Until relatively recently, Washington Federal (NASDAQ:WAFD) was pretty much a thrift - residential mortgages made up a large majority of the loan book, and the company financed those loans with a funding mix that skewed heavily toward savings accounts and CDs. In recent years, though, this multi-state Western regional bank has tried to become more like larger peers such as Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB), and Umpqua (NASDAQ:UMPQ), with a turn toward more commercial lending.
I don't like how Washington Federal has been losing deposit share in many states, nor the already-high loan/deposit ratio. As the bank is not very asset-sensitive, I worry that the near-term drivers for near-term growth are relatively limited. I do believe that management is making a good call in diversifying its loan book, but I'd like to see more progress on accumulating lower-cost deposits and a willingness to look a little harder for better uses of capital.
Read more here:
Washington Federal Hoping A New Model Can Drive More Growth