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Why Bankwell Financial Group Inc (NASDAQ:BWFG) May Not Be As Risky Than You Think

Shawn Clark

The banking sector has been experiencing growth as a result of improving credit quality from post-GFC recovery. Economic growth impacts the stability of salaries and interest rate level which in turn affects borrowers’ demand for, and ability to repay, their loans. As a small-cap bank with a market capitalisation of US$253.13m, Bankwell Financial Group Inc’s (NASDAQ:BWFG) profit and value are directly affected by economic activity. Risk associate with repayment is measured by the level of bad debt which is an expense written off Bankwell Financial Group’s bottom line. Today we will analyse Bankwell Financial Group’s level of bad debt and liabilities in order to understand the risk involved with investing in the bank. Check out our latest analysis for Bankwell Financial Group

NasdaqGM:BWFG Historical Debt June 21st 18
NasdaqGM:BWFG Historical Debt June 21st 18

Does Bankwell Financial Group Understand Its Own Risks?

Bankwell Financial Group’s ability to forecast and provision for its bad loans relatively accurately indicates it has a good understanding of the level of risk it is taking on. The bank has poorly anticipated the factors contributing to higher bad loan levels if it writes off more than 100% of the bad debt it provisioned for. This begs the question – does Bankwell Financial Group understand the risks it has taken on? With a bad loan to bad debt ratio of 92.28%, Bankwell Financial Group has under-provisioned by -7.72% which is below the sensible margin of error, illustrating room for improvement in the bank’s forecasting methodology.

What Is An Appropriate Level Of Risk?

Bankwell Financial Group is engaging in risking lending practices if it is over-exposed to bad debt. Loans that cannot be recovered by the bank are known as bad loans and typically should make up less than 3% of its total loans. When these loans are not repaid, they are written off as expenses which comes out directly from Bankwell Financial Group’s profit. A ratio of 1.31% 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
Handing Money Transparent

Bankwell 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. Generally, the higher level of deposits a bank retains, the less risky it is deemed to be. Bankwell Financial Group’s total deposit level of 85.66% 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 BWFG, 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 BWFG. 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 BWFG’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BWFG’s outlook.

  2. Historical Performance: What has BWFG’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.