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Section 1: 10-K (FORM 10-K)

ovly20181231_10k.htm
 

 

Table of Contents



UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

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

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission File Number: 001-34142

 

 

OAK VALLEY BANCORP

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

California

26-2326676

(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

125 North Third Avenue
Oakdale, California

95361

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

 

(209) 848-2265

(Registrant’s telephone number including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock

 

The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None  
  (Title of class)  

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.        Yes  ☐    No  ☒

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.      Yes  ☐ No  ☒

 

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  ☒     No  ☐

 

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 and post such files).       Yes  ☒     No  ☐

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of 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. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer ☐

 

Accelerated filer ☒

 

Non-accelerated filer ☐

 

Smaller reporting company ☐

             
           

Emerging growth company ☐

 

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. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).   Yes  ☐      No  ☒

 

As of June 30, 2018, the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the closing price of $22.30 per share of the registrant’s common stock as reported by the NASDAQ, was approximately $157 million. As of February 26, 2019, there were 8,195,459 shares of common stock outstanding.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders will filed with the Commission within 120 days after the end of the Registrant’s 2018 fiscal year end and are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.

 



 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PART I

   

ITEM 1 -

BUSINESS

4

ITEM 1A -

RISK FACTORS

20

ITEM 1B -

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

32

ITEM 2 -

PROPERTIES

32

ITEM 3 -

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

32

ITEM 4 -

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

32

     

PART II

   

ITEM 5 -

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

33

ITEM 6 -

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

34

ITEM 7-

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

35

ITEM 7A -

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

62

ITEM 8 -

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

64

ITEM 9 -

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

64

ITEM 9A -

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

64

ITEM 9B-

OTHER INFORMATION

64

     

PART III

   

ITEM 10 -

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

65

ITEM 11 -

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

65

ITEM 12 -

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

65

ITEM 13 -

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

65

ITEM 14 -

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

65

     

PART IV

   

ITEM 15 -

EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

66

ITEM 16 -

FORM 10-K SUMMARY

68

     

SIGNATURES

69

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (Annual Report) includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, (the “1933 Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (the “1934 Act”). Those sections of the 1933 Act and 1934 Act provide a “safe harbor” for forward-looking statements to encourage companies to provide prospective information about their financial performance so long as they provide meaningful, cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ significantly from projected results.

 

All statements contained in this Annual Report other than statements of historical fact, including, for example, statements regarding descriptions of plans or objectives of management for future operations, products or services, forecasts of our revenues, earnings or other measures of economic performance, our assessment of significant factors and developments that may affect our results, regulatory controls and processes and their impact on our business, our business strategy and plans and our objectives for future operations, are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “potentially,” “estimate,” “continue.” “anticipate,” “intend,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan” “expect,” and similar expressions that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

 

We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and projections about future events and trends. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those listed in this “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” and those described in Part II, Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment, and new risks emerge from time to time. It is not possible for our management to predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements we may make. In light of these risks, uncertainties, and assumptions, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this Annual Report may not occur and actual results could differ materially and adversely from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking statements.

 

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee that the future results, levels of activity, performance or events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur. We undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law. You should read this Annual Report with the understanding that our actual future results, levels of activity, performance and events and circumstances may be materially different from what we expect.

 

 

Table of Contents

 

PART I

 

ITEM 1.  BUSINESS OF OAK VALLEY BANCORP

 

Overview of the Business

 

Oak Valley Bancorp. Oak Valley Bancorp (the “Company”) was incorporated on April 1, 2008 in California for the purpose of becoming Oak Valley Community Bank’s parent bank holding company. Effective July 3, 2008, Oak Valley Bancorp acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of Oak Valley Community Bank (the “Bank”) (from time to time, the Bank and the Company may be generally referred to as “we”, “us” or “our”). The principal office of Oak Valley Bancorp is located at 125 North Third Avenue, Oakdale, California 95361, and its principal telephone is (209) 848-2265.

 

The Company is authorized to issue 50,000,000 shares of common stock, without par value, of which 8,194,805 are issued and outstanding at December 31, 2018, and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, without par value, of which no shares are issued and outstanding.

 

The Company is the holding company of the Bank, and its only assets are the outstanding capital stock of the Bank, which the Company wholly owns, cash and income tax benefits receivable classified as other assets.

