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Why Bank of the James Financial Group Inc’s (NASDAQ:BOTJ) Risk Control Makes It Attractive

Renee Allred

The banking sector has been experiencing growth as a result of improving credit quality from post-GFC recovery. As a small-cap bank with a market capitalisation of US$67.21m, Bank of the James Financial Group Inc’s (NASDAQ:BOTJ) 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 Bank of the James Financial Group’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 Bank of the James Financial Group’s a stock investment.

Check out our latest analysis for Bank of the James Financial Group

NasdaqCM:BOTJ Historical Debt July 30th 18

Does Bank of the James Financial Group Understand Its Own Risks?

The ability for Bank of the James Financial Group 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 bank provisions for more than 100% of the bad debt it actually writes off, then it is considered to be relatively prudent and accurate in its bad debt provisioning. With a bad loan to bad debt ratio of 146.73%, the bank has cautiously over-provisioned by 46.73%, which illustrates a safe and prudent forecasting methodology, and its ability to anticipate the factors contributing to its bad loan levels.

How Much Risk Is Too Much?

Bank of the James Financial Group 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? Generally, loans that are “bad” and cannot be recovered by the bank should make up less than 3% of its total loans. Loans are written off as expenses when they are not repaid, which comes directly out of Bank of the James Financial Group’s profit. A ratio of 0.60% indicates the bank faces relatively low chance of default and exhibits strong bad debt management.

Is There Enough Safe Form Of Borrowing?

Handing Money Transparent

Bank of the James Financial Group 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. As a rule, a bank is considered less risky if it holds a higher level of deposits. Bank of the James Financial Group’s total deposit level of 98.79% 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 BOTJ, 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. The list below is my go-to checks for BOTJ. 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 BOTJ’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BOTJ’s outlook.
  2. Historical Performance: What has BOTJ’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 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.