Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Benefit Plans

Benefit Plans
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2012
Benefit Plans [Abstract]  

12. Benefit Plans


Huntington sponsors the Plan, a non-contributory defined benefit pension plan covering substantially all employees hired or rehired prior to January 1, 2010. The Plan provides benefits based upon length of service and compensation levels. The funding policy of Huntington is to contribute an annual amount that is at least equal to the minimum funding requirements but not more than the amount deductible under the Internal Revenue Code. There is no required minimum contribution for 2012.


In addition, Huntington has an unfunded defined benefit post-retirement plan that provides certain healthcare and life insurance benefits to retired employees who have attained the age of 55 and have at least 10 years of vesting service under this plan. For any employee retiring on or after January 1, 1993, post-retirement healthcare benefits are based upon the employee's number of months of service and are limited to the actual cost of coverage. Life insurance benefits are a percentage of the employee's base salary at the time of retirement, with a maximum of $50,000 of coverage. The employer paid portion of the post-retirement health and life insurance plan was eliminated for employees retiring on and after March 1, 2010. Eligible employees retiring on and after March 1, 2010, who elect retiree medical coverage, will pay the full cost of this coverage. Huntington will not provide any employer paid life insurance to employees retiring on and after March 1, 2010. Eligible employees will be able to convert or port their existing life insurance at their own expense under the same terms that are available to all terminated employees.


The following table shows the components of net periodic benefit expense of the Plan and the Post-Retirement Benefit Plan:

    Pension Benefits     Post Retirement Benefits  
    Three Months Ended     Three Months Ended  
    March 31,     March 31,  
(dollar amounts in thousands)   2012     2011     2012     2011  
Service cost $ 6,217   $ 5,413   $ ---   $ ---  
Interest cost   7,304     7,518     338     405  
Expected return on plan assets   (11,433)     (10,823)     ---     ---  
Amortization of transition asset   (1)     (1)     ---     ---  
Amortization of prior service cost   (1,442)     (1,442)     (338)     (338)  
Amortization of gains (losses)   6,739     5,874     (83)     (106)  
Settlements   1,750     1,750     ---     ---  
Benefit expense $ 9,134   $ 8,289   $ (83)   $ (39)  

The Bank, as trustee, held all Plan assets at March 31, 2012, and December 31, 2011. The Plan assets consisted of investments in a variety of Huntington mutual funds and Huntington common stock as follows:

    Fair Value
(dollar amounts in thousands) March 31, 2012   December 31, 2011
Cash $ 511 --- %   $ 25 --- %
Cash equivalents:                  
  Huntington funds - money market   11,188 2       39,943 7  
Fixed income:                  
  Huntington funds - fixed income funds   200,096 35       174,615 32  
  Huntington funds   319,595 55       283,963 53  
  Huntington common stock   48,282 8       40,424 8  
Fair value of plan assets $ 579,672 100 %   $ 538,970 100 %

Investments of the Plan are accounted for at cost on the trade date and are reported at fair value. All of the Plan's investments at March 31, 2012, are classified as Level 1 within the fair value hierarchy. In general, investments of the Plan are exposed to various risks, such as interest rate risk, credit risk, and overall market volatility. Due to the level of risk associated with certain investments, it is reasonably possible changes in the values of investments will occur in the near term and such changes could materially affect the amounts reported in the Plan assets.


The investment objective of the Plan is to maximize the return on Plan assets over a long time period, while meeting the Plan obligations. At March 31, 2012, Plan assets were invested 63% in equity investments and 37% in bonds, with an average duration of 3.3 years on bond investments. Although it may fluctuate with market conditions, Management has targeted a long-term allocation of Plan assets of 70% in equity investments and 30% in bond investments.


Huntington also sponsors other nonqualified retirement plans, the most significant being the SERP and the SRIP. The SERP provides certain former officers and directors, and the SRIP provides certain current officers and directors of Huntington and its subsidiaries with defined pension benefits in excess of limits imposed by federal tax law.


Huntington has a defined contribution plan that is available to eligible employees. Huntington matches participant contributions, up to the first 3% of base pay contributed to the Plan. Half of the employee contribution is matched on the 4th and 5th percent of base pay contributed to the Plan.


The following table shows the costs of providing the SERP, SRIP, and defined contribution plans:


    Three Months Ended  
    March 31,  
(dollar amounts in millions)   2012     2011  
SERP & SRIP $ 0.8   $ 0.7  
Defined contribution plan   4.5     3.7  
Benefit cost $ 5.3   $ 4.4