Real Risks To Know Before Investing In Hawthorn Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWBK)

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The banking sector has been experiencing growth as a result of improving credit quality from post-GFC recovery. Hawthorn Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWBK) is a small-cap bank with a market capitalisation of US$139m. Its profit and value are directly impacted by its borrowers’ ability to pay which is driven by the level of economic growth. This is because growth determines the stability of a borrower’s salary as well as the level of interest rates. Risk associated with repayment is measured by bad debt which is written off as an expense, impacting Hawthorn Bancshares’s bottom line. Since the level of risky assets held by the bank impacts the attractiveness of it as an investment, I will take you through three metrics that are insightful proxies for risk.

View our latest analysis for Hawthorn Bancshares

NASDAQGS:HWBK Historical Debt February 12th 19
NASDAQGS:HWBK Historical Debt February 12th 19

How Good Is Hawthorn Bancshares At Forecasting Its Risks?

Hawthorn Bancshares’s forecasting and provisioning accuracy for its bad loans indicates it has a strong understanding of its own risk levels. If the bank provision covers more than 100% of what it actually writes off, then it is considered sensible and relatively accurate in its provisioning of bad debt. With a bad loan to bad debt ratio of 187.89%, the bank has cautiously over-provisioned by 87.89%, which illustrates a safe and prudent forecasting methodology, and its ability to anticipate the factors contributing to its bad loan levels.

What Is An Appropriate Level Of Risk?

Hawthorn Bancshares is considered to be in a good financial shape if it does not engage in overly risky lending practices. So what constitutes as overly risky? Typically, loans that are “bad” and cannot be recuperated by the bank should comprise less than 3% of its total loans. Bad debt is written off when loans are not repaid. This is classified as an expense which directly impacts Hawthorn Bancshares’s bottom line. Since bad loans make up a relatively small 0.54% of total assets, the bank exhibits strict bad debt management and faces low risk of default.

How Big Is Hawthorn Bancshares’s Safety Net?

Handing Money Transparent Hawthorn Bancshares profits from lending out its various forms of borrowings and charging interest rates. Deposits from customers tend to carry the lowest risk due to the relatively stable interest rate and amount available. As a rule, a bank is considered less risky if it holds a higher level of deposits. Hawthorn Bancshares’s total deposit level of 87% of its total liabilities is very high and is well-above the sensible level of 50% for financial institutions. This may mean the bank is too cautious with its level of its safer form of borrowing and has plenty of headroom to take on risker forms of liability.

Next Steps:

HWBK’s acquisition will impact the business moving forward. Keep an eye on how this decision plays out in the future, especially on its financial health and earnings growth. Below, I’ve listed three fundamental areas on Simply Wall St’s dashboard for a quick visualization on current trends for HWBK. I’ve also used this site as a source of data for my article.

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for HWBK’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for HWBK’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is HWBK worth today? Has the future growth potential already been factored into the price? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether HWBK is currently mispriced by the market.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.