 

Oak Valley Community Bank. The Bank commenced operations in May 1991.  The Bank is an insured bank under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and is a member of the Federal Reserve.  The Bank is subject to regulation, supervision and regular examination by the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO), the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board (FRB). Since its formation, the Bank has provided basic banking services to individuals and business enterprises in Oakdale, California and the surrounding areas. The focus of the Bank is to offer a range of commercial banking services designed for both individuals and small to medium-sized businesses in the two main areas of service of the Bank: the Central Valley and the Eastern Sierras.

 

The Bank offers a complement of business checking and savings accounts for its business customers.  The Bank also offers commercial and real estate loans, as well as lines of credit.  Real estate loans are generally of a short-term nature for both residential and commercial lending purposes.  Longer-term real estate loans are generally made with adjustable interest rates and contain customary provisions for acceleration.  Traditional residential mortgages are available to Bank customers through a third party.

 

The Bank offers other services for both individuals and businesses including online banking, remote deposit capture, mobile banking, merchant services, night depository, extended hours, wire transfer of funds, note collection, and automated teller machines in a national network.  The Bank does not currently offer international banking or trust services although the Bank may make such services available to the Bank’s customers through financial institutions with which the Bank has correspondent banking relationships.  The Bank does not offer stock transfer services, nor does it directly issue credit cards.

 

 

Expansion

 

Branch Expansion.    Since opening our doors of the main Oakdale branch in 1991, our network of branches and loan production offices have been expanded geographically. As of December 31, 2018, we maintained sixteen full-service branch offices (in addition to our corporate headquarters) and one loan production office. Beginning in October 1995, we started our geographic expansion outside of Oakdale, by opening a Loan Production Office in Sonora, California. We subsequently opened a branch in Sonora and two branches in Modesto.  In September 2000, we expanded into the Eastern Sierra, opening a branch in Bridgeport, California under the name Eastern Sierra Community Bank.  Since that time, we have added branches in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop. During 2005 and 2006, we aggressively increased our presence in the Central Valley, by opening branches in Turlock, Stockton, Patterson, Ripon and Escalon.  In March 2007, our corporate headquarters expanded by adding an adjacent historical building located in downtown Oakdale to our complex.  In 2011, we opened a third branch in Modesto and a branch in Manteca. In 2014, we opened a new branch in Tracy. In 2015, we added a second branch in Sonora. In 2018, we opened a new branch in Sacramento. We intend to continue our growth strategy in future years through the opening of additional branches and loan production offices as demand dictates and resources permit.

 

Bank Holding Company Reorganization.  Effective July 3, 2008, we entered into a bank holding company reorganization, whereby each outstanding share of common stock of the Bank was exchanged into a share of common stock of the Company. Operating our banking business within a holding company structure provides, among other things, greater operating flexibility; facilitates the potential acquisition of related businesses as opportunities may arise from time to time; improves our ability to diversify as needed; enhances our ability to remain competitive in the future with other companies in the financial services industry that are organized in a holding company structure; and improves our ability to raise capital to support growth. 

 

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Business Segments

 

Management has determined that because all of the banking products and services offered by the Company are available in each branch of the Bank, all branches are located within the same economic environment and management does not allocate resources based on the performance of different lending or transaction activities, it is appropriate to aggregate the Bank branches and report them as a single operating segment.  No customer accounts for more than 10 percent of revenues for the Company or the Bank.

 

 

Primary Market Area

 

We conduct business from our main office in Oakdale, a city of approximately 21,500 residents located in Stanislaus County, California. Oakdale is approximately 15 miles from Modesto and sits at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, at the edge of the California Central Valley agricultural area.  Through our branches, we serve customers in the Central Valley, from Fresno to Sacramento, and in foothill locations. We also reach into the Highway 395 corridor in the Eastern Sierras and in the towns of Bishop, Mammoth and Bridgeport.  Approximately 98% of our loans and 90% of our deposits are generated from the Central Valley. The Central Valley area includes Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Tuolumne counties and has a total population of over 3 million.

