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Section 1: 10-K (10-K)

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

Form 10-K
(Mark One)
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
or
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Transition Period From _______ to _______

Commission file number 0-12247
Southside Bancshares, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Texas
 
75-1848732
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
1201 S. Beckham Avenue, Tyler, Texas
 
75701
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (903) 531-7111

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
 
Name of each exchange
Title of each class
 
on which registered
COMMON STOCK, $1.25 PAR VALUE
 
NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: NONE
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý No o 

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 o  No ý
 
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 ý  No o
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted 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 such files).  Yes ý  No o
 
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s 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. ý
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
Large accelerated filer ý
   
Accelerated filer o
 
Non-accelerated filer o 
Smaller reporting company o
 
Emerging growth company o
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No ý
The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2018 was $1,097,122,089.
As of February 25, 2019, 33,689,812 shares of common stock of Southside Bancshares, Inc. were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain portions of the Registrant’s proxy statement to be filed for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held May 15, 2019 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.  Other than those portions of the proxy statement specifically incorporated by reference pursuant to Items 10-14 of Part III hereof, no other portions of the proxy statement shall be deemed so incorporated.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I
 
 
ITEM 1.  BUSINESS
 
ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS
 
ITEM 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
 
ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES
 
ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
 
ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
PART II
 
 
ITEM 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
ITEM 6.  SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
 
ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
ITEM 7A.  QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
 
ITEM 8.  FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
 
REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
 
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 
ITEM 9.  CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE
 
ITEM 9A.  CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES
 
ITEM 9B.  OTHER INFORMATION
PART III
 
 
ITEM 10.  DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
 
ITEM 11.  EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
 
ITEM 12.  SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
 
ITEM 13.  CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE
 
ITEM 14.  PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES
PART IV
 
 
ITEM 15.  EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES
 
ITEM 16. FORM 10-K SUMMARY
SIGNATURES



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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS REPORT
In this report, the words “the Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to the combined entities of Southside Bancshares, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including Southside Bank.  The words “Southside” and “Southside Bancshares” refer to Southside Bancshares, Inc.  The words “Southside Bank” and “the Bank” refer to Southside Bank. “SFG” refers to SFG Finance, LLC (formerly Southside Financial Group, LLC) which was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank until 2015. SFG is consolidated in our financial statements and was dissolved in April 2015. “Omni” refers to OmniAmerican Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company acquired by Southside in 2014. “Diboll” refers to Diboll State Bancshares, Inc., a bank holding company acquired by Southside on November 30, 2017. For additional information concerning the effect of the merger and the fair value of assets assumed in relation to the acquisition, see “Note 2 - Acquisition”.
PART I
ITEM 1.
BUSINESS
FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
The disclosures set forth in this item are qualified by the section captioned “Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” in “Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other cautionary statements set forth elsewhere in this report.
GENERAL
Southside Bancshares, Inc., incorporated in Texas in 1982, is a bank holding company for Southside Bank, a Texas state bank headquartered in Tyler, Texas that was formed in 1960.  We operate through 59 branches, 15 of which are located in grocery stores, in addition to wealth management and trust services, and/or loan production, brokerage or other financial services offices.
At December 31, 2018, our total assets were $6.12 billion, total loans were $3.31 billion, total deposits were $4.43 billion and total equity was $731.3 million.  For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, our net income was $74.1 million and $54.3 million, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, diluted earnings per common share was $2.11 and $1.81, respectively.  We have paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1970 (including dividends paid by Southside Bank prior to the incorporation of Southside Bancshares).
We are a community-focused financial institution that offers a full range of financial services to individuals, businesses, municipal entities and nonprofit organizations in the communities that we serve.  These services include consumer and commercial loans, deposit accounts, wealth management and trust services, brokerage services and safe deposit services.
Our consumer loan services include 1-4 family residential loans, home equity loans, home improvement loans, automobile loans and other consumer related loans.  Commercial loan services include short-term working capital loans for inventory and accounts receivable, short- and medium-term loans for equipment or other business capital expansion, commercial real estate loans and municipal loans.  We also offer construction loans for 1-4 family residential and commercial real estate.
We offer a variety of deposit accounts with a wide range of interest rates and terms, including savings, money market, interest and noninterest bearing checking accounts and certificates of deposit (“CDs”).  Our wealth management and trust services include investment management, administration and advisory services, primarily for individuals and, to a lesser extent, partnerships and corporations.  At December 31, 2018, our wealth management and trust assets under management were approximately $1.77 billion.
Our business strategy includes evaluating expansion opportunities through acquisitions of financial institutions in market areas that could complement our existing franchise. We generally seek merger partners that are culturally similar, have experienced management teams and possess either significant market presence or have potential for improved profitability through financial management, economies of scale or expanded services.
We and our subsidiaries are subject to comprehensive regulation, examination and supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve”), the Texas Department of Banking (the “TDB”) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”) and are subject to numerous laws and regulations relating to internal controls, the extension of credit, making of loans to individuals, deposits and all other facets of our operations.
Our primary executive offices are located at 1201 South Beckham Avenue, Tyler, Texas 75701 and our telephone number is 903-531-7111.  Our website can be found at www.southside.com.  Our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) may be obtained free of charge on either our website, https://www.southside.com/about/investor-relations under the topic Filings and Financials, or the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, as soon as reasonably practicable after filing with the SEC.

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MARKET AREA
We are headquartered in Tyler, Texas. The Tyler metropolitan area has a population of approximately 210,000 and is located approximately 90 miles east of Dallas, Texas and 90 miles west of Shreveport, Louisiana.
We consider our primary market areas to be East Texas, Southeast Texas, the greater Fort Worth, Texas area and the greater Austin, Texas area.  Our expectation is that our presence in all of the market areas we serve should grow in the future.  In addition, we continue to explore new markets in which we believe we can expand successfully.
The principal economic activities in our market areas include medical services, retail, education, financial services, technology, distribution, manufacturing, government and to a lesser extent, oil and gas industries.  Additionally, the industry base includes conventions and tourism, as well as retirement relocation.  These economic activities support a growing regional system of medical service, retail and education centers.  Tyler, Fort Worth and Austin are home to several nationally recognized health care systems that represent all major specialties.
Our 59 branches and 40 motor bank facilities are located in and around Arlington, Austin, Bullard, Chandler, Cleburne, Cleveland, Diboll, Euless, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Frisco, Granbury, Grapevine, Gresham, Gun Barrel City, Hawkins, Hemphill, Irving, Jacksonville, Jasper, Lindale, Longview, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Palestine, Pineland, San Augustine, Splendora, Tyler, Watauga, Weatherford and Whitehouse. Our advertising is designed to target the market areas we serve.  The type and amount of advertising in each market area is directly attributable to our market share in that market area combined with overall cost.
Additionally, our customers may access various banking services through a network of 83 automated teller machines (“ATMs”), interactive teller machines (“ITMs”) owned by us and 55,000 surcharge-free Allpoint ATMs worldwide, through debit cards and through our automated telephone, internet and electronic banking products.  These products allow our customers to apply for loans, open deposit accounts, access account information and conduct various other transactions online from their smart phones or computers.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
During the year ended December 31, 2018, we closed one of our retail branch locations in Tyler, due to the close proximity of an acquired Diboll location. We also consolidated our Tyler South Broadway branch and drive-thru in one location.
THE BANKING INDUSTRY IN TEXAS
The banking industry is affected by general economic conditions such as interest rates, inflation, recession, unemployment and other factors beyond our control.  During the last 30 years the Texas economy has continued to diversify, decreasing the overall impact of fluctuations in oil and gas prices; however, the oil and gas industry is still a significant component of the Texas economy. During the last three years, economic growth, employment gains and business activity across a wide range of industries and regions in the U.S. has experienced slow but steady growth. During a majority of that time economic growth and business activity in certain Texas markets we serve have exceeded the U.S. average. We cannot predict whether current economic conditions will improve, remain the same or decline.

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COMPETITION
The activities we are engaged in are highly competitive.  Financial institutions such as credit unions, financial technology (“fintech”) companies, consumer finance companies, insurance companies, brokerage companies and other financial institutions with varying degrees of regulatory restrictions compete vigorously for a share of the financial services market.  Brokerage and insurance companies continue to become more competitive in the financial services arena and pose an ever-increasing challenge to banks.  Legislative changes also greatly affect the level of competition we face.  Federal legislation allows credit unions to use their expanded membership capabilities, combined with tax-free status, to compete more openly for traditional bank business.  The tax-free status granted to credit unions provides them with a significant competitive advantage.  Many of the largest banks operating in Texas, including some of the largest banks in the country, have offices in our market areas with capital resources, broader geographic markets and legal lending limits substantially in excess of those available to us.  We face competition from institutions that offer products and services we do not or cannot currently offer.  Some institutions we compete with offer interest rate levels on loan and deposit products that we are unwilling to offer due to interest rate risk and overall profitability concerns.  We expect the level of competition to continue to increase.
EMPLOYEES
At February 15, 2019, we employed approximately 820 full time equivalent persons.  None of our employees are represented by any unions or similar groups, and we have not experienced any type of strike or labor dispute.  We consider the relationship with our employees to be good.
SUPERVISION AND REGULATION
General
Banking is a complex, highly regulated industry.  As a bank holding company under federal law, the Company is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Federal Reserve.  In addition, under state law, as the parent company of a Texas-chartered state bank that is not a member of the Federal Reserve, the Company is subject to supervision and examination by the TDB.  As a Texas-chartered state bank, Southside Bank is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the TDB, as its chartering authority, and by the FDIC, as its primary federal regulator and deposit insurer.  This system of regulation and supervision applicable to us establishes a comprehensive framework for our operations and is intended primarily for the protection of bank depositors, the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) and the public, rather than our shareholders and creditors.
In addition to the system of regulation and supervision outlined above, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), which is discussed in greater detail below, created the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the “Bureau”), a federal regulatory body with broad authority to regulate the offering and provision of consumer financial products and services.  The Bureau officially came into being on July 21, 2011, and rulemaking authority for a range of consumer financial protection laws (such as the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), among others) transferred from the federal prudential banking regulators to the Bureau on that date.  The Dodd-Frank Act gives the Bureau authority to supervise and examine depository institutions with more than $10 billion in assets for compliance with these federal consumer laws.  The authority to supervise and examine depository institutions with $10 billion or less in assets for compliance with federal consumer laws remains largely with those institutions’ primary regulators.  However, the Bureau may participate in examinations of these smaller institutions on a “sampling basis” and may refer potential enforcement actions against such institutions to their primary regulators.  The Bureau also has supervisory and examination authority over certain nonbank institutions that offer consumer financial products or services.  The Dodd-Frank Act identifies a number of covered nonbank institutions, and also authorizes the Bureau to identify additional institutions that will be subject to its jurisdiction.  Accordingly, the Bureau may participate in examinations of Southside Bank, and could supervise and examine other direct or indirect subsidiaries of the Company that offer consumer financial products or services.
The earnings of Southside Bank and, therefore, the earnings of the Company, are affected by general economic conditions, changes in federal and state laws and regulations and actions of various regulatory authorities, including those referenced above.  Additional changes to the laws and regulations applicable to us are frequently proposed at both the federal and state levels.  As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was enacted on July 21, 2010, the regulatory framework under which we operate has changed and may continue to change substantially over the next several years.  The Dodd-Frank Act represents a significant overhaul of many aspects of the regulation of the financial services industry, addressing, among other things, systemic risk, capital adequacy, deposit insurance assessments, consumer financial protection, interchange fees, derivatives, lending limits, mortgage lending practices, registration of investment advisors and changes among the bank regulatory agencies.  Among the provisions that have impacted or are likely to affect the operations of the Company and Southside Bank are the following:
Creation of the Bureau with centralized authority, including supervisory, examination and enforcement authority, for consumer protection in the banking industry;

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New limitations on federal preemption;
New prohibitions and restrictions on the ability of a banking entity and nonbank financial company to engage in proprietary trading and have certain interests in, or relationships with, a hedge fund or private equity fund;
Application of new regulatory capital requirements, including changes to leverage and risk-based capital standards and changes to the components of permissible tiered capital;
Requirement that holding companies and their subsidiary banks be well capitalized and well managed in order to engage in activities permitted for financial holding companies;
Impacts to accounting and reporting obligations resulting from the change to corporate income tax rates under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Act”);
Changes to the assessment base for deposit insurance premiums;
Permanently raising the FDIC’s standard maximum deposit insurance amount to $250,000;
Repeal of the prohibition on the payment of interest on demand deposits, thereby permitting depository institutions to pay interest on business transaction and other accounts;
Restrictions on compensation, including a prohibition on incentive-based compensation arrangements that encourage inappropriate risk taking by covered financial institutions and are deemed to be excessive, or that may lead to material losses;
Requirement that sponsors of asset-backed securities retain a percentage of the credit risk underlying the securities; and
Requirement that banking regulators remove references to and requirements of reliance upon credit ratings from their regulations and replace them with appropriate alternatives for evaluating creditworthiness.
Some of these and other major changes could materially impact the profitability of our business, the value of assets we hold or the collateral available for our loans, require changes to business practices, or force us to discontinue businesses and expose us to additional costs, taxes, liabilities, enforcement actions and reputational risk.  Many of these provisions became effective upon enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, while others were subject to further study, rulemaking and the discretion of regulatory bodies and have only recently taken effect or will take effect in the coming years.  Many Dodd-Frank Act provisions have yet to be implemented. In light of these significant changes and the discretion afforded to federal regulators, we cannot fully predict the effect that compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act or any future implementing regulations will have on the Company or Southside Bank’s businesses or their ability to pursue future business opportunities.  Additional regulations resulting from the Dodd-Frank Act may materially adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations.
The likelihood, timing and scope of any such change and the impact any such change may have on us are impossible to determine with any certainty.  Also, additional changes to the laws and regulations applicable to us are frequently proposed at both the federal and state levels.  We cannot predict whether new legislation or regulations will be enacted and, if enacted, the effect that it, or any regulations, would have on our business, financial condition or results of operations.  Set forth below is a brief description of the significant federal and state laws and regulations to which we are currently subject.  These descriptions do not purport to be complete and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the particular statutory or regulatory provision.
Holding Company Regulation
As a bank holding company regulated under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (“BHCA”), as amended, the Company is registered with and subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Federal Reserve.  The Company is required to file annual and other reports with, and furnish information to, the Federal Reserve, which makes periodic inspections of the Company. The Federal Reserve may also examine our nonbank subsidiaries.
Permitted Activities. Under the BHCA, a bank holding company is generally permitted to engage in, or acquire direct or indirect control of more than five percent of the voting shares of any company engaged in, the following activities:
banking or managing or controlling banks;
furnishing services to or performing services for our subsidiaries; and
any activity that the Federal Reserve determines to be so closely related to banking as to be a proper incident to the business of banking, including:
factoring accounts receivable;
making, acquiring, brokering or servicing loans and usual related activities;
leasing personal or real property;

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operating a nonbank depository institution, such as a savings association;
performing trust company functions;
conducting financial and investment advisory activities;
conducting discount securities brokerage activities;
underwriting and dealing in government obligations and money market instruments;
providing specified management consulting and counseling activities;
performing selected data processing services and support services;
acting as agent or broker in selling credit life insurance and other types of insurance in connection with credit transactions;
performing selected insurance underwriting activities;
providing certain community development activities (such as making investments in projects designed primarily to promote community welfare); and
issuing and selling money orders and similar consumer-type payment instruments.
The Federal Reserve has the authority to order a bank holding company or its subsidiaries to terminate any of these activities or to terminate its ownership or control of any subsidiary when the Federal Reserve has reasonable cause to believe that the bank holding company’s continued ownership, activity or control constitutes a serious risk to the financial safety, soundness or stability of it or any of its bank subsidiaries.
Under the BHCA, a bank holding company meeting certain eligibility requirements may elect to become a “financial holding company,” which is a form of bank holding company with authority to engage in additional activities.  Specifically, a financial holding company and companies under its control may engage in activities that are “financial in nature,” as defined by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”) and Federal Reserve interpretations, and therefore may engage in a broader range of activities than those permitted for bank holding companies and their subsidiaries.  Financial activities specifically include insurance brokerage and underwriting, securities underwriting and dealing, merchant banking, investment advisory and lending activities.  Financial holding companies and their subsidiaries also may engage in additional activities that are determined by the Federal Reserve, in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, to be “financial in nature or incidental to” a financial activity or are determined by the Federal Reserve unilaterally to be “complementary” to financial activities.
In order to offer broker-dealer services through our subsidiary, Southside Securities, Inc., on February 8, 2011, we filed with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas a declaration of financial holding company status and were granted financial holding company status on March 22, 2011.  Election of financial holding company status is not automatic, and it was granted based upon consideration of a number of factors, including that all of our depository institution subsidiaries satisfy the Federal Reserve’s “well capitalized” and “well managed” standards and have at least a satisfactory rating under the Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) (discussed below).  We began engaging in broker-dealer activities through Southside Securities, Inc. on June 16, 2011. In early 2013, to further concentrate on our primary business of banking, a management decision was made to close Southside Securities, Inc. We ceased engaging in broker-dealer activities through Southside Securities, Inc. in the second quarter of 2013. However, our financial holding company status has been maintained. Our status as a financial holding company could be impacted by the condition of Southside Bank and/or other factors.  For example, if Southside Bank 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 broader financial activities or, if the deficiencies persist, require us to divest Southside Bank.  In addition, if Southside Bank were to receive a rating of less than satisfactory under the CRA, we would be prohibited from engaging in any additional activities other than those permissible for bank holding companies that are not financial holding companies.  If we undertake expanded financial activities (that are not permissible for a bank holding company) and we fail to continue to meet any of the prerequisites for “financial holding company” status, including those described above, the financial holding company would be required to enter into an agreement with the Federal Reserve to comply with all applicable capital and management requirements.  If we do not return to compliance within 180 days, the Federal Reserve may order the financial holding company to divest its Bank or the Company may discontinue or divest investments in companies engaged in activities permissible only for a bank holding company that has elected to be treated as a financial holding company.  
Capital Adequacy.  Each of the federal banking agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, has issued substantially similar risk-based and leverage capital guidelines applicable to the banking organizations they supervise. As a result of the regulations, we were required to begin complying with higher minimum capital requirements as of January 1, 2015. The capital rules (“2015 Capital Rules”), which are discussed below, implemented certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and a separate, international regulatory capital initiative known as “Basel III.” These 2015 Capital Rules also make important changes

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to the “prompt corrective action” framework discussed below in Bank Regulation - Prompt Corrective Action and Undercapitalization.
The agencies’ prior risk-based guidelines, applicable to the Company before January 1, 2015, defined a three-tier capital framework.  Risk-based capital ratios were calculated by dividing, as appropriate, total capital and Tier 1 capital by risk-weighted assets.  Assets and off-balance-sheet exposures were assigned to one of four categories of risk weights, based primarily on relative credit risk.  Under these prior risk-based capital requirements, the Company and Southside Bank were each generally required to maintain a minimum ratio of total capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 8% and a minimum ratio of Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 4%.  To the extent we engaged in trading activities, we were required to adjust our risk-based capital ratios to take into consideration market risks that may result from movements in market prices of covered trading positions in trading accounts, or from foreign exchange or commodity positions, whether or not in trading accounts, including changes in interest rates, equity prices, foreign exchange rates or commodity prices. 
Each of the federal bank regulatory agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, also had established minimum leverage capital requirements for the banking organizations they supervise.  These requirements provided that banking organizations that met certain criteria, including excellent asset quality, high liquidity, low interest rate exposure and good earnings, and that had received the highest regulatory rating must maintain a ratio of Tier 1 capital to total adjusted average assets of at least 3%.  Institutions not meeting these criteria, as well as institutions with supervisory, financial or operational weaknesses, were expected to maintain a minimum Tier 1 capital to total adjusted average assets ratio equal to 100 to 200 basis points above this stated minimum.  Holding companies experiencing internal growth or making acquisitions were expected to maintain strong capital positions substantially above the minimum supervisory levels without significant reliance on intangible assets.  The Federal Reserve also considered a “tangible Tier 1 capital leverage ratio” (deducting all intangibles) and other indicators of capital strength in evaluating proposals for expansion or new activity.
The 2015 Capital Rules, which became applicable to the Company and the Bank on January 1, 2015, made substantial changes to these previous standards. Among other things, the regulations (i) introduced a capital requirement known as “Common Equity Tier 1” (“CET1”), (ii) stated that Tier 1 capital consists of CET1 and “Additional Tier 1 capital” instruments meeting certain requirements, (iii) defined CET1 to require that most deductions and adjustments to regulatory capital measures be made to CET1 and not to the other components of capital and (iv) revised the scope of the deductions and adjustments from capital as compared to regulations that previously applied to the Company and other banking organizations.
The 2015 Capital Rules also established the following minimum capital ratios: 4.5 percent CET1 to risk-weighted assets; 6.0 percent Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets; 8.0 percent total capital to risk-weighted assets; and 4.0 percent Tier 1 leverage ratio to average consolidated assets. In addition, the 2015 Capital Rules also introduced a minimum “capital conservation buffer” equal to 2.5% of an organization’s total risk-weighted assets, which exists in addition to these required minimum CET1, Tier 1 and total capital ratios. The “capital conservation buffer,” which must consist entirely of CET1, is designed to absorb losses during periods of economic stress. The 2015 Capital Rules provide for a number of deductions from and adjustments to CET1, which include the requirement that mortgage servicing rights, deferred tax assets arising from temporary differences that could not be realized through net operating loss carrybacks and significant investments in non-consolidated financial entities be deducted from CET1 to the extent that any one such category exceeds 10% of CET1 or all such categories in the aggregate exceed 15% of CET1.
Certain regulatory capital ratios of the Company and Southside Bank, as of December 31, 2018, are shown in the following table.
 
Capital Adequacy Ratios
 
Regulatory
Minimums
 
Regulatory
Minimums
to be Well
Capitalized
 
Southside
Bancshares,
Inc.
 
Southside
Bank
Common Equity Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio
4.50
%
 
6.50
%
 
14.77
%
 
18.59
%
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio
6.00
%
 
8.00
%
 
16.29
%
 
18.59
%
Total risk-based capital ratio
8.00
%
 
10.00
%
 
19.59
%
 
19.34
%
Leverage ratio
4.00
%
 
5.00
%
 
10.64
%
 
12.14
%

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Under the previous capital framework, the effects of accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”) items included in shareholders’ equity under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP “) were excluded for the purposes of determining capital ratios. However, the effects of certain AOCI items are not excluded under the 2015 Capital Rules. The 2015 Capital Rules permitted most banking organizations, including the Company and Southside Bank, to make a one-time permanent election on the institution’s first call report filed after January 1, 2015 to continue to exclude these items, which Southside Bank did in its March 31, 2015 call report.
Under the 2015 Capital Rules, certain hybrid securities, such as trust preferred securities, do not qualify as Tier 1 capital. However, for bank holding companies like us that had assets of less than $15 billion as of December 31, 2009, trust preferred securities issued prior to May 19, 2010 can be treated as Tier 1 capital to the extent that they do not exceed 25% of Tier 1 capital after the application of capital deductions and adjustments.
On December 21, 2018, federal banking agencies issued a joint final rule to revise their regulatory capital rules to (i) address the upcoming implementation of the “current expected credit losses” (“CECL”) accounting standard under GAAP; (ii) provide an optional three-year phase-in period for the day-one adverse regulatory capital effects that banking organizations are expected to experience upon adopting CECL; and (iii) require the use of CECL in stress tests beginning with the 2020 capital planning and stress testing cycle for banking organizations (except for those non-SEC reporting companies that have not then adopted CECL) (collectively, the “2018 Capital Rules”). In June 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2016-13, which introduced CECL as the methodology to replace the current “incurred loss” methodology for financial assets measured at amortized cost and changed the approaches for recognizing and recording credit losses on available for sale (“AFS”) debt securities and purchased credit impaired (“PCI”) financial assets. Under the incurred loss methodology, credit losses are recognized only when the losses are probable or have been incurred; under CECL, companies are required to recognize the full amount of expected credit losses for the lifetime of the financial assets, based on historical experience, current conditions and reasonable and supportable forecasts. This change will result in earlier recognition of credit losses that the Company deems expected but not yet probable. The 2018 Capital Rules will become effective on April 1, 2019; for SEC reporting companies with December 31 fiscal-year ends, CECL will become effective beginning with the first quarter of 2020.
On November 21, 2018, the federal banking agencies jointly issued a proposed rule to simplify the regulatory capital requirements for eligible community banks and holding companies with less than $10 billion in consolidated assets that opt into the Community Bank Leverage Ratio (“CBLR”) framework, as required by Section 201 of the Economic Growth, Relief and Consumer Protection Act (the “Regulatory Relief Act”). The Regulatory Relief Act mandates that the Federal Agencies develop a CBLR of not less than 8% and not more than 10% for qualifying community banking organizations. A qualifying community banking organization that exceeds the CBLR threshold would be exempt from the agencies’ current capital framework, including the risk-based capital requirements and capital conservation buffer imposed under Basel III, and would be deemed well-capitalized under the agencies’ prompt corrective action regulations. The Regulatory Relief Act defines a “qualifying community banking organization” as a depository institution or depository institution holding company with total consolidated assets of less than $10 billion. Under the proposed rule, if a qualifying community banking organization elects to use the CBLR framework, it will be considered “well-capitalized” so long as its CBLR is greater than 9%. The agencies are expected to issue a final rule in the first quarter of 2019.
In addition, reflecting the importance that regulators place on managing capital and other risks, in May 2012 the banking agencies also issued guidance on stress testing for banking organizations with more than $10 billion in total consolidated assets. This guidance outlines four “high-level” principles for stress testing practices that should be a part of a banking organization’s stress-testing framework.  Specifically, the guidance calls for the framework to (i) include activities and exercises that are tailored to and sufficiently capture the banking organization’s exposures, activities and risks; (ii) employ multiple conceptually sound stress testing activities and approaches; (iii) be forward-looking and flexible; and (iv) be clear, actionable, well-supported and used in the decision-making process.  Moreover, the federal bank regulators have issued a series of guidance and rulemakings applicable to “large banks.”  While many of these do not currently apply to us due to our asset size, these issuances could impact industry capital standards and practices in many, potentially unforeseeable, ways.
Source of Strength.  Federal Reserve policy and regulation require a bank holding company to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary banks.  As a result, a bank holding company may be required to contribute additional capital to its subsidiaries in the form of capital notes or other instruments which qualify as capital under regulatory rules.  Any loans from the holding company to its subsidiary banks likely will be unsecured and subordinated to the bank’s depositors and perhaps to other creditors of the bank.  Notably, the Dodd-Frank Act codified the Federal Reserve’s “source of strength” policy; this statutory change became effective July 21, 2011.  In addition to the foregoing requirements, the Dodd-Frank Act’s provisions authorize the Federal Reserve and other federal banking regulators to require a company that directly or indirectly controls a bank to submit reports that are designed both to assess the ability of such company to comply with its “source of strength” obligations and to enforce the company’s compliance with these obligations.  As of December 31, 2018 the Federal Reserve and other federal banking regulators have not yet issued rules implementing this requirement.

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In addition, if a bank holding company enters into bankruptcy or becomes subject to the orderly liquidation process established by the Dodd-Frank Act, any commitment by the bank holding company to a federal bank regulatory agency to maintain the capital of a subsidiary bank would be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee or the FDIC, as appropriate, and entitled to a priority of payment.  In addition, the FDIC provides that any insured depository institution generally will be liable for any loss incurred by the FDIC in connection with the default of, or any assistance provided by the FDIC to, a commonly controlled insured depository institution.  Southside Bank is an FDIC-insured depository institution and thus subject to these requirements. See also Bank Regulation - Prompt Corrective Action and Undercapitalization.
Dividends.  The principal source of our liquidity at the parent company level is dividends from Southside Bank.  Southside Bank is subject to federal and state restrictions on its ability to pay dividends to the Company.  We must pay essentially all of our operating expenses from funds we receive from Southside Bank.  Therefore, shareholders may receive dividends from us only to the extent that funds are available after payment of our operating expenses.  Consistent with its “source of strength” policy, the Federal Reserve discourages bank holding companies from paying dividends except out of operating earnings and prefers that dividends be paid only if, after the payment, the prospective rate of earnings retention appears consistent with the bank holding company’s capital needs, asset quality and overall financial condition.
Among other things, the ability of banks and bank holding companies to pay dividends, and the contents of their respective dividend policies, could be impacted by a range of changes imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act, many of which will require implementing rules to become effective.  See also Bank Regulation - Dividends for additional information.
Change in Control.  Subject to certain exceptions, under the BHCA and the Change in Bank Control Act (“CBCA”), and the regulations promulgated thereunder, persons who intend to acquire direct or indirect control of a depository institution or a bank holding company are required to obtain the approval of the Federal Reserve prior to acquiring control.  With respect to the Company, “control” is conclusively presumed to exist where an acquiring party directly or indirectly owns, controls or has the power to vote at least 25% of our voting securities.  Under the Federal Reserve’s CBCA regulations, a rebuttable presumption of control would arise with respect to an acquisition where, after the transaction, the acquiring party owns, controls or has the power to vote at least 10% (but less than 25%) of our voting securities.  In certain cases, a company may also be presumed to have control under the BHCA if it acquires five percent or more of any class of voting securities.
Acquisitions.  The BHCA provides that a bank holding company must obtain the prior approval of the Federal Reserve (i) for the acquisition of more than five percent of the voting stock in any bank or bank holding company, (ii) for the acquisition of substantially all the assets of any bank or bank holding company, or (iii) in order to merge or consolidate with another bank holding company.
Regulatory Examination.  Federal and state banking agencies require the Company and Southside Bank to prepare annual reports on financial condition and to conduct an annual audit of financial affairs in compliance with minimum standards and procedures.  Southside Bank, and in some cases the Company and any nonbank affiliates, must undergo regular on-site examinations by the appropriate regulatory agency, which will examine for adherence to a range of legal and regulatory compliance responsibilities.  A bank regulator conducting an examination has complete access to the books and records of the examined institution, and the results of the examination are confidential.  The cost of examinations may be assessed against the examined organization as the agency deems necessary or appropriate.  The FDIC has developed a method for insured depository institutions to provide supplemental disclosure of the estimated fair value of assets and liabilities, to the extent feasible and practicable, in any balance sheet, financial statement, report of condition or any other report. On December 22, 2017, Congress enacted the Tax Act which had immediate accounting and reporting implications for the Company and Southside Bank. Specifically, the lower corporate tax rate was accompanied by changes to how the Company and the Bank are required to calculate their deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities which are disclosed on their financial statements and regulatory reports, and also impacted their respective capital calculations under the Basel III Capital Rules, which are discussed above in “Holding Company Regulation - Capital Adequacy.”
Enforcement Authority.  The Federal Reserve has broad enforcement powers over bank holding companies and their nonbank subsidiaries, as well as “institution-affiliated parties,” including management, employees, agents, independent contractors and consultants, such as attorneys and accountants and others who participate in the conduct of the institution’s affairs, and has authority to prohibit activities that represent unsafe or unsound banking practices or constitute knowing or reckless violations of laws or regulations.  These powers may be exercised through the issuance of cease and desist orders, civil money penalties or other actions.  Civil money penalties can be as high as $1,000,000 for each day the activity continues and criminal penalties for some financial institution crimes may include imprisonment for 20 years.  Regulators have flexibility to commence enforcement actions against institutions and institution-affiliated parties, and the FDIC has the authority to terminate deposit insurance.  When issued by a banking agency, cease and desist and similar orders may, among other things, require affirmative action to correct any harm resulting from a violation or practice, including restitution, reimbursement, indemnifications or guarantees against loss. A financial institution may also be ordered to restrict its growth, dispose of certain assets, rescind agreements or contracts, or take other actions determined to be appropriate by the ordering agency.  The federal banking agencies also may remove a director or officer from an insured depository institution (or bar them from the industry) if a violation is willful or reckless.

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Bank Regulation
Southside Bank is a Texas-chartered commercial bank, the deposits of which are insured up to the applicable limits by the DIF of the FDIC.  Southside Bank is not a member of the Federal Reserve.  The Bank is subject to extensive regulation, examination and supervision by the TDB, as its chartering authority, and by the FDIC, as its primary federal regulator and deposit insurer.  In addition, the Bureau could participate in examinations of the Bank (as described above) regarding the Bank’s offering of consumer financial products and services.  The federal and state laws applicable to banks regulate, among other things, the scope of their business and investments, lending and deposit-taking activities, borrowings, maintenance of retained earnings and reserve accounts, distribution of earnings and payment of dividends.
Permitted Activities and Investments.  Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (“FDIA”), the activities and investments of state nonmember banks are generally limited to those permissible for national banks, notwithstanding state law.  With FDIC approval, a state nonmember bank may engage in activities not permissible for a national bank if the FDIC determines that the activity does not pose a significant risk to the DIF and that the bank meets its minimum capital requirements.  Similarly, under Texas law, a state bank may engage in those activities permissible for national banks domiciled in Texas.  The TDB may permit a Texas state bank to engage in additional activities so long as the performance of the activity by the bank would not adversely affect the safety and soundness of the bank.
On December 10, 2013, federal regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, issued final rules to implement Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act, known as the “Volcker Rule,” to prohibit insured depository institutions, such as Southside Bank, and their affiliates, such as the Company, from proprietary trading and acquiring certain interests in hedge or private equity funds. The final rules contain certain exemptions from the prohibition and permit the retention of certain ownership interests.
Insured depository institutions were generally required to conform their activities and investments to the requirements by July 21, 2015. The Federal Reserve extended the conformance deadline twice (first to July 21, 2016, and again to July 21, 2017) for certain legacy “covered funds” activities and investments in place before December 31, 2013. Further, the Federal Reserve Board permits limited exemptions, upon application, for divestiture of certain “illiquid” covered funds, for an additional period of up to five years beyond that date. On June 5, 2018, the federal banking agencies proposed changes to the Volcker Rule, along with a request for public comment. The proposed changes are intended to simplify compliance with the rule’s “proprietary trading” restrictions.
Brokered Deposits.  Southside Bank also may be restricted in its ability to accept, renew or roll over brokered deposits, depending on its capital classification.  Only “well-capitalized” banks are permitted to accept, renew or roll over brokered deposits.  The FDIC may, on a case-by-case basis, permit banks that are adequately capitalized to accept brokered deposits if the FDIC determines that acceptance of such deposits would not constitute an unsafe or unsound banking practice with respect to the bank.  Undercapitalized banks generally may not accept, renew or roll over brokered deposits.
Loans to One Borrower.  Under Texas law, without the approval of the TDB and subject to certain limited exceptions, the maximum aggregate amount of loans that Southside Bank is permitted to make to any one borrower is 25% of Tier 1 capital.
Insider Loans.  Under Regulation O of the Federal Reserve, as made applicable to state nonmember banks by section 18(j)(2) of the FDIA, Southside Bank is subject to quantitative restrictions on extensions of credit to its executive officers and directors, the executive officers and directors of the Company, any owner of 10% or more of its stock or the stock of Southside Bancshares, Inc. and certain entities affiliated with any such persons.  In general, any such extensions of credit must (i) not exceed certain dollar limitations, (ii) be made on substantially the same terms, including interest rates and collateral, as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with third parties and (iii) not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features.  Additional restrictions are imposed on extensions of credit to executive officers.  Certain extensions of credit also require the approval of a bank’s board of directors. As a result of the 2018 Capital Rules, the Federal Reserve made conforming changes to its definition of “unimpaired capital and impaired surplus” under Regulation O, which will impact the calculation of dollar limits on loans subject to the regulation.
Deposit Insurance and Assessments.  The deposits of Southside Bank are insured by the DIF of the FDIC, up to the applicable limits established by law and are subject to the deposit insurance premium assessments of the DIF.  The Dodd-Frank Act amended the statutory regime governing the DIF. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act established a minimum designated reserve ratio (“DRR”) of 1.35 percent of estimated insured deposits (which the FDIC has set at 2.0 percent each year since 2010), required that the fund reserve ratio reach 1.35 percent by September 30, 2020 and directed the FDIC to amend its regulations to redefine the assessment base used for calculating deposit insurance assessments.  Specifically, the Dodd-Frank Act requires the assessment base to be an amount equal to the average consolidated total assets of the insured depository institution during the assessment period, minus the sum of the average tangible equity of the insured depository institution during the assessment period and an amount the FDIC determines is necessary to establish assessments consistent with the risk-based assessment system found in the FDIA.

