ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM __________to__________
Commission File Number 0-26584
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation
10 South First Avenue, Walla Walla, Washington99362
(Address of principal executive offices and zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (509) 527-3636
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
(Title of Each Class)
(Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered)
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act YesX No _
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act Yes __NoX
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes X No ____
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files) Yes X No ____
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulations S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ____
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or emerging growth company. See definition of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company" and emerging growth company in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
Large accelerated filer X
Accelerated filer ___
Non-accelerated filer _____
Smaller reporting company ____
Emerging growth company ____
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ____
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act) Yes ____ No X
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by nonaffiliates of the registrant based on the closing sales price
of the registrant’s common stock quoted on The NASDAQ Stock Market on June 30, 2019, was:
Common Stock – $1,874,285,015
(The exclusion from such amount of the market value of the shares owned by any person shall not be deemed an admission by the Registrant
that such person is an affiliate of the Registrant.)
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s classes of common stock as of January 31, 2020:
Common Stock, $.01 par value – 35,712,347 shares
Non-voting Common Stock, $.01 par value – 39,192 shares
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of Proxy Statement for Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held April 29, 2020 are incorporated by reference into Part III.
Certain matters in this Form 10-K constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements relate to our financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, plans, objectives, future performance or business. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical fact, are based on certain assumptions and are generally identified by use of the words “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “forecasts,” “intends,” “plans,” “targets,” “potentially,” “probably,” “projects,” “outlook” or similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “would” and “could.” Forward-looking statements include statements with respect to our beliefs, plans, objectives, goals, expectations, assumptions and statements about future economic performance and projections of financial items. These forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results anticipated or implied by our forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to: expected revenues, cost savings, synergies and other benefits from the merger of Banner and AltaPacific Bancorp (AltaPacific) might not be realized within the expected time frames or at all and costs or difficulties relating to integration matters, including but not limited to customer and employee retention, might be greater than expected; the credit risks of lending activities, including changes in the level and trend of loan delinquencies and write-offs and changes in estimates of adequacy of the allowance for loan losses and provisions for loan losses that may be impacted by deterioration in the housing and commercial real estate markets and may lead to increased losses and non-performing assets, and may result in the allowance for loan losses not being adequate to cover actual losses and require a material increase in reserves; results of examinations by regulatory authorities, including the possibility that any such regulatory authority may, among other things, require the writing down of assets or increases in the allowance for loan losses; the ability to manage loan delinquency rates; competitive pressures among financial services companies; changes in consumer spending or borrowing and spending habits; interest rate movements generally and the relative differences between short and long-term interest rates, loan and deposit interest rates, net interest margin and funding sources; the impact of repricing and competitors' pricing initiatives on loan and deposit products; fluctuations in the demand for loans, the number of unsold homes, land and other properties and fluctuations in real estate values; the ability to adapt successfully to technological changes to meet customers' needs and developments in the marketplace; the ability to access cost-effective funding; increases in premiums for deposit insurance; the ability to control operating costs and expenses; the use of estimates in determining fair value of certain assets and liabilities which estimates may prove to be incorrect and result in significant changes in valuation; staffing fluctuations in response to product demand or the implementation of corporate strategies that affect employees, and potential associated charges; disruptions, security breaches or other adverse events, failures or interruptions in, or attacks on information technology systems or on the third-party vendors who perform critical processing functions; changes in financial markets; changes in economic conditions in general and in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California in particular; secondary market conditions for loans and the ability to originate loans for sale and sell loans in the secondary market; the costs effects and outcomes of litigation; legislation or regulatory changes or reforms, including changes in regulatory policies and principles, or the interpretation of regulatory capital or other rules, including changes related to Basel III; the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and the implementing regulations; results of safety and soundness and compliance examinations by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Federal Reserve), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the FDIC), the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Banks (the Washington DFI) or other regulatory authorities, including the possibility that any such regulatory authority may, among other things, require restitution or institute an informal or formal enforcement action which could require an increase in reserves for loan losses, write-downs of assets, or changes in regulatory capital position or affect the ability to borrow funds, or maintain or increase deposits, or impose additional requirements and restrictions, any of which could adversely affect liquidity and earnings; the availability of resources to address changes in laws, rules, or regulations or to respond to regulatory actions; adverse changes in the securities markets; the inability of key third-party providers to perform their obligations; changes in accounting principles, policies or guidelines, including additional guidance and interpretation on accounting issues and details of the implementation of new accounting methods; the economic impact of war or any terrorist activities; other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory, and technological factors affecting our operations, pricing, products and services; future acquisitions by Banner of other depository institutions or lines of business; and future goodwill impairment due to changes in Banner's business, changes in market conditions, or other factors; and other risks detailed from time to time in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including this report on Form 10-K. Any forward-looking statements are based upon management’s beliefs and assumptions at the time they are made. We do not undertake and specifically disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements included in this report or the reasons why actual results could differ from those contained in such statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. These risks could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements by, or on behalf of, us. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking statements discussed in this report might not occur, and you should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements.
As used throughout this report, the terms “we,” “our,” “us,” or the “Company” refer to Banner Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries, unless the context otherwise requires. All references to “Banner” refer to Banner Corporation and those to “the Banks” refer to its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, collectively.
Item 1 – Business
Banner Corporation (the Company) is a bank holding company incorporated in the State of Washington. We are primarily engaged in the business of planning, directing and coordinating the business activities of our wholly-owned subsidiaries, Banner Bank and Islanders Bank. Banner Bank is a Washington-chartered commercial bank that conducts business from its main office in Walla Walla, Washington and, as of December 31, 2019, its 175 branch offices located in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho. Banner Bank also has 18 loan production offices located in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Utah. Islanders Bank is also a Washington-chartered commercial bank that conducts business from three branch offices in San Juan County, Washington. Banner Corporation is subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve. Banner Bank and Islanders Bank (the Banks) are subject to regulation by the Washington DFI and the FDIC. As of December 31, 2019, we had total consolidated assets of $12.60 billion, net loans of $9.20 billion, total deposits of $10.05 billion and total shareholders’ equity of $1.59 billion. Our voting common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “BANR.”
Banner Bank is a regional bank which offers a wide variety of commercial banking services and financial products to individuals, businesses and public sector entities in its primary market areas. Islanders Bank is a community bank which offers similar banking services to individuals, businesses and public entities located primarily in the San Juan Islands. The Banks' primary business is that of traditional banking institutions, accepting deposits and originating loans in locations surrounding our offices in portions of Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho. Banner Bank is also an active participant in the secondary market, engaging in mortgage banking operations largely through the origination and sale of one- to four-family and multifamily residential loans. Lending activities include commercial business and commercial real estate loans, agriculture business loans, construction and land development loans, one- to four-family residential loans, small business administration (SBA) loans and consumer loans.
We continue to invest significantly in our delivery platform across the franchise with a primary emphasis on strengthening our presence in the higher growth regions of our markets including Puget Sound, greater Portland, Boise, Sacramento and Southern California. In 2019 we acquired AltaPacific, the holding company for AltaPacific Bank, which expanded the Company's presence by adding density within our existing California geographic footprint. The acquisition of AltaPacific, which closed on November 1, 2019, included six branches and approximately $425.7 million in assets, $332.4 million in loans and $313.4 million in deposits. In addition to our expansion efforts, we continue to improve the efficiency of our branch delivery channel with on-going branch consolidations and relocations and investments in streamlining the origination of new loan and deposit accounts.
In addition to bank acquisitions, relocations and consolidations, we also have focused on expanding our product offerings and invested heavily in marketing campaigns designed to significantly increase the brand awareness for Banner Bank. These investments have been significant elements in our strategy to grow customer relationships and increase our market presence, while allowing us to better serve existing and future customers. We believe our branch network, broad product line and heightened brand awarenesshave created a franchise that is well positioned for growth and to successfully execute on our super community bank model. Our strategy is focused on delivering customers, including middle market and small businesses, business owners, their families and employees, a compelling value proposition by providing the financial sophistication and breadth of products of a regional bank while retaining the appeal, responsiveness, and superior service level of a community bank.
Banner Corporation's successful execution of its strategic initiatives and its super community bank model has delivered sustainable growth and solid profitability. We have made substantial progress on our goals to achieve and maintain the Company's moderate risk profile as well as to continue our strong earnings growth momentum. Highlights of this success have included continued strong asset quality, organic client growth, significantly increased non-interest-bearing deposit balances and strong revenue generation.
For the year ended December 31, 2019, our net income increased to $146.3 million, or $4.18 earnings per diluted share, compared to $136.5 million, or $4.15 earnings per diluted share, for the prior year. Both the current year and prior year results were positively impacted by growth in interest-earnings assets, partially offset by acquisition-related expenses of $7.5 million in 2019 and $5.6 million in 2018.
Our operating results depend primarily on our net interest income, which is the difference between interest income on interest-earning assets, consisting of loans and investment securities, and interest expense on interest-bearing liabilities, composed primarily of customer deposits, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB) advances, other borrowings and junior subordinated debentures. Net interest income is primarily a function of our interest rate spread, which is the difference between the yield earned on interest-earning assets and the rate paid on interest-bearing liabilities, as well as a function of the average balances of interest-earning assets, interest-bearing liabilities, and non-interest-bearing funding sources including non-interest-bearing deposits. Our net interest income before provision for loan losses increased 9% to $468.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $431.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase in net interest income in 2019 was driven by growth in average interest-earning assets, due to the acquisitions of Skagit Bancorp, Inc. (Skagit) on November 1, 2018 and AltaPacific as well as organic growth.
Our net income also is affected by the level of our non-interest income, including deposit fees and service charges, results of mortgage banking operations, which includes loan origination and servicing fees and gains and losses on the sale of one- to four-family and multifamily loans, and gains and losses on the sale of securities, as well as our non-interest expenses, provisions for loan losses and income tax provisions. In addition, net income is affected by the net change in the value of certain financial instruments carried at fair value.
Our total revenues (net interest income before the provision for loan losses plus non-interest income) for 2019 increased $35.9 million, or 7%, to $550.9 million, compared to $515.0 million for 2018. Our total non-interest income, which is a component of total revenue, was $81.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $84.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The decrease in non-interest income during 2019 is the result of Banner becoming subject to the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act regarding limits on debit card interchange fees on July 1, 2019, which reduced interchange fee income by approximately $7 million during the second half of 2019.
Although our credit quality metrics continue to reflect our moderate risk profile, we recorded a $10.0 million provision for loan losses in the year ended December 31, 2019, primarily due to organic growth in the loan portfolio, the increase in non-performing loans, the renewal and migration of acquired loans out of the discounted loan portfolio and increased net charge-offs, compared to an $8.5 million provision recorded in 2018. Non-performing loans increased to $39.6 million at December 31, 2019, compared to $15.7 million a year earlier. Net charge-offs increased to $5.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to net charge-offs of $1.0 million for the prior year. Our allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2019 was $100.6 million, or 1.08% of total loans outstanding and 254% of non-performing loans. (See Note 5, Loans Receivable and the Allowance for Loan Losses, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements as well as “Asset Quality” below.)
Our non-interest expense increased 5% to $357.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $341.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The year-over-year increase in non-interest expense was largely attributable to increased salary and employee benefits as compared to a year ago largely due to inclusion of the acquired Skagit operations for a full year and the AltaPacific operations for the last two months of 2019, partially offset by increases in capitalized loan origination costs.
Recent Developments and Significant Events
Acquisition of AltaPacific Bancorp
Effective November 1, 2019, the Company acquired 100% of the outstanding common shares of AltaPacific and its wholly-owned subsidiary, AltaPacific Bank, a California State chartered bank headquartered in Santa Rosa, California, with six branches within California. On that date, AltaPacific merged with and into Banner and AltaPacific Bank merged with and into Banner Bank. Pursuant to the previously announced terms of the merger, the equity holders of AltaPacific received an aggregate of 1.6 million shares of Banner voting common stock, plus cash in lieu of fractional shares for a total consideration paid of $87.6 million. The acquisition provided $425.7 million of assets, $332.4 million of loans, and $313.4 million of deposits. See Note 3 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
Acquisition of Skagit Bancorp, Inc.
Effective November 1, 2018, the Company acquired 100% of the outstanding common shares of Skagit and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Skagit Bank, a Washington State chartered commercial bank headquartered in Burlington, Washington, with 11 branches serving markets along the I-5 corridor from Seattle to the Canadian border. On that date, Skagit merged with and into Banner and Skagit Bank merged with and into Banner Bank. Pursuant to the previously announced terms of the merger, the equity holders of Skagit received an aggregate of 3.1 million shares of Banner voting common stock, plus cash in lieu of fractional shares and to buy out Skagit stock options for a total consideration paid of $180.0 million. The acquisition provided $915.8 million in assets, $632.4 million in loans and $810.2 million in deposits. See Note 3 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
General: All of our lending activities are conducted through Banner Bank, its subsidiary, Community Financial Corporation, a residential construction lender located in Portland, Oregon, and Islanders Bank. We offer a wide range of loan products to meet the demands of our customers and our loan portfolio is very diversified by product type, borrower and geographic location within our market area. We originate loans for our own loan portfolio and for sale in the secondary market. Management’s strategy has been to maintain a well-diversified portfolio with a significant percentage of assets in the loan portfolio having more frequent interest rate repricing terms or shorter maturities than traditional long-term fixed-rate mortgage loans. As part of this effort, we offer a variety of floating or adjustable interest rate products that correlate more closely with our cost of interest-bearing funds, particularly loans for commercial business and real estate, agricultural business, and construction and development purposes. However, in response to customer demand, we continue to originate fixed-rate loans, including fixed interest rate mortgage loans with terms of up to 30 years. The relative amount of fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate loans that can be originated at any time is largely determined by the demand for each in a competitive environment. At December 31, 2019, our net loan portfolio totaled $9.20 billion compared to $8.59 billion at December 31, 2018.
