Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingent Liabilities

Commitments and Contingent Liabilities
3 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2013
Commitments and Contingent Liabilities [Abstract]  

17. 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 September 30, 2013 and December 31, 2012, were as follows:

        September 30,     December 31,
(dollar amounts in thousands)   2013     2012
Contract amount represents credit risk:          
  Commitments to extend credit          
    Commercial $ 10,207,291   $ 9,209,094
    Consumer   6,309,876     6,189,447
    Commercial real estate   762,099     797,605
  Standby letters-of-credit   456,580     514,705

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 and $1.4 million at September 30, 2013 and December 31, 2012, 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 September 30, 2013, Huntington had $457 million of standby letters-of-credit outstanding, of which 82% were collateralized. Included in this $457 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 September 30, 2013, approximately $86 million of the standby letters-of-credit were rated strong with sufficient asset quality, liquidity, and good debt capacity and coverage; approximately $370 million were rated average with acceptable asset quality, liquidity, and modest debt capacity; and approximately $0 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 September 30, 2013 and December 31, 2012, Huntington had commitments to sell residential real estate loans of $571.7 million and $849.8 million, respectively. These contracts mature in less than one year.


Income Taxes


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 2009. The Company has appealed certain proposed adjustments resulting from the IRS examination of the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 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. 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 first quarter of 2013, the IRS began an examination of our 2010 and 2011 consolidated federal income tax returns. Various state and other jurisdictions remain open to examination for tax years 2006 and forward.


Huntington accounts for uncertainties in income taxes in accordance with ASC 740, Income Taxes. At September 30, 2013, Huntington had gross unrecognized tax benefits of $0.7 million in income tax liability related to uncertain tax positions. Total interest accrued on the unrecognized tax benefits was $0.1 million as of September 30, 2013. Huntington recognizes interest and penalties on income tax assessments or income tax refunds in the financial statements as a component of provision for income taxes. It is reasonably possible that the liability for unrecognized tax benefits could decrease in the next twelve 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 $125.0 million at September 30, 2013. 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 2012 Form 10-K for events occurring through the date of this filing:

The Bank has been 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, which alleged that Cyberco defrauded plaintiffs and converted plaintiffs' property through various means in connection with the equipment leasing scheme and alleged that the Bank aided and abetted Cyberco in committing the alleged fraud and conversion. The complaint further alleged 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. 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. Oral arguments before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals were held January 24, 2013, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's judgment in an opinion issued on April 8, 2013. The plaintiffs then filed a motion for rehearing en banc, which the Sixth Circuit denied on May 30, 2013. The period for plaintiffs to seek review in the United States Supreme Court has passed, and the case is completed.

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 alleged 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 alleged 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 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. 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 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. 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 at a rate to be determined. A trial was held on these remaining issues on April 30, 2012, and the Court gave a bench opinion on July 23, 2012. In that opinion, the Court denied the Bank the $4.0 million credit, but ruled approximately $0.9 million in deposits were either double-counted or were outside the timeframe in which the Teleservices trustee can recover. Therefore, the Bankruptcy Court's recommended award will be reduced by this $0.9 million. Further, the Bankruptcy Court ruled the interest rate specified in the federal statute governing post-judgment interest, which is based on treasury bill rates, will be the rate of interest for determining prejudgment interest. The rulings of the Bankruptcy Court in its March 2011 and March 2012 opinions, as well as its July 23, 2012, bench opinion, will not be reduced to judgment by the Bankruptcy Court. Rather, the Bankruptcy Court has delivered a report and recommendation to the District Court for the Western District of Michigan, recommending a judgment be entered in the principal amount of $71.8 million, plus interest through July 27, 2012, in the amount of $8.8 million. The District Court is conducting 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 and Order denying the Bank's motions for substantive consolidation of the two bankruptcy estates. The Bank appealed that decision to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) for the Sixth Circuit, which ruled that the order denying substantive consolidation would not be a final order until the Bankruptcy Court issued its opinion on the Bank's defenses in the Teleservices adversary proceeding, and dismissed the appeal. The Bank appealed the BAP's decision to the Sixth Circuit. When the Bankruptcy Court issued its March 17, 2010, opinion in the Teleservices adversary proceeding, the Bank again appealed the order denying substantive consolidation to the BAP, which appeal has been held in abeyance pending decision by the Sixth Circuit on the appeal of the BAP's 2010 order. On August 30, 2013, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the BAP's 2010 decision dismissing the original appeal. The Bank has filed a status report with the BAP on the second appeal and is waiting for further direction from the Court.

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.