Company Quick10K Filing
Quick10K
Valley National Bancorp
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$10.39 332 $3,450
10-K 2018-12-31 Annual: 2018-12-31
10-Q 2018-09-30 Quarter: 2018-09-30
10-Q 2018-06-30 Quarter: 2018-06-30
10-Q 2018-03-31 Quarter: 2018-03-31
10-K 2017-12-31 Annual: 2017-12-31
10-Q 2017-09-30 Quarter: 2017-09-30
10-Q 2017-06-30 Quarter: 2017-06-30
10-Q 2017-03-31 Quarter: 2017-03-31
10-K 2016-12-31 Annual: 2016-12-31
10-Q 2016-09-30 Quarter: 2016-09-30
10-Q 2016-06-30 Quarter: 2016-06-30
10-Q 2016-03-31 Quarter: 2016-03-31
10-K 2015-12-31 Annual: 2015-12-31
10-Q 2015-09-30 Quarter: 2015-09-30
10-Q 2015-06-30 Quarter: 2015-06-30
10-Q 2015-03-31 Quarter: 2015-03-31
10-K 2014-12-31 Annual: 2014-12-31
10-Q 2014-09-30 Quarter: 2014-09-30
10-Q 2014-06-30 Quarter: 2014-06-30
10-Q 2014-03-31 Quarter: 2014-03-31
10-K 2013-12-31 Annual: 2013-12-31
8-K 2019-04-17 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2019-02-13 Enter Agreement, Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2019-02-04 Officers, Exhibits
8-K 2019-01-31 Earnings, Regulation FD
8-K 2019-01-30 Officers
8-K 2019-01-22 Officers
8-K 2019-01-22 Officers
8-K 2018-10-25 Earnings, Regulation FD
8-K 2018-10-24 Amend Bylaw, Exhibits
8-K 2018-09-24 Regulation FD
8-K 2018-07-26 Earnings, Regulation FD
8-K 2018-07-24 Officers
8-K 2018-04-26 Earnings, Regulation FD
8-K 2018-04-20 Shareholder Vote
8-K 2018-03-12 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-03-06 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-02-07 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2018-01-25 Earnings, Regulation FD
8-K 2018-01-02 M&A, Officers, Other Events
JD JD.com 43,280
HUN Huntsman 5,820
CEQP Crestwood Equity Partners 2,680
VBTX Veritex Holdings 1,430
NR Newpark Resources 822
AFC Allied Capital 207
MDWD Mediwound 120
CYAN Cyanotech 18
ACBM Acro Biomedical 0
NWBO Northwest Biotherapeutics 0
VLY 2018-12-31
Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Shareholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10-K Summary
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Valley National Bancorp Earnings 2018-12-31

VLY 10K Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

10-K 1 vly-12312018x10k.htm 10-K Document



 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
þ
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 or 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
o
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 1-11277
VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
New Jersey
 
22-2477875
(State or other jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
1455 Valley Road Wayne, NJ
 
07470
(Address of principal executive office)
 
(Zip code)
973-305-8800
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
  
Name of exchange on which registered
Common Stock, no par value
  
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Non-Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series A, no par value
  
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Non-Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series B, no par value
 
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
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  þ    No  o
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  o   No  þ
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 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  þ    No  o
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files.)    Yes  þ    No  o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  o
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 the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act (check one):
Large accelerated filer
 
þ
Accelerated filer
o
  
Smaller reporting company
 
o
Non-accelerated filer
 
o
 
o
  
Emerging growth company
 
o
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 Exchange Act)     Yes  o    No  þ
The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $3.9 billion on June 30, 2018.
There were 331,983,842 shares of Common Stock outstanding at February 26, 2019.
Documents incorporated by reference:
Certain portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement (the “2019 Proxy Statement”) for the 2019 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held April 17, 2019 will be incorporated by reference in Part III. The 2019 Proxy Statement will be filed within 120 days of December 31, 2018.
 
 





TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
 
 
Page
PART I
 
 
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
 
Valley National Bancorp and Subsidiaries:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
Item 15.
Item 16.
 






PART I
 
Item 1.
Business
The disclosures set forth in this item are qualified by Item 1A—Risk Factors and the section captioned “Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements” in Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this report and other cautionary statements set forth elsewhere in this report.
Valley National Bancorp, headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, is a New Jersey corporation organized in 1983 and is registered as a bank holding company with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (“Holding Company Act”). The words “Valley,” “the Company,” “we,” “our” and “us” refer to Valley National Bancorp and its wholly owned subsidiaries, unless we indicate otherwise. At December 31, 2018, Valley had consolidated total assets of $31.9 billion, total net loans of $24.9 billion, total deposits of $24.5 billion and total shareholders’ equity of $3.4 billion. In addition to its principal subsidiary, Valley National Bank (commonly referred to as the “Bank” in this report), Valley owns all of the voting and common shares of GCB Capital Trust III, State Bancorp Capital Trusts I and II, and Aliant Statutory Trust II at December 31, 2018 through which trust preferred securities were issued. These trusts are not consolidated subsidiaries. See Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements.
Valley National Bank is a national banking association chartered in 1927 under the laws of the United States. Currently, the Bank has 220 branches serving northern and central New Jersey, the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, Long Island, Florida and Alabama. The Bank offers commercial, retail, insurance and wealth management financial services products. The Bank also provides a variety of banking services including automated teller machines, telephone and internet banking, remote deposit capture, overdraft facilities, drive-in and night deposit services, and safe deposit facilities. In addition, certain international banking services are available to customers including standby letters of credit, documentary letters of credit and related products, and certain ancillary services such as foreign exchange transactions, documentary collections, foreign wire transfers, as well as transaction accounts for non-resident aliens.
Valley National Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiaries are all included in the consolidated financial statements of Valley (See Exhibit 21 at Part IV, Item 15 for a list of subsidiaries). These subsidiaries include, but are not limited to:
an insurance agency offering property and casualty, life and health insurance;
an asset management adviser that is a registered investment adviser with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC);
title insurance agencies in New York with services in New Jersey;
subsidiaries which hold, maintain and manage investment assets for the Bank;
a subsidiary which specializes in health care equipment lending and other commercial equipment leases; and
a subsidiary which owns and services New York commercial loans.
The Bank’s subsidiaries also include real estate investment trust subsidiaries (the REIT subsidiaries) which own real estate related investments and a REIT subsidiary, which owns some of the real estate utilized by the Bank and related real estate investments. Except for Valley’s REIT subsidiaries, all subsidiaries mentioned above are directly or indirectly wholly owned by the Bank. Because each REIT must have 100 or more shareholders to qualify as a REIT, each REIT has issued less than 20 percent of its outstanding non-voting preferred stock to individuals, most of whom are current and former (non-executive officer) Bank employees. The Bank owns the remaining preferred stock and all the common stock of the REITs.
Recent Acquisitions
Valley has grown significantly in the past five years primarily through bank acquisitions that expanded our branch footprint into Florida. Recent bank transactions are discussed further below.
USAmeriBancorp, Inc. On January 1, 2018, Valley completed its acquisition of USAmeriBancorp, Inc. (USAB) headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. USAB, largely through its wholly-owned subsidiary, USAmeriBank, had approximately $5.1 billion in assets, $3.7 billion in net loans and $3.6 billion in deposits, after purchase accounting adjustments, and maintained a branch network of 29 offices at December 31, 2018. The acquisition represents a significant addition to Valley’s Florida presence, primarily in the Tampa Bay market. The acquisition also brought Valley to the Birmingham, Montgomery, and Tallapoosa areas in Alabama, where USAB maintained 15 of its branches. The common shareholders of USAB received 6.1 shares of Valley common stock for each USAB share they own. The total consideration for the acquisition was approximately $737 million, consisting of 64.9 million shares of Valley common stock and the outstanding USAB stock-based awards.

 
3
2018 Form 10-K




CNLBancshares, Inc. On December 1, 2015, Valley completed its acquisition of CNLBancshares, Inc. (CNL) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, CNLBank, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, a commercial bank with approximately $1.6 billion in assets, $825 million in loans, $1.2 billion in deposits and 16 branch offices on the date of its acquisition by Valley. The acquired branches allowed us to service Florida's west coast markets of Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and Sarasota. We also added three offices in the Jacksonville area and expanded our presence in the Orlando market. The common shareholders of CNL received 0.705 of a share of Valley common stock for each CNL share they owned prior to the merger. The total consideration for the acquisition was approximately $230 million, consisting of 20.6 million shares of Valley common stock.
1st United Bancorp, Inc. On November 1, 2014, Valley acquired 1st United Bancorp, Inc. (1st United) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, 1st United Bank, a commercial bank with approximately $1.7 billion in assets, $1.2 billion in loans, and $1.4 billion in deposits, after purchase accounting adjustments. The 1st United acquisition gave Valley its first Florida branch network consisting of 20 branch offices covering some of the most attractive urban banking markets in Florida, including locations throughout southeast Florida, the Treasure Coast, central Florida and central Gulf Coast regions. The common shareholders of 1st United received 0.89 of a share of Valley common stock for each 1st United share they owned prior to the merger. The total consideration for the acquisition was approximately $300 million, consisting of 30.7 million shares of Valley common stock and $8.9 million of cash consideration paid to 1st United stock option holders.
In connection with the 1st United acquisition, we acquired loans and other real estate owned subject to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) loss-share agreements (referred to as “covered loans” and “covered OREO”, together “covered assets”). The FDIC loss-share agreements relate to three previous FDIC-assisted acquisitions completed by 1st United from 2009 to 2011. The Bank shares losses on covered assets in accordance with provisions of each loss-share agreement. The vast majority of Valley's covered loans totaling $27.6 million, or 0.1 percent of total loans, at December 31, 2018 are covered by residential mortgage related loan loss sharing agreements acquired from 1st United that will expire between 2019 and 2021.
Business Segments
Our business segments are reassessed by management, at least on an annual basis, to ensure the proper identification and reporting of our operating segments. Valley currently reports the results of its operations and manages its business through four business segments: commercial lending, consumer lending, investment management, and corporate and other adjustments. Valley’s Wealth Management Division comprised of trust, asset management and insurance services, is included in the consumer lending segment. See Note 22 to the consolidated financial statements for details of the financial performance of our business segments. We offer a variety of products and services within the commercial and consumer lending segments as described below.

Commercial Lending Segment
Commercial and industrial loans. Commercial and industrial loans totaled approximately $4.3 billion and represented 17.3 percent of the total loan portfolio at December 31, 2018. We make commercial loans to small and middle market businesses most often located in the New Jersey and New York area, as well as Florida. Loans originated from Florida accounted for approximately 28 percent of total commercial and industrial loans at December 31, 2018 as compared to 14 percent of such loans at December 31, 2017. A significant proportion of Valley’s commercial and industrial loan portfolio is granted to long-standing customers of proven ability, strong repayment performance, and high character. Underwriting standards are designed to assess the borrower’s ability to generate recurring cash flow sufficient to meet the debt service requirements of loans granted. While such recurring cash flow serves as the primary source of repayment, most of the loans are collateralized by borrower assets intended to serve as a secondary source of repayment should the need arise. Anticipated cash flows of borrowers, however, may not be as expected and the collateral securing these loans may fluctuate in value, or in the case of loans secured by accounts receivable, the ability of the borrower to collect all amounts due from its customers. Our loan decisions include consideration of a borrower’s willingness to repay debts, collateral coverage, standing in the community and other forms of support. Strong consideration is given to long-term existing customers that have maintained a favorable relationship with the Bank. Commercial loan products offered consist of term loans for equipment purchases, working capital lines of credit that assist our customers’ financing of accounts receivable and inventory, and commercial mortgages for owner occupied properties. Working capital advances are generally used to finance seasonal requirements and are repaid at the end of the cycle. Short-term commercial business loans may be collateralized by a lien on accounts receivable, inventory, equipment and/or partly collateralized by real estate. Short-term loans may also be made on an unsecured basis based on a borrower’s financial strength and past performance. Whenever possible, we obtain the personal guarantee of the borrower’s principals to mitigate the risk. Unsecured loans, when made, are generally granted to the Bank’s most creditworthy borrowers. Unsecured commercial and industrial loans totaled $580.5 million at December 31, 2018. In addition, we provide financing to the medical equipment leasing market through our leasing subsidiary, Highland Capital Corp.
The commercial portfolio also includes approximately $121.8 million and $8.4 million of New York City and Chicago taxi medallion loans at December 31, 2018, respectively, which we continue to closely monitor due to the weakness exhibited in the

2018 Form 10-K
4
 




taxi industry caused by strong competition from alternative ride-sharing services. At December 31, 2018, the medallion portfolio included impaired loans totaling $73.7 million with related reserves of $27.9 million within the allowance for loan losses. While most of the taxi medallion loans within the portfolio at December 31, 2018 are currently performing to their contractual terms, negative trends in the market valuations of the underlying taxi medallion collateral and a decline in borrower cash flows, among other factors, could impact the future performance of this portfolio. See the “Non-performing Assets” section of “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” (MD&A) for additional information regarding our taxi medallion loans.
Commercial real estate loans. Commercial real estate and construction loans totaled $13.9 billion and represented 55.5 percent of the total loan portfolio at December 31, 2018. We originate commercial real estate loans that are largely secured by multi-unit residential property and non-owner occupied commercial, industrial, and retail property within New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. Loans originated from Florida lending represented 28 percent of the total commercial real estate loans at December 31, 2018 as compared to 13 percent of such loans at December 31, 2017. Loans are generally written on an adjustable basis with rates tied to a specifically identified market rate index. Adjustment periods generally range between five to ten years and repayment is generally structured on a fully amortizing basis for terms up to thirty years. Commercial real estate loans are subject to underwriting standards and processes similar to commercial and industrial loans but generally they involve larger principal balances and longer repayment periods as compared to commercial and industrial loans. Commercial real estate loans are viewed primarily as cash flow loans and secondarily as loans secured by real property. Repayment of most loans is dependent upon the cash flow generated from the property securing the loan or the business that occupies the property. Commercial real estate loans may be more adversely affected by conditions in the real estate markets or in the general economy and accordingly, conservative loan to value ratios are required at origination, as well as stress tested to evaluate the impact of market changes relating to key underwriting elements. The properties securing the commercial real estate portfolio represent diverse types, with most properties located within Valley’s primary markets. With respect to loans to developers and builders, we originate and manage construction loans structured on either a revolving or a non-revolving basis, depending on the nature of the underlying development project. Our construction loans totaling approximately $1.5 billion at December 31, 2018 are generally secured by the real estate to be developed and may also be secured by additional real estate to mitigate the risk. Non-revolving construction loans often involve the disbursement of substantially all committed funds with repayment substantially dependent on the successful completion and sale, or lease, of the project. Sources of repayment for these types of loans may be from pre-committed permanent loans from other lenders, sales of developed property, or an interim loan commitment from Valley until permanent financing is obtained elsewhere. Revolving construction loans (generally relating to single-family residential construction) are controlled with loan advances dependent upon the presale of housing units financed. These loans are closely monitored by on-site inspections and are considered to have higher risks than other real estate loans due to their ultimate repayment being sensitive to interest rate changes, governmental regulation of real property, general economic conditions and the availability of long-term financing.
Consumer Lending Segment
Residential mortgage loansResidential mortgage loans totaled $4.1 billion and represented 16.4 percent of the total loan portfolio at December 31, 2018. Our residential mortgage loans include fixed and variable interest rate loans mostly located in New Jersey, New York and Florida. Valley’s ability to be repaid on such loans is closely linked to the economic and real estate market conditions in our lending markets. We also make mortgage loans secured by homes beyond this primary geographic area; however, lending outside this primary area is generally made in support of existing customer relationships, as well as targeted purchases of loans guaranteed by third parties. Mortgage loan originations are based on underwriting standards that generally comply with Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac requirements. Appraisals and valuations of real estate collateral are contracted through an approved appraisal management company. The appraisal management company adheres to all regulatory requirements. The Bank’s appraisal management policy and procedure is in accordance with regulatory requirements and guidance issued by the Bank’s primary regulator. Credit scoring, using FICO® and other proprietary, credit scoring models is employed in the ultimate, judgmental credit decision by Valley’s underwriting staff. Valley does not use third party contract underwriting services. In deciding whether to originate each residential mortgage, Valley considers the qualifications of the borrower, the value of the underlying property and other factors that we believe are predictive of future loan performance. Valley originated first mortgages include both fixed rate and adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) products with 10-year to 30-year maturities.  The adjustable rate loans have a fixed-rate, fixed payment, introductory period of 5 to 10 years that is selected by the borrower. The adjustable rate residential mortgage loans totaled approximately $898 million and $218 million at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Additionally, Valley began to originate interest-only (i.e., non-amortizing) residential mortgage loans during 2017 due to demand for this type of loan product in the New York City and northern New Jersey markets. Valley's interest-only residential mortgage loans have 15-year to 30-year maturities and totaled $75.4 million (or 1.8 percent of the total residential mortgage loan portfolio) at December 31, 2018. The Bank is also a servicer of residential mortgage portfolios, and it is compensated for loan administrative services performed for mortgage servicing rights related primarily to loans originated and sold by the Bank. See Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements for further details.

 
5
2018 Form 10-K




Other consumer loans. Other consumer loans totaled $2.7 billion and represented 10.8 percent of the total loan portfolio at December 31, 2018. Our other consumer loan portfolio is primarily comprised of direct and indirect automobile loans, loans secured by the cash surrender value of life insurance, home equity loans and lines of credit, and to a lesser extent, secured and unsecured other consumer loans (including credit card loans). Valley is an auto lender in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Connecticut, Delaware and Alabama offering indirect auto loans secured by either new or used automobiles. Automobile originations (including light truck and sport utility vehicles) are largely produced via indirect channels, originated through approved automobile dealers. Valley acquired an immaterial amount of automobile loans from its bank acquisitions in Florida since 2014, as auto lending was not a focus of the acquired operations. However, we implemented our indirect auto lending model in Florida during 2015, and Alabama in 2018 using our New Jersey based underwriting and loan servicing platform. The relatively new Florida auto dealer network generated over $154 million and $106 million of auto loans in 2018 and 2017, respectively, while the auto loans originated from Alabama were not material in 2018. Home equity lending consists of both fixed and variable interest rate products mainly to provide home equity loans to our residential mortgage customers or take a secondary position to another lender’s first lien position within the footprint of our primary lending territories. We generally will not exceed a combined (i.e., first and second mortgage) loan-to-value ratio of 80 percent when originating a home equity loan. Other consumer loans include direct consumer term loans, both secured and unsecured, but are largely comprised of personal lines of credit secured by cash surrender value of life insurance. The product is mainly originated through the Bank’s retail branch network and third party financial advisors. Unsecured consumer loans totaled approximately $58.1 million, including $10.4 million of credit card loans, at December 31, 2018.
Wealth Management. Our Wealth Management and Insurance Services Division provides coordinated and integrated delivery of investment management advisory, trust services, commercial and personal insurance products, and title insurance. Asset management advisory services include investment services for individuals and small to medium sized businesses, trusts and custom -tailored investment strategies designed for various types of retirement plans. Trust services include living and testamentary trusts, investment management, custodial and escrow services, and estate administration, primarily to individuals.
Investment Management Segment
Although we are primarily focused on our lending and wealth management services, a large portion of our income is generated through investments in various types of securities, and depending on our liquid cash position, interest-bearing deposits with banks (primarily the Federal Reserve Bank of New York), as part of our asset/liability management strategies. As of December 31, 2018, our total investment securities and interest bearing deposits with banks were $3.8 billion and $177.1 million, respectively. See the “Investment Securities Portfolio” section of the MD&A and Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements for additional information concerning our investment securities.
Changes in Loan Portfolio Composition
At December 31, 2018 and 2017, approximately 74 percent of Valley’s gross loans totaling $25.0 billion and $18.3 billion, respectively, consisted of commercial real estate (including construction loans), residential mortgage, and home equity loans. The remaining 26 percent at both December 31, 2018 and 2017 consisted of loans not collateralized by real estate. Valley has no internally planned changes that would significantly impact the current composition of our loan portfolio by loan type. However, we have continued to diversify the geographic concentrations in the New Jersey and New York City Metropolitan area within our loan portfolio primarily through our bank acquisitions in Florida since 2014, including our recent acquisition of USAB on January 1, 2018. Many external factors outlined in “Item 1A. Risk Factors”, the “Executive Summary” section of our MD&A, and elsewhere in this report may impact our ability to maintain the current composition of our loan portfolio. See the “Loan Portfolio” section of our MD&A in this report for further discussion of our loan composition and concentration risks.

2018 Form 10-K
6
 




The following table presents the loan portfolio segments by state as an approximate percentage of each applicable segment and our percentage of total loans by state at December 31, 2018. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Percentage of Loan Portfolio Segment:
 
 
 
Commercial and  Industrial
 
Commercial
Real Estate
 
Residential
 
Consumer
 
% of Total
Loans
New Jersey
32
%
 
31
%
 
44
%
 
37
%
 
34
%
New York
27

 
34

 
24

 
29

 
31

Florida
28

 
28

 
19

 
15

 
25

Pennsylvania
1

 
1

 
2

 
9

 
2

California
1

 
1

 
6

 
1

 
2

Connecticut
1

 
*

 
1

 
2

 
1

Other
10

 
5

 
4

 
7

 
5

Total
100
%
 
100
%
 
100
%
 
100
%
 
100
%
 
 
*
Represents less than one percent of the loan portfolio segment.

Risk Management
Financial institutions must manage a variety of business risks that can significantly affect their financial performance. Significant risks we confront are credit risks and asset/liability management risks, which include interest rate and liquidity risks. Credit risk is the risk of not collecting payments pursuant to the contractual terms of loan, lease and investment assets. Interest rate risk results from changes in interest rates which may impact the re-pricing of assets and liabilities in different amounts or at different dates. Liquidity risk is the risk that we will be unable to fund obligations to loan customers, depositors or other creditors at a reasonable cost.

Valley’s Board performs its risk oversight function primarily through several standing committees, including the Risk Committee, all of which report to the full Board. The Risk Committee assists the Board by, among other things, establishing an enterprise-wide risk management framework that is appropriate for Valley’s capital, business activities, size and risk appetite. The Risk Committee also reviews and recommends to the Board appropriate risk tolerances and limits for strategic, credit, interest rate, liquidity, compliance, operational (including information security risk), reputation and price risk (and ensures that risks are managed within those tolerances), and monitors compliance with applicable laws and regulations. With guidance from and oversight by the Risk Committee, management continually refines and enhances its risk management policies, procedures and monitoring programs to maintain effective risk management programs and processes.

In May 2018, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the “EGRRCPA”) was signed into law. On July 6, 2018, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) issued a joint interagency statement regarding the impact of the EGRRCPA. As a result of this statement and the EGRRCPA, Valley and the Bank are no longer subject to Dodd-Frank Act stress testing requirements. While Valley is no longer required to publish company-run annual stress tests, it continues to internally run stress tests of its capital position that are subject to review by Valley's primary regulators. Additionally, the results of the internal stress tests are considered in combination with other risk management and monitoring practices at Valley to maintain an effective risk management program.
Cyber Security
Information security is a significant operational risk for Valley. Information security includes the risk of losses resulting from cyber attacks. Valley frequently experiences attempted cyber security attacks against its systems. However, to date, none of these incidents have resulted in material losses, known breaches of customer data or significant disruption of services to our customers. Within the past few years, we have significantly increased the resources dedicated to cyber security. We believe that further increases are likely to be required in the future, in anticipation of increases in the sophistication and persistency of cyber-attacks. We employ personnel dedicated to overseeing the infrastructure and systems necessary to defend against cyber security incidents. Senior management is regularly briefed on information and cyber security matters, preparedness and any incidents requiring a response.


 
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2018 Form 10-K




Valley’s Board through its Risk Committee has primary oversight responsibility for information security and receives regular updates and reporting from management on information and cyber security matters, including information related to any third-party assessments of Valley’s cyber program. The Risk Committee periodically approves Valley’s information security policies.

We may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify our protective measures, to investigate and remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures and if we experienced a cyber security breach of customer data, to make required notifications to customers and disclosure to government officials. As a result, cyber security and the continued development and enhancement of the controls and processes designed to protect our systems, computers, software, data and networks from attack, damage or unauthorized access is a high priority for us. While we have faith in our cyber security practices and personnel, we also know we are not immune from a costly and successful attack.

Credit Risk Management and Underwriting Approach
Credit risk management. For all loan types, we adhere to a credit policy designed to minimize credit risk while generating the maximum income given the level of risk. Management reviews and approves these policies and procedures on a regular basis with subsequent approval by the Board of Directors annually. Credit authority relating to a significant dollar percentage of the overall portfolio is centralized and controlled by the Credit Risk Management Division and by a Credit Committee. A reporting system supplements the review process by providing management with frequent reports concerning loan production, loan quality, concentrations of credit, loan delinquencies, non-performing, and potential problem loans. Loan portfolio diversification is an important factor utilized by us to manage the portfolio’s risk across business sectors and through cyclical economic circumstances.
Our historical and current loan underwriting practice prohibits the origination of payment option adjustable residential mortgages which allow for negative interest amortization and subprime loans. Virtually all of our residential mortgage loan originations in recent years have conformed to rules requiring documentation of income, assets sufficient to close the transactions and debt to income ratios that support the borrower’s ability to repay under the loan’s proposed terms and conditions. These rules are applied to all loans originated for retention in our portfolio or for sale in the secondary market.
Loan underwriting and loan documentation. Loans are well documented in accordance with specific and detailed underwriting policies and verification procedures. General underwriting guidance is consistent across all loan types with possible variations in procedures and due diligence dictated by specific loan requests. Due diligence standards require acquisition and verification of sufficient financial information to determine a borrower’s or guarantor’s credit worthiness, capital support, capacity to repay, collateral support, and character. Credit worthiness is generally verified using personal or business credit reports from independent credit reporting agencies. Capital support is determined by acquisition of independent verifications of deposits, investments or other assets. Capacity to repay the loan is based on verifiable liquidity and earnings capacity as shown on financial statements and/or tax returns, banking activity levels, operating statements, rent rolls or independent verification of employment. Finally, collateral valuation is determined via appraisals from independent, bank-approved, certified or licensed property appraisers, valuation services, or readily available market resources.
Types of collateral. Loan collateral, when required, may consist of any one or a combination of the following asset types depending upon the loan type and intended purpose: commercial or residential real estate; general business assets including working assets such as accounts receivable, inventory, or fixed assets such as equipment or rolling stock; marketable securities or other forms of liquid assets such as bank deposits or cash surrender value of life insurance; automobiles; or other assets wherein adequate protective value can be established and/or verified by reliable outside independent appraisers. In addition to these types of collateral, we, in many cases, will obtain the personal guarantee of the borrower’s principals or an affiliated corporate entity to mitigate the risk of certain commercial and industrial loans and commercial real estate loans.
Many times, we will underwrite loans to legal entities formed for the limited purpose of the business which is being financed. Credit granted to these entities and the ultimate repayment of such loans is primarily based on the cash flow generated from the property securing the loan or the business that occupies the property. The underlying real property securing the loans is considered a secondary source of repayment, and normally such loans are also supported by guarantees of the legal entity members. Absent such guarantees or approval by our credit committee, our commercial real estate underwriting guidelines require that the loan to value ratio (at origination) should not exceed 60 percent, except for certain low risk loan categories where the loan to value ratio requirement may be higher, based on the estimated market value of the property as established by an independent licensed appraiser.
Reevaluation of collateral values. Commercial loan renewals, refinancings and other subsequent transactions that include the advancement of new funds or result in the extension of the amortization period beyond the original term, require a new or updated appraisal. Renewals, refinancings and other subsequent transactions that do not include the advancement of new funds (other than for reasonable closing costs) or, in the case of commercial loans, the extension of the amortization period beyond the original term, do not require a new appraisal unless management believes there has been a material change in market conditions or the physical aspects of the property which may negatively impact the collectability of our loan. In general, the period of time

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an appraisal continues to be relevant will vary depending upon the circumstances affecting the property and the marketplace. Examples of factors that could cause material changes to reported values include the passage of time, the volatility of the local market, the availability of financing, the inventory of competing properties, new improvements to, or lack of maintenance of, the subject or competing surrounding properties, changes in zoning and environmental contamination.
Certain impaired loans are reported at the fair value of the underlying collateral (less estimated selling costs) if repayment is expected solely from the collateral and are commonly referred to as “collateral dependent impaired loans.” Collateral values for such loans are typically estimated using individual appraisals performed every 12 months (or 18 months for impaired loans no greater than $1.0 million with current loan to value ratios less than 75 percent). Between scheduled appraisals, property values are monitored within the commercial portfolio by reference to recent trends in commercial property sales as published by leading industry sources. Property values are monitored within the residential mortgage portfolio by reference to available market indicators, including real estate price indices within Valley’s primary lending areas.
All refinanced residential mortgage loans require new appraisals for loans held in our loan portfolio. However, certain residential mortgage loans may be originated for sale and sold without new appraisals when the investor (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) presents a refinance of an existing government sponsored enterprise loan without the benefit of a new appraisal. Additionally, all loan types are assessed for full or partial charge-off when they are between 90 and 120 days past due (or sooner when the borrowers’ obligation has been released in bankruptcy) based upon their estimated net realizable value. See Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements for additional information concerning our loan portfolio risk elements, credit risk management and our loan charge-off policy.
Loan Renewals and Modifications
In the normal course of our lending business, we may renew loans to existing customers upon maturity of the existing loan. These renewals are granted provided that the new loan meets our standard underwriting criteria for such loan type. Additionally, on a case-by-case basis, we may extend, restructure, or otherwise modify the terms of existing loans from time to time to remain competitive and retain certain profitable customers, as well as assist customers who may be experiencing financial difficulties. If the borrower is experiencing financial difficulties and a concession has been made at the time of such modification, the loan is classified as a troubled debt restructured loan (TDR).
The majority of the concessions made for TDRs involve lowering the monthly payments on loans through either a reduction in interest rate below a market rate, an extension of the term of the loan without a corresponding adjustment to the risk premium reflected in the interest rate, or a combination of these two methods. The concessions rarely result in the forgiveness of principal or accrued interest. In addition, Valley frequently obtains additional collateral or guarantor support when modifying such loans. If the borrower has demonstrated performance under the previous terms and Valley’s underwriting process shows the borrower has the capacity to continue to perform under the restructured terms, the loan will continue to accrue interest. Non-accruing restructured loans may be returned to accrual status when there has been a sustained period of repayment performance (generally six consecutive months of payments) and both principal and interest are deemed collectible.
Extension of Credit to Past Due Borrowers
Loans are placed on non-accrual status generally when they become 90 days past due and the full and timely collection of principal and interest becomes uncertain. Valley’s historic and current policy prohibits the advancement of additional funds on non-accrual and TDR loans, except under certain workout plans if such extension of credit is intended to mitigate losses.
Loans Originated by Third Parties
From time to time, the Bank makes purchases of commercial real estate loans and loan participations, residential mortgage loans, automobile loans, and other loan types, originated by, and sometimes serviced by, other financial institutions. The purchase decision is usually based on several factors, including current loan origination volumes, market interest rates, excess liquidity, our continuous efforts to meet the credit needs of certain borrowers under the Community Reinvestment Act, as well as other asset/liability management strategies. All of the purchased loans are selected using Valley’s normal underwriting criteria at the time of purchase, or in some cases guaranteed by third parties. Purchased commercial and industrial, and commercial real estate participation loans are generally seasoned loans with expected shorter durations. Additionally, each purchased participation loan is stress-tested by Valley to assure its credit quality.
Purchased commercial loans (including commercial and industrial and commercial real estate loans), and residential mortgage loans totaled approximately $1.5 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, at December 31, 2018 representing 8.74 percent, and 25.74 percent of our total commercial and residential mortgage loans, respectively.
At December 31, 2018, the commercial real estate loans originated by third parties had loans past due 30 days or more totaling 1.37 percent as compared to 0.20 percent for our total commercial real estate portfolio, including all delinquencies.

 
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Residential mortgage loans originated by third parties had loans past due 30 days or more totaling 1.64 percent of these loans at December 31, 2018 as compared to 0.49 percent for our total residential mortgage portfolio.
Additionally, Valley has performed credit due diligence on the majority of the loans acquired in our bank acquisitions (disclosed under the "Recent Acquisitions" section above) in determining the estimated cash flows receivable from such loans. See the "Loan Portfolio" section of Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this report below for additional information.
Competition
Valley National Bank is one of the largest commercial banks headquartered in New Jersey, with its primary markets located in northern and central New Jersey, the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, Long Island, Florida and Alabama. Valley ranked 18th in competitive ranking and market share based on the deposits reported by 201 FDIC-insured financial institutions in the New York, Northern New Jersey and Long Island deposit markets as of June 30, 2018. The FDIC also ranked Valley 7th, 39th, 23rd, and 15th in the states of New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Alabama, respectively, based on deposit market share as of June 30, 2018. While our FDIC rankings reflect a solid foundation in our primary markets, the market for banking and bank-related services is highly competitive and we face substantial competition in all phases of our operations. In addition to the FDIC-insured commercial banks in our principal metropolitan markets, we also compete with other providers of financial services such as savings institutions, credit unions, mutual funds, captive finance companies, mortgage companies, title agencies, asset managers, insurance companies and a growing list of other local, regional and national companies which offer various financial services. Many of these competitors may have fewer regulatory constraints, broader geographic service areas, greater capital, and, in some cases, lower cost structures.
In addition, competition has further intensified as a result of recent changes in regulation, and advances in technology and product delivery systems. We face strong competition for our borrowers, depositors, and other customers from financial technology (fintech) companies that provide innovative web-based solutions to traditional retail banking services and products. Fintech companies tend to have stronger operating efficiencies and fewer regulatory burdens than their traditional bank counterparts, including Valley. Within our markets, we also compete with some of the largest financial institutions in the world that have greater human and financial resources and are able to offer a large range of products and services at competitive rates and prices. Nevertheless, we believe we can compete effectively as a result of utilizing various strategies including our long history of local customer service and convenience as part of a relationship management culture, in conjunction with the pricing of loans and deposits. Our customers are influenced by the convenience, quality of service from our knowledgeable staff, personal contacts and attention to customer needs, as well as availability of products and services and related pricing. We provide such convenience through our banking network of 220 branches, an extensive ATM network, and our telephone and on-line banking systems. Our competitive advantage also lies in our strong community presence with over 90 years of service. This longevity is especially appealing to customers seeking a strong, stable and service-oriented bank.
We continually review our pricing, products, locations, alternative delivery channels and various acquisition prospects, and periodically engage in discussions regarding possible acquisitions to maintain and enhance our competitive position.
Personnel
At December 31, 2018, Valley National Bank and its subsidiaries employed 3,192 full-time equivalent persons. Management considers relations with its employees to be satisfactory.

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Executive Officers
Name
 
Age at
December 31,
2018
 
Executive
Officer
Since
 
Office
Ira Robbins
 
44
 
2009
 
President and Chief Executive Officer of Valley and Valley National Bank
Alan D. Eskow
 
70
 
1993
 
Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of Valley and Valley National Bank
Dianne M. Grenz
 
56
 
2014
 
Senior Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Consumer Banking Officer of Valley National Bank
Thomas A. Iadanza
 
60
 
2015
 
Senior Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Lending Officer of Valley National Bank
Ronald H. Janis
 
70
 
2017
 
Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Valley and Valley National Bank
Robert J. Bardusch
 
53
 
2016
 
Senior Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Operating Officer of Valley National Bank
Kevin Chittenden
 
54
 
2016
 
Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Residential Lending Officer of Valley National Bank
Bernadette M. Mueller
 
60
 
2009
 
Executive Vice President of Valley and Community Reinvestment Act Officer of Valley National Bank
Melissa F. Scofield
 
59
 
2015
 
Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Risk Officer of Valley National Bank
Yvonne M. Surowiec
 
58
 
2017
 
Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Human Resources Officer of Valley National Bank
Mark Saeger
 
54
 
2018
 
Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Credit Officer of Valley National Bank
Eugene M. Fernandez
 
55
 
2018
 
Executive Vice President of Valley and Chief Marketing Officer of Valley National Bank
Mitchell L. Crandell
 
48
 
2007
 
First Senior Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer of Valley and Valley National Bank
All officers serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.
Available Information
We make our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments thereto available on our website at www.valley.com without charge as soon as reasonably practicable after filing or furnishing them to the SEC. Also available on the website are Valley’s Code of Conduct and Ethics that applies to all of our employees including our executive officers and directors, Valley’s Audit Committee Charter, Valley’s Compensation and Human Resources Committee Charter, Valley’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee Charter, and Valley’s Corporate Governance Guidelines.
Additionally, we will provide without charge a copy of our Annual Report on Form 10-K or the Code of Conduct and Ethics to any shareholder by mail. Requests should be sent to Valley National Bancorp, Attention: Shareholder Relations, 1455 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ 07470.

