☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
☐ 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: 001‑33037
SOUTHERN NATIONAL BANCORP OF VIRGINIA, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
6830 Old Dominion Drive
McLean, Virginia 22101
(Address or principal executive offices) (Zip code)
(Registrant’s telephone number including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par value
Nasdaq Global Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ 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 ☐ No ☒
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 ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) 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 an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b – 2 of the Exchange Act.:
Large accelerated filer ☐
Accelerated filer ☒
Smaller reporting company ☒
Emerging growth company ☐
Non-accelerated filer ☐
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 provided 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 ☒
The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2018 was approximately $403.7 million based on the closing price of the common stock on such date.
The number of shares of common stock outstanding as of March 7, 2019 was 24,118,003.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement pursuant to Regulation 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in conjunction with the registrant’s 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated into Part III, Items 10‑14 of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
This Annual Report on Form 10‑K contains statements about future expectations, activities and events that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of, and subject to the protection of, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Exchange Act and are intended to be covered by the safe harbor provided by the same. Forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future financial and operating performance and growth plans, taking into account the information currently available to us. These statements are not statements of historical fact. The words “believe,” “may,” “forecast,” “should,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “continue,” “would,” “could,” “hope,” “might,” “assume,” “objective,” “seek,” “plan,” “strive” or similar words, or the negatives of these words, identify forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations of future results we express or imply in any forward-looking statements. In addition to the other factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, factors that could contribute to those differences include, but are not limited to:
the effects of future economic, business and market conditions and disruptions in the credit and financial markets, domestic and foreign;
changes in the local economies in our market areas which adversely affect our customers and their ability to transact profitable business with us, including the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans according to their terms or a change in the value of the related collateral;
changes in the availability of funds resulting in increased costs or reduced liquidity, as well as the adequacy of our cash flow from operations and borrowings to meet our short-term liquidity needs;
a deterioration or downgrade in the credit quality and credit agency ratings of the investment securities in our investment securities portfolio;
impairment concerns and risks related to our investment securities portfolio of collateralized mortgage obligations, agency mortgage-backed securities, obligations of states and political subdivisions and pooled trust preferred securities;
the incurrence and possible impairment of goodwill associated with current or future acquisitions and possible adverse short-term effects on our results of operations;
increased credit risk in our assets and increased operating risk caused by a material change in commercial, consumer and/or real estate loans as a percentage of our total loan portfolio;
the concentration of our loan portfolio in loans collateralized by real estate;
our level of construction and land development and commercial real estate loans;
failure to prevent a breach to our Internet-based system and online commerce security;
changes in the levels of loan prepayments and the resulting effects on the value of our loan portfolio;
the failure of assumptions and estimates underlying the establishment of and provisions made to the allowance for loan losses;
our ability to expand and grow our business and operations, including the establishment of additional branches and acquisition of additional branches and banks, and our ability to realize the cost savings and revenue enhancements we expect from such activities;
government intervention in the U.S. financial system, including the effects of recent legislative, tax, accounting and regulatory actions and reforms, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the capital ratios of Basel III as adopted by the federal banking authorities and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act;
increased competition for deposits and loans adversely affecting rates and terms;
the continued service of key management personnel;
the potential payment of interest on demand deposit accounts to effectively compete for customers;
potential environmental liability risk associated with properties that we assume upon foreclosure;
increased asset levels and changes in the composition of assets and the resulting impact on our capital levels and regulatory capital ratios;
risks of current or future mergers and acquisitions, including the related time and cost of implementing transactions and the potential failure to achieve expected gains, revenue growth or expense savings;
increases in regulatory capital requirements for banking organizations generally, which may adversely affect our ability to expand our business or could cause us to shrink our business;
acts of God or of war or other conflicts, acts of terrorism or other catastrophic events that may affect general economic conditions;
changes in accounting policies, rules and practices and applications or determinations made thereunder;
fraudulent and negligent acts by loan applicants, mortgage brokers and our employees;
failure to maintain effective internal controls and procedures;
the risk that our deferred tax assets could be reduced if future taxable income is less than currently estimated, if corporate tax rates in the future are less than current rates, or if sales of our capital stock trigger limitations on the amount of net operating loss carryforwards that we may utilize for income tax purposes;
our ability to attract and retain qualified employees; and
other factors and risks described under “Risk Factors” herein and in any of our subsequent reports that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission” or “SEC”) under the Exchange Act.
Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance or results and should not be relied upon as representing management’s views as of any subsequent date. A forward-looking statement may include a statement of the assumptions or bases underlying the forward-looking statement. We believe we have chosen these assumptions or bases in good faith and that they are reasonable. We caution you, however, that assumptions or bases almost always vary from actual results, and the differences between assumptions or bases and actual results can be material. When considering forward-looking statements, you should refer to the risk factors and other cautionary statements in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K and in our periodic and current reports filed with the SEC for specific factors that could cause our actual results to be different from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. These statements speak only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10‑K (or an earlier date to the extent applicable). Except as required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to update publicly these statements in light of new information or future events.
Southern National Bancorp of Virginia, Inc. (“Southern National”, “SNBV”, “we” or “our”) is the bank holding company for Sonabank (“Sonabank” or the “Bank”), a Virginia state chartered bank which commenced operations on April 14, 2005. Sonabank provides a range of financial services to individuals and small and medium sized businesses. As of December 31, 2018, Southern National had $2.18 billion in total loans, $2.70 billion in total assets, $2.10 billion in total deposits and $348.3 million in total stockholders’ equity. At December 31, 2018, Sonabank had thirty-eight full-service retail branches in Virginia, located in the counties of Chesterfield (2), Essex (2), Fairfax (Reston, McLean and Fairfax), Gloucester (2), Hanover (3), King William, Lancaster, Middlesex (3), New Kent, Northumberland (3), Southampton, Surry, Sussex, and in Charlottesville, Clifton Forge, Colonial Heights, Front Royal, Hampton, Haymarket, Leesburg, Middleburg, New Market, Newport News, Richmond, South Riding, Warrenton, and Williamsburg, and seven full-service retail branches in Maryland, in Rockville, Shady Grove, Bethesda, Upper Marlboro, Brandywine, Owings and Huntingtown.
While we offer a wide range of commercial banking services, we focus on making loans secured primarily by commercial real estate and other types of secured and unsecured commercial loans to small and medium-sized businesses in a number of industries, as well as loans to individuals for a variety of purposes, including 1‑4 family residential loans. We are a leading Small Business Administration (“SBA”) lender among Virginia community banks. We also invest in real estate-related securities, including collateralized mortgage obligations and agency mortgage backed securities. Our principal sources of funds for loans and investing in securities are deposits and, to a lesser extent, borrowings. We offer a broad range of deposit products, including checking (NOW), savings, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. We actively pursue business relationships by utilizing the business contacts of our senior management, other bank officers and our directors, thereby capitalizing on our knowledge of our local market areas.
Effective December 4, 2009, Sonabank assumed certain deposits and liabilities and acquired certain assets of Greater Atlantic Bank (“GAB”) from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), as receiver for GAB, pursuant to the terms of a purchase and assumption agreement entered into by the Bank and the FDIC on December 4, 2009. On December 5, 2009, the former GAB offices, located in Reston, New Market, Front Royal and South Riding, Virginia and Rockville, Maryland opened as Sonabank branches.
Covered loan losses are reimbursed in accordance with our FDIC loss sharing agreements. There are two agreements with the FDIC, one for single family assets which is a 10 year agreement expiring in December 2019, and one for non-single family (commercial) assets which was a 5 year agreement that expired in December 2014.
On October 1, 2011, Sonabank completed the acquisition of the Midlothian branch of the Bank of Hampton Roads in Richmond, Virginia. We assumed deposits in the amount of $42.2 million.
Effective April 27, 2012, Sonabank assumed substantially all of the deposits and liabilities and acquired substantially all of the assets of the HarVest Bank of Maryland from the FDIC as receiver. The acquisition included HarVest Bank’s branches in Bethesda, Shady Grove, Germantown and Frederick, Maryland. Adding these new branches to our existing branch in Rockville, Maryland brought Sonabank’s total number of branches in Maryland to five, four of which are in Montgomery County, Maryland. This was a strategic acquisition for Sonabank in order to expand into an affluent market.
The merger with Prince George’s Federal Savings Bank (“PGFSB”) was completed on August 1, 2014. Southern National acquired PGFSB in a cash and stock transaction. Sonabank acquired PGFSB’s four offices in Maryland, including a main office in Upper Marlboro and three branch offices in Dunkirk, Brandywine and Huntingtown.
On May 15, 2014, SNBV purchased a 44% equity investment and preferred stock of Southern Trust Mortgage, LLC (“STM”), a regional mortgage banking company headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. On June 23, 2017, in
connection with the Eastern Virginia Bankshares, Inc. (“EVBS”) acquisition, we added 4.9% of additional equity investment and preferred stock in STM, bringing our total equity investment to 48.9%. As of December 31, 2018, our equity investment in STM totaled $3.8 million and our preferred stock investment in STM totaled $3.3 million. STM has mortgage banking originators in Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. STM only originates retail mortgages.
On January 20, 2017, Southern National completed the sale of $27.0 million of its fixed-to-floating rate Subordinated Notes due 2027 (the “SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes”). The SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes will initially bear interest at 5.875% per annum until January 31, 2022; thereafter, the SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes will be payable at an annual floating rate equal to three-month LIBOR plus a spread of 3.95% until maturity or early redemption. Immediately following the completion of the sale of the SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes, Southern National injected $22.0 million of the proceeds into its subsidiary, Sonabank.
On June 23, 2017, SNBV completed its acquisition of EVBS, headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia, and its subsidiaries, EVB Statutory Trust I (the “Trust”) and EVB, a Virginia state-charted bank. Pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated December 13, 2016, as amended, holders of EVBS common stock received 0.6313 shares of SNBV common stock for each outstanding share of EVBS common stock held immediately prior to the effective time of the merger and holders of Non-Voting Mandatorily Convertible Non-Cumulative Preferred Stock, Series B of EVBS (“EVBS Series B Preferred Stock”) received 0.6313 shares of SNBV common stock for each share of EVBS Series B Preferred Stock held immediately prior to the effective time of the merger, which totaled approximately $198.9 million based on SNBV’s closing common stock price on June 23, 2017 of $17.21 per share. EVBS operated twenty-four retail branches in Virginia.
We primarily market our products and services to small and medium-sized businesses and to retail consumers. Our strategy is to provide superior service through our employees, who are relationship-oriented and committed to their respective customers. Through this strategy, we intend to grow our business, expand our customer base and improve our profitability. The key elements of our strategy are to:
Utilize the Strength of our Management Team. The experience and market knowledge of our management team is one of our greatest strengths and competitive advantages. Our executive chairman of the board, Georgia S. Derrico, served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Southern National until our merger with EVBS on June 23, 2017. Our executive vice chairman of the board, R. Roderick Porter, served as president of Southern National until our merger with EVBS on June 23, 2017. Ms. Derrico and Mr. Porter have over 50 years of banking experience. As part of the merger with EVBS on June 23, 2017, legacy EVBS president and chief executive officer, Joe A. Shearin, assumed the same role with Southern National. Mr. Shearin, currently our chief executive officer has nearly 40 years of bank management experience. These three individuals comprise our newly created office of the chairman, which serves as the senior executive leadership of Southern National.
Leverage Our Existing Foundation for Additional Growth. Based on our management’s depth of experience and certain infrastructure investments, we believe that we will be able to take advantage of certain economies of scale typically enjoyed by larger organizations to expand our operations both organically and through strategic cost-effective branch or bank acquisitions. We believe that the investments we have made in our data processing, risk management infrastructure, staff and branch network will be able to support a much larger asset base. We are committed, however, to control any additional growth in a manner designed to minimize the risk and to maintain strong capital ratios.
Continue to Pursue Selective Acquisition Opportunities. Historically, acquisitions have been a key part of our growth. In addition to the transactions previously highlighted, we completed the acquisition of a branch of Millennium Bank in Warrenton, Virginia on September 28, 2009, the acquisition of the Leesburg, Virginia branch location from Founders Corporation which opened on February 11, 2008, the acquisition of 1st Service Bank in December of 2006 and the acquisition of the Clifton Forge branch of First Community Bancorp, Inc. in December of 2005. We intend to continue to review branch and whole bank acquisition opportunities, including possible acquisitions of failed financial institutions in FDIC-assisted transactions, and will pursue these opportunities if they represent the most efficient use of our capital under the circumstances. We believe that we have demonstrated the skill sets and experience necessary to acquire and integrate successfully both bank and
branch acquisitions, and that with our strong capital position, we are well-positioned to take advantage of acquisition opportunities as they may arise. We intend to focus on targets in our market areas or other attractive areas with significant core deposits and/or a potential customer base compatible with our growth strategy.
New Branch Expansion. In addition to our acquisition strategy, we plan to open new branches from time to time to fill in our existing footprint. We opened our newest full-service branch in the River’s Bend market located in Chesterfield County, Virginia in October 2017. This branch, which was part of the EVBS merger, is located in a dynamic growth area with new businesses and consumers entering the market every day. Additionally, this market compliments our focus on the south of Richmond market which includes Colonial Heights, Tri-Cities and Midlothian.
Focus on the Business Owner. It is our goal to be the bank that business owners in our markets turn to first for commercial banking needs as a result of our superior personal service and the tailored products and services that we provide. To help achieve this goal, we:
have a standing credit committee that meets as often as necessary on a “when needed” basis to review completed loan applications, making extensive use of technology to facilitate our internal communications and thereby enabling us to respond to our customers promptly;
are an SBA approved “Preferred” lender, which permits us to make SBA loan decisions at Sonabank rather than waiting for SBA processing. We offer a number of different types of SBA loans designed for the small and medium-sized business owner and many of our SBA loan customers also have other relationships with Sonabank. This product group is complex and “paper intensive” and not well utilized by some of our competitors;
provide Internet business banking at www.sonabank.com which allows our business customers 24‑hour web-based access to their accounts so they can confirm or transfer balances, pay bills, download statements and use our “Web Lockbox” or “Sona Cash Manager;”
provide our business customers with “Sona In-House,” a service that utilizes Check 21 technology to allow customers to make remote deposits from their business locations and gives them access to those funds within 24 to 48 hours; and
provide our business customers with access to SABL, our state-of-the-art asset-based lending system. Unlike most asset-based lending systems, which are based on manual processes or software that certifies a company’s borrowing base periodically, SABL provides a real time capability to analyze and adjust borrowing availability based on actual collateral levels. SABL is predicated on a link between any kind of accounting software used by the customer and Sonabank’s server.
Maintain Local Decision-Making and Accountability. We believe that we have a competitive advantage over larger national and regional financial institutions by providing superior customer service with experienced, knowledgeable management, localized decision-making capabilities and prompt credit decisions. We believe that our customers want to deal directly with the people who make the credit decisions.
Focus on Asset Quality and Strong Underwriting. We consider asset quality to be of primary importance and have taken measures in an effort to ensure that, despite the growth in our loan portfolio, we maintain strong asset quality through strong underwriting standards.
Build a Stable Core Deposit Base. We intend to continue to grow a stable core deposit base of business and retail customers. To the extent that our asset growth outpaces this local deposit funding source, we plan to continue to borrow and raise deposits in the national market using deposit intermediaries. We intend to continue our practice of developing a deposit relationship with each of our loan customers.
Our principal business is the acquisition of deposits from the general public through our branch offices and deposit intermediaries and the use of these deposits to fund our loan and investment security portfolios. We seek to be a full service community bank that provides a wide variety of financial services to our middle market corporate clients as well as to our retail clients. We are an active commercial lender, have been designated as a “Preferred SBA Lender” and participate in the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority lending program. In addition, we are an active commercial real estate lender. We also invest funds in mortgage-backed securities, collateralized mortgage obligations, securities issued by agencies of the federal government, obligations of states and political subdivisions and pooled trust preferred securities.
The principal sources of funds for our lending and investment activities are deposits, repayment of loans, prepayments from mortgage-backed securities, repayments of maturing investment securities, Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) advances and other borrowed money.
Principal sources of revenue are interest and fees on loans and investment securities, as well as fee income derived from the maintenance of deposit accounts and income from bank-owned life insurance policies. Our principal expenses include interest paid on deposits, advances from the FHLB of Atlanta, junior subordinated debt, senior subordinated notes and other borrowings, and operating expenses.
Southern National files annual, quarterly, periodic and other reports under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, with the SEC. These reports are posted and are available at no cost on our website, www.sonabank.com, through the Investor Relations link, as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such documents with the SEC. Our filings are also available through the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Our primary strategic objective is to serve small to medium-sized businesses in our market with a variety of unique and useful services, including a full array of commercial mortgage and non-mortgage loans. These loans include commercial real estate loans, construction to permanent loans, development and builder loans, accounts receivable financing, lines of credit, equipment and vehicle loans, leasing, and commercial overdraft protection. We strive to do business in the areas served by our branches, which is also where our marketing is focused, and the vast majority of our loan customers are located in existing market areas. Substantially all of our loans are with borrowers in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The SBA may from time to time come to us because of our reputation and expertise as an SBA lender and ask us to review a loan outside of our core counties but within our market area. Prior to making a loan, we obtain loan applications to determine a borrower’s ability to repay, and the more significant items on these applications are verified through the use of credit reports, financial statements and confirmations.