Our lending activities are primarily directed toward the origination of real estate and commercial loans. Commercial real estate loans include owner-occupied, investment properties and multifamily residential real estate. Our level of activity and investment in commercial real estate loans has been relatively stable for many years. We also originate construction, land and land development loans, a significant component of which is our residential one- to four-family construction loans. Originations of one- to four-family construction loans have increased in recent years as builders have expanded production and experienced strong sales in many of the markets we serve. Our origination of construction and development loans has been significant during recent years and balances in this portion of the portfolio have increased in recent periods but not at the same pace of originations as brisk sales of new homes have produced rapid turnover through repayments. Our commercial business lending is directed toward meeting the credit and related deposit and treasury management needs of various small- to medium-sized business and agribusiness borrowers operating in our primary market areas. In recent years, our commercial business lending has also included participation in certain national syndicated loans. Reflecting the expanding economy of the western United States, demand for commercial business loans has strengthened and our production levels have increased in recent periods. Our residential mortgage loan originations have been relatively
strong in recent years, as sustained periods of low interest rates have supported demand for loans to refinance existing debt as well as loans to finance home purchases. Most of the one- to four-family loans that we originate are sold in the secondary markets with net gains on sales and loan servicing fees reflected in our revenues from mortgage banking. Our consumer loan activity is primarily directed at meeting demand from our existing deposit customers.
For additional information concerning our loan portfolio, see Item 7 of this report, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Comparison of Financial Condition at December 31, 2019 and 2018—Loans and Lending” including Tables 4 and 5, which sets forth the composition and geographic concentration of our loan portfolio, and Tables 6 and 7, which contain information regarding the loans maturing in our portfolio.
One- to Four-Family Residential Real Estate Lending: At both Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, we originate loans secured by first mortgages on one- to four-family residences in the markets we serve. Through our mortgage banking activities, we sell residential loans on either a servicing-retained or servicing-released basis. In recent years, we have generally sold a significant portion of our conventional residential mortgage originations and nearly all of our government insured loans in the secondary market. At December 31, 2019, $945.6 million, or 10% of our loan portfolio, consisted of permanent loans on one- to four-family residences.
We offer fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) at rates and terms competitive with market conditions, primarily with the intent of selling these loans into the secondary market. Fixed-rate loans generally are offered on a fully amortizing basis for terms ranging from 10 to 30 years at interest rates and fees that reflect current secondary market pricing. Most ARM products offered adjust annually after an initial period ranging from one to five years, subject to a limitation on the annual adjustment and a lifetime rate cap. For a small portion of the portfolio, where the initial period exceeds one year, the first interest rate change may exceed the annual limitation on subsequent adjustments. Our ARM products most frequently adjust based upon the average yield on Treasury securities adjusted to a constant maturity of one year or certain London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) indices plus a margin or spread above the index. ARM loans held in our portfolio may allow for interest-only payments for an initial period up to five years but do not provide for negative amortization of principal and carry no prepayment restrictions. The retention of ARM loans in our loan portfolio can help reduce our exposure to changes in interest rates.
Our residential loans are generally underwritten and documented in accordance with the guidelines established by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac or FHLMC) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae or FNMA). Government insured loans are underwritten and documented in accordance with the guidelines established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In the loan approval process, we assess the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, the adequacy of the proposed security, the employment stability of the borrower and the creditworthiness of the borrower. For ARM loans, our standard practice provides for underwriting based upon fully indexed interest rates and payments. Generally, we will lend up to 95% of the lesser of the appraised value or purchase price of the property on conventional loans, although higher loan-to-value ratios are available on secondary market programs. We require private mortgage insurance on conventional residential loans with a loan-to-value ratio at origination exceeding 80%.
Construction and Land Lending: Historically, we have invested a significant portion of our loan portfolio in residential construction and land loans to professional home builders and developers. Our land loans are typically on improved or entitled land, versus raw land. We also make construction loans to qualified owner occupants, which upon completion of the construction phase convert to long-term amortizing one- to four-family residential loans that are eligible for sale in the secondary market. We regularly monitor our construction and land loan portfolios and the economic conditions and housing inventory in each of our markets and increase or decrease this type of lending as we observe market conditions change. Our residential construction and land and land development lending has been recently increasing in select markets and has made a meaningful contribution to our net interest income and profitability. To a lesser extent, we also originate construction loans for commercial and multifamily real estate. Although well diversified with respect to sub-markets, price ranges and borrowers, our construction, land and land development loans are significantly concentrated in the greater Puget Sound region of Washington State and the Portland, Oregon market area. At December 31, 2019, construction, land and land development loans totaled $1.17 billion, or 13% of total loans; 60% of the balance was comprised of one- to four-family construction and residential land and land development loans, with the remaining balance comprised of commercial and multifamily real estate construction loans and commercial land and land development loans.
Construction and land lending affords us the opportunity to achieve higher interest rates and fees with shorter terms to maturity than are usually available on other types of lending. Construction and land lending, however, involves a higher degree of risk than other lending opportunities. We attempt to address these risks by adhering to strict underwriting policies, disbursement procedures and monitoring practices. For additional information concerning the risks associated with construction and land lending, see Item 1A., “Risk Factors—Our loan portfolio includes loans with a higher risk of loss.”
On a more limited basis, we also make land loans to developers, builders and individuals to finance the acquisition and/or development of improved lots or unimproved land. In making land loans, we follow more conservative underwriting policies but disbursement and monitoring procedures similar to those for construction loans. The initial term on land loans is typically one to three years with interest only payments, payable monthly, and provisions for principal reduction as lots are sold and released from the lien of the mortgage.
Commercial and Multifamily Real Estate Lending: We originate loans secured by multifamily and commercial real estate, including loans for construction of multifamily and commercial real estate projects. Commercial real estate loans are made for both owner-occupied and investor- owned properties. At December 31, 2019, our loan portfolio included $2.31 billion in non-owner-occupied commercial real estate loans, $1.58 billion in owner-occupied commercial real estate loans and $473.2 million in multifamily loans which in aggregate comprised 47% of our total loans. Multifamily and commercial real estate lending affords us an opportunity to receive interest at rates higher than those generally available from one- to four-family residential lending. In originating multifamily and commercial real estate loans, we consider the location, marketability
and overall attractiveness of the properties. Our underwriting guidelines for multifamily and commercial real estate loans require an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser and an economic analysis of each property with regard to the annual revenue and expenses, debt service coverage and fair value to determine the maximum loan amount. In the approval process we assess the borrower's willingness and ability to manage the property and repay the loan and the adequacy of the collateral in relation to the loan amount. For information concerning the risks associated with commercial and multifamily real estate lending, see Item 1A., “Risk Factors—Our loan portfolio includes loans with a higher risk of loss.”
Multifamily and commercial real estate loans originated by us are both fixed- and adjustable-rate loans with intermediate terms of generally five to ten years. A significant portion of our multifamily and commercial real estate loans are linked to various FHLB advance rates, certain prime rates, US Treasury rates, or other market rate indices. Rates on these adjustable-rate loans generally adjust with a frequency of one to five years after an initial fixed-rate period ranging from one to ten years. Our commercial real estate portfolio consists of loans on a variety of property types with no large concentrations by property type, location or borrower. At December 31, 2019, the average size of our commercial real estate loans was $705,000 and the largest commercial real estate loan, in terms of an outstanding balance, in our portfolio was approximately $19.6 million.
Commercial Business Lending: We are active in small- to medium-sized business lending and are engaged in agricultural lending primarily by providing crop production loans. Our commercial bankers are focused on local markets and devote a great deal of effort to developing customer relationships and providing these types of borrowers with a full array of products and services delivered in a thorough and responsive manner. Our experienced commercial bankers and senior credit staff help us meet our commitment to small business lending while also focusing on corporate lending opportunities for borrowers with credit needs generally in a $3 million to $25 million range. In addition to providing earning assets, commercial business lending has helped us increase our deposit base. In recent years, our commercial business lending has included modest participation in certain national syndicated loans, including shared national credits. We also originate smaller balance business loans principally through our retail branch network, using our Quick Step business loan program, which is closely aligned with our consumer lending operations and relies on centralized underwriting procedures. Quick Step business loans are available up to $1.0 million, business lines of credit are available up to $500,000 and owner-occupied real estate loans are available up to $1.0 million.
Commercial business loans may entail greater risk than other types of loans. Commercial business loans generally provide higher yields or related revenue opportunities than many other types of loans but also require more administrative and management attention. Loan terms, including the fixed or adjustable interest rate, the loan maturity and the collateral considerations, vary significantly and are negotiated on an individual loan basis. For information concerning the risks associated with commercial business lending, see Item 1A., “Risk Factors—Our loan portfolio includes loans with a higher risk of loss.”
We underwrite our commercial business loans on the basis of the borrower’s cash flow and ability to service the debt from earnings rather than on the basis of the underlying collateral value. We seek to structure these loans so that they have more than one source of repayment. The borrower is required to provide us with sufficient information to allow us to make a prudent lending determination. In most instances, this information consists of at least three years of financial statements and tax returns, a statement of projected cash flows, current financial information on any guarantor and information about the collateral. Loans to closely held businesses typically require personal guarantees by the principals. Our commercial business loan portfolio is geographically dispersed across the market areas serviced by our branch network and there are no significant concentrations by industry or product.
Our commercial business loans may be structured as term loans or as lines of credit. Commercial business term loans are generally made to finance the purchase of fixed assets and have maturities of five years or less. Commercial business lines of credit are typically made for the purpose of providing working capital and are usually approved with a term of one year. Adjustable- or floating-rate loans are primarily tied to various prime rate or LIBOR indices. At December 31, 2019, commercial business loans totaled $1.69 billion, or 18% of our total loans receivable, including $190.8 million of shared national credits.
Agricultural Lending: Agriculture is a major industry in several of our markets. We make agricultural loans to borrowers with a strong capital base, sufficient management depth, proven ability to operate through agricultural cycles, reliable cash flows and adequate financial reporting. Payments on agricultural loans depend, to a large degree, on the results of operations of the related farm entity. The repayment is also subject to other economic and weather conditions as well as market prices for agricultural products, which can be highly volatile. At December 31, 2019, agricultural business loans, including collateral secured loans to purchase farm land and equipment, totaled $370.5 million, or 4% of our loan portfolio.
Agricultural operating loans generally are made as a percentage of the borrower’s anticipated income to support budgeted operating expenses. These loans are secured by a blanket lien on all crops, livestock, equipment, accounts and products and proceeds thereof. In the case of crops, consideration is given to projected yields and prices from each commodity. The interest rate is normally floating based on the prime rate or a LIBOR index plus a negotiated margin. Because these loans are made to finance a farm's or ranch’s annual operations, they are usually written on a one-year review and renewable basis. The renewal is dependent upon the prior year’s performance and the forthcoming year’s projections as well as the overall financial strength of the borrower. We carefully monitor these loans and related variance reports on income and expenses compared to budget estimates. To meet the seasonal operating needs of a farm, borrowers may qualify for single payment notes, revolving lines of credit and/or non-revolving lines of credit.
In underwriting agricultural operating loans, we consider the cash flow of the borrower based upon the expected operating results as well as the value of collateral used to secure the loans. Collateral generally consists of cash crops produced by the farm, such as milk, grains, fruit, grass seed, peas, sugar beets, mint, onions, potatoes, corn and alfalfa or livestock. In addition to considering cash flow and obtaining a blanket security
interest in the farm’s cash crop, we may also collateralize an operating loan with the farm’s operating equipment, breeding stock, real estate and federal agricultural program payments to the borrower.
We also originate loans to finance the purchase of farm equipment. Loans to purchase farm equipment are made for terms of up to seven years. On occasion, we also originate agricultural real estate loans secured primarily by first liens on farmland and improvements thereon located in our market areas, although generally only to service the needs of our existing customers. Loans are written in amounts ranging from 50% to 75% of the tax assessed or appraised value of the property for terms of five to 20 years. These loans generally have interest rates that adjust at least every five years based upon a Treasury index or FHLB advance rate plus a negotiated margin. Fixed-rate loans are granted on terms usually not to exceed five years. In originating agricultural real estate loans, we consider the debt service coverage of the borrower’s cash flow, the appraised value of the underlying property, the experience and knowledge of the borrower, and the borrower’s past performance with us and/or the market area. These loans normally are not made to start-up businesses and are reserved for existing customers with substantial equity and a proven history.
Among the more common risks to agricultural lending can be weather conditions and disease. These risks may be mitigated through multi-peril crop insurance. Commodity prices also present a risk, which may be mitigated through by the use of set price contracts. Normally, required beginning and projected operating margins provide for reasonable reserves to offset unexpected yield and price deficiencies. In addition to these risks, we also consider management succession, life insurance and business continuation plans when evaluating agricultural loans. For additional information concerning the risks associated with agricultural lending, see Item 1A., “Risk Factors—Our loan portfolio includes loans with a higher risk of loss.”
Consumer and Other Lending: We originate a variety of consumer loans, including home equity lines of credit, automobile, boat and recreational vehicle loans and loans secured by deposit accounts. While consumer lending has traditionally been a small part of our business, with loans made primarily to accommodate our existing customer base, it has received consistent emphasis in recent years. Part of this emphasis includes a Banner Bank-owned credit card program. Similar to other consumer loan programs, we focus this credit card program on our existing customer base to add to the depth of our customer relationships. In addition to earning balances, credit card accounts produce non-interest revenues through interchange fees and other activity-based revenues. Our underwriting of consumer loans is focused on the borrower’s credit history and ability to repay the debt as evidenced by documented sources of income. At December 31, 2019, we had $762.8 million, or 8% of our loan portfolio, in consumer related loans, including $551.0 million, or 6% of our loan portfolio, in consumer loans secured by one- to four-family residences. For information concerning the risks associated with consumer lending, see Item 1A., “Risk Factors—Our loan portfolio includes loans with a higher risk of loss.”
