Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Commitments and Contingent Liabilities

Commitments and Contingent Liabilities
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2011
Commitments and Contingent Liabilities [Abstract]  

22. 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 Consolidated Financial Statements. The contract amounts of these financial agreements at December 31, 2011, and December 31, 2010, were as follows:

        At December 31,
(dollar amounts in millions)   2011     2010
Contract amount represents credit risk          
  Commitments to extend credit          
    Commercial $ 8,006   $ 5,933
    Consumer   5,904     5,406
    Commercial real estate   610     546
  Standby letters of credit   586     607

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 borrower's credit quality. These arrangements normally require the payment of a fee by the borrower, 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 borrower 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 $1.6 million and $2.2 million at December 31, 2011 and 2010, 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 December 31, 2011, Huntington had $586 million of standby letters-of-credit outstanding, of which 80% were collateralized. Included in this $586 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 loan grading system to assess an estimate of loss on its loan and lease portfolio. The same loan grading system is used to help monitor credit risk associated with standby letters-of-credit. Under this risk rating system as of December 31, 2011, approximately $116 million of the standby letters-of-credit were rated strong with sufficient asset quality, liquidity, and good debt capacity and coverage, approximately $411 million were rated average with acceptable asset quality, liquidity, and modest debt capacity; and approximately $59 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 December 31, 2011 and 2010, Huntington had commitments to sell residential real estate loans of $629.0 million and $998.7 million, respectively. These contracts mature in less than one year.




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 $140.0 million at December 31, 2011. 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 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 is a discussion of certain legal matters and events occurring through the date of this filing:

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 January 18, 2012, the bankruptcy court in the Teleservices adversary proceeding discussed below issued an order staying the plaintiffs from taking any further action in the case, as the money sought in the unjust enrichment claim is the same money sought to be recovered by the Teleservices trustee in the Teleservices adversary proceedings.

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 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. The motion is currently pending. In accordance with the Bankruptcy Court's scheduling order, the Bank filed a motion for summary judgment on September 16, 2011, and a motion to add El Camino and the Cyberco trustee as necessary parties. These motions remain pending. If summary judgment does not enter for either party, the case is scheduled for trial in April 2012.

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.


Commitments Under Capital and Operating Lease Obligations


At December 31, 2011, Huntington and its subsidiaries were obligated under noncancelable leases for land, buildings, and equipment. Many of these leases contain renewal options and certain leases provide options to purchase the leased property during or at the expiration of the lease period at specified prices. Some leases contain escalation clauses calling for rentals to be adjusted for increased real estate taxes and other operating expenses or proportionately adjusted for increases in the consumer or other price indices.

The future minimum rental payments required under operating leases that have initial or remaining noncancelable lease terms in excess of one year as of December 31, 2011, were $44.5 million in 2012, $42.6 million in 2013, $40.4 million in 2014, $38.6 million in 2015, $35.1 million in 2016, and $250.2 million thereafter. At December 31, 2011, total minimum lease payments have not been reduced by minimum sublease rentals of $16.3 million due in the future under noncancelable subleases. At December 31, 2011, the future minimum sublease rental payments that Huntington expects to receive are $5.4 million in 2012; $4.5 million in 2013; $3.4 million in 2014; $2.0 million in 2015; $0.6 million in 2016; and $0.4 million thereafter. The rental expense for all operating leases was $53.5 million, $50.3 million, and $49.8 million for 2011, 2010, and 2009, respectively. Huntington had no material obligations under capital leases.