The following is a discussion of each of the major types of lending in which we engage. For more information on our lending activities, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition.”
Commercial Real Estate Lending
Permanent. Commercial real estate lending includes loans for permanent financing. Commercial real estate lending typically involves higher loan principal amounts and the repayment of loans is dependent, in large part, on sufficient income from the properties securing the loans to cover operating expenses and debt service. As a general practice, we require our commercial real estate loans to be secured by well-managed income producing properties with adequate margins and to be guaranteed by responsible parties. We look for opportunities where cash flow from the collateral properties provides adequate debt service coverage and the guarantor’s net worth is strong. At December 31, 2018, our commercial real estate loans for permanent financing, including multi-family residential loans and loans secured by farmland, totaled $1.05 billion. Owner occupied commercial real estate loans totaled $407.0 million.
Our underwriting guidelines for commercial real estate loans reflect all relevant credit factors, including, among other things, the income generated from the underlying property to adequately service the debt, the availability of secondary sources of repayment and the overall creditworthiness of the borrower. In addition, we look to the value of the collateral, while maintaining the level of equity invested by the borrower.
All valuations on property which will secure loans over $250 thousand are performed by independent outside appraisers who are reviewed by our executive vice president of credit risk management and/or our appraisal reviewer. We retain a valid lien on real estate and obtain a title insurance policy (on first trust loans only) that insures the property is free of encumbrances. In addition, we do title searches on all loans secured by real estate.
Construction. We recognize that construction loans for commercial, multifamily and other non-residential properties can involve risk due to the length of time it may take to bring a finished real estate product to market. As a result, we will only make these types of loans when pre-leasing or pre-sales or other credit factors suggest that the borrower can carry the debt if the anticipated market and property cash flow projections change during the construction phase.
Income producing property loans are supported by evidence of the borrower’s capacity to service the debt. All of our commercial construction loans are guaranteed by the principals or general partners. At December 31, 2018, we had $146.6 million of construction and land development loans.
Construction loan borrowers are generally pre-qualified for the permanent loan by us or a third party. We obtain a copy of the contract with the general contractor who must be acceptable to us. All plans, specifications and surveys must include proposed improvements. We review feasibility studies and risk analyses showing sensitivity of the project to variables such as interest rates, vacancy rates, lease rates and operating expenses.
Commercial Business Lending
These loans consist of lines of credit, revolving credit facilities, demand loans, term loans, equipment loans, SBA loans, stand-by letters of credit and unsecured loans. Commercial business loans are generally secured by accounts receivable, equipment, inventory and other collateral, such as readily marketable stocks and bonds with adequate margins, cash value in life insurance policies and savings and time deposits at Sonabank. At December 31, 2018, our commercial business loans totaled $255.4 million.
In general, commercial business loans involve more credit risk than residential mortgage loans and real estate-backed commercial loans and, therefore, usually yield a higher return to us. The increased risk for commercial business loans is due to the type of collateral securing these loans. The increased risk also derives from the expectation that commercial loans will be serviced principally from the operations of the business, which may not be successful. Historical trends have shown that these types of loans have higher delinquencies than mortgage loans. Because of this, we often utilize the SBA 7(a) program (which guarantees the repayment of up to 90% of the principal and accrued interest to us) to reduce the inherent risk associated with commercial business lending.
Another way that we reduce risk in the commercial loan portfolio is by taking accounts receivable as collateral using our SABL system. Our accounts receivable financing facilities, which provide a relatively high yield with considerable collateral control, are lines of credit under which a company can borrow up to the amount of a borrowing base which covers a certain percentage of the company’s receivables. From our customer’s point of view, accounts receivable financing is an efficient way to finance expanding operations because borrowing capacity expands as sales increase. Customers can borrow from 75% to 90% of qualified receivables. In most cases, the borrower’s customers pay us directly. For borrowers with a good track record for earnings and quality receivables, we will consider pricing based on an increment above the prime rate for transactions in which we lend up to a percentage of qualified outstanding receivables based on reported aging of the receivables portfolio.
We also actively pursue for our customers equipment lease financing opportunities. We provide financing and use a third party to service the leases. Payment is derived from the cash flow of the borrower, so credit quality may not be any lower than it would be in the case of an unsecured loan for a similar amount and term.
We have developed an expertise in the federally guaranteed SBA program. The SBA program is an economic development program which finances the expansion of small businesses. We are a Preferred Lender in the Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia Districts of the SBA. As an SBA Preferred Lender, our pre-approved status allows us to quickly respond to customers’ needs. Under the SBA program, we originate and fund SBA 7(a) loans which qualify for guarantees up to 90% of principal and accrued interest. We also originate 504 chapter loans in which we generally provide 50% of the financing, taking a first lien on the real property as collateral.
We provide SBA loans to potential borrowers who are proposing a business venture, often with existing cash flow and a reasonable chance of success. We do not treat the SBA guarantee as a substitute for a borrower meeting our credit standards, and, except for minimum capital levels or maximum loan terms, the borrower must meet our other credit standards as applicable to loans outside the SBA process.
Residential Mortgage Lending
Permanent. Our business model generally does not include originating permanent residential mortgage loans. We originate such loans solely on a case-by-case basis. In the case of conventional loans, we typically lend up to 80% of the appraised value of single-family residences and require mortgage insurance for loans exceeding that amount. We have no sub-prime loans.
On May 15, 2014, we purchased a 44% equity investment and preferred stock of STM, a regional mortgage banking company headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia. On June 23, 2017, in connection with the EVBS acquisition, we added 4.9% of additional equity investment and preferred stock in STM, bringing our total equity investment to 48.9%. STM has mortgage banking originators in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Delaware. STM only originates retail mortgages.
Sonabank has established with STM underwriting guidelines under which it will purchase residential construction only, construction loans that convert to permanent, and permanent loans primarily in its Virginia and Maryland footprint from STM. These are largely loans that do not conform to FNMA or FHLMC standards because of size or acreage. We purchased loans in an aggregate amount of $125.1 million from STM during 2018.
We retain a valid lien on real estate and obtain a title insurance policy that ensures that the property is free of encumbrances. We also require hazard insurance and flood insurance for all loans secured by real property if the real property is in a flood plain as designated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. We also require most borrowers to advance funds on a monthly basis from which we make disbursements for items such as real estate taxes, private mortgage insurance and hazard insurance.
Home Equity Lines of Credit (“HELOC”). Sonabank rarely originated HELOCs prior to our merger with EVBS. Since our merger with EVBS, HELOC’s are now a regular part of our business model. At December 31, 2018, we had outstanding HELOC balances totaling $128.2 million.
We offer various types of secured and unsecured consumer loans. We make consumer loans primarily for personal, family or household purposes as a convenience to our customer base since these loans are not the focus of our lending activities. As a general guideline, a consumer’s debt service should not exceed 40% of gross income or 45% of net income. For purposes of this calculation, debt includes house payment or rent, fixed installment payments, the estimated payment for the loan being requested and the minimum required payment on any revolving debt. At December 31, 2018, we had $32.3 million of consumer loans outstanding.
Credit Approval and Collection Policies
Because future loan losses are so closely intertwined with our underwriting policy, we have instituted what management believes is a stringent loan underwriting policy. Our underwriting guidelines are tailored for particular credit types, including lines of credit, revolving credit facilities, demand loans, term loans, equipment loans, real estate loans, SBA loans, stand-by letters of credit and unsecured loans. We will make extensions of credit based, among other factors, on the potential borrower’s creditworthiness, likelihood of repayment and proximity to market areas served.
We have a standing Credit Committee comprised of certain officers, each of whom has a defined lending authority in combination with other officers. These individual lending authorities are determined by our Chief Executive Officer and certain directors and are based on the individual’s technical ability and experience. These lending authorities must be approved by our board of directors and our Credit Committee. Our Credit Committee is comprised of four levels of
members, based on experience: junior, regular, senior, and executive. Our Senior Executive members are Ms. Derrico, Mr. Porter and Mr. Shearin. Our Junior Executive members are Messrs. Baker and Brockwell. Mr. Stevens, Chief Credit Risk Officer, must approve risk ratings for loans over $1.5 million, as well as exceptions to the Credit Policy. Ms. Milne, Senior Credit Risk Officer must approve exceptions to Credit Policy for loans less than $1.5 million. Loans over a certain size must be approved by the full Board of Directors or the Credit Committee plus two outside directors. Under our loan approval process, the sponsoring loan officer’s approval is required on all credit submissions. This approval must be included in or added to the individual and joining authorities outlined below. The sponsoring loan officer is primarily responsible for the customer’s relationship with us, including, among other things, obtaining and maintaining adequate credit file information. We require each loan officer to maintain loan files in an order and detail that would enable a disinterested third party to review the file and determine the current status and quality of the credit.
In addition to the approval of the sponsoring loan officer, we require approvals from one or more members of the Credit Committee on all loans. The approvals required differ based on the size of the borrowing relationship. At least one regular and one senior or executive member must approve loans up to $500 thousand. One regular, one senior and one executive member of the committee must approve all loans between $500 thousand and $1.0 million. One regular, one senior and two executive members must approve loans between $1.0 million and $6.0 million. All five executive members must approve loans over $6.0 million. Regardless of the number of approvals needed, we encourage each member not to rely on another member’s approval as a basis for approval and to treat his approval as if it were the only approval necessary to approve the loan. Our legal lending limit to one borrower is 15% of our unimpaired capital and surplus plus the allowance for loan losses. As of December 31, 2018, our legal lending limit was approximately $45.0 million. Our largest group credit as of December 31, 2018, was approximately $41.5 million.
The following collection actions are the minimal procedures which management believes are necessary to properly monitor past due loans and leases. When a borrower fails to make a payment, we contact the borrower in person, in writing or on the telephone. At a minimum, all borrowers are notified by mail when payments of principal and/or interest are 10 days past due. Real estate and commercial loan borrowers are assessed a late charge when payments are 10‑15 days past due. Customers are contacted by a loan officer before the loan becomes 60 days delinquent. After 90 days, if the loan has not been brought current or an acceptable arrangement is not worked out with the borrower, we will institute measures to remedy the default, including commencing foreclosure action with respect to mortgage loans and repossessions of collateral in the case of consumer loans.
If foreclosure is effected, the property is sold at a public auction in which we may participate as a bidder. If we are the successful bidder, we include the acquired real estate property in our real estate owned (“OREO”) account until it is sold. These assets are initially recorded at fair value net of estimated selling costs. To the extent there is a subsequent decline in fair value, that amount is charged to operating expense. At December 31, 2018, we had OREO totaling $5.1 million.
Special Products and Services
To complement our array of loans, we also provide the following special products and services to our commercial customers:
Cash Management Services
Cash Management services are offered that enable the Bank’s business customers to maximize the efficiency of their cash management. Specific products offered in our Cash Management services program include the following:
Mobiliti, a mobile banking application for personal and business accounts
Some of the products listed above are described in-depth below.
SONA 24/7/Check 21: SONA 24/7 is ideal for landlords, property managers, medical professionals, and any other businesses that accept checks. SONA 24/7 allows customers of Sonabank to have total control over how, when, and where their checks will be deposited. SONA 24/7 uses the Check Truncation technology outlined by the “Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act”, passed in October 2004 (“Check 21”). With Check Truncation, paper checks can now be converted to electronic images and processed between participating banks, vastly speeding up the check clearing process. SONA In-House passes on the benefits of Check Truncation directly to Sonabank’s business customers.
Lockbox Services: Sonabank will open a lockbox, retrieve and scan incoming checks, and deposit them directly into the customer’s account. The images of the checks will then be available to view online. This makes bookkeeping for the customer fast and easy, and because Sonabank is checking the lockbox daily, funds will often be available sooner. Big businesses have been using lockboxes for decades as a cash management tool. Sonabank makes this service cost effective for all small and medium sized businesses as well.
Employer Services: Sonabank will provide its business clients with software that allows them to generate ACH payroll transactions to their employees’ accounts.
SABL: Asset Based Lending is a form of “collateral-based” lending. It is a combination of secured lending and short-term business lending. It is a specialized form of financing that allows a bank’s commercial customers to pledge their working assets, typically accounts receivable and, to a lesser extent, inventory, as collateral to secure financing. Asset Based Lending borrowers are typically in the service, manufacturing or distribution fields.
SABL is an Asset Based Lending software system built by Sonabank that allows the Bank to monitor the collateral of its commercial borrowers who have pledged their working assets (accounts receivables and other qualifying assets such as inventory) as collateral. SABL has the ability to track other offsets (liabilities, e.g. other loans the customer has with the Bank) to the line of credit. SABL serves to provide the more stringent controls and supervision that this type of lending requires.
One control that is typical of Asset Based Lending is that the commercial borrower is required to have its customers remit invoice payments to a bank controlled lockbox. The bank retrieves these payments and the bank applies them directly to any outstanding balance on the line. SABL allows for this and can combine that service with remote capture (Check 21) if warranted.
Most Asset Based Lending systems are manual processes or software that certifies the borrowing base periodically. These certifications are usually provided in the form of manually created borrowing bases backed up with field exams. SABL provides a real time capability to analyze and adjust borrowing availability based on the levels of collateral at the moment.
SABL also offers an automated collateral upload, taking receivable information directly from the clients accounting system. SABL also offers discretionary borrowings and pay offs, allowing clients to borrow on or pay down their line at their discretion, as long as they are compliant with the SABL system. Lastly, SABL offers superior reporting, offering
reports to bank officers that provide all the information they need to monitor risk. Customized reports can also be built for clients.
Mobiliti: Sona Mobile is perfect for customers on the go, as it is available on a large variety of devices and networks. Sona Mobile offers easy access to account balances, transactions and internal transfers. Mobile Deposit allows customers to save time by eliminating the need to visit a branch. The customer can deposit a check through Sona Mobile by using their certified device (up to $2,500).
Sona Business Mobile can help business customers manage their finances faster than ever. Customers have access to their information via a wide range of devices and networks. The shared user credentials and security settings between online and mobile banking make access more efficient for the business customer. Sona Business Mobile offers standard online banking features, along with enhanced features such as ACH & Wire transfer processing, including granting approvals to users to complete those processes. Mobile deposit is a time saving tool that allows business customers to deposit checks through Sona Business Mobile from their certified device (up to $5,000).
Other Consumer/Retail Products and Services. Other products and services that are offered by the Bank are primarily directed toward the individual customer and include the following:
Notary service in some branches
Online banking with bill payment services
The banking business is highly competitive, and our profitability depends principally on our ability to compete in the market areas in which our banking operations are located. We experience substantial competition in attracting and retaining savings deposits and in lending funds. The primary factors we encounter in competing for savings deposits are convenient office locations and rates offered. Direct competition for savings deposits comes from other commercial bank and thrift institutions, money market mutual funds and corporate and government securities which may offer more attractive rates than insured depository institutions are willing to pay. The primary factors we encounter in competing for loans include, among others, interest rate and loan origination fees and the range of services offered. Competition for origination of loans normally comes from other commercial banks, thrift institutions, mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, insurance companies and fintech or digital lending companies. We have been able to compete effectively with other financial institutions by:
emphasizing customer service and technology;
establishing long-term customer relationships and building customer loyalty; and
providing products and services designed to address the specific needs of our customers.
At December 31, 2018, we had 348 full-time equivalent employees. Management of Southern National and Sonabank considers its relations with its employees to be good. Neither Southern National nor Sonabank are a party to any collective bargaining agreement.
Bank holding companies and banks are extensively regulated under federal and state law. This discussion is a summary and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the particular statutory and regulatory provisions described below, and is not intended to be an exhaustive description of the statutes or regulations applicable to Southern National or the Bank. The business of Southern National and the Bank is subject to extensive regulation and supervision under federal and state law, including oversight by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Federal Reserve”) and the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions (“VBFI”), a regulatory division of the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Changes in laws and regulations may alter the structure, regulation and competitive relationships of financial institutions. In addition, bank regulatory agencies may issue enforcement actions, policy statements, interpretive letters and similar written guidance applicable to us or the Bank. It cannot be predicted whether and in what form new laws and regulations, or interpretations thereof, may be adopted or the extent to which the business of Southern National and the Bank may be affected thereby, but they may have a material adverse effect on our business, operations, and earnings.