Loan Solicitation and Processing: We originate real estate loans in our market areas by direct solicitation of real estate brokers, builders, developers, depositors, walk-in customers and visitors to our Internet website. One- to four-family residential loan applications are taken by our mortgage loan officers or through our Internet website and are processed in branch or regional locations. In addition, we have specialized loan origination units, focused on construction and land development, commercial real estate and multifamily loans. Most underwriting and loan administration functions for our real estate loans are performed by loan personnel at central locations.
In addition to commercial real estate loans, our commercial bankers solicit commercial and agricultural business loans through call programs focused on local businesses and farmers. While commercial bankers are delegated reasonable commitment authority based upon their qualifications, credit decisions on significant commercial and agricultural loans are made by senior loan officers or in certain instances by the Board of Directors of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank.
We originate consumer loans and small business (including Quick Step) commercial business loans through various marketing efforts directed primarily toward our existing deposit and loan customers. Consumer loans and Quick Step commercial business loan applications are primarily underwritten and documented by centralized administrative personnel.
Loan Originations, Sales and Purchases
While we originate a variety of loans, our ability to originate each type of loan is dependent upon the relative customer demand and competition in each market we serve. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, we originated loans, net of repayments, including our participation in syndicated loans and loans held for sale of $1.40 billion and $1.31 billion, respectively. For additional information concerning origination of portfolio loans by type, see Item 7 in this report, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Comparison of Financial Condition at December 31, 2019 and 2018—Loans and Lending,” and Table 3 contained therein.
We sell many of our newly originated one- to four-family residential mortgage loans and multifamily loans to secondary market purchasers as part of our interest rate risk management strategy. Originations of loans for sale increased to $1.09 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019 from $896.5 million during 2018. Originations of loans for sale included $340.0 million and $372.8 million of multifamily held for sale loan production for the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively. Sales of loans generally are beneficial to us because these sales may generate income at the time of sale, provide funds for additional lending and other investments, increase liquidity or reduce interest rate risk. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we sold $1.07 billion of loans held for sale compared to $781.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The held for sale loans sold in 2019 and 2018 included $332.7 million and $256.5 million, respectively, of multifamily loans held for sale. We sell one- to four-family mortgage loans on both a servicing-retained and a servicing-released basis. All loans are sold without recourse. The decision to hold or sell loans is based on asset liability management goals, strategies and policies and on market conditions. For additional information, see “Loan Servicing.”
We periodically purchase whole loans and loan participation interests or participate in syndicates originating new loans, including shared national credits, primarily during periods of reduced loan demand in our primary market area and at times to support our Community Reinvestment Act lending activities. Any such purchases or loan participations are generally made on terms consistent with our underwriting standards; however, the loans may be located outside of our normal lending area. During the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, we purchased $9.8 million and $33.7 million, respectively, of loans and loan participation interests, principally commercial real estate loans.
We receive fees from a variety of institutional owners in return for performing the traditional services of collecting individual payments and managing portfolios of sold loans. At December 31, 2019, we were servicing $2.85 billion of loans for others. Loan servicing includes processing payments, accounting for loan funds and collecting and paying real estate taxes, hazard insurance and other loan-related items such as private mortgage insurance. In addition to earning fee income, we retain certain amounts in escrow for the benefit of the lender for which we incur no interest expense but are able to invest the funds into earning assets.
Mortgage Servicing Rights: We record mortgage servicing rights (MSRs) with respect to loans we originate and sell in the secondary market on a servicing-retained basis. The value of MSRs is capitalized and amortized in proportion to, and over the period of, the estimated future net servicing income. Management periodically evaluates the estimates and assumptions used to determine the carrying values of MSRs and the amortization of MSRs. MSRs generally are adversely affected by higher levels of current or anticipated prepayments resulting from decreasing interest rates. MSRs are evaluated for impairment based upon the fair value of the rights as compared to amortized cost. Impairment is recognized through a valuation allowance, to the extent that fair value is less than the capitalized carrying amount. At December 31, 2019, our MSRs were carried at a value of $14.1 million, net of amortization. For additional information see Note 16, Goodwill, Other Intangible Assets and Mortgage Servicing Rights, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Classified Assets: State and federal regulations require that the Banks review and classify their problem assets on a regular basis. In addition, in connection with examinations of insured institutions, state and federal examiners have authority to identify problem assets and, if appropriate, require them to be classified. Historically, we have not had any meaningful differences of opinion with the examiners with respect to asset classification. Banner Bank’s Credit Policy Division reviews detailed information with respect to the composition and performance of the loan portfolios, including information on risk concentrations, delinquencies and classified assets for both Banner Bank and Islanders Bank. The Credit Policy Division approves all recommendations for new classified loans or, in the case of smaller-balance homogeneous loans including residential real estate and consumer loans, it has approved policies governing such classifications, or changes in classifications, and develops and monitors action plans to resolve the problems associated with the assets. The Credit Policy Division also approves recommendations for establishing the appropriate level of the allowance for loan losses. Significant problem loans are transferred to Banner Bank’s Special Assets Department for resolution or collection activities. The Banks’ and Banner Corporation’s Boards of Directors are given a detailed report on classified assets and asset quality at least quarterly. For additional information regarding asset quality and non-performing loans, see Item 7 of this report, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Comparison of Financial Condition at December 31, 2019 and 2018—Asset Quality,” and Table 12 contained therein.
Allowance for Loan Losses: In originating loans, we recognize that losses will be experienced and that the risk of loss will vary with, among other things, the type of loan being made, the creditworthiness of the borrower over the term of the loan, general economic conditions and, in the case of a secured loan, the quality of the security for the loan. As a result, we maintain an allowance for loan losses consistent with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) guidelines. We increase our allowance for loan losses by charging provisions for probable loan losses against our income. The allowance for loan losses is maintained at a level which, in management’s judgment, is sufficient to provide for probable losses based on evaluating known and inherent risks in the loan portfolio and upon continuing analysis of the factors underlying the quality of the loan portfolio. In June 2016, Financial Accounting Standards Board issued ASU No. 2016-13, Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, referred to as Current Expected Credit Loss, or CECL, which became effective for Banner on January 1, 2020. For additional information on CECL see Note 2, Accounting Standards Recently Issued or Adopted, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements. For additional information concerning our allowance for loan losses, see Item 7 of this report, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Comparison of Results of Operations for the Years Ended December 31, 2019 and 2018—Provision and Allowance for Loan Losses,” and Tables 16 and 17 contained therein.
Real Estate Owned: Real estate owned (REO) is property acquired by foreclosure or receiving a deed in lieu of foreclosure, and is recorded at the estimated fair value of the property, less expected selling costs. Development and improvement costs relating to the property are capitalized to the extent they add value to the property. The carrying value of the property is periodically evaluated by management and, if necessary, allowances are established to reduce the carrying value to net realizable value. Gains or losses at the time the property is sold are credited or charged to operations in the period in which they are realized. The amounts we will ultimately recover from REO may differ substantially from the carrying value of the assets because of market factors beyond our control or because of changes in our strategies for recovering the investment. For additional information on REO, see Item 7 of this report, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Comparison of Financial Condition at December 31, 2019 and 2018—Asset Quality” and Table 12 contained therein and Note 6, Real Estate Owned, Held for Sale, Net, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Under Washington state law and FDIC regulation, banks are permitted to invest in various types of marketable securities. Authorized securities include but are not limited to Treasury obligations, securities of various federal agencies (including government-sponsored enterprises), mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities, certain certificates of deposit of insured banks and savings institutions, bankers’ acceptances, repurchase agreements, federal funds, commercial paper, corporate debt and equity securities and obligations of states and their political subdivisions. Our investment policies are designed to provide and maintain adequate liquidity and to generate favorable rates of return without incurring undue interest rate or credit risk. Our policies generally limit investments to U.S. Government and agency (including government-sponsored entities) securities, municipal bonds, certificates of deposit, corporate debt obligations and mortgage-backed securities. Investment in mortgage-backed securities may include those issued or guaranteed by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae or GNMA) and investment grade privately-issued mortgage-backed securities, as well as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). All of our investment securities, including those that have high credit ratings, are subject to market risk in so far as a change in market rates of interest or other conditions may cause a change in an investment’s earnings performance and/or market value.
At December 31, 2019, our consolidated investment portfolio totaled $1.81 billion and consisted principally of U.S. Government agency obligations, mortgage-backed securities, municipal bonds, corporate debt obligations, and asset-backed securities. Investment levels may be increased or decreased in order to manage balance sheet liquidity, interest rate risk, market risk and provide appropriate risk adjusted returns. Securities sales, paydowns and maturities during the year ended December 31, 2019 exceeded purchases slightly as the Company maintained the level of its securities portfolio consistent with its liquidity needs.
For detailed information on our investment securities, see Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Comparison of Financial Condition at December 31, 2019 and 2018—Investments,” and Tables 1 and 2 contained therein.
The Company, through its Banner Bank subsidiary, is party to various derivative instruments that are used for asset and liability management and customer financing needs. Derivative instruments are contracts between two or more parties that have a notional amount and an underlying variable, require no net investment and allow for the net settlement of positions. The notional amount serves as the basis for the payment provision of the contract and takes the form of units, such as shares or dollars. The underlying variable represents a specified interest rate, index, or other component. The interaction between the notional amount and the underlying variable determines the number of units to be exchanged between the parties and influences the market value of the derivative contract. We obtain dealer quotations to value our interest rate swap derivative contracts.
Our predominant derivative and hedging activities involve interest rate swaps related to certain term loans, interest rate lock commitments to borrowers, and forward sales contracts associated with mortgage banking activities. Generally, these instruments help us manage exposure to market risk and meet customer financing needs. Market risk represents the possibility that economic value or net interest income will be adversely affected by fluctuations in external factors such as market-driven interest rates and prices or other economic factors.
Derivatives Not Designated in Hedge Relationships
Interest Rate Swaps: Banner Bank uses an interest rate swap program for commercial loan customers, in which we provide the client with a variable rate loan and enter into an interest rate swap in which the client receives a fixed rate payment in exchange for a variable rate payment. We offset our risk exposure by entering into an offsetting interest rate swap with a dealer counterparty for the same notional amount and length of term as the client interest rate swap providing the dealer counterparty with a fixed rate payment in exchange for a variable rate payment. At December 31, 2019, Banner Bank had $372.0 million in notional amounts of these customer interest rate swaps outstanding that were not designated in hedge relationships, with an equal amount of offsetting third party swaps also in place. These swaps do not qualify as designated hedges; therefore, each swap is accounted for as a free standing derivative.
Mortgage Banking: In the normal course of business, the Company sells originated one- to four-family and multifamily mortgage loans into the secondary mortgage loan markets. During the period of loan origination and prior to the sale of the loans in the secondary market, the Company has exposure to movements in interest rates associated with written interest rate lock commitments with potential borrowers to originate one- to four-family loans that are intended to be sold and for closed one- to four-family and multifamily mortgage loans held for sale that are awaiting sale and delivery into the secondary market. The Company economically hedges the risk of changing interest rates associated with these mortgage loan commitments by entering into forward sales contracts to sell one- to four-family and multifamily mortgage loans or mortgage-backed securities to broker/dealers at specific prices and dates.
We are exposed to credit-related losses in the event of nonperformance by the counterparty to these agreements. Credit risk of the financial contract is mitigated through the credit approval, limits, and monitoring procedures.
In connection with the interest rate swaps between Banner Bank and the dealer counterparties, the agreements contain a provision such that if Banner Bank fails to maintain its status as a well/adequately capitalized institution, then the counterparty could terminate the derivative positions and Banner Bank would be required to settle its obligations. Similarly, we could be required to settle our obligations under certain of these agreements if specific regulatory events occur, such as a publicly issued prompt corrective action directive, cease and desist order, or a capital maintenance agreement that required Banner Bank to maintain a specific capital level. If we had breached any of these provisions at December 31,
2019 or 2018, we could have been required to settle our obligations under the agreements at the termination value. We generally post collateral against derivative liabilities in the form of government agency-issued bonds, mortgage-backed securities, or commercial mortgage-backed securities.
Derivative assets and liabilities are recorded at fair value on the balance sheet. Master netting agreements allow us to settle all derivative contracts held with a single counterparty on a net basis and to offset net derivative positions with related collateral where applicable. In addition, some interest rate swap derivatives between Banner Bank and the dealer counterparties are cleared through central clearing houses. These clearing houses characterize the variation margin payments as settlements of the derivative's market exposure and not as collateral.
Derivatives Designated in Hedge Relationships
Our fixed-rate loans result in exposure to losses in value or net interest income as interest rates change. The risk management objective for hedging fixed-rate loans is to effectively convert the fixed rate received to a floating rate. Under a prior program that is now discontinued we hedged our exposure to changes in the fair value of certain fixed-rate loans through the use of interest rate swaps. As of December 31, 2019, Banner Bank was a party to $3.6 million in notional amounts of interest rate swaps designated in a hedge relationship. For a qualifying fair value hedge, changes in the value of the derivatives are recognized in current period earnings along with the corresponding changes in the fair value of the designated hedged item attributable to the risk being hedged.
