A bank's ability to earn money has an effect on its safety and soundness. A bank can retain its earnings, boosting its capital buffer, or use them to address problematic loans, likely making the bank better prepared to withstand economic shocks. Conversely, losses lessen a bank's ability to do those things.
Great Western Bank scored 16 out of a possible 30 on Bankrate's test of earnings, beating out the national average of 15.12.
One widely used measure of a bank's earnings is return on equity, calculated by dividing net income (profit, essentially) by the total amount of equity. The most recent annualized quarterly return on equity for Great Western Bank was 8.03 percent, below the national average of 8.10 percent.
For the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, the bank recorded net income of $145.1 million on total equity of $1.81 billion. The bank reported an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 1.26 percent, above the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards, and above the average for U.S. banks of 1.00 percent.