Violations of laws and regulations, or other unsafe and unsound practices, may result in regulatory agencies imposing fines or penalties, cease and desist orders, or taking other enforcement actions. Under certain circumstances, these agencies may enforce these remedies directly against officers, directors, employees and other parties participating in the affairs of a bank or bank holding company. Under federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to the safety and soundness of insured depository institutions, federal and state banking regulators have the authority to compel or restrict certain actions on our part if they determine that we have insufficient capital or other resources, or are otherwise operating in a manner that may be deemed to be inconsistent with safe and sound banking practices. Under this authority, our bank regulators can require us or our subsidiaries to enter into informal or formal supervisory agreements, including board resolutions, memoranda of understanding, written agreements and consent or cease and desist orders, pursuant to which we would be required to take identified corrective actions to address cited concerns and to refrain from taking certain actions.
If we become subject to and are unable to comply with the terms of any future regulatory actions or directives, supervisory agreements, or orders, then we could become subject to additional, heightened supervisory actions and orders, possibly including consent orders, prompt corrective action restrictions and/or other regulatory actions, including prohibitions on the payment of dividends on our common stock and preferred stock. If our regulators were to take such additional supervisory actions, then we could, among other things, become subject to significant restrictions on our ability to develop any new business, as well as restrictions on our existing business, and we could be required to raise additional capital, dispose of certain assets and liabilities within a prescribed period of time, or both. The terms of any such supervisory action could have a material negative effect on our business, reputation, operating flexibility, financial condition, and the value of our common stock and preferred stock.
Supervision, regulation, and examination of Southern National, the Bank, and our respective subsidiaries by the appropriate regulatory agencies, as described herein, are intended primarily for the protection of consumers, bank depositors and the Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) of the FDIC, and the U.S. banking and financial system, rather than holders of our capital stock.
Bank Holding Company Regulation
Southern National is subject to extensive supervision and regulation by the Federal Reserve System pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “Bank Holding Company Act”). We are required to file with the Federal Reserve periodic reports and such other information as the Federal Reserve may request. Ongoing supervision is provided through regular examinations by the Federal Reserve and other means that allow the regulators to gauge management’s ability to identify, assess and control risk in all areas of operations in a safe and sound manner and to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. In addition to regulation by the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company, Southern National is subject to supervision and regulation by the VBFI under the banking and general business corporation laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Activity Limitations. Southern National is registered with the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company. Bank holding companies generally are limited to the business of banking, managing or controlling banks, and other activities that the Federal Reserve determines to be closely related to banking, or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto. Bank holding companies are prohibited from acquiring or obtaining control of more than five percent (5%) of the outstanding voting interests of any company that engages in activities other than those activities permissible for bank holding companies. Examples of activities that the Federal Reserve has determined to be permissible are making, acquiring, brokering, or servicing loans; leasing personal property; providing certain investment or financial advice; performing certain data processing services; acting as agent or broker in selling credit life insurance and other insurance products in certain locations; and performing certain insurance underwriting activities. The Bank Holding Company Act does not place geographic limits on permissible non-banking activities of bank holding companies. Even with respect to permissible activities, however, the Federal Reserve has the power to order a holding company or its subsidiaries to terminate any activity or its control of any subsidiary when the Federal Reserve has reasonable cause to believe that continuation of such activity or control of such subsidiary would pose a serious risk to the financial safety, soundness or stability of any bank subsidiary of that holding company.
Source of Strength Obligations. A bank holding company is required to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary bank and to maintain resources adequate to support its bank. The term “source of financial strength” means the ability of a company, such as us, that directly or indirectly owns or controls an insured depository institution, such as the Bank, to provide financial assistance to such insured depository institution in the event of financial distress. The appropriate federal banking agency for the depository institution (in the case of the Bank, this agency is the FDIC) may require reports from us to assess our ability to serve as a source of strength and to enforce compliance with the source of strength requirements by requiring us to provide financial assistance to the Bank in the event of financial distress. If we were to enter bankruptcy or become subject to the orderly liquidation process established by the Dodd-Frank Act, any commitment by us to a federal bank regulatory agency to maintain the capital of the Bank would be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee or the FDIC, as appropriate, and entitled to a priority of payment. In addition, the FDIC provides that any insured depository institution generally will be liable for any loss incurred by the FDIC in connection with the default of, or any assistance provided by the FDIC to, a commonly controlled insured depository institution. The Bank is an FDIC-insured depository institution and thus subject to these requirements.
Acquisitions. The Bank Holding Company Act requires every bank holding company to obtain the prior approval of the Federal Reserve or waiver of such prior approval before it (1) acquires ownership or control of any voting shares of any bank if, after such acquisition, such bank holding company will own or control more than five percent (5%) of the voting shares of such bank, (2) acquires all of the assets of a bank, or (3) merges with any other bank holding company. In reviewing a proposed covered acquisition, among other factors, the Federal Reserve considers (1) the financial and managerial resources of the companies involved, including pro forma capital ratios; (2) the risk to the stability of the United States banking or financial system; (3) the convenience and needs of the communities to be served, including performance under the CRA; and (4) the effectiveness of the companies in combatting money laundering. The Federal Reserve also reviews any indebtedness to be incurred by a bank holding company in connection with a proposed acquisition to ensure that the bank holding company can service such indebtedness without adversely affecting its ability to serve as a source of strength to its bank subsidiaries. Well capitalized and well managed bank holding companies are permitted to acquire control of banks in any state, subject to federal regulatory approval, without regard to whether such a transaction is prohibited by the laws of any state. However, a bank holding company may not, following an interstate acquisition, control more than 10% of nationwide insured deposits or 30% of deposits within any state in which the acquiring bank operates. Federal banking regulators are also required to take into account compliance with the CRA in evaluating any proposal for interstate bank acquisitions.
Change in Control. Federal law restricts the amount of voting stock of a bank holding company or a bank that a person may acquire without the prior approval of banking regulators. Under the federal Change in Bank Control Act and the regulations thereunder, a person or group must give advance notice to and obtain approval from the Federal Reserve before acquiring control of any bank holding company, such as Southern National. The Change in Bank Control Act creates a rebuttable presumption of control if a member or group acquires a certain percentage or more of a bank holding company’s voting stock, or if one or more other control factors are present. As a result, a person or entity generally must provide prior notice to the Federal Reserve before acquiring the power to vote 10% or more of our outstanding common stock.
Virginia Law. Certain state corporation laws may have an anti-takeover affect. Virginia law restricts transactions between a Virginia corporation and its affiliates and potential acquirers. The following discussion summarizes the two Virginia statutes that may discourage an attempt to acquire control of Southern National.
Virginia Code Sections 13.1‑725 – 727.1 govern “Affiliated Transactions.” These provisions, with several exceptions discussed below, require approval by the holders of at least two-thirds of the remaining voting shares of material acquisition transactions between a Virginia corporation and any holder of more than 10% of any class of its outstanding voting shares. Affiliated Transactions include mergers, share exchanges, material dispositions of corporate assets not in the ordinary course of business, any dissolution of the corporation proposed by or on behalf of an interested shareholder, or any reclassification, including a reverse stock split, recapitalization, or merger of the corporation with its subsidiaries which increases the percentage of voting shares owned beneficially by any 10% shareholder by more than 5%.
These provisions were designed to deter certain takeovers of Virginia corporations. In addition, the statute provides that, by affirmative vote of a majority of the voting shares other than shares owned by any 10% shareholder, a corporation can adopt an amendment to its articles of incorporation or bylaws providing that the Affiliated Transactions provisions shall not apply to the corporation. Southern National “opted out” of the Affiliated Transactions provisions when it incorporated.
Virginia law also provides that shares acquired in a transaction that would cause the acquiring person’s voting strength to meet or exceed any of the three thresholds (20%, 33 1/3% or 50%) have no voting rights for those shares exceeding that threshold, unless granted by a majority vote of shares not owned by the acquiring person. This provision empowers an acquiring person to require the Virginia corporation to hold a special meeting of shareholders to consider the matter within 50 days of the request. Southern National also “opted out” of this provision at the time of its incorporation.
Governance and Financial Reporting Obligations. We are required to comply with various corporate governance and financial reporting requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules and regulations adopted by the SEC, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and NASDAQ. In particular, we are required to include management and independent registered public accounting firm reports on internal controls as part of our Annual Report on Form 10-K in order to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We have evaluated our controls, including compliance with the SEC rules on internal controls, and have and expect to continue to spend significant amounts of time and money on compliance with these rules. Our failure to comply with these internal control rules may materially adversely affect our reputation, ability to obtain the necessary certifications to financial statements, and the values of our securities.
Corporate Governance. The Dodd-Frank Act addresses many investor protections, corporate governance, and executive compensation matters that will affect most U.S. publicly traded companies. The Dodd-Frank Act (1) grants shareholders of U.S. publicly traded companies an advisory vote on executive compensation; (2) enhances independence requirements for Compensation Committee members; and (3) requires companies listed on national securities exchanges to adopt incentive-based compensation claw-back policies for executive officers.
Incentive Compensation. The Dodd-Frank Act required the banking agencies and the SEC to establish joint rules or guidelines for financial institutions with more than $1.0 billion in assets, such as Southern National and the Bank, which prohibit incentive compensation arrangements that the agencies determine to encourage inappropriate risks by the institution. The banking agencies issued proposed rules in 2011 and previously issued guidance on sound incentive compensation policies. In 2016, the Federal Reserve also proposed rules that would, depending upon the assets of the institution, directly regulate incentive compensation arrangements and would require enhanced oversight and recordkeeping. As of December 31, 2018, these rules have not been implemented. We and Sonabank have undertaken efforts to ensure that our incentive compensation plans do not encourage inappropriate risks, consistent with three key principles—that incentive compensation arrangements should appropriately balance risk and financial rewards, be compatible with effective controls and risk management, and be supported by strong corporate governance.
Shareholder Say-On-Pay Votes. The Dodd-Frank Act requires public companies to take shareholders’ votes on proposals addressing compensation (known as say-on-pay), the frequency of a say-on-pay vote, and the golden
parachutes available to executives in connection with change-in-control transactions. Public companies must give shareholders the opportunity to vote on the compensation at least every three years and the opportunity to vote on frequency at least every six years, indicating whether the say-on-pay vote should be held annually, biennially, or triennially.
Anti-tying rules. A bank holding company and its subsidiaries are prohibited from engaging in certain tying arrangements in connection with extensions of credit, leases or sales of property, or furnishing of services.
The Bank is required under federal law to maintain certain minimum capital levels based on ratios of capital to total assets and capital to risk-weighted assets. The required capital ratios are minimums, and the federal banking agencies may determine that a banking organization, based on its size, complexity or risk profile, must maintain a higher level of capital in order to operate in a safe and sound manner. Risks such as concentration of credit risks and the risk arising from non-traditional activities, as well as the institution’s exposure to a decline in the economic value of its capital due to changes in interest rates, and an institution’s ability to manage those risks are important factors that are to be taken into account by the federal banking agencies in assessing an institution’s overall capital adequacy. The following is a brief description of the relevant provisions of these capital rules and their potential impact on our capital levels.
The Bank is subject to the following risk-based capital ratios: a common equity Tier 1 ("CET1") risk-based capital ratio, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio, which includes CET1 and additional Tier 1 capital, and a total capital ratio, which includes Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital. CET1 is primarily comprised of the sum of common stock instruments and related surplus net of treasury stock, retained earnings, and certain qualifying minority interests, less certain adjustments and deductions, including with respect to goodwill, intangible assets, mortgage servicing assets and deferred tax assets subject to temporary timing differences. Additional Tier 1 capital is primarily comprised of noncumulative perpetual preferred stock, tier 1 minority interests and grandfathered trust preferred securities. Tier 2 capital consists of instruments disqualified from Tier 1 capital, including qualifying subordinated debt, other preferred stock and certain hybrid capital instruments, and a limited amount of loan loss reserves up to a maximum of 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, subject to certain eligibility criteria. The capital rules also define the risk-weights assigned to assets and off-balance sheet items to determine the risk-weighted asset components of the risk-based capital rules, including, for example, certain “high volatility” commercial real estate, past due assets, structured securities and equity holdings.
The leverage capital ratio, which serves as a minimum capital standard, is the ratio of Tier 1 capital to quarterly average assets net of goodwill, certain other intangible assets, and certain required deduction items. The required minimum leverage ratio for all banks is 4%.
In addition, the capital rules require a capital conservation buffer of up to 2.5% above each of the minimum capital ratio requirements (CET1, Tier 1, and total risk-based capital), which is designed to absorb losses during periods of economic stress. These buffer requirements must be met for a bank to be able to pay dividends, engage in share buybacks or make discretionary bonus payments to executive management without restriction. This capital conservation buffer is being phased in, and was 1.875% as of January 1, 2018 and is 2.5% effective January 1, 2019.
Failure to be well-capitalized or to meet minimum capital requirements could result in certain mandatory and possible additional discretionary actions by regulators that, if undertaken, could have an adverse material effect on our operations or financial condition. For example, only a well-capitalized depository institution may accept brokered deposits without prior regulatory approval. Failure to be well-capitalized or to meet minimum capital requirements could also result in restrictions on the Bank’s ability to pay dividends or otherwise distribute capital or to receive regulatory approval of applications or other restrictions on its growth.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (“FDICIA”), among other things, requires the federal bank regulatory agencies to take “prompt corrective action” regarding depository institutions that do not meet minimum capital requirements. FDICIA establishes five regulatory capital tiers: “well capitalized”, “adequately capitalized”, “undercapitalized”, “significantly undercapitalized”, and “critically undercapitalized”. A depository institution’s capital tier will depend upon how its capital levels compare to various relevant capital measures and certain
other factors, as established by regulation. FDICIA generally prohibits a depository institution from making any capital distribution (including payment of a dividend) or paying any management fee to its holding company if the depository institution would thereafter be undercapitalized. The FDICIA imposes progressively more restrictive restraints on operations, management and capital distributions, depending on the category in which an institution is classified. Undercapitalized depository institutions are subject to restrictions on borrowing from the Federal Reserve System. In addition, undercapitalized depository institutions may not accept brokered deposits absent a waiver from the FDIC, are subject to growth limitations and are required to submit capital restoration plans for regulatory approval. A depository institution's holding company must guarantee any required capital restoration plan, up to an amount equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the depository institution's assets at the time it becomes undercapitalized or the amount of the capital deficiency when the institution fails to comply with the plan. Federal banking agencies may not accept a capital plan without determining, among other things, that the plan is based on realistic assumptions and is likely to succeed in restoring the depository institution's capital. If a depository institution fails to submit an acceptable plan, it is treated as if it is significantly undercapitalized. All of the federal bank regulatory agencies have adopted regulations establishing relevant capital measures and relevant capital levels for federally insured depository institutions. The Bank was well capitalized at December 31, 2018, and brokered deposits are not restricted.
To be well-capitalized, the Bank must maintain at least the following capital ratios:
6.5% CET1 to risk-weighted assets;
8.0% Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets;
10.0% Total capital to risk-weighted assets; and
5.0% leverage ratio.
The Bank’s regulatory capital ratios were above the applicable well-capitalized standards and met the then-applicable capital conservation buffer. Based on current estimates, we believe that the Bank will continue to exceed all applicable well-capitalized regulatory capital requirements and the capital conservation buffer in 2019.
The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the “Economic Growth Act”) signed into law in May 2018 scaled back certain requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act and provided other regulatory relief. Among the provisions of the Economic Growth Act was a requirement that the Federal Reserve raise the asset threshold for those bank holding companies subject to the Federal Reserve’s Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement (“Policy Statement”) to $3.0 billion. As a result, as of the effective date of that change in 2018, Southern National was no longer required to comply with the risk-based capital rules applicable to the Bank as described above. The Federal Reserve may however, require smaller bank holding companies subject to the Policy Statement to maintain certain minimum capital levels, depending upon general economic conditions and a bank holding company’s particular condition, risk profile and growth plans.
Southern National is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Bank and other subsidiaries. Its primary source of cash, other than securities offerings, is dividends from the Bank. Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, no dividends may be paid by an insured bank if the bank is in arrears in the payment of any insurance assessment due to the FDIC. The payment of dividends by the Bank may also be affected by other regulatory requirements and policies, such as the maintenance of adequate capital. If, in the opinion of the applicable regulatory authority, a bank under its jurisdiction is engaged in, or is about to engage in, an unsafe or unsound practice (which, depending on the financial condition of the bank, could include the payment of dividends), such authority may require, after notice and hearing, that such bank cease and desist from such practice. The FDIC has formal and informal policies which provide that insured banks should generally pay dividends only out of current operating earnings.
Under a Federal Reserve policy adopted in 2009, the board of directors of a bank holding company must consider certain factors to ensure that its dividend level is prudent relative to maintaining a strong financial position, and is not based on overly optimistic earnings scenarios, such as potential events that could affect its ability to pay, while still maintaining a strong financial position. As a general matter, the Federal Reserve has indicated that the board of directors of a bank holding company should consult with the Federal Reserve and eliminate, defer or significantly reduce the bank holding company’s dividends if:
its net income available to shareholders for the past four quarters, net of dividends previously paid during that period, is not sufficient to fully fund the dividends;
its prospective rate of earnings retention is not consistent with its capital needs and overall current and prospective financial condition; or
it will not meet, or is in danger of not meeting, its minimum regulatory capital adequacy ratios.
The operation of the Bank is subject to state and federal statutes applicable to state banks and the regulations of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The operations of the Bank may also be subject to applicable Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) regulation to the extent state banks are granted parity with national banks. Such statutes and regulations relate to, among other things, required reserves, investments, loans, mergers and consolidations, issuances of securities, payments of dividends, establishment of branches, consumer protection and other aspects of the Bank’s operations. Violations of laws and regulations, or other unsafe and unsound practices, may result in these agencies imposing fines or penalties, cease and desist orders, or taking other enforcement actions. Under certain circumstances, these agencies may enforce these remedies directly against officers, directors, employees and other parties participating in the affairs of a bank or bank holding company.
Safety and Soundness. The Federal Deposit Insurance Act requires the federal prudential bank regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Reserve, to prescribe, by regulation or guideline, operational and managerial standards for all insured depository institutions relating to: (1) internal controls; (2) information systems and audit systems; (3) loan documentation; (4) credit underwriting; (5) interest rate risk exposure; and (6) asset quality. The agencies also must prescribe standards for asset quality, earnings, and stock valuation, as well as standards for compensation, fees and benefits. The federal banking agencies have adopted regulations and Interagency Guidelines Establishing Standards for Safety and Soundness to implement these required standards. These guidelines set forth the safety and soundness standards used to identify and address problems at insured depository institutions before capital becomes impaired. Under the regulations, if a regulator determines that a bank fails to meet any standards prescribed by the guidelines, the regulator may require the bank to submit an acceptable plan to achieve compliance, consistent with deadlines for the submission and review of such safety and soundness compliance plans.
Examinations. The Bank is subject to regulation, reporting, and periodic examinations by the Federal Reserve and the VBFI. These regulatory authorities routinely examine the Bank’s reserves, loan and investment quality, consumer compliance, management policies, procedures and practices and other aspects of operations. The Federal Reserve has adopted the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s (“FFIEC”) rating system and assigns each financial
institution a confidential composite rating based on an evaluation and rating of six essential components of an institution’s financial condition and operations, including Capital Adequacy, Asset Quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to Market Risk, as well as the quality of risk management practices.
Consumer Protection. The Dodd-Frank Act established the CFPB, an independent regulatory authority housed within the Federal Reserve having centralized authority, including examination and enforcement authority, for consumer protection in the banking industry. The CFPB has rule writing, examination, and enforcement authority with regard to the Bank’s (and the Company’s) compliance with a wide array of consumer financial protection laws, including the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Truth in Savings Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (except Sections 615(e) and 628), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (sections 502 through 509 relating to privacy), among others. The CFPB has broad authority to enforce a prohibition on unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practice. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act permits states to adopt consumer protection laws and regulations that are stricter than those regulations promulgated by the CFPB, and state attorneys general are permitted to enforce consumer protection rules adopted by the CFPB against certain institutions.
Branching. The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes national and state banks to establish de novo branches in other states to the same extent a bank chartered in those states would be so permitted.
Deposit Insurance Assessments. The Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) of the FDIC insures the deposits of the Bank generally up to a maximum of $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category. The FDIC charges insured depository institutions quarterly premiums to maintain the DIF. Deposit insurance assessments are based on average total consolidated assets minus its average tangible equity, and take into account certain risk-based financial ratios and other factors. In addition, in 2018 the Bank was subject to quarterly assessments by the FDIC to pay interest on Financing Corporation ("FICO") bonds.
Insurance of deposits may be terminated by the FDIC upon a finding that an institution has engaged in unsafe or unsound practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations or has violated any applicable law, regulation, rule, order or condition imposed by the FDIC. The Bank does not believe that it is taking or is subject to any action, condition or violation that could lead to termination of its deposit insurance. In addition, the Federal Deposit Insurance Act provides that, in the event of the liquidation or other resolution of an insured depository institution, the claims of depositors of the institution, including the claims of the FDIC as subrogee of insured depositors, and certain claims for administrative expenses of the FDIC as a receiver, will have priority over other general unsecured claims against the institution, including those of the parent bank holding company.
Insider Transactions. In addition to regulating capital, the Federal Reserve has broad authority to prevent the development or continuance of unsafe or unsound banking practices. Pursuant to this authority, the Federal Reserve has adopted regulations that restrict preferential loans and loan amounts to “affiliates” and “insiders” of banks, require banks to keep information on loans to major shareholders and executive officers and bar certain director and officer interlocks between financial institutions.
Reserves. The Bank is subject to Federal Reserve regulations that require the Bank to maintain reserves against transaction accounts (primarily checking accounts). These reserve requirements are subject to annual adjustment by the Federal Reserve.
Anti-Money Laundering. Under the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (“USA PATRIOT”) Act of 2001, financial institutions are subject to prohibitions against specified financial transactions and account relationships as well as enhanced due diligence and “know your customer” standards in their dealings with foreign financial institutions and foreign customers. The USA PATRIOT Act requires financial institutions to establish anti-money laundering programs with minimum standards that include:
the development of internal policies, procedures, and controls;
an independent audit function to test the programs.
Bank regulators routinely examine institutions for compliance with these anti-money laundering obligations and recently have been active in imposing “cease and desist” and other regulatory orders and money penalty sanctions against institutions found to be in violation of these requirements. In addition, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has adopted new regulations that became effective on May 11, 2018, that require, subject to certain exclusions and exemptions, covered financial institutions to identify and verify the identity of beneficial owners of legal entity customers.
Economic Sanctions. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) is responsible for helping to ensure that U.S. entities do not engage in transactions with certain prohibited parties, as defined by various Executive Orders and acts of Congress. OFAC publishes, and routinely updates, lists of names of persons and organizations suspected of aiding, harboring or engaging in terrorist acts, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. If we find a name on any transaction, account or wire transfer that is on an OFAC list, we must undertake certain specified activities, which could include blocking or freezing the account or transaction requested, and we must notify the appropriate authorities.
Concentrations in Lending. During 2006, the federal bank regulatory agencies released guidance on “Concentrations in Commercial Real Estate Lending” (the “Guidance”) and advised financial institutions of the risks posed by CRE lending concentrations. The Guidance requires that appropriate processes be in place to identify, monitor and control risks associated with real estate lending concentrations. Higher allowances for loan losses and capital levels may also be required. The Guidance is triggered when CRE loan concentrations exceed either:
Total reported loans for construction, land development, and other land of 100% or more of a bank’s total risk based capital; or
Total reported loans secured by multifamily and nonfarm nonresidential properties and loans for construction, land development, and other land of 300% or more of a bank’s total risk based capital.
The Guidance also applies when a bank has a sharp increase in CRE loans or has significant concentrations of CRE secured by a particular property type. The Guidance also applies when a bank has a sharp increase in CRE loans or has significant concentrations of CRE secured by a particular property type.
Community Reinvestment Act. The Bank is subject to the provisions of the CRA, which imposes a continuing and affirmative obligation, consistent with their safe and sound operation, to help meet the credit needs of entire communities where the bank accepts deposits, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The Federal Reserve’s assessment of the Bank’s CRA record is made available to the public. Further, a less than satisfactory CRA rating will slow, if not preclude, expansion of banking activities and prevent a company from becoming or remaining a financial holding company. Federal CRA regulations require, among other things, that evidence of discrimination against applicants on a prohibited basis, and illegal or abusive lending practices be considered in the CRA evaluation. The Bank has a rating of “Satisfactory” in its most recent CRA evaluation.
Consumer Regulation. Activities of the Bank are subject to a variety of statutes and regulations designed to protect consumers. These laws and regulations include, among numerous other things, provisions that:
limit the interest and other charges collected or contracted for by the Bank, including rules respecting the terms of credit cards and of debit card overdrafts;
govern the Bank’s disclosures of credit terms to consumer borrowers;
require the Bank to provide information to enable the public and public officials to determine whether it is fulfilling its obligation to help meet the housing needs of the community it serves;
prohibit the Bank from discriminating on the basis of race, creed or other prohibited factors when it makes decisions to extend credit;
govern the manner in which the Bank may collect consumer debts; and
prohibit unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices in the provision of consumer financial products and services.
Mortgage Rules. Pursuant to rules adopted by the CFPB, banks that make residential mortgage loans are required to make a good faith determination that a borrower has the ability to repay a mortgage loan prior to extending such credit, require that certain mortgage loans contain escrow payments, obtain new appraisals under certain circumstances, comply with integrated mortgage disclosure rules, and follow specific rules regarding the compensation of loan originators and the servicing of residential mortgage loans.
Transactions with affiliates. There are various restrictions that limit the ability of the Bank to finance, pay dividends or otherwise supply funds to the Company or other affiliates. In addition, banks are subject to certain restrictions under Section 23A and B of the Federal Reserve Act on certain transactions, including any extension of credit to its bank holding company or any of its other affiliates, on investments in the securities thereof, and on the taking of such securities as collateral for loans to any borrower.
Privacy and Cybersecurity. The Bank is subject to federal and state banking regulations that limit its ability to disclose non-public information about consumers to non-affiliated third parties. These limitations require us to periodically disclose our privacy policies to consumers and allow consumers to prevent disclosure of certain personal information to a non-affiliated third party under certain circumstances. Consumers also have the option to direct banks and other financial institutions not to share information about transactions and experiences with affiliated companies for the purpose of marketing products or services. Banking institutions are required to implement a comprehensive information security program that includes administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information. These security and privacy policies and procedures for the protection of confidential and personal information are in effect across our lines of business. Furthermore, the federal banking regulators regularly issue guidance regarding cybersecurity intended to enhance cyber risk management. A financial institution is expected to implement multiple lines of defense against cyber attacks and ensure that their risk management procedures address the risk posed by potential cyber threats. A financial institution is further expected to maintain procedures to effectively respond to a cyber attack and resume operations following any such attack. The Company has adopted and implemented policies and procedures to comply with these privacy, information security, and cybersecurity requirements.
Debit Interchange Fees. Interchange fees, or “swipe” fees, are fees that merchants pay to credit card companies and card-issuing banks such as the Bank for processing electronic payment transactions on their behalf. The maximum permissible interchange fee that an issuer may receive for an electronic debit transaction is the sum of 21 cents per transaction and 5 basis points multiplied by the value of the transaction, subject to an upward adjustment of 1 cent if an issuer certifies that it has implemented policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve the fraud-prevention standards set forth by the Federal Reserve. In addition, the legislation prohibits card issuers and networks from entering into arrangements requiring that debit card transactions be processed on a single network or only two affiliated networks, and allows merchants to determine transaction routing.
Audit Reports. Insured institutions with total assets of $500 million or more must submit annual audit reports prepared by independent auditors to federal and state regulators. In some instances, the audit report of the institution’s holding company can be used to satisfy this requirement. Independent auditors must receive examination reports, supervisory agreements and reports of enforcement actions. For insured institutions with total assets of $1.0 billion or more, financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP, management’s certifications concerning responsibility for the financial statements, internal controls and compliance with legal requirements designated by the FDIC, and an attestation by the independent auditor regarding the statements of management relating to the internal controls must be submitted. For insured institutions with total assets of more than $3.0 billion, independent auditors may be required to review quarterly financial statements. The FDICIA requires that institutions with total assets of $1.0 billion or more have independent audit committees, consisting of outside directors only. The committees of insured institutions with total assets of $3.0 billion or more must include members with experience in banking or financial management, must have access to outside counsel, and must not include representatives of large customers.
The foregoing is only a brief summary of certain statutes, rules, and regulations that may affect Southern National and the Bank. Numerous other statutes and regulations also will have an impact on the operations of Southern National and the Bank. Supervision, regulation and examination of banks by the regulatory agencies are intended primarily for the protection of depositors, not shareholders.
An investment in our common stock involves risks. The following is a description of the material risks and uncertainties that Southern National believes affect its business and should be considered before making an investment in our common stock. Additional risks and uncertainties that we are unaware of, or that we currently deem immaterial, also may become important factors that affect us and our business. If any of the risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K were to actually occur, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected. If this were to happen, the value of our common stock could decline significantly and you could lose part or all of your investment.
General market conditions and economic trends could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The state of the economy and various economic factors, including inflation, recession, unemployment, interest rates, declining oil prices and the level of U.S. debt, as well as governmental action and uncertainty resulting from U.S. and global political trends, may directly or indirectly, have a destabilizing effect on our financial condition and results of operations. An unfavorable or uncertain national or regional political or economic environment could drive losses beyond those which are provided for in our allowance for loan losses and result in the following consequences:
increases in loan delinquencies;
increases in nonperforming assets and foreclosures;
decreases in demand for our products and services, which could adversely affect our liquidity position; and
decreases in the value of the collateral securing our loans, especially real estate, which could reduce customers’ borrowing power.
Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. While economic conditions in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. are strong, there can be no assurance that the economy will continue to grow.
The Bank will also be directly affected by government monetary and fiscal policy and by regulatory measures affecting the banking industry and the economy in general. The actions of the Federal Reserve Bank (“FRB”) as the nation’s central bank can directly affect the money supply and, in general, affect the lending activities of banks by increasing or decreasing the cost and availability of funds. An important function of the FRB is to regulate the national supply of bank credit. Among the instruments of monetary policy used by the FRB to implement this objective are open market operations in United States government securities, changes in the discount rate on member bank borrowings and changes in reserve requirements against bank deposits. These means are used in varying combinations to influence overall growth of bank loans, investments and deposits, and interest rates charged on loans or paid on deposits. The monetary policies of the FRB have had a significant effect on the operating results of commercial banks in the past and are expected to continue to do so in the future; however, the effects of the various FRB policies on our future business and earnings cannot be predicted.
Liquidity risk could impair our ability to fund operations and jeopardize our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Liquidity is essential to our business. Our ability to implement our business strategy will depend on our ability to obtain funding for loan originations, working capital, possible acquisitions and other general corporate purposes. An inability to raise funds through deposits, borrowings, securities sold under agreements to repurchase, the sale of loans and other sources could have a substantial negative effect on our liquidity. We do not anticipate that our retail and commercial deposits will be sufficient to meet our funding needs in the foreseeable future. We therefore rely on deposits obtained through intermediaries, FHLB advances, and other wholesale funding sources to obtain the funds necessary to implement our growth strategy.
Our access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance our activities or on terms which are acceptable to us could be impaired by factors that affect us specifically or the financial services industry or economy in general, including a
decrease in the level of our business activity as a result of a downturn in the markets in which our loans are concentrated or adverse regulatory action against us. Our ability to borrow could also be impaired by factors that are not specific to us, such as a disruption in the financial markets or negative views and expectations about the prospects for the financial services industry. To the extent we are not successful in obtaining such funding, we will be unable to implement our strategy as planned which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Declines in asset values may result in impairment charges and adversely affect the value of our investment securities, financial performance and capital.
We maintain an investment securities portfolio that includes, but is not limited to, collateralized mortgage obligations, agency mortgage-backed securities and pooled trust preferred securities. The market value of investment securities may be affected by factors other than the underlying performance of the issuer or composition of the bonds themselves, such as ratings downgrades, adverse changes in the business climate and a lack of liquidity for resales of certain investment securities. At each reporting period, we evaluate investment securities and other assets for impairment indicators. We may be required to record additional impairment charges if our investment securities suffer a decline in value that is considered other-than-temporary. During the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, we incurred no other-than-temporary impairment charges. If in future periods we determine that a significant impairment has occurred, we would be required to charge against earnings the credit-related portion of the other-than-temporary impairment, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in the periods in which the write-offs occur.
Our pooled trust preferred securities are particularly vulnerable to the performance of the issuer of the subordinated debentures that are collateral for the trust preferred securities. Deterioration of these trust preferred securities can occur because of defaults by the issuer of the collateral or because of deferrals of dividend payments on the securities. Numerous financial institutions have failed subsequent to their issuance of trust preferred securities, and their parent bank holding companies have filed for bankruptcy, which has led to defaults in the subordinated debentures that collateralize the trust preferred securities. Further, increased regulatory pressure has been placed on financial institutions to maintain capital ratios above the required minimum to be well-capitalized, which often results in restrictions on dividends, and leads to deferrals of dividend payments on the trust preferred securities. More specifically, the FRB has stated that a bank holding company should eliminate, defer or significantly reduce dividends if (i) its net income available to shareholders for the past four quarters, net of dividends paid, is not sufficient to fully fund the dividends, (ii) its prospective rate of earnings retention is not consistent with its capital needs or (iii) it is in danger of not meeting its minimum regulatory capital adequacy ratios. In addition, although interest deferrals are permitted under the terms of the instruments governing the trust preferred securities, such deferrals are typically limited to 20 consecutive quarterly periods. As a result, many financial institutions that commenced deferral periods in 2009 are no longer permitted to defer interest payments, which could result in increased defaults on trust preferred securities. Additional defaults in the underlying collateral or deferrals of dividend payments for these securities could lead to additional charges on these securities and/or other-than-temporary impairment charges on other trust preferred securities we own. Finally, proposed or future changes in the regulatory treatment of both issuers and holders of trust preferred securities could have a negative impact on the value of the pooled trust preferred securities held in our portfolio.
The soundness of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.
Financial institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty and other relationships. We have exposure to many different industries and counterparties, and we routinely execute transactions with a variety of counterparties in the financial services industry. Many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of default of our counterparty or client. In addition, our credit risk may be exacerbated if the collateral we hold cannot be sold at prices that are sufficient for us to recover the full amount of our exposure. Any such losses could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
If the goodwill that we record in connection with business acquisitions becomes impaired, it could have a negative impact on our profitability.
Goodwill represents the amount of acquisition cost over the fair value of net assets we acquire in the purchase of another entity. We review goodwill for impairment at least annually, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of the asset might be impaired. Examples of those events or circumstances include the following:
significant adverse changes in business climate;
significant changes in credit quality;
significant unanticipated loss of customers;
significant loss of deposits or loans; or
significant reductions in profitability.
As of December 31, 2018, our goodwill totaled $101.9 million and is primarily related to the 2017 acquisition of EVBS, which increased goodwill by $91.5 million. While we have recorded no such impairment charges since we initially recorded the goodwill, there can be no assurance that our future evaluations of goodwill will not result in findings of impairment and related write-downs, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
If our nonperforming assets increase, our earnings will suffer.
At December 31, 2018, our non-covered nonperforming assets (which consist of non-covered nonaccrual loans, loans past due 90 days and accruing and OREO) totaled $11.8 million, or 0.54% of total non-covered loans and OREO, which is a decrease of $12.7 million, or 51.8%, compared with non-covered nonperforming assets of $24.5 million, or 1.20% of total non-covered loans and OREO at December 31, 2017. At December 31, 2016, our non-covered nonperforming assets were $12.4 million, or 1.36% of total non-covered loans and OREO.
Although economic and market conditions are stable, and our non-covered nonperforming assets as a percentage of total non-covered loans and OREO has improved, we may incur losses if there is a continued increase in non-covered nonperforming assets in the future. Our nonperforming assets adversely affect our net income in various ways. We do not record interest income on nonaccrual loans or OREO, thereby adversely affecting our net interest income, and increasing loan administration costs. When we take collateral in foreclosures and similar proceedings, we are required to mark the related loan to the then fair value of the collateral, which may ultimately result in a loss. We must reserve for probable losses, which is established through a current period charge to the provision for loan losses as well as from time to time, as appropriate, a write down of the value of properties in our OREO portfolio to reflect changing market values. Additionally, there are legal fees associated with the resolution of problem assets as well as carrying costs such as taxes, insurance and maintenance related to our OREO. Further, the resolution of nonperforming assets requires the active involvement of management, which can distract them from more profitable activity. Finally, an increase in the level of nonperforming assets increases our regulatory risk profile. There can be no assurance that we will not experience future increases in nonperforming assets.
A significant amount of our loans are secured by real estate and any declines in real estate values in our primary markets could be detrimental to our financial condition and results of operations.
Real estate lending (including commercial, construction, land development, and residential loans) is a large portion of our loan portfolio, constituting $1.89 billion, or approximately 86.8% of our total loan portfolio, as of December 31, 2018. Although residential and commercial real estate values have improved in our market area, such improved values may not continue or may slow down. If loans that are collateralized by real estate become troubled during a time when market conditions are declining or have declined, then we may not be able to realize the full value of the collateral that we anticipated at the time of originating the loan, which could require us to increase our provision for loan losses and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
As of December 31, 2018, $693.3 million, or approximately 31.8% of our total loans, were secured by single-family residential real estate. This includes $565.1 million in residential 1‑4 family loans and $128.2 million in home equity lines of credit. Total single-family residential real estate loans covered under the FDIC loss sharing agreement amount to $18.3 million as of December 31, 2018. If housing markets in our market areas do not continue to steadily improve or deteriorate, we may experience an increase in nonperforming loans, provision for loan losses and charge-offs.
If the value of real estate in our market areas were to decline materially, a significant portion of our loan portfolio could become under-collateralized, which could have a material adverse effect on our asset quality, capital structure and profitability.
As of December 31, 2018, a significant portion of our loan portfolio was comprised of loans secured by commercial real estate. In the majority of these loans, real estate was the primary collateral component. In some cases we take real estate as security for a loan even when it is not the primary component of collateral. The real estate collateral that provides the primary or an alternate source of repayment in the event of default may deteriorate in value during the term of the loan as a result of changes in economic conditions, fluctuations in interest rates and the availability of loans to potential purchasers, changes in tax and other laws and acts of nature. If we are required to liquidate the collateral securing a loan to satisfy the debt during a period of reduced real estate values, our earnings and capital could be adversely affected. We are subject to increased lending risks in the form of loan defaults as a result of the high concentration of real estate lending in our loan portfolio. A weak real estate market in our primary market areas could have an adverse effect on the demand for new loans, the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans, the value of real estate and other collateral securing the loans and the value of real estate owned by us. If real estate values do not continue to improve or decline, it is also more likely that we would be required to increase our allowance for loan losses, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to risks related to our concentration of construction and land development and commercial real estate loans.
As of December 31, 2018, we had $146.6 million of construction and land development loans. Construction and land development loans are subject to risks during the construction phase that are not present in standard residential real estate and commercial real estate loans. These risks include:
the viability of the contractor;
the contractor’s ability to successfully complete the project, to meet deadlines and time schedules and to stay within cost estimates; and
concentrations of such loans with a single contractor and its affiliates.
Real estate construction and land development loans may involve the disbursement of substantial funds with repayment dependent, in part, on the success of the ultimate project rather than the ability of a borrower or guarantor to repay the loan and also present risks of default in the event of declines in property values or volatility in the real estate market during the construction phase. Our practice, in the majority of instances, is to secure the personal guaranty of individuals in support of our real estate construction and land development loans which provides us with an additional source of repayment. As of December 31, 2018, we did not have any nonperforming construction and land development loans and had $2.9 million of assets that have been foreclosed. If one or more of our larger borrowers were to default on their construction and land development loans, and we did not have alternative sources of repayment through personal guarantees or other sources, or if any of the aforementioned risks were to occur, we could incur significant losses.
As of December 31, 2018, we had $1,051.2 million of commercial real estate loans, including multi-family residential loans and loans secured by farmland, none of which is covered by the FDIC loss sharing agreement. Commercial real estate lending typically involves higher loan principal amounts and the repayment is dependent, in large part, on sufficient income from the properties securing the loan to cover operating expenses and debt service.
In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act contains provisions that may impact the Bank’s business by reducing the amount of our commercial real estate lending and increasing the cost of borrowing, including rules relating to risk retention of securitized assets. Section 941 of the Dodd-Frank Act and its implementing rules require, among other things, that a loan
originator or a securitizer of asset-backed securities retain a percentage of the credit risk of securitized assets. In addition, with higher levels of commercial real estate loans are expected to implement improved underwriting, internal controls, risk management policies and portfolio stress testing, as well as higher levels of allowances for loan losses and capital levels as a result of commercial real estate lending growth and exposures. The Bank’s commercial real estate loans are below the thresholds identified as significant by the regulatory guidance. If there is deterioration in our commercial real estate portfolio or if regulatory authorities conclude that we have not implemented appropriate risk management policies and practices, it could adversely affect our business and result in a requirement of increased capital levels, and such capital may not be available at that time.
A new accounting standard will result in a significant change in how we recognize credit losses and may have a material impact on our financial condition or results of operations.
In June 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016‑13, Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326), Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which -replaces the current “incurred loss” model for recognizing credit losses with an “expected loss” model referred to as the Current Expected Credit Loss (“CECL”) model. Under the CECL model, we will be required to present certain financial assets carried at amortized cost, such as loans held for investment and held-to-maturity debt securities, at the net amount expected to be collected. The measurement of expected credit losses is to be based on information about past events, including historical experience, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts that affect the collectability of the reported amount. This measurement will take place at the time the financial asset is first added to the balance sheet and periodically thereafter. This differs significantly from the “incurred loss” model required under current U.S. GAAP, which delays recognition until it is probable a loss has been incurred. Accordingly, we expect that the adoption of the CECL model will materially affect how we determine our allowance for loan losses and could require us to significantly increase our allowance. Moreover, the CECL model may create more volatility in the level of our allowance for loan losses. If we are required to materially increase our level of allowance for loan losses for any reason, such increase could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
For SEC reporting companies with December 31 fiscal-year ends, such as Southern National, CECL will become effective beginning with the first quarter of 2020. On December 21, 2018, the federal banking agencies issued a joint final rule to revise their regulatory capital rules to (i) address the upcoming implementation of the CECL accounting standard under GAAP; (ii) provide an optional three-year phase-in period for the day-one adverse regulatory capital effects that banking organizations are expected to experience upon adopting CECL; and (iii) require the use of CECL in stress tests beginning with the 2020 capital planning and stress testing cycle for certain banking organizations. We are currently evaluating the impact the CECL model will have on our accounting, but we expect to recognize a one-time cumulative-effect adjustment to our allowance for loan losses as of the beginning of the first reporting period in which the new standard is effective, consistent with regulatory expectations set forth in interagency guidance issued at the end of 2016. We cannot yet determine the magnitude of any such one-time cumulative adjustment or of the overall impact of the new standard on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Changes to government guaranteed loan programs could affect our SBA business.
The Bank relies on originating government guaranteed loans, in particular those guaranteed by the SBA. As of December 31, 2018, the Bank had $70.5 million of SBA loans, $44.6 million of which were guaranteed and $25.9 million were non-guaranteed. We can provide no assurance that the Bank will be able to continue originating these loans, that it will be able to sell the loans in the secondary market if market conditions are favorable, or that it will continue to realize premiums upon any sale of SBA loans.
SBA lending is a federal government created and administered program. As such, legislative and regulatory developments can affect the availability and funding of the program. This dependence on legislative funding and regulatory restrictions from time to time causes limitations and uncertainties with regard to the continued funding of such loans, with a resulting potential adverse financial impact on our business. Currently, the maximum limit on individual 7(a) loans which the SBA will permit is $5.0 million. Any reduction in this level could adversely affect the volume of our business. The periodic uncertainty of the SBA program relative to availability, amounts of funding and the waiver of associated fees creates greater risk for our business than do more stable aspects of our business.
The federal government presently guarantees up to 85% of the principal amount of loans up to $150,000, 75% for loans greater than $150,000 and up to 90% of the principal amount for certain programs under the 7(a) program. SBA Express loans can be guaranteed by the federal government up to 50%. We can provide no assurance that the federal government will maintain the SBA program, or if it does, that such guaranteed portion will remain at its current funding level. Furthermore, it is possible that the Bank could lose its preferred lender status which, subject to certain limitations, allows it to approve and fund SBA loans without the necessity of having the loan approved in advance by the SBA. It is also possible the federal government could reduce the amount of loans which it guarantees. In addition, we are dependent on the expertise of our personnel who make SBA loans in order to continue to originate and service SBA loans. If we are unable to retain qualified employees in the future, our income from the origination of SBA loans could be substantially reduced.
We are subject to credit quality risks and our credit policies may not be sufficient to avoid losses.
We are subject to the risk of losses resulting from the failure of borrowers, guarantors and related parties to pay interest and principal amounts on their loans. Although we maintain credit policies and credit underwriting, monitoring and collection procedures, these policies and procedures may not prevent losses, particularly during periods in which the local, regional or national economy suffers a general decline. If borrowers fail to repay their loans, our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.
We depend on the accuracy and completeness of information from customers and counterparties.
In deciding whether to extend credit or enter into other transactions, we rely on information furnished by or on behalf of customers and counterparties, including financial statements, credit reports and other financial information. We also rely on representations of those customers, counterparties or other third parties, such as independent auditors, as to the accuracy and completeness of that information. Reliance on inaccurate or misleading financial statements, credit reports or other financial information could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Failure to maintain an effective system of disclosure controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and could impact the price of our common stock.
Failure to maintain an effective internal control environment could result in us not being able to accurately report our financial results, prevent or detect fraud, or provide timely and reliable financial information pursuant to our reporting obligations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Further, it could cause our investors to lose confidence in the financial information we report, which could affect the trading price of our common stock.
Management regularly reviews and updates our disclosure controls and procedures, including our internal control over financial reporting. Any system of controls, however well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met. Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
If our allowance for loan losses is not adequate to cover actual loan losses, our earnings will decrease.
As a lender, we are exposed to the risk that our borrowers may not repay their loans according to the terms of these loans, and the collateral securing the payment of these loans may be insufficient to ensure repayment. We make various assumptions and judgments about the collectability of our loan portfolio, including the creditworthiness of the borrowers and the value of the real estate and other assets serving as collateral for the repayment of many of our loans. We maintain an allowance for loan losses to cover any probable inherent loan losses in the loan portfolio. In determining the size of the allowance, we rely on a periodic analysis of our loan portfolio, our historical loss experience and our evaluation of general economic conditions. If our assumptions prove to be incorrect or if we experience significant loan losses, our current allowance may not be sufficient to cover actual loan losses and adjustments may be necessary to allow for different economic conditions or adverse developments in our loan portfolio. A material addition to the
allowance for loan losses could cause our earnings to decrease. Due to the relatively unseasoned nature of our loan portfolio, we may experience an increase in delinquencies and losses as these loans continue to mature.
In addition, federal regulators periodically review our allowance for loan losses and may require us to increase our provision for loan losses or recognize further charge-offs, based on judgments different than those of our management. Any significant increase in our allowance for loan losses or charge-offs required by these regulatory agencies could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Our business strategy includes strategic growth, and our financial condition and results of operations could be negatively affected if we fail to grow or fail to manage our growth effectively.
We completed the merger with EVBS on June 23, 2017, the acquisition of PGFSB on August 1, 2014, the acquisition of the HarVest Bank of Maryland on April 27, 2012, the acquisition of the Midlothian Branch in Richmond, Virginia on October 1, 2011, the acquisition and assumption of certain assets and liabilities of GAB from the FDIC on December 4, 2009, the acquisition of a branch of Millennium Bank in Warrenton, Virginia on September 28, 2009, the acquisition of the Leesburg, Virginia branch location from Founders Corporation which opened on February 11, 2008, the acquisition of 1st Service Bank in December of 2006 and the acquisition of the Clifton Forge, Virginia branch of First Community Bancorp, Inc. in December of 2005.
We intend to continue pursuing a growth strategy for our business. Our prospects must be considered in light of the risks, expenses and difficulties frequently encountered by growing companies such as the continuing need for infrastructure and personnel, the time and costs inherent in integrating a series of different operations and the ongoing expense of acquiring and staffing new banks or branches. We may not be able to expand our presence in our existing markets or successfully enter new markets and any expansion could adversely affect our results of operations. Failure to manage our growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, future prospects, financial condition or results of operations, and could adversely affect our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Our ability to grow successfully will depend on a variety of factors, including the continued availability of desirable business opportunities, the competitive responses from other financial institutions in our market areas and our ability to manage our growth.
Although there can be no assurance of success or the availability of branch or bank acquisitions in the future we may seek to supplement our internal growth through attractive acquisitions. We cannot predict the number, size or timing of acquisitions, or whether any such acquisition will occur at all. Our acquisition efforts have traditionally focused on targeted banking entities in markets in which we currently operate and markets in which we believe we can compete effectively. However, as consolidation of the financial services industry continues, the competition for suitable acquisition candidates may increase and, as the number of appropriate targets decreases, the prices for potential acquisitions could increase which could reduce our potential returns, and reduce the attractiveness of these opportunities to us. We may compete with other financial services companies for acquisition opportunities, and many of these competitors have greater financial resources than we do and may be able to pay more for an acquisition than we are able or willing to pay.
We may not be able to successfully integrate our acquisitions or to realize the anticipated benefits of them.
A successful integration of each acquired bank with ours will depend substantially on our ability to successfully consolidate operations, corporate cultures, systems and procedures and to eliminate redundancies and costs. While we have substantial experience in successfully integrating institutions we have acquired, we may encounter difficulties during integration, such as:
the loss of key employees;
the disruption of operations and businesses;
loan and deposit attrition, customer loss and revenue loss;
possible inconsistencies in standards, control procedures and policies;
unexpected issues with expected branch closures; and/or
unexpected issues with costs, operations, personnel, technology and credit;
all of which could divert resources from regular banking operations. Additionally, general market and economic conditions or governmental actions affecting the financial industry generally may inhibit our successful merger integrations.
Further, we acquire banks with the expectation that these mergers will result in various benefits including, among other things, benefits relating to enhanced revenues, a strengthened market position for the combined company, cross selling opportunities, technology, cost savings and operating efficiencies. Achieving the anticipated benefits of these mergers is subject to a number of uncertainties, including whether we integrate these institutions in an efficient and effective manner, and general competitive factors in the marketplace. Failure to achieve these anticipated benefits could result in a reduction in the price of our shares as well as in increased costs, decreases in the amount of expected revenues and diversion of management's time and energy and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
Changes in U.S. tax laws and other laws and regulations could have unforeseen effects on our financial condition and results of operations.
Corporate tax rates affect our profitability and capital levels. The U.S. corporate tax code may be further reformed by the U.S. Congress and additional guidance may be issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury relevant to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act) enacted during 2017. Any adverse amendments to the Tax Act or other related legislation could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
As a result of the limitation on the deductibility of business interest included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we may have the right to redeem our currently outstanding subordinated debt.
On January 20, 2017, we issued $27.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 5.875% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due January 31, 2027 (the “SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes”). The SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes are generally not redeemable by us until January 20, 2022. Further, in connection with our merger with EVBS, we assumed the Senior Subordinated Note Purchase Agreement previously entered into by EVBS on April 22, 2015 with certain accredited investors pursuant to which EVBS sold $20.0 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.50% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2025 (the “EVBS Senior Subordinated Notes,” and together with the SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes, the “Company Notes”). However, we are permitted to redeem these notes earlier upon the occurrence of a “tax event”, which is generally defined as a material risk that the interest paid on the Company Notes would not be deductible by us, in whole or in part, for federal income tax purposes. Provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act impose a limit on the amount of business interest which is deductible, capping that interest deduction at the sum of (i) the taxpayer’s business interest income for the tax year plus (ii) 30% of the taxpayer’s adjusted taxable income for the tax year. As a consequence, in the event the interest payments on the Company Notes exceed the total amount of permitted deductible business interest under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, such occurrence could constitute a “tax event” under the Company Notes due to the limitation on the deductibility of our interest payments on the Company Notes and thus permit us to redeem the SNBV Senior Subordinated Notes and the EVBS Senior Subordinated Notes prior to 2022 and 2020, respectively.
Future growth or operating results may require us to raise additional capital, but that capital may not be available, be available on unfavorable terms or may be dilutive.
We and the Bank are each required by the FRB to maintain adequate levels of capital to support our operations. In the event that our future operating results erode capital, if the Bank is required to maintain capital in excess of well-capitalized standards, or if we elect to expand through loan growth or acquisitions, we may be required to raise additional capital. Our ability to raise capital will depend on conditions in the capital markets, which are outside our control, and on our financial performance. Accordingly, we cannot be assured of our ability to raise capital on favorable terms when needed, or at all. If we cannot raise additional capital when needed, we will be subject to increased regulatory supervision and the imposition of restrictions on our growth and business. These outcomes could negatively
impact our ability to operate or further expand our operations through acquisitions or the establishment of additional branches and may result in increases in operating expenses and reductions in revenues that could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, in order to raise additional capital, we may need to issue shares of our common stock that would dilute the book value of our common stock and reduce our current shareholders’ percentage ownership interest to the extent they do not participate in future offerings.
An investment in our common stock is not an insured deposit.
Our common stock is not a bank deposit and, therefore, is not insured against loss by the FDIC, any other deposit insurance fund or by any other public or private entity. Investment in our common stock is inherently risky for the reasons described in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this report and is subject to the same market forces that affect the price of common stock in any company. As a result, if you acquire our common stock, you may lose some or all of your investment.
Our stock price can be volatile.
Stock price volatility may make it more difficult for you to resell your common stock when you want and at prices you find attractive. Our stock price can fluctuate significantly in response to a variety of factors including, among other things:
actual or anticipated variations in quarterly results of operations;
recommendations by securities analysts;
operating and stock price performance of other companies that investors deem comparable to us;
news reports relating to trends, concerns and other issues in the financial services industry;
perceptions in the marketplace regarding us and/or our competitors;
new technology used, or services offered, by competitors;
significant acquisitions or business combinations, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments by or involving us or our competitors;
failure to integrate acquisitions or realize anticipated benefits from acquisitions;
changes in government regulations; and
geopolitical conditions such as acts or threats of terrorism or military conflicts.
General market fluctuations, industry factors and general economic and political conditions and events, such as economic slowdowns or recessions, interest rate changes or credit loss trends, could also cause our stock price to decrease regardless of operating results.
We may issue a new series of preferred stock or debt securities, which would be senior to our common stock and may cause the market price of our common stock to decline.
We have issued $27.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 5.875% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due January 31, 2027. In the future, we may increase our capital resources by making additional offerings of debt or equity securities, which may include senior or additional subordinated notes, classes of preferred shares and/or common shares. Holders of our common stock are not entitled to preemptive rights or other protections against dilution. Preferred shares and debt, if issued, have a preference on liquidating distributions or a preference on dividend or interest payments that could limit our ability to make a distribution to the holders of our common stock. Future issuances and sales of parity preferred stock, or the perception that such issuances and sales could occur, may also cause prevailing market price for our common stock to decline and may adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital in the financial markets at times and prices favorable to us. Further issuances of our common stock could be dilutive to holders of our common stock.
Our business is subject to interest rate risk and variations in interest rates may negatively affect our financial performance.
The majority of our assets and liabilities are monetary in nature and subject us to significant risk from changes in interest rates. Fluctuations in interest rates are not predictable or controllable. Like most financial institutions, changes in interest rates can impact our net interest income as well as the valuation of our assets and liabilities, which is the difference between interest earned from interest-earning assets, such as loans and investment securities, and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings. We expect that we will periodically experience “gaps” in the interest rate sensitivities of our assets and liabilities, meaning that either our interest-bearing liabilities will be more sensitive to changes in market interest rates than our interest-earning assets, or vice versa. In either event, if market interest rates should move contrary to our position, this “gap” will negatively impact our earnings. Many factors impact interest rates, including governmental monetary policies, inflation, recession, changes in unemployment, the money supply, and international disorder and instability in domestic and foreign financial markets.
Based on our analysis of the interest rate sensitivity of our assets, an increase in the general level of interest rates may negatively affect the market value of the portfolio equity, but will positively affect our net interest income since most of our assets have floating rates of interest that adjust fairly quickly to changes in market rates of interest. Additionally, an increase in interest rates may, among other things, reduce the demand for loans and our ability to originate loans. A decrease in the general level of interest rates may affect us through, among other things, increased prepayments on our loan and mortgage-backed securities portfolios and increased competition for deposits. Accordingly, changes in the level of market interest rates affect our net yield on interest-earning assets, loan origination volume, loan and mortgage-backed securities portfolios, and our overall results. Although our asset liability management strategy is designed to control our risk from changes in market interest rates, it may not be able to prevent changes in interest rates from having a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
We may be adversely impacted by the transition from LIBOR as a reference rate.
In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (the authority that regulates LIBOR) announced it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. The Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”) has proposed that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) is the rate that represents best practice as the alternative to USD-LIBOR for use in derivatives and other financial contracts that are currently indexed to USD-LIBOR. ARRC has proposed a paced market transition plan to SOFR from USD-LIBOR and organizations are currently considering industry wide and company-specific transition plans as it relates to derivatives and cash markets exposed to USD-LIBOR. We have contracts that are indexed to USD-LIBOR and are currently evaluating what the ultimate impact of the transition from LIBOR will be and address related risks.
If LIBOR ceases to exist or if the methods of calculating LIBOR change from current methods for any reason, interest rates on our floating rate obligations, loans, deposits and other financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates, as well as the revenue and expenses associated with those financial instruments, may be adversely affected. Any uncertainty regarding the continued use and reliability of LIBOR as a benchmark interest rate could adversely affect the value of our floating rate obligations, loans, deposits and other financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates.
A portion of our variable rate loans are tied to LIBOR. While many of these loans contain “fallback” provisions providing for alternative rate calculations in the event LIBOR is unavailable, not all of our loans contain these “fallback” provisions and existing “fallback” provisions may not adequately address the actual changes to LIBOR or successor rates. We may not be able to successfully amend these loans to provide for alternative rate calculations and such amendments could prove costly. Even with “fallback” provisions, changes to or the discontinuance of LIBOR could result in customer uncertainty and disputes around how variable rates should be calculated. All of this could result in damage to our reputation, loss of customers and additional costs to us.
We are dependent on key personnel and the loss of one or more of those key personnel could impair our relationship with our customers and adversely affect our business.
Many community banks attract customers based on the personal relationships that the banks’ officers and customers establish with each other and the confidence that the customers have in the officers. We significantly depend on the continued service and performance of our key management personnel. We also believe our management team’s depth and breadth of experience in the banking industry is integral to executing our business plan. The loss of the services of members of our senior management team or other key employees or the inability to attract additional qualified personnel as needed could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our profitability depends significantly on local economic conditions in the areas where our operations and loans are concentrated.
We operate in a mixed market environment with influences from both rural and urban areas. Our profitability depends on the general economic conditions in our market areas of Northern Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Charlottesville and Clifton Forge (Alleghany County), Front Royal, New Market, Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, Richmond, Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas. Unlike larger banks that are more geographically diversified, we provide banking and financial services to clients primarily in these market areas. As of December 31, 2018, substantially all of our commercial real estate, real estate construction and residential real estate loans were made to borrowers in our market area. The local economic conditions in this area have a significant impact on our commercial, real estate and construction and consumer loans, the ability of the borrowers to repay these loans and the value of the collateral securing these loans. In addition, if the population or income growth in these market areas slows, stops or declines, income levels, deposits and housing starts could be adversely affected and could result in the curtailment of our expansion, growth and profitability.
Additionally, political conditions could impact our earnings. For example, political debate over the budget, taxes and the potential for reduced government spending may adversely impact the economy, and more specifically local economic conditions given the concentration of Federal workers and government contractors in our market. Acts or threats of war, terrorism, an outbreak of hostilities or other international or domestic calamities, or other factors beyond our control could impact these local economic conditions and could negatively affect the financial results of our banking operations.
The properties that we own and our foreclosed real estate assets could subject us to environmental risks and associated costs.
There is a risk that hazardous substances or wastes, contaminants, pollutants or other environmentally restricted substances could be discovered on our properties or our foreclosed assets (particularly in the case of real estate loans). In this event, we might be required to remove the substances from the affected properties or to engage in abatement procedures at our sole cost and expense. Besides being liable under applicable federal and state statutes for our own conduct, we may also be held liable under certain circumstances for actions of borrowers or other third parties on property that collateralizes one or more of our loans or on property that we own. Potential environmental liability could include the cost of remediation and also damages for any injuries caused to third-parties. We cannot assure you that the cost of removal or abatement would not substantially exceed the value of the affected properties or the loans secured by those properties, that we would have adequate remedies against prior owners or other responsible parties or that we would be able to resell the affected properties either prior to or following completion of any such removal or abatement procedures. Any environmental damages on a property would substantially reduce the value of such property as collateral and, as a result, we may suffer a loss upon collection of the loan.
The small to medium-sized businesses we lend to may have fewer resources to weather a downturn in the economy, which may impair a borrower’s ability to repay a loan to us that could materially harm our operating results.
We make loans to professional firms and privately owned businesses that are considered to be small to medium-sized businesses. Small to medium-sized businesses frequently have smaller market shares than their competition, may be more vulnerable to economic downturns, often need substantial additional capital to expand or compete and may
experience substantial volatility in operating results, any of which may impair a borrower’s ability to repay a loan. In addition, the success of a small and medium-sized business often depends on the management talents and efforts of one or two persons or a small group of persons, and the death, disability or resignation of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on the business and its ability to repay our loan. Economic downturns in our target markets could cause us to incur substantial loan losses that could materially harm our operating results.
We are heavily regulated by federal and state agencies; changes in laws and regulations or failures to comply with such laws and regulations may adversely affect our operations and our financial results.
We and the Bank are subject to extensive regulation, supervision and examination by federal and state banking authorities. Any change in applicable regulations or federal or state legislation could have a substantial impact on us and the Bank, and our respective operations. Additional legislation and regulations may be enacted or adopted in the future that could significantly affect our powers, authority and operations or the powers, authority and operations of the Bank, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Further, bank regulatory authorities have the authority to bring enforcement actions against banks and their holding companies for unsafe or unsound practices in the conduct of their businesses or for violations of any law, rule or regulation, any condition imposed in writing by the appropriate bank regulatory agency or any written agreement with the agency. Possible enforcement actions against us could include the issuance of a cease-and-desist order that could be judicially enforced, the imposition of civil monetary penalties, the issuance of directives to increase capital or enter into a strategic transaction, whether by merger or otherwise, with a third party, the appointment of a conservator or receiver, the termination of insurance on deposits, the issuance of removal and prohibition orders against institution-affiliated parties, and the enforcement of such actions through injunctions or restraining orders. The exercise of this regulatory discretion and power may have a negative impact on us.
As a regulated entity, we and Sonabank must each maintain certain required levels of regulatory capital that may limit our operations and potential growth.
As further described above under Supervision and Regulation—Capital Requirements, we and the Bank are subject to various regulatory capital requirements administered by the FRB.
Failure to meet minimum capital requirements can initiate certain mandatory, and possibly additional, discretionary actions by regulators that, if undertaken, could have a direct material effect on the Bank’s and our consolidated financial statements. Under capital adequacy guidelines and the regulatory framework for prompt corrective action, the Bank must meet specific capital guidelines that involve quantitative measures of the Bank’s assets, liabilities and certain off-balance sheet commitments as calculated under these regulations.
As of December 31, 2018, the Bank exceeded the amounts required to be well capitalized with respect to all four required capital ratios. As of December 31, 2018, the Bank’s leverage, CET1 risk-based capital, Tier 1 risk-based capital and Total risk-based capital ratios were 11.03%, 13.64%, 13.64% and 14.22%, respectively.
Many factors affect the calculation of the Bank’s risk-based assets and its ability to maintain the level of capital required to achieve acceptable capital ratios. For example, changes in risk weightings of assets relative to capital and other factors may combine to increase the amount of risk-weighted assets in the Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio and the Total risk-based capital ratio. Any increases in its risk-weighted assets will require a corresponding increase in its capital to maintain the applicable ratios. In addition, recognized loan losses in excess of amounts reserved for such losses, loan impairments, impairment losses on investment securities and other factors will decrease the Bank’s capital, thereby reducing the level of the applicable ratios.
The Bank’s failure to remain well capitalized for bank regulatory purposes could affect customer confidence, our ability to grow, our costs of funds and FDIC insurance costs, our ability to pay dividends on our capital stock, our ability to make acquisitions, and on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Under FRB rules, if the Bank ceases to be a well capitalized institution for bank regulatory purposes, the interest rates that it pays on deposits and its
ability to accept, renew or rollover brokered deposits may be restricted. As of December 31, 2018, we had $254.6 million of brokered deposits, which represented 12.1% of our total deposits.
We may not be able to successfully compete with others for business.
The metropolitan statistical areas in which we operate are considered highly attractive from an economic and demographic viewpoint, and are highly competitive banking markets. We compete for loans, deposits and investment dollars with numerous regional and national banks, online divisions of out-of-market banks and other community banking institutions, as well as other kinds of financial institutions and enterprises, such as securities firms, insurance companies, savings associations, credit unions, mortgage brokers and private lenders. Many competitors have substantially greater resources than us, and operate under less stringent regulatory environments. The differences in resources and regulations may make it harder for us to compete profitably, reduce the rates that we can earn on loans and investments, increase the rates we must offer on deposits and other funds and adversely affect our overall financial condition and earnings.
The implementation of other new lines of business or new products and services may subject us to additional risk.
We continuously evaluate our service offerings and may implement new lines of business or offer new products and services within existing lines of business in the future. There are substantial risks and uncertainties associated with these efforts. In developing and marketing new lines of business and/or new products and services, we undergo a new product process to assess the risks of the initiative, and invest significant time and resources to build internal controls, policies and procedures to mitigate those risks, including hiring experienced management to oversee the implementation of the initiative. Initial timetables for the introduction and development of new lines of business and/or new products or services may not be achieved and price and profitability targets may not prove feasible. External factors, such as compliance with regulations, competitive alternatives, and shifting market preferences, may also impact the successful implementation of a new line of business and/or a new product or service. Furthermore, any new line of business and/or new product or service could require the establishment of new key and other controls and have a significant impact on our existing system of internal controls. Failure to successfully manage these risks in the development and implementation of new lines of business and/or new products or services could have a material adverse effect on our business and, in turn, our financial condition and results of operations.
Consumers may decide not to use banks to complete their financial transactions.
Technology and other changes are allowing parties to complete financial transactions that historically have involved banks through alternative methods. For example, consumers can now maintain funds that would have historically been held as bank deposits in brokerage accounts or mutual funds. Consumers can also complete transactions such as paying bills and/or transferring funds directly without the assistance of banks. The process of eliminating banks as intermediaries could result in the loss of fee income, as well as the loss of customer deposits and the related income generated from those deposits. The loss of these revenue streams and the lower cost deposits as a source of funds could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Further, clients may choose to conduct business with other market participants who engage in business or offer products in areas we deem speculative or risky, such as cryptocurrencies. Increased competition may negatively affect our earnings by creating pressure to lower prices or credit standards on our products and services requiring additional investment to improve the quality and delivery of our technology and/or reducing our market share, or affecting the willingness of our clients to do business with us.
In addition, the widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we grow and develop our internet banking and mobile banking channel strategies in addition to remote connectivity solutions. We might not be successful in developing or introducing new products and services, integrating new products or services into our existing offerings, responding or adapting to changes in consumer behavior, preferences, spending, investing
and/or saving habits, achieving market acceptance of our products and services, reducing costs in response to pressures to deliver products and services at lower prices or sufficiently developing and maintaining loyal customers.
Our information systems may experience an interruption or breach in security.
We rely heavily on communications and information systems provided both internally and externally to conduct our business. Any failure, interruption or breach in security of these systems (such as a spike in transaction volume, a cyber-attack or other unforeseen events) could result in failures or disruptions in our customer relationship management, general ledger, deposit, loan and other systems. While we have policies and procedures and service level agreements designed to prevent or limit the effect of the failure, interruption or security breach of our information systems, there can be no assurance that any such failures, interruptions or security breaches will not occur or, if they do occur, that they will be adequately addressed. While we maintain an insurance policy which we believe provides sufficient coverage at a manageable expense for an institution of our size and scope with similar technological systems, we cannot assure shareholders that this policy would be sufficient to cover all related financial losses and damages should we experience any one or more of our or a third party’s systems failing or experiencing a cyber-attack. The occurrence of any failures, interruptions or security breaches of our information systems could damage our reputation, result in a loss of customer business, subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny, or expose us to civil litigation and possible financial liability, including remediation costs and increased protection costs, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We face significant cyber and data security risk that could result in the disclosure of confidential information, adversely affect our business or reputation and expose us to significant liabilities.
As a financial institution, we are under threat of loss due to hacking and cyber-attacks. This risk has increased in recent years, and continues to increase, as we continue to expand customer capabilities to utilize internet and other remote channels to transact business. Two of the most significant cyber-attack risks that we face are e-fraud and loss of sensitive customer data. Loss from e-fraud occurs when cybercriminals breach and extract funds directly from customer or our accounts. The attempts to breach sensitive customer data, such as account numbers and social security numbers, are less frequent but would present significant reputational, legal and/or regulatory costs to us if successful. Our risk and exposure to these matters remains heightened because of the evolving nature and complexity of these threats from cybercriminals and hackers, our plans to continue to provide internet banking and mobile banking channels, and our plans to develop additional remote connectivity solutions to serve our customers. In July 2017, we incurred a loss of approximately $172 thousand due to fraudulent wire transactions. These fraudulent wire transactions were the result of an email phishing scheme that targeted various employees of the Bank and led to an internal email compromise, affording the perpetrators access to personal information of a number of the Bank’s customers. We took immediate action to contain and eradicate the email compromise, including the implementation of control enhancements to prevent a similar situation from occurring again. We believe this was an isolated event and do not believe our technology systems have been compromised. While we have not experienced any material losses relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches such as the one that occurred in July 2017, we have been the subject of a successful hacking and cyber-attack and there can be no assurance that we will not suffer additional losses in the future related to this event or others.
The occurrence of any cyber-attack or information security breach, such as the one that occurred in July 2017, could result in material adverse consequences to us including damage to our reputation and the loss of customers. We also could face litigation or additional regulatory scrutiny. Litigation or regulatory actions in turn could lead to significant liability or other sanctions, including fines and penalties or reimbursement of customers adversely affected by this security breach. Even if we do not suffer any material adverse consequences as a result of the event that occurred in July 2017 or as a result of other future events, successful attacks or systems failures at the Bank or at other financial institutions could lead to a general loss of customer confidence in financial institutions including the Bank.
Our ability to mitigate the adverse consequences of occurrences (such as the one in July 2017) is in part dependent on the quality of our information security procedures and contracts and our ability to anticipate the timing and nature of any such event that occurs. In recent years, we have incurred significant expense towards improving the reliability of our systems and their security from attack. Nonetheless, there remains the risk that we may be materially harmed by this
cyber-attack and information security breach or others in the future. Methods used to attack information systems change frequently (with generally increasing sophistication), often are not recognized until launched against a target, may be supported by foreign governments or other well-financed entities, and may originate from less regulated and remote areas around the world. As a result, we may be unable to address these methods in advance of attacks, including by implementing adequate preventive measures. If such an attack or breach does occur again, we might not be able to fix it timely or adequately. To the extent that such an attack or breach relates to products or services provided by others, we seek to engage in due diligence and monitoring to limit the risk. In addition, as the regulatory environment related to information security, data collection and use, and privacy becomes increasingly rigorous, with new and constantly changing requirements applicable to our business, compliance with those requirements could also result in additional costs.
We rely on third-party vendors to provide key components of our business infrastructure.
Third-party vendors provide key components of our business operations such as data processing, recording and monitoring transactions, online banking interfaces and services, Internet connections and network access. We have selected these third-party vendors carefully and have conducted the due diligence consistent with regulatory guidance and best practices. While we have ongoing programs to review third-party vendors and assess risk, we do not control their actions. Any problems caused by these third parties, including those resulting from disruptions in communication services provided by a vendor, failure of a vendor to handle current or higher volumes, cyber-attacks and security breaches at a vendor, failure of a vendor to provide services for any reason or poor performance of services, could adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to our customers and otherwise conduct our business. Financial or operational difficulties of a third-party vendor could also hurt our operations if those difficulties interfere with the vendor’s ability to serve us. Furthermore, our vendors could also be sources of operational and information security risk to us, including from breakdowns or failures of their own systems or capacity constraints. Replacing these third-party vendors could also create significant delay and expense. Accordingly, use of such third parties creates an unavoidable inherent risk to our business operations.
Provisions of our articles of incorporation and bylaws, as well as state and federal banking regulations, could delay or prevent a takeover of us by a third party.
Our articles of incorporation and bylaws could delay, defer or prevent a third party from acquiring us, despite the possible benefit to our shareholders, or otherwise adversely affect the price of our common stock.
Any individual, acting alone or with other individuals, who are seeking to acquire, directly or indirectly, 10.0% or more of our outstanding common stock must comply with the Change in Bank Control Act, which requires prior notice to the FRB for any acquisition. Additionally, any bank holding company that wants to acquire 5.0% or more of our outstanding common stock, or otherwise control us, may need to obtain the prior approval of the FRB under the BHCA of 1956, as amended. As a result, prospective investors in our common stock need to be aware of and comply with those requirements, to the extent applicable. The overall effect of such laws is to make it more difficult to acquire a bank holding company by tender offer or similar means than it might be to acquire control of another type of corporation. Consequently, shareholders of Southern National may be less likely to benefit from the rapid increases in stock prices that may result from tender offers or similar efforts to acquire control. Investors should be aware of these restrictions when acquiring shares of our stock.
We are subject to transaction risk, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We, like all businesses, are subject to transaction risk, which is the risk of loss resulting from human error, fraud or unauthorized transactions due to inadequate or failed internal processes and systems, and external events that are wholly or partially beyond our control (including, for example, computer viruses or electrical or telecommunications outages). Transaction risk also encompasses compliance risk, which is the risk of loss from violations of, or noncompliance with, laws, rules, regulations, prescribed practices or ethical standards. Although we seek to mitigate transaction risk through a system of internal controls, there can be no assurance that we will not suffer losses from transaction risks in the future that may be material in amount. Any losses resulting from transaction risk could take the form of explicit charges,
increased operational costs, litigation costs, harm to reputation or forgone opportunities, any and all of which could have a material adverse effect on business, financial condition and results of operations.
We must respond to rapid technological changes and these changes may be more difficult or expensive than anticipated.
If competitors introduce new products and services embodying new technologies, or if new industry standards and practices emerge, our existing product and service offerings, technology and systems may become obsolete. Further, if we fail to adopt or develop new technologies or to adapt our products and services to emerging industry standards, we may lose current and future customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The financial services industry is changing rapidly and in order to remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the functionality and features of our products, services and technologies. These changes may be more difficult or expensive than we anticipate.
We currently intend to pay dividends on our common stock; however, our future ability to pay dividends is subject to restrictions.
We declared the first cash dividend on our common stock in February 2012, and each quarter thereafter through 2018. We also declared a special dividend in the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015. There are a number of restrictions on our ability to pay dividends. It is the policy of the FRB that bank holding companies should pay cash dividends on common stock only out of income available over the past year and only if prospective earnings retention is consistent with the organization’s expected future needs and financial condition. The policy provides that bank holding companies should not maintain a level of cash dividends that undermines the bank holding company’s ability to serve as a source of strength to its banking subsidiaries.
Our principal source of funds to pay dividends on our common stock is cash dividends that we receive from the Bank. The payment of dividends by the Bank to us is subject to certain restrictions imposed by federal banking laws, regulations and authorities. The federal banking statutes prohibit federally insured banks from making any capital distributions (including a dividend payment) if, after making the distribution, the institution would be "under capitalized" as defined by statute. In addition, the relevant federal regulatory agencies have authority to prohibit an insured bank from engaging in an unsafe or unsound practice, as determined by the agency, in conducting an activity. The payment of dividends could be deemed to constitute such an unsafe or unsound practice, depending on the financial condition of the Bank. Regulatory authorities could impose administratively stricter limitations on the ability of the Bank to pay dividends to us if such limits were deemed appropriate to preserve certain capital adequacy requirements.
The trading volume in our common stock is less than that of other larger financial services companies.
Although our common stock is listed for trading on the NASDAQ Global Market, the trading volume is low, and you are not assured liquidity with respect to transactions in our common stock. A public trading market having the desired characteristics of depth, liquidity and orderliness depends on the presence in the marketplace of willing buyers and sellers of our common stock at any given time. This presence depends on the individual decisions of investors and general economic and market conditions over which we have no control. Given the lower trading volume of our common stock, significant sales of our common stock, or the expectation of these sales, could cause our stock price to fall.
Severe weather, natural disasters, climate change, acts of war or terrorism and other adverse external events could significantly impact our business.
Severe weather, natural disasters, climate change, acts of war or terrorism and other adverse external events could have a significant impact on our ability to conduct business. Such events could affect the stability of our deposit base, impair the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans, impair the value of collateral securing loans, cause significant property damage, result in loss of revenue and/or cause us to incur additional expenses. Although management has established disaster recovery policies and procedures, there can be no assurance of the effectiveness of such policies and procedures, and the occurrence of any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The benefits of our FDIC loss-sharing agreements may be reduced or eliminated.
In connection with the Bank’s assumption of the banking operations of GAB, the Bank entered into the Agreement, which contains loss-sharing provisions. Our decisions regarding the fair value of assets acquired, including the FDIC loss-sharing assets (referred to herein as the "covered assets"), could be inaccurate which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and future prospects. Management makes various assumptions and judgments about the collectability of the acquired loans, including the creditworthiness of borrowers and the value of the real estate and other assets serving as collateral for the repayment of secured loans. In the GAB acquisition, we recorded a loss-sharing asset that reflects our estimate of the timing and amount of future losses we anticipate occurring in the acquired loan portfolio. In determining the size of the loss-sharing asset, we analyzed the loan portfolio based on historical loss experience, volume and classification of loans, volume and trends in delinquencies and nonaccruals, local economic conditions, and other pertinent information.
If our assumptions related to the timing or amount of expected losses are incorrect, there could be a negative impact on our operating results. Increases in the amount of future losses in response to different economic conditions or adverse developments in the acquired loan portfolio may result in increased credit loss provisions. Changes in our estimate of the timing of those losses, specifically if those losses are to occur beyond the applicable loss-sharing periods, may result in impairments of the FDIC indemnification asset.
Our ability to obtain reimbursement under the loss-sharing agreements on covered assets depends on our compliance with the terms of the loss-sharing agreements.
Management must certify to the FDIC on a quarterly basis our compliance with the terms of the FDIC loss-sharing agreements as a prerequisite to obtaining reimbursement from the FDIC for realized losses on covered assets. The agreements contain specific, detailed and cumbersome compliance, servicing, notification and reporting requirements, and failure to comply with any of the requirements and guidelines could result in a specific asset or group of assets permanently losing their loss-sharing coverage. Additionally, management may decide to forgo loss-share coverage on certain assets to allow greater flexibility over the management of such assets. As of December 31, 2018, $18.3 million, or 0.7%, of our assets were covered by the FDIC loss-sharing agreements.
Under the terms of the FDIC loss-sharing agreements, the assignment or transfer of a loss-sharing agreement to another entity generally requires the written consent of the FDIC. Our failure to comply with the terms of the loss-sharing agreements or to manage the covered assets in such a way as to maintain loss-share coverage on all such assets may cause individual loans or large pools of loans to lose eligibility for loss share payments from the FDIC, which could result in material losses.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Southern National does not have any unresolved staff comments from the SEC to report for the year ended December 31, 2018.
Item 2. Properties
Southern National’s principal office is located at 6830 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, Virginia. Southern National and Sonabank also have executive offices located at 1002 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC and 10900 Nuckols Road, Suite 325, Glen Allen, Virginia. Including these main locations, our bank owns 29 properties and leases 25 properties, all of which are used as branch locations or for housing operational units in Maryland and Virginia. At December 31, 2018, Sonabank had 38 full-service retail branches in Virginia and seven full-service retail branches in Maryland. Impacting the number of Sonabank’s full-service retail branches in 2017 was the acquisition of EVBS resulting in 24 additional full-service retail branches at the time of the merger. As part of an overall restructuring of the combined institutions retail branch network, it was decided that we would close two full-service branches and one drive-thru facility in the Sonabank retail network. The Leesburg, Virginia drive-thru location was closed in July 2017, while the Broadview Avenue branch in Warrenton, Virginia and the Frederick, Maryland branch were both closed in September 2017 immediately prior to the core processing system conversion. Additionally, in October 2017, Sonabank
opened a new full-service branch in the River’s Bend market located in Chesterfield County, Virginia. This branch, which was part of the EVBS merger, is in a dynamic growth area with new businesses and consumers entering the market every day. This market compliments our focus on the south of Richmond market which includes Colonial Heights, Tri-Cities and Midlothian.
Southern National believes its facilities are in good operating condition, are suitable and adequate for its operational needs and are adequately insured.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Southern National and Sonabank are from time to time a party, as both plaintiff and defendant, to various claims and proceedings arising in the ordinary course of the Bank’s business, including administrative and/or legal proceedings that may include employment-related claims, as well as claims of lender liability, breach of contract, and other similar lending-related claims. While the ultimate resolution of these matters cannot be determined at this time, the Bank’s management presently believes that such matters, individually and in the aggregate, will not have a material adverse effect on the Bank’s financial condition or results of operations.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Common Stock Market Prices
On November 6, 2006, Southern National closed on the initial public offering of its common stock, $0.01 par value. The shares of common stock sold in the offering were registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, on a Registration Statement (Registration No. 333‑136285) that was declared effective by the SEC on October 31, 2006. The shares of common stock were sold at a price to the public of $14.00 per share (equivalent to $12.73 after the stock dividend declared in May 2007).
Southern National completed a follow-on public offering of its common stock in an underwritten public offering on November 4, 2009, selling 4,791,665 shares of common stock, including 624,999 shares sold pursuant to an over-allotment option granted to the underwriter, at a price of $6.00 per share. The gross proceeds from the shares sold were $28.7 million. The net proceeds to Southern National from the offering were approximately $26.9 million after deducting $1.3 million in underwriting commission and an estimated $486 thousand in other expenses incurred in connection with the offering.
In connection with its acquisition of EVBS, Southern National issued 11,557,760 shares of its common stock on June 23, 2017, which had a value of approximately $198.9 million based on Southern National’s common stock closing price of $17.21 per share on June 23, 2017.
Southern National’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “SONA”. Our common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market in November 2006, and the exchange listing was upgraded to the Nasdaq Global Market at the open of trading on December 18, 2007.
There were 24,118,003 shares of our common stock outstanding at the close of business on March 7, 2019, which were held by 1,399 shareholders of record. As of that date, the closing price of our common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market was $15.15.
Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans
As of December 31, 2018, Southern National had outstanding stock options granted under the 2010 Stock Awards and Incentive Plan (the “2010 Plan”) and the 2017 Equity Compensation Plan (the “2017 Plan”), which were approved by its shareholders. The following table provides information as of December 31, 2018 regarding Southern National’s equity compensation plans under which our equity securities are authorized for issuance:
Number of securities
remaining available for
Number of securities
future issuance under
to be issued upon exercise
exercise price of
equity compensation plans
of outstanding options,
(excluding securities reflected
warrants and rights
warrants and rights
in column A)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following chart compares the cumulative total shareholder return on Southern National common stock during the five years ended December 31, 2018, with the cumulative total return of the Russell 2000 Index and the SNL Bank and Thrift Index for the same period. Dividend reinvestment has been assumed. This comparison assumes $100 invested on December 31, 2013 in Southern National common stock, the Russell 2000 Index and the SNL Bank and Thrift Index.
The following table sets forth selected financial data for Southern National as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014:
(in thousands, except per share amounts)
Results of Operations:
Net interest income
Provision for loan losses
Net interest income after provision for loan losses
Income before income taxes
Income tax expense
Per Share Data:
Earnings per share - Basic
Earnings per share - Diluted
Cash dividends paid per share
Book value per share
Tangible book value per share (1)
Dividend payout ratio
Weighted average shares outstanding - Basic
Weighted average shares outstanding - Diluted
Shares outstanding at end of period
Selected Performance Ratios and Other Data:
Return on average assets
Return on average equity
Yield on earning assets
Cost of funds
Net interest margin
Efficiency ratio (2)
Net charge-offs to average loans
Allowance for loan losses to total non-covered loans
Stockholders' equity to total assets
Total loans, net of deferred fees
Tangible book value per share is calculated by dividing stockholders’ equity less intangible assets by the number of outstanding shares of common stock.
Efficiency ratio is calculated by dividing noninterest expenses by the sum of net interest income plus noninterest income. Noninterest expenses for year ended December 31, 2017, included merger expenses of $9,426 thousand. Excluding these merger expenses, our efficiency ratio was 54.16% for the year December 31, 2017.
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Management’s discussion and analysis is presented to aid the reader in understanding and evaluating the financial condition and results of operations of Southern National. This discussion and analysis should be read with the consolidated financial statements, the footnotes thereto, and the other financial data included in this report.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Our accounting policies are in accordance with U.S. GAAP and with general practices within the banking industry. Management makes a number of estimates and assumptions relating to reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during periods presented. Different assumptions in the application of these methods or policies could result in material changes in our financial statements. As such, the following policies are considered “critical accounting policies” for us.
Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (“ALLL”)
The allowance for loan and lease losses is a valuation allowance for probable incurred credit losses. Loan losses are charged against the allowance when management believes the collection of the principal is unlikely. Recoveries of amounts previously charged-off are credited to the allowance. Management’s determination of the adequacy of the allowance is based on a three year historical average net loss experience for each portfolio segment, except consumer loans that are tracked on a two year basis, adjusted for current industry and economic conditions (referred to as “current factors”) and estimates of their effect on loan collectability. While management uses available information to estimate losses on loans, future additions to the allowance may be necessary based on changes in economic conditions, particularly those affecting real estate values.
The allowance consists of specific and general components. The specific component relates to loans that are individually classified as impaired. The general component provides for estimated losses in unimpaired loans and is based on historical loss experience adjusted for current factors.
A loan is considered impaired when, based on current information and events, it is probable that Southern National will be unable to collect the scheduled payments of principal or interest when due according to the terms of the loan documentation. Factors considered by management in determining impairment include payment status, collateral value, and the probability of collecting scheduled principal and interest payments when due, among other considerations. Loans that experience insignificant payment delays and payment shortfalls generally are not classified as impaired. Management determines the significance of payment delays and payment shortfalls on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration all of the circumstances surrounding the loan and the borrower, including the length of the delay, the reasons for the delay, the borrower’s prior payment record, and the amount of the shortfall in relation to the principal and interest owed. Impairment is measured on a loan-by-loan basis for commercial and construction loans by either the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan’s effective interest rate, the loan’s observable market price, or the fair value of the collateral if the loan is collateral dependent. Individual consumer and residential loans are evaluated for impairment based on the aforementioned criteria as well as regulatory guidelines.
The general component covers non‑impaired loans and is based on historical loss experience adjusted for current factors. The historical loss experience is determined by portfolio segment and is based on the actual net loss history experienced by Southern National over the most recent three years. This actual loss experience is adjusted for current factors based on the risks present for each portfolio segment. These current factors include consideration of the following: levels of and trends in delinquencies and impaired loans; levels of and trends in charge-offs and recoveries; trends in volume and terms of loans; effects of any changes in risk selection and underwriting standards; other changes in lending policies, procedures, and practices; experience, ability, and depth of lending management and other relevant staff; national and local economic trends and conditions; industry conditions; and effects of changes in credit concentrations. The following portfolio segments have been identified: owner occupied commercial real estate, non-owner occupied commercial real estate, construction and land development, commercial loans, residential 1‑4 family, multi-family residential, loans secured by farmland, HELOC and consumer. While underwriting practices in today’s environment are more stringent,
the Bank estimates the effect of internal factors on future net loss experience to be negligible. Management’s estimate of the effect of current external economic environmental conditions on future net loss experience is significant in all loan segments and particularly on loans secured by real estate including single family 1‑4, non-owner occupied commercial real estate and construction and land development loans. These factors include excess inventory, generally less demand driven in part by fewer qualified borrowers and buyers. These considerations have played a significant role in management’s estimate of the adequacy of the allowance for loan and lease losses.
Accounting for the FDIC Indemnification Asset and Acquired Loans
Southern National acquired loan portfolios through its acquisitions of GAB in 2009, HarVest Bank of Maryland in 2012, PGFSB in 2014 and EVBS in 2017. The single family residential loans acquired in the GAB transaction are referred to as “covered loans” because of loss protection provided by the FDIC pursuant to a loss sharing agreement which expires in December 2019. The loss sharing agreement with the FDIC related to non-single family (commercial) loans expired in December 2014. The loans acquired in the EVBS, HarVest Bank of Maryland, and PGFSB transactions are not covered by an FDIC loss sharing agreement.
The accounting for the covered loans requires Southern National to estimate the timing and amount of cash flows to be collected from these loans at acquisition, and to periodically update our estimates of the cash flows expected to be collected over the life of the covered loans. Similarly, the accounting for the FDIC indemnification asset requires us to estimate the timing and amount of cash flows to be received from the FDIC in reimbursement for losses and expenses related to the covered loans; these estimates are directly related to estimates of cash flows to be received from the covered loans. The estimated cash flows from the FDIC indemnification asset are sensitive to changes in the same assumptions that impact expected cash flows on covered loans.
Loans acquired with evidence of credit deterioration since inception and for which it is probable that all contractual payments will not be received are accounted for under Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 310‑30, Loans and Debt Securities Acquired with Deteriorated Credit Quality (“ASC 310‑30”). These loans are recorded at fair value at the time of acquisition, with no carryover of the related allowance for loan losses. Fair value of acquired loans is determined using a discounted cash flow methodology based on assumptions about the amount and timing of principal and interest payments, principal prepayments and principal defaults and losses, and current market rates. In recording the acquisition date fair values of acquired impaired loans, management calculates a non-accretable difference (the credit component of the purchased loans) and an accretable difference (the yield component of the purchased loans).
Over the life of the acquired loans, we continue to estimate cash flows expected to be collected on pools of loans sharing common risk characteristics, which are treated in the aggregate when applying various valuation techniques. We evaluate at each balance sheet date whether the present value of our pools of loans determined using the effective interest rates has decreased significantly and if so, recognize a provision for loan losses in our consolidated statement of income. For any significant increases in cash flows expected to be collected, we adjust the amount of accretable yield recognized on a prospective basis over the pool’s remaining life.
These cash flow evaluations are inherently subjective as they require management to make estimates about expected cash flows, market conditions and other future events that are highly subjective in nature and subject to change. Changes in these factors, as well as changing economic conditions will likely impact the carrying value of these acquired loans.
Business Combinations, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets
Southern National accounts for all business combinations under the purchase method of accounting. Tangible and intangible assets and liabilities of the acquired entity are recorded at fair value. The determination of fair values is based on valuations using management’s assumptions of future growth rates, future attrition, discount rates, multiples of earnings or other relevant factors. Changes in these factors, as well as downturns in economic or business conditions, could have a significant adverse impact on the carrying values of goodwill or intangible assets and could result in impairment losses affecting our financials as a whole and our banking subsidiary in which the goodwill or intangibles resides.
Intangible assets with finite useful lives represent the future benefit associated with the acquisition of the core deposits and are amortized over their estimated useful lives utilizing a method that approximates the expected attrition of the deposits. Under FASB ASC 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other, goodwill with an indefinite life is not amortized, but rather tested annually for impairment. Southern National evaluates goodwill for impairment each year as of September 30. Goodwill totaled $101.9 million at December 31, 2018. There was no impairment recorded for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Other-Than-Temporary-Impairment (“OTTI”) of Investment Securities
Management evaluates investment securities for OTTI on at least a quarterly basis, and more frequently when economic or market conditions warrant such an evaluation. For investment securities in an unrealized loss position, management considers the extent and duration of the unrealized loss, and the financial condition and near-term prospects of the issuer. Management also assesses whether it intends to sell, or it is more likely than not that it will be required to sell, an investment security in an unrealized loss position before recovery of its amortized cost basis. If either of the criteria regarding intent or requirement to sell is met, the entire difference between amortized cost and fair value is recognized as impairment through earnings. For debt investment securities that do not meet the aforementioned criteria, the amount of impairment is split into two components as follows: 1) OTTI related to credit loss, which must be recognized in the income statement and 2) OTTI related to other factors, which is recognized in other comprehensive income. The credit loss is defined as the difference between the present value of the cash flows expected to be collected and the amortized cost basis. For equity investment securities, the entire amount of impairment is recognized through earnings.
In order to determine OTTI for purchased beneficial interests that, on the purchase date, were not highly rated, Southern National compares the present value of the remaining cash flows as estimated at the preceding evaluation date to the current expected remaining cash flows. OTTI is deemed to have occurred if there has been an adverse change in the remaining expected future cash flows.
Other Real Estate Owned (“OREO”)
Real estate acquired through, or in lieu of, loan foreclosure are held for sale and are initially recorded at the fair value of the collateral at the date of foreclosure based on estimates, including some obtained from third parties, less estimated costs to sell, establishing a new cost basis. Subsequent to foreclosure, valuations are periodically performed by management, and the assets are carried at the lower of cost or fair value, less estimated costs to sell. Significant property improvements that enhance the salability of the property are capitalized to the extent that the carrying value does not exceed the estimated realizable value. Legal fees, maintenance and other direct costs of foreclosed properties are expensed as incurred.
Due to the judgment involved in estimating fair value of the properties, accounting for OREO is regarded as a critical accounting policy. Estimates of value of OREO properties at the date of foreclosure are typically based on real estate appraisals performed by independent appraisers. These values are generally updated as appraisals become available.
Valuation of Deferred Tax Asset
The provision for income taxes reflects the tax effects of the transactions reported in the consolidated financial statements, including taxes currently due as well as changes in deferred taxes. Deferred tax assets and liabilities represent estimates of the future tax return consequences of temporary differences between carrying amounts and tax bases of assets and liabilities. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are computed by using currently enacted income tax rates and applying those rates to the periods in which the deferred tax assets or liabilities are expected to be realized or settled. As changes in tax laws or rates are enacted, deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted through the provision for income taxes. As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, management concluded that it is more likely than not that Southern National will generate sufficient taxable income to fully utilize our deferred tax assets.
Southern National is a corporation that was formed on July 28, 2004 under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is the holding company for Sonabank, a Virginia state-chartered bank which commenced operations on April 14, 2005. Sonabank provides a range of financial services to individuals and small and medium sized businesses.
On June 23, 2017, SNBV completed its merger with EVBS and the merger of EVBS’s wholly-owned subsidiary, EVB, with and into SNBV’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Sonabank (see Note 2 - Business Combinations). This combination has brought together two banking companies with complementary business lines, creating one of the premier banking institutions headquartered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. EVBS was the holding company for EVB, a Virginia state-chartered bank which traced its beginnings to 1910.
Southern National acquired PGFSB in a cash and stock transaction on August 1, 2014. PGFSB was founded in 1931 and was headquartered in Upper Marlboro, which is the County Seat of Prince George’s County, Maryland. PGFSB had four offices in Maryland, including a main office in Upper Marlboro and three branch offices in Dunkirk, Brandywine and Huntingtown.
We completed the acquisition of the HarVest Bank of Maryland on April 27, 2012, the Midlothian branch in Richmond, Virginia on October 1, 2011 and the acquisition and assumption of certain assets and liabilities of GAB from the FDIC on December 4, 2009. As part of the GAB acquisition, the Bank and the FDIC entered into a loss sharing agreement (the “loss sharing agreement”) on approximately $143.4 million (cost basis) of GAB’s assets. The Bank will share in the losses on the loans and foreclosed loan collateral with the FDIC as specified in the loss sharing agreement; we refer to these assets collectively as “covered assets.”
At December 31, 2018, Sonabank had thirty-eight full-service retail branches in Virginia, located in the counties of Chesterfield (2), Essex (2), Fairfax (Reston, McLean and Fairfax), Gloucester (2), Hanover (3), King William, Lancaster, Middlesex (3), New Kent, Northumberland (3), Southampton, Surry, Sussex, and in Charlottesville, Clifton Forge, Colonial Heights, Front Royal, Hampton, Haymarket, Leesburg, Middleburg, New Market, Newport News, Richmond, South Riding, Warrenton, and Williamsburg, and seven full-service retail branches in Maryland, in Rockville, Shady Grove, Bethesda, Upper Marlboro, Brandywine, Owings and Huntingtown.
While we offer a wide range of commercial banking services, we focus on making loans secured primarily by commercial real estate and other types of secured and unsecured commercial loans to small and medium-sized businesses in a number of industries, as well as loans to individuals for a variety of purposes. We are a leading SBA lender among Virginia community banks. We also invest in real estate-related investment securities, including collateralized mortgage obligations and agency mortgage backed securities. Our principal sources of funds for loans and investing in securities are deposits and, to a lesser extent, borrowings. We offer a broad range of deposit products, including checking (“NOW”), savings, money market accounts and certificates of deposit. We actively pursue business relationships by utilizing the business contacts of our senior management, other bank officers and our directors, thereby capitalizing on our knowledge of our local market areas.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Net income for the year ended December 31, 2018 was $33.7 million, compared to $2.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 and $10.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. Southern National’s results for the year ended December 31, 2018 was impacted by $4.5 million of acquired loan discount accretion on loans acquired in the acquisitions of EVBS, Greater Atlantic Bank, HarVest and Prince George Federal Savings Bank. For the year ended December 31, 2018, other noninterest income benefited from $2.5 million of recoveries of legacy investment securities and loans charged off by EVBS before Southern National merged with EVBS during the late second quarter of 2017. Net income was also impacted by the reduced statutory federal tax rate applicable to the Company from 34% to 21% due to the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which became effective on January 1, 2018. We recognized an additional income tax expense totaling $7.2 million in 2017 from the revaluation of net deferred tax asset as a result of
the reduction in the corporate tax rate. For the year ended December 31, 2018, there was no material net tax expense resulting from a finalization of the calculations in 2018.
Net Interest Income
Our operating results depend primarily on our net interest income, which is the difference between interest and dividend income on interest-earning assets such as loans and investments, and interest expense on interest-bearing liabilities such as deposits and borrowings.
Net interest income was $91.0 million during the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $67.9 million during the prior year. Average loans during the year ended December 31, 2018 were $2.14 billion compared to $1.53 billion during 2017, with the increase mostly attributable to the acquisition of EVBS in June of 2017. Southern National’s net interest margin was 3.72% during the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to 3.87% during the year ended December 31, 2017. The yield on average interest-earning assets increased 10 basis points to 4.86% during the year ended December 31, 2018 when comparing to the 4.76% yield on average interest-earning assets during 2017. The cost of average interest-bearing liabilities increased 31 basis points to 1.39% during the year ended December 31, 2018 when comparing to the 1.08% cost on average interest-bearing liabilities during 2017. The loan discount accretion on our acquisitions were $4.5 million and $3.8 million in the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
Net interest income was $67.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2017, compared to $40.3 million during the prior year. Average loans during the year ended December 31, 2017 were $1.53 billion compared to $889.6 million during 2016, with the increase mostly attributable to the acquisition of EVBS in June of 2017. Southern National’s net interest margin was 3.87% during the year ended December 31, 2017 compared to 3.99% during the year ended December 31, 2016. The yield on average interest-earning assets decreased 8 basis points to 4.76% during the year ended December 31, 2017 when comparing to the 4.84% yield on average interest-earning assets during 2016. The cost of average interest-bearing liabilities increased 8 basis points to 1.08% during the year ended December 31, 2017 when comparing to the 1.00% cost on average interest-bearing liabilities during 2016. The loan discount accretion on our four acquisitions were $3.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2017 compared to $1.9 million in 2016.
The following table details average balances of interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, the amount of interest earned/paid on such assets and liabilities, and the yield/rate for the periods indicated: