SunTrust Banks 10-K 2010
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
2009 FORM 10-K
x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d)
OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009
¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission File Number 001-08918
SUNTRUST BANKS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
303 Peachtree Street, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30308
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(Registrants telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(b) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). x Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrants knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of large accelerated filer, accelerated filer, and smaller reporting company in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer x Accelerated filer ¨ Non-accelerated filer ¨ Smaller reporting company ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ¨ No x
The aggregate market value of the voting Common Stock held by non-affiliates at June 30, 2009 was approximately $6.5 billion, based on the New York Stock Exchange closing price for such shares on that date. For purposes of this calculation, the Registrant has assumed that its directors and executive officers are affiliates.
At February 8, 2010, 499,350,064 shares of the Registrants Common Stock, $1.00 par value, were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Pursuant to Instruction G of Form 10-K, information in the Registrants Definitive Proxy Statement for its 2010 Annual Shareholders Meeting, which it will file with the SEC no later than April 30, 2010 (the Proxy Statement), is incorporated by reference into Items 10-14 of this Report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABCP Asset-backed commercial paper.
ABS Asset-backed securities.
ALCO Asset/Liability Management Committee.
ALLL Allowance for loan and lease losses.
ANPR Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
AOCI Accumulated other comprehensive income.
ARMs Adjustable rate mortgages.
ARRA The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.
ARS Auction rate securities.
ASR Accelerated share repurchase.
ASC FASB Accounting Standard Codification.
ASU Accounting standards update.
ATE Additional termination event.
Bank SunTrust Bank.
Board The Companys Board of Directors.
CDO Collateralized debt obligation.
CD Certificate of deposit.
CDS Credit default swaps.
CIB Corporate and Investment Banking.
Class B shares Visa Inc. Class B common stock.
CLO Collateralized loan obligation.
Coke The Coca-Cola Company.
Company SunTrust Banks, Inc.
CP Commercial paper.
CPP Capital Purchase Program.
CRA Community Reinvestment Act of 1977.
CRC Corporate Risk Committee.
CRO Chief Risk Officer.
CSA Credit support annex.
DDA Demand deposit account.
DGP Debt Guarantee Program.
DIF Deposit Insurance Fund.
EESA The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
EPS Earnings per share.
Exchange Act Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
FASB Financial Accounting Standards Board.
FDA Federal Deposit Insurance Act.
FDIC The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
FDICIA The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991.
Federal Reserve The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
FFIEC The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
FHA Federal Housing Administration.
FHLB Federal Home Loan Bank.
FICO Fair Isaac Corporation.
FINRA Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
Fitch Fitch Ratings Ltd.
FTE Fully taxable-equivalent.
First Mercantile First Mercantile Trust Company.
FNMA Federal National Mortgage Association.
FVO Fair Value Option.
GB&T GB&T Bancshares, Inc.
GenSpring GenSpring Family Offices LLC.
GLB Act Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
GNMA Government National Mortgage Association.
IIS Institutional Investment Solutions.
IPO Initial public offering.
IRLCs Interest rate lock commitments.
IRS Internal Revenue Service.
ISDA International Swaps and Derivatives Associations Master Agreement.
Lehman Brothers Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.
LHFS Loans held for sale.
LHFI-FV Loans held for investment carried at fair value.
LIBOR London InterBank Offered Rate.
Lighthouse Investment Partners Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC.
LOCOM Lower of Cost or Market.
LTI Long-term incentive.
LTV Loan to value.
MBS Mortgage-backed securities.
MD&A Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
MIP Management Incentive Plan.
MMMF Money market mutual funds.
Moodys Moodys Investors Service.
MSRs Mortgage servicing rights.
MVE Market value of equity.
NAICS North American Industry Classification System.
NCF National Commerce Financial Corporation.
NOL Net operating loss.
NSF Non-sufficient funds.
NYSE New York Stock Exchange.
OCI Other comprehensive income.
OREO Other real estate owned.
OTTI Other-than-temporary impairment.
Parent Company Parent Company of SunTrust Banks, Inc.
Patriot Act The USA Patriot Act of 2001.
PRAC Corporate Product Risk Assessment Committee.
Prime Performance Prime Performance, Inc.
PUP Performance Unit Plan.
PWM Private Wealth Management.
QSPE Qualifying special-purpose entity.
RCCs Replacement Capital Covenants.
REITS Real Estate Investment Trusts.
RidgeWorth RidgeWorth Capital Management, Inc.
ROA Return on average total assets.
ROE Return on average common shareholders equity.
S&P Standard and Poors.
SCAP Supervisory Capital Assessment Program.
SEC U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Seix Seix Investment Advisors, Inc.
SERP Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan.
SIVs Structured investment vehicles.
SPE Special Purpose Entity.
STIAA SunTrust Institutional Asset Advisors LLC.
STIS SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.
STM SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.
Stock Plan SunTrust Banks, Inc. 2004 Stock Plan.
STRH SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.
SunAmerica SunAmerica Mortgage.
SunTrust SunTrust Banks, Inc.
SunTrust Community Capital SunTrust Community Capital, LLC.
TAF Term Auction Facility.
TAGP Transaction Account Guarantee Program.
TARP Troubled Asset Relief Program.
TDR Troubled debt restructuring.
The Agreements Equity forward agreements.
The Program ABCP MMMF Liquidity Facility Program.
Three Pillars Three Pillars Funding, LLC.
TLGP Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program.
TRS Total return swaps.
Twin Rivers Twin Rivers Insurance Company.
U.S. GAAP Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States.
U.S. Treasury The United States Department of the Treasury.
UTBs Unrecognized tax benefits.
VA Veterans Administration.
VAR Value at risk.
VEBA Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association.
VI Variable interest.
VIE Variable interest entity.
Visa The Visa, U.S.A. Inc. card association or its affiliates, collectively.
VRDO Variable rate demand obligation.
ZCI Zevenbergen Capital Investments, LLC.
The Company, one of the nations largest commercial banking organizations, is a diversified financial services holding company whose businesses provide a broad range of financial services to consumer and corporate clients. SunTrust was incorporated in 1984 under the laws of the State of Georgia. The principal executive offices of the Company are located in the SunTrust Plaza, Atlanta, Georgia 30308.
Additional information relating to our businesses and our subsidiaries is included in the information set forth in Item 7, Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and Note 22, Business Segment Reporting, to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this report.
Primary Market Areas
Through its principal subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, the Company provides deposit, credit, and trust and investment services. Additional subsidiaries provide mortgage banking, asset management, securities brokerage, capital market services, and credit-related insurance. SunTrust operates primarily within Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and enjoys strong market positions in these markets. SunTrust operated under four business segments during 2009. These business segments were: Retail and Commercial, Corporate and Investment Banking, Household Lending, and Wealth and Investment Management. In addition, SunTrust provides clients with a selection of technology-based banking channels, including the internet, automated teller machines, and twenty-four hour telebanking. SunTrusts client base encompasses a broad range of individuals and families, businesses, institutions, and governmental agencies.
Acquisition and Disposition Activity
As part of its operations, the Company regularly evaluates the potential acquisition of, and holds discussions with, various financial institutions and other businesses of a type eligible for financial holding company ownership or control. In addition, the Company regularly analyzes the values of, and may submit bids for, the acquisition of customer-based funds and other liabilities and assets of such financial institutions and other businesses. The Company may also consider the potential disposition of certain of its assets, branches, subsidiaries or lines of businesses.
During 2009, the Companys Wealth and Investment Management business completed three acquisitions of family office enterprises: Epic Advisors, Inc; a division of CSI Capital Management; and Martin Kelly Capital Management LLC. We completed the sale of our minority interest in Lighthouse Investment Partners, LLC on January 2, 2008, and effective May 1, 2008, we acquired GB&T. On May 30, 2008, we sold our interests in First Mercantile, a retirement plan services subsidiary. Moreover, on September 2, 2008, we sold our fuel card business, TransPlatinum, to Fleet One Holdings LLC. Additional information on these and other acquisitions and dispositions is included in Note 2, Acquisitions/Dispositions, to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8, which are incorporated herein by reference.
Government Supervision and Regulation
As a bank holding company and a financial holding company, the Company is subject to the regulation and supervision of the Federal Reserve and, in limited circumstances described herein, the U.S. Treasury. The Companys principal banking subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, is a Georgia state chartered bank with branches in Georgia, Florida, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Arkansas. SunTrust Bank is a member of the Federal Reserve System, and it is regulated by the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance.
The Companys banking subsidiary is subject to various requirements and restrictions under federal and state law, including requirements to maintain cash reserves against deposits, restrictions on the types and amounts of loans that may be made and the interest that may be charged thereon, and limitations on the types of investments that may be made and the types of services that may be offered. Various consumer laws and regulations also affect the operations of the bank and its subsidiaries. In addition to the impact of regulation, commercial banks are affected significantly by the actions of the Federal Reserve as it attempts to control the money supply and credit availability in order to influence the economy.
Pursuant to the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994, bank holding companies from any state may acquire banks located in any other state, subject to certain conditions, including concentration limits. In addition, a bank may establish branches across state lines by merging with a bank in another state, subject to certain restrictions. A bank holding company may not directly or indirectly acquire ownership or control of more than 5% of the voting shares or substantially all of the assets of any bank or merge or consolidate with another bank holding company without the prior
approval of the Federal Reserve. Moreover, a bank and its affiliates may not, after the acquisition of another bank, control more than 10% of the amount of deposits of insured depository institutions in the United States. In addition, certain states may have limitations on the amount of deposits any bank may hold within that state.
There are a number of obligations and restrictions imposed on bank holding companies and their depository institution subsidiaries by federal law and regulatory policy that are designed to reduce potential loss exposure to the depositors of such depository institutions and to the FDIC insurance fund in the event the depository institution becomes in danger of default or is in default. For example, under a policy of the Federal Reserve with respect to bank holding company operations, a bank holding company is required to serve as a source of financial strength to its subsidiary depository institutions and commit resources to support such institutions in circumstances where it might not do so absent such policy. In addition, the cross-guarantee provisions of federal law require insured depository institutions under common control to reimburse the FDIC for any loss suffered or reasonably anticipated as a result of the default of a commonly controlled insured depository institution or for any assistance provided by the FDIC to a commonly controlled insured depository institution in danger of default. The federal banking agencies have broad powers under current federal law to take prompt corrective action to resolve problems of insured depository institutions. The extent of these powers depends upon whether the institutions in question are well capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized or critically undercapitalized as such terms are defined under regulations issued by each of the federal banking agencies.
The Federal Reserve and the FDIC have issued substantially similar risk-based and leverage capital guidelines applicable to United States banking organizations. In addition, these regulatory agencies may from time to time require that a banking organization maintain capital above the minimum levels, whether because of its financial condition or actual or anticipated growth. The Federal Reserve risk-based guidelines define a tier-based capital framework. Tier 1 capital includes common shareholders equity, trust preferred securities, minority interests and qualifying preferred stock, less goodwill (net of any qualifying deferred tax liability) and other adjustments. Tier 2 capital consists of preferred stock not qualifying as Tier 1 capital, mandatorily convertible debt, limited amounts of subordinated debt, other qualifying term debt, the allowance for credit losses up to a certain amount and a portion of the unrealized gain on equity securities. The sum of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital represents the Companys qualifying total capital. Risk-based capital ratios are calculated by dividing Tier 1 and total capital by risk-weighted assets. Assets and off-balance sheet exposures are assigned to one of four categories of risk-weights, based primarily on relative credit risk. In addition, the Company, and any bank with significant trading activity, must incorporate a measure for market risk in their regulatory capital calculations. The leverage ratio is determined by dividing Tier 1 capital by adjusted average total assets.
FDICIA, among other things, identifies five capital categories for insured depository institutions (well capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized, and critically undercapitalized) and requires the respective federal regulatory agencies to implement systems for prompt corrective action for insured depository institutions that do not meet minimum capital requirements within such categories. FDICIA imposes progressively more restrictive constraints on operations, management and capital distributions, depending on the category in which an institution is classified. Failure to meet the capital guidelines could also subject a banking institution to capital raising requirements. An undercapitalized bank must develop a capital restoration plan and its parent holding company must guarantee that banks compliance with the plan. The liability of the parent holding company under any such guarantee is limited to the lesser of five percent of the banks assets at the time it became undercapitalized or the amount needed to comply with the plan. Furthermore, in the event of the bankruptcy of the parent holding company, such guarantee would take priority over the parents general unsecured creditors. In addition, FDICIA requires the various regulatory agencies to prescribe certain non-capital standards for safety and soundness relating generally to operations and management, asset quality, and executive compensation and permits regulatory action against a financial institution that does not meet such standards.
The various regulatory agencies have adopted substantially similar regulations that define the five capital categories identified by FDICIA, using the total risk-based capital, Tier 1 risk-based capital and leverage capital ratios as the relevant capital measures. Such regulations establish various degrees of corrective action to be taken when an institution is considered undercapitalized. Under the regulations, a well capitalized institution must have a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least six percent, a total risk-based capital ratio of at least ten percent and a leverage ratio of at least five percent and not be subject to a capital directive order.
Regulators also must take into consideration: (a) concentrations of credit risk; (b) interest rate risk (when the interest rate sensitivity of an institutions assets does not match the sensitivity of its liabilities or its off-balance-sheet position); and (c) risks from non-traditional activities, as well as an institutions ability to manage those risks, when determining the adequacy of an institutions capital. This evaluation will be made as a part of the institutions regular safety and soundness examination. In addition, regulators may choose to examine other factors in order to evaluate the safety and soundness of financial institutions. For instance, in connection with the Supervisory Capital Assessment Program, our regulators began focusing on Tier 1 common equity, which is the proportion of Tier 1 capital that is common equity. The Tier 1 common equity ratio continues to be a factor which regulators examine in evaluating the safety and soundness of financial institutions.
In December 2009, the Basel Committee issued two consultative documents proposing reforms to bank capital and liquidity regulation. The Basel Committees capital proposals would significantly revise the definitions of Tier 1 capital and Tier 2 capital. Among other things, they would: reemphasize that common equity is the predominant component of Tier 1 capital by adding a minimum common equity to risk-weighted assets ratio, with the ratio itself to be determined based on the outcome of an impact study that the Basel Committee is conducting, and requiring that goodwill, general intangibles and certain other items that currently must be deducted from Tier 1 capital instead be deducted from common equity as a component of Tier 1 capital; disallow full value of MSRs from common equity; disqualify innovative capital instruments including U.S.-style trust preferred securities and other instruments that effectively pay cumulative dividends from Tier 1 capital status; strengthen the risk coverage of the capital framework, particularly with respect to counterparty credit risk exposures arising from derivatives, repurchase agreements and securities financing activities; introduce a leverage ratio requirement as an international standard, including all commitments (including liquidity facilities), unconditionally cancellable commitments, direct credit substitutes, and other items fully funded; and implement measures to promote the build-up of capital buffers in good times that can be drawn upon during periods of stress, introducing a countercyclical component designed to address the concern that existing capital requirements are procyclical that is, they encourage reducing capital buffers in good times, when capital could more easily be raised, and increasing capital buffers in times of distress, when access to capital markets may be limited or they may effectively be closed. The capital proposals do not specify a percentage for the new ratio of common equity to risk-weighted assets or changes in the current minimum Tier 1 (4%) and total (8%) risk-based capital requirements. Instead, they state that the minimum percentage requirements for the new ratio of common equity to risk-weighted assets and the other capital ratios including Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets, total capital to risk-weighted assets and the new leverage ratio will be included in a fully calibrated, comprehensive set of capital and liquidity proposals to be released by December 31, 2010. Independently in September 2009, the U.S. Treasury issued a policy statement titled Principles for Reforming the U.S. and International Regulatory Capital Framework for Banking Firms setting forth core principles intended to address many of the same substantive items as the Basel Committee capital proposals.