Deposit Activities and Other Sources of Funds
General: Deposits, FHLB advances (or other borrowings) and loan repayments are our major sources of funds for lending and other investment purposes. Scheduled loan repayments are a relatively stable source of funds, while deposit inflows and outflows and loan prepayments are influenced by general economic, interest rate and money market conditions and may vary significantly. Borrowings may be used on a short-term basis to compensate for reductions in the availability of funds from other sources. Borrowings may also be used on a longer-term basis to fund loans and investments, as well as to manage interest rate risk.
We compete with other financial institutions and financial intermediaries in attracting deposits. There is strong competition for transaction balances and savings deposits from commercial banks, credit unions and non-bank corporations, such as securities brokerage companies, mutual funds and other diversified companies, some of which have nationwide networks of offices. Much of the focus of our acquisitions, branch relocations and renovation and advertising and marketing campaigns has been directed toward attracting additional deposit customer relationships and balances. In addition, our electronic and digital banking activities including debit card and automated teller machine (ATM) programs, on-line Internet banking services and, most recently, customer remote deposit and mobile banking capabilities are all directed at providing products and services that enhance customer relationships and result in growing deposit balances as well as fee income. Core deposits (non-interest-bearing checking and interest-bearing transaction and savings accounts) are a fundamental element of our business strategy. Core deposits were 89% of total deposits at December 31, 2019 compared to 86% a year earlier and 88% two years ago.
Deposit Accounts: We generally attract deposits from within our primary market areas by offering a broad selection of deposit instruments, including non-interest-bearing checking accounts,interest-bearing checking accounts, money market deposit accounts, regular savings accounts, certificates of deposit, treasury management services and retirement savings plans. Deposit account terms vary according to the minimum balance required, the time periods the funds must remain on deposit and the interest rate, among other factors. In determining the terms of deposit accounts, we consider current market interest rates, profitability to us, matching deposit and loan products and customer preferences and concerns. At December 31, 2019, we had $10.05 billion of deposits. For additional information concerning our deposit accounts, see Item 7 in this report, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Comparison of Financial Condition at December 31, 2019 and 2018—Deposit Accounts,” including Table 8 contained therein, which sets forth the balances of deposits in the various types of accounts, and Table 9, which sets forth the amount of our certificates of deposit greater than $100,000 by time remaining until maturity as of December 31, 2019. In addition, see Note 8, Deposits of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Borrowings: While deposits are the primary source of funds for our lending and investment activities and for general business purposes, we also use borrowings to supplement our supply of lendable funds, to meet deposit withdrawal requirements and to more efficiently leverage our capital position. The FHLB serves as our primary borrowing source. The FHLB provides credit for member financial institutions such as Banner Bank and Islanders Bank. As members, the Banks are required to own capital stock in the FHLB and are authorized to apply for advances on the security of that stock and certain of their mortgage loans and securities, provided that certain credit worthiness standards have been met. Limitations on the amount of advances are based on the financial condition of the member institution, the adequacy of collateral pledged to secure the credit, and FHLB stock ownership requirements. At December 31, 2019, we had $450.0 million of borrowings from the FHLB. At that date, Banner Bank was authorized by the FHLB to borrow up to $5.31 billion under a blanket floating lien security agreement, while Islanders Bank was approved to borrow up to $132.7 million under a similar agreement. The Federal Reserve Bank serves as an additional source of borrowing capacity. The Federal Reserve Bank provides credit based upon acceptable loan collateral, which includes certain loan types not eligible for pledging to the FHLB. At December 31, 2019, based upon our available unencumbered collateral, Banner Bank was eligible to borrow $1.19 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank, although at that date we had no funds borrowed under this arrangement. Although eligible to participate, Islanders Bank has not applied for approval to borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank. For additional information concerning our borrowings, see Item 7 in this report, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Comparison of Financial Condition at December 31, 2019 and 2018—Borrowings,” and Table 11 contained therein, as well as Note 9, Advances from Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines and Note 10, Other Borrowings of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
At December 31, 2019, Banner Bank had uncommitted federal funds line of credit agreements with other financial institutions totaling $110.0 million, while Islanders Bank had an uncommitted federal funds line of credit agreement with another financial institution totaling $5.0 million. No balances were outstanding under these agreements as of December 31, 2019. Availability of lines is subject to federal funds balances available for loan and continued borrower eligibility. These lines are intended to support short-term liquidity needs and the agreements may restrict consecutive day usage.
We issue retail repurchase agreements, generally due within 90 days, as an additional source of funds, primarily in connection with treasury management services provided to our larger deposit customers. At December 31, 2019, we had issued retail repurchase agreements totaling $118.5 million. We also may borrow funds through the use of secured wholesale repurchase agreements with securities brokers; at December 31, 2019, we had no borrowings outstanding under wholesale repurchase agreements. The retail repurchase borrowings were secured by pledges of certain U.S. Government and agency notes and mortgage-backed securities with a market value of $135.5 million at December 31, 2019.
We have also issued $120.0 million of junior subordinated debentures in connection with the sale of trust preferred securities (TPS) issued from 2002 through 2007 by special purpose business trusts formed by Banner Corporation and sold in private offerings to pooled investment vehicles. In addition, Banner has $23.5 million of junior subordinated debentures that were acquired through acquisitions, for a total of $143.5 million in debentures at December 31, 2019. The junior subordinated debentures associated with the TPS have been recorded as liabilities and are reported at fair value on our Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition. As of December 31, 2019 the fair value of the junior subordinate debentures was $119.3 million. All of the debentures issued to the trusts, measured at their fair value, less the common stock of the trusts, qualified as Tier I capital as of December 31, 2019. We invested substantially all of the proceeds from the issuance of the TPS as additional paid in capital at Banner Bank. See Note 11, Junior Subordinated Debentures and Mandatorily Redeemable Trust Preferred Securities, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
As of December 31, 2019, we had 2,198 full time equivalent employees. Banner Corporation has no employees except for those who are also employees of Banner Bank, its subsidiaries, and Islanders Bank. The employees are not represented by a collective bargaining unit.
Banner Corporation files its federal and state income tax returns on a consolidated basis under a tax-sharing agreement between the Company and each bank subsidiary. The Company prepares each subsidiary’s minimum income tax which would be required if the individual subsidiary were to file federal and state income tax returns as a separate entity. Each subsidiary pays to the Company an amount equal to the estimated income tax due if it were to file as a separate entity. The payment is made on or about the time the subsidiary would be required to make such tax payments to the United States Treasury or the applicable State Departments of Revenue. In the event the computation of the subsidiary’s federal or state income tax liability, after taking into account any estimated tax payments made, would result in a refund if the subsidiary were filing income tax returns as a separate entity, then the Company pays to the subsidiary an amount equal to the hypothetical refund. The Company is an agent for each subsidiary with respect to all matters related to the consolidated tax returns and refunds claims. If Banner's consolidated federal or state income tax liability is adjusted for any period, the liability of each party under the tax-sharing agreement is recomputed to give effect to such adjustments and any additional payments required as a result of the adjustments are made within a reasonable time after the corresponding additional tax payments are made or refunds are received.
General: For tax reporting purposes, we report our income on a calendar year basis using the accrual method of accounting on a consolidated basis. We are subject to federal income taxation in the same manner as other corporations with some exceptions, including particularly the reserve for bad debts. See Note 12, Income Taxes, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information concerning the income taxes payable by us.
Washington Taxation: We are subject to a Business and Occupation (B&O) tax which is imposed under Washington on gross receipts. Interest received on loans secured by mortgages or deeds of trust on residential properties, residential mortgage-backed securities, and certain U.S. Government and agency securities is not subject to this tax.
California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah Taxation: Corporations with nexus in the states of California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah are subject to a corporate level income tax. If a large percentage of our income were to come from these states the state income tax provision would have an increasing effect on our effective tax rate and results of operations.
We encounter significant competition both in attracting deposits and in originating loans. Our most direct competition for deposits comes from other commercial and savings banks, savings associations and credit unions with offices in our market areas. We also experience competition from securities firms, insurance companies, money market and mutual funds, and other investment vehicles. We expect continued strong competition from such financial institutions and investment vehicles in the foreseeable future, including competition from on-line Internet banking competitors and "FinTech" companies that rely on technology to provide financial services. Our ability to attract and retain deposits depends on our ability to provide transaction services and investment opportunities that satisfy the requirements of depositors. We compete for deposits by offering a variety of accounts and financial services, including electronic banking capabilities, with competitive rates and terms, at convenient locations and business hours, and delivered with a high level of personal service and expertise.
Competition for loans comes principally from other commercial banks, loan brokers, mortgage banking companies, savings banks and credit unions and for agricultural loans from the Farm Credit Administration. The competition for loans is intense as a result of the large number of institutions competing in our market areas. We compete for loans primarily by offering competitive rates and fees and providing timely decisions and excellent service to borrowers.
Banner Bank and Islanders Bank
General: As state-chartered, federally insured commercial banks, Banner Bank and Islanders Bank (the Banks) are subject to extensive regulation and must comply with various statutory and regulatory requirements, including prescribed minimum capital standards. The Banks are regularly examined by the FDIC and the Washington DFI and file periodic reports concerning their activities and financial condition with these banking regulators. The Banks' relationship with depositors and borrowers also is regulated to a great extent by both federal and state law, especially in such matters as the ownership of deposit accounts and the form and content of mortgage and other loan documents.
Federal and state banking laws and regulations govern all areas of the operation of the Banks, including reserves, loans, investments, deposits, capital, issuance of securities, payment of dividends and establishment of branches. Federal and state bank regulatory agencies also have the general authority to limit the dividends paid by insured banks and bank holding companies if such payments should be deemed to constitute an unsafe and unsound practice and in other circumstances. The Federal Reserve and FDIC, as the respective primary federal regulators of Banner Corporation and each of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, have authority to impose penalties, initiate civil and administrative actions and take other steps intended to prevent banks from engaging in unsafe or unsound practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is an independent bureau of the Federal Reserve. The CFPB is responsible for the implementation of the federal financial consumer protection and fair lending laws and regulations and has authority to impose new requirements.
Any change in applicable laws, regulations, or regulatory policies may have a material effect on our business, operations, and prospects. We cannot predict the nature or the extent of the effects on our business and earnings that any fiscal or monetary policies or new federal or state legislation may have in the future. For additional information, see Item 1A., “Risk Factors—We operate in a highly regulated environment and may be adversely affected by changes in federal and state laws and regulations that are expected to increase our costs of operation.” We may also be affected by changes in accounting standards. See "2018 Reforms" below.
The following is a summary discussion of certain laws and regulations applicable to Banner and the Banks which is qualified in its entirety by reference to the actual laws and regulations.
State Regulation and Supervision: As a Washington state-chartered commercial bank with branches in the States of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California, Banner Bank is subject not only to the applicable provisions of Washington law and regulations, but is also subject to Oregon, Idaho and California law and regulations. These state laws and regulations govern Banner Bank's ability to take deposits and pay interest thereon, to make loans on or invest in residential and other real estate, to make consumer loans, to invest in securities, to offer various banking services to its customers and to establish branch offices. In a similar fashion, Washington state laws and regulations for state-chartered commercial banks also apply to Islanders Bank.
Deposit Insurance: The Deposit Insurance Fund of the FDIC insures deposit accounts of each of the Banks up to $250,000 per separately insured deposit relationship category. As insurer, the FDIC imposes deposit insurance premiums and is authorized to conduct examinations of, and to require reporting by, FDIC-insured institutions.
Under the FDIC's rules the assessment base for a bank is equal to its total average consolidated assets less average tangible capital. As of December 31, 2019, assessment rates ranged from 3 to 30 basis points for all institutions, subject to adjustments for unsecured debt issued by the institution, unsecured debt issued by other FDIC-insured institutions, and brokered deposits held by the institution.
Under the current rules, when the reserve ratio for the prior assessment period reaches, or is greater than 2.0% and less than 2.5%, assessment rates will range from two basis points to 28 basis points and when the reserve ratio for the prior assessment period is greater than 2.5%, assessment rates will range from one basis point to 25 basis points (in each case subject to adjustments as described above for current rates). No institution may pay a dividend if it is in default on its federal deposit insurance assessment.
The FDIC conducts examinations of and requires reporting by state non-member banks, such as the Banks. The FDIC also may prohibit any insured institution from engaging in any activity determined by regulation or order to pose a serious risk to the deposit insurance fund.
The FDIC may terminate the deposit insurance of any insured depository institution if it determines after a hearing that the institution has engaged or is engaging in unsafe or unsound practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations, or has violated any applicable law, regulation, order or any condition imposed by an agreement with the FDIC. It also may suspend deposit insurance temporarily during the hearing process for the permanent termination of insurance if the institution has no tangible capital. If insurance of accounts is terminated, the accounts at the institution at the time of the termination, less subsequent withdrawals, shall continue to be insured for a period of six months to two years, as determined by the FDIC. Management is not aware of any existing circumstances which would result in termination of the deposit insurance of either Banner Bank or Islanders Bank.
Standards for Safety and Soundness: The federal banking regulatory agencies have prescribed, by regulation, guidelines for all insured depository institutions relating to internal controls, information systems and internal audit systems; loan documentation; credit underwriting; interest rate risk exposure; asset growth; asset quality; earnings; and compensation, fees and benefits. The guidelines set forth the safety and soundness standards that the federal banking agencies use to identify and address problems at insured depository institutions. Each insured depository institution must implement a comprehensive written information security program that includes administrative, technical, and physical safeguards appropriate to the institution's size and complexity and the nature and scope of its activities. The information security program must be designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information, protect against any unanticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information, protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer, and ensure the proper disposal of customer and consumer information. Each insured depository institution must also develop and implement a risk-based response program to address incidents of unauthorized access to customer information in customer information systems. If the FDIC determines that an institution fails to meet any of these guidelines, it may require an institution to submit to the FDIC an acceptable plan to achieve compliance.
