Commitments and Contingent Liabilities
|3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2012
|Commitments and Contingent Liabilities [Abstract]
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
16. Commitments and Contingent Liabilities
Commitments to extend credit
In the ordinary course of business, Huntington makes various commitments to extend credit that are not reflected in the Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements. The contractual amounts of these financial agreements at March 31, 2012, December 31, 2011, and March 31, 2011, were as follows:
Commitments to extend credit generally have fixed expiration dates, are variable-rate, and contain clauses that permit Huntington to terminate or otherwise renegotiate the contracts in the event of a significant deterioration in the customer's credit quality. These arrangements normally require the payment of a fee by the customer, the pricing of which is based on prevailing market conditions, credit quality, probability of funding, and other relevant factors. Since many of these commitments are expected to expire without being drawn upon, the contract amounts are not necessarily indicative of future cash requirements. The interest rate risk arising from these financial instruments is insignificant as a result of their predominantly short-term, variable-rate nature.
Standby letters-of-credit are conditional commitments issued to guarantee the performance of a customer to a third party. These guarantees are primarily issued to support public and private borrowing arrangements, including commercial paper, bond financing, and similar transactions. Most of these arrangements mature within two years. The carrying amount of deferred revenue associated with these guarantees was $1.5 million, $1.6 million, and $1.7 million at March 31, 2012, December 31, 2011, and March 31, 2011, respectively.
Through the Company's credit process, Huntington monitors the credit risks of outstanding standby letters-of-credit. When it is probable that a standby letter-of-credit will be drawn and not repaid in full, losses are recognized in the provision for credit losses. At March 31, 2012, Huntington had $530 million of standby letters-of-credit outstanding, of which 80% were collateralized. Included in this $530 million total are letters-of-credit issued by the Bank that support securities that were issued by customers and remarketed by The Huntington Investment Company, the Company's broker-dealer subsidiary.
Huntington uses an internal grading system to assess an estimate of loss on its loan and lease portfolio. This same loan grading system is used to monitor credit risk associated with standby letters-of-credit. Under this grading system as of March 31, 2012, approximately $77 million of the standby letters-of-credit were rated strong with sufficient asset quality, liquidity, and good debt capacity and coverage; approximately $385 million were rated average with acceptable asset quality, liquidity, and modest debt capacity; and approximately $68 million were rated substandard with negative financial trends, structural weaknesses, operating difficulties, and higher leverage.
Commercial letters-of-credit represent short-term, self-liquidating instruments that facilitate customer trade transactions and generally have maturities of no longer than 90 days. The goods or cargo being traded normally secures these instruments.
Commitments to sell loans
Huntington enters into forward contracts relating to its mortgage banking business to hedge the exposures from commitments to make new residential mortgage loans with existing customers and from mortgage loans classified as loans held for sale. At March 31, 2012, December 31, 2011, and March 31, 2011, Huntington had commitments to sell residential real estate loans of $706.6 million, $629.0 million, and $360.9 million, respectively. These contracts mature in less than one year.
The Company and its subsidiaries file income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction and various state, city, and foreign jurisdictions. Federal income tax audits have been completed through 2007. The Company has appealed certain proposed adjustments resulting from the IRS examination of the 2006 and 2007 tax returns. Management believes the tax positions taken related to such proposed adjustments were correct and supported by applicable statutes, regulations, and judicial authority, and intend to vigorously defend them. In 2011, Management entered into discussions with the Appeals Division of the IRS. It is possible the ultimate resolution of the proposed adjustments, if unfavorable, may be material to the results of operations in the period it occurs. However, although no assurance can be given, Management believes the resolution of these examinations will not, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse impact on our consolidated financial position. In the 2011 third quarter, the IRS began its examination of our 2008 and 2009 consolidated federal income tax returns. Various state and other jurisdictions remain open to examination for tax years 2005 and forward.
Huntington accounts for uncertainties in income taxes in accordance with ASC 740, Income Taxes. At March 31, 2012, Huntington had gross unrecognized tax benefits of $11.9 million in income tax liability related to tax positions. Total interest accrued on the unrecognized tax benefits was $2.4 million as of March 31, 2012. Due to the complexity of some of these uncertainties, the ultimate resolution may result in a payment that is materially different from the current estimate of the tax liabilities. However, any ultimate settlement is not expected to be material to the Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements as a whole. Huntington recognizes interest and penalties on income tax assessments or income tax refunds in the financial statements as a component of its provision for income taxes. Huntington does not anticipate the total amount of gross unrecognized tax benefits to significantly change within the next 12 months.
