ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ____________ to ____________
Commission file number: 001-32550
WESTERN ALLIANCE BANCORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
One E. Washington Street, Suite 1400
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.0001 Par Value
New York Stock Exchange
6.25% Subordinated Debentures due 2056
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐No☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company, or 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.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards 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 ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s voting stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $4.28 billion based on the June 30, 2019 closing price of said stock on the New York Stock Exchange ($44.72 per share).
As of February 24, 2020, Western Alliance Bancorporation had 102,479,213 shares of common stock outstanding.
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.
Certain statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 (this “Form 10-K”) are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Reform Act”). Statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Reform Act are generally identified through the inclusion of words such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “drive,” “estimate,” “expect,” “expressed confidence,” “forecast,” “future,” “goals,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “position,” “potential,” “project,” “ seek,” “should,” “strategy,” “target,” “will,” “would” or similar statements or variations of such words and other similar expressions. All statements other than historical fact are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Reform Act, including statements that are related to or are dependent on estimates or assumptions relating to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current views about future events and financial performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and changes in circumstances that may cause the Company's actual results to differ significantly from historical results and those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those described in “Risk Factors” in Item 1A of this Form 10-K. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements included in this Form 10-K or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those contained in such statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except to the extent required by federal securities laws. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events discussed in this Form 10-K might not occur, and you should not put undue reliance on any forward-looking statements.
The acronyms and abbreviations identified below are used in various sections of this Form 10-K, including "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," in Item 7 and the Consolidated Financial Statements and the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Form 10-K:
ENTITIES / DIVISIONS:
Alliance Bank of Arizona
Homeowner Associations Services
Bank of Nevada
Las Vegas Sunset Properties
Torrey Pines Bank
Western Alliance Bancorporation and subsidiaries
Western Alliance Public Welfare Investments, LLC
CS Insurance Company
WAB or Bank
Western Alliance Bank
First Independent Bank
Western Alliance Business Trust
Hotel Franchise Finance
WAL or Parent
Western Alliance Bancorporation
Allowance for Credit Losses
Federal Reserve Bank
Fair Value Option
Asset and Liability Management Committee
U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income
Government National Mortgage Association
Additional paid in capital
Alternative Reference Rate Committee
Held for Investment
Accounting Standards Codification
Held for Sale
Accounting Standards Update
Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
Insured Cash Sweep Service
Banking Supervision's December 2010 final capital framework
Internal Revenue Code
Bank Holding Company Act of 1956
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
Board of Directors
Bank Owned Life Insurance
London Interbank Offered Rate
Capital Adequacy, Assets, Management Capability, Earnings, Liquidity, Sensitivity
Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
The FRB, the OCC, and the FDIC 2013 approved final rules
Chief Credit Officer
Memorandum of Understanding
Certificate Deposit Account Registry Service
National Business Lines
Collateralized Debt Obligation
Net Operating Loss
Current Expected Credit Loss
Net Present Value
Chief Executive Officer
New York Stock Exchange
Common Equity Tier 1
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Chief Financial Officer
Other Comprehensive Income
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Office of Foreign Asset Control
Collateralized Loan Obligation
Other Real Estate Owned
Collateralized Mortgage Obligation
Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
Community Reinvestment Act
Purchased Credit Impaired
Commercial Real Estate
Pre-Provision Net Revenue
FDIC's Deposit Insurance Fund
Right of use
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010
Small Business Administration
Deferred Tax Asset
Small Business Investment Company
Deferred Tax Liability
Small Business Lending Fund
The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act
Organization Structure and Description of Services
WAL is a bank holding company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware. WAL provides a full spectrum of deposit, lending, treasury management, international banking, and online banking products and services through its wholly-owned banking subsidiary, WAB.
WAB operates the following full-service banking divisions: ABA, BON, Bridge, FIB, and TPB. The Company also serves business customers through a national platform of specialized financial services. In addition, the Company has two non-bank subsidiaries, LVSP, which held and managed certain OREO properties, and CSI, a captive insurance company formed and licensed under the laws of the State of Arizona, and established as part of the Company's overall enterprise risk management strategy.
WAL also has eight unconsolidated subsidiaries used as business trusts in connection with issuance of trust-preferred securities as described in "Note 9. Qualifying Debt" in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
At December 31, 2019, WAL has the following bank subsidiary:
Western Alliance Bank
Arizona: Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson
Nevada: Carson City, Fallon, Reno, Sparks, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite, and North Las Vegas
California: Beverly Hills, Carlsbad, Costa Mesa, La Mesa, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose
Other: Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; and Reston, Virginia
WAB also has the following significant wholly-owned subsidiaries:
Western Alliance Business Trust holds certain investment securities, municipal and non-profit loans, and leases.
