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Three Key Risks For Union Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNB) You Should Know

Arjun Bhatia

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$215m, Union Bankshares, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:UNB) 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 Union Bankshares’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.

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NasdaqGM:UNB Historical Debt January 18th 19

Does Union Bankshares Understand Its Own Risks?

Union Bankshares’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. Given its large bad loan to bad debt ratio of 394.79%, Union Bankshares excessively over-provisioned by 294.79% above the appropriate minimum, indicating the bank may perhaps be too cautious with their expectation of bad debt.

How Much Risk Is Too Much?

If Union Bankshares does not engage in overly risky lending practices, it is considered to be in good financial shape. Loans that cannot be recuperated by the bank, also known as bad loans, should typically form less than 3% of its total loans. Loans are written off as expenses when they are not repaid, which comes directly out of Union Bankshares’s profit. The bank’s bad debt only makes up a very small 0.22% to total debt which means means the bank has very strict bad debt management and faces insignificant levels of default.

How Big Is Union Bankshares’s Safety Net?

Handing Money Transparent

Union Bankshares 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. Union Bankshares’s total deposit level of 93% 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:

How will UNB’s recent acquisition impact the business going forward? Should you be concerned about the future of UNB and the sustainability of its financial health? The list below is my go-to checks for UNB. 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 UNB’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for UNB’s outlook.
  2. Valuation: What is UNB 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 UNB 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.