Focus on RMA: 100 Years of RMA’s Annual Statement Studies

Each week, "Focus on RMA" highlights a piece of RMA that makes it valuable to members and the industry. This week, we’re celebrating 100 years of RMA’s Annual Statement Studies.

Celebrating its 100th year, RMA’s Annual Statement Studies® has been the leader in providing the industry with reliable and accurate benchmarking figures including national, regional, balance sheet, income statement, cash flow, and default data.

The following timeline chronicles the history of the Annual Statement Studies from its origin in 1919 through its centennial year.

  • March 1919 – RMA’s cofounder and leader, Alexander Wall, authors the “Study of Credit Barometrics” article published in the Federal Reserve Bulletin. Commercial lenders determined a borrower’s capacity to repay using the “two for one” rule: advances to borrowers should not be more than twice the amount of the liquid assets listed in the borrower’s financial statements. Wall obtained data from about 2,500 financial statements submitted by commercial paper brokers at his request. It included 30 industries and presented seven ratios.
  • 1925 – Wall determines that the work should be carried on and developed to a higher degree of efficiency—the first Annual Statement Studies was published by Robert Morris Associates. (RMA’s name before it became The Risk Management Association).  
  • 1928 – Wall publishes Ratio Analysis of Financial Statements, setting the credit analysis standard.
  • 1969 – Robert Morris Associates celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Annual Statement Studies. The studies included 225 industries, collected from 30,000 statements.
  • 1977 – RMA introduces six new ratios to the data set.
  • 1980 – Annual Statement Studies data archived on electronic media.
  • 1994 – RMA begins compiling data with regional breakouts. The data is also released on diskettes.
  • 2001 – Industry Default Probabilities data collected and compiled to complete the Annual Statement Studies set.
  • 2003 – RMA introduces eStatement Studies, a Web-based platform for previewing data reports.
  • 2015 – RMA releases sector reporting at 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-digit NAICS level.
  • 2019 – RMA celebrates 100 years of collecting and compiling the Annual Statement Studies!

RMA’s 100th Annual Statement Studies® is now available for purchase on RMA's website.

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