WA PWI, LLC holds certain limited partnerships invested primarily in low income housing tax credits and small business investment corporations.
BW Real Estate, Inc. operates as a real estate investment trust and holds certain real estate loans and related securities.
Helios Prime, Inc. holds certain equity interests in renewable energy tax credit transactions.
The Company’s reportable segments are defined primarily by geographic location, services offered, and markets served. The Company's regional segments, which include Arizona, Nevada, Southern California, and Northern California, provide full service banking and related services to their respective markets. The Company's NBL segments provide specialized banking services to niche markets. These NBLs are managed centrally and are broader in geographic scope than the Company's other segments, though still predominately within the Company's core market areas. The Corporate & Other segment consists of the Company's investment portfolio, corporate borrowings and other related items, income and expense items not allocated to other reportable segments, and inter-segment eliminations.
Loan and deposit accounts are typically assigned directly to the segments where these products are originated and/or serviced. Equity capital is assigned to each segment based on the risk profile of their assets and liabilities with a funds credit provided for the use of this equity as a funding source. Any excess equity not allocated to segments based on risk is assigned to the Corporate & Other segment.
Net interest income, provision for credit losses, and non-interest expense amounts are recorded in their respective segments to the extent that the amounts are directly attributable to those segments. Net interest income of a reportable segment includes a funds transfer pricing process that matches assets and liabilities with similar interest rate sensitivity and maturity characteristics. Using this funds transfer pricing methodology, liquidity is transferred between users and providers. Net income amounts for each reportable segment are further derived by the use of expense allocations. Certain expenses not directly attributable to a specific segment are allocated across all segments based on key metrics, such as number of employees, average loan balances, and average deposit balances. Income taxes are applied to each segment based on the effective tax rate for the geographic location of the segment. Any difference in the corporate tax rate and the aggregate effective tax rates in the segments are adjusted in the Corporate & Other segment.
Through WAB and its banking divisions and operating subsidiaries, the Company provides a variety of financial services to customers, including CRE loans, construction and land development loans, commercial loans, and consumer loans. The Company’s lending has focused primarily on meeting the needs of business customers.
Commercial and Industrial: Commercial and industrial loans are a significant portion of the Company's loan portfolio and include working capital lines of credit, inventory and accounts receivable lines, mortgage warehouse lines, equipment loans and leases, and other commercial loans. Loans to technology companies, tax-exempt municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations are also categorized as commercial and industrial loans.
CRE: Loans to fund the purchase or refinancing of CRE for investors (non-owner occupied) or owner occupants are a significant portion of the Company's loan portfolio. These CRE loans are secured by multi-family residential properties, professional offices, industrial facilities, retail centers, hotels, and other commercial properties. As of December 31, 2019 and 2018, 31% and 36% of the Company's CRE loans were owner occupied. Owner occupied CRE loans are loans secured by owner occupied non-farm nonresidential properties for which the primary source of repayment (more than 50%) is the cash flow from the ongoing operations and activities conducted by the borrower who owns the property. Non-owner occupied CRE loans are CRE loans for which the primary source of repayment is rental income generated from the collateral property.
Construction and Land Development: Construction and land development loans include single family and multi-family residential projects, industrial/warehouse properties, office buildings, retail centers, medical office facilities, and residential lot developments. These loans are primarily originated to experienced local developers with whom the Company has a satisfactory lending history. An analysis of each construction project is performed as part of the underwriting process to determine whether the type of property, location, construction costs, and contingency funds are appropriate and adequate. Loans to finance commercial raw land are primarily to borrowers who plan to initiate active development of the property within two years.
Residential: The Company has a residential mortgage acquisition program, in which it partners with strategic third parties to execute flow and bulk residential loan purchases that meet the Company's goals and underwriting criteria. These loan purchases consist of both conforming and non-conforming loans. Non-conforming loan purchases are considered to be high quality as the borrowers have high FICO scores and the loans generally have low loan-to-values. Residential loans made up 10% of the Company's total loan portfolio as of December 31, 2019, compared to 7% as of December 31, 2018.
Consumer: Limited types of consumer loans are offered to meet customer demand and to respond to community needs. Examples of these consumer loans include home equity loans and lines of credit, home improvement loans, personal lines of credit, and loans to individuals for investment purposes.
At December 31, 2019, the Company's loan portfolio totaled $21.12 billion, or approximately 79% of total assets. The following table sets forth the composition of the Company's HFI loan portfolio as of the periods presented:
(dollars in thousands)
Commercial and industrial
Commercial real estate - non-owner occupied
Commercial real estate - owner occupied
Construction and land development
Residential real estate
Loans, net of deferred loan fees and costs
Allowance for credit losses
Total loans HFI
For additional information concerning loans, see "Note 3. Loans, Leases and Allowance for Credit Losses" of the Consolidated Financial Statements contained herein or "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition – Loans discussions" in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
The Company adheres to a specific set of credit standards that are intended to ensure appropriate management of credit risk. Furthermore, the Bank's senior management team plays an active role in monitoring compliance with such standards.