The Basel Committees liquidity proposals, although similar in many respects to tests historically applied by banking organizations and regulators for management and supervisory purposes, if implemented would for the first time be formulaic and required by regulation. They would impose two measures of liquidity risk exposure, one based on a 30-day time horizon and the other addressing longer term structural liquidity mismatches over a one-year time period. The 30-day time horizon measure would not include certain assets (specifically, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities) that play a major role in current liquidity management, which could have substantial impact.
The Basel Committee indicated that it expects final provisions responsive to the proposals to be implemented by December 31, 2012. Ultimate implementation in individual countries, including the United States, is subject to the discretion of the bank regulators in those countries. The Basel Committees final proposals may differ from the proposals released in December 2010, and the regulations and guidelines adopted by regulatory authorities having jurisdiction over the Company may differ from the final accord of the Basel Committee. Moreover, although some aspects of the Basel Committee proposals were quite specific (for example, the definition of the components of capital), others were merely conceptual (for example, the description of the leverage test) and others not specifically addressed (for example, the minimum percentages for required capital ratios). We are not able to predict at this time the content of guidelines or regulations that will ultimately be adopted by regulatory agencies having authority over the Company or the impact of changes in capital and liquidity regulation upon us. However, a requirement that the Company and its bank subsidiaries maintain more capital, with common equity as a more predominant component, or manage the configuration of their assets and liabilities in order to comply with formulaic liquidity requirements, could significantly impact our financial condition, operations, capital position and ability to pursue business opportunities.
There are various legal and regulatory limits on the extent to which the Companys subsidiary bank may pay dividends or otherwise supply funds to the Company. In addition, federal and state bank regulatory agencies also have the authority to prevent a bank or bank holding company from paying a dividend or engaging in any other activity that, in the opinion of the agency, would constitute an unsafe or unsound practice. The FDA provides that, in the event of the liquidation or other resolution of an insured depository institution, the claims of depositors of the institution (including the claims of the FDIC as subrogee of insured depositors) and certain claims for administrative expenses of the FDIC as a receiver will have priority over other general unsecured claims against the institution. If an insured depository institution fails, insured and uninsured depositors, along with the FDIC, will have priority in payment ahead of unsecured, nondeposit creditors, including the parent bank holding company, with respect to any extensions of credit they have made to such insured depository institution.
The FDIC maintains the DIF by assessing depository institutions an insurance premium. The amount each institution is assessed is based upon statutory factors that include the balance of insured deposits as well as the degree of risk the institution poses to the insurance fund. The FDIC recently increased the amount of deposits it insures from $100,000 to $250,000. This increase is temporary and will continue through December 31, 2013. The Companys banking subsidiary pays an insurance premium into the DIF based on the quarterly average daily deposit liabilities net of certain exclusions held at the Companys banking subsidiary. The FDIC uses a risk-based premium system that assesses higher rates on those institutions
that pose greater risks to the DIF. The FDIC places each institution in one of four risk categories using a two-step process based first on capital ratios (the capital group assignment) and then on other relevant information (the supervisory group assignment). Subsequently, the rate for each institution within a risk category may be adjusted depending upon different factors that either enhance or reduce the risk the institution poses to the DIF, including the unsecured debt, secured liabilities and brokered deposits related to each institution. Finally, certain risk multipliers may be applied to the adjusted assessment. In 2009, the FDIC increased the amount assessed from financial institutions by increasing its risk-based deposit insurance assessment scale uniformly by a total of seven basis points. The assessment scale for 2009 ranged from twelve basis points of assessable deposits for the strongest institutions to fifty basis points for the weakest. In 2009, the FDIC also adopted a uniform three basis points increase across all risk categories to be effective starting January 1, 2011.
On November 12, 2009, the FDIC voted to approve a rule to require insured institutions to prepay their estimated quarterly risk-based assessments for the fourth quarter of 2009, and for all of 2010, 2011, and 2012. An insured institutions risk-based deposit insurance assessments will continue to be calculated on a quarterly basis, but will be paid from the amount the institution prepaid until the later of the date that amount is exhausted or June 30, 2013, at which point any remaining funds would be returned to the insured institution. Consequently, the Companys prepayment of DIF premiums made on December 29, 2009 resulted in a prepaid asset of $924.8 million.
In November 2008, the FDIC created the TLGP to strengthen confidence and encourage liquidity in the banking system by guaranteeing newly issued senior unsecured debt of banks, thrifts, and certain holding companies via its DGP, and by providing full coverage of noninterest bearing deposit transaction accounts and capped NOW accounts, regardless of dollar amount via its TAGP. As of October 31, 2009, banks are no longer eligible to issue additional debt under the TLGP and the Company has opted not to participate in the TAGP beyond December 31, 2009.
FDIC regulations require that management report annually on its responsibility for preparing its institutions financial statements, establishing and maintaining an internal control structure and procedures for financial reporting, and compliance with designated laws and regulations concerning safety and soundness.
On November 12, 1999, financial modernization legislation known as the GLB Act was signed into law. Under the GLB Act, a bank holding company which elects to become a financial holding company may engage in expanded securities activities, insurance sales, and underwriting activities, and other financial activities, and may also acquire securities firms and insurance companies, subject in each case to certain conditions. The Company has elected to become a financial holding company under the GLB Act. If any of our banking subsidiaries ceases to be well capitalized or well managed under applicable regulatory standards, the Federal Reserve may, among other things, place limitations on our ability to conduct these broader financial activities or, if the deficiencies persist, require us to divest the banking subsidiary. In order to become and maintain its status as a financial holding company, the Company and all of its affiliated depository institutions must be well-capitalized, well-managed, and have at least a satisfactory CRA rating. Furthermore, if the Federal Reserve determines that a financial holding company has not maintained a satisfactory CRA rating, the Company will not be able to commence any new financial activities or acquire a company that engages in such activities, although the Company will still be allowed to engage in activities closely related to banking and make investments in the ordinary course of conducting merchant banking activities.
The Patriot Act substantially broadens existing anti-money laundering legislation and the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the United States; imposes new compliance and due diligence obligations; creates new crimes and penalties; compels the production of documents located both inside and outside the United States, including those of non-U.S. institutions that have a correspondent relationship in the United States; and clarifies the safe harbor from civil liability to clients. The U.S. Treasury has issued a number of regulations that further clarify the Patriot Acts requirements or provide more specific guidance on their application. The Patriot Act requires all financial institutions, as defined, to establish certain anti-money laundering compliance and due diligence programs. The Patriot Act requires financial institutions that maintain correspondent accounts for non-U.S. institutions, or persons that are involved in private banking for non-United States persons or their representatives, to establish, appropriate, specific and, where necessary, enhanced due diligence policies, procedures, and controls that are reasonably designed to detect and report instances of money laundering through those accounts. Bank regulators are focusing their examinations on anti-money laundering compliance, and the Company continues to enhance its anti-money laundering compliance programs.
Federal banking regulators, as required under the GLB Act, have adopted rules limiting the ability of banks and other financial institutions to disclose nonpublic information about consumers to nonaffiliated third parties. The rules require disclosure of privacy policies to consumers and, in some circumstances, allow consumers to prevent disclosure of certain personal information to nonaffiliated third parties. The privacy provisions of the GLB Act affect how consumer information is transmitted through diversified financial services companies and conveyed to outside vendors.
In 2009, the Federal Reserve adopted amendments to its Regulation E that will restrict our ability to charge our clients overdraft fees beginning in July of 2010. Pursuant to the adopted regulation, clients must opt-in to an overdraft service in
order for the banking subsidiary to collect overdraft fees. Overdraft fees have in the past represented a significant amount of noninterest fees collected by the Companys banking subsidiary. In addition, additional legislation is currently being debated in Congress that would further restrict the Companys banking subsidiary from collecting overdraft fees or limit the amount of overdraft fees that that may be collected by the Companys banking subsidiary.
The Company is subject to the rules and regulations promulgated under the EESA by virtue of the Companys sale of preferred stock to the U.S. Treasury under the U.S. Treasurys CPP. Additional information relating to the restrictions on dividends and redemptions is included in the information set forth in Item 7 of this report under the caption, Liquidity Risk. Furthermore, under rules and regulations of EESA to which the Company is subject, no dividends may be declared or paid on the Companys common stock and the Company may not repurchase or redeem any common stock unless dividends due with respect to Senior Preferred Shares have been paid in full. Moreover, the consent of the U.S. Treasury will be required for any increase in the per share dividends on the Companys common stock, beyond the per share dividend declared prior to October 14, 2008 ($0.77 per share per quarter) until the third anniversary of the date of U.S. Treasurys investment; unless prior to the third anniversary, the Senior Preferred Shares are redeemed in whole or the U.S. Treasury has transferred all of its shares to third parties. Under this provision, the Company could reduce its dividend and subsequently restore it to no more than $0.77 per share per quarter at any time. Additionally, if the Company pays a dividend in excess of $0.54 per share per quarter before the tenth anniversary then the anti-dilution provisions of the U.S. Treasurys warrants will reduce its exercise price and increase the number of shares issuable upon exercise of the warrant.
Because of the Companys participation in the CPP, the U.S. Treasury is permitted to determine whether the public disclosure required for the Company with respect to the Companys off-balance sheet transactions, derivative instruments, contingent liabilities and similar sources of exposure are adequate to provide the public sufficient information as to the true financial position of the Company. If the U.S. Treasury were to determine that such disclosure is not adequate for such purpose, the U.S. Treasury will make additional recommendations for additional disclosure requirements to the Federal Reserve, the Companys primary federal regulator.
Because of the Companys participation in the CPP, the Company is subject to certain restrictions on its executive compensation practices, which are discussed in Item 11 of this report.
On October 22, 2009, the Federal Reserve published guidance for structuring incentive compensation arrangements at financial organizations. All financial institutions, not just companies that participated in the CPP, and even financial institutions which have repaid their CPP investments, would be subject to this guidance. The guidance does not set forth any formulas or pay caps, but contains certain principles which companies would be required to follow with respect to, employees and groups of employees that may expose the organization to material amounts of risk. The three primary principles are (i) balanced risk-taking incentives, (ii) compatibility with effective controls and risk management, and (iii) strong corporate governance. The Federal Reserve is conducting a special review of incentive compensation practices at large, complex banking organizations and is working with such organizations to review, analyze and provide input into their incentive compensation arrangements.
On January 14, 2010, the Obama administration announced a proposal to impose a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee on those financial institutions that benefited extraordinarily from recent actions taken by the U.S. government to stabilize the financial system. If implemented, the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee will only be applied to firms with over $50 billion in consolidated assets, and, therefore, by its terms would apply to the Company. Such Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee would be collected by the Internal Revenue Service and would be approximately fifteen basis points, or 0.15%, of an amount calculated by subtracting a covered institutions Tier 1 capital and FDIC-assessed deposits (and/or an adjustment for insurance liabilities covered by state guarantee funds) from such institutions total assets.
The Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee, if implemented as proposed by the Obama administration, would go into effect on June 30, 2010 and remain in place for at least ten years. The U.S. Treasury would be asked to report after five years on the effectiveness of the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee as well as its progress in repaying projected losses to the U.S. government as a result of TARP. If losses to the U.S. government as a result of TARP have not been recouped after ten years, the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee would remain in place until such losses have been recovered.
The Companys non-banking subsidiaries are regulated and supervised by various other regulatory bodies. For example, STRH is a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and the FINRA. STIS is also a broker-dealer and investment adviser registered with the SEC and a member of the FINRA. RidgeWorth and several of RidgeWorths subsidiaries are investment advisers registered with the SEC.
In addition, there have been a number of legislative and regulatory proposals that would have an impact on the operation of bank/financial holding companies and their bank and non-bank subsidiaries. It is impossible to predict whether or in what form these proposals may be adopted in the future and, if adopted, what their effect will be on us.
The House of Representatives has recently passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173). This legislation, if it becomes effective, would, among other things (i) create the Consumer Financial Protection Agency to regulate consumer financial products and services, (ii) create a Financial Stability Council that would identify and impose additional regulatory oversight on large financial firms, (iii) create a new process for the bankruptcy and liquidation of large financial institutions and finance such dissolutions with a Systemic Dissolution Fund that would be funded with assessments on large institutions, (iv) require a shareholder say on pay vote on executive compensation and require financial firms to disclose certain information regarding incentive-based compensation for employees, (v) strengthen the SECs powers to regulate securities markets, (vi) regulate the over-the-counter derivatives marketplace, and (vii) adopt certain mortgage reforms and anti-predatory lending restrictions. The Senate is currently considering a similar bill, the Homeowner Protection and Wall Street Accountability Act (S-3). If such legislation would be signed into law, the Company may be subject to some or all of the new restrictions and requirements. This new law may also require the Company to change or adapt some of its current policies and procedures.
SunTrust operates in a highly competitive industry that could become even more competitive as a result of legislative, regulatory, economic, and technological changes, as well as continued consolidation. The Company also faces aggressive competition from other domestic and foreign lending institutions and from numerous other providers of financial services. The ability of non-banking financial institutions to provide services previously limited to commercial banks has intensified competition. Because non-banking financial institutions are not subject to many of the same regulatory restrictions as banks and bank holding companies, they can often operate with greater flexibility and lower cost structures. Although non-banking financial institutions may not have the same access to government programs, those non-banking financial institutions may elect to become financial holding companies and gain such access. Securities firms and insurance companies that elect to become financial holding companies may acquire banks and other financial institutions. This may significantly change the competitive environment in which the Company conducts business. Some of the Companys competitors have greater financial resources or face fewer regulatory constraints. As a result of these various sources of competition, the Company could lose business to competitors or be forced to price products and services on less advantageous terms to retain or attract clients, either of which would adversely affect the Companys profitability.
In the past two years, as a result of recent economic events, there has been an increase in the number of failures and acquisitions of commercial and investment banks, including large commercial and investment banks. This has allowed certain larger financial institutions to acquire a presence in our footprint. Additionally, certain large financial institutions that were formerly engaged primarily in investment banking activities have amended their charters to become regulated commercial banks, thereby increasing the direct competitors to the Company. Consequently, merger activity has increased within the banking industry.
The Companys ability to expand into additional states remains subject to various federal and state laws. See Government Supervision and Regulation for a more detailed discussion of interstate banking and branching legislation and certain state legislation.
As of December 31, 2009, there were 28,001 full-time equivalent employees within SunTrust. None of the domestic employees within the Company are subject to a collective bargaining agreement. Management considers its employee relations to be good.
