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Risk Factors To Consider Before Investing In Hawthorn Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWBK)

Austin Wood

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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$138m, Hawthorn Bancshares, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:HWBK) 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 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 25th 2019

How Good Is Hawthorn Bancshares At Forecasting Its Risks?

The ability for Hawthorn Bancshares to accurately forecast and provision for its bad loans shows it has a strong understanding of the level of risk it is taking on. If the level of provisioning covers 100% or more of the actual bad debt expense the bank writes off, then the bank may be relatively accurate and prudent in its bad debt provisioning. With a non-performing loan allowance to non-performing loan ratio of 187.89%, the bank has cautiously over-provisioned by 87.89%, which may suggest the bank is anticipating additional non-performing loans.

How Much Risk Is Too Much?

By nature, banks like Hawthorn Bancshares are exposed to risky assets, by lending to borrowers who may not be able to repay their loans. Loans that cannot be recuperated by the bank, also known as bad loans, should typically form less than 3% of its total loans. When these loans are not repaid, they are written off as expenses which comes out directly from Hawthorn Bancshares’s profit. A ratio of 0.54% may indicate the bank faces relatively low chance of default and exhibits strong bad debt management – or it could indicate risks in the portfolio have not fully matured.

Is There Enough Safe Form Of Borrowing?

Handing Money Transparent

Hawthorn Bancshares makes money by lending out its various forms of borrowings. Deposits from customers tend to bear the lowest risk given the relatively stable amount available and interest rate. Generally, the higher level of deposits a bank retains, the less risky it is deemed to be. 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:

The recent acquisition is expected to bring more opportunities for HWBK, which in turn should lead to stronger growth. I would stay up-to-date on how this decision will affect the future of the business in terms of earnings growth and financial health. 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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.