Loan originations are subject to a process that includes the credit evaluation of borrowers, utilizing established lending limits, analysis of collateral, and procedures for continual monitoring and identification of credit deterioration. Loan officers actively monitor their individual credit relationships in order to report suspected risks and potential downgrades as early as possible. The BOD approves all material changes to loan policy, as well as lending limit authorities. The Bank's lending policies generally incorporate consistent underwriting standards across all geographic regions in which the Bank operates, customized as necessary to conform to state law and local market conditions. The Bank's credit culture emphasizes timely identification of troubled credits to allow management to take prompt corrective action, when necessary.
Loan Approval Procedures and Authority
The Company's loan approval procedures are executed through a tiered loan limit authorization process, which is structured as follows:
Individual Credit Authorities. The credit approval levels for individual divisional and senior credit officers are set by policy and certain credit administration officers' approval authorities are established on a delegated basis.
Management Loan Committees. Credits in excess of individual divisional or senior credit officer approval authority are submitted to the appropriate divisional or NBL loan committee. The divisional committees consist of members of the Bank's senior management team of each division and the NBL loan committees consist of the Bank's divisional or senior credit officers.
Credit Administration. Credits in excess of the divisional or NBL loan committee approval authority require the additional approval of the Bank's CCO and any credits in excess of the CCO's individual approval authority are submitted to the WAB SLC. In addition, the SLC reviews all other loan approvals to any one new borrower in excess of established thresholds. The SLC is chaired by the WAB CCO and includes the Company’s CEO.
Loans to One Borrower. In addition to the limits set forth above, subject to certain exceptions, state banking laws generally limit the amount of funds that a bank may lend to a single borrower. Under Arizona law, the obligations of one borrower to a bank generally may not exceed 20% of the bank’s capital, plus an additional 10% of its capital if the additional amounts are fully secured by readily marketable collateral. Arizona law does not specifically require aggregation of loans to affiliated entities in determining compliance with the lending limit. As a matter of longstanding practice, the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions uses the same aggregation analysis as applied to national banks by the OCC.
Concentrations of Credit Risk. The Company's lending policies also establish customer and product concentration limits, which are based on commitment amounts, to control single customer and product exposures. The Company's lending policies have several different measures to limit concentration exposures. Set forth below are the primary segmentation limits and actual measures as of December 31, 2019:
Percent of Total Capital
Commercial and industrial
Construction and land development
Residential real estate
To measure asset quality, the Company has instituted a loan grading system consisting of nine different categories. The first five are considered satisfactory "pass" ratings. The other four "non-pass" grades range from a “Special mention” category to a “Loss” category and are consistent with the grading systems used by federal banking regulators. All loans are assigned a credit risk grade at the time they are made, and each assigned loan officer reviews the credit with his or her immediate supervisor on a quarterly basis to determine whether a change in the credit risk grade is warranted. In addition, the grading of the Company's loan portfolio is reviewed on a regular basis by its internal Loan Review Department.
If a borrower fails to make a scheduled payment on a loan, Bank personnel attempt to remedy the deficiency by contacting the borrower and seeking payment. Contacts generally are made within 15 business days after the payment becomes past due. The Bank maintains regional Special Assets Departments, which generally service and collect loans rated Substandard or worse. Each division is responsible for monitoring activity that may indicate an increased risk rating, including, but not limited to, past-dues, overdrafts, and loan agreement covenant defaults. Loans deemed uncollectible are charged-off.
Nonperforming assets include loans past due 90 days or more and still accruing interest, non-accrual loans, TDR loans, and repossessed assets, including OREO. In general, loans are placed on non-accrual status when the Company determines that ultimate collection of principal and interest is in doubt due to the borrower’s financial condition, collateral value, and collection efforts. A TDR loan is a loan for which the Company, for reasons related to a borrower’s financial difficulties, grants a concession to the borrower that the Company would not otherwise consider. Other repossessed assets result from loans where the Company has received title or physical possession of the borrower’s assets. The Company generally re-appraises OREO and collateral dependent impaired loans every 12 months. The total net realized and unrealized gains and losses of repossessed and other assets was not significant during each of the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017. However, losses may be experienced in future periods.
Federal bank regulators require banks to classify its assets on a regular basis. In addition, in connection with their examinations of the Bank, examiners have authority to identify problem assets and, if appropriate, re-classify them. A loan grade of "Special Mention" from the Company's internal loan grading system is utilized to identify potential problem assets and loan grades of "Substandard," "Doubtful," and "Loss" are utilized to identify actual problem assets.
The following describes the potential and actual problem assets using the Company's internal loan grading system definitions:
"Special Mention" (Grade 6): Generally these are assets that possess potential weaknesses that warrant management's close attention. These loans may involve borrowers with adverse financial trends, higher debt to equity ratios, or weaker liquidity positions, but not to the degree of being considered a “problem loan” where risk of loss may be apparent. Loans in this category are usually performing as agreed, although there may be non-compliance with financial covenants.
“Substandard” (Grade 7): These assets are characterized by well-defined credit weaknesses and carry the distinct possibility that the Company will sustain some loss if such weakness or deficiency is not corrected. All loans 90 days or more past due and all loans on non-accrual status are considered at least "Substandard," unless extraordinary circumstances would suggest otherwise.
“Doubtful” (Grade 8): These assets have all the weaknesses inherent in those classified as "Substandard" with the added characteristic that the weaknesses present make collection or liquidation in full, on the basis of currently existing facts, conditions and values, highly questionable and improbable, but because of certain known factors which may work to the advantage and strengthening of the asset (for example, capital injection, perfecting liens on additional collateral and refinancing plans), classification as an estimated loss is deferred until a more precise status may be determined.
“Loss” (Grade 9): These assets are considered uncollectible and having such little recoverable value that it is not practical to defer writing off the asset. This classification does not mean that the loan has absolutely no recovery or salvage value, but rather that it is not practicable or desirable to defer writing off the asset, even though partial recovery may be achieved in the future.
Allowance for Credit Losses
The Company must maintain an adequate allowance for credit losses. The allowance for credit losses is established through a provision for credit losses and is reflected as a reduction in earnings. Loans are charged against the allowance for credit losses when management believes that collectability of the contractual principal or interest is unlikely. Subsequent recoveries, if any, are credited to the allowance. The allowance is reported at an amount believed adequate to absorb probable losses on existing loans that may become uncollectable, based on evaluation of the collectability of loans and prior credit loss experience, together with other factors. For a detailed discussion of the Company’s methodology see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis and Financial Condition – Critical Accounting Policies – Allowance for Credit Losses” in Item 7 of this Form 10-K.
The Company also records estimated losses on unfunded loan commitments, which are classified as non-interest expense, with corresponding reserves in other liabilities.
The Company has an investment policy, which was approved by the BOD. This policy dictates that investment decisions be made based on the safety of the investment, liquidity requirements of the Bank and holding company, potential returns, cash flow targets, and consistency with the Company's interest rate risk management. The Bank’s ALCO is responsible for making securities portfolio decisions in accordance with established policies. The CFO and Treasurer have the authority to purchase and sell securities within specified guidelines. All investment transactions for the Bank and for the holding company were reviewed by the ALCO and BOD.
Generally, the Company's investment policy limits new securities investments to the following: securities backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, including U.S. treasury bills, notes, and bonds, direct obligations of Ginnie Mae, USDA and SBA loans; MBS or CMO issued by a GSE, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac; debt securities issued by a GSE, such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHLB; tax-exempt securities with a rating of “Single-A” or higher; preferred stock where the issuing company is rated “BBB” or higher; corporate debt with a rating of “Single-A” or better; investment grade corporate bond mutual funds; private label collateralized mortgage obligations with a single rating of “AA” or higher; commercial mortgage-backed securities with a rating of “AAA;” low income housing development bonds; and mandatory purchases of equity securities of the FRB and FHLB.
Investment securities are further subject to the following quantitative limits of the Bank:
Percentage or Dollar Limit
Common equity tier 1
Tax-exempt municipal securities
Tax-exempt low income housing development bonds
Investment grade corporate bond mutual funds
Tier 1 capital
Corporate debt holdings
Commercial mortgage-backed securities
The Company no longer purchases (although it may continue to hold previously acquired) CDOs. The Company's policies also govern the use of derivatives, and provide that the Company prudently use derivatives in accordance with applicable regulations as a risk management tool to reduce the overall exposure to interest rate risk, and not for speculative purposes.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company's investment securities portfolio includes debt and equity securities. Debt securities are classified as AFS or HTM pursuant to ASC Topic 320, Investments and ASC Topic 825, Financial Instruments. Equity securities are reported at fair value in accordance with Topic 321, Equity Securities.For further discussion of significant accounting policies related to the Company's investment securities portfolio refer to "Note 1. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies" in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company's investment securities portfolio totals $4.0 billion, representing approximately 14.8% of the Company's total assets, with the majority of the portfolio invested in AAA/AA+ rated securities. The average duration of the Company's investment securities is 4.6 years as of December 31, 2019.
The following table summarizes the carrying value of investment securities as of December 31, 2019 and 2018: