Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Benefit Plans

Benefit Plans
3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2014
Benefit Plans [Abstract]  

13. 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, which was modified in 2013 and no longer accrues service benefits to participants, 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 2014. During the 2013 third quarter, the board of directors approved, and management communicated, a curtailment of the Company's pension plan effective December 31, 2013. 


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)   2014     2013     2014     2013  
Service cost (1) $ 435   $ 7,134   $ ---   $ ---  
Interest cost   8,100     7,307     259     216  
Expected return on plan assets   (11,446)     (12,091)     ---     ---  
Amortization of prior service cost   ---     (1,442)     (339)     (338)  
Amortization of gain   1,442     9,784     (144)     (150)  
Settlements   2,500     1,500     ---     ---  
Benefit expense $ 1,031   $ 12,192   $ (224)   $ (272)  
(1) Since no participants will be earning benefits after December 31, 2013, the 2014 service cost represents only administrative expenses.

The Bank, as trustee, held all Plan assets at March 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013. The Plan assets consisted of the following investments:

    Fair Value
(dollar amounts in thousands) March 31, 2014   December 31, 2013  
Cash $ --- --- %   $ --- --- %  
Cash equivalents:                    
  Huntington funds - money market   2,932 ---       803 ---    
Fixed income:                    
  Huntington funds - fixed income funds   62,381 11       74,048 11    
  Corporate obligations   201,499 31       180,757 28    
  U.S. Government Obligations   54,541 8       51,932 8    
  U.S. Government Agencies   6,574 1       6,146 1    
  Huntington funds   257,501 39       289,379 45    
  Exchange traded funds   39,580 6       24,705 4    
  Huntington common stock   15,987 2       20,324 3    
  Other common stock   15,314 2         ---    
  Limited partnerships   1,310 ---       926 ---    
Fair value of plan assets $ 657,619 100 %   $ 649,020 100 %  

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, 2014, are classified as Level 1 within the fair value hierarchy, except for corporate obligations, U.S. government obligations, and U.S. government agencies, which are classified as Level 2, and limited partnerships, which are classified as Level 3. 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, 2014, Plan assets were invested 50% in equity investments, 50% in bonds, and less than 1% in cash with an average duration of 11.9 years on bond investments. The estimated life of benefit obligations was 12 years. Although it may fluctuate with market conditions, Management has targeted a long-term allocation of Plan assets of 20% to 50% in equity investments and 80% to 50% in bond investments. The allocation of Plan assets between equity investments and fixed income investments will change from time to time with the allocation to fixed income investments increasing as the funding level increases.


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 and former officers and directors of Huntington and its subsidiaries with defined pension benefits in excess of limits imposed by federal tax law. During the 2013 third quarter, the board of directors approved, and management communicated, a curtailment of the Company's SRIP plan effective December 31, 2013.


Huntington has a defined contribution plan that is available to eligible employees. Huntington matches participant contributions, up to the first 4% 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 thousands)     2014     2013  
SERP & SRIP   $ 475   $ 1,192  
Defined contribution plan     6,105     4,374  
Benefit cost   $ 6,580   $ 5,566