 

 

Lending Activities

 

General.    Our loan policies set forth the basic guidelines and procedures by which we conduct our lending operations. These policies address the types of loans available, underwriting and collateral requirements, loan terms, interest rate and yield considerations, compliance with laws and regulations and our internal lending limits. Our Board of Directors reviews and approves our loan policies on an annual basis. We supplement our own supervision of the loan underwriting and approval process with periodic loan audits by experienced external loan specialists who review credit quality, loan documentation and compliance with laws and regulations. We engage in a full complement of lending activities, including:

 

 

commercial real estate loans,

 

 

commercial business lending and trade finance,

 

 

Small Business Administration lending, and

 

 

consumer loans, including automobile loans, home mortgages, credit lines and other personal loans.

 

As part of our efforts to achieve long-term stable profitability and respond to a changing economic environment in the California Central Valley, we constantly evaluate a variety of options to augment our traditional focus by broadening the services and products we provide. Possible avenues of growth include more branch locations, expanded suite of technology-based services and new types of lending.

 

Loan Procedures.    Loans recommended for approval by the Senior Loan Committee made up of our Board of Directors and designated executive officers of the bank, by Joint Authority or by loan officers, to the extent of their lending authority. Our Board of Directors authorizes our lending limits. Our President and Chief Credit Officer are responsible for evaluating the authority limits for individual credit officers and recommending lending limits for all other officers to the board of directors for approval.

 

We grant individual lending authority to our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Credit Officer, Credit Administrator and to some department managers and loan officers. Our highest management lending authority or Joint Authority includes all amounts above the individual officer loan authority and below the Senior Loan Committee limits of $5,000,000 for real estate secured loans, $2,500,000 for loans secured by collateral other than real estate and cash, $1,500,000 for unsecured loans, or when the borrower’s aggregate total outstanding commitment exceeds $5,000,000. These loans require joint approval of either the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Credit Officer, Senior Lending Officer or Credit Administrator.  

 

At December 31, 2018, the Bank’s authorized legal lending limits were $15.6 million for unsecured loans plus an additional $10.4 million for specific secured loans. Legal lending limits are calculated in conformance with California law, which prohibits a bank from lending to any one individual or entity or its related interests an aggregate amount which exceeds 15% of primary capital plus the allowance for loan losses on an unsecured basis, plus an additional 10% on a secured basis. The Bank’s primary capital plus allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2018 totaled $104.3 million.

 

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We seek to mitigate the risks inherent in our loan portfolio by adhering to certain underwriting practices. The review of each loan application includes analysis of the applicant’s prior credit history, income level, cash flow and financial condition, tax returns, cash flow projections, and the value of any collateral to secure the loan, based upon reports of independent appraisers and audits of accounts receivable or inventory pledged as security. In the case of real estate loans over a specified amount, the review of collateral value includes an appraisal report prepared by an independent, Bank-approved, appraiser.

 

Real Estate Loans.    We offer commercial real estate loans to finance the acquisition of new or the refinancing of existing commercial properties, such as office buildings, industrial buildings, warehouses, hotels, shopping centers, automotive industry facilities and multiple dwellings. At December 31, 2018, consumer and commercial real estate loans constituted 83% of our loan portfolio, of which 94% were commercial real estate loans.

 

Commercial real estate loans typically have 10-year maturities with up to 25-year amortization of principal and interest and loan-to-value ratios of not more than 75% of the appraised value or purchase price, whichever is lower. We usually impose a prepayment penalty during the period within 3 to 5 years of the date of the loan.

 

Construction loans are comprised of loans on commercial, residential and income producing properties that generally have terms of 1 year, with options to extend for additional periods to complete construction and to accommodate the lease-up period. We usually require 15% equity capital investment by the developer and loan to value ratios of not more than 75% of anticipated completion value.

 

Miniperm loans finance the purchase and/or ownership of commercial properties, including owner-occupied and income producing properties. We also offer miniperm loans as take-out financing with our construction loans. Miniperm loans are generally made with an amortization schedule ranging from 20 to 25 years, with a lump sum balloon payment due in 3 to 5 years.

 

Equity lines of credit are revolving lines of credit with repayment term and are collateralized by junior deeds of trust on residential real properties. They generally bear a rate of interest that floats with our base rate or the prime rate, and have maturities of 25 years (10-year interest only with 15-year amortization).

