use of Safe & Sound Ratings and Reports. The Safe & Sound Ratings information is grouped by categories of banks, thrifts and credit unions.

Scoring methodology

Bankrate.com evaluates the financial condition of institutions and assigns a one- to five-star rating for each with five stars representing the highest rating. Institutions with satisfactory performance will generally receive a rating of three or more stars. The majority of institutions fall into the three- to four-star range. An institution with an "NR" rating may be too new to rate or may have limited the publicly available information in their regulatory filings. The "NR" is not an indication of financial strength or weakness. The Safe & Sound rating is believed to be reliable, but the information is not guaranteed. In addition, events since the information was collected may have altered the institution's financial condition.