SUPERVISION AND REGULATION
The banking industry is highly regulated. Statutory and regulatory controls increase a bank holding company’s cost of doing business and limit the options of its management to deploy assets and maximize income. The following discussion is not intended to be a complete list of all the activities regulated by the banking laws or of the impact of such laws and regulations on Valley or Valley National Bank. It is intended only to briefly summarize some material provisions.
Bank Holding Company Regulation
Valley is a bank holding company within the meaning of the Holding Company Act. As a bank holding company, Valley is supervised by the FRB and is required to file reports with the FRB and provide such additional information as the FRB may require.
The Holding Company Act prohibits Valley, with certain exceptions, from acquiring direct or indirect ownership or control of five percent or more of the voting shares of any company which is not a bank and from engaging in any business other than

 
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that of banking, managing and controlling banks or furnishing services to subsidiary banks, except that it may, upon application, engage in, and may own shares of companies engaged in, certain businesses found by the FRB to be so closely related to banking “as to be a proper incident thereto.” The Holding Company Act requires prior approval by the FRB of the acquisition by Valley of five percent or more of the voting stock of any other bank. Satisfactory capital ratios, Community Reinvestment Act ratings, and anti-money laundering policies are generally prerequisites to obtaining federal regulatory approval to make acquisitions. The policy of the FRB provides that a bank holding company is expected to act as a source of financial strength to its subsidiary bank and to commit resources to support the subsidiary bank in circumstances in which it might not do so absent that policy. Acquisitions through the Bank require approval of the OCC. The Holding Company Act does not place territorial restrictions on the activities of non-bank subsidiaries of bank holding companies. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, discussed below, allows Valley to expand into insurance, securities and other activities that are financial in nature if Valley elects to become a financial holding company.
Regulation of Bank Subsidiary
Valley National Bank is subject to the supervision of, and to regular examination by, the OCC. Various laws and the regulations thereunder applicable to Valley and its bank subsidiary impose restrictions and requirements in many areas, including capital requirements, the maintenance of reserves, establishment of new offices, the making of loans and investments, consumer protection, employment practices, bank acquisitions and entry into new types of business. There are various legal limitations, including Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act, which govern the extent to which a bank subsidiary may finance or otherwise supply funds to its holding company or its holding company’s non-bank subsidiaries. Under federal law, no bank subsidiary may, subject to certain limited exceptions, make loans or extensions of credit to, or investments in the securities of, its parent or the non-bank subsidiaries of its parent (other than direct subsidiaries of such bank which are not financial subsidiaries) or take their securities as collateral for loans to any borrower. Each bank subsidiary is also subject to collateral security requirements for any loans or extensions of credit permitted by such exceptions.
Capital Requirements
Pursuant to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA), each federal banking agency has promulgated regulations, specifying the levels at which a financial institution would be considered “well capitalized,” “adequately capitalized,” “undercapitalized,” “significantly undercapitalized,” or “critically undercapitalized,” and to take certain mandatory and discretionary supervisory actions based on the capital level of the institution. To qualify to engage in financial activities under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, all depository institutions must be “well capitalized.” The financial holding company of a national bank will be put under directives to raise its capital levels or divest its activities if the depository institution falls from that level.
In July 2013, the FRB and the OCC published final rules establishing a new comprehensive capital framework for U.S. banking organizations, referred to herein as the Basel III rules.
Under Basel III, the minimum capital ratios for us and Valley National Bank are as follows:
4.5 percent CET1 (common equity Tier 1) to risk-weighted assets.
6.0 percent Tier 1 capital (i.e., CET1 plus Additional Tier 1) to risk-weighted assets.
8.0 percent Total capital (i.e., Tier 1 plus Tier 2) to risk-weighted assets.
4.0 percent Tier 1 capital to average consolidated assets as reported on consolidated financial statements (known as the “leverage ratio”).
As of January 1, 2019, Basel III required us and Valley National Bank to maintain a 2.5 percent “capital conservation buffer”, composed entirely of CET1, on top of the minimum risk-weighted asset ratios, effectively resulting in minimum ratios of (i) CET1 to risk-weighted assets of at least 7.0 percent, (ii) Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 8.5 percent, and (iii) total capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 10.5 percent. The capital conservation buffer is designed to absorb losses during periods of economic stress. Banking institutions with a ratio of (i) CET1 to risk-weighted assets, (ii) Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets or (iii) total capital to risk-weighted assets above the respective minimum but below the capital conservation buffer will face constraints on dividends, equity repurchases and discretionary bonus payments to executive officers based on the amount of the shortfall. As of January 1, 2019, we and the Bank maintained the required capital conservation buffer of 2.5 percent.
Basel III provides for a number of deductions from and adjustments to CET1. These include, for example, the requirement that mortgage servicing rights, deferred tax assets dependent upon future taxable income and significant investments in common equity issued by nonconsolidated financial entities be deducted from CET1 to the extent that any one such category exceeds 10 percent of CET1 or all such categories in the aggregate exceed 15 percent of CET1. The deductions and other adjustments to CET1 were previously scheduled to be phased in incrementally between January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2018. In November 2017, banking regulators announced that the phase in of certain of these adjustments for non-advanced approaches banking organizations such as Valley was frozen.

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Under current capital standards, the effects of accumulated other comprehensive income items included in capital are excluded for the purposes of determining regulatory capital ratios. Under Basel III, the effects of certain accumulated other comprehensive items are not excluded; however, non-advanced approaches banking organizations, including Valley and Valley National Bank, were permitted to make a one-time permanent election to continue to exclude these items effective as of January 1, 2015. We made this one-time election in the applicable bank regulatory reports as of March 31, 2015.
Basel III, with respect to us, required that our trust preferred securities be eliminated from Tier 1 capital by January 1, 2016. Accordingly, none of Valley’s trust preferred securities were included in Tier 1 capital during 2018 and 2017.
With respect to Valley National Bank, Basel III also revised the “prompt corrective action” regulations pursuant to Section 38 of the FDICIA, by (i) introducing a CET1 ratio requirement at each capital quality level (other than critically undercapitalized); (ii) increasing the minimum Tier 1 capital ratio requirement for each category; and (iii) requiring a leverage ratio of 5 percent to be well-capitalized. The OCC’s regulations implementing these provisions of FDICIA provide that an institution will be classified as “well capitalized” if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 10.0 percent, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 8.0 percent, (iii) has a CET1 ratio of at least 6.5 percent, (iv) has a Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 5.0 percent, and (v) meets certain other requirements. An institution will be classified as “adequately capitalized” if it meets the aforementioned minimum capital ratios under Basel III. An institution will be classified as “undercapitalized” if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of less than 8.0 percent, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of less than 6.0 percent, (iii) has a CET1 ratio of less than 4.5 percent or (iv) has Tier 1 leverage ratio of less than 4.0 percent. An institution will be classified as “significantly undercapitalized” if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of less than 6.0 percent, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of less than 4.0 percent, (iii) has a CET1 ratio of less than 3.0 percent or (iv) has a Tier 1 leverage ratio of less than 3.0 percent. An institution will be classified as “critically undercapitalized” if it has a tangible equity to total assets ratio that is equal to or less than 2.0 percent. An insured depository institution may be deemed to be in a lower capitalization category if it receives an unsatisfactory examination rating. Similar categories apply to bank holding companies. On January 1, 2019, the capital conservation buffer was fully phased in, and as a result, the capital ratios applicable to depository institutions under Basel III now exceed the ratios to be considered well-capitalized under the prompt corrective action regulations.
Basel III prescribes a standardized approach for calculating risk-weighted assets. Valley National Bank’s capital ratios were all above the minimum levels required for it to be considered a “well capitalized” financial institution at December 31, 2018 under the “prompt corrective action” regulations in effect as of such date.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010
The Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law on July 21, 2010. The Dodd-Frank Act significantly changed the bank regulatory landscape and has impacted the lending, deposit, investment, trading and operating activities of financial institutions and their holding companies. Some of the effects are discussed below.
The Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and shifted most of the federal consumer protection rules applicable to banks and the enforcement power with respect to such rules to the CFPB.
Under the Durbin Amendment contained in the Dodd-Frank Act, the Federal Reserve adopted rules applying to banks with more than $10 billion in assets which established a maximum permissible interchange fee equal to no more than 21 cents plus 5 basis points of the transaction value for many types of debit interchange transactions. The Federal Reserve also adopted a rule to allow a debit card issuer to recover 1 cent per transaction for fraud prevention purposes if the issuer complies with certain fraud-related requirements required by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve also has rules governing routing and exclusivity that require issuers to offer two unaffiliated networks for routing transactions on each debit or prepaid product. As we exceed $10 billion in assets, we are subject to the interchange fee cap.
On May 24, 2018, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the “EGRRCPA”) was signed into law. On July 6, 2018, the Fed, the OCC and the FDIC issued a joint interagency statement regarding the impact of the EGRRCPA. As a result of this statement and the EGRRCPA, Valley and the Bank are no longer subject to Dodd-Frank Act stress testing requirements. However, under safety and soundness requirements we will continue to conduct stress testing of our own design.
Volcker Rule
The Volcker Rule (contained in the Dodd-Frank Act) prohibits an insured depository institution and its affiliates from: (i) engaging in “proprietary trading” and (ii) investing in or sponsoring certain types of funds (Covered Funds) subject to certain limited exceptions. The rule also effectively prohibits short-term trading strategies by any U.S. banking entity if those strategies involve instruments other than those specifically permitted for trading and prohibits the use of some hedging strategies. We identified no investments held as of December 31, 2018 that meet the definition of Covered Funds. Regulators are currently considering modifying certain aspects of the Volcker Rule.

 
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Incentive Compensation
The Dodd-Frank Act requires the federal bank regulators and the SEC to maintain guidelines prohibiting incentive-based payment arrangements at specified regulated entities, including us and our Bank, having at least $1 billion in total assets that encourage inappropriate risks by providing an executive officer, employee, director or principal stockholder with excessive compensation, fees, or benefits or that could lead to material financial loss to the entity.
The Federal Reserve will review, as part of the regular, risk-focused examination process, the incentive compensation arrangements of banking organizations, such as us, that are not “large, complex banking organizations.” These reviews will be tailored to each organization based on the scope and complexity of the organization’s activities and the prevalence of incentive compensation arrangements. The findings of the supervisory initiatives will be included in reports of examination. Deficiencies will be incorporated into the organization’s supervisory ratings, which can affect the organization’s ability to make acquisitions and take other actions. Enforcement actions may be taken against a banking organization if its incentive compensation arrangements, or related risk management control or governance processes, pose a risk to the organization’s safety and soundness and the organization is not taking prompt and effective measures to correct the deficiencies.
Dividend Limitations
Valley is a legal entity separate and distinct from its subsidiaries. Valley’s revenues (on a parent company only basis) result in substantial part from dividends paid by the Bank. The Bank’s dividend payments, without prior regulatory approval, are subject to regulatory limitations. Under the National Bank Act, without consent, a national bank may declare, in any one year, dividends only in an amount aggregating not more than the sum of its net profits for such year and its retained net profits for the preceding two years. In addition, the bank regulatory agencies have the authority to prohibit us from paying dividends if the supervising agency determines that such payment would constitute an unsafe or unsound banking practice. Among other things, consultation with the FRB supervisory staff is required in advance of our declaration or payment of a dividend to our shareholders that exceeds our earnings for the trailing four-quarter period in which the dividend is being paid.
Transactions with Related Parties
Valley National Bank’s authority to extend credit to its directors, executive officers and 10 percent shareholders, as well as to entities controlled by such persons, is currently governed by the requirements of the National Bank Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Regulation O of the FRB thereunder. Among other things, these provisions require that extensions of credit to insiders (i) be made on terms that are substantially the same as, and follow credit underwriting procedures that are not less stringent than, those prevailing for comparable transactions with unaffiliated persons and that do not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features and (ii) not exceed certain limitations on the amount of credit extended to such persons, individually and in the aggregate, which limits are based, in part, on the amount of the Bank’s capital. In addition, extensions of credit in excess of certain limits must be approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Valley and its subsidiaries, other than the Bank under the authority of Regulation O, may not extend or arrange for any personal loans to its directors and executive officers.
Section 22 of the Federal Reserve Act prohibits the Bank from paying to a director, officer, attorney or employee a rate on deposits that is greater than the rate paid to other depositors on similar deposits with the Bank.
Community Reinvestment
Under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), as implemented by OCC regulations, a national bank has a continuing and affirmative obligation consistent with its safe and sound operation to help meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods. The CRA does not establish specific lending requirements or programs for financial institutions nor does it limit an institution’s discretion to develop the types of products and services that it believes are best suited to its particular community. The CRA requires the OCC, in connection with its examination of a national bank, to assess the association’s record of meeting the credit needs of its community and to take such record into account in its evaluation of certain applications by such association. The CRA also requires all institutions to make public disclosure of their CRA ratings. Valley National Bank received an overall “satisfactory” CRA rating in its most recent examination.
The OCC approvals of the most recent acquisitions of USAB and CNL in January 2018 and December 2015, respectively, were unconditional, however, the OCC will continue to monitor the Bank's progress with the CRA plan, and any necessary enhancements based upon new markets or otherwise, through its normal supervisory reviews. Valley National Bank's CRA plan is available for review on its website at www.valley.com.
A bank which does not have a CRA program that is deemed satisfactory by its regulator will be prevented from making acquisitions.

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Corporate Governance
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 added new legal requirements for public companies affecting corporate governance, accounting and corporate reporting, to increase corporate responsibility and to protect investors. Among other things, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002:
required our management to evaluate our disclosure controls and procedures and our internal control over financial reporting, and required our auditors to issue a report on our internal control over financial reporting;
imposed on our chief executive officer and chief financial officer additional responsibilities with respect to our external financial statements, including certification of financial statements within the Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q by the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer;
established independence requirements for audit committee members and outside auditors;
created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board which oversees public accounting firms; and
increased various criminal penalties for violations of securities laws.
NASDAQ, where Valley common stock is listed, has corporate governance listing standards, including rules strengthening director independence requirements for boards, as well as the audit committee and the compensation committee, and requiring the adoption of charters for the compensation and audit committees.
USA PATRIOT Act
As part of the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress adopted the International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “Anti Money Laundering Act”). The Anti Money Laundering Act authorizes the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, in consultation with the heads of other government agencies, to adopt special measures applicable to financial institutions such as banks, bank holding companies, broker-dealers and insurance companies. Among its other provisions, the Anti Money Laundering Act requires each financial institution: (i) to establish an anti-money laundering program; (ii) to establish due diligence policies, procedures and controls that are reasonably designed to detect and report instances of money laundering in United States private banking accounts and correspondent accounts maintained for non-United States persons or their representatives; and (iii) to avoid establishing, maintaining, administering, or managing correspondent accounts in the United States for, or on behalf of, a foreign shell bank that does not have a physical presence in any country.
Regulations implementing the due diligence requirements require minimum standards to verify customer identity and maintain accurate records, encourage cooperation among financial institutions, federal banking agencies, and law enforcement authorities regarding possible money laundering or terrorist activities, prohibit the anonymous use of “concentration accounts,” and require all covered financial institutions to have in place an anti-money laundering compliance program.
The OCC, along with other banking agencies, have strictly enforced various anti-money laundering and suspicious activity reporting requirements using formal and informal enforcement tools to cause banks to comply with these provisions.
A bank which is issued a formal or informal enforcement requirement with respect to its Anti Money Laundering program will be prevented from making acquisitions.
Office of Foreign Assets Control Regulation
The U.S. Treasury Department’s OFAC administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries and regimes, under authority of various laws, including designated foreign countries, nationals and others. OFAC publishes lists of specially designated targets and countries. We and our Bank are responsible for, among other things, blocking accounts of, and transactions with, such targets and countries, prohibiting unlicensed trade and financial transactions with them and reporting blocked transactions after their occurrence. Failure to comply with these sanctions could have serious legal and reputational consequences, including causing applicable bank regulatory authorities not to approve merger or acquisition transactions when regulatory approval is required or to prohibit such transactions even if approval is not required.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Supervision
As a financial institution with more than $10 billion in assets, Valley National Bank is supervised by the CFPB for consumer protection purposes. The CFPB’s regulation of Valley National Bank is focused on risks to consumers and compliance with the federal consumer financial laws and includes regular examinations of the Bank. The CFPB, along with the Department of Justice and bank regulatory authorities also seek to enforce discriminatory lending laws. In such actions, the CFPB and others have used a disparate impact analysis, which measures discriminatory results without regard to intent. Consequently, unintentional actions

 
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by Valley could have a material adverse impact on our lending and results of operations if the actions are found to be discriminatory by our regulators.
Valley National Bank is subject to federal consumer protection statutes and regulations promulgated under those laws, including, but not limited to the following:
Truth-In-Lending Act and Regulation Z, governing disclosures of credit terms to consumer borrowers;
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and Regulation C, requiring financial institutions to provide certain information about home mortgage and refinanced loans;
Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or other prohibited factors in extending credit;
Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V, governing the provision of consumer information to credit reporting agencies and the use of consumer information; and
Fair Debt Collection Act, governing the manner in which consumer debts may be collected by collection agencies.
Valley National Bank’s deposit operations are also subject to the following federal statutes and regulations, among others:
The Truth in Savings Act and Regulation DD, which requires disclosure of deposit terms to consumers;
Regulation CC, which relates to the availability of deposit funds to consumers;
The Right to Financial Privacy Act, which imposes a duty to maintain the confidentiality of consumer financial records and prescribes procedures for complying with administrative subpoenas of financial records; and
Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E, governing automatic deposits to, and withdrawals from, deposit accounts and customers’ rights and liabilities arising from the use of automated teller machines and other electronic banking services.
The CFPB examines Valley National Bank’s compliance with such laws and the regulations under them.
Insurance of Deposit Accounts
The Bank’s deposits are insured up to applicable limits by the FDIC. Under the FDIC’s risk-based system, insured institutions are assigned to one of four risk categories based on supervisory evaluations, regulatory capital levels and certain other factors with less risky institutions paying lower assessments on their deposits.
As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the FDIC has adopted rules that revise the assessment base to consist of average consolidated total assets during the assessment period minus the average tangible equity during the assessment period. In addition, the rules eliminated the adjustment for secured borrowings, including Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) advances, and made certain other changes to the impact of unsecured borrowings and brokered deposits on an institution’s deposit insurance assessment. The rules also revised the assessment rate schedule to provide initial base assessment rates ranging from 5 to 35 basis points and total base assessment rates ranging from 2.5 to 45 basis points after adjustment. The Dodd-Frank Act made permanent a $250 thousand limit for federal deposit insurance.
In 2016, the FDIC added a surcharge to the insurance assessments for banks with over $10 billion in assets, which became effective in July 2016 and continued until the Bank's December 2018 assessment invoice, which covered the assessment period from July 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018. After that invoice, the FDIC assessment no longer included a quarterly surcharge.
London Interbank Offered Rate
Central banks around the world, including the Fed, have commissioned working groups of market participants and official sector representatives with the goal of finding suitable replacements for the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) based on observable market transactions because of the probable phase out of LIBOR. It is expected that a transition away from the widespread use of LIBOR to alternative rates will occur over the course of the next few years. Although the full impact of a transition, including the potential or actual discontinuance of LIBOR publication, remains unclear, this change may have an adverse impact on the value of, return on and trading markets for a broad array of financial products, including any LIBOR-based securities, loans and derivatives that are included in our financial assets and liabilities. A transition away from LIBOR may also require extensive changes to the contracts that govern these LIBOR-based products, as well as our systems and processes. A number of the bank's commercial loans and some residential loans are based upon LIBOR. The Bank is working on replacement language where necessary.