The nature of Huntington's business ordinarily results in a certain amount of claims, litigation, investigations, and legal and administrative cases and proceedings, all of which are considered incidental to the normal conduct of business. When the Company determines it has meritorious defenses to the claims asserted, it vigorously defends itself. The Company will consider settlement of cases when, in Management's judgment, it is in the best interests of both the Company and its shareholders to do so.
On at least a quarterly basis, Huntington assesses its liabilities and contingencies in connection with outstanding legal proceedings utilizing the latest information available. For matters where it is probable the Company will incur a loss and the amount can be reasonably estimated, Huntington establishes an accrual for the loss. Once established, the accrual is adjusted as appropriate to reflect any relevant developments. For matters where a loss is not probable or the amount of the loss cannot be estimated, no accrual is established.
In certain cases, exposure to loss exists in excess of the accrual to the extent such loss is reasonably possible, but not probable. Management believes an estimate of the aggregate range of reasonably possible losses, in excess of amounts accrued, for current legal proceedings is from $0 to approximately $150.0 million at March 31, 2012. For certain other cases, Management cannot reasonably estimate the possible loss at this time. Any estimate involves significant judgment, given the varying stages of the proceedings (including the fact that many of them are currently in preliminary stages), the existence of multiple defendants in several of the current proceedings whose share of liability has yet to be determined, the numerous unresolved issues in many of the proceedings, and the inherent uncertainty of the various potential outcomes of such proceedings. Accordingly, Management's estimate will change from time-to-time, and actual losses may be more or less than the current estimate.
While the final outcome of legal proceedings is inherently uncertain, based on information currently available, advice of counsel, and available insurance coverage, Management believes that the amount it has already accrued is adequate and any incremental liability arising from the Company's legal proceedings will not have a material negative adverse effect on the Company's consolidated financial position as a whole. However, in the event of unexpected future developments, it is possible that the ultimate resolution of these matters, if unfavorable, may be material to the Company's consolidated financial position in a particular period.
The following supplements the discussion of certain matters previously reported in Item 3 (Legal Proceedings) of the 2011 Form 10-K for events occurring during the first three-month period of 2012:
The Bank is a defendant in three lawsuits, which collectively may be material, arising from its commercial lending, depository, and equipment leasing relationships with Cyberco Holdings, Inc. (Cyberco), based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In November 2004, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the IRS raided the Cyberco facilities and Cyberco's operations ceased. An equipment leasing fraud was uncovered, whereby Cyberco sought financing from equipment lessors and financial institutions, including the Bank, allegedly to purchase computer equipment from Teleservices Group, Inc. (Teleservices). Cyberco created fraudulent documentation to close the financing transactions while, in fact, no computer equipment was ever purchased or leased from Teleservices which proved to be a shell corporation.
On June 22, 2007, a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan (District Court) was filed by El Camino Resources, Ltd, ePlus Group, Inc., and Bank Midwest, N.A., all of whom had lending relationships with Cyberco, against the Bank, alleging that Cyberco defrauded plaintiffs and converted plaintiffs' property through various means in connection with the equipment leasing scheme and alleges that the Bank aided and abetted Cyberco in committing the alleged fraud and conversion. The complaint further alleges that the Bank's actions entitle one of the plaintiffs to recover $1.9 million from the Bank as a form of unjust enrichment. In addition, plaintiffs claimed direct damages of approximately $32.0 million and additional consequential damages in excess of $20.0 million. On July 1, 2010, the District Court issued an Opinion and Order adopting in full a federal magistrate's recommendation for summary judgment in favor of the Bank on all claims except the unjust enrichment claim, and a partial summary judgment was entered on July 1, 2010. The Bank requested an opportunity to file a motion for summary judgment on the remaining unjust enrichment claim against it. A motion for reconsideration filed by the plaintiffs regarding the partial summary judgment was denied. Subsequently, in connection with a pre-motion conference, the District Court, in lieu of allowing the Bank to file a summary judgment motion, ordered the case to be tried in April 2012, in a one day bench trial, and entered a scheduling order governing all pretrial conduct. On February 6, 2012, the District Court dismissed the remaining count for unjust enrichment following a finding by the bankruptcy court that the plaintiff must pursue its rights, if any, with respect to that count in a bankruptcy court. The plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal on March 2, 2012, appealing the District Court's judgment against them on the aiding and abetting and conversion claims. The plaintiffs appellants' brief is due in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 3, 2012, and the Bank's appellee's brief is due on June 5, 2012.