See also the following additional information which is incorporated herein by reference: Business Segments (under the captions Business Segments in Item 7, the MD&A, and Business Segment Reporting in Note 22 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data); Net Interest Income (under the captions Net Interest Income/Margin in the MD&A and Selected Financial Data in Item 6); Securities (under the caption Securities Available for Sale in the MD&A and Note 5 to the Consolidated Financial Statements); Loans and Leases (under the captions Loans, Allowance for Credit Losses, Provision for Credit Losses, and Nonperforming Assets in the MD&A and Loans and Allowance for Credit Losses in Notes 6 and 7, respectively, to the Consolidated Financial Statements); Deposits (under the caption Deposits in the MD&A); Short-Term Borrowings (under the captions Liquidity Risk and Other Short-Term Borrowings and Long-Term Debt in the MD&A and Other Short-Term Borrowings and Contractual Commitments in Note 10 to the Consolidated Financial Statements); Trading Activities and Trading Assets and Liabilities (under the caption Trading Assets and Liabilities in the MD&A and Trading Assets and Liabilities and Fair Value Election and Measurement in Notes 4 and 20, respectively, to the Consolidated Financial Statements); Market Risk Management (under the caption Market Risk Management in the MD&A); Liquidity Risk Management (under the caption Liquidity Risk in the MD&A); and Operational Risk Management (under the caption Operational Risk Management in the MD&A).
SunTrusts Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act are available free of charge on the Companys website at www.suntrust.com under the Investor Relations section as soon as reasonably practicable after the Company electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to the SEC. The public may read and copy any materials the Company files with the SEC at the SEC Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. The public may also obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC. The SECs website address is www.sec.gov. In addition, SunTrust makes available on its website at www.suntrust.com under the heading Corporate Governance its: (i) Code of Ethics; (ii) Corporate Governance Guidelines; and (iii) the charters of SunTrust Board committees, and also intends to disclose any amendments to its Code of Ethics, or waivers of the Code of Ethics on behalf of its Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer, on its website. These corporate governance materials are also available free of charge in print to shareholders who request them in writing to: SunTrust Banks, Inc., Attention: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 4418, Mail Code GA-ATL-634, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-4418.
The Companys Annual Report on Form 10-K is being distributed to shareholders in lieu of a separate annual report containing financial statements of the Company and its consolidated subsidiaries.
Possible Additional Risks
The risks listed here are not the only risks we face. Additional risks that are not presently known, or that we presently deem to be immaterial, also could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, business, and prospects.
Recent Market, Legislative, and Regulatory Events
Difficult market conditions have adversely affected our industry.
Dramatic declines in the housing market over the past three years, with falling home prices and increasing foreclosures, unemployment and under-employment, have negatively impacted the credit performance of real estate related loans and resulted in significant write-downs of asset values by financial institutions. These write-downs, initially of ABS but spreading to other securities and loans, have caused many financial institutions to seek additional capital, to reduce or eliminate dividends, to merge with larger and stronger institutions and, in some cases, to fail. Reflecting concern about the stability of the financial markets generally and the strength of counterparties, many lenders and institutional investors have reduced or ceased providing funding to borrowers, including to other financial institutions. This market turmoil and tightening of credit have led to an increased level of commercial and consumer delinquencies, lack of consumer confidence, increased market volatility and widespread reduction of business activity generally. The resulting economic pressure on consumers and lack of confidence in the financial markets has adversely affected our business, financial condition and results of operations. Market developments may affect consumer confidence levels and may cause adverse changes in payment patterns, causing increases in delinquencies and default rates, which may impact our charge-offs and provision for credit losses. A worsening of these conditions would likely exacerbate the adverse effects of these difficult market conditions on us and others in the financial institutions industry.
Recent levels of market volatility are unprecedented.
The capital and credit markets have been experiencing volatility and disruption for more than two years. Volatility and disruption have reached unprecedented levels. In some cases, the markets have produced downward pressure on stock prices and credit availability for certain issuers without regard to those issuers underlying financial strength. If current levels of market disruption and volatility continue or worsen, there can be no assurance that we will not experience an adverse effect, which may be material, on our ability to access capital and on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Recently enacted legislation, legislation enacted in the future, or any proposed federal programs subject us to increased regulation and may adversely affect us.
On October 14, 2008, the U.S. Treasury announced a program under the EESA pursuant to which it would make senior preferred stock investments in participating financial institutions (the CPP). On October 14, 2008, the FDIC announced the TLGP under the systemic risk exception to the FDA pursuant to which the FDIC would offer a guarantee of certain financial institution indebtedness in exchange for an insurance premium to be paid to the FDIC by issuing financial institutions.
We have participated in the CPP and issued debt under the TLGP. Because we participate in the CPP, we are subject to increased regulation, and we face additional regulations or changes to regulations to which we are subject as a result of our
participation. Compliance with such regulation may increase our costs and limit our ability to pursue business opportunities. For example, participation in the CPP limits (without the consent of the U.S. Treasury) our ability to increase our dividend or to repurchase our common stock for so long as any securities issued under such program remain outstanding. In addition, the EESA, contains, among other things, significant restrictions on the payment of executive compensation, which may have an adverse effect on the retention or recruitment of key members of senior management. Also, the cumulative dividend payable under the preferred stock that we issued to the U.S. Treasury pursuant to the CPP increases from 5% to 9% after 5 years. Additionally, we may not deduct interest paid on our preferred stock for income tax purposes.
Similarly, any program established by the FDIC under the systemic risk exception of the FDA may adversely affect us whether we participate or not. Our participation in the TLGP requires we pay additional insurance premiums to the FDIC. Additionally, the FDIC has increased premiums on insured accounts because market developments, including the increase of failures in the banking industry, have significantly depleted the insurance fund of the FDIC and reduced the ratio of reserves to insured deposits.
Recently, the Federal Reserve adopted amendments to its Regulation E. These amendments will first apply to us on July 1, 2010. The changes will affect the circumstances when we will be able to charge our clients overdraft fees.
On December 11, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill entitled the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 4173). The Senate is considering a similar bill entitled the Homeowner Protection and Wall Street Accountability Act (S-3). The legislation contained several changes to the regulatory system could adversely affect our business and the economies of the markets in which we operate. For example, the bill sets forth the establishment of a consumer protection agency which would exercise authority under existing consumer laws, have broad rule writing powers to administer and carry out its purpose and objectives, have the power to exempt certain persons or consumer financial products from its purview, have the power to examine or require reports from certain persons to ensure compliance with such agencys mandates and have primary enforcement action over its mandates. The application of the powers of any consumer protection agency is unclear; however, it has been advocated by its proponents that such an agency would standardize consumer financial products and permit un-standardized products to be offered under very limited circumstances, among other things. Such a limitation on the financial products we may offer may impact our ability to meet all of our clients needs and lead to clients seeking financial solutions and products through nonbanking channels outside the scope of this agency. Additionally, the bill strengthens mortgage regulations, seeks to regulate derivatives markets and give regulators greater power over how bank executives are compensated. Consequently, the increased expense of complying with an additional regulatory agency and regulations may adversely affect profits.
We are not able to predict when or whether regulatory or legislative reforms will be enacted or what its contents will be. Accordingly, we cannot predict the impact of any legislation on our businesses or operations.
We are subject to capital adequacy guidelines and, if we fail to meet these guidelines, our financial condition would be adversely affected.
Under regulatory capital adequacy guidelines and other regulatory requirements, our company and our subsidiary banks and broker-dealers must meet guidelines subject to qualitative judgments by regulators about components, risk weightings and other factors. From time to time, the regulators implement changes to these regulatory capital adequacy guidelines. If we failed to meet these minimum capital guidelines and other regulatory requirements, our financial condition would be materially and adversely affected. In light of proposed changes in the regulatory accords on international banking institutions formulated by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and implemented by the Federal Reserve Board, we may be required to satisfy additional, more stringent, capital adequacy standards. We cannot fully predict the final form of, or the effects of, these regulations.
We have not yet received permission to repay TARP funds.
In order to repay the TARP funds we received, we must first receive approval from our primary federal regulator who will then forward our application to the U.S. Treasury. Although we believe we have sufficient liquidity to repay our TARP funds, to date, we have not obtained the necessary governmental approval to repay such funds. Until we repay our TARP funds, we will continue to be subject to the constraints imposed on us by the federal government in connection with such funds.
Emergency measures designed to stabilize the U.S. banking system are beginning to wind down.
Since the middle of 2008, a number of legislation and regulatory actions have been implemented in response to the recent financial crisis. Some of these programs have begun to expire and the impact of the wind down of these programs on the financial sector and on the economic recovery is unknown. A stall in the economic recovery or a continuation or worsening of current financial market conditions could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We are subject to credit risk.
When we loan money, commit to loan money or enter into a letter of credit or other contract with a counterparty, we incur credit risk, or the risk of losses if our borrowers do not repay their loans or our counterparties fail to perform according to the terms of their contracts. A number of our products expose us to credit risk, including loans, leases and lending commitments, derivatives, trading account assets, insurance arrangements with respect to such products, and assets held for sale. As one of the nations largest lenders, the credit quality of our portfolio can have a significant impact on our earnings. We estimate and establish reserves for credit risks and credit losses inherent in our credit exposure (including unfunded credit commitments). This process, which is critical to our financial results and condition, requires difficult, subjective and complex judgments, including forecasts of economic conditions and how these economic predictions might impair the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans. As is the case with any such assessments, there is always the chance that we will fail to identify the proper factors or that we will fail to accurately estimate the impacts of factors that we identify.
Weakness in the economy and in the real estate market, including specific weakness within our geographic footprint, has adversely affected us and may continue to adversely affect us.
If the strength of the U.S. economy in general and the strength of the local economies in which we conduct operations do not improve, or continue to decline, this could result in, among other things, a deterioration of credit quality or a reduced demand for credit, including a resultant effect on our loan portfolio and ALLL. A significant portion of our residential mortgages and commercial real estate loan portfolios are composed of borrowers in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, in which certain markets have been particularly adversely affected by declines in real estate value, declines in home sale volumes, and declines in new home building. These factors could result in higher delinquencies and greater charge-offs in future periods, which would materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Weakness in the real estate market, including the secondary residential mortgage loan markets, has adversely affected us and may continue to adversely affect us.
Significant ongoing disruptions in the secondary market for residential mortgage loans have limited the market for and liquidity of many mortgage loans. The effects of ongoing mortgage market challenges, combined with the ongoing correction in residential real estate market prices and reduced levels of home sales, could result in further price reductions in single family home values, adversely affecting the value of collateral securing mortgage loans that we hold, mortgage loan originations and profits on sales of mortgage loans. Declining real estate prices have caused cyclically higher delinquencies and losses on certain mortgage loans, particularly Alt-A mortgages and home equity lines of credit and mortgage loans sourced from brokers that are outside our branch bank network. These conditions have resulted in losses, write downs and impairment charges in our mortgage and other lines of business. Continued declines in real estate values, home sales volumes, financial stress on borrowers as a result of job losses, interest rate resets on ARMs or other factors could have further adverse effects on borrowers that could result in higher delinquencies and greater charge-offs in future periods, which adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. Additionally, counterparties to insurance arrangements used to mitigate risk associated with increased foreclosures in the real estate market are stressed by weaknesses in the real estate market and a commensurate increase in the number of claims. Additionally, decreases in real estate values might adversely affect the creditworthiness of state and local governments, and this might result in decreased profitability or credit losses from loans made to such governments. A decline in home values or overall economic weakness could also have an adverse impact upon the value of real estate or other assets which we own upon foreclosing a loan and our ability to realize value on such assets.
As a financial services company, adverse changes in general business or economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
The continuing weakness or further weakening in business and economic conditions generally or specifically in the principal markets in which we do business could have one or more of the following adverse impacts on our business:
Changes in market interest rates or capital markets could adversely affect our revenue and expense, the value of assets and obligations, and the availability and cost of capital or liquidity.
Given our business mix, and the fact that most of the assets and liabilities are financial in nature, we tend to be sensitive to market interest rate movements and the performance of the financial markets. In addition to the impact of the general
economy, changes in interest rates or in valuations in the debt or equity markets could directly impact us in one or more of the following ways:
The fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government and its agencies could have a material adverse effect on our earnings.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System regulates the supply of money and credit in the United States. Its policies determine in large part the cost of funds for lending and investing and the return earned on those loans and investments, both of which affect the net interest margin. They can also materially decrease the value of financial assets we hold, such as debt securities and MSRs. Its policies can also adversely affect borrowers, potentially increasing the risk that they may fail to repay their loans. Changes in Federal Reserve Board policies are beyond our control and difficult to predict; consequently, the impact of these changes on our activities and results of operations is difficult to predict.
We may be required to repurchase mortgage loans or indemnify mortgage loan purchasers as a result of breaches of representations and warranties, borrower fraud, or certain borrower defaults, which could harm our liquidity, results of operations, and financial condition.
When we sell mortgage loans, whether as whole loans or pursuant to a securitization, we are required to make customary representations and warranties to the purchaser about the mortgage loans and the manner in which they were originated. Our whole loan sale agreements require us to repurchase or substitute mortgage loans in the event we breach any of these representations or warranties. In addition, we may be required to repurchase mortgage loans as a result of borrower fraud or in the event of early payment default of the borrower on a mortgage loan. Likewise, we are required to repurchase or substitute mortgage loans if we breach a representation or warranty in connection with our securitizations. The remedies available to us against the originating broker or correspondent may not be as broad as the remedies available to a purchaser of mortgage loans against us, and we face the further risk that the originating broker or correspondent may not have the financial capacity to perform remedies that otherwise may be available to us. Therefore, if a purchaser enforces its remedies against us, we may not be able to recover our losses from the originating broker or correspondent. We have received an increased number of repurchase and indemnity demands from purchasers as a result of borrower fraud. This increase in repurchase demands, combined with an increase in expected loss severity on repurchased loans due to deteriorated real estate values and liquidity for impaired loans, has resulted in an increase in the amount of accrued losses for repurchases as of December 31, 2009. While we have taken steps to enhance our underwriting policies and procedures, there can be no assurance that these steps will be effective or reduce risk associated with loans sold in the past. If repurchase and indemnity demands increase, our liquidity, results of operations and financial condition will be adversely affected.
We may continue to suffer increased losses in our loan portfolio despite enhancement of our underwriting policies.
We seek to mitigate risks inherent in our loan portfolio by adhering to specific underwriting practices. These practices often include the analysis of a borrowers credit history, financial statements, tax returns and cash flow projections; valuation of collateral based on reports of independent appraisers; and verification of liquid assets. Although we have taken steps to enhance our underwriting policies and procedures, we have still incurred high levels of losses on loans that have met these criteria, and may continue to experience higher than expected losses depending on economic factors and borrower behavior.
Depressed market values for our stock may require us to write down goodwill.
Numerous facts and circumstances are considered when evaluating the carrying value of our goodwill. One of those considerations is the estimated fair value of each reporting unit. The estimated fair values of the individual reporting units are assessed for reasonableness several ways, including by aggregating the individual reporting units fair value and analyzing the combined fair value in relation to the total estimated fair value of SunTrust. We analyze the combined fair value of SunTrust by reviewing a variety of indicators, including our market capitalization evaluated over a reasonable period of time. While this comparison provides some relative market information regarding the estimated fair value of the reporting units, it is not determinative and needs to be evaluated in the context of the current economic and political environment. However, significant and/or sustained declines in our market capitalization, especially in relation to our book value, could be an indication of potential impairment of goodwill.
Clients could pursue alternatives to bank deposits, causing us to lose a relatively inexpensive source of funding. Checking and savings account balances and other forms of client deposits could decrease if clients perceive alternative investments, such as the stock market, as providing superior expected returns. When clients move money out of bank deposits in favor of alternative investments, we can lose a relatively inexpensive source of funds, increasing our funding costs.
Consumers may decide not to use banks to complete their financial transactions, which could affect net income. Technology and other changes now allow parties to complete financial transactions without banks. For example, consumers can pay bills and transfer funds directly without banks. This process could result in the loss of fee income, as well as the loss of client deposits and the income generated from those deposits.
We have businesses other than banking which subject us to a variety of risks.
We are a diversified financial services company. This diversity subjects earnings to a broader variety of risks and uncertainties.
Hurricanes and other natural disasters may adversely affect loan portfolios and operations and increase the cost of doing business.
Large scale natural disasters may significantly affect loan portfolios by damaging properties pledged as collateral and by impairing the ability of certain borrowers to repay their loans. The nature and level of natural disasters cannot be predicted and may be exacerbated by global climate change. The ultimate impact of a natural disaster on future financial results is difficult to predict and will be affected by a number of factors, including the extent of damage to the collateral, the extent to which damaged collateral is not covered by insurance, the extent to which unemployment and other economic conditions caused by the natural disaster adversely affect the ability of borrowers to repay their loans, and the cost of collection and foreclosure moratoriums, loan forbearances and other accommodations granted to borrowers and other clients.
Negative public opinion could damage our reputation and adversely impact business and revenues.
As a financial institution, our earnings and capital are subject to risks associated with negative public opinion. Negative public opinion could result from our actual or alleged conduct in any number of activities, including lending practices, the failure of any product or service sold by us to meet our clients expectations or applicable regulatory requirements, corporate governance and acquisitions, or from actions taken by government regulators and community organizations in response to those activities. Negative public opinion can adversely affect our ability to keep and attract and/or retain clients and personnel and can expose us to litigation and regulatory action. Actual or alleged conduct by one of our businesses can result in negative public opinion about our other businesses. Negative public opinion could also affect our credit ratings, which are important to accessing unsecured wholesale borrowings. Significant changes in these ratings could change the cost and availability of these sources of funding.
We rely on other companies to provide key components of our business infrastructure.
Third parties provide key components of our business infrastructure such as banking services, processing, and internet connections and network access. Any disruption in such services provided by these third parties or any failure of these third parties to handle current or higher volumes of use could adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to clients and otherwise to conduct business. Technological or financial difficulties of a third party service provider could adversely affect our business to the extent those difficulties result in the interruption or discontinuation of services provided by that party. We may not be insured against all types of losses as a result of third party failures and our insurance coverage may be inadequate to cover all losses resulting from system failures or other disruptions. Failures in our business infrastructure could interrupt the operations or increase the costs of doing business.
The soundness of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.
Our ability to engage in routine funding transactions could be adversely affected by the actions and commercial soundness of other financial institutions. Financial services institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty, or other relationships. We have exposure to many different industries and counterparties, and we routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, mutual and hedge funds, and other institutional clients. As a result, defaults by, or even rumors or questions about, one or more financial services institutions, or the financial services industry generally, have led to market-wide liquidity problems and could lead to losses or defaults by us or by other institutions. Many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of default of our counterparty or client. In addition, our credit risk may be exacerbated when the collateral held by us cannot be realized upon or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the financial instrument exposure due us. There is no assurance that any such losses would not materially and adversely affect our results of operations.
We rely on our systems, employees, and certain counterparties, and certain failures could materially adversely affect our operations.
We are exposed to many types of operational risk, including the risk of fraud by employees and outsiders, clerical and record-keeping errors, and computer/telecommunications systems malfunctions. Our businesses are dependent on our ability to process a large number of increasingly complex transactions. If any of our financial, accounting, or other data processing systems fail or have other significant shortcomings, we could be materially adversely affected. We are similarly dependent on our employees. We could be materially adversely affected if one of our employees causes a significant operational break-down or failure, either as a result of human error or where an individual purposefully sabotages or fraudulently manipulates our operations or systems. Third parties with which we do business could also be sources of operational risk to us, including
relating to break-downs or failures of such parties own systems or employees. Any of these occurrences could result in a diminished ability of us to operate one or more of our businesses, financial loss, potential liability to clients, inability to secure insurance, reputational damage and regulatory intervention, which could materially adversely affect us.
We may also be subject to disruptions of our operating systems arising from events that are wholly or partially beyond our control, which may include, for example, computer viruses or electrical or telecommunications outages or natural disasters, or events arising from local or regional politics, including terrorist acts. Such disruptions may give rise to losses in service to clients and loss or liability to us. In addition, there is the risk that our controls and procedures as well as business continuity and data security systems prove to be inadequate. The computer systems and network systems we and others use could be vulnerable to unforeseen problems. These problems may arise in both our internally developed systems and the systems of third-party service providers. In addition, our computer systems and network infrastructure present security risks, and could be susceptible to hacking or identity theft. Any such failure could affect our operations and could materially adversely affect our results of operations by requiring us to expend significant resources to correct the defect, as well as by exposing us to litigation or losses not covered by insurance.
We depend on the accuracy and completeness of information about clients and counterparties.
In deciding whether to extend credit or enter into other transactions with clients and counterparties, we may rely on information furnished by or on behalf of clients and counterparties, including financial statements and other financial information. We also may rely on representations of clients and counterparties as to the accuracy and completeness of that information and, with respect to financial statements, on reports of independent auditors.
We are subject to certain litigation, and our expenses related to this litigation may adversely affect our results.
We are subject to certain litigation in the ordinary course of our business. The outcome of these cases is uncertain. However, during the current credit crisis, we have seen both the number of cases and our expenses related to those cases increase. While we do not believe that any single case will have a material adverse effect on us, the cumulative burden of these cases may adversely affect our results.
Regulation by federal and state agencies could adversely affect the business, revenue, and profit margins.
We are heavily regulated by federal and state agencies. This regulation is to protect depositors, the federal DIF and the banking system as a whole. Congress and state legislatures and federal and state regulatory agencies continually review banking laws, regulations, and policies for possible changes. Changes to statutes, regulations, or regulatory policies, including interpretation or implementation of statutes, regulations, or policies, could affect us adversely, including limiting the types of financial services and products we may offer and/or increasing the ability of nonbanks to offer competing financial services and products. Also, if we do not comply with laws, regulations, or policies, we could receive regulatory sanctions and damage to our reputation.
Competition in the financial services industry is intense and could result in losing business or reducing margins.
We operate in a highly competitive industry that could become even more competitive as a result of legislative, regulatory and technological changes, and continued consolidation. We face aggressive competition from other domestic and foreign lending institutions and from numerous other providers of financial services. The ability of non-banking financial institutions to provide services previously limited to commercial banks has intensified competition. Because non-banking financial institutions are not subject to the same regulatory restrictions as banks and bank holding companies, they can often operate with greater flexibility and lower cost structures. Securities firms and insurance companies that elect to become financial holding companies, can offer virtually any type of financial service, including banking, securities underwriting, insurance (both agency and underwriting) and merchant banking, and may acquire banks and other financial institutions. This may significantly change the competitive environment in which we conduct business. Some of our competitors have greater financial resources and/or face fewer regulatory constraints, including those competitors that have been able to repay TARP funds. As a result of these various sources of competition, we could lose business to competitors or be forced to price products and services on less advantageous terms to retain or attract clients, either of which would adversely affect our profitability.
Future legislation could harm our competitive position.
Federal, state, and local legislatures increasingly have been considering proposals to substantially change the financial institution regulatory system and to expand or contract the powers of banking institutions, bank holding companies and bank regulatory agencies. Various legislative bodies have also recently been considering altering the existing framework governing creditors rights, including legislation that would result in or allow loan modifications of various sorts. Such legislation may change banking statutes and the operating environment in substantial and unpredictable ways. If enacted, such legislation could increase or decrease the cost of doing business, limit or expand permissible activities, or affect the competitive balance among banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other financial institutions. We cannot predict whether new legislation will be enacted and, if enacted, the effect that it, or any regulations, would have on our activities, financial condition, or results of operations.
Maintaining or increasing market share depends on market acceptance and regulatory approval of new products and services.
Our success depends, in part, on the ability to adapt products and services to evolving industry standards. There is increasing pressure to provide products and services at lower prices. This can reduce net interest income and noninterest income from fee-based products and services. In addition, the widespread adoption of new technologies could require us to make substantial capital expenditures to modify or adapt existing products and services or develop new products and services. We may not be successful in introducing new products and services in response to industry trends or development in technology, or those new products may not achieve market acceptance. As a result, we could lose business, be forced to price products and services on less advantageous terms to retain or attract clients, or be subject to cost increases.
We may not pay dividends on your common stock.
Holders of our common stock are only entitled to receive such dividends as our Board of Directors may declare out of funds legally available for such payments. Although we have historically declared cash dividends on our common stock, we are not required to do so and may reduce or eliminate our common stock dividend in the future. This could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Also, our ability to increase our dividend or to make other distributions is restricted due to our participation in the CPP, which limits (without the consent of the U.S. Treasury) our ability to increase our dividend or to repurchase our common stock for so long as any securities issued under such program remain outstanding.
Our ability to receive dividends from our subsidiaries accounts for most of our revenue and could affect our liquidity and ability to pay dividends.
We are a separate and distinct legal entity from our subsidiaries, including SunTrust Bank. We receive substantially all of our revenue from dividends from our subsidiaries. These dividends are the principal source of funds to pay dividends on our common stock and interest and principal on our debt. Various federal and/or state laws and regulations limit the amount of dividends that our bank and certain of our nonbank subsidiaries may pay us. Also, our right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiarys liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiarys creditors. Limitations on our ability to receive dividends from our subsidiaries could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and on our ability to pay dividends on common stock. Additionally, if our subsidiaries earnings are not sufficient to make dividend payments to us while maintaining adequate capital levels, we may not be able to make dividend payments to our common stockholders.
Significant legal actions could subject us to substantial uninsured liabilities.
We are from time to time subject to claims related to our operations. These claims and legal actions, including supervisory actions by our regulators, could involve large monetary claims and significant defense costs. Substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us could have material adverse financial effects or cause significant reputational harm to us, which in turn could seriously harm our business prospects. We may be exposed to substantial uninsured liabilities, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Recently declining values of real estate, increases in unemployment, and the related effects on local economies may increase our credit losses, which would negatively affect our financial results.
We offer a variety of secured loans, including commercial lines of credit, commercial term loans, real estate, construction, home equity, consumer and other loans. Many of our loans are secured by real estate (both residential and commercial) in our market area. A major change in the real estate market, such as deterioration in the value of this collateral, or in the local or national economy, could adversely affect our customers ability to pay these loans, which in turn could adversely impact us. Additionally, increases in unemployment have and may continue to adversely affect the ability of certain clients to pay loans and the financial results of commercial clients in localities with higher unemployment, which may result in loan defaults and foreclosures and which may impair the value of our collateral. Risk of loan defaults and foreclosures are unavoidable in the banking industry, and we try to limit our exposure to this risk by monitoring our extensions of credit carefully. We cannot fully eliminate credit risk, and as a result credit losses may increase in the future.
Deteriorating credit quality, particularly in real estate loans, has adversely impacted us and may continue to adversely impact us.
We have experienced a downturn in credit performance, which became significant starting in the third and fourth quarters of 2007 and continued through 2009. This deterioration has resulted in an increase in our allowance for loan losses starting in 2008 and continuing throughout 2009, which increases were driven primarily by residential and commercial real estate and home equity portfolios. Additional increases in the allowance for loan losses may be necessary in the future. Deterioration in the quality of our credit portfolio can have a material adverse effect on our capital, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our allowance for loan losses may not be adequate to cover our eventual losses.
Like other financial institutions, we maintain an allowance for loan losses to provide for loan defaults and nonperformance. Our allowance for loan losses is based on our historical loss experience, as well as an evaluation of the risks associated with
our loan portfolio, including the size and composition of the loan portfolio, current economic conditions and geographic concentrations within the portfolio. The current stress on the United States economy and the local economies in which we do business may be greater or last longer than expected, resulting in, among other things, greater than expected deterioration in credit quality of our loan portfolio, or in the value of collateral securing these loans. Our allowance for loan losses may not be adequate to cover eventual loan losses, and future provisions for loan losses could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We will realize future losses if the proceeds we receive upon liquidation of nonperforming assets are less than the carrying value of such assets.
Nonperforming assets are recorded on our financial statements at the estimated net realizable value that we expect to receive from holding and ultimately dispensing of the assets. Deteriorating market conditions could result in a realization of future losses if the proceeds we receive upon dispositions of nonperforming assets are less than the carrying value of such assets.
Disruptions in our ability to access global capital markets may negatively affect our capital resources and liquidity.
In managing our consolidated balance sheet, we depend on access to global capital markets to provide us with sufficient capital resources and liquidity to meet our commitments and business needs, and to accommodate the transaction and cash management needs of our clients. Other sources of funding available to us, and upon which we rely as regular components of our liquidity risk management strategy, include inter-bank borrowings, repurchase agreements, and borrowings from the Federal Reserve discount window. Any occurrence that may limit our access to the capital markets, such as a decline in the confidence of debt purchasers, our depositors or counterparties participating in the capital markets, or a downgrade of our debt rating, may adversely affect our capital costs and our ability to raise capital and, in turn, our liquidity.
In 2009 and 2010, credit rating agencies downgraded the credit ratings of SunTrust Bank and SunTrust Banks, Inc. These downgrades and any subsequent downgrades could adversely impact the price and liquidity of our securities and could have an impact on our businesses and results of operations.
Our credit ratings are an important factor in determining both the available volume and the cost of our wholesale funding. On March 5, 2009, Fitch lowered the credit ratings for SunTrust Banks, Inc. and SunTrust Bank from A+/F-1 to A-/F-1. On April 23, 2009, Moodys downgraded the senior credit ratings for SunTrust Banks, Inc. and SunTrust Bank from A1/P-1 and Aa3/P-1, respectively, to Baa1/P-2 and A2/P-1, respectively. On April 28, 2009, S&P downgraded the credit ratings for SunTrust Banks, Inc. and SunTrust Bank from A/A-1 and A+/A-1, respectively to BBB+/A-2 and A-/A-2, respectively. On February 1, 2010, S&P downgraded SunTrust Banks, Incs. credit ratings to BBB/A-2 and SunTrust Banks credit ratings to BBB+/A-2. Our credit ratings remain on Negative outlook with Moodys and Fitch, while S&P maintains a Stable outlook on our ratings. Additional downgrades are possible. Where our bank subsidiaries are providing forms of credit support such as letters of credit, standby lending arrangements or other forms of credit support, a decline in short-term credit ratings may prompt customers of our bank subsidiaries to seek replacement credit support from a higher rated institution. In April 2009, we experienced a downgrade which affected a part of our business which we discuss in the Managements Discussion and Analysis Liquidity Risk section below. We cannot predict whether existing customer relationships or opportunities for future relationships could be further affected by customers who choose to do business with a higher rated institution.
We have in the past and may in the future pursue acquisitions, which could affect costs and from which we may not be able to realize anticipated benefits.
We have historically pursued an acquisition strategy, and intend to continue to seek additional acquisition opportunities. We may not be able to successfully identify suitable candidates, negotiate appropriate acquisition terms, complete proposed acquisitions, successfully integrate acquired businesses into the existing operations, or expand into new markets. Once integrated, acquired operations may not achieve levels of revenues, profitability, or productivity comparable with those achieved by our existing operations, or otherwise perform as expected.
Acquisitions involve numerous risks, including difficulties in the integration of the operations, technologies, services and products of the acquired companies, and the diversion of managements attention from other business concerns. We may not properly ascertain all such risks prior to an acquisition or prior to such a risk impacting us while integrating an acquired company. As a result, difficulties encountered with acquisitions could have a material adverse effect on the business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Furthermore, we must generally receive federal regulatory approval before we can acquire a bank or bank holding company. In determining whether to approve a proposed bank acquisition, federal bank regulators will consider, among other factors, the effect of the acquisition on competition, financial condition, future prospects, including current and projected capital levels, the competence, experience, and integrity of management, compliance with laws and regulations, the convenience and needs of the communities to be served, including the acquiring institutions record of compliance under the CRA, and the effectiveness of the acquiring institution in combating money laundering activities. In addition, we cannot be certain when or if, or on what terms and conditions, any required regulatory approvals will be granted. Consequently, we might be required to
sell portions of the acquired institution as a condition to receiving regulatory approval or we may not obtain regulatory approval for a proposed acquisition on acceptable terms or at all, in which case we would not be able to complete the acquisition despite the time and expenses invested in pursuing it.
We depend on the expertise of key personnel. If these individuals leave or change their roles without effective replacements, operations may suffer.
The success of our business has been, and the continuing success will be, dependent to a large degree on the continued services of executive officers, especially our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, James M. Wells III, and other key personnel who have extensive experience in the industry. We do not carry key person life insurance on any of the executive officers or other key personnel. If we lose the services of any of these integral personnel and fail to manage a smooth transition to new personnel, the business could be impacted.
We may not be able to hire or retain additional qualified personnel and recruiting and compensation costs may increase as a result of turnover, both of which may increase costs and reduce profitability and may adversely impact our ability to implement our business strategy.
Our success depends upon the ability to attract and retain highly motivated, well-qualified personnel. We face significant competition in the recruitment of qualified employees. Pursuant to recently enacted legislation, the U.S. Treasury has instituted certain restrictions on the compensation of certain senior management positions. It is possible that the U.S. Treasury may, as it is permitted to do, impose further requirements on us that may inhibit our ability to hire and retain the most qualified senior personnel. In addition, if we are unable to repay our TARP funds, we will continue to be subject to significant restrictions on the payment of executive compensation and may be at a disadvantage to our competitors who have repaid TARP funds in our ability to recruit and retain the most qualified senior personnel. Our ability to execute the business strategy and provide high quality service may suffer if we are unable to recruit or retain a sufficient number of qualified employees or if the costs of employee compensation or benefits increase substantially.
Further, the Federal Reserve on October 27, 2009 published proposed guidance on sound incentive compensation policies. Through this guidance, the Federal Reserve will regulate incentive compensation at financial institutions through its power to regulate the safety and soundness of the banking system. Such regulation will apply to us even after we repay TARP. Additionally, on January 12, 2010, the Board of Directors of the FDIC published an ANPR on Employee Compensation. The ANPR seeks comment on how, and whether, the FDICs risk-based deposit insurance assessment system applicable to all insured banks should be amended to account for risks imposed by employee compensation programs. Citing a broad consensus that some compensation structures misalign incentives and induce imprudent risk taking within financial organizations, the FDIC is considering establishing criteria to determine whether a financial institutions employee compensation programs provide incentives for employees to take excessive risks. The FDIC is concerned that such risk-taking increases the institutions risk of failure and thereby could lead to increased losses to the DIF. The ANPR proposal could apply not only to compensation at the insured depository, but also at its parent and nonbank affiliates. Under the approach outlined in the ANPR, whether a financial institutions compensation program either meets or does not meet the criteria would be used to adjust the institutions risk-based assessment rate, thereby acting as an incentive for institutions that meet the criteria and a disincentive for those that do not. According to the ANPR, the criteria that the FDIC is considering are not aimed at limiting the amount that insured depository institutions can pay their employees, but rather are intended to compensate the DIF for risks associated with certain compensation programs.
At this time, we cannot predict the impact of the Federal Reserves proposed guidance or the FDICs ANPR.
Our accounting policies and processes are critical to how we report our financial condition and results of operations. They require management to make estimates about matters that are uncertain.
Accounting policies and processes are fundamental to how we record and report the financial condition and results of operations. Management must exercise judgment in selecting and applying many of these accounting policies and processes so they comply with U.S. GAAP.
Management has identified certain accounting policies as being critical because they require managements judgment to ascertain the valuations of assets, liabilities, commitments, and contingencies. A variety of factors could affect the ultimate value that is obtained either when earning income, recognizing an expense, recovering an asset, valuing an asset or liability, or recognizing or reducing a liability. We have established detailed policies and control procedures that are intended to ensure these critical accounting estimates and judgments are well controlled and applied consistently. In addition, the policies and procedures are intended to ensure that the process for changing methodologies occurs in an appropriate manner. Because of the uncertainty surrounding our judgments and the estimates pertaining to these matters, we cannot guarantee that we will not be required to adjust accounting policies or restate prior period financial statements. See the Critical Accounting Policies in the MD&A and Note 1, Significant Accounting Policies, to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Changes in our accounting policies or in accounting standards could materially affect how we report our financial results and condition.
From time to time, the FASB and SEC change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our financial statements. These changes can be hard to predict and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, resulting in us restating prior period financial statements.
Our stock price can be volatile.
Our stock price can fluctuate widely in response to a variety of factors including:
General market fluctuations, industry factors, and general economic and political conditions and events, such as terrorist attacks, economic slowdowns or recessions, interest rate changes, credit loss trends, or currency fluctuations, also could cause our stock price to decrease regardless of operating results.
Our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.
Our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to reasonably assure that information required to be disclosed by us in reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accurately accumulated and communicated to management, and recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified in the SECs rules and forms. We believe that any disclosure controls and procedures or internal controls and procedures, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met.
These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, that alternative reasoned judgments can be drawn, or that breakdowns can occur because of a simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people or by an unauthorized override of the controls. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in our control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
Our financial instruments carried at fair value expose us to certain market risks.
We maintain an available for sale securities portfolio and trading assets which include various types of instruments and maturities. In addition, we elected to record selected fixed-rate debt, mortgage loans, securitization warehouses and other trading assets at fair value. The changes in fair value of the financial instruments elected to be carried at fair value are recognized in earnings. The financial instruments carried at fair value are exposed to market risks related to changes in interest rates, market liquidity, and our market-based credit spreads, as well as to the risk of default by specific borrowers. We manage the market risks associated with these instruments through active hedging arrangements or broader asset/liability management strategies. Changes in the market values of these financial instruments could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition or results of operations. We may classify additional financial assets or financial liabilities at fair value in the future.
Our revenues derived from our investment securities may be volatile and subject to a variety of risks.
We generally maintain investment securities and trading positions in the fixed income, currency, commodity, and equity markets. Unrealized gains and losses associated with our investment portfolio and mark to market gains and losses associated with our trading portfolio are affected by many factors, including interest rate volatility, volatility in capital markets, and other economic factors. Our return on such investments and trading have in the past experienced, and will likely in the future experience, volatility and such volatility may materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, accounting regulations may require us to record a charge prior to the actual realization of a loss when market valuations of such securities are impaired and such impairment is considered to be other than temporary.
We may enter into transactions with off-balance sheet affiliates or our subsidiaries.
We engage in a variety of transactions with off-balance sheet entities with which we are affiliated. While we have no obligation, contractual or otherwise, to do so, under certain limited circumstances, these transactions may involve providing some form of financial support to these entities. Any such actions may cause us to recognize current or future gains or losses. Depending on the nature and magnitude of any transaction we enter into with off-balance sheet entities, accounting rules may require us to consolidate the financial results of these entities with our financial results.
The Companys headquarters is located in Atlanta, Georgia. As of December 31, 2009, SunTrust Bank owned 598 of its 1,683 full-service banking offices and leased the remaining banking offices. (See Note 8, Premises and Equipment, to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion of its properties.)
The Company and its subsidiaries are parties to numerous claims and lawsuits arising in the normal course of its business activities, some of which involve claims for substantial amounts. Although the ultimate outcome of these suits cannot be ascertained at this time, it is the opinion of management that none of these matters, when resolved, will have a material effect on the Companys consolidated results of operations or financial position.
Also refer to Note 21, Contingencies, to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
There were no matters submitted to a vote of shareholders during the quarter ended December 31, 2009.
The principal market in which the common stock of the Company is traded is the NYSE. See Item 6 and Table 18 in the MD&A for information on the high and the low sales prices of the SunTrust Banks, Inc. common stock on the NYSE, which is incorporated herein by reference. During the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 we paid a quarterly dividend on common stock of $0.10 per common share for the first two quarters and $0.01 per common share for the third and fourth quarter compared to a quarterly dividend on common stock of $0.77 per common share for the first three quarters and $0.54 per common share in the fourth quarter of 2008. Our common stock is held of record by approximately 37,016 holders as of December 31, 2009. See Table 23 in the MD&A for information on the monthly share repurchases activity, including total common shares repurchased and announced programs, weighted average per share price, and the remaining buy-back authority under the announced programs, which is incorporated herein by reference.
Please also refer to Item 1, Business - Government Supervision and Regulation for a discussion of legal restrictions which affect our ability to pay dividends; Item 1A, Risk Factors, for a discussion of some risks related to our dividend, and Item 7, Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationCapital Resources, for a discussion of the dividends paid during the year and factors that may affect the future level of dividends.
The information under the caption Equity Compensation Plans in our definitive proxy statement to be filed with the SEC is incorporated by reference into this Item 5.
Set forth below is a line graph comparing the yearly percentage change in the cumulative total shareholder return on our common stock against the cumulative total return of the S&P Composite-500 Stock Index, and the S&P Commercial Bank Industry Index for the five years commencing December 31, 2004 and ending December 31, 2009. The foregoing analysis assumes an initial $100 investment in our stock and each index and the reinvestment of all dividends during the periods presented.
1See Non-GAAP reconcilements in Tables 21 and 22 of the Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
2Prior period amounts have been recalculated in accordance with updated accounting guidance related to earnings per share, that was effective January 1, 2009 and required retrospective application.
3Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009, SunTrust began recording the provision for unfunded commitments within the provision for credit losses in the Consolidated Statements of Income/(Loss). The provision for unfunded commitments for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $57.2 million. Considering the immateriality of this provision, prior to the fourth quarter of 2009, the provision for unfunded commitments remains classified within other noninterest expense in the Consolidated Statements of Income/(Loss).
4The common dividend payout ratio is not applicable in a period of net loss.
Important Cautionary Statement About Forward-Looking Statements
This report may contain forward-looking statements. Statements regarding (a) future levels of required mortgage repurchase reserves, revenue, net interest margin, charge-offs, provision expense, credit quality, FDIC and other regulatory expense, loans, LHFS, the investment portfolio, income, job losses, loan loss severities, loan loss frequency, and residential builder nonperforming loans, (b) the expected impact of the amendments to ASC 810-10 related to the consolidation of various VIEs; (c) expected changes in the rate or level of deposit growth, loan growth, charge-offs, loan loss frequencies, and nonperforming loans; and (d) expected future asset quality and the performance of the commercial and industrial and commercial real estate portfolios, are forward-looking statements. Also, statements that do not describe historical or current facts, including statements about future levels of revenues, net interest margin, FDIC and other regulatory expense, and credit quality are forward-looking statements. These statements often include the words believes, expects, anticipates, estimates, intends, plans, targets, initiatives, potentially, probably, projects, outlook or similar expressions or future conditional verbs such as may, will, should, would, and could. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of management and on information currently available to management. Such statements speak as of the date hereof, and we do not assume any obligation to update the statements made herein or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those contained in such statements in light of new information or future events.
Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on such statements. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Item 1A of Part I of this report and include risks discussed in this MD&A and in other periodic reports that we file with the SEC. Those factors include: difficult market conditions have adversely affected our industry; recent levels of market volatility are unprecedented; the soundness of other financial institutions could adversely affect us; recently enacted legislation or legislation enacted in the future, or any proposed federal programs subject us to increased regulation and may adversely affect us; we have not yet received permission to repay TARP funds; emergency measures designed to stabilize the U.S. banking system are beginning to wind down; we are subject to credit risk; weakness in the economy and in the real estate market, including specific weakness within our geographic footprint, has adversely affected us and may continue to adversely affect us; weakness in the real estate market, including the secondary residential mortgage loan markets, has adversely affected us and may continue to adversely affect us; as a financial services company, adverse changes in general business or economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations; changes in market interest rates or capital markets could adversely affect our revenue and expense, the value of assets and obligations, and the availability and cost of capital or liquidity; the fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government and its agencies could have a material adverse effect on our earnings; we may be required to repurchase mortgage loans or indemnify mortgage loan purchasers as a result of breaches of representations and warranties, borrower fraud, or certain borrower defaults, which could harm our liquidity, results of operations, and financial condition; we may continue to suffer increased losses in our loan portfolio despite enhancement of our underwriting policies; depressed market values for our stock may require us to write down goodwill; clients could pursue alternatives to bank deposits, causing us to lose a relatively inexpensive source of funding; consumers may decide not to use banks to complete their financial transactions, which could affect net income; we have businesses other than banking which subject us to a variety of risks; hurricanes and other natural disasters may adversely affect loan portfolios and operations and increase the cost of doing business; negative public opinion could damage our reputation and adversely impact business and revenues; we rely on other companies to provide key components of our business infrastructure; we rely on our systems, employees, and certain counterparties, and certain failures could materially adversely affect our operations; we depend on the accuracy and completeness of information about clients and counterparties; regulation by federal and state agencies could adversely affect the business, revenue, and profit margins; competition in the financial services industry is intense and could result in losing business or reducing margins; future legislation could harm our competitive position; maintaining or increasing market share depends on market acceptance and regulatory approval of new products and services; we may not pay dividends on your common stock; our ability to receive dividends from our subsidiaries accounts for most of our revenue and could affect our liquidity and ability to pay dividends; significant legal actions could subject us to substantial uninsured liabilities; recently declining values of real estate, increases in unemployment, and the related effects on local economies may increase our credit losses, which would negatively affect our financial results; deteriorating credit quality, particularly in real estate loans, has adversely impacted us and may continue to adversely impact us; our allowance for loan losses may not be adequate to cover our eventual losses; we will realize future losses if the proceeds we receive upon liquidation of nonperforming assets are less than the carrying value of such assets; disruptions in our ability to access global capital markets may negatively affect our capital resources and liquidity; credit rating agencies downgraded the credit ratings of SunTrust Bank and SunTrust Banks, Inc., and these downgrades and any subsequent downgrades could adversely impact the price and liquidity of our securities and could have an impact on our businesses and results of operations; we have in the past and may in the future pursue acquisitions, which could affect costs and from which we may not be able to realize anticipated benefits; we depend on the expertise of key
personnel, and if these individuals leave or change their roles without effective replacements, operations may suffer; we may not be able to hire or retain additional qualified personnel and recruiting and compensation costs may increase as a result of turnover, both of which may increase costs and reduce profitability and may adversely impact our ability to implement our business strategy; our accounting policies and processes are critical to how we report our financial condition and results of operations, and require management to make estimates about matters that are uncertain; changes in our accounting policies or in accounting standards could materially affect how we report our financial results and condition; our stock price can be volatile; our disclosure controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud; our financial instruments carried at fair value expose us to certain market risks; our revenues derived from our investment securities may be volatile and subject to a variety of risks; and we may enter into transactions with off-balance sheet affiliates or our subsidiaries.
This narrative will assist readers in their analysis of the accompanying consolidated financial statements and supplemental financial information. It should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes. When we refer to SunTrust, the Company, we, our and us in this narrative, we mean SunTrust Banks, Inc. and Subsidiaries (consolidated). Effective May 1, 2008, we acquired GB&T and the results of operations for GB&T were included with our results beginning on that date. Periods prior to the acquisition date do not reflect the impact of the merger.
In the MD&A, net interest income, net interest margin, and the efficiency ratio are presented on an FTE basis and the quarterly ratios are presented on an annualized basis. The FTE basis adjusts for the tax-favored status of income from certain loans and investments. We believe this measure to be the preferred industry measurement of net interest income and it enhances comparability of net interest income arising from taxable and tax-exempt sources. We also present diluted earnings per common share excluding goodwill and intangible impairment charges. We believe the exclusion of the impairment charges is more reflective of normalized operations and allows better comparability with peers throughout the industry. Additionally, we present a return on average realized common shareholders equity, as well as an ROE. We also present a ROA less net realized and unrealized securities gains/losses and an ROA. The return on average realized common shareholders equity and ROA less net realized and unrealized securities gains/losses exclude realized securities gains and losses and the Coke dividend, from the numerator, and net unrealized securities gains from the denominator. We present a tangible efficiency ratio and a tangible equity to tangible assets ratio, which excludes the effect of intangible assets costs. We believe these measures are useful to investors because, by removing the effect of intangible asset costs (the level of which may vary from company to company), it allows investors to more easily compare our efficiency and capital adequacy to other companies in the industry. We also present a tangible book value per common share ratio which excludes the after-tax impact of purchase accounting intangible assets. These measures are utilized by management to assess our financial performance and capital adequacy. We provide reconcilements in Tables 21 and 22 in the MD&A for all non-U.S. GAAP measures. Certain reclassifications may be made to prior period financial statements and related information to conform them to the 2009 presentation.
We are one of the nations largest commercial banking organizations and our headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia. Our principal banking subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, offers a full line of financial services for consumers and businesses through its branches located primarily in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Within our geographic footprint, we operate under four business segments: Retail and Commercial, Corporate and Investment Banking, Household Lending, and Wealth and Investment Management, with the remainder in Corporate Other and Treasury. In addition to traditional deposit, credit, and trust and investment services offered by SunTrust Bank, our other subsidiaries provide mortgage banking, credit-related insurance, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services.
While many economists have declared the recession to be over or at least abating by the end of 2009, the economic environment during 2009 adversely impacted our financial performance and will likely continue to impact our performance into 2010, particularly related to credit which tends to lag economic cycles. We recognize that the beginning of a recovery is just that, a beginning, and history tells us that, looking over the long-term, it will take time before economic stabilization meaningfully translates into bottom line results for traditional banks. Asset quality, revenues and ultimately earnings improvement will need time to gain traction and the timing will be largely dependent upon the strength and sustainability of the economic recovery, both of which remain uncertain at the end of 2009. Regardless of when economists determine the end of the recession, the economy remains weak, as evidenced by many key economic indicators. Notably, the national unemployment rate rose steadily during the year to finish at 10.0% as of December 31, which is up from a high of 7.4% at the end of 2008. More specifically, the unemployment rate exceeds 10% within many of our markets. Furthermore, it is believed that the national unemployment rate will remain elevated during much of 2010. Additionally, home prices remain depressed and continued to decline throughout the year in some of our more significant markets.
The Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and U.S. government undertook steps during the year to strengthen the capital of financial institutions, stimulate lending, and inject liquidity into the financial markets. Among the steps taken by the government agencies, the TLGP was extended into late 2009, billions of MBS were purchased in the open market, trillions of debt obligations were issued, and benchmark interest rates were kept at record low levels throughout the year. As 2009 came to a close, the U.S. government and bank regulators were discussing how to reduce their involvement as a financial intermediary in the markets due to the markets having exhibited some signs of stability. Most notably, the government is assessing when to discontinue some of its support programs including its ongoing purchases of mortgage-backed assets. This reduction in support could cause mortgage interest rates to rise which would result in a potential reduction in mortgage originations, decrease in value of mortgage loans and securities, and an overall slowing of the housing market. Concurrently, the financial services industry is entering a new phase in its relationship with regulatory authorities as the regulators debate new regulations and requirements that would affect our business, some in a negative way. See additional discussion of risks associated with potential new regulations in Item 1, Business, under the heading Government Supervision and Regulation and Item 1A., Risk Factors in this 10-K.
During 2009, the federal bank regulatory agencies completed a review, called the SCAP, commonly referred to as the stress test, of the capital needs through the end of 2010 of the nineteen largest U.S. bank holding companies. The Federal Reserve announced the results of the SCAP on May 7, 2009. The Federal Reserve advised us that, based on the SCAP review, we presently have and are projected to continue to have Tier 1 capital well in excess of the amount required to be well capitalized through the forecast period under both the baseline scenario and the more adverse-than-expected scenario (more adverse) as estimated by the U.S. Treasury. The SCAPs more adverse scenario represents a hypothetical scenario that involves a recession that is longer and more severe than consensus expectations and results in higher than expected credit losses, but is not a forecast of expected losses or revenues. The Federal Reserve advised us that based on the more adverse scenario that it required us to adjust the composition of our Tier 1 capital by increasing the Tier 1 common equity portion by $2.2 billion. The common equity increase prescribed by the Federal Reserve is necessary to maintain Tier 1 common equity at 4% of risk weighted assets under the more adverse scenario, as specified by a new regulatory standard that was introduced as part of the stress test. This increase satisfied the regulatory request that we have an increased mix of common equity as a percentage of Tier 1 capital, to serve as a buffer against higher losses than generally expected, and allow us to remain well capitalized and able to lend to creditworthy borrowers should such losses materialize. Our 2009 actual credit losses were significantly less than the projections utilized in the SCAP process.
During the second quarter, in response to the SCAP, we successfully completed our capital plan and initiatives, generating $2.3 billion of capital and exceeding the target of $2.2 billion established by the Federal Reserve. The transactions utilized to raise the capital included the issuance of common stock, the repurchase of certain preferred stock and hybrid debt securities, and the sale of Visa Class B shares. These capital raising transactions increased Tier 1 common equity by $2.1 billion and were the driving factor in the increase in our Tier 1 common equity ratio to 7.67% at December 31, 2009 compared to 5.83% at December 31, 2008. During the second quarter, we completed all required capital initiatives and believe that relative to the more adverse scenario, additional capital will be achieved through lower credit losses than projected by SCAP. As a result of the successful capital plan and initiatives, we have the ability and desire to repay the U.S. government for funds borrowed in the form of preferred stock issued by us under the CPP. However, our repayment of TARP funds is predicated on approval by our primary regulator, the Federal Reserve. See additional discussion of SCAP and the capital plan and initiatives in the Capital Resources section of this MD&A.
Despite the challenging economic environment, we continue to operate from a position of strength and are focused on growing revenue, improving expense efficiency, increasing the profitability of the balance sheet, investing for the future, and prudently managing credit. To this end, we remain acutely focused on clients, improving service quality and front-line execution, controlling expenses, and managing risk. During the year, revenue was soft, loan demand was down, credit costs were higher, and asset quality was weak. We are seeing sustained economic weakness that has reduced demand for loans as clients have focused on capital preservation and debt reduction, while accessing the debt markets in lieu of bank loans. However, we have also experienced positive operating trends in many of our businesses that included strong deposit growth, improved funding mix, significant expansion of net interest margin, positive fee income growth in certain areas, continued strong expense management, and credit trends that improved during the last half of 2009. Specifically, in the last quarter of 2009, we experienced declining net charge-offs and early stage delinquencies, stabilizing nonperforming loans, and a lesser increase in the ALLL. We believe our strong foundation coupled with our client-focused execution, risk mitigation capabilities, and the long-term economic prospects of our markets position us to deliver improving financial performance as the operating environment improves.
The difficult economic environment during 2009 negatively impacted our financial performance as we realized a net loss available to common shareholders of $1.7 billion, or $3.98 per common share. The net loss during the year was primarily a result of goodwill impairment taken during the first quarter and increased provisioning for credit losses during the year. The first quarter non-cash goodwill impairment charge attributable to common shareholders was $714.8 million, after-tax, or $1.64 per common share, while the provision for credit losses increased by $993.6 million, after-tax, or $2.28 per common share.
While 2009 was a year of poor credit performance as most notably evidenced by our higher allowance for loan losses, provision for credit losses, net charge-offs, and nonperforming assets, asset quality trends improved in the final quarter of 2009 when compared to the previous quarter as evidenced by the decline in credit losses and early stage delinquencies and stabilization of nonperforming loans. In addition, our reserve build decreased during each consecutive quarter during the year with the fourth quarter allowance for loan losses having increased by only 3.2% from the prior quarter. However, absolute asset quality issues remain centered in the residential real estate-related portfolios, including residential mortgages, home equity products, and residential construction. In addition, we experienced some weakness in our commercial client base, particularly those in more cyclically sensitive industries, and in our small business portfolio, and we expect that we will continue to see stress in asset quality in the commercial portfolio. The $1.7 billion increase in net charge-offs during the year was primarily related to residential mortgages, large corporate borrowers in economically cyclical industries, and the resolution of loan workouts related to the home builder portfolio. Our nonperforming loans grew by $1.5 billion during 2009, which is a result of the economic environment causing increased client defaults on their loans and extended disposition times on our consumer loans secured by residential real estate. Given the extended timelines to foreclose, especially in Florida, we expect that our nonperforming loan levels will remain elevated throughout 2010. However, during the second half of 2009, the level of increases in nonperforming loans moderated as compared to the increases seen during the first six months of the year. This moderation in nonperforming loans, the first since the credit crisis began in 2007, was mainly due to a reduction in nonaccrual commercial loans as the result of charge-offs recognized during the second half of the year and the transfer of certain commercial loans out of nonaccrual due to improved performance. We have implemented numerous loss mitigation efforts and are working to effectively manage elevated levels of nonperforming loans. While not a primary driver of the improvement, our proactive mortgage loan modification programs have had a positive influence on these delinquency and nonperforming loan trends. We have seen a $1.2 billion increase in accruing restructured loans during 2009, which is due to us taking proactive steps to responsibly modify loans in order to mitigate loss exposure related to borrowers experiencing financial difficulty. We are aggressively pursuing modifications when there is a reasonable chance that the modification will allow the client to continue to remain in their home. Although, when there has been a loss of income such that the client cannot reasonably support even a modified loan, we are strongly encouraging short sales and deed-in-lieu arrangements and relocation to more affordable housing. See additional discussion of credit and asset quality in the Loans, Allowance for Credit Losses, Provision for Credit Losses, and Nonperforming Assets sections of this MD&A.
Despite the net losses in 2009, our capital and liquidity positions are stronger at the end of 2009 compared to prior year as evidenced by the growth during the year in our capital and liquidity ratios and growth in deposits. Our Tier 1 common equity ratio improved to 7.67% from 5.83% at December 31, 2008. In addition, our Tier 1 capital ratio increased to 12.96% which is a 209 basis point increase from 10.87% at December 31, 2008. These improvements were the result of the capital raising transactions during the second quarter of 2009, as well as lower risk weighted assets from a reduction in loans and unfunded commitments. We also have substantial available liquidity as the inflows of high quality deposits have largely been retained in cash and invested in high quality government-backed securities. See additional discussion of our capital and liquidity position in the Capital Resources and Liquidity Risk sections of this MD&A.
During the year, we experienced a significant increase in consumer and commercial deposits as evidenced by an 11.7% increase in average deposits compared to the prior year. Growth has occurred in all deposit products with money market and DDAs comprising the majority of the increase. This record level of deposits was driven by the industry-wide trend of clients seeking the security of bank deposits; however, we believe our improved products and pricing, enhanced client service, and the Live Solid. Bank Solid. brand advertising specifically assisted us in attracting new clients and expanding existing relationships. Further, through an intense focus on improved execution, we have been successful in improving client satisfaction, acquisition, and retention. Additionally, as a result of the increase in these core deposits, we have been able to reduce our exposure to foreign deposits and higher-cost brokered deposits by $2.5 billion, or 31.0%, since December 31, 2008 as well as higher-cost long-term debt by $9.3 billion, or 34.8%, over this same period. While we witnessed solid growth in core deposits during 2009, it has moderated during the latter part of the year, causing us to believe that it may further moderate going forward as the economy improves. Despite the moderation in total deposit growth, the mix of deposits continues to shift towards lower cost transaction accounts.
During the year, average loans declined $4.4 billion, or 3.5%, and total loans at December 31, 2009 were down 10.5% from prior year. Our aggressive effort to reduce exposure to construction lending, as evidenced by the 44.7% decline in average balances versus the previous year, was a primary driver of the decline in average loans during the year. In addition, we reduced our exposure to residential real estate loans as evidenced by the $3.0 billion, or 9.4%, decrease in average residential real estate loans in 2009. The decline in the remaining loan categories is primarily due to weak loan demand as a result of the economic environment, which has caused clients to be focused on capital preservation and an allocation of excess funds for debt reduction. The trend of declining line of credit utilization among our mid-size and larger corporate clients continued due to improved access to capital markets and lower working capital needs. We remain focused on extending credit to qualified borrowers as businesses and consumers work through the current economic downturn. Despite the reduction in our overall loan portfolio, new loan originations, commitments, and renewals of commercial and consumer loans were approximately $90 billion during 2009, with residential mortgage originations leading the way.
We increased our securities available for sale holdings during the year, resulting in a 44.6% increase in the year end balance compared to prior year end. This increase was led by the increase in our holdings of U.S. Treasury and agency securities by over $7 billion in light of the increased liquidity from higher deposits and lower loan balances. In addition, agency MBS increased by over $1 billion. This increase was related to sales during the year where we had the opportunity to manage the portfolios duration by selling bonds at a gain and repositioning the MBS portfolio into securities that we believe have higher relative value. As a result of the securities sales, we realized $98.0 million in net gains during the year.
FTE net interest income was $4.6 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009, compared to $4.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2008. FTE total revenue was down 9.9% to $8.3 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009 as a result of soft revenue generation in certain areas and substantially lower securities gains compared to the prior year. Net interest margin in 2009 decreased six basis points when compared to the prior year primarily as a result of decreased loan pricing that outpaced the decreased deposit pricing during the year. Total noninterest expense increased by $683.4 million, or 11.6%, in 2009, primarily driven by the $751.2 million non-cash goodwill impairment charge recognized during the year. Provision for credit losses was $4.1 billion for the year ended 2009, an increase of $1.6 billion from the prior year. The provision for loan losses was $769.0 million higher than net charge-offs of $3.2 billion for the year. The ALLL increased $769.0 million, or 32.7%, from December 31, 2008 and was 2.76% of total loans not carried at fair value compared to 1.86% as of December 31, 2008. Net charge-offs to average loans were 2.67% for the year ended 2009 compared to 1.25% for 2008. Nonperforming assets rose during the year to $6.1 billion at year end compared to $4.5 billion at the end of last year. The average shareholders equity to average total assets ratio and the tangible equity to tangible assets ratio both improved from 10.58% and 8.46% at December 31, 2008 to 12.70% and 9.66%, respectively, at December 31, 2009. We recorded $265.8 million in dividends and accretion during 2009 related to preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury under the CPP compared to $26.6 million during 2008. See additional discussion of our financial performance in the Consolidated Financial Results section of this MD&A.
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL RESULTS
Table 1 - Consolidated Daily Average Balances, Income/Expense And Average Yields Earned And Rates Paid
1Interest income includes loan fees of $140.6 million, $134.5 million, and $119.8 million for the three years ended December 31, 2009, 2008, and 2007, respectively. Nonaccrual loans are included in average balances and income on such loans, if recognized, is recorded on a cash basis.
2Interest income includes the effects of taxable-equivalent adjustments using a federal income tax rate of 35% and, where applicable, state income taxes to increase tax-exempt interest income to a taxable-equivalent basis. The net taxable-equivalent adjustment amounts included in the above table aggregated $123.3 million, $117.5 million, and $102.7 million for the three years ended December 31, respectively.
3 The Company obtained derivative instruments to manage the Companys interest-sensitivity position that increased net interest income $488.2 million and $180.7 million in the periods ended December 31, 2009 and 2008, respectively and decreased net interest income $25.6 million in the period ended December 31, 2007.
4The net interest margin is calculated by dividing net interest income FTE by average total earning assets.
Table 2 - Analysis of Changes in Net Interest Income 1
1Changes in net interest income are attributed to either changes in average balances (volume change) or changes in average rates (rate change) for earning assets and sources of funds on which interest is received or paid. Volume change is calculated as change in volume times the previous rate, while rate change is change in rate times the previous volume. The rate/volume change, change in rate times change in volume, is allocated between volume change and rate change at the ratio each component bears to the absolute value of their total.
2Interest income includes the effects of taxable-equivalent adjustments (reduced by the nondeductible portion of interest expense) using a federal income tax rate of 35% and, where applicable, state income taxes to increase tax-exempt interest income to a taxable-equivalent basis.
Net Interest Income/Margin
FTE net interest income was $4,589.0 million during 2009, a decrease of $148.2 million, or 3.1%, from 2008. Net interest margin decreased six basis points from 3.10% in 2008 to 3.04% in 2009, while average earning assets decreased $1.8 billion, or 1.2%. Earning asset yields declined 100 basis points from 5.53% to 4.53%, and the rates paid on interest-bearing liabilities over the same period decreased 103 basis points.
Throughout 2009, we experienced an upward net interest margin trend, from 2.87% in the first quarter to 3.27% in the fourth quarter. The combination of liabilities re-pricing at lower rates and an increase in client deposits, as well as improved deposit mix, enabled a reduction in higher-cost sources of funding while loans and earning assets declined more rapidly, offsetting some of the benefit. Loan and deposit pricing are the primary opportunities to generate additional margin expansion in 2010, while the primary risks relate to the possibility that nonperforming assets will rise and loan demand will remain sluggish. Our current expectation for net interest margin in the near-term is for some compression. A full quarters impact of holding $5 billion in U.S. Treasury securities and the first quarter consolidation of selected off-balance sheet entities, are expected to have a small negative impact on margin which may be partially offset by improvements in deposit pricing. Additionally, we expect to experience a seasonal decline in deposits.
Average earning assets decreased $1.8 billion, or 1.2%, from 2008. Average loans decreased $4.4 billion, or 3.5%. The decline is attributable to a $4.8 billion, or 44.7%, reduction in real estate construction loans, a $3.0 billion, or 9.4%, reduction in real estate 1-4 family residential loans, and a $1.7 billion, or 4.4%, reduction in commercial loans. The decreases in real estate construction, 1-4 family residential loans and commercial loans were partially offset by increases in the commercial real estate loan portfolio of $1.6 billion, or 11.5%, as well as a $3.0 billion, or 104.8%, increase in nonperforming and restructured loans. To offset the decline in loans, average securities available for sale increased $6.7 billion, or 50.6%, from 2008 due to a $4.6 billion increase in MBS and a $2.1 billion increase in U.S. Treasury and agency securities.
Yields on average earning assets declined 100 basis points from 2008 to 2009 driven by declines in market interest rates. Our loan portfolio yielded 4.66% for the year 2009, down 95 basis points from 2008. A large percentage of our commercial loans are variable rate indexed to one month LIBOR. In order to manage interest rate risk, we utilized receive fixed/pay floating interest rate swaps to hedge interest income in a declining rate environment. That interest rate risk management strategy along with increased swap-related notional balances ($8.6 billion of additional floating rate commercial loans were swapped to fixed rate) and lower rates in 2009 resulted in swap income increasing from $229.0 million in 2008 to $539.5 million in 2009. While the underlying loans swapped to fixed are classified as both commercial real estate and commercial, all of the swap income is recorded as interest on commercial loans. The classification of all swap income in the commercial loan category, combined with the increased notional value of received fixed swaps and the declining balance of commercial loans, produced a significantly smaller decline in reported commercial loan yields as compared to underlying rate indices. In addition, loan-related interest income was augmented in 2009 by our loan pricing initiatives.
Average interest earning trading assets declined by $3.8 billion, or 49.3%. Despite the decline in trading assets, we continue to use this portfolio as part of our overall asset/liability management; however, the size and nature of trading assets will fluctuate over various economic cycles. Average LHFS were $5.2 billion during 2009, an increase of 2.4% from the prior year. The increase in LHFS occurred as a result of increased mortgage loan production.
Average consumer and commercial deposits increased $11.8 billion, or 11.7%, in 2009 compared to 2008. This growth consisted of increases of $5.3 billion, or 20.0%, in money market accounts, $3.3 billion, or 15.8%, in demand deposits, $2.5 billion, or 12.0%, in NOW accounts, and $819.1 million, or 2.8%, in time deposits. Deposit growth was the result of marketing campaigns, competitive pricing, and clients increased preference for the security of insured deposit products. However, a portion of the deposit growth is related to the industry-wide flight to the safety of insured deposits and reduced client demand for sweep accounts due to the low interest rate environment. The overall growth in consumer and commercial deposits allowed for a reduction in other funding sources, including $4.8 billion of brokered deposits, $3.8 billion of foreign deposits, and $2.8 billion of long-term debt. Overall, average interest-bearing liabilities declined $7.0 billion, or 5.4%. We continue to pursue deposit growth initiatives to increase our presence in specific markets within our footprint. Competition for deposits remains strong, and as a result, deposit pricing pressure remains across our footprint. Despite these challenging market conditions, we have used a combination of regional and product-specific pricing initiatives to balance margin and volume, while still growing our average deposit balances. We continue to believe that we are also benefiting from a number of actions taken to improve marketplace awareness and client service. The Live Solid. Bank Solid. branding campaign continues to be very well received and we believe it is helping drive client acquisition. We also continue to refine pricing tactics to be competitive while maintaining deposit rates that are attractive to our clients. Notwithstanding these deposit generation successes, some of the deposit growth is due to seasonality and the economic environment. Deposit balances are expected to decline modestly in the first quarter related to seasonality, and further over time as the economy improves.
During 2009, the interest rate environment was characterized by lower rates, yet a steeper yield curve versus 2008. More specifically, the Fed funds target rate averaged 0.25%, a decrease of 183 basis points, the Prime rate averaged 3.25%, a decrease of 183 basis points, one-month LIBOR averaged 0.33%, a decrease of 235 basis points, five-year swaps averaged 2.65%, a decrease of 104 basis points, and ten-year swaps averaged 3.44%, a decrease of 80 basis points. Rates paid on deposits, our most significant funding source, tend to track movements in one-month LIBOR, while our fixed rate loan yields tend to track movements in the five-year swap rate. However, due to the competition and customer demands surrounding deposits, deposit pricing has reached an effective floor in some products, as evidenced by the 92 basis point decline in the average rate paid on interest-bearing consumer and commercial deposits versus the 235 basis point decline noted in one-month LIBOR.
Foregone interest income from nonperforming loans reduced net interest margin by 21 basis points for 2009 as average nonaccrual loans increased $2.3 billion, or 82.7% from 2008. See additional discussion of our expectations for future levels of credit quality in the Allowance for Credit Losses, Provision for Credit Losses, and Nonperforming Assets sections of this MD&A. Tables 1 and 2 contain more detailed information concerning average balances, yields earned, and rates paid.
Table 3 - Noninterest Income
Noninterest income decreased by $763.3 million, or 17.1%, in 2009, compared to 2008, driven largely by transactional items in 2008 that did not recur in 2009 such as gains from the sale and contribution of Coke stock, gains from the sale of certain businesses, and gains from the sale/leaseback of certain corporate real estate properties. In addition, mark to market valuation losses on our public debt and related hedges carried at fair value were recognized in 2009 while mark to market valuation gains were recognized in 2008. The decrease in noninterest income was partially offset by higher mortgage-related income as a result of increased mortgage production in 2009 and an impairment charge recorded on our MSRs carried at LOCOM during 2008 which was partially recovered in 2009. Additionally, in 2008, we recorded valuation losses related to our expected purchase of ARS and mark to market write-downs related to illiquid securities and warehouse loans carried at market that partially offset the overall decline in noninterest income.
Combined mortgage-related income increased $746.4 million compared to 2008. Mortgage servicing related income increased $541.7 million compared to 2008, primarily due to a $199.2 million recovery of impairment on the MSRs carried at LOCOM in 2009 compared to $370.0 million in impairment charges recorded during 2008 on our MSRs portfolio. This increase was partially offset by higher amortization of MSRs due to an increase in prepayments, as well as a decline in the fair value of MSRs.
Mortgage production related income increased $204.7 million, or 119.4%, compared to 2008, primarily due to a $13.7 billion, or 37.6%, increase in production volume that was partially offset by a $346.1 million increase in mortgage repurchase related losses compared to 2008. The increase in production volume during 2009 was due in large part to increased refinancing activity, which we do not expect to remain at this level in the near term. Mortgage repurchase related losses increased from $98.2 million in 2008 to $444.3 million in 2009 as a result of increased repurchase requests from government-sponsored agencies. As discussed in more detail in Note 18, Reinsurance Arrangements and Guarantees, to the Consolidated Financial Statements, we provide standard representations and warranties when loans are sold to third party investors. If it is later determined that such representations have been breached, the investor will request that we either purchase the nonperforming loan or reimburse the investor for the loss incurred. Although mortgage repurchase reserves are established at the time of sale, actual credit losses have exceeded the original estimates and we are recognizing higher losses. We update our loss estimate by analyzing the population of loans sold by vintage and product in relation to our recent experience and expected repurchase levels and as a result, the reserve for the repurchase of mortgage loans has increased. A shift in the volume of repurchase requests occurred during the course of 2009 from loans originated and sold prior to 2007. During the latter half of 2009, the majority of our repurchase requests pertained to loans originated and sold in 2007. We believe ultimate losses on newer vintages, specifically 2008 and later, may be lower than older vintages. The elimination of Alt-A loan products, tighter credit and underwriting guidelines, and enhanced processes have reduced the risk profile and, therefore, the repurchase risk exposure of loans originated and sold since 2008. In addition, loans sold in recent years have lower original loan-to-values and are subject to less home price depreciation which should reduce loss severities. While mortgage repurchase related losses are expected to remain elevated during 2010, the shift towards loans originated and sold
in more recent years gives us reason to believe that successful repurchase requests by investors and loss severities will decline. The level of losses and reserves during 2010 are dependent primarily upon the continued shift in request volume to newer vintages and no significant deterioration in the overall asset quality of the previously sold loans as indicated by borrower payment performance.
Net securities gains of $1.1 billion for 2008 included a $732.2 million gain on the sale and contribution of a portion of our investment in Coke common stock in addition to a $413.1 million gain on the sale of MBS held in conjunction with our risk management strategies associated with economically hedging the value of MSRs. These gains were partially offset by the recognition through earnings of $83.8 million in charges related to certain ABS that were determined in 2008 to be other-than-temporarily impaired. For additional information on transactions related to our holdings in Coke common stock, refer to Investment in Common Shares of The Coca-Cola Company within this MD&A. During 2009, we recorded net securities gains of $98.0 million which included a $90.2 million gain on the sale of approximately $9.2 billion of agency MBS. These sales were associated with repositioning the MBS portfolio into securities we believe have higher relative value. Net securities gains also included $20.0 million of credit-related OTTI losses on securities with a fair value of approximately $310.6 million, consisting primarily of purchased and retained private residential MBS.
In May 2009, we sold 3.2 million of our Visa Class B shares and entered into a derivative related to such shares. We recognized a gain of $112.1 million in connection with these transactions. During the first quarter of 2008, Visa completed its IPO, and upon the closing, approximately 2 million of our Class B shares were mandatorily redeemed for $86.3 million, which was recorded as a gain in noninterest income. See Note 18, Reinsurance Arrangements and Guarantees, to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion of the Visa transaction. Gain on sale of businesses consists of an $89.4 million gain on the sale of our remaining interest in Lighthouse Investment Partners during the first quarter of 2008, an $81.8 million gain on the sale of TransPlatinum, our fuel card and fleet management subsidiary, in the third quarter of 2008, a $29.6 million gain on the sale of First Mercantile, a retirement plan services subsidiary, during the second quarter of 2008, and a $2.7 million loss on the sale of a majority interest in ZCI during the fourth quarter of 2008.
Trust and investment management income decreased $105.8 million, or 17.9%, compared to 2008, primarily due to lower fee income attributable to the decline in the equity markets, lower interest rates, and a decline in income associated with the sale of First Mercantile on May 30, 2008. Retail investment services income decreased $71.3 million, or 24.7%, compared to 2008, due to lower annuity sales and reduced brokerage activity and client asset balances. Service charges on deposit accounts decreased $55.7 million, or 6.2%, compared to 2008, as a result of a reduction in consumer spending and lower non-sufficient fund fees. We expect to comply with regulatory changes made by the Federal Reserve and are monitoring potential legislative proposals which, should they become effective, have the potential to affect our ability to generate certain types of fee income in future periods.
Trading account profits/(losses) and commissions decreased $78.9 million compared to 2008, primarily due to $153.0 million in mark to market losses on our public debt and related hedges carried at fair value during 2009 compared with gains of $431.7 million in 2008. The losses during 2009 were caused by an improvement in our credit spreads. These losses were partially offset by $255.9 million in market valuation losses recorded during 2008 on our investments in certain illiquid ABS compared to small gains in 2009 as our exposure to these investments has been substantially reduced through sales, maturities, and write-downs. Additionally, during 2008, we recorded a $177.7 million loss related to our expected repurchase of certain ARS. Capital markets related trading income increased during 2009, compared to the same periods in 2008, due to improved equity derivatives and bond trading offset by decreased fixed income derivative performance. Investment banking income increased $35.5 million, or 15.0%, compared to 2008, due to improved bond origination fees, loan syndication fees, equity underwriting, and direct financing revenues.
Other income decreased $76.2 million, or 31.8%, compared to 2008. The decline was primarily due to losses recognized on certain private equity investments and leases in 2009 compared to gains in 2008 and a recovery from the resolution of a litigation matter recognized in 2008.
During 2008, we completed sale/leaseback transactions, consisting of 152 branch properties and various individual office buildings. In total, we sold and concurrently leased back $201.9 million in land and buildings with associated accumulated depreciation of $110.3 million. For the year ended December 31, 2008, we recognized $37.0 million of the gain immediately while the remaining $160.3 million in gains were deferred and will be recognized ratably over the expected term of the respective leases, predominantly as an offset to net occupancy expense.
Table 4 - Noninterest Expense
Noninterest expense increased by $683.4 million, or 11.6%, in 2009 compared to 2008. The increase was primarily due to the $751.2 million non-cash goodwill impairment charge recorded in the first quarter of 2009 compared to a $45.0 million impairment charge related to a specific customer intangible asset recognized in the second quarter of 2008. Excluding the impact of the goodwill and customer intangible impairment charges, noninterest expense decreased by $22.8 million, or 0.4%, in 2009 compared to 2008. This slight decrease in noninterest expense (excluding impairment charges) resulted from a decline in credit-related expenses and marketing and customer development. Offsetting these decreases in 2009 were increases in personnel expense, outside processing and software, regulatory assessments, Visa litigation expense, debt extinguishment costs, and other economically cyclical expenses.
Amortization/impairment of intangible assets increased $685.5 million in 2009. The primary driver of the increase was a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $751.2 million recorded in the first quarter of 2009 related to the Household Lending, Commercial Real Estate, and Affordable Housing businesses. The impairment resulted from continued deterioration in real estate markets and the macro economy, which placed downward pressure on the fair value of our mortgage and commercial real estate-related businesses, and caused the significant decline in our market capitalization during the first quarter. The impairment charge had no impact on our regulatory capital and tangible equity ratios. In the second quarter of 2008, we recorded an impairment charge of $45.0 million related to a specific customer intangible asset.
Credit-related costs include operating losses, credit and collection services, other real estate expense and mortgage reinsurance expense. These expenses decreased $169.7 million, or 19.1%, from 2008. Operating losses decreased $346.7 million, or 77.7%, compared to 2008 primarily due to a change in classification related to borrower misrepresentation and claim denials. Prior to the first quarter of 2009, borrower misrepresentation and mortgage insurance claim denials were charged to operating losses. Beginning in 2009, we began recording these losses as charge-offs first against the previously established reserves for fraud losses and then against the ALLL, where the estimated reserves related to these loans are now included. See additional discussion related to these losses in the Allowance for Credit Losses section of this MD&A. Included in 2008 was a $206.9 million reserve recorded for borrower misrepresentations and insurance claim denials. Other real estate expense increased $139.0 million, or 132.8%, in 2009 compared to 2008. This increase was due to a $129.1
million increase in valuation related losses on OREO properties and a $40.4 million increase in property expenses, partially offset by net gains of $30.4 million on the sale of properties. Mortgage reinsurance reserve expense, which pertains to our mortgage reinsurance subsidiary, Twin Rivers, decreased from $179.9 million in 2008 to $114.9 million in 2009 as a result of losses reaching or approaching our loss limits within the insurance contracts in 2009. Twin Rivers loss exposure arises from third party mortgage insurers transferring a portion of their first loss exposure when losses by mortgage origination year exceed certain thresholds. Credit and collection services expense increased $103.0 million, or 65.9%, in 2009 compared to 2008 due to increased collection and loss mitigation activity.
Marketing and customer development expense decreased $220.7 million, or 59.3%, in 2009, compared to the same period in 2008. The decrease was due to a reduction in corporate advertising and donations expense as a result of the $183.4 million contribution of Coke stock to the SunTrust Foundation made in the third quarter of 2008 and the related impact of reducing our ongoing contributions. Most of the remaining decrease related to a decline in customer development and promotion expenses.
Personnel expenses in 2009 increased by $38.7 million, or 1.4%, from the same period in 2008. The slight increase in personnel expense is attributable to pension costs increasing from $23.9 million in 2008 to $140.9 million in 2009 resulting from an increase in the pension obligation due to 2009 market valuation assumptions. The increase in pension costs were offset by a decline in salaries expense of $69.7 million from 2008 to 2009 reflecting a reduction of approximately 1,332 full time equivalent employees since December 31, 2008 to 28,001 as of December 31, 2009. Personnel expense was also impacted by an increase in incentive compensation primarily related to improved performance in certain businesses.
Outside processing and software increased $86.7 million, or 17.6%, compared to 2008 primarily due to our contracting with a third party in the third quarter of 2008 to provide certain check and related processing operations.
Regulatory assessments expense grew from $54.9 million in 2008 to $302.2 million in 2009 as a result of higher FDIC insurance premium rates and increased deposit balances, as the FDIC sought to replenish the insurance fund. Also contributing to the increase in 2009 was the FDIC special assessment recorded in the second quarter of 2009. The special assessment was a charge that the FDIC levied on all banks to assist in replenishing their reserves. Our portion of that assessment was $78.2 million. In the fourth quarter of 2009, we prepaid three years of expected FDIC premiums in accordance with a newly-enacted regulatory requirement. The total premium of $925 million will be amortized into expense over the next three years. The assessment will also increase in 2011 as a result of a three basis point increase which is effective January 1, 2011. Other future assessments or taxes may occur on financial institutions as a result of legislative developments and the support of the current administration.
Visa litigation expense increased by $40.5 million in 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. This increase is related to a $53.5 million reversal, during 2008, of a portion of the accrued liability associated with the Visa litigation as a result of the funding by Visa of the litigation escrow account, partly offset by accruals based on the resolution of certain Visa related matters.
Net loss on debt extinguishment increased from $11.7 million in 2008 to $39.4 million in 2009. The increase resulted primarily from early termination fees for FHLB advances repaid during the fourth quarter of 2009 resulting in a $23.5 million loss, net of gains on the early extinguishment of other long-term debt. These advance terminations were part of the initiative we took to take advantage of the strong liquidity position we currently benefit from to repay wholesale funding and improve margin.
Other noninterest expense increased $14.7 million, or 4.7%, in 2009 compared to 2008. The increase was due primarily to write-downs of $46.8 million related to affordable housing properties in 2009 as compared to $19.9 million of related charges in 2008. Also contributing to the increase was a $10.7 million increase in unfunded commitment expenses compared to 2008, primarily related to increased loss exposure to unfunded commitments extended to a few large corporate clients and some migration in risk ratings. Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009, we began recording expense related to unfunded commitment reserves in the provision for credit losses instead of noninterest expense. The expense which was included in the provision for credit losses during the fourth quarter of 2009 amounted to $57.2 million. Partially offsetting the increase were gains from the current year sale of corporate assets and the successful resolution of specific contingent items in 2009.
Other operating expenses remain well controlled as a result of our ongoing commitment to improving efficiency.
Provision for Income Taxes
The provision for income taxes includes both federal and state income taxes. In 2009, the provision for income taxes was a benefit of $898.8 million, compared to a tax benefit of $67.3 million in 2008. The provision represents a negative 36.5% effective tax rate for 2009 compared to a negative 9.2% effective tax rate for 2008. The 2009 effective tax rate was primarily attributable to the pre-tax loss and further increased by net favorable permanent tax items such as tax-exempt interest income, federal tax credits and the release of unrecognized tax benefits related to the completion of audit examinations by
several taxing authorities during 2009. The tax benefit was reduced by a goodwill impairment, a significant portion of which was non-tax deductible. The 2008 effective tax rate included a discrete tax benefit related to the release of the deferred tax liability of approximately $65.8 million (net of valuation allowance) in connection with the contribution of 3.6 million shares of Coke common stock to the SunTrust Foundation.
Table 5 - Loan Portfolio by Types of Loans
Table 6 - Selected Residential Real Estate Loan Quality Information
1Nonaccruing TDRs are included in Nonperforming Loans
Table 7 - Funded Exposures by Selected Industries1
1Industry groupings have been modified from the prior year presentation that was based on the NAICS. The new presentation presents exposure to industries as a result of repayment risk of the loan and allows for better comparability with industry peers who use a similar presentation. As a result of the new presentation, December 31, 2008 balances have been modified from the prior year presentation to reflect industry repayment risk. Groupings are loans in aggregate greater than $1 billion as of December 31.
Total loans as of December 31, 2009 were $113.7 billion, a decrease of $13.3 billion, or 10.5%, from December 31, 2008. The quarterly decline in total loans was $3.1 billion (December 31, 2008 to March 31, 2009); $1.1 billion (March 31, 2009 to June 30, 2009); $6.3 billion (June 30, 2009 to September 30, 2009); and $2.8 billion (September 30, 2009 to December 31, 2009). The decrease was primarily driven by reduced loan demand in the commercial portfolio, as well as a reduction in our exposure to residential real estate, especially construction related. The portfolio is diversified by product, client, and geography throughout our footprint, and has relatively low exposure to unsecured consumer loan products.
Residential mortgages were $30.8 billion, or 27.1% of the total loan portfolio, as of December 31, 2009, down $1.3 billion, or 4.0%, from December 31, 2008. The residential mortgage portfolio is comprised of core mortgages (prime first liens), prime second lien mortgages, home equity loans, lot loans, and Alt-A first and second mortgages. There are virtually no option (negative amortizing) ARMs or subprime loans in the core portfolio.
The core mortgage portfolio was $23.9 billion, or 21.0% of total loans, as of December 31, 2009, and includes $16.6 billion in jumbo mortgages, of which $13.9 billion are ARMs. The remaining $7.3 billion of non jumbo loans includes $3.5 billion in ARMs and $0.9 billion in agency-eligible fixed rate loans. The agency-eligible fixed rate loans are effectively guaranteed by FNMA through a long-term standby commitment in which FNMA has committed to purchase at par those loans that become delinquent. The core first mortgage portfolio included $12.1 billion in interest-only ARMs; however, the interest-only period is typically ten years, unlike many interest-only products in the market which have short interest-only periods with early reset dates. The weighted average LTV at origination of the core mortgage portfolio was approximately 75%. The core mortgage portfolio includes approximately $1.0 billion of commercial purpose loans secured by residential real estate.
Prime second lien mortgages were $2.9 billion, or 2.6% of total loans, as of December 31, 2009 with $2.7 billion insured through third party pool-level insurance. We consider the insurance to be integral to the loan and include probable insurance proceeds in our analysis of the collectability of the loans. Total claims paid during 2009 and 2008 under the mortgage insurance arrangements were $111.7 million and $43.8 million, respectively. Under the insurance arrangement, we are exposed to cumulative losses by vintage pool from 5% to 8%, as well as cumulative losses exceeding 10%. Due to deterioration in delinquency rates, most of the pools have reached the first tier insurance stop loss limit. As of December 31, 2009, we had fully reserved for our exposure in the 5% to 8% loss layer, and we have also reserved for estimated losses above the 10% stop loss. In addition, we continue to experience claim denials on certain loans due to borrower misrepresentation and loan documentation issues, which may impact the recognition of uninsured losses. See Allowance for Credit Losses section of this MD&A for a discussion of losses related to borrower misrepresentation and denied claims.
Home equity loans comprise $2.0 billion, or 1.7% of total loans, as of December 31, 2009 and have a 76% weighted average combined LTV at origination. Approximately 67% of the home equity loans are in a second lien position. Lot loans were $1.1 billion, or approximately 1.0% of total loans, as of December 31, 2009. Alt-A first lien loans were $0.7 billion, or approximately 0.6% of total loans, as of December 31, 2009. Alt-A second lien loans totaled $0.2 billion. Alt-A firsts and seconds and lot loans have declined to less than 2% of the total loan portfolio.
The home equity line portfolio was $16.0 billion, or 14.0% of total loans, as of December 31, 2009, which is down $501.9 million, or 3.1%, from December 31, 2008. The portfolio has a weighted average combined LTV at origination of approximately 73%. Third party originated home equity lines continued to perform poorly, however, only 10% of home equity line balances were originated through that channel. We have eliminated origination of home equity products through third party channels, eliminated greater than 85% of LTV originations, implemented market specific LTV guidelines in certain declining markets, and have been reducing line commitments in higher risk situations. We continue to enhance our collections and default management processes. From a risk management perspective, there is virtually no line availability remaining in higher risk segments (i.e., lines originated by third parties and lines in Florida exceeding 80% current LTV). Overall, this portfolio displayed stable asset quality metrics; however, the portfolio continues to under perform.
The commercial loan portfolio decreased $8.5 billion, or 20.8%, from December 31, 2008 and comprises 28.6% of total loans at December 31, 2009. The reduction in the commercial portfolio resulted primarily from a continued trend of declining line of credit utilization among our mid-size and larger corporate clients due to lower working capital needs and enhanced access to the capital markets. The pace of decline did slow during the fourth quarter. The portfolio is diversified by industry, geography, client segment, and collateral; and continues to perform reasonably well overall.
The commercial real estate portfolio was $15.1 billion, or 13.3% of total loans, an increase of $117.3 million, or 0.8%, from December 31, 2008. The increase was attributable to the natural migration of loans maturing from the construction real estate loan portfolio into mini-perm financing. This portfolio includes both owner-occupied and income producing collateral, with almost 60% being owner occupied properties. The commercial real estate portfolio, including both owner occupied and investor owned, is performing satisfactorily overall. Of the total commercial real estate portfolio, approximately 81% are
income properties such as office buildings, warehouses and retail buildings. Given conditions in the commercial real estate market, we anticipate continued stress and credit losses in this portfolio; however, we expect it to perform relatively well given its composition and underwriting.
The construction portfolio was $6.6 billion, or 5.8% of total loans, at December 31, 2009, a decrease of $3.2 billion, or 32.6%, from December 31, 2008. The construction portfolio consists of $0.8 billion of residential construction to perm loans, $1.2 billion of residential construction loans, $1.9 billion of commercial construction loans, $1.8 billion of acquisition and development loans, and $0.9 billion of undeveloped land loans. We have reduced the level of risk in the construction portfolio by aggressively managing our construction exposure. This reduction is evident from the $7.1 billion, or 51.8%, decline in outstanding balances since December 2007. Commercial related construction loans represent 28.5% of the total construction portfolio and credit performance remains acceptable overall. Performance of residential construction related loans remained weak; however, during the fourth quarter 30 days + delinquencies declined. We continue to be proactive in our credit monitoring and management processes to provide early warning for problem loans in the portfolio. For example, we use an expanded liquidity and contingency analysis to provide a thorough view of borrower capacity and their ability to service obligations in a steep market decline. We also have strict limits and exposure caps on specific projects and borrowers for risk diversification. Due to the lack of new construction projects and the completion of many that were previously started, the aggregate amount of interest reserves that we are obligated to fund is down from prior periods.
The indirect consumer portfolio was $6.5 billion, or 5.7% of total loans, at December 31, 2009, up $23.5 million, or 0.4%, from December 31, 2008. The increase is partially attributable to new vehicle sales triggered by the federal government Cash for Clunkers incentive program. This portfolio is experiencing a reduced level of charge-offs compared to 2008 and is benefiting from lower fuel prices, stabilized used car values, and natural turnover into newly underwritten vintages.
The direct consumer portfolio was $5.1 billion, or 4.5% of total loans, at December 31, 2009, down $21.5 million, or 0.4%, from December 31, 2008. Student loans, which are mostly government supported, made up $3.1 billion, or approximately 61% of the direct consumer portfolio. This portfolio also includes loans and lines to individuals for personal or family uses.
The increase in LHFS of $637.7 million, or 15.8%, is due primarily to higher levels of mortgage loan originations.
Table 8 - Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses