COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
|3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2016
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
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 contract amounts of these financial agreements at March 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, 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 $7 million and $7 million at March 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, 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, 2016, Huntington had $510 million of standby letters-of-credit outstanding, of which 81% were collateralized. Included in this $510 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 risk rating system as of March 31, 2016, approximately $148 million of the standby letters-of-credit were rated strong with sufficient asset quality, liquidity, and good debt capacity and coverage; approximately $360 million were rated average with acceptable asset quality, liquidity, and modest debt capacity; and $2 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. As of March 31, 2016, Huntington had $16 million of commercial letters-of-credit outstanding.
Commitments to sell loans
Activity related to our mortgage origination activity supports the hedging of the mortgage pricing commitments to customers and the secondary sale to third parties. At March 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, Huntington had commitments to sell residential real estate loans of $826 million and $659 million, respectively. These contracts mature in less than one year .
The nature of Huntington’s business ordinarily results in a certain amount of pending as well as threatened claims, litigation, investigations, regulatory and legal and administrative cases, matters 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 considers 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 threatened and outstanding legal cases, matters and proceedings, utilizing the latest information available. For cases, matters and proceedings where it is both 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 cases, matters or proceedings where a loss is not probable or the amount of the loss cannot be estimated, no accrual is established.
In certain cases, matters and proceedings, 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 $60 million at March 31, 2016. For certain other cases, and matters, 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 cases, matters, and 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 cases, matters, or 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 cases, matters, and proceedings, if unfavorable, may be material to the Company’s consolidated financial position in a particular period.
Cyberco Litigation. Huntington has been named a defendant in two lawsuits, arising from Huntington’s 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 Internal Revenue Service raided Cyberco’s facilities and Cyberco’s operations ceased. An equipment leasing fraud was uncovered, whereby Cyberco sought financing from equipment lessors and financial institutions, including Huntington, allegedly to purchase computer equipment from Teleservices Group, Inc. (Teleservices). Cyberco created fraudulent documentation to close the financing transactions when, in fact, no computer equipment was ever purchased or leased from Teleservices, which later proved to be a shell corporation.
Cyberco filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on December 9, 2004, and a state court receiver for Teleservices then filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition for Teleservices on January 21, 2005. In an adversary proceeding commenced against Huntington on December 8, 2006, the Cyberco bankruptcy trustee sought recovery of over $70 million he alleged was transferred to Huntington. The Cyberco bankruptcy trustee also alleged preferential transfers were made to Huntington in the amount of approximately $1 million. Huntington moved to dismiss the complaint and all but the preference claims were dismissed on January 29, 2008. The Bankruptcy Court ordered the case to be tried in July 2012, and entered an order governing all pretrial conduct. Huntington filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that the Cyberco trustee sought recovery of the same alleged transfers as the Teleservices trustee in a separate case described below. The Bankruptcy Court granted the motion in principal part and the parties stipulated to a full dismissal which was entered on June 19, 2012.
The Teleservices bankruptcy trustee filed a separate adversary proceeding against Huntington on January 19, 2007, seeking to avoid and recover alleged transfers that occurred in two ways: (1) checks made payable to Huntington for application to Cyberco’s indebtedness to Huntington, and (2) deposits into Cyberco’s bank accounts with Huntington. A trial was held as to only Huntington’s defenses. Subsequently, the trustee filed a summary judgment motion on the affirmative case, alleging the fraudulent transfers to Huntington totaled approximately $73 million and seeking judgment in that amount (which includes the $1 million alleged to be preferential transfers by the Cyberco bankruptcy trustee). On March 17, 2011, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Opinion determining that the alleged transfers made to Huntington during the period from April 30, 2004 through November 2004 were not received in good faith and that Huntington failed to show a lack of knowledge of the avoidability of the alleged transfers made from September 2003 through November 2004. The trustee then filed an amended motion for summary judgment in the affirmative case and a hearing was held on July 1, 2011.
On March 30, 2012, the Bankruptcy Court issued an Opinion on the Teleservices trustee’s motion determining Huntington 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 Huntington under the Bankruptcy Code, and Huntington was liable for both the checks and the deposits, totaling approximately $73 million. The Bankruptcy Court delivered its report and recommendation to the District Court for the Western District of Michigan, recommending that the District Court enter a final judgment against Huntington in the principal amount of $72 million, plus interest through July 27, 2012, in the amount of $9 million. The parties filed their respective objections and responses to the Bankruptcy Court’s report and recommendation. The District Court held a hearing in September 2014 and conducted a de novo review of the fact findings and legal conclusions in the Bankruptcy Court’s report and recommendation.
On September 28, 2015, the District Court entered a judgment against Huntington in the amount of $72 million plus costs and pre- and post-judgment interest. While Huntington has appealed the decision and plans to continue to aggressively contest the claims of this complex case, Huntington increased its legal reserves by approximately $38 million in the 2015 third quarter to fully accrue for the amount of the judgment.
MERSCORP Litigation. Huntington is a defendant in an action filed on January 17, 2012 against MERSCORP, Inc. and numerous other financial institutions that participate in the mortgage electronic registration system (MERS). The putative class action was filed on behalf of all 88 counties in Ohio. The plaintiffs allege that the recording of mortgages and assignments thereof is mandatory under Ohio law and seek 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, attorney’s fees and costs. Huntington filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, which has been fully briefed, but no ruling has been issued by the Geauga County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas. Similar litigation has been initiated against MERSCORP, Inc. and other financial institutions in other jurisdictions throughout the country, however, Huntington has not been named a defendant in those other cases.
Powell v. Huntington National Bank. Huntington is a defendant in a putative class action filed on October 15, 2013. The plaintiffs filed the action in West Virginia state court on behalf of themselves and other West Virginia mortgage loan borrowers who allege they were charged late fees in violation of West Virginia law and the loan documents. Plaintiffs seek statutory civil penalties, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees. Huntington removed the case to federal court, answered the complaint, and, on January 17, 2014, filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, asserting that West Virginia law is preempted by federal law and therefore does not apply to Huntington. Following further briefing by the parties, the federal district court denied Huntington’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on September 26, 2014. On June 8, 2015, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Huntington’s motion for an interlocutory appeal of the district court’s decision. The matter was briefed and oral argument held, but after the oral argument, the Fourth Circuit dismissed the appeal as improvidently granted and remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings. The parties are currently engaged in discovery.
FirstMerit Merger Shareholder Litigation. Huntington is a defendant in five lawsuits filed in February and March of 2016 in state and federal courts in Ohio relating to the FirstMerit merger. The plaintiffs in each case are FirstMerit shareholders and have filed class action and derivative claims seeking to enjoin the merger. The plaintiffs also claim that the registration statement filed regarding the merger contained material omissions and/or misrepresentations and seek the filing of a revised registration statement, as well as money damages. Specifically as to Huntington, the plaintiffs claim Huntington aided and abetted in alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by the FirstMerit board of directors in approving the merger, and in one complaint, allege that Huntington had direct involvement in making omissions and/or misrepresentations in the registration statement. Huntington is preparing its defense to the complaints.