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Item 1A.
Risk Factors
An investment in our securities is subject to risks inherent to our business. The material risks and uncertainties that management believes may affect Valley are described below. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below together with all of the other information included or incorporated by reference in this report. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing Valley. Additional risks and uncertainties that management is not aware of or that management currently believes are immaterial may also impair Valley’s business operations. The value or market price of our securities could decline due to any of these identified or other risks, and you could lose all or part of your investment. This report is qualified in its entirety by these risk factors.
Changes in interest rates could reduce our net interest income and earnings.
Valley’s earnings and cash flows are largely dependent upon its net interest income. Net interest income is the difference between interest income earned on interest-earning assets, such as loans and investment securities, and interest expense paid on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowed funds. Interest rates are sensitive to many factors that are beyond Valley’s control, including general economic conditions, competition, and policies of various governmental and regulatory agencies and, in particular, the policies of the FRB. Changes in interest rates driven by such factors could influence not only the interest Valley receives on loans and investment securities and the amount of interest it pays on deposits and borrowings, but such changes could also affect (i) Valley’s ability to originate loans and obtain deposits, (ii) the fair value of Valley’s financial assets, including the held to maturity and available for sale investment securities portfolios, and (iii) the average duration of Valley’s interest-earning assets and liabilities. This also includes the risk that interest-earning assets may be more responsive to changes in interest rates than interest-bearing liabilities, or vice versa (repricing risk), the risk that the individual interest rates or rate indices underlying various interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities may not change in the same degree over a given time period (basis risk), and the risk of changing interest rate relationships across the spectrum of interest-earning asset and interest-bearing liability maturities (yield curve risk). Any substantial or unexpected change in market interest rates could have a material adverse effect on Valley’s financial condition and results of operations. See additional information at the “Net Interest Income” and “Interest Rate Sensitivity” sections of our MD&A.
Our financial results and condition may be adversely impacted by changing economic conditions.
While the economy and real estate market conditions have significantly improved in recent years, a return to a recessionary economy could result in financial stress on our borrowers that would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Financial institutions can be affected by changing conditions in the real estate and financial markets. Volatility in the housing markets, real estate values and unemployment levels could result in significant write-downs of asset values by financial institutions. The majority of Valley’s lending is in northern and central New Jersey, the New York City metropolitan area, Florida and Alabama. As a result of this geographic concentration, a significant broad-based deterioration in economic conditions in these areas could have a material adverse impact on the quality of Valley’s loan portfolio, results of operations and future growth potential. Adverse economic conditions in our market areas can reduce our rate of growth, affect our customers’ ability to repay loans and adversely impact our financial condition and earnings. General economic conditions, including inflation, unemployment and money supply fluctuations, also may adversely affect our profitability.
Our investments in certain tax-advantaged projects may not generate returns as anticipated and may have an adverse impact on our results of operations.
We invest in certain tax-advantaged investments that support qualified affordable housing projects, community development and renewable energy resources. Our investments in these projects are designed to generate a return primarily through the realization of federal and state income tax credits, and other tax benefits, over specified time periods. Due diligence review is performed both prior to the initial investment and on an ongoing basis. We are subject to the risk that previously recorded tax credits, which remain subject to recapture by taxing authorities based on compliance features required to be met at the project level, may fail to meet certain government compliance requirements and may not be able to be realized. The possible inability to realize these tax credits and other tax benefits may have a negative impact on our financial results. The risk of not being able to realize the tax credits and other tax benefits depends on many factors outside our control, including changes in the applicable tax code and the ability of the projects to be completed. We previously invested in mobile solar generators sold and managed by DC Solar and its affiliates (DC Solar). For reasons that were not known to us, DC Solar had its assets frozen in December 2018. DC Solar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2019. In February 2019, an affidavit from a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent stated that DC Solar was operating a fraudulent "Ponzi-like scheme" and that the majority of mobile solar generators sold to investors and managed by DC Solar and the majority of the related lease revenues claimed to have been received by DC Solar may not have existed. Certain investors in DC Solar, including us, received tax credits for making these renewable resource investments. As a result of the information provided in the FBI special agent's affidavit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, we believe that, in 2019, we may be required to record an uncertain tax position liability under

 
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Accounting Standards Codification 740, Income Taxes for a significant portion of the tax credit benefits we received in the past. We will continue to evaluate our existing tax positions, as well as new positions as they arise. However, if we are required to recognize an uncertain tax position liability in our 2019 consolidated financial statements, the uncertain tax position liability and charge-offs may have an adverse impact on our income tax liabilities, results of operations and financial condition.
The future impact of changes to the Internal Revenue Code is uncertain and may adversely affect our business.
The U.S. Congress passed significant reform of the Internal Revenue Code, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Tax Act) at the end of 2017. While the decline in the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent lowered Valley’s income tax expense as a percentage of its taxable income in 2018 and will in subsequent years, other provisions of the Tax Act negatively impacted Valley's consolidated financial statements and it may adversely affect Valley in the future. For example, under the new provisions of the Tax Act, the Bank's FDIC insurance assessment totaling $28.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 was partially non-tax deductible based upon the asset size of the Bank.
The Tax Act also imposes higher limitations on the deductibility of interest and property tax expenses which may adversely impact the property values of real estate used to secure loans and create an additional tax burden for many borrowers, particularly in high tax jurisdictions such as New Jersey and New York where Valley operates. These and other federal tax changes could significantly impact the level of lending activity and the financial health of our customers. The negative impact to customers could potentially result in, among other things, an inability to repay loans or maintain deposits at Valley in states where Valley operates, especially New York and New Jersey. Any negative financial impact to our customers resulting from tax reform could adversely impact our financial condition and earnings.
The ultimate impact of the Tax Act on our business and our customers is uncertain and may be adverse.
Claims and litigation could result in significant expenses, losses and damage to our reputation.
From time to time as part of Valley’s normal course of business, customers, bankruptcy trustees, former customers, contractual counterparties, third parties and former employees make claims and take legal action against Valley based on actions or inactions of Valley. If such claims and legal actions are not resolved in a manner favorable to Valley, they may result in financial liability and/or adversely affect the market perception of Valley and its products and services. This may also impact customer demand for Valley’s products and services. Any financial liability could have a material adverse effect on Valley’s financial condition and results of operations. Any reputation damage could have a material adverse effect on Valley’s business. During 2018, Valley settled litigation matters (including one settlement subsequently approved by the courts in February 2019) resulting in a total charge of $12.2 million within professional and legal fees.
See the "Litigation" section under Note 15 to the consolidated financial statements for information regarding significant pending lawsuits.
Cyber-attacks could compromise our information or result in the data of our customers being improperly divulged, which could expose us to liability, losses and escalating operating costs.
Valley regularly collects, processes, transmits and stores confidential information regarding its customers, employees and others for whom it services loans.  In some cases, this confidential or proprietary information is collected, compiled, processed, transmitted or stored by third parties on Valley’s behalf.
Information security risks have increased because of the proliferation of new technologies and the increased sophistication and activities of perpetrators of cyber-attacks. Many financial institutions and companies engaged in data processing have reported significant breaches in the security of their websites or other systems, some of which have involved sophisticated and targeted attacks intended to obtain unauthorized access to confidential information, destroy data, denial-of-service, or sabotage systems, often through the introduction of computer viruses or malware, cyber-attacks and other means. Although Valley frequently experiences attempted cybersecurity attacks against its systems, to date, none of these incidents have resulted in material losses, known breaches of customer data or significant disruption of services to Valley’s customers. However, there can be no assurance that Valley will not incur such issues in the future, exposing us to significant on-going operational costs and reputational harm.
Additionally, risk exposure to cyber security matters will remain elevated or increase in the future due to, among other things, the increasing size and prominence of Valley in the financial services industry, our expansion of Internet and mobile banking tools and products based on customer needs, and the system and customer account conversions associated with the integration of merger targets.
In managing our cyber risks, when entering a new vendor relationship, we review and gage the cyber security risk of such third-party service providers. A successful attack on one of our third-party service providers could adversely affect our business and result in the disclosure or misuse of our confidential information. While we believe we are taking reasonable, risk-based precautions to manage the risk of cyber-attacks against third party service providers, there can be no assurance that our third-party service providers will not suffer a cyber-attack that exposes us to significant operational costs and damages.

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While we believe we have risk based technology reasonably capable of discovering cyber-attacks, and personnel who are qualified to monitor our technology and systems to detect cyber-attacks, we can offer no assurance that we will be able to identify and prevent cyber-attacks when they occur. Significant damage may occur if Valley fails to identify, or there is a delay in identifying, a cyber-attack on our systems, or those of our third-party service providers.
A significant portion of our loan portfolio is secured by real estate, and events that negatively impact the real estate market could adversely affect our asset quality and profitability for those loans secured by real property and increase the number of defaults and the level of losses within our loan portfolio.
A significant portion of our loan portfolio is secured by real estate. As of December 31, 2018, approximately 74 percent of our total loans had real estate as a primary or secondary component of collateral. The real estate collateral in each case provides an alternate source of repayment in the event of default by the borrower and could deteriorate in value during the time the credit is extended. A downturn in the real estate market in our primary market areas could result in an increase in the number of borrowers who default on their loans and a reduction in the value of the collateral securing their loans, which in turn could have an adverse effect on our profitability and asset quality. 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 shareholders’ equity could be adversely affected. The declines in home or commercial real estate prices in the New Jersey, New York and Florida markets we primarily serve, along with the reduced availability of mortgage credit, also may result in increases in delinquencies and losses in our loan portfolios. Unexpected decreases in home or commercial real estate prices coupled with slow economic growth and elevated levels of unemployment could drive losses beyond those which are provided for in our allowance for loan losses. In that event, our earnings could be adversely affected.
The secondary market for residential mortgage loans, for the most part, is limited to conforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans. The effects of this limited mortgage market combined with another correction in residential real estate market prices and reduced levels of home sales, could result in price reductions in home values, adversely affecting the value of collateral securing mortgage loans held, mortgage loan originations and gains on sale of mortgage loans. Declines in real estate values and home sales volumes, and financial stress on borrowers as a result of job losses or other factors, could have further adverse effects on borrowers that result in higher delinquencies and greater charge-offs in future periods, which could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. For additional risks related to our sales of residential mortgages in the secondary market, see the “We may incur future losses in connection with repurchases and indemnification payments related to mortgages that we have sold into the secondary market” risk factor below.
Net gains on sales of residential mortgage loans are a significant component of our non-interest income and could fluctuate in future periods.
Net gains on sales of residential mortgage loans represented approximately 15 percent and 19 percent of our non-interest income for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.  Our ability or decision to sell a portion of our mortgage loan production in the secondary market is dependent upon, amongst other factors, the levels of market interest rates, consumer demand marketable loans, our sales and pricing strategies, the economy and our need to maintain the appropriate level of interest rate risk on our balance sheet.  A change in one or more of these or other factors could significantly impact our ability to sell mortgage loans in the future and adversely impact the level of our non-interest income and financial results.   
Higher charge-offs and weak credit conditions could require us to increase our allowance for credit losses through a provision charge to earnings.
We maintain an allowance for credit losses based on our assessment of credit losses inherent in our loan portfolio (including unfunded credit commitments). The process for determining the amount of the allowance is critical to our financial results and conditions. It requires difficult, subjective and complex judgments about the future, including the impact of national and regional economic conditions on the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans. If our judgment proves to be incorrect, our allowance for loan losses may not be sufficient to cover losses inherent in our loan portfolio. Deterioration in economic conditions affecting borrowers, new information regarding existing loans, identification of additional problem loans and other factors, both within and outside of our control, may require an increase in the allowance for loan losses. Additionally, bank regulators review the classification of our loans in their examination of us and we may be required in the future to change the classification on certain of our loans, which may require us to increase our provision for loan losses or loan charge-offs. If actual net charge-offs were to exceed Valley’s allowance, its earnings would be negatively impacted by additional provisions for loan losses. Any increase in our allowance for loan losses or loan charge-offs as required by the OCC or otherwise could have an adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition.

 
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An increase in our non-performing assets may reduce our interest income and increase our net loan charge-offs, provision for loan losses, and operating expenses.
Our non-accrual loans increased from 0.22 percent of total loans at December 31, 2016 to 0.35 percent of total loans at December 31, 2018 largely due to a significant increase in non-accrual taxi medallion loans within our commercial and industrial loan portfolio since 2016. While most of the taxi medallion loans are currently performing to their contractual terms, continued negative trends in the market valuations of the underlying taxi medallion collateral caused by ride-sharing services could impact the future performance of such loans, the level of our loan charge-offs and the provision for loan loans. Additionally, a downturn in economic or real estate market conditions could result in increased charge-offs to our allowance for loan losses and lost interest income relating to non-performing loans.
Non-performing assets (including non-accrual loans, other real estate owned, and other repossessed assets) totaled $98.6 million at December 31, 2018. These non-performing assets can adversely affect our net income mainly through decreased interest income and increased operating expenses incurred to maintain such assets or loss charges related to subsequent declines in the estimated fair value of foreclosed assets. Adverse changes in the value of our non-performing assets, or the underlying collateral, or in the borrowers’ performance or financial conditions could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. There can be no assurance that we will not experience increases in non-performing loans in the future, or that our non-performing assets will not result in lower financial returns in the future.
We may be required to increase our allowance for credit losses as a result of changes to an accounting standard.
In 2016, the FASB released a new standard for determining the amount of the allowance for credit losses. The new standard will be effective for Valley for reporting periods beginning January 1, 2020. The new credit loss model will be a significant change from the standard in place today, as it requires the allowance for credit losses to be calculated based on current expected credit losses (commonly referred to as the "CECL model") rather than losses inherent in the portfolio as of a point in time. When adopted, the CECL model will likely increase our allowance for credit losses, which could materially affect our financial condition and future results of operations. The extent of the increase and its impact to our financial condition is under evaluation but will ultimately depend upon the nature and characteristics of Valley's portfolio at the adoption date, and the macroeconomic conditions and forecasts at that date; therefore, the potential financial impact is currently unknown.
The loss of or decrease in lower-cost funding sources within our deposit base, including our inability to achieve deposit retention targets under our branch transformation strategy, may adversely impact our net interest income and net income.
Checking and savings, NOW, and money market deposit account balances and other forms of customer deposits can decrease when customers perceive alternative investments, such as the stock market or money market or fixed income mutual funds, as providing a better risk/return tradeoff. Additionally, our customers largely bank with us because of our local customer service and convenience. For a certain percentage customers, this convenience could be negatively impacted by recent branch consolidation activity undergone as part of our branch transformation strategy. If customers move money out of bank deposits and into other investments, Valley could lose a low cost source of funds, increasing its funding costs and reducing Valley’s net interest income and net income.
We may not be able to detect money laundering and other illegal or improper activities fully or on a timely basis, which could expose us to additional liability and could have a material adverse effect on us.
We are required to comply with anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism and other laws and regulations in the United States. These laws and regulations require us, among other things, to adopt and enforce “know-your-customer” policies and procedures and to report suspicious and large transactions to applicable regulatory authorities. These laws and regulations have become increasingly complex and detailed, require improved systems and sophisticated monitoring and compliance personnel and have become the subject of enhanced government supervision.
While we have adopted policies and procedures aimed at detecting and preventing the use of our banking network for money laundering and related activities, those policies and procedures may not completely eliminate instances in which we may be used by customers to engage in money laundering and other illegal or improper activities. To the extent we fail to fully comply with applicable laws and regulations, the OCC, along with other banking agencies, have the authority to impose fines and other penalties and sanctions on us. In addition, our business and reputation could suffer if customers use our banking network for money laundering or illegal or improper purposes.
Our controls and procedures may fail or be circumvented, which may result in a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Management periodically reviews and updates our internal controls, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies. 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 the

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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.

