COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
|12 Months Ended
Dec. 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 Consolidated Financial Statements. The contract amounts of these financial agreements at December 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 $8 million and $7 million at December 31, 2016 and December 31, 2015, respectively.
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, 2016 and 2015, Huntington had commitments to sell residential real estate loans of $819 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 up to $65 million at December 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.
Meoli v. The Huntington National Bank (Cyberco Litigation). The Bank has been named a defendant in a lawsuit 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, 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. Bankruptcy proceedings for both Cyberco and Teleservices later ensued.
On September 28, 2015, adopting the bankruptcy court's recommendation, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan entered a judgment against Huntington in the amount of $72 million plus costs and pre- and post-judgment interest. Huntington increased its legal reserve by approximately $38 million to fully accrue for the amount of the judgment in the third quarter of 2015 while appealing the decision to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. On February 8, 2017, the appellate court reversed the district court decision in part and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings. Consistent with its reading of the appellate court opinion, Huntington decreased its legal reserve by approximately $42 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Powell v. Huntington National Bank. Huntington is a defendant in a class action filed on October 15, 2013 alleging Huntington charged late fees on mortgage loans in a method that violated West Virginia law and the loan documents. Plaintiffs seek statutory civil penalties, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees. Huntington filed a motion for summary judgment on the plaintiffs’ claims, which was granted by the U.S. District Court on December 28, 2016. Plaintiffs have filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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 parties in the federal court cases have entered into a tentative settlement. The defendants made agreed supplemental disclosures in advance of the shareholder vote in exchange for which plaintiffs agreed to withdraw their preliminary injunction motion and agreed to a release of all claims in the federal and state actions. The parties jointly moved for approval of the settlement by the federal court, which was granted on February 1, 2017. The plaintiffs in the state court cases did not join in the settlement, but their claims will be released in the federal court settlement.
FirstMerit Overdraft Litigation. Commencing in December 2010, two separate lawsuits were filed in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas and the Lake County Court of Common Pleas against FirstMerit. The complaints were brought as class actions on behalf of Ohio residents who maintained a checking account at FirstMerit and who incurred one or more overdraft fees as a result of the alleged re-sequencing of debit transactions. The parties have reached a global settlement for approximately $9 million cash to a common fund plus an additional $7 million in debt forgiveness. Attorneys' fees will be paid from the fund, with any remaining funds going to charity. FirstMerit’s insurer has agreed to reimburse Huntington 49% of the approximately $9 million, which totals approximately $4.4 million. The court preliminarily approved the settlement on December 5, 2016 and the cash portion of the settlement was funded on December 12, 2016. The final approval hearing is scheduled for June 2, 2017.
Commitments Under Operating Lease Obligations
At December 31, 2016, 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, 2016, were as follows: $59 million in 2017, $54 million in 2018, $48 million in 2019, $46 million in 2020, $30 million in 2021, and $152 million thereafter. At December 31, 2016, total minimum lease payments have not been reduced by minimum sublease rentals of $8 million due in the future under noncancelable subleases. At December 31, 2016, the future minimum sublease rental payments that Huntington expects to receive were as follows: $3 million in 2017, $2 million in 2018, $2 million in 2019, $1 million in 2020, $0 million in 2021, and $0 million thereafter. The rental expense for all operating leases was $65 million, $58 million, and $57 million for 2016, 2015, and 2014, respectively. Huntington had no material obligations under capital leases.