The Bank is also involved with the Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings of both Cyberco, filed on December 9, 2004, and Teleservices, filed on January 21, 2005. The Cyberco bankruptcy trustee commenced an adversary proceeding against the Bank on December 8, 2006, seeking over $70.0 million he alleges was transferred to the Bank. The Bank responded with a motion to dismiss and all but the preference claims were dismissed on January 29, 2008. The Cyberco bankruptcy trustee alleges preferential transfers in the amount of approximately $1.2 million. The Bankruptcy Court ordered the case to be tried in July 2012, and entered a pretrial order governing all pretrial conduct. The Bank has filed a motion for summary judgment based on the Cyberco trustee seeking recovery in connection with the same alleged transfers as the Teleservices trustee in the case described below. This motion is currently pending.
The Teleservices bankruptcy trustee filed an adversary proceeding against the Bank on January 19, 2007, seeking to avoid and recover alleged transfers that occurred in two ways: (1) checks made payable to the Bank to be applied to Cyberco's indebtedness to the Bank, and (2) deposits into Cyberco's bank accounts with the Bank. A trial was held as to only the Bank's defenses in the 2010 fourth quarter. Subsequently, the trustee filed a summary judgment motion on her affirmative case, alleging the fraudulent transfers to the Bank totaled approximately $73.0 million and seeking judgment in that amount (which includes the $1.2 million alleged to be preferential transfers by the Cyberco bankruptcy trustee). On March 17, 2011, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Opinion determining the alleged transfers made to the Bank were not received in good faith from the time period of April 30, 2004, through November 2004, and that the Bank had failed to show a lack of knowledge of the avoidability of the alleged transfers from September 2003, through April 30, 2004. The trustee then filed an amended motion for summary judgment on her affirmative case and a hearing was held on July 1, 2011.
On March 30, 2012, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Opinion on the trustee's motion determining the Bank was the initial transferee of the checks made payable to it and was a subsequent transferee of all deposits into Cyberco's accounts. The Bankruptcy Court ruled Cyberco's deposits were themselves transfers to the Bank under the Bankruptcy Code, and the Bank was liable for both the checks and the deposits, totaling approximately $73.0 million. The Bankruptcy Court ruled the Bank may be entitled to a credit of approximately $4.0 million for the Cyberco Trustee's recoveries in preference actions filed against third parties that received payments from Cyberco within 90 days preceding Cyberco's bankruptcy. Lastly, the Bankruptcy Court ruled that it will award prejudgment interest to the Teleservices trustee, however, that amount has yet to be determined by the Bankruptcy Court. The rulings of the Bankruptcy Court in its March 2011 and March 2012 opinions will not be reduced to judgment by the Bankruptcy Court. Rather, the Bankruptcy Court will deliver a report and recommendation to the District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The District Court will subsequently conduct a de novo review of the fact findings and legal conclusions in the Bankruptcy Court's opinions.
In the pending bankruptcy cases of Cyberco and Teleservices, the Bank moved to substantively consolidate the two bankruptcy estates, principally on the ground that Teleservices was the alter ego and a mere instrumentality of Cyberco at all times. On July 2, 2010, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Opinion denying the Bank's motions for substantive consolidation of the two bankruptcy estates. The Bank has appealed this ruling and the appeal is pending.
On January 17, 2012, the Company was named a defendant in a putative class action filed on behalf of all 88 counties in Ohio against MERSCORP, Inc. and numerous other financial institutions that participate in the mortgage electronic registration system (MERS). The complaint alleges that recording of mortgages and assignments thereof is mandatory under Ohio law and seeks a declaratory judgment that the defendants are required to record every mortgage and assignment on real property located in Ohio and pay the attendant statutory recording fees. The complaint also seeks damages, attorneys' fees and costs. Although Huntington has not been named as a defendant in the other cases, similar litigation has been initiated against MERSCORP, Inc. and other financial institutions in other jurisdictions throughout the country.