As disclosed in “Item 9A - Controls and Procedures,” a material weakness was identified in our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2017 resulting from Valley not assigning the appropriate levels of responsibility and authority to its Ethics and Compliance group to identify and evaluate the severity and financial reporting implications of allegations of non-compliance with laws and regulations, Company policies and procedures and other complaints. Additionally, Valley did not establish controls over required communications of such matters to senior management or others within the organization and to those charged with governance to enable them to conduct or monitor the investigation and resolution of such matters on a timely basis. Based on this material weakness, management concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were not effective as of December 31, 2017. During the first quarter of 2018, Valley initiated remediation efforts. Management reviewed the design and operation of the controls and made enhancements to the proper identification and escalation of allegations of non-compliance with laws and regulations, Company policies and procedures and other complaints that require the attention of senior management and those charged with governance. During the third quarter of 2018, management completed the implementation of such enhancements and the new controls and procedures were placed in operation. Management evaluated these new controls and procedures and determined that the Company’s internal control over financial reporting was effective as of December 31, 2018.
We could incur future goodwill impairment.
If our estimates of the fair value of our goodwill change as a result of changes in our business or other factors, we may determine a goodwill impairment charge is necessary. Estimates of the fair value of goodwill are determined using several factors and assumptions, including, but not limited to, industry pricing multiples and estimated cash flows. Based upon Valley’s 2018 and 2017 goodwill impairment testing, the fair values of its four reporting units, wealth management, consumer lending, commercial lending, and investment management, were in excess of their carrying values. If the fair values of the four reporting units were less than their book value of the total common shareholders’ equity for an extended period of time, Valley would consider this and other factors, including the anticipated cash flows of each of the reporting units, to determine whether goodwill is impaired. No assurance can be given that we will not record an impairment loss on goodwill in the future and any such impairment loss could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. At December 31, 2018, our goodwill totaled $1.1 billion. See Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements for additional information.
We may reduce or eliminate the cash dividend on our common stock, which could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
Holders of our common stock are only entitled to receive such cash dividends as our Board of Directors may declare out of funds legally available for such payments. Although we have historically declared cash dividends on our common stock, we are not required to do so and may reduce or eliminate our common stock cash dividend in the future depending upon our results of operations, financial condition or other metrics. This could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Additionally, as a bank holding company, our ability to declare and pay dividends is dependent on federal regulatory policies and regulations including the supervisory policies and guidelines of the OCC and the FRB regarding capital adequacy and dividends. Among other things, consultation of the FRB supervisory staff is required in advance of our declaration or payment of a dividend that exceeds our earnings for a four-quarter period in which the dividend is being paid.
If our subsidiaries are unable to make dividends and distributions to us, we may be unable to make dividend payments to our preferred and common shareholders or interest payments on our long-term borrowings and junior subordinated debentures issued to capital trusts.
We are a separate and distinct legal entity from our banking and non-banking subsidiaries and depend on dividends, distributions, and other payments from the Bank and its non-banking subsidiaries to fund cash dividend payments on our preferred and common stock and to fund most payments on our other obligations. Regulations relating to capital requirements affect the ability of the Bank to pay dividends and other distributions to us and to make loans to us. Additionally, if our subsidiaries’ earnings are not sufficient to make dividend payments to us while maintaining adequate capital levels, we may not be able to make dividend payments to our preferred and common shareholders or interest payments on our long-term borrowings and junior subordinated debentures issued to capital trusts. Furthermore, our right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiary’s liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary’s creditors.
Extensive regulation and supervision have a negative impact on our ability to compete in a cost-effective manner and may subject us to material compliance costs and penalties.
Valley, primarily through its principal subsidiary and certain non-bank subsidiaries, is subject to extensive federal and state regulation and supervision. Banking regulations are primarily intended to protect depositors’ funds, federal deposit insurance funds

 
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and the banking system as a whole. Many laws and regulations affect Valley’s lending practices, capital structure, investment practices, dividend policy and growth, among other things. They encourage Valley to ensure a satisfactory level of lending in defined areas and establish and maintain comprehensive programs relating to anti-money laundering and customer identification. Congress, state legislatures, and federal and state regulatory agencies continually review banking laws, regulations and policies for possible changes. Changes to statutes, regulations or regulatory policies, including changes in interpretation or implementation of statutes, regulations or policies, could affect Valley in substantial and unpredictable ways. Such changes could subject Valley to additional costs, limit the types of financial services and products it may offer and/or increase the ability of non-banks to offer competing financial services and products, among other things. Failure to comply with laws, regulations or policies could result in sanctions by regulatory agencies, civil money penalties and/or reputation damage, which could have a material adverse effect on Valley’s business, financial condition and results of operations. Valley’s compliance with certain of these laws will be considered by banking regulators when reviewing bank merger and bank holding company acquisitions.
We are subject to numerous laws designed to protect consumers, including the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws, and failure to comply with these laws could lead to a wide variety of sanctions.
The Community Reinvestment Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act and other fair lending laws and regulations impose community investment and nondiscriminatory lending requirements on financial institutions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Justice and other federal agencies are responsible for enforcing these laws and regulations. A successful regulatory challenge to an institution’s performance under the Community Reinvestment Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act or other fair lending laws and regulations could result in a wide variety of sanctions, including damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, restrictions on mergers and acquisitions, restrictions on expansion and restrictions on entering new business lines. Private parties also may challenge an institution’s performance under fair lending laws in litigation. Such actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Future acquisitions may dilute shareholder value, especially tangible book value per share.
We regularly evaluate opportunities to acquire other financial institutions. As a result, merger and acquisition discussions and, in some cases, negotiations may take place and future mergers or acquisitions involving cash, debt, or equity securities may occur at any time. Acquisitions typically involve the payment of a premium over book and market values, and, therefore, some dilution of our tangible book value per common share may occur in connection with any future acquisitions.
Future offerings of common stock, preferred stock, debt or other securities may adversely affect the market price of our stock and dilute the holdings of existing shareholders.
In the future, we may increase our capital resources or, if our or the Bank’s actual or projected capital ratios fall below or near the current (Basel III) regulatory required minimums, we or the Bank could be forced to raise additional capital by making additional offerings of common stock, preferred stock or debt securities. Additional equity offerings may dilute the holdings of our existing shareholders or reduce the market price of our common stock, or both. Holders of our common stock are not entitled to preemptive rights or other protections against dilution. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and shares of preferred stock, and lenders with respect to other borrowings will receive distributions of our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. In December 2016, Valley issued 9.24 million shares of common stock and used the proceeds for growth in the Bank’s loan portfolio, as well as other general corporate purposes. In August 2017, Valley issued 4.0 million shares of non-cumulative perpetual stock with a dividend at issuance of 5.50 percent and a liquidation preference of $25 per share. See Note 18 to the consolidated financial statements for more details on our common and preferred stock.
Changes in accounting policies or accounting standards could cause us to change the manner in which we report our financial results and condition in adverse ways and could subject us to additional costs and expenses.
Valley’s accounting policies are fundamental to understanding its financial results and condition. Some of these policies require the use of estimates and assumptions that may affect the value of Valley’s assets or liabilities and financial results. Valley identified its accounting policies regarding the allowance for loan losses, purchased credit-impaired loans, goodwill and other intangible assets, and income taxes to be critical because they require management to make difficult, subjective and complex judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain. Under each of these policies, it is possible that materially different amounts would be reported under different conditions, using different assumptions, or as new information becomes available.
From time to time, the FASB and the SEC change their guidance governing the form and content of Valley’s external financial statements. In addition, accounting standard setters and those who interpret U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (U.S. GAAP), such as the FASB, SEC, banking regulators and Valley’s independent registered public accounting firm, may change or even reverse their previous interpretations or positions on how these standards should be applied. Such changes are expected to continue and may accelerate dependent upon the FASB and International Accounting Standards Board commitments to achieving convergence between U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards. Changes in U.S. GAAP and changes in current

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interpretations are beyond Valley’s control, can be hard to predict and could materially impact how Valley reports its financial results and condition. In certain cases, Valley could be required to apply new or revised guidance retroactively or apply existing guidance differently (also retroactively) which may result in Valley restating prior period financial statements for material amounts. Additionally, significant changes to U.S. GAAP may require costly technology changes, additional training and personnel, and other expenses that will negatively impact our results of operations.
We may be unable to adequately manage our liquidity risk, which could affect our ability to meet our obligations as they become due, capitalize on growth opportunities, or pay regular dividends on our common stock.
Liquidity risk is the potential that Valley will be unable to meet its obligations as they come due, capitalize on growth opportunities as they arise, or pay regular dividends on our common stock because of an inability to liquidate assets or obtain adequate funding on a timely basis, at a reasonable cost and within acceptable risk tolerances.
Liquidity is required to fund various obligations, including credit commitments to borrowers, mortgage and other loan originations, withdrawals by depositors, repayment of borrowings, dividends to shareholders, operating expenses and capital expenditures. Liquidity is derived primarily from retail deposit growth and retention; principal and interest payments on loans; principal and interest payments on investment securities; sale, maturity and prepayment of investment securities; net cash provided from operations; and access to other funding sources, such as the FHLB and certain brokered deposit channels established by the Bank.
Our access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance our activities could be impaired by factors that affect us specifically or the financial services industry in general. Factors that could have a detrimental impact to our access to liquidity sources include a decrease in the level of our business activity due to persistent weakness, or downturn, in the economy or adverse regulatory action against us. Our ability to borrow could also be impaired by factors that are not necessarily specific to us, such as a severe disruption of the financial markets or negative views and expectations about the prospects for the financial services industry as a whole.
Our market share and income may be adversely affected by our inability to successfully compete against larger and more diverse financial service providers and digital fintech start-up firms.
Valley faces substantial competition in all areas of its operations from a variety of different competitors, many of which are larger and may have more financial resources than Valley to deal with the potential negative changes in the financial markets and regulatory landscape. Valley competes with other providers of financial services such as commercial and savings banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, money market and mutual funds, mortgage companies, title agencies, asset managers, insurance companies, and a large list of other local, regional and national institutions which offer financial services. Additionally, the financial services industry is facing a wave of digital disruption from fintech companies that provide innovative web-based solutions to traditional retail banking services and products. Fintech companies tend to have stronger operating efficiencies and fewer regulatory burdens than their traditional bank counterparts, including Valley.
Mergers and acquisitions of financial institutions within New Jersey, the New York Metropolitan area and Florida may also occur given the current difficult banking environment and add more competitive pressure to a substantial portion of our marketplace. Our profitability depends upon our continued ability to successfully compete in our market area. If Valley is unable to compete effectively, it may lose market share and its income generated from loans, deposits, and other financial products may decline.
Our ability to make opportunistic acquisitions is subject to significant risks, including the risk that regulators will not provide the requisite approvals.
We may make opportunistic whole or partial acquisitions of other banks, branches, financial institutions, or related businesses from time to time that we expect may further our business strategy. Any possible acquisition will be subject to regulatory approval, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain such approval in a timely manner or at all. Even if we obtain regulatory approval, these acquisitions could involve numerous risks, including lower than expected performance or higher than expected costs, difficulties related to integration, diversion of management's attention from other business activities, changes in relationships with customers, and the potential loss of key employees. In addition, we may not be successful in identifying acquisition candidates, integrating acquired institutions, or preventing deposit erosion or loan quality deterioration at acquired institutions. Competition for acquisitions can be highly competitive, and we may not be able to acquire other institutions on attractive terms. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in completing or will even pursue future acquisitions, or if such transactions are completed, that we will be successful in integrating acquired businesses into operations. Ability to grow may be limited if we choose not to pursue or are unable to successfully make acquisitions in the future.

 
23
2018 Form 10-K




Failure to successfully implement our growth strategies could cause us to incur substantial costs and expenses which may not be recouped and adversely affect our future profitability.
From time to time, Valley may implement new lines of business or offer new products and services within existing lines of business. There are substantial risks and uncertainties associated with these efforts, particularly in instances where the markets are not fully developed. Valley may invest significant time and resources to develop and market new lines of business and/or products and services. 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 customer preferences, may also impact the successful implementation of a new line of business or a new product or service. Additionally, any new line of business and/or new product or service could have a significant impact on the effectiveness of Valley’s system of internal controls. Failure to successfully manage these risks could have a material adverse effect on Valley’s business, results of operations and financial condition.
We may not keep pace with technological change within the financial services industry, negatively affecting our ability to remain competitive and profitable.
The financial services industry is continually undergoing rapid technological change with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services. The effective use of technology increases efficiency and enables financial institutions to better serve customers and to reduce costs. Valley’s future success depends, in part, upon its ability to address the needs of its customers by using technology to provide products and services that will satisfy customer demands, as well as to create additional efficiencies in Valley’s operations. Many of Valley’s competitors have substantially greater resources to invest in technological improvements. Valley may not be able to effectively implement new technology-driven products and services or be successful in marketing these products and services to its customers. Failure to successfully keep pace with technological change affecting the financial services industry could have a material adverse impact on Valley’s business and, in turn, Valley’s financial condition and results of operations.
We rely on our systems, employees and certain service providers, and if our system fails, our operations could be disrupted.
We face the risk that the design of our controls and procedures, including those to mitigate the risk of fraud by employees or outsiders, may prove to be inadequate or are circumvented, thereby causing delays in detection of errors or inaccuracies in data and information. We regularly review and update our internal controls, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies and procedures. 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.
We may also be subject to disruptions of our systems arising from events that are wholly or partially beyond our control (including, for example, electrical or telecommunications outages), which may give rise to losses in service to customers and to financial loss or liability. We are further exposed to the risk that our external vendors may be unable to fulfill their contractual obligations (or will be subject to the same risk of fraud or operational errors by their respective employees as us) and to the risk that our (or our vendors’) business continuity and data security systems prove to be inadequate. We maintain a system of comprehensive policies and a control framework designed to monitor vendor risks including, among other things, (i) changes in the vendor’s organizational structure or internal controls, (ii) changes in the vendor’s financial condition, (iii) changes in the vendor’s support for existing products and services and (iv) changes in the vendor’s strategic focus. While we believe these policies and procedures help to mitigate risk, the failure of an external vendor to perform in accordance with the contracted arrangements under service level agreements could be disruptive to our operations, which could have a material adverse impact on our business and, in turn, our financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be able to attract and retain skilled people.
Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to attract and retain key people. Competition for the best people in most activities in which we engage can be intense and we may not be able to hire people or to retain them. The unexpected loss of services of one or more of our key personnel, including, but not limited to, the executive officers disclosed in Item 1 of this Annual Report, could have a material adverse impact on our business because we would lose the employees’ skills, knowledge of the market, and years of industry experience and may have difficulty promptly finding qualified replacement personnel.
Severe weather, acts of terrorism and other external events could significantly impact our ability to conduct our business.
A significant portion of our primary markets is located near coastal waters which could generate naturally occurring severe weather, or in response to climate change, that could have a significant impact on our ability to conduct business. Many areas in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Alabama in which our branches operate are subject to severe flooding from time to time and significant weather related disruptions may become common events in the future. Heavy storms and hurricanes can also cause

2018 Form 10-K
24
 




severe property damage and result in business closures, negatively impacting both the financial health of retail and commercial customers and our ability to operate our business. The risk of significant disruption and potential losses from future storm activity exists in all of our primary markets.
Additionally, New York City and New Jersey remain central targets for potential acts of terrorism against the United States. 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 we have established and regularly test disaster recovery policies and procedures, the occurrence of any such event in the future could have a material adverse effect on our business, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to environmental liability risk associated with lending activities which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
A significant portion of our loan portfolio is secured by real property. During the ordinary course of business, we may foreclose on and take title to properties securing certain loans. In doing so, there is a risk that hazardous or toxic substances could be found on these properties. If hazardous or toxic substances are found, we may be liable for remediation costs, as well as for personal injury and property damage. Environmental laws may require us to incur substantial expenses and may materially reduce the affected property’s value or limit our ability to use or sell the affected property. In addition, future laws or more stringent interpretations or enforcement policies with respect to existing laws may increase our exposure to environmental liability. Although we have policies and procedures to perform an environmental review prior to originating certain commercial real estate loans, as well as before initiating any foreclosure action on real property, these reviews may not be sufficient to detect all potential environmental hazards. The remediation costs and any other financial liabilities associated with an environmental hazard could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We may incur future losses in connection with repurchases and indemnification payments related to mortgages that we have sold into the secondary market.
We engage in the origination of residential mortgages for sale into the secondary market, while typically retaining the loan servicing. In connection with such sales, we make representations and warranties, which, if breached, may require us to repurchase such loans, substitute other loans or indemnify the purchasers of such loans for actual losses incurred in respect of such loans. The aggregate principal balances of residential mortgage loans serviced by the Bank for others approximated $3.2 billion and $2.8 billion at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Over the past several years, we have experienced a nominal amount of repurchase requests, and only a few of which have actually resulted in repurchases by Valley (only five and two loan repurchases in 2018 and 2017, respectively). None of the loan repurchases resulted in material loss. As of December 31, 2018, no reserves pertaining to loans sold were established on our financial statements. While we currently believe our repurchase risk remains low based upon our careful loan underwriting and documentation standards, it is possible that requests to repurchase loans could occur in the future and such requests may have a negative financial impact on us.
Possible replacement of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate may have an impact on Valley’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
On July 27, 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a regulator of financial services firms in the United Kingdom, announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. The FCA and the submitting LIBOR banks have indicated they will support the LIBOR indices through 2021 to allow for an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate. In the United States, efforts to identify a set of alternative U.S. dollar reference interest rates include proposals by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee of the Federal Reserve Board. Other financial services regulators and industry groups are evaluating the possible phase-out of LIBOR and the development of alternate reference rate indices or reference rates. Many of Valley’s assets and liabilities are indexed to LIBOR. We are evaluating the potential impact of the possible replacement of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate, but are not able to predict whether LIBOR will cease to be available after 2021, whether the alternative rates the Federal Reserve Board proposes to publish will become market benchmarks in place of LIBOR, or what the impact of such a transition will have on Valley’s business, financial condition, or results of operations.

Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments
None. 

 
25
2018 Form 10-K





Item 2.
Properties
We conduct our business at 220 retail banking centers locations in northern and central New Jersey, the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, Long Island, Florida and Alabama. We own 120 of our banking center facilities and several non-branch operating facilities. The other properties are leased for various terms.
The following table summarizes our retail banking centers in each state: 
 
Number of banking centers
 
% of Total
New Jersey
 
 
 
Northern
99

 
45.0

Central
25

 
11.4

Total New Jersey
124

 
56.4

New York
 
 
 
Manhattan
12

 
5.5

Long Island
12

 
5.5

Brooklyn
9

 
4.1

Queens
5

 
2.3

Total New York
38

 
17.3

Florida
43

 
19.5

Alabama
15

 
6.8

Total
220

 
100.0
%
 
 
 
 
Our principal business office is located at 1455 Valley Road, Wayne, New Jersey. Including our principal business office, we own five office buildings in Wayne, New Jersey and one building in Chestnut Ridge, New York, which are used for various operations of Valley National Bank and its subsidiaries. Our New York City corporate headquarters are located at One Penn Plaza in Manhattan and are primarily used as a central hub for New York based lending activities of senior executives and other commercial lenders. We also lease six non-bank office facilities in Florida, used for operational, executive and lending purposes.
On January 1, 2018, the acquisition of USAB added 14 banking centers in Florida, mostly in the Tampa Bay area, and 15 banking centers in the Birmingham, Montgomery and Tallapoosa areas of Alabama.
During the second half of 2018, Valley embarked on a new strategy to overhaul its retail network. The Bank is striving to create a branch infrastructure that is more reflective of current and future activity within our target markets. During 2018, we identified several branches within New Jersey and New York that did not meet certain internal performance measures. Of those identified, we closed 7 branches in 2018 and closed or will close 13 additional branches during the first quarter of 2019.
The total net book value of our premises and equipment (including land, buildings, leasehold improvements and furniture and equipment) was $341.6 million at December 31, 2018. We believe that all of our properties and equipment are well maintained, in good operating condition and adequate for all of our present and anticipated needs.
During February 2019, we entered into an agreement for the sale-leaseback of 29 of our currently owned properties. The transaction is expected to close in the first or second quarter of 2019, and is subject to change or termination due to buyer due diligence on the identified properties. See the "Recent Event" section of the MD&A and Note 23 to the consolidated financial statements for more information.
Item 3.
Legal Proceedings
In the normal course of business, we may be a party to various outstanding legal proceedings and claims. In the opinion of management, our financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity should not be materially affected by the outcome of such legal proceedings and claims. See Note 15 to the consolidated financial statements for further details.

2018 Form 10-K
26
 





PART II
 
Item 5.
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “VLY”. There were 7,330 shareholders of record as of December 31, 2018.

Performance Graph
The following graph compares the cumulative total return on a hypothetical $100 investment made on December 31, 2013 in: (a) Valley’s common stock; (b) the KBW Regional Banking Index (KRX) and (c) the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500 Stock Index. The graph is calculated assuming that all dividends are reinvested during the relevant periods. The graph shows how a $100 investment would increase or decrease in value over time based on dividends (stock or cash) and increases or decreases in the market price of the stock. 

chart-70018cc62891f550374a01.jpg


12/13
12/14
12/15
12/16
12/17
12/18
Valley
$
100.00

$
100.30

$
106.44

$
131.50

$
131.61

$
108.20

KBW Regional Banking Index (KRX)
100.00

102.43

108.56

151.04

153.77

126.88

S&P 500
100.00

113.68

115.24

129.02

157.17

150.27


Issuer Repurchase of Equity Securities
The following table presents the purchases of equity securities by the issuer and affiliated purchasers during the three months ended December 31, 2018: 
Period
Total Number of
Shares Purchased (1)
 
Average Price
Paid Per
Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans(2)
 
Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased
      Under the Plans (2)
October 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018
1,821

 
$
10.56

 

 
4,112,465

November 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018
41,478

 
10.02

 

 
4,112,465

December 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018
62,839

 
9.32

 

 
4,112,465

Total
106,138

 
 
 

 
 
 
(1) 
Represents repurchases made in connection with the vesting of employee stock awards.

 
27
2018 Form 10-K




(2) 
On January 17, 2007, Valley publicly announced its intention to repurchase up to 4.7 million outstanding common shares in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions. The repurchase plan has no stated expiration date. No repurchase plans or programs expired or terminated during the three months ended December 31, 2018.

Equity Compensation Plan Information
The information set forth in Item 12 of Part III of this Annual Report under the heading “Equity Compensation Plan Information” is incorporated by reference herein.

2018 Form 10-K
28
 




Item 6.
Selected Financial Data
The following selected financial data should be read in conjunction with Valley’s consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes thereto presented herein in response to Item 8 of this Annual Report. 
 
As of or for the Years Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
($ in thousands, except for share data)
Summary of Operations:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest income—tax equivalent basis (1) 
$
1,164,967

 
$
842,457

 
$
770,270

 
$
705,879

 
$
642,334

Interest expense
302,045

 
174,107

 
148,774

 
156,754

 
161,846

Net interest income—tax equivalent basis (1)
862,922

 
668,350

 
621,496

 
549,125

 
480,488

Less: tax equivalent adjustment
5,719

 
8,303

 
8,382

 
7,866

 
7,933

Net interest income
857,203

 
660,047

 
613,114

 
541,259

 
472,555

Provision for credit losses
32,501

 
9,942

 
11,869

 
8,101

 
1,884

Net interest income after provisions for credit losses
824,702

 
650,105

 
601,245

 
533,158

 
470,671

Non-interest income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Losses) gains on securities transactions, net
(2,342
)
 
(20
)
 
777

 
2,487

 
745

Gains on sales of loans, net
20,515

 
20,814

 
22,030

 
4,245

 
1,731

(Losses) gains on sales of assets, net
(2,402
)
 
(95
)
 
1,358

 
2,776

 
18,087

Other non-interest income
118,281

 
91,007

 
84,095

 
83,304

 
59,255

Total non-interest income
134,052

 
111,706

 
108,260

 
92,812

 
79,818

Non-interest expense:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 
315

 
51,129

 
10,132

Amortization of tax credit investments
24,200

 
41,747

 
34,744

 
27,312

 
24,196

Other non-interest expense
604,861

 
467,326

 
441,066

 
420,634

 
368,927

Total non-interest expense
629,061

 
509,073

 
476,125

 
499,075

 
403,255

Income before income taxes
329,693

 
252,738

 
233,380

 
126,895

 
147,234

Income tax expense
68,265

 
90,831

 
65,234

 
23,938

 
31,062

Net income
261,428

 
161,907

 
168,146

 
102,957

 
116,172

Dividends on preferred stock
12,688

 
9,449

 
7,188

 
3,813

 

Net income available to common shareholders
$
248,740

 
$
152,458

 
$
160,958

 
$
99,144

 
$
116,172

Per Common Share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings per share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
$
0.75

 
$
0.58

 
$
0.63

 
$
0.42

 
$
0.56

Diluted
0.75

 
0.58

 
0.63

 
0.42

 
0.56

Dividends declared
0.44

 
0.44

 
0.44

 
0.44

 
0.44

Book value
9.48

 
8.79

 
8.59

 
8.26

 
8.03

Tangible book value (2)
5.97

 
6.01

 
5.80

 
5.36

 
$
5.38

Weighted average shares outstanding:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
331,258,964

 
264,038,123

 
254,841,571

 
234,405,909

 
205,716,293

Diluted
332,693,718

 
264,889,007

 
255,268,336

 
234,437,000

 
205,716,293

Ratios:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Return on average assets
0.86
%
 
0.69
%
 
0.76
%
 
0.53
%
 
0.69
%
Return on average shareholders’ equity
7.91

 
6.55

 
7.46

 
5.26

 
7.18

Return on average tangible shareholders’ equity (3)
12.21

 
9.32

 
11.07

 
7.66

 
10.26

Average shareholders’ equity to average assets
10.93

 
10.53

 
10.08

 
10.08

 
9.62

Tangible common equity to tangible assets (4)
6.45

 
6.83

 
6.91

 
6.52

 
6.87

Efficiency ratio (5)
63.46

 
65.96

 
66.00

 
78.71

 
73.00

Dividend payout
58.67

 
75.86

 
69.80

 
105.00

 
78.40

Tier 1 leverage capital (6)
7.57

 
8.03

 
7.74

 
7.90

 
7.46

Common equity Tier 1 capital (6)
8.43

 
9.22

 
9.27

 
9.01

 
N/A

Tier 1 risk-based capital (6)
9.30

 
10.41

 
9.90

 
9.72

 
9.73

Total risk-based capital (6)
11.34

 
12.61

 
12.15

 
12.02

 
11.42

Financial Condition:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Assets
$
31,863,088

 
$
24,002,306

 
$
22,864,439

 
$
21,612,616

 
$
18,792,491

Net loans
24,883,610

 
18,210,724

 
17,121,684

 
15,936,929

 
13,371,560

Deposits
24,452,974

 
18,153,462

 
17,730,708

 
16,253,551

 
14,034,116

Shareholders’ equity
3,350,454

 
2,533,165

 
2,377,156

 
2,207,091

 
1,863,017

See Notes to the Selected Financial Data that follow.

 
29
2018 Form 10-K




Notes to Selected Financial Data
(1) 
In this report a number of amounts related to net interest income and net interest margin are presented on a tax equivalent basis using a federal tax rate of 21 percent for 2018 and 35 percent for 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.  Valley believes that this presentation provides comparability of net interest income and net interest margin arising from both taxable and tax-exempt sources and is consistent with industry practice and SEC rules.
(2) 
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains supplemental financial information which has been determined by methods other than U.S. GAAP that management uses in its analysis of our performance. Management believes these non-GAAP financial measures provide information useful to investors in understanding our underlying operational performance, our business and performance trends, and facilitates comparisons with the performance of others in the financial services industry. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for or superior to financial measures calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Tangible book value per common share, which is a non-GAAP measure, is computed by dividing shareholders’ equity less goodwill and other intangible assets by common shares outstanding as follows:
 
 
At December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
($ in thousands, except for share data)
Common shares outstanding
331,431,217

 
264,468,851

 
263,638,830

 
253,787,561

 
232,110,975

Shareholders’ equity
$
3,350,454

 
$
2,533,165

 
$
2,377,156

 
$
2,207,091

 
$
1,863,017

Less: Preferred stock
209,691

 
209,691

 
111,590

 
111,590

 

Less: Goodwill and other intangible assets
1,161,655

 
733,144

 
736,121


735,221


614,667

Tangible common shareholders’ equity
$
1,979,108

 
$
1,590,330


$
1,529,445


$
1,360,280


$
1,248,350

Tangible book value per common share
$
5.97

 
$
6.01

 
$
5.80

 
$
5.36

 
$
5.38


(3) 
Return on average tangible shareholders’ equity, which is a non-GAAP measure, is computed by dividing net income by average shareholders’ equity less average goodwill and average other intangible assets, as follows:
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
($ in thousands)
Net income
$
261,428

 
$
161,907

 
$
168,146

 
$
102,957

 
$
116,172

Average shareholders’ equity
$
3,304,531

 
$
2,471,751

 
$
2,253,570

 
$
1,958,757

 
$
1,618,965

Less: Average goodwill and other intangible assets
1,163,397

 
734,200

 
734,520

 
614,084

 
486,769

Average tangible shareholders’ equity
$
2,141,134

 
$
1,737,551

 
$
1,519,050

 
$
1,344,673

 
$
1,132,196

Return on average tangible shareholders’ equity
12.21
%
 
9.32
%
 
11.07
%
 
7.66
%
 
10.26
%

(4) 
Tangible common shareholders’ equity to tangible assets, which is a non-GAAP measure, is computed by dividing tangible shareholders’ equity (shareholders’ equity less goodwill and other intangible assets) by tangible assets, as follows:
 
At December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
 
 
 
 
($ in thousands)
 
 
 
 
Tangible common shareholders’ equity
$
1,979,108

 
$
1,590,330

 
$
1,529,445

 
$
1,360,280

 
$
1,248,350

Total assets
$
31,863,088

 
$
24,002,306

 
$
22,864,439

 
$
21,612,616

 
$
18,792,491

Less: Goodwill and other intangible assets
1,161,655

 
733,144

 
736,121

 
735,221

 
614,667

Tangible assets
$
30,701,433

 
$
23,269,162

 
$
22,128,318

 
$
20,877,395

 
$
18,177,824

Tangible common shareholders’ equity to tangible assets
6.45
%
 
6.83
%
 
6.91
%
 
6.52
%
 
6.87
%

(5) 
The efficiency ratio measures total non-interest expense as a percentage of net interest income plus total non-interest income.
(6) 
Capital positions and ratios as of December 31, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 were calculated under Basel III rules which became effective January 1, 2015.


2018 Form 10-K
30
 




Item 7.
Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The purpose of this analysis is to provide the reader with information relevant to understanding and assessing Valley’s results of operations for each of the past three years and financial condition for each of the past two years. In order to fully appreciate this analysis, the reader is encouraged to review the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes thereto appearing under Item 8 of this report, and statistical data presented in this document.
Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This Annual Report on Form 10-K, both in the MD&A and elsewhere, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are not historical facts and include expressions about management’s confidence and strategies and management’s expectations about new and existing programs and products, acquisitions, relationships, opportunities, taxation, technology, market conditions and economic expectations. These statements may be identified by such forward-looking terminology as “should,” “expect,” “believe,” “view,” “opportunity,” “allow,” “continues,” “reflects,” “typically,” “usually,” “anticipate,” or similar statements or variations of such terms. Such forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties and our actual results may differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements in addition to those risk factors listed under the “Risk Factors” section in Part1, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K include, but are not limited to:
weakness or a decline in the economy, mainly in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Alabama, as well as an unexpected decline in commercial real estate values within our market areas;
the inability to retain USAB’s customers and key employees;
the inability to grow customer deposits to keep pace with loan growth;
an increase in our allowance for credit losses due to higher than expected loan losses within one or more segments of our loan portfolio;
less than expected cost reductions and revenue enhancement from Valley's cost reduction plans, including its earnings enhancement program called "LIFT" and branch transformation strategy;
greater than expected technology related costs due to, among other factors, prolonged or failed implementations, additional project staffing and obsolescence caused by continuous and rapid market innovations;
the loss of or decrease in lower-cost funding sources within our deposit base, including our inability to achieve deposit retention targets under Valley's branch transformation strategy;
the effect of the partial U.S. Government shutdown on levels of economic activity in the markets in which we operate and on levels of end market demand in the economy in general;
cyber-attacks, computer viruses or other malware that may breach the security of our websites or other systems to obtain unauthorized access to confidential information, destroy data, disable or degrade service, or sabotage our systems;
results of examinations by the OCC, the FRB, the CFPB and other regulatory authorities, including the possibility that any such regulatory authority may, among other things, require us to increase our allowance for credit losses, write-down assets, reimburse customers, change the way we do business, or limit or eliminate certain other banking activities;
damage verdicts or settlements or restrictions related to existing or potential litigations arising from claims of breach of fiduciary responsibility, negligence, fraud, contractual claims, environmental laws, patent or trade mark infringement, employment related claims, and other matters;
changes in accounting policies or accounting standards, including the new authoritative accounting guidance (known as the current expected credit loss (CECL) model) which may increase the required level of our allowance for credit losses after adoption on January 1, 2020;
higher or lower than expected income tax expense or tax rates, including increases or decreases resulting from the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other changes in tax laws, regulations and case law;
our inability or determination not to pay dividends at current levels, or at all, because of inadequate earnings, regulatory restrictions or limitations, changes in our capital requirements or a decision to increase capital by retaining more earnings;
unanticipated loan delinquencies, loss of collateral, decreased service revenues, and other potential negative effects on our business caused by severe weather or other external events;
unexpected significant declines in the loan portfolio due to the lack of economic expansion, increased competition, large prepayments, changes in regulatory lending guidance or other factors; and
the failure of other financial institutions with whom we have trading, clearing, counterparty and other financial relationships.


 
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Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our accounting and reporting policies conform, in all material respects, to U.S. GAAP. In preparing the consolidated financial statements, management has made estimates, judgments and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities as of the date of the consolidated statements of financial condition and results of operations for the periods indicated. Actual results could differ materially from those estimates.
Valley’s accounting policies are fundamental to understanding management’s discussion and analysis of its financial condition and results of operations. Our significant accounting policies are presented in Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements. We identified our policies for the allowance for loan losses, purchased credit-impaired loans, goodwill and other intangible assets, and income taxes to be critical because management has to make subjective and/or complex judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain and because it is likely that materially different amounts would be reported under different conditions or using different assumptions. Management has reviewed the application of these policies with the Audit Committee of Valley’s Board of Directors.
The judgments used by management in applying the critical accounting policies discussed below may be affected by significant changes in the economic environment, which may result in changes to future financial results. Specifically, subsequent evaluations of the loan portfolio, in light of the factors then prevailing, may result in material changes in the allowance for loan losses in future periods, and the inability to collect on outstanding loans could result in increased loan losses. In addition, the valuation of certain collateral dependent impaired loans (including New York City taxi cab medallion loan valuations based on the estimated value of the underlying medallions) could be adversely impacted by illiquidity or dislocation in certain markets, resulting in depressed market valuations of the underlying collateral, thus leading to additional provisions for loan losses.
Allowance for Loan Losses. The allowance for credit losses includes the allowance for loan losses and the reserve for unfunded commercial letters of credit and represents management’s estimate of credit losses inherent in the loan portfolio at the balance sheet date. The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance is based on periodic evaluations of the loan portfolios. There are numerous components that enter into the evaluation of the allowance for loan losses, which includes a quantitative analysis, as well as a qualitative review of its results. The qualitative review is subjective and requires a significant amount of judgment. Various banking regulators, as an integral part of their examination process, also review the allowance for loan losses. Such regulators may require, based on their judgments about information available to them at the time of their examination, that certain loan balances be charged off or require that adjustments be made to the allowance for loan losses when their credit evaluations differ from those of management. Additionally, our allowance for credit losses methodology includes loan portfolio evaluations at the portfolio segment level, which consists of the commercial and industrial, commercial real estate, construction, residential mortgage, home equity, automobile and other consumer loan portfolios.
The allowance for loan losses consists of the following:
specific reserves for individually impaired loans;
reserves for adversely classified loans, and higher risk rated loans that are not impaired loans;
reserves for other loans that are not impaired; and, if applicable,
reserves for impairment of purchased credit-impaired (PCI) loans subsequent to their acquisition date.
Our reserves on classified and non-classified loans also include reserves based on general economic conditions and other qualitative risk factors both internal and external to Valley, including changes in loan portfolio volume, the composition and concentrations of credit, new market initiatives, and the impact of competition on loan structuring and pricing.
Reserves for PCI loans within the Allowance for Loan Losses
We evaluated the acquired PCI loans and elected to account for them in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Subtopic 310-30, “Loans and Debt Securities Acquired with Deteriorated Credit Quality,” since all of these loans were acquired at a discount attributable, at least in part, to credit quality. The PCI loans are initially recorded at their estimated fair values segregated into pools of loans sharing common risk characteristics. The fair values include estimates related to expected prepayments and the amount and timing of undiscounted expected principal, interest and other cash flows.
The PCI loans are subject to our internal credit review. If and when unexpected credit deterioration occurs at the loan pool level subsequent to the acquisition date, a provision for credit losses for the PCI loans will be charged to earnings for the full amount of the decline in expected cash flows for the pool. Under the accounting guidance of ASC Subtopic 310-30, for acquired credit impaired loans, the allowance for loan losses on (or reserves for) PCI loans is measured at each financial reporting date based on future expected cash flows. This assessment and measurement are performed at the pool level and not at the individual loan level. Accordingly, decreases in expected cash flows resulting from further credit deterioration on a pool of acquired PCI

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loan pools as of such measurement date compared to those originally estimated are recognized by recording a provision and allowance for loan losses on PCI loans. Subsequent increases in the expected cash flows of the loans in that pool would first reduce any allowance for loan losses on PCI loans; and any excess will be accreted for prospectively as a yield adjustment. Valley had no allowance reserves related to PCI loans at December 31, 2018 and 2017.
Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements describes the methodology used to determine the allowance for loan losses and a discussion of the factors driving changes in the amount of the allowance for loan losses is included in this MD&A.
Changes in Our Allowance for Loan Losses
Valley considers it difficult to quantify the impact of changes in forecast on its allowance for loan losses. However, management believes the following discussion may enable investors to better understand the variables that drive the allowance for loan losses, which amounted to $151.9 million at December 31, 2018.
For impaired credits, if the present value of expected cash flows were 10 percent higher or lower, the allowance would have decreased $3.3 million or increased $4.8 million, respectively, at December 31, 2018. If the fair value of the collateral (for collateral dependent loans) was 10 percent higher or lower, the allowance would have decreased $4.3 million or increased $4.7 million, respectively, at December 31, 2018.
The internal risk rating assigned to each non-classified credit is an important variable in determining the allowance. If each non-classified credit were rated one grade worse (special mention rate), the allowance would have increased by approximately $24.9 million as of December 31, 2018. Additionally, if the loss factors used to calculate the allowance for non-classified loans were 10 percent higher or lower, the allowance would have increased or decreased by approximately $11.0 million, respectively, at December 31, 2018. Moreover, if the expected loss rate applied to classified loans were to increase or decrease by 10 percent, the allowance would have been $930 thousand higher or lower, respectively, at December 31, 2018.
Purchased Credit-Impaired Loans. Purchased credit-impaired (PCI) loans are loans acquired at a discount (that is due, in part, to credit quality). Valley's PCI loan portfolio totaling $4.2 billion at December 31, 2018 primarily consists of loans acquired in business combinations subsequent to 2011. The PCI loans are initially recorded at fair value (as determined by the present value of expected future cash flows) with no valuation allowance (i.e., the allowance for loan losses), and aggregated and accounted for as pools of loans based on common risk characteristics. We estimate the undiscounted cash flows expected to be collected by incorporating several key assumptions, including probability of default, loss given default, and the amount of actual prepayments after the acquisition dates. The difference between the undiscounted cash flows expected at acquisition and the initial carrying amount (fair value) of the PCI loans, or the “accretable yield,” is recognized as interest income utilizing the level-yield method over the life of each pool. Contractually required payments for interest and principal that exceed the undiscounted cash flows expected at acquisition, or the “non-accretable difference.” The non-accretable difference, which is neither accreted into income nor recorded on our consolidated balance sheet, reflects estimated future credit losses and uncollectable contractual interest expected to be incurred over the life of the loans. Prepayments affect the estimated life of PCI loans and could change the amount of interest income, and possibly principal, expected to be collected. Reclassifications of the non-accretable difference to the accretable yield may occur subsequent to the loan acquisition dates due to increases in our estimate of the expected cash flows of the loan pools.
On a quarterly basis, the Bank periodically evaluates the remaining contractual required payments due and estimates of cash flows expected to be collected for the underlying loans of each PCI loan pool. These evaluations require the continued use of key assumptions and estimates necessary in forecasting the estimated cash flows. We attempt to ensure the forecasted expectations are reasonable based on the information currently available; however, due to the uncertainties inherent in the use of estimates, actual cash flow results may differ from our forecast and the differences may be significant. To mitigate such differences, we carefully prepare and review the assumptions utilized in forecasting estimated cash flows.
PCI loans that may have been classified as non-performing loans by an acquired bank are no longer classified as non-performing because these loans are accounted for on a pooled basis. Management’s judgment is required in classifying loans in pools as performing loans, and is dependent on having a reasonable expectation about the timing and amount of the pool cash flows to be collected, even if certain loans within the pool are contractually past due.
See Notes 1 and 5 to the consolidated financial statements, and "Loan Portfolio" section included in this MD&A for further PCI loan details, including net increases and decreases in expected cash flows subsequent to the applicable PCI loan acquisition dates impacting the accretable yield in 2018 and 2017.
Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets. We record all assets, liabilities, and non-controlling interests in the acquiree in purchase acquisitions, including goodwill and other intangible assets, at fair value as of the acquisition date, and expense all acquisition related costs as incurred as required by ASC Topic 805, “Business Combinations.” Goodwill totaling $1.1 billion at December 31, 2018 is not amortized but is subject to annual tests for impairment or more often, if events or circumstances indicate

 
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it may be impaired. Other intangible assets totaling $77.0 million at December 31, 2018 are amortized over their estimated useful lives and are subject to impairment tests if events or circumstances indicate a possible inability to realize the carrying amount. Such evaluation of other intangible assets is based on undiscounted cash flow projections. The initial recording of goodwill and other intangible assets requires subjective judgments concerning estimates of the fair value of the acquired assets and assumed liabilities.
Currently, the goodwill impairment analysis is generally a two-step test. During 2018, Valley elected to perform step one of the two-step goodwill impairment test for all of its reporting units but may choose to perform an optional qualitative assessment allowable for one or more units in future periods to determine whether it is necessary to perform the two-step quantitative goodwill impairment test. Step one compares the fair value of the reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, goodwill of the reporting unit is considered not impaired; however, if the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, an additional step must be performed. That additional step compares the implied fair value of the reporting unit’s goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. The implied fair value of goodwill is determined in a manner similar to the amount of goodwill calculated in a business combination, i.e., by measuring the excess of the estimated fair value of the reporting unit, as determined in the first step above, over the aggregate estimated fair values of the individual assets, liabilities, and identifiable intangibles, as if the reporting unit was being acquired in a business combination at the impairment test date. An impairment loss is recorded to the extent that the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds its implied fair value. The loss establishes a new basis in the goodwill and subsequent reversal of goodwill impairment losses is not permitted.
Fair value may be determined using market prices, comparison to similar assets, market multiples, discounted cash flow analysis and other determinants. Estimated cash flows may extend far into the future and, by their nature, are difficult to determine over an extended timeframe. Factors that may materially affect the estimates include, among others, competitive forces, customer behaviors and attrition, changes in revenue growth trends, cost structures and technology, and changes in discount rates, terminal values, and specific industry or market sector conditions. To assist in assessing the impact of potential goodwill or other intangible assets impairment charges at December 31, 2018, the impact of a five percent impairment charge on these intangible assets would result in a reduction in pre-tax income of approximately $58.1 million. See Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding goodwill and other intangible assets.
Income Taxes. We are subject to the income tax laws of the U.S., its states and municipalities. The income tax laws of the jurisdictions in which we operate are complex and subject to different interpretations by the taxpayer and the relevant government taxing authorities. In establishing a provision for income tax expense, we must make judgments and interpretations about the application of these inherently complex tax laws to our business activities, as well as the timing of when certain items may affect taxable income.
Our interpretations may be subject to review during examination by taxing authorities and disputes may arise over the respective tax positions. We attempt to resolve these disputes during the tax examination and audit process and ultimately through the court systems when applicable. We monitor relevant tax authorities and revise our estimate of accrued income taxes due to changes in income tax laws and their interpretation by the courts and regulatory authorities on a quarterly basis. Revisions of our estimate of accrued income taxes also may result from our own income tax planning and from the resolution of income tax controversies. Such revisions in our estimates may be material to our operating results for any given quarter.
The provision for income taxes is composed of current and deferred taxes. Deferred taxes arise from differences between assets and liabilities measured for financial reporting versus income tax return purposes. Deferred tax assets are recognized if, in management’s judgment, their realizability is determined to be more likely than not. We perform regular reviews to ascertain the realizability of our deferred tax assets. These reviews include management’s estimates and assumptions regarding future taxable income, which also incorporate various tax planning strategies. In connection with these reviews, if we determine that a portion of the deferred tax asset is not realizable, a valuation allowance is established. As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, management determined it is more likely than not that Valley will realize its net deferred tax assets, except for a valuation allowance of $733 thousand established at December 31, 2018. However, in the fourth quarter of 2017 we re-measured and reduced our deferred tax assets by $15.4 million for the estimated impact of the Tax Act, which decreased our federal income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent effective January 1, 2018. During 2018, we recognized a $2.3 million tax benefit related to the adjustment of the Tax Act provisional amounts in our final 2017 tax returns completed in the fourth quarter of 2018. During 2017, we also reduced our state deferred tax assets by $4.5 million to reflect the effect of our organic and acquisition-based expansion primarily in Florida on our existing state deferred tax assets. During 2018 and 2017, the charge to our income tax expense related to the reduction of such deferred tax assets was immaterial. The $2.3 million and $19.9 million in total adjustments were reflected as credits and charges, respectively, to our income tax expense for 2018 and 2017, respectively.
Historically, we maintained a reserve related to certain tax positions that management believes contain an element of uncertainty. An uncertain tax position is measured based on the largest amount of benefit that management believes is more likely than not to be realized. During the fourth quarter of 2018, income tax expense included a net tax benefit of $3.3 million related

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to the elimination of our remaining reserve for unrecognized tax benefits caused by the expiration of the statute of limitations for certain tax positions.
See Notes 1 and 13 to the consolidated financial statements and the “Income Taxes” section in this MD&A for an additional discussion on the accounting for income taxes.
New Authoritative Accounting Guidance. See Note 1 of the consolidated financial statements for a description of recent accounting pronouncements including the dates of adoption and the anticipated effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Executive Summary
Company Overview. At December 31, 2018, Valley had consolidated total assets of $31.9 billion, total net loans of $24.9 billion, total deposits of $24.5 billion and total shareholders’ equity of $3.4 billion. Our commercial bank operations after the acquisition of USAmeriBancorp, Inc (see below) include branch office locations in northern and central New Jersey, the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, Long Island, Florida and Alabama. Of our current 220 branch network, 56 percent, 17 percent, 20 percent and 7 percent of the branches are located in New Jersey, New York, Florida and Alabama, respectively. Despite our current and past branch consolidation activity, we have grown both in asset size and locations significantly over the past several years primarily through bank acquisitions.

USAmeriBancorp, Inc. On January 1, 2018, Valley completed its acquisition of USAmeriBancorp, Inc. (USAB) headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. USAB, largely through its wholly-owned subsidiary, USAmeriBank, had approximately $5.1 billion in assets, $3.7 billion in net loans and $3.6 billion in deposits, and maintained a branch network of 29 offices as of December 31, 2018. The acquisition represents a significant addition to Valley’s Florida franchise, and meaningfully enhanced its presence in the Tampa Bay market, which is Florida’s second largest metropolitan area by population. The acquisition also brought Valley to the Birmingham, Montgomery, and Tallapoosa areas in Alabama, where Valley now operates 15 branch office locations. The common shareholders of USAB received 6.1 shares of Valley common stock for each USAB share they own. The total consideration for the acquisition was approximately $737.2 million, and the transaction resulted in $394.0 million of goodwill and $45.9 million of core deposit intangible assets subject to amortization. Full systems integration was completed in the second quarter of 2018 with minimal disruption to our customers.

Re-Branding. During October 2018, Valley National Bank announced a new look and feel for its brand and, in many instances, will start referring to itself with a simpler name: “Valley.” The Bank’s brand refresh includes a new logo, visual changes to its web and mobile platforms, and a plan for transforming branches with new signage and a sleek, modern look. In conjunction with the re-branding effort, the listing for Valley's common stock, preferred stock and warrants switched from the New York Stock Exchange to NASDAQ. Valley’s common stock symbol remained VLY.
Branch Transformation. During the second half of 2018, Valley embarked on a new strategy to overhaul its retail network. The Bank is striving to create a branch infrastructure that is more reflective of current and future activity within our target markets. We intend to place greater emphasis on service, sales, and efficiency. We are in the process of upgrading many staff and training components placing greater importance on mobile and digital implementation, as well as customer education and promotion of those products. Valley's branch transformation will also include the repositioning, re-branding, functionality, aesthetics, and in many cases, reducing the square footage of our branches.
During 2018, we identified several branches within New Jersey and New York that did not meet certain internal performance measures. Of those identified, we closed 7 branches in 2018 and closed or will close 13 additional branches during the first quarter of 2019. The estimated annual operating expense savings from the 20 branch closures is expected to be approximately $9 million. We recognized severance costs and branch asset impairment charges of $2.7 million and $1.8 million, respectively, related to the branch closures and branch staff reductions in 2018.
For the remaining branch network, we continue to monitor the operating performance of each branch and implement tailored action plans focused on improving profitability and deposit levels for those branches that underperform.
While we expect the repositioning, renovations and consolidation to be mostly complete by the end of 2020, it is important to recognize the evolving retail banking landscape combined with our expectation regarding profitability will make this activity a permanent component of Valley's overall strategy.
Earnings Enhancement Program. In December 2016, Valley announced a company-wide earnings enhancement initiative called LIFT. The LIFT program is a review of our business practices with goals of improving our overall efficiency, targeting resources to more value-added activities and delivering on the financial banking experience expected by our customers. In July 2017, we completed the idea generation and approval phase of the LIFT program. As a result of these efforts, we currently expect

 
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to achieve approximately $22 million in total cost reductions and revenue enhancements on an annualized pre-tax run-rate after fully phased-in by June 30, 2019.
As of December 31, 2018, Valley had completed LIFT enhancements that will result in cost reductions greater than 83 percent of the $22 million annual goal. We remain on track to fully implement the LIFT program generated enhancements and realize the total cost reduction goal by June 30, 2019, although we can provide no assurance that all of the program generated enhancements and cost reductions will ultimately be realized.
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. During the fourth quarter of 2017, we incurred a $18.5 million charge due to the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act) signed into law by the President on December 22, 2017. Of the $18.5 million charge, $15.4 million relates to the estimated tax expense from the re-measurement of net deferred tax assets and the remaining $3.1 million is after-tax losses from adjustments to low income housing and tax-advantaged renewable energy investments included in non-interest expense. Effective January 1, 2018, our Federal income tax rate decreased from 35 percent to 21 percent under the Tax Act. See the "Non-Interest Expense" and "Income Taxes" sections below for more details.
Recent Event. During February 2019, we announced that the Bank entered into an agreement for the sale-leaseback of 29 of its currently owned properties. The properties, consisting of 1 corporate location and 28 branches, are expected to be sold for an aggregate cash purchase price of approximately $107 million. Valley expects to realize a pre-tax gain of approximately $81 million net of transaction related expenses. The transaction is expected to close in the first or second quarter of 2019 and is subject to change or termination due to current buyer due diligence on the identified properties.
In addition, Valley announced its plan to eliminate approximately 60 corporate positions as a part of continuous efforts to improve operating efficiencies. The annualized salary and benefit expense associated with these eliminations is expected to be in excess of $5 million, excluding severance charges. Valley expects to implement the majority of cost saves by the end of the second quarter of 2019.
Other Matters. We have previously invested in mobile solar generators sold and managed by DC Solar, which were included in other assets on the balance sheet and separately disclosed in Note 14 of the consolidated financial statements. For reasons that were not known to us, DC Solar had its assets frozen in December 2018. DC Solar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2019. In February 2019, an affidavit from an FBI special agent stated that DC Solar was operating a fraudulent "Ponzi-like scheme" and that the majority of mobile solar generators sold to investors and managed by DC Solar and the majority of the related lease revenues claimed to have been received by DC Solar may not have existed. Certain investors in DC Solar, including us, received tax credits for making these renewable resource investments. We claimed tax credit benefits of approximately $22.8 million in our consolidated financial statements between 2013 through 2015. If the allegations set forth in the declaration filed by the FBI are proven to be accurate, up to the entire amount of the tax credits claimed by us could potentially be disallowed. Based on the information known as of the date of this Annual Report on the Form 10-K, we believe that this has not met the more-likely-than-not criterion to record an uncertain tax position liability. As a result of the information in the FBI declaration, we are evaluating whether or not an unrecognized tax liability exists under ASC 740 for an uncertain tax position in 2019 for at least part, if not potentially all, of the tax credit benefits that we claimed. If we are required to recognize an uncertain tax position liability in our 2019 consolidated financial statements, the uncertain tax position liability and charge-offs may have an adverse impact on our income tax liabilities, results of operations and financial condition. For additional information on the risks of our investments in tax-advantaged investments, see Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Annual Results. Net income totaled $261.4 million, or $0.75 per diluted common share, for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $161.9 million in 2017, or $0.58 per diluted common share. The increase in net income was largely due to: (i) a $197.2 million, or 29.9 percent, increase in our net interest income driven by a $5.5 billion increase in average loan balances, partially offset by interest expense related to higher short-term interest rates and a $4.9 billion increase in average interest bearing liabilities as compared to 2017, (ii) a $22.3 million increase in non-interest income partly due to higher service charges on deposit accounts and other income related to our USAB acquisition and a $6.5 million gain on the sale of Visa Class B shares in 2018, (iii) a $22.6 million decrease in income tax expense largely due to the net impact of the Tax Act, partially offset by (iv) a $120.0 million, or 23.6 percent, increase in total non-interest expense largely due to increased operational size from the USAB acquisition, as well as an increase of $14.8 million in USAB merger expenses, $12.2 million in legal expense related to litigation reserves, higher costs related to Branch Transformation, re-branding and technology, and (v) a $22.6 million increase in our provision for credit losses. See the “Net Interest Income,” “Non-Interest Income,” “Non-Interest Expense,” and “Income Taxes” sections below for more details on the items above impacting our 2018 annual results.
Operating Environment. U.S. economic growth accelerated, and labor market conditions strengthened in 2018. Real gross domestic product expanded 3.0 percent for 2018, compared to 2.2 and 1.6 percent in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
During 2018, the Federal Reserve gradually increased the target range for the federal funds rate four times throughout the year. As a result, the target range increased from 1.25 percent to 1.50 percent as of January 1, 2018 to 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent

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at December 31, 2018. The Federal Open Market Committee left the target range for the federal funds rate unchanged at their January 2019 meeting and noted it would be patient and look at incoming data to determine if additional interest rate increases would be appropriate in the future.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury note yield ended the fourth quarter of 2018 at 2.69 percent, 29 basis points higher compared with December 31, 2017. However, the spread between the 2-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury note yields ended the fourth quarter of 2018 at 0.15 percent, 8 basis points lower than September 30, 2018 and 41 basis points lower compared with December 31, 2017.
For all commercial banks in the U.S., loan growth accelerated in 2018 to 5.2 percent compared to 4.1 percent in 2017. Alternatively, deposit growth decelerated from 4.2 percent in 2017 to 4.1 percent in 2018. Core deposit growth continues to be challenged by traditional rate driven market competition, attractive investment options due to a strong economy, as well as the rapid adoption of non-traditional digital banking platforms by more consumers.
See further discussion of our loans, deposits and the impact of the current economic and interest rate environments as highlighted throughout the remaining MD&A discussion below.
Loans. Total loans increased by $6.7 billion to $25.0 billion at December 31, 2018 from December 31, 2017, net of residential mortgage loans sold during 2018. Adjusted for $3.7 billion of loans acquired from USAB on January 1, 2018, total loans grew by 13.4 percent in 2018 due to strong demand in most loan categories. For 2019, we have established a goal to grow our overall loan portfolio in the range of 6 to 8 percent. However, there can be no assurance that we will achieve such levels given the potential for unforeseen changes in the market and other conditions. See further details on our loan activities under the “Loan Portfolio” section below.
Asset Quality. Our past due loans and non-accrual loans, discussed further below, exclude PCI loans. Under U.S. GAAP, the PCI loans (acquired at a discount that is due, in part, to credit quality) are accounted for on a pool basis and are not subject to delinquency classification in the same manner as loans originated by Valley. At December 31, 2018, our PCI loan portfolio totaled $4.2 billion, or 16.7 percent of our total loan portfolio, and includes all of the loans acquired from USAB on January 1, 2018.
Total non-PCI loan portfolio delinquencies (including loans past due 30 days or more and non-accrual loans) as a percentage of total loans were 0.62 percent and 0.70 percent at December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Total accruing past due loans decreased to $67.7 million at December 31, 2018 from $80.5 million at December 31, 2017 mostly due to normal period-end fluctuations in early stage delinquencies and a few large matured performing commercial real estate and construction loans in the normal process of renewal reported at December 31, 2017. Non-accrual loans totaled $88.4 million, or 0.35 percent of our entire loan portfolio of $25.0 billion, at December 31, 2018 as compared to $47.2 million, or 0.26 percent of total loans, at December 31, 2017. The increase in non-accruals was largely due to a $49.2 million increase in the commercial and industrial loan category caused by taxi cab medallion loans internally downgraded to doubtful, partially offset by a $9.0 million decline in commercial real estate loans. Overall, our non-performing assets increased by 71.6 percent to $98.6 million at December 31, 2018 as compared to $57.5 million at December 31, 2017 primarily due to the increase in non-accrual loans.
Our lending strategy is based on underwriting standards designed to maintain high credit quality and we remain optimistic regarding the overall future performance of our loan portfolio. However, due to the potential for future credit deterioration caused by the unpredictable future strength of the U.S. economy and the housing and labor markets, management cannot provide assurance that our non-performing assets will remain at, or increase from, the levels reported as of December 31, 2018. See the “Non-performing Assets” section below for further analysis of our asset quality.
Investments. During the year ended December 31, 2018, we recognized net losses on securities transactions of $2.3 million as compared to net losses totaling $20 thousand in 2017 and net gains of $777 thousand in 2016. The 2018 net losses were partly related to the sale of all the private label mortgage-backed securities classified as available for sale in our investment portfolio during the fourth quarter. See further details in the “Investment Securities Portfolio” section below and Note 4 to the consolidated financial statements.
Deposits and Other Borrowings. Our mix of total deposits slightly shifted to time deposits during 2018 as compared to 2017 largely due to the greater use of brokered time deposits in the second half of 2018. Non-interest bearing deposits represented approximately 28 percent of total average deposits for the year ended December 31, 2018, while savings, NOW and money market accounts were 49 percent and time deposits were 23 percent. Average non-interest bearing deposits increased $1.0 billion to approximately $6.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018 as compared to 2017 due, in large part, to $887.1 million of deposits assumed from USAB and our continuous efforts to encourage new and existing loan borrowers to maintain deposit accounts at Valley. Average savings, NOW and money market account balances increased $2.2 billion to $11.1 billion in 2018 largely due to $1.7 billion of deposits assumed from USAB and several retail and business account initiatives. Average time deposits also increased $1.8 billion to $5.1 billion in 2018 due to (i) $999.6 million of deposits assumed from USAB, (ii) increased use of brokered CDs as an alternative to more costly FHLB borrowings with shorter or similar maturities and (iii) successful retail

 
37
2018 Form 10-K




deposit gathering efforts. Ending balances of brokered money market deposit accounts and brokered time deposits totaled $1.1 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively, at December 31, 2018 as compared to $1.4 billion and $71.1 million, respectively, at December 31, 2017.
Average short-term borrowings increased $702.0 million to $2.2 billion for 2018 as compared to 2017 largely due to new FHLB advances used for funding of loan growth and balancing the appropriate mix of short- and long-term funding in the current interest rate environment. Valley also assumed $650.0 million of very short duration borrowings from USAB on January 1, 2018.
Average long-term borrowings increased $226.3 million to approximately $2.1 billion for 2018 as compared to 2017 largely due to an increase in average FHLB advances to fund loan growth during 2018, and to a lesser extent $100.5 million of borrowings assumed from USAB. See further discussion of our average interest bearing liabilities under the “Net Interest Income” section below.
Net Interest Income
Net interest income consists of interest income and dividends earned on interest earning assets less interest expense on interest bearing liabilities and represents the main source of income for Valley. The net interest margin on a fully tax equivalent basis is calculated by dividing tax equivalent net interest income by average interest earning assets and is a key measurement used in the banking industry to measure income from interest earning assets. During 2018, Valley elected to reclassify fee income related to derivative interest rate swaps executed with commercial loan customers totaling $16.4 million from interest and fees on loans to other non-interest income within the presentation of its net interest margin below and the consolidated financial statements. The applicable prior period amounts have also been reclassified to conform to this current presentation. See further discussion of the swap fees in the "Non-Interest Income" section below.
Annual Period 2018. Net interest income on a tax equivalent basis increased by $194.6 million to $862.9 million for 2018 as compared to 2017. The increase was mainly driven by a $5.5 billion increase in average loan balances and a 31 basis point increase in loan yield, partially offset by interest expense related to a $4.9 billion increase in average interest bearing liabilities and a 36 basis point increase in the cost of such liabilities as compared to 2017. See further discussion of the changes in our average interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities below.
The net interest margin on a tax equivalent basis was 3.11 percent for the year ended December 31, 2018 and remained unchanged as compared to 2017. However, the yield on average interest earning assets increased 29 basis points mainly attributable to the increased yield on average loans. The yield on average loans increased 31 basis points to 4.43 percent for 2018 as compared to 4.12 percent in 2017 largely due to new and renewed loan volumes and higher market interest rates in 2018. Our average non-taxable investment portfolio yield decreased 45 basis points during 2018 as compared to one year ago due to a lower tax equivalent yield caused by the Tax Act, partially offset by higher market rates on securities acquired and purchased in 2018. Offsetting the increase in the yield on average interest earning assets, the cost of average interest bearing liabilities increased 36 basis points to 1.47 percent for 2018. The increase in the overall cost as compared to 2017 was mainly driven by increases of 36, 89 and 32 basis points in our cost of average savings, NOW and money market deposit accounts; short-term borrowings; and time deposits, respectively, in 2018. The increases were largely due to a gradual increase in short-term market interest rates during 2018 that were influenced by five individual increases of 0.25 percent in the federal funds target rate from mid-December 2017 to mid-December 2018 by the FOMC, as well as strong market competition for customer deposits. The annual average of the daily effective federal funds rate increased 83 basis points to 1.83 percent for 2018 from 1.00 percent in 2017.
Our earning asset portfolio is comprised of both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans and investments. Many of our earning assets are priced based upon the prevailing treasury rates, the Valley prime rate (set by Valley management based on various internal and external factors) or on the U.S. prime interest rate as published in The Wall Street Journal. On average, the 10-year treasury rate increased from 2.33 percent in 2017 to 2.91 percent in 2018, positively impacting our yield on average loans as new and renewed fixed-rate loans originated in 2018. Additionally, the U.S. prime rate increased to 5.50 percent from 5.25 percent in mid-December 2017 and has increased five times since mid-December 2017 in conjunction with the increase in the targeted federal funds rate. The higher U.S. prime rate, and our increase in the Valley prime rate to 6.375 percent from 6.125 percent during December 2018, will have an immediate positive impact on the yield of our U.S. and Valley prime rate based loan portfolios for 2019 as compared to 2018. Should the treasury rates remain at or increase above current levels, this will also have a positive, but more gradual, effect on our interest income based on our ability to originate new and renewed fixed rate loans.
Average interest earning assets totaling $27.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased $6.2 billion, or 28.9 percent, as compared to 2017. Average loan balances increased $5.5 billion to $23.3 billion in 2018 and drove the majority of the $299.5 million increase in the interest income on a tax equivalent basis for loans as compared to 2017. The growth in average loans during 2018 was due to $3.7 billion of loans acquired from USAB on January 1, 2018, strong loan demand in all commercial loan categories and greater retention of residential mortgage loan production. Much of the new loan production in the commercial area came from additional business with current customer relationships, including opportunities to expand the former USAB

2018 Form 10-K
38
 




lending limits with customers in our new Tampa Bay market. Average investment securities increased $663.8 million to approximately $4.1 billion in 2018 due to $522.6 million of securities acquired from USAB, as well as a moderate expansion of residential mortgage-backed securities held in the taxable portfolio. Average federal funds sold and other interest bearing deposits increased $29.3 million to $218.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 as compared to 2017 mostly due to slightly higher levels of overnight liquidity held primarily caused by fluctuations in the timing of new loan originations.
Average interest bearing liabilities increased $4.9 billion to $20.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018 from the same period in 2017 due to increases in all of our funding categories. Average savings, NOW and money market accounts increased $2.2 billion mostly due to $1.7 billion of such deposits assumed from USAB and retail money market account gathering initiatives during 2018, partially offset by slightly lower utilization of brokered money market account balances in our loan growth funding strategy and other liquidity needs in 2018. Average time deposits increased $1.8 billion to $5.1 billion for 2018 as compared to 2017 mainly due to $999.6 million of CDs assumed from USAB, retail CDs strategies executed in 2018 and increased use of brokered CDs in the second half of 2018. Average short-term and long-term borrowings increased $702.0 million and $226.3 million in 2018, respectively, as compared to 2017 due, in part, to a higher level of FHLB borrowings used to fund new loan and investment activities, and, to a lesser extent, $650.0 million and $100.5 million, respectively, of such borrowings assumed from USAB. See the "Fourth Quarter of 2018" section below for more information regarding changes in our interest bearing liabilities during 2018.
Fourth Quarter of 2018. Net interest income on a tax equivalent basis totaling $223.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2018 increased $52.0 million and $5.3 million as compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 and third quarter of 2018, respectively. The increase as compared to the fourth quarter of 2017 was largely due to the acquisition of USAB on January 1, 2018 and loan growth during 2018. Interest income on a tax equivalent basis increased $17.6 million to $316.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2018 as compared to the third quarter of 2018, largely due to an increase of $871.7 million in average loans and a 11 basis point increase in the yield on average loans. Interest expense of $92.5 million for the three months ended December 31, 2018 increased $12.3 million from the third quarter of 2018 largely due to higher interest rates on many of our interest bearing deposit products and FHLB borrowings, and a $756.9 million increase in average interest-bearing liabilities. The increase in average interest-bearing liabilities was largely driven by both brokered and retail time deposit gathering initiatives, partially offset by lower short-term and long-term FHLB borrowings.
The net interest margin on a tax equivalent basis of 3.10 percent for the fourth quarter of 2018 decreased 3 basis points and 2 basis points from 3.13 percent and 3.12 percent for the fourth quarter of 2017 and third quarter of 2018, respectively. The yield on average interest earning assets increased by 12 basis points on a linked quarter basis due to the higher yields on average loans and investment securities. The yield on average loans increased to 4.61 percent for the fourth quarter of 2018 from 4.50 percent for the third quarter of 2018, mostly due to the high volume of new loan originations at current market rates. The increased yield on average investment securities was partly caused by a decrease in premium amortization on residential mortgage-backed securities, due to lower prepayments on such financial instruments. The cost of average interest bearing liabilities increased by 17 basis points to 1.72 percent for the fourth quarter of 2018 as compared to the linked third quarter of 2018. The increase was due to a 23 basis point increase in both the cost of average interest bearing deposits and short-term borrowings, largely driven by higher market interest rates. The cost of average long-term borrowings also increased 21 basis points as compared to the third quarter of 2018 largely due to the change in the composition of such borrowings caused by the maturity and repayment of lower cost borrowings in the second half of 2018. Our cost of total average deposits was 1.07 percent for the fourth quarter of 2018 as compared to 0.88 percent for the three months ended September 30, 2018.
Looking forward, we expect moderate compression pressure on our net interest margin for the first quarter of 2019 due to the potential narrowing of the spread between short and long-term interest rates and two less days during the quarter. For the full year of 2019, we anticipate net interest income growth of approximately 5 to 7 percent. However, our net interest margin and net interest income could both experience an unexpected material decline as compared to the fourth quarter of 2018 due to a multitude of other conditional and sometimes unpredictable factors.


 
39
2018 Form 10-K




The following table reflects the components of net interest income for each of the three years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016:

ANALYSIS OF AVERAGE ASSETS, LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY AND
NET INTEREST INCOME ON A TAX EQUIVALENT BASIS
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
Average
Balance
 
Interest
 
Average
Rate
 
Average
Balance
 
Interest
 
Average
Rate
 
Average
Balance
 
Interest
 
Average
Rate
 
($ in thousands)
Assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest earning assets:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loans (1)(2)
$
23,340,330

 
$
1,033,996

 
4.43
%
 
$
17,819,003

 
$
734,485

 
4.12
%
 
$
16,400,745

 
$
680,892

 
4.15
%
Taxable investments (3)
3,409,687

 
100,515

 
2.95

 
2,910,390

 
82,488

 
2.83

 
2,536,197

 
64,349

 
2.54

Tax-exempt investments (1)(3)
733,956

 
27,220

 
3.71

 
569,469

 
23,691

 
4.16

 
604,188

 
23,903

 
3.96

Interest bearing deposits with banks
218,938

 
3,236

 
1.48

 
189,636

 
1,793

 
0.95

 
288,182

 
1,126

 
0.39

Total interest earning assets
27,702,911

 
1,164,967

 
4.21

 
21,488,498

 
842,457

 
3.92

 
19,829,312

 
770,270

 
3.88

Allowance for loan losses
(136,775
)
 
 
 
 
 
(117,529
)
 
 
 
 
 
(109,084
)
 
 
 
 
Cash and due from banks
278,181

 
 
 
 
 
236,297

 
 
 
 
 
291,021

 
 
 
 
Other assets
2,431,537

 
 
 
 
 
1,886,035

 
 
 
 
 
2,032,704

 
 
 
 
Unrealized losses on securities available for sale, net
(46,578
)
 
 
 
 
 
(14,503
)
 
 
 
 
 
921

 
 
 
 
Total assets
$
30,229,276

 
 
 
 
 
$
23,478,798

 
 
 
 
 
$
22,044,874

 
 
 
 
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest bearing liabilities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Savings, NOW and money market deposits
$
11,093,136

 
$
108,394

 
0.98
%
 
$
8,934,335

 
$
55,300

 
0.62
%
 
$
8,563,208

 
$
39,787

 
0.46
%
Time deposits
5,131,167

 
81,959

 
1.60

 
3,329,693

 
42,546

 
1.28

 
3,104,307

 
37,775

 
1.22

Total interest bearing deposits
16,224,303

 
190,353

 
1.17

 
12,264,028

 
97,846

 
0.80

 
11,667,515

 
77,562

 
0.66

Short-term borrowings
2,187,998

 
45,930

 
2.10

 
1,486,001

 
18,034

 
1.21

 
1,246,790

 
12,022

 
0.96

Long-term borrowings (4)
2,116,619

 
65,762

 
3.11

 
1,890,288

 
58,227

 
3.08

 
1,610,576

 
59,190

 
3.68

Total interest bearing liabilities
20,528,920

 
302,045

 
1.47

 
15,640,317

 
174,107

 
1.11

 
14,524,881

 
148,774

 
1.02

Non-interest bearing deposits
6,193,839

 
 
 
 
 
5,192,087

 
 
 
 
 
5,067,124

 
 
 
 
Other liabilities
201,986

 
 
 
 
 
174,643

 
 
 
 
 
199,299

 
 
 
 
Shareholders’ equity
3,304,531

 
 
 
 
 
2,471,751

 
 
 
 
 
2,253,570

 
 
 
 
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity
$
30,229,276

 
 
 
 
 
$
23,478,798

 
 
 
 
 
$
22,044,874

 
 
 
 
Net interest income/interest rate spread (5)
 
 
862,922

 
2.74
%
 
 
 
668,350

 
2.81
%
 
 
 
621,496

 
2.86
%
Tax equivalent adjustment
 
 
(5,719
)
 
 
 
 
 
(8,303
)
 
 
 
 
 
(8,382
)
 
 
Net interest income, as reported
 
 
$
857,203

 
 
 
 
 
$
660,047

 
 
 
 
 
$
613,114

 
 
Net interest margin (6)
 
 
 
 
3.09
%
 
 
 
 
 
3.07
%
 
 
 
 
 
3.09
%
Tax equivalent effect
 
 
 
 
0.02

 
 
 
 
 
0.04

 
 
 
 
 
0.04
%
Net interest margin on a fully tax equivalent basis (6)
 
 
 
 
3.11
%
 
 
 
 
 
3.11
%
 
 
 
 
 
3.13
%
 
 
(1) 
Interest income is presented on a tax equivalent basis using a 21 percent federal tax rate for 2018, and a 35 percent federal tax rate for both 2017 and 2016, respectively.
(2) 
Loans are stated net of unearned income and include non-accrual loans.
(3) 
The yield for securities that are classified as available for sale is based on the average historical amortized cost.
(4) 
Includes junior subordinated debentures issued to capital trusts which are presented separately on the consolidated statements of condition.
(5) 
Interest rate spread represents the difference between the average yield on interest earning assets and the average cost of interest bearing liabilities and is presented on a fully tax equivalent basis.
(6) 
Net interest income as a percentage of total average interest earning assets.

2018 Form 10-K
40
 





The following table demonstrates the relative impact on net interest income of changes in the volume of interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities and changes in rates earned and paid by Valley on such assets and liabilities. Variances resulting from a combination of changes in volume and rates are allocated to the categories in proportion to the absolute dollar amounts of the change in each category.

CHANGE IN NET INTEREST INCOME ON A TAX EQUIVALENT BASIS
 
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
2018 Compared to 2017
 
2017 Compared to 2016
 
Change
Due to
Volume
 
Change
Due to
Rate
 
Total
Change
 
Change
Due to
Volume
 
Change
Due to
Rate
 
Total
Change
 
(in thousands)
Interest income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loans*
$
241,292

 
$
58,219

 
$
299,511

 
$
59,125

 
$
(2,302
)
 
$
56,823

Taxable investments
14,611

 
3,416

 
18,027

 
10,114

 
8,025

 
18,139

Tax-exempt investments*
6,303

 
(2,774
)
 
3,529

 
(1,411
)
 
1,199

 
(212
)
Federal funds sold and other interest bearing deposits
311

 
1,132