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On September 30, 2018, the FDIC announced that the DRR reached 1.36 percent, exceeding the required 1.35 percent, two years ahead of the deadline imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act. Though the FDIC has clarified that assessment rates will not change in the immediate future, small banks like Southside Bank (i.e., banks with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets) will start receiving credits against their deposit insurance assessments when the DRR reaches or exceeds 1.38 percent.
Furthermore, on February 7, 2011, the FDIC issued a final rule changing its assessment system from one based on domestic deposits to one based on the average consolidated total assets of a bank minus its average tangible equity during each quarter.  This rule modified two adjustments added to the risk-based pricing system in 2009 (an unsecured debt adjustment and a brokered deposit adjustment), discontinued a third adjustment added in 2009 (the secured liability adjustment), and added an adjustment for long-term debt held by an insured depository institution where the debt is issued by another insured depository institution. Under these revisions to the DIF rules, the total base assessment rates will vary depending on the DIF reserve ratio.  On April 26, 2016, the FDIC issued a final rule to refine the deposit insurance assessment system for small insured depository institutions that have been federally insured for at least five years. The rule, which became effective on July 1, 2016, revised the financial ratios method, updated the financial measures used and eliminated risk categories for such banks.
In addition, all FDIC-insured institutions are required to pay a pro rata portion of the interest due on bonds issued by the Financing Corporation (“FICO”) to fund the closing and disposal of failed thrift institutions by the Resolution Trust Corporation.  FICO assessment rates, which are calculated off the assessment base established by the Dodd-Frank Act, are set quarterly. The rate was 0.460 (annual) basis points for the first quarter of 2018, 0.440 (annual) basis points for the second quarter of 2018, and 0.320 (annual) basis points for the third and fourth quarters of 2018. The FDIC has announced that the remaining FICO bonds are expected to mature in September 2019, and that the final FICO assessment is expected to be made in March 2019 (at a rate of 0.140 (annual) basis points).
Capital Adequacy.
See Holding Company Regulation - Capital Adequacy.
Prompt Corrective Action and Undercapitalization.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act (the “FDICIA”) established a system of prompt corrective action to resolve the problems of undercapitalized insured depository institutions.  Under this system, the federal banking regulators are required to rate insured depository institutions on the basis of five capital categories as described below.  The federal banking regulators are also required to take mandatory supervisory actions and are authorized to take other discretionary actions, with respect to insured depository institutions in the three undercapitalized categories, the severity of which will depend upon the capital category in which the insured depository institution is assigned.  Generally, subject to a narrow exception, the FDICIA requires the banking regulator to appoint a receiver or conservator for an insured depository institution that is critically undercapitalized.  The federal banking agencies have specified by regulation the relevant capital level for each category.  The thresholds for each of these categories were revised pursuant to the Basel III Capital Rules, which are discussed above in “Holding Company Regulation - Capital Adequacy.” These revised categories started to apply to Southside Bank on January 1, 2015.
Under the regulations, all insured depository institutions are assigned to one of the following capital categories:
Well Capitalized - The insured depository institution exceeds the required minimum level for each relevant capital measure.  Under the 2015 Capital Rules, a well-capitalized insured depository institution is one (1) having a total risk-based capital ratio of 10 percent or greater, (2) having a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 8 percent or greater, (3) having a CET1 capital ratio of 6.5 percent or greater, (4) having a leverage capital ratio of 5 percent or greater and (5) that is not subject to any order or written directive to meet and maintain a specific capital level for any capital measure.
Adequately Capitalized - The insured depository institution meets the required minimum level for each relevant capital measure.  Under the 2015 Capital Rules, an adequately-capitalized depository institution is one having (1) a total risk based capital ratio of 8 percent or more, (2) a Tier 1 capital ratio of 6 percent or more, (3) a CET1 capital ratio of 4.5 percent or more and (4) a leverage ratio of 4 percent or more.
Undercapitalized - The insured depository institution fails to meet the required minimum level for any relevant capital measure.  Under the 2015 Capital Rules, an undercapitalized depository institution is one having (1) a total capital ratio of less than 8 percent, (2) a Tier 1 capital ratio of less than 6 percent, (3) a CET1 capital ratio of less than 4.5 percent or (4) a leverage ratio of less than 4 percent.
Significantly Undercapitalized - The insured depository institution is significantly below the required minimum level for any relevant capital measure.  Under the 2015 Capital Rules, a significantly undercapitalized institution is one having (1) a total risk-based capital ratio of less than 6 percent (2) a Tier 1 capital ratio of less than 4 percent, (3) a CET1 ratio of less than 3 percent or (4) a leverage capital ratio of less than 3 percent.

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Critically Undercapitalized - The insured depository institution fails to meet a critical capital level set by the appropriate federal banking agency.  A critically undercapitalized institution is one having a ratio of tangible equity to total assets that is equal to or less than 2 percent.
The prompt corrective action regulations permit the appropriate federal banking regulator to downgrade an institution to the next lower category if the regulator determines after notice and opportunity for hearing or response that (1) the institution is in an unsafe or unsound condition or (2) that the institution has received and not corrected a less-than-satisfactory rating for any of the categories of asset quality, management, earnings or liquidity in its most recent examination.  Supervisory actions by the appropriate federal banking regulator depend upon an institution’s classification within the five categories.  Our management believes that we and our Bank subsidiary have the requisite capital levels to qualify as well-capitalized institutions under the FDICIA regulations.
If an institution fails to remain well capitalized, it will be subject to a variety of enforcement remedies that increase as the capital condition worsens.  For instance, the FDICIA generally prohibits a depository institution from making any capital distribution, including payment of a dividend, or paying any management fee to its holding company if the depository institution would thereafter be undercapitalized as a result.  Undercapitalized depository institutions are subject to restrictions on borrowing from the Federal Reserve System.  In addition, adequately-capitalized depository institutions may not accept brokered deposits absent a waiver from the FDIC and undercapitalized depository institutions may not accept brokered deposits, are subject to growth limitations and are required to submit capital restoration plans for regulatory approval.  A depository institution’s holding company must guarantee any required capital restoration plan, up to an amount equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the depository institution’s assets at the time it becomes undercapitalized or the amount of the capital deficiency when the institution fails to comply with the plan.  Federal banking agencies may not accept a capital plan without determining, among other things, that the plan is based on realistic assumptions and is likely to succeed in restoring the depository institution’s capital.  If a depository institution fails to submit an acceptable plan, it is treated as if it is significantly undercapitalized.
Significantly undercapitalized depository institutions may be subject to a number of requirements and restrictions, including orders to sell sufficient voting stock to become adequately capitalized, requirements to reduce total assets and cessation of receipt of deposits from correspondent banks.  Critically undercapitalized depository institutions are subject to appointment of a receiver or conservator.
In addition to the “prompt corrective action” directives, failure to meet capital guidelines may subject a banking organization to a variety of other enforcement remedies, including additional substantial restrictions on its operations and activities, termination of deposit insurance by the FDIC and, under certain conditions, the appointment of a conservator or receiver.
Standards for Safety and Soundness.  The FDIA also requires the federal banking regulatory agencies to prescribe, by regulation or guideline, operational and managerial standards for all insured depository institutions relating to: (i) internal controls; (ii) information systems and internal audit systems; (iii) loan documentation; (iv) credit underwriting; (v) interest rate risk exposure; and (vi) asset quality.  The agencies also must prescribe standards for asset quality, earnings and stock valuation, as well as standards for compensation, fees and benefits.  The federal banking agencies have adopted regulations and Interagency Guidelines Prescribing Standards for Safety and Soundness (“Guidelines”) to implement these required standards.  The Guidelines set forth the safety and soundness standards that the federal banking agencies use to identify and address problems at insured depository institutions before capital becomes impaired.  Under the regulations, if the FDIC determines that Southside Bank fails to meet any standards prescribed by the Guidelines, it may require Southside Bank to submit an acceptable plan to achieve compliance, consistent with deadlines for the submission and review of such safety and soundness compliance plans.  Notably, the Dodd-Frank Act contains separate requirements relating to compensation arrangements.  Specifically, the Dodd-Frank Act requires federal banking regulators to issue regulations or guidelines to prohibit incentive-based compensation arrangements that encourage inappropriate risk taking by providing excessive compensation or that may lead to material loss at certain financial institutions with $1 billion or more in assets.  A joint proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on April 14, 2011, and a second joint proposed rule was published on June 10, 2016; however, as of December 31, 2018, regulators have yet to issue the final rule on the topic.
Dividends.  All dividends paid by Southside Bank are paid to the Company, as the sole shareholder of Southside Bank.  The ability of Southside Bank, as a Texas state bank, to pay dividends is restricted under federal and state law and regulations.  As an initial matter, the FDICIA and the regulations of the FDIC generally prohibit an insured depository institution from making a capital distribution (including payment of dividend) if, thereafter, the institution would not be at least adequately capitalized.  Under Texas law, Southside Bank generally may not pay a dividend reducing its capital and surplus without the prior approval of the Texas Banking Commissioner.  All dividends must be paid out of net profits then on hand, after deducting expenses, including losses and provisions for loan losses.
Southside Bank’s general dividend policy is to pay dividends at levels consistent with maintaining liquidity and preserving applicable capital ratios and servicing obligations.  Southside Bank’s dividend policies are subject to the discretion of its board of directors and will depend upon such factors as future earnings, financial conditions, cash needs, capital adequacy, compliance

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with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements and general business conditions.  The exact amount of future dividends paid by Southside Bank will be a function of its general profitability (which cannot be accurately estimated or assured), applicable tax rates in effect from year to year and the discretion of its board of directors.
As described above under Holding Company Regulation - Dividends, the ability of banks and bank holding companies to pay dividends, and the contents of their respective dividend policies, could be impacted by a range of changes imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act, many of which will require implementing rules to become effective.
Transactions with Affiliates.  Southside Bank is subject to sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act (“FRA”) and the Federal Reserve’s Regulation W, as made applicable to state nonmember banks by section 18(j) of the FDIA.  Sections 23A and 23B of the FRA restrict a bank’s ability to engage in certain transactions with its affiliates.  An affiliate of a bank is any company or entity that controls, is controlled by or is under common control with the bank.  In a holding company context, the parent bank holding company and any companies controlled by such parent bank holding company are generally affiliates of the bank.
Specifically, section 23A places limits on the amount of “covered transactions,” which include loans or extensions of credit to, and investments in or certain other transactions with, affiliates.  It also limits the amount of any advances to third parties that are collateralized by the securities or obligations of affiliates.  The aggregate of all covered transactions is limited to 10 percent of the bank’s capital and surplus for any one affiliate and 20 percent for all affiliates.  Additionally, within the foregoing limitations, each covered transaction must meet specified collateral requirements ranging from 100 to 130 percent of the loan amount, depending on the type of collateral.  Further, banks are prohibited from purchasing low quality assets from an affiliate. Section 608 of the Dodd-Frank Act broadened the definition of “covered transactions” to include derivative transactions and the borrowing or lending of securities if the transaction will cause a bank to have credit exposure to an affiliate.  The revised definition also includes the acceptance of debt obligations of an affiliate as collateral for a loan or extension of credit to a third party.  Furthermore, reverse repurchase transactions are viewed as extensions of credit (instead of asset purchases) and thus become subject to collateral requirements.  The expanded definition of “covered transactions” took effect on July 21, 2012.
Section 23B, among other things, prohibits a bank from engaging in certain transactions with affiliates unless the transactions are on terms substantially the same, or at least as favorable to the bank, as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with non-affiliated companies.  Except for limitations on low quality asset purchases and transactions that are deemed to be unsafe or unsound, Regulation W generally excludes affiliated depository institutions from treatment as affiliates.
Anti-Tying Regulations.  Under the BHCA and the Federal Reserve’s regulations, a bank is prohibited from engaging in certain tying or reciprocity arrangements with its customers.  In general, a bank may not extend credit, lease, sell property, or furnish any services or fix or vary the consideration for these products or services on the condition that either: (i) the customer obtain or provide some additional credit, property, or services from or to the bank, the bank holding company or subsidiaries thereof or (ii) the customer not obtain credit, property, or service from a competitor, except to the extent reasonable conditions are imposed to assure the soundness of the credit extended.  A bank may, however, offer combined-balance products and may otherwise offer more favorable terms if a customer obtains two or more traditional bank products.  Also, certain foreign transactions are exempt from the general rule.
Community Reinvestment Act.  Under the CRA, Southside Bank has a continuing and affirmative obligation, consistent with safe and sound banking practices, to help meet the needs of our entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.  The CRA does not establish specific lending requirements or programs for banks nor does it limit a bank’s discretion to develop the types of products and services that it believes are best suited to its particular community.
On a periodic basis, the FDIC is charged with preparing a written evaluation of our record of meeting the credit needs of the entire community and assigning a rating - outstanding, satisfactory, needs to improve or substantial noncompliance.  Banks are rated based on their actual performance in meeting community credit needs.  The FDIC will take that rating into account in its evaluation of any application made by the bank for, among other things, approval of the acquisition or establishment of a branch or other deposit facility, an office relocation, a merger or the acquisition of shares of capital stock of another financial institution.  A bank’s CRA rating may be used as the basis to deny or condition an application.  In addition, as discussed above, a bank holding company may not become a financial holding company unless each of its subsidiary banks has a CRA rating of at least “satisfactory.”  As of August 6, 2018, the most recent exam date, Southside Bank has a CRA rating of “outstanding.”
On April 3, 2018, the Department of the Treasury published recommendations for amending the regulations implementing the CRA; on August 28, 2018, the OCC issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking seeking industry comment on how the CRA might be modernized. As of December 31, 2018, none of the federal banking agencies have issued proposed CRA amendments.

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Branch Banking.  Pursuant to the Texas Finance Code, all banks located in Texas are authorized to branch statewide.  Accordingly, a bank located anywhere in Texas has the ability, subject to regulatory approval, to establish branch facilities near any of our facilities and within our market area.  If other banks were to establish branch facilities near our facilities, it is uncertain whether these branch facilities would have a material adverse effect on our business.
The Dodd-Frank Act substantially amended the legal framework that had previously governed interstate branching activities.  Formerly, under the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994, a bank’s ability to branch into a particular state was largely dependent upon whether the state “opted in” to de novo interstate branching.  Many states did not “opt in,” which resulted in branching restrictions in those states.  The Dodd-Frank Act removed the “opt-in” concept and permits banks to engage in de novo branching outside of their home states, provided that the laws of the target state permit banks chartered in that state to branch within that state.  Accordingly, de novo interstate branching by Southside Bank is subject to these new standards.  All branching in which Southside Bank may engage remains subject to regulatory approval and adherence to applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Consumer Protection Regulation.  The activities of Southside Bank are subject to a variety of statutes and regulations designed to protect consumers.  Interest and other charges collected or contracted for by the banks are subject to state usury laws and federal laws concerning interest rates.  Loan operations are also subject to federal laws and regulations applicable to credit transactions, such as:
the Truth In Lending Act and Regulation Z, governing disclosures of credit terms to consumer borrowers;
the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and Regulation C, requiring financial institutions to provide information to enable the public and public officials to determine whether a financial institution is fulfilling its obligation to help meet the housing needs of the community it serves;
the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, creed or other prohibited factors in extending credit;
the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V, governing the use and provision of information to consumer reporting agencies;
the Fair Debt Collection Act, governing the manner in which consumer debts may be collected by collection agencies; and
the guidance of the various federal agencies charged with the responsibility of implementing such federal laws.
Deposit and other operations also are subject to:
the Truth in Savings Act and Regulation DD, governing disclosure of deposit account terms to consumers;
the Right to Financial Privacy Act, which imposes a duty to maintain confidentiality of consumer financial records and prescribes procedures for complying with administrative subpoenas of financial records; and
the Electronic Fund Transfer Act and Regulation E, which governs automatic deposits to and withdrawals from deposit accounts and customers’ rights and liabilities arising from the use of ATMs and other electronic banking services, which the Bureau has expanded to include a new compliance regime that governs consumer-initiated cross border electronic transfers.
Many of the foregoing laws and regulations have recently changed and are subject to further change resulting from the provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act and other developments. For example, on July 10, 2017, the Bureau issued a final rule that imposes limitations on the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements by covered providers of consumer financial products and services.
In addition to numerous new disclosure requirements, the Dodd-Frank Act imposed new standards for mortgage loan originations on all lenders, including banks, in an effort to encourage lenders to verify a borrower’s ability to repay. The Bureau issued a rule, which took effect on January 10, 2014, to implement this “ability-to-repay” requirement and provide lenders with protection from liability for “qualified mortgages,” as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The rule has impacted our residential mortgage lending practices, and the residential mortgage market generally. Most significantly, the new “qualified mortgage” standards generally limit the total points and fees that financial institutions and/or a broker may charge on conforming and jumbo loans to 3 percent of the total loan amount. Also, the Dodd-Frank Act, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve’s final rule on loan originator compensation issued August 16, 2010 and effective April 1, 2011, prohibits certain compensation payments to loan originators and steering consumers to loans not in their interest because it will result in greater compensation for a loan originator. In addition, the Bureau recently issued additional rules pertaining to loan originator compensation, and that established qualification, registration and licensing requirements for loan originators. These standards will result in a myriad of new system, pricing and compensation controls in order to ensure compliance and to decrease repurchase requests and foreclosure defenses. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act generally requires lenders or securitizers to retain an economic interest in the credit risk relating to loans the

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lender sells and other asset-backed securities that the securitizer issues if the loans have not complied with the ability to repay standards. The final rule, which took effect on December 24, 2015 for residential mortgage-backed securitizations, generally requires the securitizer to retain not less than 5 percent of the credit risk. On April 26, 2018, the Bureau amended the mortgage disclosure requirements under RESPA and TILA related to the determination of whether closing costs are disclosed to a borrower in good faith.
The Bureau has also established a series of mechanisms to collect, track and make public consumer complaints, including complaints against individual financial institutions and is using this, and other information it has gathered, in connection with a variety of initiatives to address issues in markets for consumer financial products and services. The Bureau also has broad authority to prohibit unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices and to investigate and penalize financial institutions that violate this prohibition.
We cannot predict the extent to which new or modified regulations focused on consumer financial protection, whether adopted by the TDB, the Bureau, or the federal banking agencies will have on our businesses. Any such new laws may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Commercial Real Estate Lending.  Lending operations that involve concentration of commercial real estate loans are subject to enhanced scrutiny by federal banking regulators.  The regulators have issued guidance with respect to the risks posed by commercial real estate lending concentrations.  Real estate loans generally include land development, construction loans, land and lot loans to individuals, loans secured by multi-family property and nonfarm nonresidential real property where the primary source of repayment is derived from rental income associated with the property.  The guidance prescribes the following guidelines for examiners to help identify institutions that are potentially exposed to concentration risk and may warrant greater supervisory scrutiny:
total reported loans for construction, land development and other land represent 100 percent or more of the institution’s total capital, or
total commercial real estate loans represent 300 percent or more of the institution’s total capital and the outstanding balance of the institution’s commercial real estate loan portfolio has increased by 50 percent or more during the prior 36 months.
In October 2009, the federal banking agencies issued additional guidance on real estate lending that emphasizes these considerations.
In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act contains provisions that may impact our business by reducing the amount of our commercial real estate lending and increasing the cost of borrowing, including rules relating to risk retention of securitized assets.  Section 941 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires, among other things, a loan originator or a securitizer of asset-backed securities to retain a percentage of the credit risk of securitized assets.  The banking agencies have jointly issued a final rule to implement these requirements, which became effective on December 24, 2016 for classes of asset-backed securities other than residential mortgage-backed securitizations.
Anti-Money Laundering.  Southside Bank is subject to the regulations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which implement the Bank Secrecy Act, as amended by the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “USA PATRIOT Act”).  The USA PATRIOT Act gives the federal government the power to address terrorist threats through enhanced domestic security measures, expanded surveillance powers, increased information sharing and broadened anti-money laundering requirements.  Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act includes measures intended to encourage information sharing among banks, regulatory agencies and law enforcement bodies.  Further, certain provisions of Title III impose affirmative obligations on a broad range of financial institutions, including state-chartered banks like Southside Bank.
The USA PATRIOT Act and the related FinCEN regulations impose certain requirements with respect to financial institutions, including the following:
establishment of anti-money laundering programs, including adoption of written procedures and an ongoing employee training program, designation of a compliance officer and auditing of the program;
establishment of a program specifying procedures for obtaining information from customers seeking to open new accounts, including verifying the identity of customers within a reasonable period of time;
establishment of enhanced due diligence policies, procedures and controls designed to detect and report money laundering, for financial institutions that administer, maintain or manage private bank accounts or correspondent accounts for non-U.S. persons;
prohibitions on correspondent accounts for foreign shell banks and compliance with recordkeeping obligations with respect to correspondent accounts of foreign banks;

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filing of suspicious activities reports if a bank believes a customer may be violating U.S. laws and regulations; and
requirements that bank regulators consider bank holding company or bank compliance in connection with merger or acquisition transactions.
In addition, FinCEN issued a final rule, which became effective on May 11, 2018, that requires covered financial institutions subject to certain exclusions and exemptions to identify and verify the identity of beneficial owners of legal entity customers.
Bank regulators routinely examine institutions for compliance with these obligations and have been active in imposing cease and desist and other regulatory orders and money penalty sanctions against institutions found to be violating these obligations. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation can send bank regulatory agencies lists of the names of persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. Southside Bank can be requested to search its records for any relationships or transactions with persons on those lists and required to report any identified relationships or transactions.
OFAC.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) is responsible for helping to ensure that U.S. entities do not engage in transactions with certain prohibited parties, as defined by various Executive Orders and Acts of Congress.  OFAC publishes, and routinely updates, lists of names of persons and organizations suspected of aiding, harboring or engaging in terrorist acts, including the Specially Designated Nationals List.  If we find a name on any transaction, account or wire transfer that is on an OFAC list, we must undertake certain specified activities, which could include blocking or freezing the account or transaction requested, and we must notify the appropriate authorities.
Privacy and Data Security.  Under federal law, financial institutions are generally prohibited from disclosing consumer information to non-affiliated third parties unless the consumer has been given the opportunity to object and has not objected to such disclosure.  Financial institutions are further required to disclose their privacy policies to customers annually.  To the extent state laws are more protective of consumer privacy, financial institutions must comply with state law privacy provisions.
In addition, federal and state banking agencies have prescribed standards for maintaining the security and confidentiality of consumer information.  Southside Bank is subject to such standards, as well as standards for notifying consumers in the event of a security breach.  Under existing federal law, Southside Bank must disclose its privacy policy for collecting and protecting confidential customer information to consumers, permit consumers to “opt out” of having nonpublic customer information disclosed to non-affiliated third parties, with some exceptions, and allow customers to opt out of receiving marketing solicitations based on information about the customer received from another subsidiary.  On October 28, 2014, the Bureau amended the annual privacy notice requirement to permit a financial institution to provide the annual privacy notice through posting the annual notice on its website if the financial institution meets certain conditions. On December 4, 2015, the GLBA was amended to provide additional circumstances under which a financial institution is not required to provide an annual notice. This amendment was incorporated by the Bureau into its implementing regulation, Regulation P, on August 10, 2018. States may adopt more extensive privacy protections.  Southside Bank is similarly required to have an information security program to safeguard the confidentiality and security of customer information and to ensure proper disposal.  Customers must be notified when unauthorized disclosure involves sensitive customer information that may be misused.
Regulatory Examination.
See Holding Company Regulation - Regulatory Examination.
Enforcement Authority.  Southside Bank and its “institution-affiliated parties,” including management, employees, agents, independent contractors and consultants, such as attorneys and accountants and others who participate in the conduct of the institution’s affairs, are subject to potential civil and criminal penalties for violations of law, regulations or written orders of a government agency.  Violations can include failure to timely file required reports, filing false or misleading information or submitting inaccurate reports.  Civil penalties may be as high as $1,000,000 a day for such violations, and criminal penalties for some financial institution crimes may include imprisonment for 20 years.  Regulators have flexibility to commence enforcement actions against institutions and institution-affiliated parties, and the FDIC has the authority to terminate deposit insurance.  When issued by a banking agency, cease and desist orders may, among other things, require affirmative action to correct any harm resulting from a violation or practice, including restitution, reimbursement, indemnifications or guarantees against loss.  A financial institution may also be ordered to restrict its growth, dispose of certain assets, rescind agreements or contracts, or take other actions determined to be appropriate by the ordering agency.  The federal banking agencies also may remove a director or officer from an insured depository institution (or bar them from the industry) if a violation is willful or reckless.
Governmental Monetary Policies.  The commercial banking business is affected not only by general economic conditions but also by the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve.  Changes in the discount rate on member bank borrowings, control of borrowings, open market operations, the imposition of and changes in reserve requirements against member banks, deposits and assets of foreign branches, the imposition of and changes in reserve requirements against certain borrowings by banks and their affiliates and the placing of limits on interest rates which member banks may pay on time and savings deposits are some of the instruments of monetary policy available to the Federal Reserve.  These monetary policies influence to a significant extent the

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overall growth of all bank loans, investments and deposits and the interest rates charged on loans or paid on time and savings deposits.  In response to the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve established several innovative programs to stabilize certain financial institutions and to ensure the availability of credit, which the Federal Reserve has begun to modify as a result of improving economic conditions.  The nature of future monetary policies and the effect of such policies on Southside Bank’s future business and earnings, therefore, cannot be predicted accurately.
Evolving Legislation and Regulatory Action.  Proposals for new statutes and regulations are frequently circulated at both the federal and state levels, and may include wide-ranging changes to the structures, regulations and competitive relationships of financial institutions.  We cannot predict whether new legislation or regulations will be enacted and, if enacted, the effect that it, or any regulations, would have on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Other Regulatory Matters.  The Company and its affiliates are subject to oversight by the SEC, the NASDAQ Stock Market, various state securities regulators and other regulatory authorities.  The Company and its subsidiaries have from time to time received requests for information from regulatory authorities in various states, including state attorneys general, securities regulators and other regulatory authorities, concerning their business practices.  Such requests are considered incidental to the normal conduct of business.


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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
Set forth below are the material risks and uncertainties that, if they were to occur, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and the trading price of our common stock.  Additional risks and uncertainties that management is not aware of or focused on or that management currently deems immaterial may also impair our financial condition and business operations.  
RISKS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS
Our earnings are subject to interest rate risk.
Our earnings and cash flows are largely dependent upon our net interest income.  Net interest income is the difference between interest income earned on interest earning assets such as loans and securities and interest expense paid on interest bearing liabilities such as deposits and borrowed funds.  Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors that are beyond our control, including general economic conditions and policies of various governmental and regulatory agencies and, in particular, the Federal Reserve.  Changes in monetary policy, interest rates, the yield curve, or market risk spreads, or a prolonged inverted yield curve could influence not only the interest we receive on loans and securities and the amount of interest we pay on deposits and borrowings, but such changes could also affect:
our ability to originate loans and obtain deposits;
our ability to retain deposits in a rising rate environment;
net interest rate spreads and net interest rate margins;
our ability to enter into instruments to hedge against interest rate risk;
the fair value of our financial assets and liabilities; and
the average duration of our loan and mortgage-backed securities portfolio.
If the interest rates paid on deposits and other borrowings increase at a faster rate than the interest rates received on loans and other investments, our net interest income, and therefore earnings, could be adversely affected.  Earnings could also be adversely affected if the interest rates received on loans and other investments fall more quickly than the interest rates paid on deposits and other borrowings.
Any substantial, unexpected or prolonged change in market interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.  See the section captioned “Net Interest Income” in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this report for further discussion related to our management of interest rate risk.
We are subject to the risk that our U.S. agency mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) could prepay faster than we have projected.
We have and continue to purchase MBS at premiums due to the low interest rate environment.  Our prepayment assumptions take into account market consensus speeds, current trends and past experience.  If actual prepayments exceed our projections, the amortization expense associated with these MBS will increase, thereby decreasing our net income.  The increase in amortization expense and the corresponding decrease in net income could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to credit quality risks and our credit policies may not be sufficient to avoid losses.
We are subject to the risk of losses resulting from the failure of borrowers, guarantors and related parties to pay us the interest and principal amounts due on their loans.  Although we maintain well-defined credit policies and credit underwriting and monitoring and collection procedures, these policies and procedures may not prevent losses, particularly during periods in which the local, regional or national economy suffers a general decline.  If borrowers fail to repay their loans, our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.
Our interest rate risk, liquidity, fair value of securities and profitability are dependent upon the successful management of our balance sheet strategy.
We implemented a balance sheet strategy for the purpose of enhancing overall profitability by maximizing the use of our capital.  The effectiveness of our balance sheet strategy, and therefore our profitability, may be adversely affected by a number of factors, including reduced net interest margin and spread, adverse changes in the market liquidity and fair value of our investment securities and U.S. agency MBS, incorrect modeling results due to the unpredictable nature of MBS prepayments, the length of interest rate cycles and the slope of the interest rate yield curve.  In addition, we may not be able to obtain wholesale funding to profitably and properly fund our balance sheet strategy.  If our balance sheet strategy is flawed or poorly implemented, we may

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incur significant losses.  See the section captioned “Balance Sheet Strategy” in “Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this report for further discussion related to our balance sheet strategy.
We have a high concentration of loans secured by real estate and a decline in the real estate market, for any reason, could result in losses and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and future prospects.
A significant portion of our loan portfolio is dependent on real estate.  In addition to the importance of the financial strength and cash flow characteristics of the borrower, loans are also often secured with real estate collateral.  At December 31, 2018, approximately 75.4% of our loans have real estate as a primary or secondary component of collateral.  The real estate in each case provides an alternate source of repayment in the event of default by the borrower and may deteriorate in value during the time the credit is extended.  Beginning in the third quarter of 2007 and continuing until 2010, there was significant deterioration in the credit markets, beginning with a decline in the sub-prime mortgage lending market, which later extended to the markets for collateralized mortgage obligations, MBS and the lending markets generally.  This decline resulted in restrictions in the resale markets during 2011 and 2012 for non-conforming loans and had an adverse effect on retail mortgage lending operations in many markets.  Beginning in 2014, the price per barrel of crude oil began to decline significantly from a high during 2014 of over $100 to approximately $45 as of December 31, 2018.  A prolonged period of lower oil prices could have a negative impact on energy-dominant states such as Texas, including the real estate values in such states.  A decline in the credit markets generally could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations if we are unable to extend credit or sell loans in the secondary market.  An adverse change in the economy affecting real estate values generally or in our primary markets specifically could significantly impair the value of collateral underlying certain of our loans and our ability to sell the collateral at a profit or at all upon foreclosure.  Furthermore, it is likely that, in a declining real estate market, we would be required to further increase our allowance for loan losses.  If we are required to liquidate the collateral securing a loan to satisfy the debt during a period of reduced real estate values or to increase our allowance for loan losses, our profitability and financial condition could be adversely impacted.
Our allowance for probable loan losses may be insufficient.
We maintain an allowance for probable loan losses, which is a reserve established through a provision for probable loan losses charged to expense.  This allowance represents management’s best estimate of probable losses that may exist within our existing loan portfolio.  The allowance, in the judgment of management, is necessary to reserve for estimated loan losses and risks inherent in the loan portfolio.  The level of the allowance reflects management’s continuing evaluation of industry concentrations; specific credit risks; loan loss experience; current loan portfolio quality; present economic, political and regulatory conditions; and unidentified losses inherent in the current loan portfolio.  The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance for probable loan losses inherently involves a high degree of subjectivity and requires management to make significant estimates and assumptions regarding current credit risks and future trends, all of which may undergo material changes.  Changes in economic conditions affecting the value of properties used as collateral for loans, problems affecting the credit of borrowers, new information regarding existing loans, identification of additional problem loans and other factors, both within and outside of our control, may require an increase in the allowance for probable loan losses.  In addition, bank regulatory agencies periodically review our allowance for probable loan losses and may require an increase in the provision for probable loan losses or the recognition of further loan charge-offs (in accordance with GAAP), based on judgments different than those of management.  If charge-offs in future periods exceed the allowance for probable loan losses, we may need additional provisions to increase the allowance for probable loan losses.  Any increases in the allowance for probable loan losses will result in a decrease in net income and capital, and may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, “Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments” (“CECL”). ASU 2016-13 introduces an approach based on expected losses to estimate credit losses on certain types of financial instruments and substantially changes how we calculate our allowance for probable loan losses. While we are evaluating CECL, we cannot predict when and how it will affect our results of operations and financial condition, including our regulatory capital. See “Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this report for further discussion related to our process for determining the appropriate level of the allowance for probable loan losses.
We may be adversely affected by declining crude oil prices.
Beginning in 2014, decisions by certain members of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”) to maintain higher crude oil production levels combined with increased production levels in the United States led to increased global oil supplies which has resulted in significant declines in market oil prices.  At one point the price per barrel of crude oil traded below $30. As of December 31, 2018, the price per barrel of crude oil was approximately $45 compared to a high of over $100 in 2014, and oil prices decreased more than 40% during the fourth quarter of 2018. Decreased market oil prices compressed margins for many U.S. and Texas-based oil producers, particularly those that utilize higher-cost production technologies such as hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling, as well as oilfield service providers, energy equipment manufacturers and transportation suppliers, among others.  As of December 31, 2018, energy loans comprised approximately 1.92% of our loan portfolio.  Energy production and related industries represent a significant part of the economies in our primary markets.  If oil prices remain at these low levels, or move lower, for an extended period, we could experience weaker loan demand from the energy industry and increased

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losses within our energy portfolio.  A prolonged period of low oil prices could also have a negative impact on the U.S. economy and, in particular, the economies of energy-dominant states such as Texas, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of disclosure controls and procedures, including internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operation and financial condition. In addition, current and potential shareholders could lose confidence in our financial reporting, which could harm the trading price of our common stock.
Management regularly monitors, reviews and updates our disclosure controls and procedures, including our internal control over financial reporting. Any system of controls, however well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable, assurances that the controls will be effective. Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Failure to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment could prevent us from accurately reporting our financial results, preventing or detecting fraud or providing timely and reliable financial information pursuant to our reporting obligations, which could result in a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting and the restatement of previously filed financial statements and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, ineffective internal controls could cause our investors to lose confidence in our financial information, which could affect the trading price of our common stock.
We are subject to environmental liability as a result of certain lending activities.
A significant portion of our loan portfolio is secured by real property.  During the ordinary course of business, we may foreclose on and take title to properties securing certain loans.  There is a risk that hazardous or toxic substances could be found on these properties.  If hazardous or toxic substances are found, we may be liable for remediation costs, as well as for personal injury and property damage.  Environmental remediation may require us to incur substantial expenses and may materially reduce the affected property’s value or limit our ability to use or sell the affected property.  In addition, future laws or more stringent interpretations or enforcement policies with respect to existing laws may increase our exposure to environmental liability.  Although we have policies and procedures that require us to perform an environmental review before initiating any foreclosure action on nonresidential real property, these reviews may not be sufficient to detect all potential environmental hazards.  The remediation costs and any other financial liabilities associated with an environmental hazard could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our profitability depends significantly on economic conditions in the State of Texas.
Our success depends primarily on the general economic conditions of the State of Texas and the specific local markets within Texas in which we operate.  Unlike larger national or other regional banks that are more geographically diversified, we provide banking and financial services to customers primarily in the State of Texas and the local markets in which we operate within Texas.  The local economic conditions in these areas have a significant impact on the demand for our products and services, as well as the ability of our customers to repay loans, the value of the collateral securing our loans and the stability of our deposit funding sources.  Moreover, all of the securities in our municipal bond portfolio were issued by political subdivisions and agencies within the State of Texas.  A significant decline in general economic conditions, caused by inflation, recession, crude oil prices, acts of terrorism, outbreak of hostilities or other international or domestic occurrences, unemployment, plant or business closings or downsizing, changes in securities markets or other factors could impact these local economic conditions and, in turn, have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
General political or economic conditions in the United States could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
The state of the economy and various economic factors, including inflation, recession, unemployment, interest rates, declining oil prices and the level of U.S. debt, as well as governmental action and uncertainty resulting from U.S. and global political trends, may directly and indirectly, have a destabilizing effect on our financial condition and results of operations. An unfavorable or uncertain national or regional political or economic environment could drive losses beyond those which are provided for in our allowance for loan losses and result in the following consequences:
increases in loan delinquencies;
increases in nonperforming assets and foreclosures;
decreases in demand for our products and services, which could adversely affect our liquidity position;

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decreases in the value of the collateral securing our loans, especially real estate, which could reduce customers’ borrowing power;
decreases in the credit quality of our non-U.S. Government and non-U.S. agency investment securities, corporate and municipal securities;
an adverse or unfavorable resolution of the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac receivership; and
decreases in the real estate values subject to ad-valorem taxes by municipalities that impact such municipalities’ ability to repay their debt, which could adversely affect our municipal loans or debt securities.
Any of the foregoing could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operation.
Increased regulatory oversight, uncertainty relating to the LIBOR calculation process and potential phasing out of LIBOR after 2021 may adversely affect the results of our operations.

On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates the London Interbank Offering Rate (“LIBOR”), announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. The announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021. It is impossible to predict whether and to what extent banks will continue to provide LIBOR submissions to the administrator of LIBOR, whether LIBOR rates will cease to be published or supported before or after 2021 or whether any additional reforms to LIBOR may be enacted in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. Effort in the United States to identify a set of alternative U.S. dollar reference interest rates include proposals by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Uncertainty as to the nature of alternative reference rates and as to potential changes in other reforms to LIBOR may adversely affect LIBOR rates and the value of LIBOR-based loans, and to a lesser extent securities in our portfolio, and may impact the availability and cost of hedging instruments and borrowings, including the rates we pay on our subordinated debentures and trust preferred securities. If LIBOR rates are no longer available, any successor or replacement interest rates may perform differently and we may incur significant costs to transition both our borrowing arrangements and the loan agreements with our customers from LIBOR, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations.
As a result of the limitation on the deductibility of business interest included in the Tax Act, we may have the right to redeem our currently outstanding subordinated debt.
On September 19, 2016, we issued $100.0 million aggregate principal amount of 5.50% fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes due 2026 (the “Notes”). These Notes are generally not redeemable by us until 2021. However, we are permitted to redeem these Notes earlier upon the occurrence of a “tax event”, which is generally defined as there being a more than insubstantial risk that the interest paid on the Notes would not be deductible by the Company, in whole or in part, for federal income tax purposes. Provisions of the Tax Act impose a limit on the amount of business interest which is deductible, capping that interest deduction at the sum of (i) the taxpayer’s business interest income for the tax year plus (ii) 30% of the taxpayer’s adjusted taxable income for the tax year. As a consequence, in the event the interest payments on the Notes exceed the total amount of permitted deductible business interest under the Tax Act, such occurrence could constitute a “tax event” under the Notes due to the limitation on the deductibility of our interest payments on the Notes and thus permit us to redeem the Notes prior to 2021.
We operate in a highly competitive industry and market area.
We face substantial competition in all areas of our operations from a variety of different competitors, many of which are larger and may have more financial resources.  Such competitors primarily include national, regional and community banks within the various markets we operate.  Additionally, various out-of-state banks have entered or have announced plans to enter the market areas in which we currently operate.  We also face competition from many other types of financial institutions, including, without limitation, credit unions, finance companies, brokerage firms, insurance companies, factoring companies and other financial intermediaries.  The financial services industry could become even more competitive as a result of legislative, regulatory and technological changes, continued consolidation and recent trends in the credit and mortgage lending markets.  Banks, securities firms and insurance companies can be affiliated under the umbrella of a financial holding company, which can offer virtually any type of financial service, including banking, securities underwriting, insurance (both agency and underwriting) and merchant banking.  Also, technology has lowered barriers to entry and made it possible for nonbanks to offer certain products and services traditionally provided by banks, such as automatic transfer and automatic payment systems.  Our competitors may have fewer regulatory constraints and may have lower cost structures.  Additionally, due to their size, many competitors may be able to achieve economies of scale and, as a result, may offer a broader range of products and services as well as better pricing for those products and services than we can.
Our ability to compete successfully depends on a number of factors, including:
the ability to develop, maintain and build upon long-term customer relationships based on top quality service, high ethical standards and safe, sound assets;

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the ability to expand our market position;
the scope, relevance and pricing of products and services offered to meet customer needs and demands;
the rate at which we introduce new products and services relative to our competitors;
our ability to invest in or partner with technology providers offering banking solutions and delivery channels at a level equal to our competitors;
customer satisfaction with our level of service; and
industry and general economic trends.
Failure to perform in any of these areas could significantly weaken our competitive position, which could adversely affect our growth and profitability, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
New lines of business or new products and services may subject us to additional risks.
From time to time, we may implement new delivery systems, such as internet banking, or offer new products and services within existing lines of business.  In developing and marketing new delivery systems and/or new products and services, we may invest significant time and resources. Initial timetables for the introduction and development of new lines of business and/or new products or services may not be achieved and price and profitability targets may not prove feasible.  External factors, such as compliance with regulations, competitive alternatives and shifting market preferences, may also impact the successful implementation of a new line of business or a new product or service.  Furthermore, any new line of business and/or new product or service could have a significant impact on the effectiveness of our system of internal controls.  Failure to successfully manage these risks in the development and implementation of new lines of business or new products or services could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.  
We rely on dividends from our bank subsidiary for most of our revenue.
Southside Bancshares, Inc. is a separate and distinct legal entity from its subsidiaries.  We receive substantially all of our revenue from dividends from our subsidiary Southside Bank.  These dividends are the principal source of funds to pay dividends on our common stock to our shareholders and interest and principal on our debt.  Various federal and/or state laws and regulations limit the amount of dividends that Southside Bank and certain of our nonbank subsidiaries may pay to us.  In addition, Southside Bancshares, Inc.’s right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiary’s liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary’s creditors.  In the event Southside Bank is unable to pay dividends to Southside Bancshares, Inc., we may not be able to service debt, pay obligations or pay dividends to our shareholders.  The inability to receive dividends from Southside Bank could have a material adverse effect on Southside Bancshares, Inc.’s business, financial condition and results of operations.  See the section captioned “Supervision and Regulation” in “Item 1. Business” and “Note 14 – Shareholders’ Equity” to our consolidated financial statements included in this report.
You may not receive dividends on our common stock.
Although we have historically declared quarterly cash dividends on our common stock, we are not required to do so and may reduce or cease to pay common stock dividends in the future. If we reduce or cease to pay common stock dividends, the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected.
As noted above, our ability to pay dividends depends primarily upon the receipt of dividends or other capital distributions from Southside Bank. Southside Bank’s ability to pay dividends to us is subject to, among other thing, its earnings, financial condition and need for funds, as well as federal and state governmental policies and regulations applicable to us and Southside Bank, including the statutory requirement that we serve as a source of financial strength for Southside Bank, which limit the amount that may be paid as dividends without prior regulatory approval. Additionally, if Southside Bank’s earnings are not sufficient to pay dividends to us while maintaining adequate capital levels, we may not be able to pay dividends to our shareholders. See “Supervision and Regulation — Holding Company Regulation — Dividends” included in this report.
Our information systems may experience an interruption or breach in security.
We rely heavily on communications and information systems to conduct our business.  Our communications and information systems remain vulnerable to unexpected disruptions and failures. Any failure, interruption or breach in security of these systems could result in failures or disruptions in our customer relationship management, general ledger, deposit, loan and other systems.  While we have policies and procedures designed to prevent or limit the effect of the failure, interruption or security breach of our information systems, there can be no assurance that we can prevent any such failures, interruptions, cyber security breaches or other security breaches or, if they do occur, that they will be adequately addressed.  The occurrence of any failures, interruptions or security breaches of our information systems could damage our reputation, result in a loss of customer business, subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny or expose us to civil litigation and possible financial liability, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

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In our ordinary course of business, we rely on electronic communications and information systems to conduct our businesses and to collect and store sensitive data, including financial information regarding our customers and personally identifiable information of our customers and employees. The integrity of information systems of financial institutions are under significant threat from cyber-attacks by third parties, including through coordinated attacks sponsored by foreign nations and criminal organizations to disrupt business operations and other compromises to data and systems for political or criminal purposes. We employ an in-depth, layered, defense approach that leverages people, processes and technology to manage and maintain cyber security controls. 
Notwithstanding the strength of our defensive measures, the threat from cyber-attacks is severe, attacks are sophisticated and attackers respond rapidly to changes in defensive measures. Cyber security risks may also occur with our third party service providers, and may interfere with their ability to fulfill their contractual obligations to us, with potential for financial loss or liability that could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. We offer our customers the ability to bank remotely and provide other technology based products and services, which services include the secure transmission of confidential information over the Internet and other remote channels. To the extent that our customers’ systems are not secure or are otherwise compromised, our network could be vulnerable to unauthorized access, malicious software, phishing schemes and other security breaches. To the extent that our activities or the activities of our customers or third party service providers involve the storage and transmission of confidential information, security breaches and malicious software could expose us to claims, regulatory scrutiny, litigation and other possible liabilities. While to date we have not experienced a significant compromise, significant data loss or material financial losses related to cyber security attacks, our systems and those of our customers and third party service providers are under constant threat, and it is possible that we could experience a significant event in the future. We may suffer material financial losses related to these risks in the future or we may be subject to liability for compromises to our customer or third party service provider systems. Any such losses or liabilities could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations and could expose us to reputation risk, the loss of customer business, increased operational costs, as well as additional regulatory scrutiny, possible litigation and related financial liability. These risks also include possible business interruption, including the inability to access critical information and systems.
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, core 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 our customers and otherwise to conduct business. Technological or financial difficulties of one of our third party service providers or their subcontractors could adversely affect our business to the extent those difficulties result in the interruption or discontinuation of services provided by that party.  In addition, one or more of our third party service providers may become subject to cyber-attacks or information security breaches that could result in the unauthorized release, gathering, monitoring, misuse, loss or destruction of our or our customers’ confidential, proprietary and other information, or otherwise disrupt our or our customers’ or other third parties’ business operations. While we have processes in place to monitor our third party service providers’ data and information security safeguards, we do not control such service providers’ day to day operations, and a successful attack or security breach at one or more of such third party service providers is not within our control.  The occurrence of any such breaches or failures could damage our reputation, result in a loss of customer business and expose us to additional regulatory scrutiny, civil litigation and possible financial liability, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Further, in some instances we may be held responsible for the failure of such third parties to comply with government regulations. We may not be insured against all types of losses as a result of third party failures, and our insurance coverage may not be adequate to cover all losses resulting from system failures, third party breaches or other disruptions. Failures in our business structure or in the structure of one or more of our third party service providers could interrupt the operations or increase the cost of doing business.
Funding to provide liquidity may not be available to us on favorable terms or at all.
Liquidity is the ability to meet cash flow needs on a timely basis at a reasonable cost.  The liquidity of Southside Bank is necessary to make loans and leases and to repay deposit liabilities as they become due or are demanded by customers.  Liquidity policies and limits are established by our board of directors.  Management and our asset liability committee regularly monitor the overall liquidity position of Southside Bank and the Company to ensure that various alternative strategies exist to cover unanticipated events that could affect liquidity.  Management and our asset liability committee also establish policies and monitor guidelines to diversify Southside Bank’s funding sources to avoid concentrations in excess of board-approved policies from any one market source.  Funding sources include federal funds purchased, securities sold under agreements to repurchase (“repurchase agreements”), noncore deposits and short- and long-term debt.  Southside Bank is also a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) System, which provides funding through advance agreements to members that are collateralized with U.S. Treasury securities, MBS, commercial mortgage backed securities and loans.

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We maintain a portfolio of securities that can be used as a secondary source of liquidity.  Other sources of liquidity include sales or securitizations of loans, our ability to acquire additional national market, noncore deposits, additional collateralized borrowings such as FHLB advance agreements, the issuance and sale of debt securities and the issuance and sale of preferred or common securities in public or private transactions.  Southside Bank also can borrow from the Federal Reserve’s discount window.
We have historically had access to a number of alternative sources of liquidity, but if there is an increase in volatility in the credit and liquidity markets similar to 2008, there is no assurance that we will be able to obtain such liquidity on terms that are favorable to us, or at all.  The cost of out-of-market deposits may exceed the cost of deposits of similar maturity in our local market area, making such deposits unattractive sources of funding; financial institutions may be unwilling to extend credit to banks because of concerns about the banking industry and the economy in general, and there may not be a viable market for raising equity capital.
If we were unable to access any of these funding sources when needed, we might be unable to meet customers’ needs, which could adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and liquidity and level of regulatory-qualifying capital.
Acquisitions and potential acquisitions may disrupt our business and dilute shareholder value.
We occasionally evaluate merger and acquisition opportunities and conduct due diligence activities related to possible transactions with other financial institutions and financial services companies.  As a result, merger or acquisition discussions and, in some cases, negotiations may take place, and future mergers or acquisitions involving cash, debt or equity securities may occur at any time. Acquisitions typically involve the payment of a premium over book and fair values, and, therefore, some dilution of our tangible book value and net income per common share may occur in connection with any future transaction.  Furthermore, failure to realize expected revenue increases, cost savings, increases in geographic or product presence and/or other projected benefits and synergies from an acquisition could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our process for managing risk may not be effective in mitigating risk or losses to us.
The objectives of our risk management processes are to mitigate risk and loss to our organization. We have established procedures that are intended to identify, measure, monitor, report and analyze the types of risks to which we are subject, including liquidity risk, credit risk, market risk, interest rate risk, operational risk, cybersecurity risk, legal and compliance risk and reputational risk, among others. However, as with any risk management processes, there are inherent limitations to our risk management strategies as there may exist, or develop in the future, risks that we have not appropriately anticipated or identified. The ongoing developments in the financial institutions industry continue to highlight both the importance and some of the limitations of managing unanticipated risks. If our risk management processes prove ineffective, we could suffer unexpected losses and could be materially adversely affected.
The value of our goodwill and other intangible assets may decline in the future.
As of December 31, 2018, we had $218.9 million of goodwill and other intangible assets.  A significant decline in our expected future cash flows, a significant adverse change in the business climate, slower growth rates or a significant and sustained decline in the price of our common stock may necessitate taking charges in the future related to the impairment of our goodwill and other intangible assets.  If we were to conclude that a future write-down of goodwill and other intangible assets is necessary, we would record the appropriate charge, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our accounting estimates and risk management processes rely on analytical and forecasting models.
The process we use to estimate our probable loan losses and to measure the fair value of our financial instruments, as well as the processes used to estimate the effects of changing interest rates and other market measures on our financial condition and results of operations, depend upon the use of analytical and forecasting models.  These models reflect assumptions that may not be accurate, particularly in times of market stress or other unforeseen circumstances.  Even if these assumptions are adequate, the models may prove to be inadequate or inaccurate because of other flaws in their design or their implementation.  If the models we use for interest rate risk and asset-liability management are inadequate, we may incur increased or unexpected losses upon changes in market interest rates or other market measures.  If the methodology we use for determining our probable loan losses are inadequate, our allowance for loan losses may not be sufficient to support future charge-offs.  If the models we use to measure the fair value of financial instruments are inadequate, the fair value of such financial instruments may fluctuate unexpectedly or may not accurately reflect what we could realize upon sale or settlement of such financial instruments.  Any such failure in our analytical or forecasting models could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be able to attract and retain skilled personnel.
Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to attract and retain key personnel.  Competition for the best personnel in most activities we engage in can be intense, and we may not be able to hire personnel or to retain them.  The unexpected loss of services of one or more of our key personnel could have a material adverse impact on our business because of their skills, knowledge

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of our market, relationships in the communities we serve, years of industry experience and the difficulty of promptly finding qualified replacement personnel.  Although we have employment agreements with certain of our executive officers, there is no guarantee that these officers and other key personnel will remain employed with the Company.
We continually encounter technological change.
The financial services industry is continually undergoing rapid technological change with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services.  The effective use of technology increases efficiency and enables financial institutions to better serve customers and reduce costs.  Our future success depends, in part, upon our ability to address the needs of our customers by using technology to provide products and services that will satisfy customer demands, as well as to create additional efficiencies in our operations.  Many of our competitors have substantially greater resources to invest in technological improvements.  We may not be able to effectively implement new technology-driven products and services or be successful in marketing these products and services to our customers, and even if we implement such products and services, we may incur substantial costs in doing so.  Failure to successfully keep pace with technological change affecting the financial services industry could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Severe weather, natural disasters, climate change, acts of war or terrorism and other external events could significantly impact our business.
Severe weather, natural disasters, climate change, acts of war or terrorism and other adverse external events could have a significant impact on our ability to conduct business.  Such events could affect the stability of our deposit base, impair the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans, impair the value of collateral securing loans, cause significant property damage, result in loss of revenue and/or cause us to incur additional expenses.  For example, because of our location and the location of the market areas we serve, severe weather is more likely than in other areas of the country.  Although management has established disaster recovery policies and procedures, there can be no assurance of the effectiveness of such policies and procedures, and the occurrence of any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE BANKING INDUSTRY
We are subject or may become subject to extensive government regulation and supervision.
Southside Bancshares, Inc., primarily through Southside Bank, and certain of its nonbank subsidiaries, is subject to extensive federal and state regulation and supervision.  Banking regulations are primarily intended to protect depositors’ funds, federal deposit insurance funds and the banking system as a whole, not shareholders.  These regulations affect our lending practices, capital structure, investment practices and dividend policy and growth, among other things.  The statutory and regulatory framework under which we operate has changed substantially as the result of the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act represents a significant overhaul of many aspects of the regulation of the financial services industry, addressing, among other things, systemic risk, capital adequacy, deposit insurance assessments, consumer financial protection, as implemented through the Bureau, interchange fees, derivatives, lending limits, mortgage lending practices, registration of investment advisors and changes among bank regulatory authorities.  In addition, Congress and federal and state regulatory agencies continually review banking laws, regulations and policies for possible changes.  Changes to statutes, regulations or regulatory policies, including changes in interpretation or implementation of statutes, regulations or policies, could affect us in substantial and unpredictable ways.  Such changes could subject us to additional costs, limit deposit fees and other types of fees we charge, limit the types of financial services and products we may offer and/or increase the ability of nonbanks to offer competing financial services and products, among other things.  While we cannot predict the impact of regulatory changes that may arise out of the current financial and economic environment, any regulatory changes or increased regulatory scrutiny could increase costs directly related to complying with new regulatory requirements.  Failure to comply with laws, regulations or policies could result in sanctions by regulatory agencies, civil money penalties and/or reputational damage, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.  While our policies and procedures are designed to prevent any such violations, there can be no assurance that such violations will not occur.  See the section captioned “Supervision and Regulation” in “Item 1. Business” and “Note 14 – Shareholders’ Equity” to our consolidated financial statements included in this report.
We may become subject to increased regulatory capital requirements.
The capital requirements applicable to Southside Bancshares, Inc. and Southside Bank are subject to change as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, the international regulatory capital initiative known as Basel III and any other future government actions.  In particular, the Dodd-Frank Act eliminates the Tier 1 capital treatment for most trust preferred securities after a three-year phase-in period that began January 1, 2013 for institutions that exceed $15 billion in assets.  Furthermore, each of the federal banking agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, has issued substantially similar risk-based and leverage capital guidelines applicable to the banking organizations they supervise.  As a result of new regulations, we were required to begin complying with higher minimum capital requirements as of January 1, 2015.  The 2015 Capital Rules implemented certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III.  These 2015 Capital Rules also make important changes to the prompt corrective action

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framework.  Similarly, the 2018 Capital Rules issued by the federal banking agencies will impact our capital calculations by changing the methodology for calculating and reporting incurred losses on certain assets. For additional discussion relating to capital adequacy refer to “Item 1. Business - Supervision and Regulation - Capital Adequacy” in this report.  The Company believes it will continue to meet the new capital guidelines, however complying with any higher 2015 Capital Rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act or Basel III, and/or the 2018 Capital Rules mandated by the federal banking agencies, may affect our operations, including our asset portfolios and financial performance.
Changes in accounting and tax rules applicable to banks could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
From time to time, the FASB and the 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. For a discussion of the reporting and accounting implications to the Company and Southside Bank resulting from recent changes to the tax laws, refer to “Item 1. Business - Supervision and Regulation - Regulatory Examination” in this report. 
Financial services companies depend on the accuracy and completeness of information about customers and counterparties and inaccuracies in such information, including as a result of fraud, could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In deciding whether to extend credit or enter into other transactions with third parties, we rely on information furnished by or on behalf of customers and counterparties, including financial statements, credit reports and other financial information.  We may also rely on representations of those customers, counterparties or other third parties, such as independent auditors or property appraisers, as to the accuracy and completeness of that information.  Such information could turn out to be inaccurate, including as a result of fraud on behalf of our customers, counterparties or other third parties. In times of increased economic stress, we are at an increased risk of fraud losses. We cannot assure you that our underwriting and operational controls will prevent or detect such fraud or that we will not experience fraud losses or incur costs or other damages related to such fraud. Our customers may also experience fraud in their businesses which could adversely affect their ability to repay their loans or make use of our services. Our exposure and the exposure of our customers to fraud may increase our financial risk and reputation risk as it may result in unexpected loan losses that exceed those that have been provided for in our allowance for probable loan losses. Reliance on inaccurate or misleading information from our customers, counterparties and other third parties, including as a result of fraud, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Consumers may decide not to use banks to complete their financial transactions.
Technology and other changes are allowing parties to complete financial transactions that historically have involved banks through alternative methods.  For example, consumers can now maintain funds that would have historically been held as bank deposits in brokerage accounts or mutual funds.  Consumers can also complete transactions such as paying bills and/or transferring funds directly without the assistance of banks.  The process of eliminating banks as intermediaries could result in the loss of fee income, as well as the loss of customer deposits and the related income generated from those deposits.  The loss of these revenue streams and the lower cost deposits as a source of funds could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
The soundness of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.
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 services industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, mutual and hedge funds and other institutional customers.  Many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of default of our counterparty or customer.  In addition, our credit risk may be exacerbated when the collateral held by us cannot be realized or is liquidated at prices insufficient to recover the full amount of the loan or derivative exposure due to us.  There is no assurance that any such losses would not materially and adversely affect our results of operations or earnings.
We are subject to claims and litigation pertaining to fiduciary responsibility.
From time to time, customers make claims and take legal action pertaining to our performance of our fiduciary responsibilities.  Whether customer claims and legal actions related to our performance of our fiduciary responsibilities are merited, defending claims is costly and diverts management’s attention, and if such claims and legal actions are not resolved in a manner favorable to us, they may result in significant financial liability and/or adversely affect our market perception and products and services as well as impact customer demand for those products and services.  Any financial liability or reputational damage resulting from claims and legal actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OUR COMMON STOCK
Our stock price can be volatile.
Stock price volatility may make it more difficult for you to resell your common stock when you want and at prices you find attractive.  Our stock price can fluctuate significantly in response to a variety of factors including, among other things:
actual or anticipated variations in our results of operations, financial conditions or asset quality;
recommendations by securities analysts;
operating and stock price performance of other companies that investors deem comparable to us;
news reports relating to trends, concerns and other issues in the financial services industry;
perceptions in the marketplace regarding us and/or our competitors;
perceptions in the marketplace regarding the impact of the change in price per barrel of crude oil on the Texas economy;
new technology used or services offered by competitors;
significant acquisitions or business combinations, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments by or involving us or our competitors;
failure to integrate acquisitions or realize anticipated benefits from acquisitions;
future issuances of our common stock or other securities;
additions or departures of key personnel;
changes in government regulations; and
geopolitical conditions such as acts or threats of terrorism or military conflicts.
General market fluctuations, industry factors and general economic and political conditions and events, such as economic slowdowns or recessions, interest rate changes or credit loss trends, could also cause our stock price to decrease regardless of operating results.
The trading volume in our common stock is less than that of other larger financial services companies.
Although our common stock is listed for trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, the trading volume for our common stock is low relative to other larger financial services companies, and you are not assured liquidity with respect to transactions in our common stock.  A public trading market having the desired characteristics of depth, liquidity and orderliness depends on the presence in the marketplace of willing buyers and sellers of our common stock at any given time.  This presence depends on the individual decisions of investors and general economic and market conditions over which we have no control.  Given the lower trading volume of our common stock, significant sales of our common stock or the expectation of these sales, could cause our stock price to fall.
The holders of our subordinated notes and junior subordinated debentures have rights that are senior to those of our common stock shareholders.
On September 19, 2016, we issued $100.0 million of 5.50% fixed-to-floating subordinated notes, which mature in September 2026. On September 4, 2003, we issued $20.6 million of floating rate junior subordinated debentures in connection with a $20.0 million trust preferred securities issuance by our subsidiary Southside Statutory Trust III.  These junior subordinated debentures mature in September 2033.  On August 8 and 10, 2007, we issued $23.2 million and $12.9 million, respectively, of fixed to floating rate junior subordinated debentures in connection with $22.5 million and $12.5 million, respectively, trust preferred securities issuances by our subsidiaries Southside Statutory Trust IV and V, respectively.  Trust IV matures October 2037 and Trust V matures September 2037.  On October 10, 2007, as part of an acquisition, we assumed $3.6 million of floating rate junior subordinated debentures to Magnolia Trust Company I in connection with $3.5 million of trust preferred securities issued in 2005 that mature in 2035.
We conditionally guarantee payments of the principal and interest on the trust preferred securities.  Our subordinated notes and the junior subordinated debentures are senior to our shares of common stock.  We must make payments on the junior subordinated debentures (and the related trust preferred securities) before any dividends can be paid on our common stock, and in the event of bankruptcy, dissolution or liquidation, the holders of the debentures must be satisfied before any distributions can be made to the holders of common stock.  We have the right to defer distributions on our debentures (and the related trust preferred securities) for up to five years, during which time no dividends may be paid to holders of common stock.

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Securities analyst might not continue coverage on our common stock, which could adversely affect the market for our common stock.
The trading price of our common stock depends in part on the research and reports that securities analysts publish about us and our business. We do not have any control over these analysts, and they may not continue to cover our common stock. If securities analysts do not continue to cover our common stock, the lack of research coverage may adversely affect its market price. If securities analysts continue to cover our common stock, and our common stock is the subject of an unfavorable report, the price of our common stock may decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover us or fail to publish regular reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause the price or trading volume of our common stock to decline.
An investment in our common stock is not an insured deposit.
Our common stock is not a bank deposit and, therefore, is not insured against loss by the FDIC, any other deposit insurance fund or by any other public or private entity.  Investment in our common stock is inherently risky for the reasons described in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this report and is subject to the same market forces that affect the price of common stock in any company.  As a result, if you acquire our common stock, you may lose some or all of your investment.
Provisions of our certificate of formation and bylaws, as well as state and federal banking regulations, could delay or prevent a takeover of us by a third party.
Our certificate of formation and bylaws could delay, defer or prevent a third party from acquiring us, despite the possible benefit to our shareholders, or otherwise adversely affect the price of our common stock.  These provisions include, among others, requiring advance notice for raising business matters or nominating directors at shareholders’ meetings and staggered board elections.
Any individual, acting alone or with other individuals, who are seeking to acquire, directly or indirectly, 10.0% or more of our outstanding common stock must comply with the CBCA, which requires prior notice to the Federal Reserve for any acquisition.  Additionally, any entity that wants to acquire 5.0% or more of our outstanding common stock, or otherwise control us, may need to obtain the prior approval of the Federal Reserve under the BHCA of 1956, as amended.  As a result, prospective investors in our common stock need to be aware of and comply with those requirements, to the extent applicable. These provisions may discourage potential acquisition proposals and could delay or prevent a change in control, including under circumstances in which our shareholders might otherwise receive a premium over the market price of our share.
We may issue additional securities, which could dilute your ownership percentage.
In certain situations, our board of directors has the authority, without any vote of our shareholders, to issue shares of our authorized but unissued stock.  In the future, we may issue additional securities, through public or private offerings, to raise additional capital or finance acquisitions.  Any such issuance would dilute the ownership of current holders of our common stock.

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ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
The primary executive offices of Southside are located at 1201 South Beckham Avenue, Tyler, Texas 75701. Southside owns four buildings at this site which houses a banking center, executive offices, a technology center, back office support areas and wealth management and trust services. Additional executive offices are located at 1320 South University Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76107 in the University Center II professional office building owned by Southside. University Center II is a 10-story building in which Southside occupies one floor and space on two additional floors. Southside owns additional executive offices at 104 N. Temple, Diboll, Texas 75941 and additional wealth management and trust services located at 2510 West Frank Street, Lufkin, Texas 75904. As of December 31, 2018, Southside operated 59 branches which includes traditional full service branches and full service branches within grocery stores. These branches are located in the state of Texas in the Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Southeast Texas and Austin regions. Of the 59 branches, 39 are owned and 20 are leased. In addition to our branches, Southside also operates motor banks, wealth management and trust services and/or loan production or other financial services offices which Southside owns except for one loan production office that is leased. Southside also owns 83 ATMs/ITMs located throughout our market areas.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are party to legal proceedings arising in the normal conduct of business.  Management believes that such litigation is not material to our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.



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PART II
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
MARKET INFORMATION
Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “SBSI.”
SHAREHOLDERS
There were approximately 1,600 holders of record of our common stock, the only class of equity securities currently issued and outstanding, as of February 20, 2019.
DIVIDENDS
See the section captioned “Item 8.  Financial Statements and Supplementary Data-Note 20 – Quarterly Financial Information of Registrant ” in our consolidated financial statements included in this report for the frequency and amount of cash dividends we paid. Also, see “Item 1 - Business - Supervision and Regulation - Dividends" and “Item 7 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of the Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Capital Resources” for restrictions on our present or future ability to pay dividends, particularly those restrictions arising under federal and state banking laws.
ISSUER SECURITY REPURCHASES
The following table provides information with respect to purchases made by or on behalf of any “affiliated purchaser” (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act), of our common stock during the three months ended December 31, 2018:
Period
 
Total Number of
 Shares
Purchased
 
Average Price Paid
 Per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plan
 
Maximum Number of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plan at the End of the Period
October 25, 2018
 

 
$

 

 
1,500,000

October 26, 2018-October 31, 2018
 
56,592

 
31.52

 
56,592

 
1,443,408

November 1, 2018-November 30, 2018
 
894,021

 
32.74

 
894,021

 
549,387

December 1, 2018-December 31, 2018
 
508,535

 
31.74

 
508,535

 
40,852

Total
 
1,459,148

 
$
32.34

 
1,459,148

 
 

On October 25, 2018, our board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to 1,500,000 shares of common stock.

Subsequent to December 31, 2018 and through January 7, 2019, we purchased 40,852 shares of common stock at an average price of $32.42.
RECENT SALES OF UNREGISTERED SECURITIES
There were no equity securities sold by us during the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 or 2016 that were not registered under the Securities Act of 1933.

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FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
The following performance graph compares the returns for the indexes indicated assuming that $100 was invested on December 31, 2013 and that all dividends are reinvested. The performance graph does not constitute soliciting material and should not be deemed filed or incorporated by reference into any other Company filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, except to the extent the Company specifically incorporates the performance graph by reference therein.
396925439_a2018grapha01.jpg
 
 
Period Ending
 
Index
12/31/13

12/31/14

12/31/15

12/31/16

12/31/17

12/31/18

Southside Bancshares, Inc.
100.00

114.65

103.65

176.59

167.13

163.16

Russell 2000
100.00

104.89

100.26

121.63

139.44

124.09

SBSI Peer Group Index*
100.00

90.7

83.64

131.80

136.13

116.61

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*Peer group index includes Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc.(CFR), First Financial Bankshares, Inc.(FFIN), Hilltop Holdings (HTH), Independent Bank Group, Inc. (IBTX), LegacyTexas Financial Group, Inc. (LTXB), Prosperity Bancshares, Inc. (PB), Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. (TCBI) and Veritex Holdings, Inc. (VBTX).
 
 
 
Source : S&P Global Market Intelligence
 
 
 
 
 
 
© 2019
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The following table sets forth selected financial data regarding our results of operations and financial position for, and as of the end of, each of the fiscal years in the five-year period ended December 31, 2018.  This information should be read in conjunction with “Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Item 8.  Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” as set forth in this report:
 
 
As of and for the Years Ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017 (1)
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014 (2)
 
 
(in thousands, except per share data)
Balance Sheet Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Securities available for sale, at estimated fair value (3)
 
$
1,989,436

 
$
1,538,755

 
$
1,479,600

 
$
1,460,492

 
$
1,448,708

Securities held to maturity, at carrying value
 
$
162,931

 
$
909,506

 
$
937,487

 
$
784,296

 
$
642,319

Loans, net of allowance for loan losses
 
$
3,285,780

 
$
3,273,575

 
$
2,538,626

 
$
2,412,017

 
$
2,167,841

Total assets
 
$
6,123,494

 
$
6,498,097

 
$
5,563,767

 
$
5,161,996

 
$
4,807,176

Deposits
 
$
4,425,030

 
$
4,515,447

 
$
3,533,076

 
$
3,455,407

 
$
3,374,417

FHLB borrowings
 
$
719,065

 
$
1,017,361

 
$
1,309,646

 
$
1,147,688

 
$
897,420

Subordinated notes, net of unamortized debt issuance costs
 
$
98,407

 
$
98,248

 
$
98,100

 
$

 
$

Trust preferred subordinated debentures, net of unamortized debt issuance costs
 
$
60,246

 
$
60,241

 
$
60,236

 
$
60,231

 
$
60,226

Shareholders’ equity
 
$
731,291

 
$
754,140

 
$
518,274

 
$
444,062

 
$
425,243

Income Statement Data:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Interest income
 
$
229,165

 
$
187,474

 
$
168,913

 
$
154,532

 
$
123,778

Interest expense
 
$
57,101

 
$
43,504

 
$
29,348

 
$
19,854

 
$
16,956

Provision for loan losses
 
$
8,437

 
$
4,675

 
$
9,780

 
$
8,343

 
$
14,938

Deposit services (3)
 
$
25,082

 
$
21,785

 
$
20,702

 
$
20,112

 
$
15,280

Net (loss) gain on sale of securities available for sale
 
$
(1,839
)
 
$
625

 
$
2,836

 
$
3,660

 
$
2,830

Noninterest income (3)
 
$
40,773

 
$
37,473

 
$
39,411

 
$
37,895

 
$
24,489

Noninterest expense (3)
 
$
120,099

 
$
106,335

 
$
109,522

 
$
112,954

 
$
97,704

Net income (3)
 
$
74,138

 
$
54,312

 
$
49,349

 
$
43,997

 
$
20,833

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Per Share Data:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Earnings per common share:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Basic
 
$
2.12

 
$
1.82

 
$
1.82

 
$
1.61

 
$
0.97

Diluted
 
$
2.11

 
$
1.81

 
$
1.81

 
$
1.61

 
$
0.97

Cash dividends paid per common share
 
$
1.20

 
$
1.11

 
$
1.01

 
$
1.00

 
$
0.96

Book value per common share
 
$
21.68

 
$
21.55

 
$
17.71

 
$
16.25

 
$
15.61

(1)
We completed the acquisition of Diboll on November 30, 2017. Accordingly, our balance sheet data as of December 31, 2017 reflects the effects of the acquisition of Diboll. Income statement data with respect to Diboll includes only the results of Diboll’s operations subsequent to the closing of the acquisition of Diboll on November 30 through December 31, 2017.
(2)
We completed the acquisition of Omni on December 17, 2014. Accordingly, our balance sheet data as of December 31, 2014 reflects the effects of the acquisition of Omni. Income statement data with respect to Omni includes only the results of Omni’s operations subsequent to the closing of the acquisition of Omni on December 17 through December 31, 2014.
(3)
Due to the adoption of certain regulatory guidance adopted under the modified retrospective approach, prior periods may not be comparative. Additionally, the Tax Act was enacted on December 22, 2017. See “Note 1 - Summary of Significant Accounting and Reporting Policies – Accounting Changes and Reclassifications” for further information.

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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS
OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion and analysis provides a comparison of our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 and financial condition as of December 31, 2018 and 2017.  This discussion should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this report.  All share data has been adjusted to give retroactive recognition to any applicable stock splits and stock dividends.
CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements of other than historical fact that are contained in this document and in written material, press releases and oral statements issued by or on behalf of Southside Bancshares, Inc., a bank holding company, may be considered to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of and subject to the protections of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, nor should they be relied upon as representing management’s views as of any subsequent date.  These statements may include words such as “expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “anticipate,” “appear,” “believe,” “could,” “should,” “may,” “might,” “will,” “would,” “seek,” “intend,” “probability,” “risk,” “goal,” “target,” “objective,” “plans,” “potential,” and similar expressions.  Forward-looking statements are statements with respect to our beliefs, plans, expectations, objectives, goals, anticipations, assumptions, estimates, intentions and future performance, and are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements.  For example, discussions of the effect of our expansion, trends in asset quality and earnings from growth, and certain market risk disclosures are based upon information presently available to management and are dependent on choices about key model characteristics and assumptions and are subject to various limitations.  See “Item 1. Business” and this “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”  By their nature, certain of the market risk disclosures are only estimates and could be materially different from what actually occurs in the future.  Accordingly, our results could materially differ from those that have been estimated.  Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following:
general economic conditions, either globally, nationally, in the State of Texas, or in the specific markets in which we operate, including, without limitation, the deterioration of the commercial real estate, residential real estate, construction and development, energy, oil and gas, credit and liquidity markets, which could cause an adverse change in our net interest margin, or a decline in the value of our assets, which could result in realized losses;
current or future legislation, regulatory changes or changes in monetary or fiscal policy that adversely affect the businesses in which we are engaged, including the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”), the Federal Reserve’s actions with respect to interest rates, the capital requirements promulgated by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“Basel Committee”) and other regulatory responses to economic conditions;
adverse changes in the status or financial condition of the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (the “GSEs”) which impact the GSEs’ guarantees or ability to pay or issue debt;
adverse changes in the credit portfolio of other U.S. financial institutions relative to the performance of certain of our investment securities;
economic or other disruptions caused by acts of terrorism in the United States, Europe or other areas;
technological changes, including potential cyber-security incidents;
our ability to identify and address cyber-security risks such as data security breaches, malware, “denial of service” attacks, “hacking” and identity theft, a failure of which could disrupt our business and result in the disclosure of and/or misuse or misappropriation of confidential or proprietary information, disruption or damage of our systems, increased costs, significant losses, or adverse effects to our reputation;
the risk that our enterprise risk management framework may not identify or address risks adequately, which may result in unexpected losses;
changes in the interest rate yield curve such as flat, inverted or steep yield curves, or changes in the interest rate environment that impact interest margins and may impact prepayments on our mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) portfolio;
increases in our nonperforming assets;
our ability to maintain adequate liquidity to fund operations and growth;
any applicable regulatory limits or other restrictions on Southside Bank’s ability to pay dividends to us;

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the failure of our assumptions underlying allowance for loan losses and other estimates;
the failure to maintain an effective system of controls and procedures, including internal control over financial reporting;
the effectiveness of our derivative financial instruments and hedging activities to manage risk;
unexpected outcomes of, and the costs associated with, existing or new litigation involving us;
changes impacting our balance sheet and leverage strategy;
risks related to actual mortgage prepayments diverging from projections;
risks related to actual U.S. Agency MBS prepayments exceeding projected prepayment levels;
risks related to U.S. Agency MBS prepayments increasing due to U.S. Government programs designed to assist homeowners to refinance their mortgage that might not otherwise have qualified;
our ability to monitor interest rate risk;
risks related to fluctuations in the price per barrel of crude oil;
significant increases in competition in the banking and financial services industry;
changes in consumer spending, borrowing and saving habits;
execution of future acquisitions, reorganization or disposition transactions, including the risk that the anticipated benefits of such transactions are not realized;
our ability to increase market share and control expenses;
our ability to develop competitive new products and services in a timely manner and the acceptance of such products and services by our customers;
the effect of changes in federal or state tax laws;
the effect of compliance with legislation or regulatory changes;
the effect of changes in accounting policies and practices;
credit risks of borrowers, including any increase in those risks due to changing economic conditions;
risks related to loans secured by real estate, including the risk that the value and marketability of collateral could decline; and
the risks identified in “Part I - Item 1A.  Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business” in this report.
All written or oral forward-looking statements made by us or attributable to us are expressly qualified by this cautionary notice.  We disclaim any obligation to update any factors or to announce publicly the result of revisions to any of the forward-looking statements included herein to reflect future events or developments, unless otherwise required by law.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES
Our accounting and reporting estimates conform with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) and general practices within the financial services industry. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes.  Actual results could differ from those estimates.  We consider our critical accounting policies to include the following:
Allowance for Losses on Loans.  The allowance for losses on loans represents our best estimate of probable losses inherent in the existing loan portfolio.  The allowance for losses on loans is increased by the provision for losses on loans charged to expense and reduced by loans charged-off, net of recoveries.  The provision for losses on loans is determined based on our assessment of several factors:  reviews and evaluations of specific loans, changes in the nature and volume of the loan portfolio, current economic conditions and the related impact on specific borrowers and industry groups, historical loan loss experience, the level of classified and nonperforming loans and the results of regulatory examinations.
The allowance for loan losses related to purchase credit impaired (“PCI”) loans is based on an analysis that is performed quarterly to estimate the expected cash flows for each loan deemed PCI. To the extent that the expected cash flows from a PCI loan have decreased since the acquisition date, we establish or increase the allowance for loan losses.
For acquired loans that are not deemed credit impaired at acquisition, credit discounts representing the principal losses expected over the life of the loan are a component of the initial fair value. Subsequent to the purchase date, the methods utilized to estimate the required allowance for loan losses for these loans is similar to originated loans. The remaining differences between

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the purchase price and the unpaid principal balance at the date of acquisition are recorded in interest income over the economic life of the loan.
Refer to “Part II - Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Loan Loss Experience and Allowance for Loan Losses”, “Note 1 - Summary of Significant Accounting and Reporting Policies” and “Note 6 - Loans and Allowance for Probable Loan Losses” to our consolidated financial statements included in this report for a detailed description of our estimation process and methodology related to the allowance for loan losses.
Estimation of Fair Value.  The estimation of fair value is significant to a number of our assets and liabilities.  In addition, GAAP requires disclosure of the fair value of financial instruments as a part of the notes to the consolidated financial statements.  Fair values for securities are volatile and may be influenced by a number of factors, including market interest rates, prepayment speeds, discount rates and the shape of yield curves.  Fair values for most investment and MBS are based on quoted market prices, where available.  If quoted market prices are not available, fair values are based on the quoted prices of similar instruments or estimates from independent pricing services.  Where there are price variances outside certain ranges from different pricing services for specific securities, those pricing variances are reviewed with other market data to determine which of the price estimates is appropriate for that period.  Fair values for our derivatives are based on measurements that consider observable data that may include dealer quotes, market spreads, the U.S. Treasury yield curve, live trading levels, trade execution data, credit information and the derivatives’ terms and conditions, among other things. We validate prices supplied by such sources by comparison to one another.
Business Combination. During a business combination, consideration is first assigned to identifiable assets and liabilities, based on estimated fair values, with any excess recorded as goodwill. Determining fair value requires significant estimates and assumptions based on an evaluation of a number of factors, such as market share, customer and employee loyalty, asset lives, and the amount and timing of prospective cash flows and the discount rate applied to the cash flows. Assets and liabilities, including deposits, core deposit intangibles, property and equipment and loans, among others, are evaluated based upon the nature of the asset or liability, the business in which it is utilized and the economic return it is generating or expected to generate.
Deposits, in a business combination, are evaluated based upon maturity and the weighted average rate to determine the present value or fair value.
Core deposit intangibles represent the cost savings derived from available core deposits relative to alternative financing. The cost of deposits on hand is evaluated against the Company’s primary source of funds, or Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) advance agreements.
For loans acquired in a business combination, refer to “Allowance for Losses on Loans” in this section.
Other intangibles are evaluated based upon the nature of the underlying asset, life and the timing of prospective cash flows.
Property and equipment obtained in a business combination is evaluated at the highest and best use of the asset. Functional and economic obsolescence is also evaluated.
Defined Benefit Pension Plan.  The plan obligations and related assets of our defined benefit pension plan (the “Plan”) and the OmniAmerican Bank Defined Benefit Plan (the “Acquired Plan”) are presented in “Note 11 - Employee Benefits” to our consolidated financial statements included in this report.  Entry into the Plan by new employees was frozen effective December 31, 2005.  Effective December 31, 2006, employee benefits under the Acquired Plan were frozen by Omni. In addition, no new participants may be added to the Acquired Plan. Assets in both plans, which consist primarily of marketable equity and debt instruments, are valued using observable market quotations.  Obligations and the annual pension expense are determined by independent actuaries and through the use of a number of assumptions that are reviewed by management.  Key assumptions in measuring the obligations of both plans include the discount rate and the estimated future return on assets in both plans.  The rate of salary increases is another key assumption used in measuring the Plan obligation. The rate of salary increases is not required to measure the obligations of the Acquired Plan since the benefits are frozen.
In determining the discount rate, we utilized a cash flow matching analysis to determine a range of appropriate discount rates for our defined benefit pension and restoration plans.  In developing the cash flow matching analysis, we constructed a portfolio of high quality noncallable bonds (rated AA- or better) to match as close as possible the timing of future benefit payments of the Plans at December 31, 2018.  Based on this cash flow matching analysis, we were able to determine an appropriate discount rate.
The expected long-term rate of return assumption reflects the average return expected based on the investment strategies and asset allocation of the assets invested to provide for the liabilities of both plans.  We considered broad equity and bond indices, long-term return projections, and actual long-term historical performance when evaluating the expected long-term rate of return assumption.  Salary increase assumptions for the Plan are based upon historical experience and anticipated future management

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actions.  Material changes in pension benefit costs may occur in the future due to changes in these assumptions.  Future annual amounts could be impacted by changes in the number of participants in the plans, changes in the level of benefits provided, changes in the discount rates, changes in the expected long-term rate of return, changes in the level of contributions to the plans and other factors.
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
Certain non-GAAP measures are used by management to supplement the evaluation of our performance. These include the following fully taxable-equivalent measures (“FTE”): Net interest income (FTE), Net interest margin (FTE) and Net interest spread (FTE), which include the effects of taxable-equivalent adjustments using a federal income tax rate of 21% for the year ended December 31, 2018 and 35% for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, to increase tax-exempt interest income to a tax-equivalent basis.  Interest income earned on certain assets is completely or partially exempt from federal income tax. As such, these tax-exempt instruments typically yield lower returns than taxable investments.
Net interest income (FTE), Net interest margin (FTE) and Net interest spread (FTE). Net interest income (FTE) is a non-GAAP measure that adjusts for the tax-favored status of net interest income from certain loans and investments and is not permitted under GAAP in the consolidated statements of income. 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. The most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP is our net interest income. Net interest margin (FTE) is the ratio of net interest income (FTE) to average earning assets.  The most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP is our net interest margin. Net interest spread (FTE) is the difference in the average yield on average earning assets on a tax-equivalent basis and the average rate paid on average interest bearing liabilities.  The most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP is our net interest spread.
These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered alternatives to GAAP-basis financial statements, and other bank holding companies may define or calculate these non-GAAP measures or similar measures differently. Whenever we present a non-GAAP financial measure in an SEC filing, we are also required to present the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP and reconcile the differences between the non-GAAP financial measure and such comparable GAAP measure.
In the following table we present the reconciliation of net interest income to net interest income adjusted to a fully taxable-equivalent basis assuming a 21% marginal tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2018 and a 35% marginal tax rate for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, for interest earned on tax-exempt assets such as municipal loans and investment securities (dollars in thousands), along with the calculation of net interest margin (FTE) and net interest spread (FTE):
 
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Net interest income (GAAP)
 
$
172,064

 
$
143,970

 
$
139,565

Tax-equivalent adjustments:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loans
 
2,354

 
4,313

 
4,251

Investment securities (tax-exempt)
 
7,004

 
13,197

 
13,739

Net interest income (FTE) (1)
 
$
181,422

 
$
161,480

 
$
157,555

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average earning assets
 
$
5,699,985

 
$
5,254,431

 
$
4,829,141

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net interest margin
 
3.02
%
 
2.74
%
 
2.89
%
Net interest margin (FTE) (1)
 
3.18
%
 
3.07
%
 
3.26
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net interest spread
 
2.72
%
 
2.56
%
 
2.77
%
Net interest spread (FTE) (1)
 
2.88
%
 
2.89
%
 
3.14
%
(1)
These amounts are presented on a fully taxable-equivalent basis and are non-GAAP measures.
Management believes adjusting net interest income, net interest margin and net interest spread to a fully taxable-equivalent basis is a standard practice in the banking industry as these measures provide useful information to make peer comparisons. Tax-equivalent adjustments are reported in the respective earning asset categories as listed in the “Average Balances with Average Yields and Rates” tables under Results of Operations.

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OVERVIEW
OPERATING RESULTS
During the year ended December 31, 2018, our net income increased $19.8 million, or 36.5%, to $74.1 million, from $54.3 million for the same period in 2017. The increase was primarily the result of a $41.7 million increase in interest income, a $6.0 million decrease in income tax expense and a $3.3 million increase in noninterest income, partially offset by a $13.8 million increase in noninterest expense, a $13.6 million increase in interest expense and a $3.8 million increase in provision for loan losses. Earnings per diluted share increased $0.30, or 16.6%, to $2.11 for year ended December 31, 2018, from $1.81 for the same period in 2017.
During the year ended December 31, 2017, our net income increased $5.0 million, or 10.1%, to $54.3 million, from $49.3 million for the same period in 2016. The increase was primarily the result of an $18.6 million increase in interest income, a $5.1 million decrease in provision for loan losses and a $3.2 million decrease in noninterest expense, partially offset by a $14.2 million increase in interest expense, a $5.8 million increase in income tax expense and a $1.9 million decrease in noninterest income. Noninterest expense decreased primarily due to a reduction in salaries and employee benefits, occupancy expense, other noninterest expense and professional fees, partially offset by acquisition expense incurred in connection with the Diboll merger. Earnings per diluted share was $1.81 for both years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016.
FINANCIAL CONDITION
Our total assets decreased $374.6 million, or 5.8%, to $6.12 billion at December 31, 2018 from $6.50 billion at December 31, 2017. Our securities portfolio decreased by $295.9 million, or 12.1%, to $2.15 billion, compared to $2.45 billion at December 31, 2017 primarily due to sales of lower yielding available for sale (“AFS”) securities. Our FHLB stock decreased $23.1 million, or 41.5%, to $32.6 million from $55.7 million at December 31, 2017 due to the reduced level of FHLB borrowings during 2018, reducing the required amount of FHLB stock that we must hold. Our interest earning deposits decreased $87.7 million, or 78.6%, to $23.9 million at December 31, 2018, compared to $111.5 million at December 31, 2017.

Loans increased $18.4 million, or 0.6%, to $3.31 billion compared to $3.29 billion at December 31, 2017. The net increase in our loan portfolio was comprised of increases of $90.2 million of commercial loans, $31.9 million of construction loans and $7.6 million of municipal loans, partially offset by decreases of $71.0 million of commercial real estate loans, $29.3 million of loans to individuals and $10.8 million of 1-4 family residential loans.

Our nonperforming assets at December 31, 2018 increased 309.7%, to $42.9 million and represented 0.70% of total assets, compared to $10.5 million, or 0.16% of total assets at December 31, 2017. Nonaccruing loans increased $32.8 million, or 1,117.9%, to $35.8 million, and the ratio of nonaccruing loans to total loans increased to 1.08% at December 31, 2018 compared to 0.09% at December 31, 2017.  The increase in nonaccrual loans was primarily due to the addition of four commercial real estate loans to nonaccrual status during the year, one of which was added during the fourth quarter. Restructured loans were $5.9 million at December 31, 2018, a slight increase from $5.8 million at December 31, 2017. Other Real Estate Owned (“OREO”) decreased to $1.2 million at December 31, 2018 from $1.6 million at December 31, 2017. There were no repossessed assets at December 31, 2018 compared to $154,000 at December 31, 2017.  

Our deposits decreased $90.4 million, or 2.0%, to $4.43 billion at December 31, 2018 from $4.52 billion at December 31, 2017, which was comprised of a decrease of $47.7 million in interest bearing deposits and a decrease of $42.7 million in noninterest bearing deposits. The decrease in our deposits during 2018 was the result of a decrease in public fund deposits of $221.7 million, partially offset by an increase in private deposits of $131.3 million. Brokered deposits, included in our private deposits, increased $180.4 million, or 287.7%, for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Total FHLB borrowings decreased $298.3 million, or 29.3%, to $719.1 million at December 31, 2018 from $1.02 billion at December 31, 2017.
Shareholders’ equity at December 31, 2018 totaled $731.3 million compared to $754.1 million at December 31, 2017. The decrease in shareholders’ equity was the result of the repurchase of $47.2 million of our common stock, cash dividends paid of $42.0 million and an increase in accumulated other comprehensive loss of $13.9 million, partially offset by net income of $74.1 million recorded for the year ended December 31, 2018, net issuance of common stock under employee stock plans of $2.4 million, stock compensation expense of $2.3 million and common stock issued under our dividend reinvestment plan of $1.5 million.  

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Economic conditions in our Fort Worth and Austin market areas have continued to perform generally better than many other parts of the country. Texas continues to experience economic growth due to in-migration from other states and company relocation from other states. Economists predict the Texas markets we serve will continue to grow during 2019 at a rate similar to that of the growth rates experienced in 2018.
Key financial indicators management follows include, but are not limited to, numerous interest rate sensitivity and interest rate risk indicators, credit risk, operations risk, liquidity risk, capital risk, regulatory risk, competition risk, yield curve risk, U.S. Agency MBS prepayment risk and economic risk indicators.
BALANCE SHEET STRATEGY
We utilize wholesale funding and securities to enhance our profitability and balance sheet composition by determining acceptable levels of credit, interest rate and liquidity risk consistent with prudent capital management.  This balance sheet strategy consists of borrowing a combination of long- and short-term funds from the FHLB or the brokered certificates of deposits (“CD”) market.  These funds are invested primarily in U.S. Agency MBS, and to a lesser extent, long-term municipal securities and U.S. Treasury securities.  Although U.S. Agency MBS often carry lower yields than traditional mortgage loans and other types of loans we make, these securities generally (i) increase the overall quality of our assets because of either the implicit or explicit guarantees of the U.S. Government, (ii) are more liquid than individual loans and (iii) may be used to collateralize our borrowings or other obligations.  While the strategy of investing a portion of our assets in U.S. Agency MBS and municipal securities has historically resulted in lower interest rate spreads and margins, we believe the lower operating expenses and reduced credit risk, combined with the managed interest rate risk of this strategy, have enhanced our overall profitability over the last several years.  At this time, we utilize this balance sheet strategy with the goal of enhancing overall profitability by maximizing the use of our capital.
Risks associated with the asset structure we maintain include a lower net interest rate spread and margin when compared to our peers, changes in the slope of the yield curve, which can reduce our net interest rate spread and margin, increased interest rate risk, the length of interest rate cycles, changes in volatility spreads associated with the MBS and municipal securities, the unpredictable nature of MBS prepayments and credit risks associated with the municipal securities.  See “Part I - Item 1A.  Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business” in this report for a discussion of risks related to interest rates.  Our asset structure, net interest spread and net interest margin require us to closely monitor our interest rate risk.  An additional risk is the change in fair value of the AFS securities portfolio as a result of changes in interest rates.  Significant increases in interest rates, especially long-term interest rates, could adversely impact the fair value of the AFS securities portfolio, which could also significantly impact our equity capital.  Due to the unpredictable nature of MBS prepayments, the length of interest rate cycles and the slope of the interest rate yield curve, net interest income could fluctuate more than simulated under the scenarios modeled by our Asset/Liability Committee (“ALCO”) and described under “Item 7A.  Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk” in this report.
Determining the appropriate size of the balance sheet is one of the critical decisions any bank makes.  Our balance sheet is not merely the result of a series of micro-decisions, but rather the size is controlled based on the economics of assets compared to the economics of funding.  The relatively low interest rate environment and economic landscape requires that we monitor the interest rate sensitivity of the assets driving our growth and closely align ALCO objectives accordingly.
The management of our securities portfolio as a percentage of earning assets is guided by the current economics associated with increasing the securities portfolio, changes in our overall loan and deposit levels and changes in our wholesale funding levels.  If adequate quality loan growth is not available to achieve our goal of enhancing profitability by maximizing the use of capital, as described above, then we may purchase additional securities, if appropriate, which may cause securities as a percentage of earning assets to increase.  Should we determine that increasing the securities portfolio or replacing the current securities maturities and principal payments is not appropriate or an efficient use of capital, we may decrease the level of securities through proceeds from maturities, principal payments on MBS or sales.  Our balance sheet strategy is designed such that our securities portfolio should help mitigate financial performance associated with potential business cycles that include slower loan growth and higher credit costs.
Our investment securities and U.S. Agency MBS decreased from $2.45 billion at December 31, 2017 to $2.15 billion at December 31, 2018. Our increasing funding costs and uncertainty as to the Federal Reserve’s overnight interest rate outlook for the balance of the year, combined with the need to realign the acquired Diboll securities portfolio to meet our balance sheet strategy and ALCO objectives, were the primary reasons for the decrease in securities during 2018.
During the year ended December 31, 2018, we sold AFS securities that resulted in an overall loss on the sale of AFS securities of $1.8 million. We primarily sold U.S. Agency debentures and MBS, U.S. Treasury securities and Texas municipals.  During the fourth quarter of 2017, we recorded an impairment charge of $234,000 in connection with $109 million of impaired U.S. Agency debentures that we sold during January 2018. The sales of lower yielding fixed rate securities were to help alleviate margin compression brought on by the increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve. During the year ended December 31, 2018, sales of securities were partially offset by purchases of U.S. Agency MBS, U.S. Treasury securities and Texas municipal securities. We early-adopted ASU 2017-12, “Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities”

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Table of Contents

on January 2, 2018, and in conjunction with the adoption, made the transition election to reclassify from held to maturity (“HTM”) to AFS approximately $743.4 million in book value of securities that qualified for the last-of-layer approach.
At December 31, 2018, securities as a percentage of assets decreased to 35.1%, compared to 37.7% at December 31, 2017 due to the $295.9 million, or 12.1%, decrease in the securities portfolio. Our balance sheet management strategy is dynamic and will be continually reevaluated as market conditions warrant.  As interest rates, yield curves, MBS prepayments, funding costs, security spreads and loan and deposit portfolios change, our determination of the proper types, amount and maturities of securities to own as well as funding needs and funding sources will continue to be reevaluated.  Should the economics of purchasing securities decrease, we may allow this part of the balance sheet to shrink through run-off or security sales.  However, should the economics become more attractive, we may strategically increase the securities portfolio and the balance sheet.
With respect to liabilities, we continue to utilize a combination of FHLB borrowings and deposits to achieve our strategy of minimizing cost while achieving overall interest rate risk objectives as well as the liability management objectives of the ALCO.  FHLB funding is the primary wholesale funding source we are currently utilizing.
Our FHLB borrowings decreased 29.3%, or $298.3 million, to $719.1 million at December 31, 2018 from $1.02 billion at December 31, 2017. From time to time, the Company may enter into various variable rate advance agreements with the FHLB. These advance agreements totaled $310.0 million at December 31, 2018 and $280.0 million at December 31, 2017. Two of the variable rate advance agreements have interest rates of three-month LIBOR plus 0.021%, and one has an interest rate of three-month LIBOR minus 0.003%. The remaining advance agreements have interest rates ranging from one-month LIBOR plus 0.072% to one-month LIBOR plus 0.164%. In connection with obtaining these variable rate advance agreements, the Company also entered into various interest rate swap contracts that are treated as cash flow hedges under ASC Topic 815, “Derivatives and Hedging” that effectively converted the variable rate advance agreements to fixed interest rates ranging from 0.932% to 2.833% and original terms ranging from four years to ten years. The cash flows from the swaps are expected to be effective in hedging the variability in future cash flows attributable to fluctuations in the one-month and three-month LIBOR interest rates. During the first quarter of 2017, we terminated two interest rate swap contracts designated as cash flow hedges having a total notional value of $40.0 million. At the time of termination, we determined that the underlying hedged forecasted transactions were still probable of occurring. These transactions are reevaluated on a monthly basis to determine if the hedged forecasted transactions are still probable of occurring. If at a subsequent evaluation, it is determined that the transactions will not occur, any related gains or losses recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”) are immediately recognized in earnings. Refer to “Note 12 - Derivative Financial Instruments and Hedging Activities” in our consolidated financial statements included in this report for a detailed description of our hedging policy and methodology related to derivative instruments.
Our brokered CDs increased from $60.2 million at December 31, 2017 to $238.1 million at December 31, 2018, or 295.5%, due to lower funding costs currently offered compared to other wholesale funding alternatives and ALCO objectives.  At December 31, 2018, our brokered CDs had a weighted average cost of 223 basis points and remaining maturities of less than one year. Our wholesale funding policy currently allows maximum brokered deposits of $300 million; however, this amount could be increased to match changes in ALCO objectives.  The potential higher interest expense and lack of customer loyalty are risks associated with the use of brokered CDs.
During the year ended December 31, 2018, the decrease in FHLB borrowings, partially offset by the increase in brokered CDs, resulted in a decrease in our total wholesale funding as a percentage of deposits, not including brokered deposits, to 23.0% at December 31, 2018 from 24.3% at December 31, 2017.


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Table of Contents

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Our results of operations are dependent primarily on net interest income, which is the difference between the interest income earned on assets (loans and investments) and interest expense due on our funding sources (deposits and borrowings) during a particular period.  Results of operations are also affected by our noninterest income, provision for loan losses, noninterest expenses and income tax expense.  General economic and competitive conditions, particularly changes in interest rates, changes in interest rate yield curves, prepayment rates of MBS and loans, repricing of loan relationships, government policies and actions of regulatory authorities also significantly affect our results of operations.  Future changes in applicable law, regulations or government policies may also have a material impact on us.
The following table presents net interest income for the periods presented (in thousands):
 
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Interest income
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loans
 
$
158,691

 
$
117,633

 
$
106,564

Investment securities – taxable
 
417

 
939

 
1,057

Investment securities – tax-exempt
 
24,960

 
24,529

 
22,654

Mortgage-backed securities
 
41,584

 
41,361

 
37,450

FHLB stock and equity investments
 
1,595

 
1,306

 
798

Other interest earning assets
 
1,918

 
1,706

 
390

Total interest income
 
229,165

 
187,474

 
168,913

Interest expense
 
 

 
 

 
 

Deposits
 
35,864

 
20,736

 
14,255

FHLB borrowings
 
12,813

 
15,106

 
11,751

Subordinated notes
 
5,659

 
5,633

 
1,628

Trust preferred subordinated debentures
 
2,610

 
2,013

 
1,706

Other borrowings
 
155

 
16

 
8

Total interest expense
 
57,101

 
43,504

 
29,348

Net interest income
 
$
172,064

 
$
143,970

 
$
139,565

NET INTEREST INCOME
Net interest income is one of the principal sources of a financial institution’s earnings stream and represents the difference or spread between interest and fee income generated from interest earning assets and the interest expense paid on deposits and borrowed funds. Fluctuations in interest rates or interest rate yield curves, as well as repricing characteristics and volume and changes in the mix of interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities, materially impact net interest income. During 2018 and 2017, the Federal Reserve increased the federal funds rate by 100 basis points and 75 basis points, respectively. For 2016, the federal funds rate increased 25 basis points.
Net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2018, increased $28.1 million, or 19.5%, to $172.1 million, compared to $144.0 million for the same period in 2017 due to the increase in interest income primarily from our loan portfolio, partially offset by the increase in interest expense on deposits. Total interest income increased $41.7 million, or 22.2%, to $229.2 million during the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $187.5 million during the same period in 2017. Total interest expense increased $13.6 million, or 31.3%, to $57.1 million during the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $43.5 million during the same period in 2017. Our net interest margin (FTE) increased to 3.18% for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to 3.07% for the same period in 2017 and our net interest spread (FTE) decreased slightly to 2.88%, compared to 2.89% for the same period in 2017.
Net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2017, increased $4.4 million, or 3.2%, compared to the same period in 2016.  The increase in net interest income was due to the increase in interest income of $18.6 million, or 11.0%, which was primarily a result of the increase in the interest income on loans of $11.1 million and an increase in interest income on mortgage-backed securities of $3.9 million, partially offset by the increase in interest expense of $14.2 million on deposits and other interest bearing liabilities, compared to the same period in 2016.

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Table of Contents

ANALYSIS OF CHANGES IN INTEREST INCOME AND INTEREST EXPENSE
The following tables present on a fully taxable-equivalent basis, a non-GAAP measure, the net change in net interest income and sets forth the dollar amount of increase (decrease) in the average volume of interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities and from changes in yields/rates. Volume/Yield/Rate variances (change in volume times change in yield/rate) have been allocated to amounts attributable to changes in volumes and to changes in yields/rates in proportion to the amounts directly attributable to those changes (in thousands):
 
Years Ended December 31, 2018 Compared to 2017
 
Years Ended December 31, 2017 Compared to 2016
 
Change Attributable to
 
Total Change
 
Change Attributable to
 
Total Change
Fully Taxable-Equivalent Basis:
Average Volume
 
Average Yield/Rate
 
 
Average Volume
 
Average Yield/Rate
 
Interest income on:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loans (1)
$
30,072

 
$
9,141

 
$
39,213

 
$
9,734

 
$
1,382

 
$
11,116

Loans held for sale
(149
)
 
35

 
(114
)
 
1

 
14

 
15

Investment securities (taxable)
(831
)
 
309

 
(522
)
 
(153
)
 
35

 
(118
)
Investment securities (tax-exempt) (1)
739

 
(6,501
)
 
(5,762
)
 
3,336

 
(2,003
)
 
1,333

Mortgage-backed securities
(2,253
)
 
2,476

 
223

 
1,668

 
2,243

 
3,911

FHLB stock and equity investments
(262
)
 
551

 
289

 
173

 
335

 
508

Interest earning deposits
(1,015
)
 
1,005

 
(10
)
 
574

 
675

 
1,249

Federal funds sold
164

 
58

 
222

 
60

 
7

 
67

Total earning assets
26,465

 
7,074

 
33,539

 
15,393

 
2,688

 
18,081

Interest expense on:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Savings deposits
191

 
252

 
443

 
28

 
156

 
184

Time deposits
2,115

 
4,991

 
7,106

 
432

 
2,590

 
3,022

Interest bearing demand deposits
2,144

 
5,435

 
7,579

 
(130
)
 
3,405

 
3,275

FHLB borrowings
(7,509
)
 
5,216

 
(2,293
)
 
1,906

 
1,449

 
3,355

Subordinated notes, net of unamortized debt issuance costs
9

 
17

 
26

 
4,035

 
(30
)
 
4,005

Trust preferred subordinated debentures, net of unamortized debt issuance costs

 
597

 
597

 

 
307

 
307

Other borrowings
7

 
132

 
139

 
2

 
6

 
8

Total interest bearing liabilities
(3,043
)
 
16,640

 
13,597

 
6,273

 
7,883

 
14,156

Net change
$
29,508

 
$
(9,566
)
 
$
19,942

 
$
9,120

 
$
(5,195
)
 
$
3,925

(1)
Interest yields on loans and securities that are nontaxable for federal income tax purposes are presented on a fully taxable-equivalent basis assuming a marginal tax rate of 21% for 2018 and 35% for 2017 and 2016. See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”
The increase in total interest income was primarily attributable to the increase in average earning assets of $445.6 million, or 8.5%, to $5.70 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, from $5.25 billion for the same period in 2017, and to a lesser extent, the increase in the average yield on earning assets to 4.18% for the year ended December 31, 2018, from 3.90% for the year ended December 31, 2017. The increase in average earning assets was primarily the result of the acquisition of Diboll in the fourth quarter of 2017, partially offset by decreases in the securities portfolio and interest earning deposits during 2018. The increase in the average yield on total earning assets during the year ended December 31, 2018, was primarily due to rising interest rates due to continued increases in the federal funds rate during 2018 however, the average yield on our tax-exempt investment securities, as well as our tax-exempt municipal loans, was negatively impacted from the change in income tax rate from 35% to 21%.
The increase in total interest income for the year ended December 31, 2017, was primarily attributable to the increase in average earning assets of $425.3 million, or 8.8%, from $4.83 billion for 2016 to $5.25 billion for 2017, and, to a lesser extent, the increase in the average yield on average earning assets from 3.87% for the year ended December 31, 2016, to 3.90% for the year ended December 31, 2017.  The increase in the average yield on earning assets during the year ended December 31, 2017, was the result of increases in the average yields on most of the earning asset categories due to the overall higher interest rate environment in 2017. This was partially offset by the decrease in the average yield on tax-exempt investment securities as higher yielding tax-exempt securities rolled off and were replaced with lower yielding securities. Also partially offsetting the increase was the effect of the $1.3 million recovery of interest income from the payoff of a long-term nonaccrual loan during the first quarter of 2016.

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Table of Contents

The increase in total interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2018, was primarily attributable to the increase in the average rates paid on total interest bearing liabilities to 1.30% for the year ended December 31, 2018 from 1.01% for the year ended December 31, 2017, partially offset by the mix of interest bearing liabilities during 2018. Total average interest bearing liabilities increased $96.3 million, or 2.2%, to $4.39 billion during the year ended December 31, 2018, from $4.29 billion during the year ended December 31, 2017, however, the increase in lower cost average interest bearing deposits was partially offset by a decrease in higher cost average FHLB borrowings. The increase in average rates paid on interest bearing liabilities was primarily due to the increases in the federal funds rate during 2018.
The increase in interest expense for 2017 was attributable to an increase in average interest bearing liabilities of $268.5 million, or 6.7%, from $4.02 billion to $4.29 billion and in the average rate paid on interest bearing liabilities for the year ended December 31, 2017, to 1.01%, from 0.73% for the same period in 2016.  The increase in average interest bearing liabilities in 2017 was primarily the result of the issuance of subordinated notes, the increase in FHLB borrowings, the Diboll acquisition in late November and, to a lesser extent, the increase in deposits.
Interest bearing demand, savings and noninterest bearing demand deposits are considered the lowest cost deposits and comprised 74.4% of total average deposits during the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to 73.0% during 2017 and 73.6% during 2016.  The increase in our average total deposits during 2018 and 2017 was primarily due to approximately $899.3 million of the deposits assumed in the Diboll merger.
At December 31, 2018, our brokered CDs had remaining maturities of less than one year.  At December 31, 2018, brokered CDs represented 5.4% of deposits compared to 1.3% of deposits at December 31, 2017, and 1.0% at December 31, 2016.  Our wholesale funding policy currently allows maximum brokered CDs of $300 million; however, this amount could be increased to match changes in ALCO objectives.  The potential higher interest expense and lack of customer loyalty are risks associated with the use of brokered CDs.



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Table of Contents

AVERAGE BALANCES WITH AVERAGE YIELDS AND RATES
The following table presents average earning assets and interest bearing liabilities together with the average yield on the earning assets and the average rate of the interest bearing liabilities for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 The interest and related yields presented are on a fully taxable-equivalent (“FTE”) basis and are therefore, non-GAAP measures. See "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for more information, and for a reconciliation to GAAP. The information should be reviewed in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements for the same years then ended (dollars in thousands):
 
Average Balances with Average Yields and Rates
 
Years Ended
 
December 31, 2018
 
December 31, 2017
 
December 31, 2016
 
Avg Balance
 
Interest
 
Avg Yield/Rate
 
Avg Balance
 
Interest
 
Avg Yield/Rate
 
Avg Balance
 
Interest
 
Avg Yield/Rate
ASSETS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loans (1)
$
3,290,651

 
$
160,982

 
4.89
%
 
$
2,666,265

 
$
121,769

 
4.57
%
 
$
2,452,803

 
$
110,653

 
4.51
%
Loans held for sale
1,451

 
63

 
4.34
%
 
5,058

 
177

 
3.50
%
 
5,036

 
162

 
3.22
%
Securities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
Investment securities (taxable) (2)
15,790

 
417

 
2.64
%
 
51,654

 
939

 
1.82
%
 
60,145

 
1,057

 
1.76
%
Investment securities (tax-exempt) (2)
781,127

 
31,964

 
4.09
%
 
765,854

 
37,726

 
4.93
%
 
699,472

 
36,393

 
5.20
%
Mortgage-backed and related securities (2)
1,462,055

 
41,584

 
2.84
%
 
1,543,826

 
41,361

 
2.68
%
 
1,479,528

 
37,450

 
2.53
%
Total securities
2,258,972

 
73,965

 
3.27
%
 
2,361,334

 
80,026

 
3.39
%
 
2,239,145

 
74,900

 
3.35
%
FHLB stock, at cost, and equity investments
54,998

 
1,595

 
2.90
%
 
66,855

 
1,306

 
1.95
%
 
56,071

 
798

 
1.42
%
Interest earning deposits
78,266

 
1,624

 
2.07
%
 
148,924

 
1,634

 
1.10
%
 
75,339

 
385

 
0.51
%
Federal funds sold
15,647

 
294

 
1.88
%
 
5,995

 
72

 
1.20
%
 
747

 
5

 
0.67
%
Total earning assets
5,699,985

 
238,523

 
4.18
%
 
5,254,431

 
204,984

 
3.90
%
 
4,829,141

 
186,903

 
3.87
%
Cash and due from banks
77,946

 
 
 
 
 
54,590

 
 
 
 
 
51,160

 
 
 
 
Accrued interest and other assets
473,639

 
 
 
 
 
369,872

 
 
 
 
 
373,278

 
 
 
 
Less:  Allowance for loan losses
(24,378
)
 
 
 
 
 
(19,042
)
 
 
 
 
 
(18,465
)
 
 
 
 
Total assets
$
6,227,192

 
 
 
 
 
$
5,659,851

 
 
 
 
 
$
5,235,114

 
 
 
 
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Savings deposits
$
359,509

 
907

 
0.25
%
 
$
267,345

 
464

 
0.17
%
 
$
244,826

 
280

 
0.11
%
Time deposits
1,160,423

 
18,112

 
1.56
%
 
990,553

 
11,006

 
1.11
%
 
941,716

 
7,984

 
0.85
%
Interest bearing demand deposits
1,978,140

 
16,845

 
0.85
%
 
1,645,557

 
9,266

 
0.56
%
 
1,681,422

 
5,991

 
0.36
%
Total interest bearing deposits
3,498,072

 
35,864

 
1.03
%
 
2,903,455

 
20,736

 
0.71
%
 
2,867,964

 
14,255

 
0.50
%
FHLB borrowings
720,785

 
12,813

 
1.78
%
 
1,222,033

 
15,106

 
1.24
%
 
1,060,631

 
11,751

 
1.11
%
Subordinated notes, net of unamortized debt issuance costs
98,327

 
5,659

 
5.76
%
 
98,172

 
5,633

 
5.74
%
 
27,860

 
1,628

 
5.84
%
Trust preferred subordinated debentures, net of unamortized debt issuance costs
60,243

 
2,610

 
4.33
%
 
60,238

 
2,013

 
3.34
%
 
60,233

 
1,706

 
2.83
%
Other borrowings
10,880

 
155

 
1.42
%
 
8,120

 
16

 
0.20
%
 
6,798

 
8

 
0.12
%
Total interest bearing liabilities
4,388,307

 
57,101

 
1.30
%
 
4,292,018

 
43,504

 
1.01
%
 
4,023,486

 
29,348

 
0.73
%
Noninterest bearing deposits
1,040,447

 
 
 
 
 
761,370

 
 
 
 
 
693,929

 
 
 
 
Accrued expenses and other liabilities
47,176

 
 
 
 
 
43,440

 
 
 
 
 
49,275

 
 
 
 
Total liabilities
5,475,930

 
 
 
 
 
5,096,828

 
 
 
 
 
4,766,690

 
 
 
 
Shareholders’ equity
751,262

 
 
 
 
 
563,023

 
 
 
 
 
468,424

 
 

 
 

Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity
$
6,227,192

 
 
 
 
 
$
5,659,851

 
 
 
 
 
$
5,235,114

 
 

 
 

Net interest income (FTE)
 
 
$
181,422

 
 
 
 
 
$
161,480

 
 
 
 

 
$
157,555

 
 

Net interest margin (FTE)
 
 
 
 
3.18
%
 
 
 
 
 
3.07
%
 
 

 
 

 
3.26
%
Net interest spread (FTE)
 
 
 
 
2.88
%
 
 
 
 
 
2.89
%
 
 

 
 

 
3.14
%
(1)
Interest on loans includes net fees on loans that are not material in amount.
(2)
For the purpose of calculating the average yield, the average balance of securities is presented at historical cost.
(3)
Note: As of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, loans totaling $35.8 million, $2.9 million and $8.3 million, respectively, were on nonaccrual status. Our policy is to reverse previously accrued but unpaid interest on nonaccrual loans; thereafter, interest income is recorded to the extent received when appropriate.

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Table of Contents

PROVISION FOR LOAN LOSSES
The provision for loan losses was $8.4 million, $4.7 million and $9.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively. See the section captioned “Loan Loss Experience and Allowance for Loan Losses” elsewhere in this discussion for further analysis of the provision for loan losses.
As of December 31, 2018, and 2017, our reviews of the loan portfolio indicated that loan loss allowances of $27.0 million and $20.8 million, respectively, were appropriate to cover probable losses in the portfolio.
NONINTEREST INCOME
Noninterest income consists of revenue generated from a broad range of financial services and activities and other fee generating services that we either provide or in which we participate.
In connection with the adoption of Accounting Standards Update 2014-09 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606)” effective January 1, 2018, debit card expense and brokerage service expense previously reported in ATM and debit card expense and other noninterest expense are now netted with deposit services income and brokerage services income, respectively. Due to the adoption of the guidance under the modified retrospective method, prior periods have not been adjusted and therefore, are not comparable.
The following table details the categories included in noninterest income (dollars in thousands):
 
2018
 
Increase
(Decrease)
 
2017
 
Increase
(Decrease)
 
2016
Deposit services
$
25,082

 
$
3,297

 
15.1
 %
 
$
21,785

 
$
1,083

 
5.2
 %
 
$
20,702

Net (loss) gain on sale of securities available for sale
(1,839
)
 
(2,464
)
 
(394.2
)%
 
625

 
(2,211
)
 
(78.0
)%
 
2,836

Gain on sale of loans
692

 
(1,129
)
 
(62.0
)%
 
1,821

 
(974
)
 
(34.8
)%
 
2,795

Trust income
6,832

 
3,014

 
78.9
 %
 
3,818

 
327

 
9.4
 %
 
3,491

Bank owned life insurance income
2,923

 
386

 
15.2
 %
 
2,537

 
(89
)
 
(3.4
)%
 
2,626

Brokerage services
1,987

 
(435
)
 
(18.0
)%
 
2,422

 
295

 
13.9
 %
 
2,127

Other noninterest income
5,096

 
631

 
14.1
 %
 
4,465

 
(369
)
 
(7.6
)%
 
4,834

Total noninterest income
$
40,773

 
$
3,300

 
8.8
 %
 
$
37,473

 
$
(1,938
)
 
(4.9
)%
 
$
39,411


The 8.8% increase in noninterest income for the year ended December 31, 2018 ,when compared to the same period in 2017, was primarily due to increases in deposit services income and trust income, partially offset by a net loss on sale of securities available for sale and a decrease in