Commitments and Contingent Liabilities
|12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2014
|Commitments and Contingent Liabilities [Abstract]
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
20. 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, 2014, and December 31, 2013, 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 $4.4 million and $2.1 million at December 31, 2014 and 2013, 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, 2014, Huntington had $497 million of standby letters-of-credit outstanding, of which 80% were collateralized. Included in this $497 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 December 31, 2014, approximately $137 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 none 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
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 December 31, 2014 and 2013, Huntington had commitments to sell residential real estate loans of $545.0 million and $452.6 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 regulatory legal, and administrative 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 $130.0 million at December 31, 2014. For certain other cases, matters and proceedings, 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.
The Bank has been named a defendant in two lawsuits arising from the Bank’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 the Bank, 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 Teleservices then filed its Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on January 21, 2005. In an adversary proceeding commenced against the Bank on December 8, 2006, the Cyberco bankruptcy trustee sought recovery of over $70.0 million he alleged was transferred to the Bank. The Cyberco bankruptcy trustee also alleged preferential transfers were made to the Bank in the amount of approximately $1.2 million. The Bank 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. The Bank 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 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 for application 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 that the alleged transfers made to the Bank during the period from April 30, 2004 through November 2004 were not received in good faith and that the Bank failed to show a lack of knowledge of the avoidability of the alleged transfers made from September 2003 through April 30, 2004. The trustee then filed an amended motion for summary judgment in her 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 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 the Teleservices trustee was entitled to an award of prejudgment interest at a rate to be determined. A trial was held on these remaining issues on April 30, 2012, and the Court issued 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 could recover. Therefore, the Bankruptcy Court’s recommended award was reduced by $ 0.9 million. Further, the Bankruptcy Court ruled the interest rate specified in the federal statute governing post-judgment interest, which is based on U.S. Treasury bill rates, would be the rate of interest used to determine prejudgment interest. The Bankruptcy Court’s March 2011 and March 2012 opinions, as well as its July 23, 2012 bench opinion, were not reduced to final judgment by the Bankruptcy Court. Rather, 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 the Bank in the principal amount of $ 71.8 million, plus interest through July 27, 2012, in the amount of $ 8.8 million. The parties filed their respective objections and responses to the Bankruptcy Court’s report and recommendation. Oral argument on the parties’ objections and responses to the report and recommendation was held by the District Court on September 22, 2014. Each party then submitted a rebuttal brief to the District Court on October 6, 2014. The District Court is conducting a de novo review of the fact findings and legal conclusions in the Bankruptcy Court’s report and recommendation and has not issued a ruling to date.
During the pendency of the adversary proceedings commenced by the Cyberco and Teleservices trustees, 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 motion 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, 2011, opinion in the Teleservices adversary proceeding, the Bank again appealed the order denying substantive consolidation to the BAP, which appeal was 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 filed a status report with the BAP on the second appeal and the trustees then moved to dismiss the second appeal on the ground that the Bankruptcy Court’s orders denying substantive consolidation were still not final orders. The BAP granted the trustees’ motion in an Order dated December 23, 2013.
The Bank 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, the Bank has not been named a defendant in those other cases.
The Bank is also 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. The Bank 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 the Bank. Following further briefing by the parties, the Court denied the Bank’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on September 26, 2014. On October 7, 2014, the Bank filed a motion to certify the District Court’s decision for interlocutory review by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs have opposed the Bank’s motion. No ruling has yet been issued by the Court.
Commitments Under Operating Lease Obligations
At December 31, 2014, 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, 2014, were as follows: $50.9 million in 2015, $47.7 million in 2016, $44.4 million in 2017, $41.2 million in 2018, $37.9 million in 2019, and $237.1 million thereafter. At December 31, 2014, total minimum lease payments have not been reduced by minimum sublease rentals of $8.4 million due in the future under noncancelable subleases. At December 31, 2014, the future minimum sublease rental payments that Huntington expects to receive were as follows: $4.0 million in 2015, $2.0 million in 2016, $1.0 million in 2017, $0.6 million in 2018, $0.3 million in 2019, and $0.5 million thereafter. The rental expense for all operating leases was $57.2 million, $55.3 million, and $54.7 million for 2014, 2013, and 2012, respectively. Huntington had no material obligations under capital leases.