Capital Requirements: Bank holding companies, such as Banner Corporation, and federally insured financial institutions, such as Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, are required to maintain a minimum level of regulatory capital.
Banner Corporation and the Banks are subject to minimum required ratios for Common Equity Tier 1 (“CET1”) capital, Tier 1 capital, total capital and the leverage ratio and a required capital conservation buffer over the required capital ratios.
Under the capital regulations, the minimum capital ratios are: (1) a CET1 capital ratio of 4.5% of risk-weighted assets; (2) a Tier 1 capital ratio of 6.0% of risk-weighted assets; (3) a total risk-based capital ratio of 8.0% of risk-weighted assets; and (4) a leverage ratio (the ratio of Tier 1 capital to average total consolidated assets) of 4.0%. CET1 generally consists of common stock; retained earnings; accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”) unless an institution elects to exclude AOCI from regulatory capital; and certain minority interests; all subject to applicable regulatory adjustments and deductions. Tier 1 capital generally consists of CET1 and noncumulative perpetual preferred stock. Tier 2 capital generally consists of other preferred stock and subordinated debt meeting certain conditions plus an amount of the allowance for loan and lease losses up to 1.25% of assets. Total capital is the sum of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital.
Trust preferred securities issued by a company, such as the Company, with total consolidated assets of less than $15 billion before May 19, 2010 and treated as regulatory capital are grandfathered, but any such securities issued later are not eligible as regulatory capital. If an institution grows above $15 billion as a result of an acquisition, the trust preferred securities are excluded from Tier 1 capital and instead included in Tier 2 capital. Mortgage servicing assets and deferred tax assets over designated percentages of CET1 are deducted from capital. In addition, Tier 1 capital includes AOCI, which includes all unrealized gains and losses on available for sale debt and equity securities. However, because of our asset size, we were eligible to elect, and did elect, to permanently opt out of the inclusion of unrealized gains and losses on available for sale debt and equity securities in our capital calculations.
For purposes of determining risk-based capital, assets and certain off-balance sheet items are risk-weighted from 0% to 1,250%, depending on the risk characteristics of the asset or item. The regulations include a 150% risk weight (up from 100%) for certain high volatility commercial real estate acquisition, development and construction loans and for non-residential mortgage loans that are 90 days past due or otherwise in nonaccrual status; a 20% (up from 0%) credit conversion factor for the unused portion of a commitment with an original maturity of one year or less that is not unconditionally cancellable (up from 0%); and a 250% risk weight (up from 100%) for mortgage servicing and deferred tax assets that are not deducted from capital.
In addition to the minimum CET1, Tier 1, leverage ratio and total capital ratios, Banner and each of the Banks must maintain a capital conservation buffer consisting of additional CET1 capital greater than 2.5% of risk-weighted assets above the required minimum risk-based capital levels in order to avoid limitations on paying dividends, repurchasing shares, and paying discretionary bonuses.
To be considered "well capitalized," a bank holding company must have, on a consolidated basis, a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.0% or greater and a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 6.0% or greater and must not be subject to an individual order, directive or agreement under which the FRB requires it to maintain a specific capital level. To be considered “well capitalized,” a depository institution must have a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 8.0%, a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 10.0%, a CET1 capital ratio of at least 6.5% and a leverage ratio of at least 5.0% and not be subject to an individualized order, directive or agreement under which its primary federal banking regulator requires it to maintain a specific capital level.
Prompt Corrective Action: Federal statutes establish a supervisory framework for FDIC-insured institutions based on five capital categories: well capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized and critically undercapitalized. An institution's category depends upon where its capital levels are in relation to relevant capital measures. The well-capitalized category is described above. An institution that is not well capitalized is subject to certain restrictions on brokered deposits, including restrictions on the rates it can offer on its deposits generally. To be considered adequately capitalized, an institution must have the minimum capital ratios described above. Any institution which is neither well capitalized nor adequately capitalized is considered undercapitalized.
Undercapitalized institutions are subject to certain prompt corrective action requirements, regulatory controls and restrictions which become more extensive as an institution becomes more severely undercapitalized. Failure by either Banner Bank and Islanders Bank to comply with applicable capital requirements would, if unremedied, result in progressively more severe restrictions on its activities and lead to enforcement actions, including, but not limited to, the issuance of a capital directive to ensure the maintenance of required capital levels and, ultimately, the appointment of the FDIC as receiver or conservator. Banking regulators will take prompt corrective action with respect to depository institutions that do not meet minimum capital requirements. Additionally, approval of any regulatory application filed for their review may be dependent on compliance with capital requirements.
As of December 31, 2019, Banner Corporation and each of the Banks met the requirements to be "well capitalized" and the fully phased-in capital conservation buffer requirement. For additional information, see Note 15, Regulatory Capital Requirements, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Commercial Real Estate Lending Concentrations:The federal banking agencies have issued guidance on sound risk management practices for concentrations in commercial real estate lending. The particular focus is on exposure to commercial real estate loans that are dependent on the cash flow from the real estate held as collateral and that are likely to be sensitive to conditions in the commercial real estate market (as opposed to real estate collateral held as a secondary source of repayment or as an abundance of caution). The purpose of the guidance is not to limit a bank's commercial real estate lending but to guide banks in developing risk management practices and capital levels commensurate with the level and nature of real estate concentrations. The guidance directs the FDIC and other bank regulatory agencies to focus their supervisory resources on institutions that may have significant commercial real estate loan concentration risk. A bank that has experienced rapid growth in commercial real estate lending, has notable exposure to a specific type of commercial real estate loan, or is approaching or exceeding the following supervisory criteria may be identified for further supervisory analysis with respect to real estate concentration risk:
Total reported loans for construction, land development and other landrepresent 100% or more of the bank's total regulatory capital; or
Total commercial real estate loans (as defined in the guidance) represent 300% or more of the bank's total regulatory capital or the outstanding balance of the bank's commercial real estate loan portfolio has increased 50% or more during the prior 36 months.
The guidance provides that the strength of an institution's lending and risk management practices with respect to such concentrations will be taken into account in supervisory guidance on evaluation of capital adequacy. As of December 31, 2019, Banner Bank's and Islanders Bank's aggregate recorded loan balances for construction, land development and land loans were 93% and 33% of total regulatory capital, respectively. In addition, at December 31, 2019, Banner Bank's and Islanders Bank's loans on commercial real estate were 315% and 195% of total regulatory capital, respectively.
Activities and Investments of Insured State-Chartered Financial Institutions: Federal law generally limits the activities and equity investments of FDIC insured, state-chartered banks to those that are permissible for national banks. An insured state bank is not prohibited from, among other things, (1) acquiring or retaining a majority interest in a subsidiary, (2) investing as a limited partner in a partnership the sole purpose of which is direct or indirect investment in the acquisition, rehabilitation or new construction of a qualified housing project, provided that such limited partnership investments may not exceed 2% of the bank's total assets, (3) acquiring up to 10% of the voting stock of a company that solely provides or re-insures directors', trustees' and officers' liability insurance coverage or bankers' blanket bond group insurance coverage for insured depository institutions, and (4) acquiring or retaining the voting shares of a depository institution if certain requirements are met.
Washington State has enacted laws regarding financial institution parity. These laws afford Washington-chartered commercial banks the same powers as Washington-chartered savings banks and provide that Washington-chartered commercial banks may exercise any of the powers that the Federal Reserve has determined to be closely related to the business of banking and the powers of national banks, subject to the approval of the Director in certain situations. Finally, the law provides additional flexibility for Washington-chartered banks with respect to interest rates on loans and other extensions of credit. Specifically, they may charge the maximum interest rate allowable for loans and other extensions of credit by federally-chartered financial institutions.
Environmental Issues Associated With Real Estate Lending: The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) is a federal statute that generally imposes strict liability on all prior and present “owners and operators” of sites containing hazardous waste. However, Congress acted to protect secured creditors by providing that the term “owner and operator” excludes a person whose ownership is limited to protecting its security interest in the site. Since the enactment of the CERCLA, this “secured creditor exemption” has been the subject of judicial interpretations which have left open the possibility that lenders could be liable for cleanup costs on contaminated property that they hold as collateral for a loan. To the extent that legal uncertainty exists in this area, all creditors, including Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, that have made loans secured by properties with potential hazardous waste contamination (such as petroleum contamination) could be subject to liability for cleanup costs, which costs often substantially exceed the value of the collateral property.
Federal Reserve System: The Federal Reserve requires that all depository institutions maintain reserves on transaction accounts or non-personal time deposits. These reserves may be in the form of cash or non-interest-bearing deposits with the regional Federal Reserve Bank. Interest-bearing checking accounts and other types of accounts that permit payments or transfers to third parties fall within the definition of transaction accounts and are subject to Regulation D reserve requirements, as are any non-personal time deposits at a bank. At December 31, 2019, the Banks' deposits with the Federal Reserve Bank and vault cash exceeded their reserve requirements.
Affiliate Transactions: Banner Corporation, Banner Bank and Islanders Bank are separate and distinct legal entities. Each Bank is an affiliate of the other and Banner Corporation (and any non-bank subsidiary of Banner Corporation) is an affiliate of both Banks. Federal laws strictly limit the ability of banks to engage in certain transactions with their affiliates. Transactions deemed to be a “covered transaction” under Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act between a bank and an affiliate are limited to 10% of the bank's capital and surplus and, with respect to all affiliates, to an aggregate of 20% of the bank's capital and surplus. Further, covered transactions that are loans and extensions of credit generally are required to be secured by eligible collateral in specified amounts. Federal law also requires that covered transactions and certain other transactions listed in Section 23B of the Federal Reserve Act between a bank and its affiliates be on terms as favorable to the bank as transactions with non-affiliates.
Community Reinvestment Act: Banner Bank and Islanders Bank are subject to the provisions of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA), which requires the appropriate federal bank regulatory agency to assess a bank's performance under the CRA in meeting the credit needs of the community serviced by the bank, including low and moderate income neighborhoods. The regulatory agency's assessment of the bank's record is made available to the public. Further, a bank's CRA performance rating must be considered in connection with a bank's application to, among other things, establish a new branch office that will accept deposits, relocate an existing office or merge or consolidate with, or acquire the assets or assume the liabilities of, a federally regulated financial institution. Both Banner Bank and Islanders Bank received a “satisfactory” rating during their most recently completed CRA examinations.
Dividends: The amount of dividends payable by the Banks to the Company depends upon their earnings and capital position, and is limited by federal and state laws, regulations and policies, including the capital conservation buffer requirement. Federal law further provides that no insured depository institution may make any capital distribution (which includes a cash dividend) if, after making the distribution, the institution would be “undercapitalized,” as defined in the prompt corrective action regulations. Moreover, the federal bank regulatory agencies also have the general authority to limit the dividends paid by insured banks if such payments should be deemed to constitute an unsafe and unsound practice. In addition, under Washington law, no bank may declare or pay any dividend in an amount greater than its retained earnings without the prior approval of the Washington DFI. The Washington DFI also has the power to require any bank to suspend the payment of any and all dividends.
Anti-Money Laundering and Customer Identification: The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA Patriot Act) was signed into law on October 26, 2001. The USA PATRIOT and Bank Secrecy Acts require financial institutions to develop programs to prevent financial institutions from being used for money laundering and terrorist activities. If such activities are detected, financial institutions are obligated to file suspicious activity reports with the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. These rules require financial institutions to establish procedures for identifying and verifying the identity of customers seeking to open new financial accounts, and, effective in 2018, the beneficial owners of accounts. Bank regulators are directed to consider an institution's effectiveness in combating money laundering when ruling on Bank Holding Company Act and Bank Merger Act applications. Banner Bank's and Islanders Bank's policies and procedures are designed to comply with the requirements of the USA Patriot Act.
Other Consumer Protection Laws and Regulations: The CFPB is empowered to exercise broad regulatory, supervisory and enforcement authority with respect to both new and existing consumer financial protection laws. Effective the second quarter of 2019 Banner Bank and its affiliates and subsidiaries became subject to CFPB supervisory and enforcement authority.
The Banks are subject to a broad array of federal and state consumer protection laws and regulations that govern almost every aspect of their business relationships with consumers. While the list set forth below is not exhaustive, these include the Truth-in-Lending Act, the Truth in Savings Act, the Electronic Fund Transfers Act, the Expedited Funds Availability Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, the Fair Credit Billing Act, the Homeowners Protection Act, the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, laws governing flood insurance, laws governing consumer protections in connection with the sale of insurance, federal and state laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive business practices, and various regulations that implement some or all of the foregoing. These laws and regulations mandate certain disclosure requirements and regulate the manner in which financial institutions must deal with customers when taking deposits, making loans, collecting loans, and providing other services. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations can subject the Banks to various penalties, including but not limited to, enforcement actions, injunctions, fines, civil liability, criminal penalties, punitive damages, and the loss of certain contractual rights.
In May 2018, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (the “Economic Growth Act”) was enacted to modify or remove certain financial reform rules and regulations, including some of those implemented under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank Act). While the Act maintains most of the regulatory structure established by the Dodd-Frank Act, it amends certain aspects of the regulatory framework for small depository institutions with assets of less than $10 billion and for large banks with assets of more than $50 billion.
In addition, the Economic Growth Act includes regulatory relief for community banks regarding regulatory examination cycles, call reports, the Volcker Rule (proprietary trading prohibitions), mortgage disclosures and risk weights for certain high-risk commercial real estate loans.
It is difficult at this time to predict when or how any new standards under the Economic Growth Act will ultimately be applied to us or what specific impact the Economic Growth Act and the yet-to-be-written implementing rules and regulations implementing the Economic Growth Act will have.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has adopted a new accounting standard, referred to as Current Expected Credit Loss, or CECL, which became effective for Banner on January 1, 2020. Upon adoption of CECL, a banking organization must record a one-time adjustment to its credit loss allowances as of the beginning of the fiscal year of adoption equal to the difference, if any, between the amount of credit loss allowances under the current methodology and the amount required under CECL. For additional information on CECL see Note 2, Accounting Standards Recently Issued or Adopted, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements. In 2018, the federal banking regulators (the Federal Reserve, the OCC and the FDIC) adopted a rule that gives a banking organization the option to phase in over a three-year period the day-one adverse effects of CECL on its regulatory capital.
General: Banner Corporation, as sole shareholder of Banner Bank and Islanders Bank, is a bank holding company registered with the Federal Reserve. Bank holding companies are subject to comprehensive regulation by the Federal Reserve under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, or the BHCA, and the regulations of the Federal Reserve. We are required to file quarterly reports with the Federal Reserve and provide additional information as the Federal Reserve may require. The Federal Reserve may examine us, and any of our subsidiaries, and charge us for the cost of the examination. The Federal Reserve also has extensive enforcement authority over bank holding companies, including, among other things, the ability to assess civil money penalties, to issue cease and desist or removal orders and to require that a holding company divest subsidiaries (including its bank subsidiaries). In general, enforcement actions may be initiated for violations of law and regulations and unsafe or unsound practices. Banner Corporation is also required to file certain reports with, and otherwise comply with the rules and regulations of the SEC.
The Bank Holding Company Act: Under the BHCA, Banner Corporation is supervised by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has a policy that a bank holding company is required to serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary banks and may not conduct its operations in an unsafe or unsound manner. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act provides that a bank holding company must serve as a source of financial strength to its subsidiary banks. A bank holding company's failure to meet its obligation to serve as a source of strength to its subsidiary banks will generally be considered by the Federal Reserve to be an unsafe and unsound banking practice or a violation of the Federal Reserve's regulations or both. No regulations have yet been proposed by the Federal Reserve to implement the source of strength provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. Banner Corporation and any subsidiaries that it may control are considered “affiliates” of the Banks within the meaning of the Federal Reserve Act, and transactions between Banner Bank and affiliates are subject to numerous restrictions. With some exceptions, Banner Corporation and its subsidiaries are prohibited from tying the provision of various services, such as extensions of credit, to other services offered by Banner Corporation or by its affiliates.
Acquisitions: The BHCA prohibits a bank holding company, with certain exceptions, from acquiring ownership or control of more than 5% of the voting shares of any company that is not a bank or bank holding company and from engaging in activities other than those of banking, managing or controlling banks, or providing services for its subsidiaries. Under the BHCA, the Federal Reserve may approve the ownership of shares by a bank holding company in any company, the activities of which the Federal Reserve has determined to be so closely related to the business of banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto. These activities include: operating a savings institution, mortgage company, finance company, credit card company or factoring company; performing certain data processing operations; providing certain investment and financial advice; underwriting and acting as an insurance agent for certain types of credit-related insurance; leasing property on a full-payout, non-operating basis; selling money orders, travelers' checks and U.S. Savings Bonds; real estate and personal property appraising; providing tax planning and preparation services; and, subject to certain limitations, providing securities brokerage services for customers.
Federal Securities Laws:BannerCorporation's common stock is registered with the SEC under Section 12(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We are subject to information, proxy solicitation, insider trading restrictions and other requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act).
The Dodd-Frank Act: On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law. The Dodd-Frank Act imposes various restrictions and an expanded framework of regulatory oversight for financial institutions, including depository institutions, and implements certain capital regulations applicable to Banner Corporation and the Banks that are discussed above under the section entitled "Capital Requirements."
In addition, among other changes, the Dodd-Frank Act requires public companies, like Banner Corporation, to (i) provide their shareholders with a non-binding vote (a) at least once every three years on the compensation paid to executive officers and (b) at least once every six years on whether they should have a “say on pay” vote every one, two or three years; (ii) have a separate, non-binding shareholder vote regarding golden parachutes for named executive officers when a shareholder vote takes place on mergers, acquisitions, dispositions or other transactions that would trigger the parachute payments; (iii) provide disclosure in annual proxy materials concerning the relationship between the executive compensation paid and the financial performance of the issuer; and (iv) disclose the ratio of the Chief Executive Officer's annual total compensation to the median annual total compensation of all other employees.
The regulations to implement the provisions of Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act, commonly referred to as the Volcker Rule, contain prohibitions and restrictions on the ability of financial institutions holding companies and their affiliates to engage in proprietary trading and to hold certain interests in, or to have certain relationships with, various types of investment funds, including hedge funds and private equity funds. Banner Corporation is continuously reviewing its investment portfolio to determine if changes in its investment strategies are in compliance with the various provisions of the Volcker Rule regulations.
For certain of these changes, the implementing regulations have not been promulgated, so the full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on public companies cannot be determined at this time. For information on the Economic Growth Act, which amended the Dodd-Frank Act, see "2018 Reforms" above.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002: As a public company that files periodic reports with the SEC, under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Banner Corporation is subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), which addresses, among other issues, corporate governance, auditing and accounting, executive compensation and enhanced and timely disclosure of corporate information. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act represents significant federal involvement in matters traditionally left to state regulatory systems, such as the regulation of the accounting profession, and to state corporate law, such as the relationship between a board of directors and management and between a board of directors and its committees. Our policies and procedures are designed to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Interstate Banking and Branching: The Federal Reserve must approve an application of a bank holding company to acquire control of, or acquire all or substantially all of the assets of, a bank located in a state other than the holding company's home state, without regard to whether the transaction is prohibited by the laws of any state. The Federal Reserve may not approve the acquisition of a bank that has not been in existence for the minimum time period (not exceeding five years) specified by the statutory law of the host state. Nor may the Federal Reserve approve an application if the applicant (and its depository institution affiliates) controls or would control more than 10% of the insured deposits in the United States or 30% or more of the deposits in the target bank's home state or in any state in which the target bank maintains a branch. Federal law does not affect the authority of states to limit the percentage of total insured deposits in the state which may be held or controlled by a bank holding company to the extent such limitation does not discriminate against out-of-state banks or bank holding companies. Individual states may also waive the 30% state-wide concentration limit contained in the federal law.
The federal banking agencies are generally authorized to approve interstate merger transactions without regard to whether the transaction is prohibited by the law of any state. Interstate acquisitions of branches are permitted only if the law of the state in which the branch is located permits such acquisitions. Interstate mergers and branch acquisitions are subject to the nationwide and statewide insured deposit concentration amounts described above. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the federal banking agencies may generally approve interstate de novo branching.
Dividends: The Federal Reserve has issued a policy statement on the payment of cash dividends by bank holding companies, which expresses its view that although there are no specific regulations restricting dividend payments by bank holding companies other than state corporate laws, a bank holding company must maintain an adequate capital position and generally should not pay cash dividends unless the company's net income for the past year is sufficient to fully fund the cash dividends and that the prospective rate of earnings appears consistent with the company's capital needs, asset quality, and overall financial condition. The Federal Reserve policy statement also indicates that it would be inappropriate for a company experiencing serious financial problems to borrow funds to pay dividends. As described above under “Capital Requirements,” the capital conversion buffer requirement can also restrict Banner Corporation’s and the Banks’ ability to pay dividends. Further, under Washington law, Banner Corporation is prohibited from paying a dividend if, after making such dividend payment, it would be unable to pay its debts as they become due in the usual course of business, or if its total liabilities, plus the amount that would be needed in the event Banner Corporation were to be dissolved at the time of the dividend payment, to satisfy preferential rights on dissolution of holders of preferred stock ranking senior in right of payment to the capital stock on which the applicable distribution is to be made, exceed our total assets.
Stock Repurchases: A bank holding company, except for certain “well-capitalized” and highly rated bank holding companies, is required to give the Federal Reserve prior written notice of any purchase or redemption of its outstanding equity securities if the gross consideration for the purchase or redemption, when combined with the net consideration paid for all such purchases or redemptions during the preceding twelve months, is equal to 10% or more of its consolidated net worth. The Federal Reserve may disapprove such a purchase or redemption if it determines that the proposal would constitute an unsafe or unsound practice or would violate any law, regulation, Federal Reserve order or any condition imposed by, or written agreement with, the Federal Reserve.During the year ended December 31, 2019, Banner Corporation repurchased 1.0 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $53.90 per share.
The following table sets forth information with respect to the executive officers of Banner Corporation and Banner Bank as of December 31, 2019:
Position with Banner Corporation
Position with Banner Bank
Mark J. Grescovich
President, Chief Executive Officer,
President, Chief Executive Officer, Director
Richard B. Barton
Executive Vice President,
Chief Credit Officer
Peter J. Conner
Executive Vice President
Chief Financial Officer
Executive Vice President,
Chief Financial Officer
James P. Garcia
Executive Vice President,
Chief Audit Executive
Kenneth W. Johnson
Executive Vice President
Kayleen R. Kohler
Executive Vice President
Kenneth A. Larsen
Executive Vice President,
James P. G. McLean
Executive Vice President,
Commercial Real Estate Lending Division
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Cynthia D. Purcell
Executive Vice President,
Retail Banking and Administration
M. Kirk Quillin
Executive Vice President,
James T. Reed, Jr.
Executive Vice President,
Commercial Banking West
Steven W. Rust
Executive Vice President,
Chief Information Officer
Judith A. Steiner
Executive Vice President
Chief Risk Officer
Gary W. Wagers
Executive Vice President,
Retail Products and Services
Keith A. Western
Executive Vice President,
Commercial Banking South
Set forth below is certain information regarding the executive officers of Banner Corporation and Banner Bank. There are no family relationships among or between the directors or executive officers.
Mark J. Grescovich is President and Chief Executive Officer, and a director, of Banner Corporation and Banner Bank. Mr. Grescovich joined Banner Bank in April 2010 and became Chief Executive Officer in August 2010 following an extensive banking career specializing in finance, credit administration and risk management. Under his leadership, Banner has grown from $4.7 billion in assets in 2010 to more than $12 billion today through organic growth as well as selective acquisition. During that time, Mr. Grescovich has guided the expansion of the Company’s footprint to over 200 locations in four states. Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Grescovich was the Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Banking Officer for Akron, Ohio-based FirstMerit Corporation and FirstMerit Bank N.A., a commercial bank with $14.5 billion in assets and over 200 branch offices in three states. He assumed the role and responsibility for FirstMerit’s commercial and regional line of business in 2007,
having served since 1994 in various commercial and corporate banking positions, including that of Chief Credit Officer. Prior to joining FirstMerit, Mr. Grescovich was a Managing Partner in corporate finance with Sequoia Financial Group, Inc. of Akron, Ohio and a commercial and corporate lending officer and credit analyst with Society National Bank of Cleveland, Ohio. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from Miami University and a Master of Business Administration degree, also in finance, from The University of Akron.
Richard B. Barton joined Banner Bank in 2002 as Chief Credit Officer. Mr. Barton’s banking career began in 1972 with Seafirst Bank and Bank of America, where he served in a variety of commercial lending and credit risk management positions. In his last positions at Bank of America before joining Banner Bank, he served as the senior real estate risk management executive for the Pacific Northwest and as the credit risk management executive for the west coast home builder division.
Peter J. Conner joined Banner Bank in 2015 upon the acquisition of AmericanWest Bank (AmericanWest). Prior to joining Banner, Mr. Conner was the Chief Financial Officer for SKBHC LLC, the holding company for Starbuck Bancshares, Inc. (Starbuck), the holding company for AmericanWest, and AmericanWest from 2010 until he joined Banner Bank in 2015. Mr. Conner has 30 years of experience in executive finance positions at Wells Fargo Bank as well as regional community banks. Additionally, he spent time as a managing director for FSI Group, where he evaluated and placed equity fund investments in community banks. He earned a B.S. in Quantitative Economics from the University of California at San Diego and a Master's of Business degree from the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.
James P. Garcia is the Chief Audit Executive responsible for proactively identifying and mitigating risks as well as providing internal audit services in the areas of financial compliance, IT Governance, and operations. He has more than 42 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Banner in 2017, Mr. Garcia served for 16 years at the Bank of Hawaii, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Audit Executive, with prior positions as Vice President and Senior Audit Manager. Mr. Garcia also has 24 years of experience at Bank of America where he held several positions in consumer and commercial operations management and audit, including that of Audit Director. Mr. Garcia earned his bachelor's degree in management from St. Mary's College of California and is a graduate of the School of Mortgage Banking. He is a Certified Bank Auditor (CBA), holds a Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) and is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
Kenneth W. Johnson has over 31 years of banking experience. Prior to joining Skagit Bank in 2015, Mr. Johnson held various executive positions with Chemical Financial Corporation, including production oversight of commercial, mortgage, consumer and deposit generation. In addition, while at Chemical, he served nine years as Executive Vice President, Director of Bank Operations, responsible for nine business units including the branch system, information technology, corporate marketing, loan operations, deposit operations, electronic banking, facilities/purchasing, card services, and customer care centers. Prior to Chemical, he held leadership roles in retail banking and operations at Shoreline Bank and as Vice President, Zone Manager for Michigan National Bank. Mr. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. He is also a graduate of Stonier Graduate School of Banking.
Kayleen R. Kohler joined Banner Bank in 2016 as Executive Vice President of Human Resources. Ms. Kohler’s focus is on driving organizational design priorities at Banner Bank including: leadership development, talent acquisition, workforce planning, employee relations, compensation, benefits, diversity initiatives, payroll, and safety. Prior to joining Banner, Ms. Kohler served 20 years in progressive human resource leadership roles for Plum Creek Timber Company, now Weyerhaeuser. She holds bachelors’ degrees in Marketing as well as Business Management from Northwest Missouri State University and a master’s in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. Through continuing education, she maintains her certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources or SPHR and a Society of Human Resources Management Senior Certified Professional or SHRM-SCP.
Kenneth A. Larsen joined Banner Bank in 2005 as the Real Estate Administration Manager and was promoted to Mortgage Banking Director in 2010. Mr. Larsen is responsible for Banner Bank’s mortgage banking activities from origination, administration, secondary marketing, through loan servicing. Mr. Larsen has had a 28-year career in mortgage banking, including holding positions in all facets of operations and management. A graduate of Eastern Washington University, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a degree in Social Science and earned certificates from the Pacific Coast Banking School and the School of Mortgage Banking. He is also a Certified Mortgage Banker, the highest designation recognized by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mr. Larsen began his career at Action Mortgage/Sterling Savings, later moving to Peoples Bank of Lynden where he managed the mortgage banking operation. Mr. Larsen also served as the 90th President of the Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association. Formerly he was the Chairman of the Washington Mortgage Bankers Association and currently serves as a commissioner on the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. He was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2015.
James P.G. McLean joined Banner Bank in November 2010 and is Executive Vice President of the Commercial Real Estate Lending Division, leading teams within the Multifamily Lending Group, Commercial Real Estate Specialty Unit, Affordable Housing, Residential Construction and Income Property Divisions, as well as the loan administration functions related to this division. Mr. McLean has 29 years of real estate finance experience at large national commercial banks as well as community banks. This experience includes ten years in executive leadership roles and as a principal of a mid-sized regional commercial real estate development firm. Mr. McLean earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. His community volunteering is focused on organizations that serve local youth, including the Boy Scouts of America, Lake Washington School District and numerous coaching positions.
Craig Miller is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Banner Corporation and Banner Bank. He joined Banner in 2016 and is responsible for overseeing the company’s legal functions, and he serves also as Corporate Secretary and Ethics Officer for the company. Mr. Miller had previously served as senior litigation partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Seattle. Mr. Miller earned his B.A. degree from Grinnell College and his J.D. degree from the University of Southern California Law School. His community involvement includes board service with
the YMCA of Greater Seattle, Childhaven (past board president), King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, and the Meany Center for the Performing Arts (past board president).
Cynthia D. Purcell is the Executive Vice President for Retail Banking and Administration. Ms. Purcell is responsible for leading the Retail Banking business line including Branch Banking, Mortgage Banking, Business Banking and Digital delivery channels, as well as oversight of administrative and support functions for Banner Bank. She was formerly the Chief Financial Officer of Inland Empire Bank (now Banner Bank), which she joined in 1981. Over her banking career, Ms. Purcell has been deeply involved in advocating for the industry through leadership roles on various Boards and committees including State Banking Associations and the American Bankers Association (ABA). She has also taught banking courses throughout her career, including the ABA Graduate School of Bank Investments and Financial Management, the Northwest Intermediate Banking School, and the Oregon Bankers Association Directors College.
M. Kirk Quillin joined Banner Bank’s commercial banking group in 2002 as a Senior Vice President and commercial banking manager for the Spokane, Washington, and Idaho markets. He was named the East Region Commercial Banking Executive in July 2012, responsible for commercial and specialty banking for all locations in Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon and Idaho. Currently, he is overseeing a project that addresses both efficiency and scalability for Banner Bank. Mr. Quillin began his career in the banking industry in 1984 with Idaho First National Bank, which is now U.S. Bank. His career also included management positions in commercial lending with Washington Mutual. He earned a B.S. in Finance and Economics from Boise State University and was certified by the Pacific Coast Banking School and Northwest Intermediate Commercial Lending School.
James T. Reed, Jr. joined Towne Bank (now Banner Bank) as a Vice President and Commercial Branch Manager in July 1995 and was named as West Region Commercial Executive, later identified as North Region Commercial Banking Executive, in July 2012. He is responsible for Commercial Banking in Western Washington, Western Oregon, the Columbia Basin, and Spokane markets as well as Treasury Management and Specialty Banking Services. Mr. Reed began his banking career with Rainier Bank, which later became Security Pacific Bank and later still West One Bank. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences from the University of Washington and earned certificates from Pacific Coast Banking School, Northwest Intermediate Banking School and Northwest Intermediate Commercial Lending School. Currently, Mr. Reed is a member of the University of Washington Bothell Advisory Board and the Association of Washington Business Board of Directors.
Steven W. Rust joined Banner Bank in October 2005 as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer and was named to his current position as Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer in September 2007. Mr. Rust has over 39 years of relevant industry experience prior to joining Banner Bank and was founder and President of InfoSoft Technology, through which he worked for nine years as a technology consultant and interim Chief Information Officer for banks and insurance companies. He also worked 19 years with US Bank/West One Bancorp as Senior Vice President & Manager of Information Systems.
Judith A. Steiner joined Banner Bank in 2016 as Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer. In this role, Ms. Steiner is responsible for overseeing the company’s risk and compliance functions as well as Banner Bank’s interactions with industry regulators. Prior to joining Banner, Ms. Steiner spent 25 years with FirstMerit Corporation in executive leadership positions including Executive Vice President & Chief Risk Officer, Secretary, and General Counsel. Ms. Steiner earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron and her Juris Doctor degree (JD) from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.
Gary W. Wagers joined Banner Bank as Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending Administration in 2002 and was named to his current position in Retail Products and Services in January 2008. Mr. Wagers began his banking career in 1982 at Idaho First National Bank. Prior to joining Banner Bank, his career included senior management positions in retail lending and branch banking operations with West One Bank and US Bank. Mr. Wagers earned his bachelor's degree from Whitman College and his Master's of Business degree from the University of Oregon. He is also a graduate of the ABA's Stonier School of Banking.
Keith A. Western is Executive Vice President, Commercial Banking South for Banner Bank, joining Banner upon the merger of AmericanWest and Banner Bank. Prior to the merger, Mr. Western was President of Northwest Banking for AmericanWest since 2011. Mr. Western has 42 years of banking experience across multiple markets including the western, eastern and mid-western United States and Canada. The bulk of Mr. Western’s career was with Bank of America (approximately 15 years) and Citibank (approximately 12 years) in a variety of assignments including asset based lending, commercial and business banking, and credit risk management.
Our principal executive offices are located at 10 South First Avenue, Walla Walla, Washington 99362. Our telephone number is (509) 527-3636. We maintain a website with the address www.bannerbank.com. The information contained on our website is not included as a part of, or incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Other than an investor’s own Internet access charges, we make available free of charge through our website our Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we have electronically filed such material with, or furnished such material to, the SEC.
Item 1A – Risk Factors
An investment in our common stock is subject to risks inherent in our business. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below together with all of the other information included in this report. The risks described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, capital levels, cash flows, liquidity, results of operations and prospects. The market price of our common stock could decline significantly due to any of these identified or other risks, and you could lose some or all of your investment. The risks discussed below also include forward-looking statements, and our actual results may differ substantially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. This report is qualified in its entirety by these risk factors.
Our business may be adversely affected by downturns in the national economy and the regional economies on which we depend.
Our operations are significantly affected by national and regional economic conditions. Weakness in the national economy or the economies of the markets in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and prospects. We provide banking and financial services primarily to businesses and individuals in the states of Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho. All of our branches and most of our deposit customers are also located in these four states. Further, as a result of a high concentration of our customer base in the Puget Sound area and eastern Washington state regions, the deterioration of businesses in these areas, or one or more businesses with a large employee base in these areas, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects. Weakness in the global economy has adversely affected many businesses operating in our markets that are dependent upon international trade and it is not known how changes in tariffs being imposed on international trade may also affect these businesses. In addition, adverse weather conditions as well as decreases in market prices for agricultural products grown in our primary markets can adversely affect agricultural businesses in our markets. As we expand our presence in areas such as San Diego and Sacramento, and throughout California, we will be exposed to concentration risks in those areas as well.
A deterioration in economic conditions in the markets we serve, in particular the Puget Sound area of Washington State, the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Eugene and southwest Oregon, San Diego and Sacramento, California and the agricultural regions of the Columbia Basin, could result in the following consequences, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations:
demand for our products and services may decline;
loan delinquencies, problem assets and foreclosures may increase;
we may increase our allowance for loan losses;
collateral for loans, especially real estate, may decline in value, in turn reducing customers’ borrowing power, reducing the value of assets and collateral associated with existing loans;
the net worth and liquidity of loan guarantors may decline, impairing their ability to honor commitments to us; and
the amount of our low-cost or non-interest-bearing deposits may decrease.
A decline in local economic conditions may have a greater effect on our earnings and capital than on the earnings and capital of larger financial institutions whose real estate loans are more geographically diverse. Many of the loans in our portfolio are secured by real estate. Deterioration in the real estate markets where collateral for a mortgage loan is located could negatively affect the borrower's ability to repay the loan and the value of the collateral securing the loan. Real estate values are affected by various other factors, including changes in general or regional economic conditions, governmental rules or policies and natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and tornadoes. If we are required to liquidate a significant amount of collateral during a period of reduced real estate values, our financial condition and profitability could be adversely affected.
Adverse changes in the regional and general economy could reduce our growth rate, impair our ability to collect loans and generally have a negative effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our loan portfolio includes loans with a higher risk of loss.
In addition to first-lien one- to four -family residential real estate lending, we originate construction and land loans, commercial and multifamily mortgage loans, commercial business loans, agricultural mortgage loans and agricultural loans, and consumer loans, primarily within our market areas. We had $8.36 billion outstanding in these types of higher risk loans at December 31, 2019, compared to $7.71 billion at December 31, 2018. These loans typically present different risks to us for a number of reasons, including those discussed below:
Construction and Land Loans. At December 31, 2019, construction and land loans were $1.17 billion, or 13% of our total loan portfolio. This type of lending is subject to the inherent difficulties in estimating both a property’s value at completion of a project and the estimated cost (including interest) of the project. Because of the uncertainties inherent in estimating construction costs, as well as the market value of a completed project and the effects of governmental regulation on real property, it is relatively difficult to evaluate accurately the total funds required to complete a project and the completed project's loan-to-value ratio. If the estimate of construction cost proves to be inaccurate, we may be required to advance funds beyond the amount originally committed to ensure completion of the project. If our appraisal of the value of a completed project proves to be overstated, we may have inadequate security for the repayment of the loan upon completion of construction of the project and may incur a loss. Disagreements between borrowers and
builders and the failure of builders to pay subcontractors may also jeopardize projects. This type of lending also typically involves higher loan principal amounts and may be concentrated with a small number of builders. A downturn in housing, or the real estate market, could increase delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures, and significantly impair the value of our collateral and our ability to sell the collateral upon foreclosure. Some of the builders we deal with have more than one loan outstanding with us. Consequently, an adverse development with respect to one loan or one credit relationship can expose us to a significantly greater risk of loss. In addition, during the term of some of our construction loans, no payment from the borrower is required since the accumulated interest is added to the principal of the loan through an interest reserve. Increases in market rates of interest may have a more pronounced effect on construction loans by rapidly increasing the end-purchaser's borrowing costs, thereby possibly reducing the homeowner's ability to finance the home upon completion or the overall demand for the project. Properties under construction are often difficult to sell and typically must be completed in order to be successfully sold which also complicates the process of managing our problem construction loans. This may require us to advance additional funds and/or contract with another builder to complete construction and assume the market risk of selling the project at a future market price, which may or may not enable us to fully recover unpaid loan funds and associated construction and liquidation costs. In addition, speculative construction loans to a builder are often associated with homes that are not pre-sold, and thus pose a greater potential risk to us than construction loans to individuals on their personal residences. Loans on land under development or held for future construction also pose additional risk because of the lack of income being produced by the property and the potential illiquid nature of the collateral. These risks can be significantly impacted by supply and demand. As a result, this type of lending often involves the disbursement of substantial funds with repayment dependent on the success of the ultimate project and the ability of the borrower to sell or lease the property or obtain permanent take-out financing, rather than the ability of the borrower or guarantor to independently repay principal and interest.
Construction loans made by us include those with a sales contract or permanent loan in place for the finished homes and those for which purchasers for the finished homes may not be identified either during or following the construction period, known as speculative construction loans. Speculative construction loans to a builder pose a greater potential risk to us than construction loans to individuals on their personal residences. We attempt to mitigate this risk by actively monitoring the number of unsold homes in our construction loan portfolio and local housing markets to attempt to maintain an appropriate balance between home sales and new loan originations. In addition, the maximum number of speculative construction loans (loans that are not pre-sold) approved for each builder is based on a combination of factors, including the financial capacity of the builder, the market demand for the finished product and the ratio of sold to unsold inventory the builder maintains. We have also attempted to diversify the risk associated with speculative construction lending by doing business with a large number of small and mid-sized builders spread over a relatively large geographic region representing numerous sub-markets within our service area.
As a result of the increasing real estate values in certain of our market areas, this category of lending has increased. Our investment in construction and land loans increased by $62.1 million or 6% in 2019. At December 31, 2019, construction and land loans that were non-performing were $2.2 million, or 6% of our total non-performing loans.
Commercial and Multifamily Real Estate Loans. At December 31, 2019, commercial and multifamily real estate loans were $4.36 billion, or 47% of our total loan portfolio. These loans typically involve higher principal amounts than other types of loans and some of our commercial borrowers have more than one loan outstanding with us. Consequently, an adverse development with respect to one loan or one credit relationship can expose us to a significantly greater risk of loss compared to an adverse development with respect to a one- to four-family residential mortgage loan. Repayment of these loans is dependent upon income being generated from the property securing the loan in amounts sufficient to cover operating expenses and debt service, which may be adversely affected by changes in the economy or local market conditions. In addition, many of our commercial and multifamily real estate loans are not fully amortizing and contain large balloon payments upon maturity. Such balloon payments may require the borrower to either sell or refinance the underlying property in order to make the payment, which may increase the risk of default or non-payment. If we foreclose on a commercial or multifamily real estate loan, our holding period for the collateral typically is longer than for one-to-four family residential loans because there are fewer potential purchasers of the collateral. At December 31, 2019, commercial and multifamily real estate loans that were non-performing were $6.1 million, or 15% of our total non-performing loans.
Commercial Business Loans. At December 31, 2019, commercial business loans were $1.69 billion, or 18% of our total loan portfolio. Our commercial business loans are primarily made based on the cash flow of the borrower and secondarily on the underlying collateral provided by the borrower. A borrower's cash flow may prove to be unpredictable, and collateral securing these loans may fluctuate in value. Most often, this collateral includes accounts receivable, inventory, equipment or real estate. In the case of loans secured by accounts receivable, the availability of funds for the repayment of these loans may be substantially dependent on the ability of the borrower to collect amounts due from its customers. Other collateral securing loans may depreciate over time, may be difficult to appraise, may be illiquid and may fluctuate in value based on the success of the business. At December 31, 2019, commercial business loans that were non-performing were $23.4 million, or 59% of our total non-performing loans.
Agricultural Loans. At December 31, 2019, agricultural loans were $370.5 million, or 4% of our total loan portfolio. Agricultural lending involves a greater degree of risk and typically involves higher principal amounts than other types of loans. Repayment is dependent upon the successful operation of the business, which is greatly dependent on many things outside the control of either us or the borrowers. These factors include adverse weather conditions that prevent the planting of a crops or limit crop yields (such as hail, drought and floods), loss of livestock due to disease or other factors, declines in market prices for agricultural products (both domestically and internationally) and the impact of government regulations (including changes in price supports, subsidies, tariffs and environmental regulations). In addition, many farms are dependent on a limited number of key individuals whose injury or death may significantly affect the successful operation of the farm. If the cash flow from a farming operation is diminished, the borrower's ability to repay the
loan may be impaired. Consequently, agricultural loans may involve a greater degree of risk than other types of loans, particularly in the case of loans that are unsecured or secured by rapidly depreciating assets such as farm equipment (some of which is highly specialized with a limited or no market for resale), or assets such as livestock or crops. In such cases, any repossessed collateral for a defaulted agricultural operating loan may not provide an adequate source of repayment of the outstanding loan balance as a result of the greater likelihood of damage, loss or depreciation or because the assessed value of the collateral exceeds the eventual realization value. At December 31, 2019, there were $661,000 of agricultural loans that were non-performing, or 2% of total non-performing loans.
Consumer Loans. At December 31, 2019, consumer loans were $762.8 million, or 8% of our total loan portfolio. Our consumer loans often entail greater risk than first-lien residential mortgage loans. Home equity lines of credit generally entail greater risk than do one- to four-family residential mortgage loans where we are in the first lien position. For those home equity lines secured by a second mortgage, it is less likely that we will be successful in recovering all of our loan proceeds in the event of default. Our foreclosure on these loans requires that the value of the property be sufficient to cover the repayment of the first mortgage loan, as well as the costs associated with foreclosure. In the case of consumer loans that are unsecured or secured by rapidly depreciating assets such as automobiles, any repossessed collateral for a defaulted consumer loan may not provide an adequate source of repayment of the outstanding loan balance as a result of the greater likelihood of damage, loss or depreciation. The remaining deficiency often does not warrant further substantial collection efforts against the borrower. In addition, consumer loan collections are dependent on the borrower’s continuing financial stability, and thus are more likely to be adversely affected by job loss, divorce, illness or personal bankruptcy. Furthermore, the application of various federal and state laws, including federal and state bankruptcy and insolvency laws, may limit the amount which can be recovered on these consumer loans. Loans that we purchased, or indirectly originated, may also give rise to claims and defenses by a consumer loan borrower against an assignee of such loans such as us, and a borrower may be able to assert against the assignee claims and defenses that it has against the seller of the underlying collateral. At December 31, 2019, consumer loans that were non-performing were $2.9 million, or 7% of our total non-performing loans.
Our business may be adversely affected by credit risk associated with residential property and declining property values.
At December 31, 2019, first-lien one- to four-family real estate loans were $945.6 million or 10% of our total loan portfolio. Our first-lien one- to four-family real estate loans are primarily made based on the repayment ability of the borrower and the collateral securing these loans. Foreclosure on the loans requires that the value of the property be sufficient to cover the repayment of the loan, as well as the costs associated with foreclosure.
This type of lending is generally sensitive to regional and local economic conditions that significantly impact the ability of borrowers to meet their loan payment obligations, making loss levels difficult to predict. A downturn in the economy or the housing market in our market areas or a rapid increase in interest rates may reduce the value of the real estate collateral securing these types of loans and increase the risk that we would incur losses if borrowers default on their loans. Residential loans with high combined loan-to-value generally will be more sensistive to declining properly values than those with lower combined loan-to-value ratios and therefore may experience a higher incidence of default and severity of losses. In addition, if the borrowers sell their homes, the borrowers may be unable to repay their loans in full from the sale proceeds. As a result, these loans may experience higher rates of delinquencies, defaults and losses, which will in turn adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our allowance for loan losses may prove to be insufficient to absorb losses in our loan portfolio,which would cause our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition to be adversely affected.
Lending money is a substantial part of our business and each loan carries a certain risk that it will not be repaid in accordance with its terms or that any underlying collateral will not be sufficient to assure repayment. This risk is affected by, among other things:
cash flow of the borrower and/or the project being financed;
in the case of a collateralized loan, the changes and uncertainties as to the future value of the collateral;
the duration of the loan;
the character and creditworthiness of a particular borrower;
changes in economic and industry conditions; and
the duration of the loan.
We maintain an allowance for loan losses, which is a reserve established through a provision for loan losses charged to expense, which we believe is appropriate to provide for probable losses in our loan portfolio. The amount of this allowance is determined by our management through periodic reviews and consideration of several factors, including, but not limited to:
our general reserve, based on our historical default and loss experience, certain macroeconomic factors, regulatory requirements and management’s expectations of future events;
our specific reserve, based on our evaluation of non-performing loans and their underlying collateral; and
an unallocated reserve to provide for other credit losses inherent in our portfolio that may not have been contemplated in the other loss factors.
The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance for loan losses inherently involves a high degree of subjectivity and requires us to make significant estimates of current credit risks and future trends, all of which may undergo material changes. If our estimates are incorrect, the allowance for loan losses may not be sufficient to cover losses inherent in our loan portfolio, resulting in the need for increases in our allowance for loan losses through the provision for losses on loans which is recorded as charged against income. Management also recognizes that significant new growth in loan portfolios, new loan products and the refinancing of existing loans can result in portfolios comprised of unseasoned loans that may not perform in a historical or projected manner and will increase the risk that our allowance may be insufficient to absorb losses without significant additional provisions.
Deterioration in economic conditions affecting borrowers, new information regarding existing loans, identification of additional problem loans and other factors, both within and outside of our control, may require an increase in the allowance for loan losses. If current conditions in the housing and real estate markets weaken, we expect we will experience increased delinquencies and credit losses.
The FASB has adopted a new accounting standard referred to as Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) which will require financial institutions to determine periodic estimates of lifetime expected credit losses on loans and recognize the expected credit losses as allowances for credit losses. This will change the current method of providing allowances for credit losses only when they have been incurred and are probable, which may require us to increase our allowance for loan losses, and may greatly increase the types of data we would need to collect and review to determine the appropriate level of the allowance for credit losses. This accounting pronouncement became applicable to us on January 1, 2020. We will recognize a onetime cumulative-effect adjustment to the allowance for loan losses as of the date of adoption. We currently estimate that the adoption of this ASU will result in a combined increase to our allowance for credit losses and reserve for unfunded loan commitments of 10% to 20%. For additional information on CECL and the estimated impact of the one-time cumulative-effect adjustment see Note 2, Accounting Standards Recently Issued or Adopted, of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements. The federal banking regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, have adopted a rule that gives a banking organization the option to phase in over a three-year period the day-one adverse effects of CECL on its regulatory capital.
In addition, bank regulatory agencies periodically review our allowance for loan losses and may require an increase in the provision for possible loan losses or the recognition of further loan charge-offs, based on judgments different than those of management. If charge-offs in future periods exceed the allowance for loan losses, we may need additional provisions to increase the allowance for loan losses. Any increases in the allowance for loan losses will result in a decrease in net income and, most likely, capital, and may have a material negative effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We pursue a strategy of supplementing internal growth by acquiring other financial companies or their assets and liabilities that we believe will help us fulfill our strategic objectives and enhance our earnings. We may be adversely affected by risks associated with potential acquisitions.
As part of our general growth strategy, we have recently expanded our business through acquisitions. During the fourth quarter of 2019, we acquired AltaPacific, and expect system integration to be completed in the first quarter of 2020. Although our business strategy emphasizes organic expansion, we continue, from time to time in the ordinary course of business, to engage in preliminary discussions with potential acquisition targets. There can be no assurance that, in the future, we will successfully identify suitable acquisition candidates, complete acquisitions and successfully integrate acquired operations into our existing operations or expand into new markets. The consummation of any future acquisitions may dilute shareholder value or may have an adverse effect upon our operating results while the operations of the acquired business are being integrated into our operations. In addition, once integrated, acquired operations may not achieve levels of profitability comparable to those achieved by Banner’s existing operations, or otherwise perform as expected. Further, transaction-related expenses may adversely affect our earnings. These adverse effects on our earnings and results of operations may have a negative impact on the value of Banner’s stock. Acquiring banks, bank branches or businesses involves risks commonly associated with acquisitions, including:
We may be exposed to potential asset quality issues or unknown or contingent liabilities of the banks, businesses, assets, and liabilities we acquire. If these issues or liabilities exceed our estimates, our results of operations and financial condition may be materially negatively affected;
Higher than expected deposit attrition;
Potential diversion of our management's time and attention;
Prices at which acquisitions can be made fluctuate with market conditions. We have experienced times during which acquisitions could not be made in specific markets at prices we considered acceptable and expect that we will experience this situation in the future;
The acquisition of other entities generally requires integration of systems, procedures and personnel of the acquired entity into our company to make the transaction economically successful. This integration process is complicated and time consuming and can also be disruptive to the customers of the acquired business. If the integration process is not conducted successfully and with minimal adverse effect on the acquired business and its customers, we may not realize the anticipated economic benefits of particular acquisitions within the expected time frame, and we may lose customers or employees of the acquired business. We may also experience greater than anticipated customer losses even if the integration process is successful;
To finance an acquisition, we may borrow funds, thereby increasing our leverage and diminishing our liquidity, or raise additional capital, which could dilute the interests of our existing shareholders;
We have completed various acquisitions in the past few years that enhanced our rate of growth. We may not be able to continue to sustain our past rate of growth or to grow at all in the future; and
To the extent our costs of an acquisition exceed the fair value of the net assets acquired, the acquisition will generate goodwill. As discussed below under “-If the goodwill we have recorded in connection with acquisitions become impaired, our earnings and capital
could be reduced,” we are required to assess our goodwill for impairment at least annually, and any goodwill impairment charge could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
The required accounting treatment of loans we acquire through acquisitions including purchase credit impaired loans could result in higher net interest margins and interest income in current periods and lower net interest margins and interest income in future periods.
Under GAAP, we are required to record loans acquired through acquisitions, including purchase credit impaired loans, at fair value. Estimating the fair value of such loans requires management to make estimates based on available information and facts and circumstances as of the acquisition date. Actual performance could differ from management’s initial estimates. If these loans outperform our original fair value estimates, the difference between our original estimate and the actual performance of the loan (the “discount”) is accreted into net interest income. Thus, our net interest margins may initially increase due to the discount accretion. We expect the yields on our loans to decline as our acquired loan portfolio pays down or matures and the discount decreases, and we could experience downward pressure on our interest income to the extent that the runoff on our acquired loan portfolio is not replaced with comparable high-yielding loans. This could result in higher net interest margins and interest income in current periods and lower net interest rate margins and lower interest income in future periods.
Severe weather, natural disasters, or other catastrophes could significantly impact our business.
Severe weather, natural disasters, widespread disease or pandemics, acts of war or terrorism or other adverse external events could have a significant impact on our ability to conduct business. In addition, such events could affect the stability of our deposit base, impair the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans and leases, impair the value of collateral securing loans, cause significant property damage, result in loss of revenue or cause us to incur additional expenses. The occurrence of any of these events in the future could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our growth or future losses may require us to raise additional capital in the future, but that capital may not be available when it is needed or the cost of that capital may be very high.
We are required by federal regulatory authorities to maintain adequate levels of capital to support our operations. We may at some point, however, need to raise additional capital to support continued growth or be required by our regulators to increase our capital resources. Any capital we obtain may result in the dilution of the interests of existing holders of our common stock. Our ability to raise additional capital, if needed, will depend on conditions in the capital markets at that time, which are outside our control, and on our financial condition and performance. Accordingly, we cannot make assurances that we will be able to raise additional capital if needed on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. If we cannot raise additional capital when needed, our ability to further expand our operations could be materially impaired and our financial condition and liquidity could be materially and adversely aff