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Should You Be Concerned About Washington Trust Bancorp Inc’s (NASDAQ:WASH) Risks?

Joseph Holm

Post-GFC recovery has led to improving credit quality and a strong growth environment for the banking sector. As a small-cap bank with a market capitalisation of US$1.07b, Washington Trust Bancorp Inc’s (NASDAQ:WASH) profit and value are directly affected by economic growth. This is because borrowers’ demand for, and ability to repay, their loans depend on the stability of their salaries and interest rates. Risk associated with repayment is measured by bad debt which is written off as an expense, impacting Washington Trust Bancorp’s bottom line. Today I will take you through some bad debt and liability measures to analyse the level of risky assets held by the bank. Looking through a risk-lens is a useful way to assess the attractiveness of Washington Trust Bancorp’s a stock investment. View out our latest analysis for Washington Trust Bancorp

NasdaqGS:WASH Historical Debt June 22nd 18

How Good Is Washington Trust Bancorp At Forecasting Its Risks?

Washington Trust Bancorp’s forecasting and provisioning accuracy for its bad loans indicates it has a strong understanding of its own risk levels. If the level of provisioning covers 100% or more of the actual bad debt expense the bank writes off, then it is relatively accurate and prudent in its bad debt provisioning. With a bad loan to bad debt ratio of 245.83%, the bank has extremely over-provisioned by 145.83% compared to the industry-average, which illustrates perhaps a too cautious approach to forecasting bad debt.

What Is An Appropriate Level Of Risk?

Washington Trust Bancorp is engaging in risking lending practices if it is over-exposed to bad debt. Typically, loans that are “bad” and cannot be recuperated by the bank should comprise less than 3% of its total loans. Loans are written off as expenses when they are not repaid, which comes directly out of Washington Trust Bancorp’s profit. The bank’s bad debt only makes up a very small 0.31% to total debt which means means the bank has very strict bad debt management and faces insignificant levels of default.

How Big Is Washington Trust Bancorp’s Safety Net?

Handing Money Transparent

Washington Trust Bancorp 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. The general rule is the higher level of deposits a bank holds, the less risky it is considered to be. Washington Trust Bancorp’s total deposit level of 78.41% of its total liabilities is within the sensible margin for for financial institutions which generally has a ratio of 50%. This indicates a prudent level of the bank’s safer form of borrowing and a prudent level of risk.

Next Steps:

WASH’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. The list below is my go-to checks for WASH. I use Simply Wall St’s platform to keep informed about any changes in the company and market sentiment, and also use their data as the basis for my articles.

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for WASH’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for WASH’s outlook.
  2. Historical Performance: What has WASH’s returns been like over the past? Go into more detail in the past track record analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of our analysis for more clarity.
  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 pass 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.