 

We purchase participation interests in loans made by other financial institutions from time to time. These loans are subject to the same underwriting criteria and approval process as loans made directly by us.

 

Our real estate loans are typically collateralized by first or junior deeds of trust on specific commercial properties and equity lines of credit, and are subject to corporate or individual guarantees from financially capable parties, as available. The properties collateralizing real estate loans are principally located in our primary market areas of the California Central Valley and the Eastern Sierra.  Real estate loans typically bear interest rates that float with an established index.

 

Our real estate portfolio is subject to certain risks, including (i) downturns in the California economy, (ii) significant interest rate fluctuations, (iii) reduction in real estate values in the California Central Valley, (iv) increased competition in pricing and loan structure, and (v) environmental risks, including natural disasters.  As a result of the high concentration of the real estate loan in our loan portfolio, potential difficulties in the real estate markets could cause significant increases in nonperforming loans, which would reduce our profits.  A decline in real estate values could cause some of our mortgage loans to become inadequately collateralized, which would expose us to a greater risk of loss.  Additionally, a decline in real estate values could adversely affect our portfolio of commercial real estate loans and could result in a decline in the origination of such loans.  However, we strive to reduce the exposure to such risks and seek to continue to maintain high quality in our real estate loans by (a) reviewing each loan request and each loan renewal individually, (b) using a joint approval system for the approval of each loan request for loans over a certain dollar amount, (c) adhering to written loan policies, including, among other factors, minimum collateral requirements, maximum loan-to-value ratio requirements, cash flow requirements and personal guarantees, (d) performing secondary appraisals from time to time, (e) conducting external independent credit review, and (f) conducting environmental reviews, where appropriate. We review each loan request on the basis of our ability to recover both principal and interest in view of the inherent risks.   We monitor and stress test our entire portfolio, evaluating debt coverage ratios and loan-to-value ratios, on a quarterly basis.  We monitor trends and evaluate exposure derived from simulated stressed market conditions.  The portfolio is stratified by owner classification (either owner-occupied or non-owner occupied), product type, geography and size.

 

As of December 31, 2018, the aggregate loan-to-value of the entire commercial real estate portfolio was 54.4 %, based on the most recent appraisals as of the time of origination or renewal. Historical data suggests that the Bank continues to maintain strong LTV, which has served as a cushion against precipitous reductions in real estate values. Non-owner occupied real estate comprises 40.3% of the Bank’s total commitments, as of December 31, 2018. The loan-to-value on the non-owner occupied segment was 45.1%, as of December 31, 2018. The highest concentration by product type is CRE Office, which comprised 26.0% of total CRE loan commitments outstanding, as of December 31, 2018.

 

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Our portfolio diversity in terms of both product types and geographic distribution, combined with strong debt coverage ratios, a low aggregate loan-to-value and a reasonable percentage of owner-occupied properties, significantly mitigate the risks associated with excessive commercial real estate concentration. These elements contribute strength to our overall real estate portfolio in the event of any weakness in the real estate market.

 

Commercial Business Lending.    We offer commercial loans to sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations, with an emphasis on the real estate related industry. These commercial loans include business lines of credit and commercial term loans to finance operations, to provide working capital or for specific purposes, such as to finance the purchase of assets, equipment or inventory. Since a borrower’s cash flow from operations is generally the primary source of repayment, our policies provide specific guidelines regarding required debt coverage and other important financial ratios.

 

Lines of credit are extended to businesses or individuals based on the financial strength and integrity of the borrower and are secured primarily by real estate, accounts receivable and inventory, and have a maturity of one year or less. Such lines of credit bear an interest rate that floats with the prime rate, Constant Maturity Treasury or another established index.

 

Commercial term loans are typically made to finance the acquisition of fixed assets, refinance short-term debts or to finance the purchase of businesses. Commercial term loans generally have terms from one to five years. They may be collateralized by the asset being acquired or other available assets and bear interest rates, which either floats with the prime rate, LIBOR or another established index or is fixed for the term of the loan.

 

Our portfolio of commercial loans is also subject to certain risks, including (i) downturns in the California economy, (ii) significant interest rate fluctuations; and (iii) the deterioration of a borrower’s or guarantor’s financial capabilities. We attempt to reduce the exposure to such risks through (a) reviewing each loan request and renewal individually, (b) requiring a joint signature approval system, (c) mandating strict adherence to written loan policies, and (d) performing external independent credit review. In addition, we monitor loans based on short-term asset values as required on a monthly or quarterly basis. In general, during the term of the relationship, we receive and review the financial statements of our borrowing customers on an ongoing basis, and we promptly respond to any deterioration that we note.

 

Small Business Administration Lending Services.    Small Business Administration, or SBA, lending, forms an important part of our business. Our SBA lending service places an emphasis on minority-owned businesses. Our SBA market area includes the geographic areas encompassed by our full-service banking offices in the California Central Valley and in the Eastern Sierra. As an SBA lender, we enable borrowers to obtain SBA loans in order to acquire new businesses, expand existing businesses, and acquire locations in which to do business.

 

Consumer Loans.    Consumer loans include personal loans, auto loans, home improvement loans, home mortgage loans, revolving lines of credit and other loans typically made by banks to individual borrowers. We provide consumer loan products in an effort to diversify our product line.

 

Our consumer loan portfolio is subject to certain risks, including:

 

 

amount of credit offered to consumers in the market,

 

interest rate increases, and

 

consumer bankruptcy laws which allow consumers to discharge certain debts.

 

We attempt to reduce the exposure to such risks through the direct approval of all consumer loans by:

 

 

reviewing each loan request and renewal individually,

 

using a dual signature system of approval,

 

strictly adhering to written credit policies, and

 

performing external independent credit review.

 

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Deposit Activities and Other Sources of Funds

 

Our primary sources of funds are deposits and loan repayments. Scheduled loan repayments are a relatively stable source of funds, whereas deposit inflows, outflows and unscheduled loan prepayments (which are influenced significantly by general interest rate levels, interest rates available on other investments, competition, economic conditions and other factors) are not as stable. Customer deposits also remain a primary source of funds, but these balances may be influenced by adverse market changes in the industry. We may resort to other borrowings, on an as needed basis, as follows:

 

 

on a short-term basis to compensate for reductions in deposit inflows at less than projected levels, and

 

 

on a longer-term basis to support expanded lending activities and to match the maturity of repricing intervals of assets.

 

We offer a variety of accounts for depositors, which are designed to attract both short-term and long-term deposits. These accounts include certificates of deposit, or “CDs”, regular savings accounts, money market accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts, health savings accounts and individual retirement accounts, or “IRAs”. These accounts generally earn interest at rates established by management based on competitive market factors and management’s desire to increase or decrease certain types or maturities of deposits. As needs arise, we augment these customer deposits with brokered deposits. The more significant deposit accounts offered by us are described below:

 

Certificates of Deposit.    We offer several types of CDs with a maximum maturity of five years. The substantial majority of our CDs have a maturity of one to twelve months and pay compounded interest typically credited monthly or at maturity.

 

Regular Savings Accounts.    We offer savings accounts that allow for unlimited ATM and in-branch deposits and withdrawals. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.

 

Money Market Account.    Money market accounts pay a variable interest rate that is tiered depending on the balance maintained in the account. Minimum opening balances vary. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.

 

Checking Accounts.    Checking accounts are generally non-interest and interest bearing accounts, respectively, and may include service fees based on activity and balances.

 

Federal Home Loan Bank Borrowings.    To supplement our deposits as a source of funds for lending or investment, we borrow funds in the form of advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank. We regularly make use of Federal Home Loan Bank advances as part of our interest rate risk management, primarily to extend the duration of funding to match the longer term fixed rate loans held in the loan portfolio as part of our growth strategy.

 

As a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank system, we are required to invest in Federal Home Loan Bank stock based on a predetermined formula. Federal Home Loan Bank stock is a restricted investment security that can only be sold to other Federal Home Loan Bank members or redeemed by the Federal Home Loan Bank. As of December 31, 2018, we owned $3,599,000 in FHLB stock.

 

Advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank are typically secured by our entire real estate loan portfolio, which includes residential and commercial loans.  At December 31, 2018, our borrowing limit with the Federal Home Loan Bank was approximately $269 million.

 

Internet and Mobile Banking

 

Since August 1, 2001, we have offered Internet banking services, which allows our customers to access their deposit accounts through the Internet. Customers are able to obtain transaction history and account information, transfer funds between accounts, make person-to-person payments and make on-line bill payments. We intend to improve and develop our Internet banking products and delivery channels as the need arises and our resources permit. Mobile Banking was introduced in June of 2011, which offers many of the same services as internet banking but also includes mobile check deposit.

 

 

Other Services

 

We offer ATMs located at branch offices as well as three other ATMs at various off-site locations, and customer access to an ATM network. Additionally, we offer remote deposit capture service to allow commercial deposit customers the convenience of scanning check deposits for quicker access to deposited funds.

 

 

Marketing

 

Our marketing relies principally upon local advertising and promotional activity and upon personal contacts by our directors, officers and shareholders to attract business and to acquaint potential customers with our personalized services. We emphasize a high degree of personalized client service in order to be able to provide for each customer’s banking needs. Our marketing approach emphasizes the advantages of dealing with an independent, locally managed and state-chartered bank to meet the particular needs of consumers, professionals and business customers in the community. Our management continually evaluates all of our banking services with regard to their profitability and efforts and makes determinations based on these evaluations whether to continue or modify our business plan, where appropriate.

 

We do not currently have any plans to develop any new lines of business, which would require a material amount of capital investment on our part.

 

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Competition

 

Regional Branch Competition.    We consider our primary service area to be composed of the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Inyo and Mono Counties, of California.  The banking business in California generally, and in our primary service area, specifically, is competitive with respect to both loans and deposits and is dominated by a relatively small number of major banks which have many offices operating over wide geographic areas.  These include Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Bank of the West. We compete for deposits and loans principally with these banks, as well as with savings and loan associations, thrift and loan associations, credit unions, mortgage companies, insurance companies, offerors of money market accounts and other lending institutions.

 

Among the advantages of these institutions are their ability to finance extensive advertising campaigns and to allocate their investment assets to regions of highest yield and demand, their ability to offer certain services, such as international banking and trust services which are not offered directly by the Company and, the ability by virtue of their greater total capitalization, to have substantially higher lending limits than we do.   In addition, as a result of increased consolidation and the passage of interstate banking legislation there is and will continue to be increased competition among banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions for the deposit and loan business of individuals and businesses.

 

As of June 30, 2018, our primary service areas contained 165 banking offices, with approximately $16.6 billion in total deposits. As of June 30, 2018, we had total deposits of approximately $971 million, which represented approximately 5.9% of the total deposits in the Bank’s primary service area. There can be no assurance that the Bank will maintain its competitive position against current and potential competitors, especially those with greater resources than the Bank. The four largest competing banks had 64 total branches, and deposits averaged approximately $151 million per office as of June 30, 2018 within the Bank’s primary service area.

 

In order to compete with major financial institutions in our primary service areas, we use to the fullest extent the flexibility that our independent status permits.  This includes an emphasis on specialized services, local promotional activity, and personal contacts by our officers, directors and employees.  In the event that there are customers whose needs exceed our lending limits, we may arrange for such loans on a participation basis with other financial institutions.  We also assist customers who require other services that we do not offer by obtaining such services from correspondent banks.  However, no assurance can be given that our continued efforts to compete with other financial institutions will be successful.

 

In addition to other banks, our competitors include savings institutions, credit unions, and numerous non-banking institutions, such as finance companies, leasing companies, insurance companies, brokerage firms, and investment banking firms. In recent years, increased competition has also developed from specialized finance and non-finance companies that offer money market and mutual funds, wholesale finance, credit card, and other consumer finance services, including on-line banking services and personal finance software. Strong competition for deposit and loan products affects the rates of those products as well as the terms on which they are offered to customers.

 

Other Competitive Factors.     The more general competitive trends in the industry include increased consolidation and competition. Strong competitors, other than financial institutions, have entered banking markets with focused products targeted at highly profitable customer segments. Many of these competitors are able to compete across geographic boundaries and provide customers increasing access to meaningful alternatives to banking services in nearly all significant products areas. Mergers between financial institutions have placed additional pressure on banks within the industry to streamline their operations, reduce expenses, and increase revenues to remain competitive. Competition has also intensified due to the federal and state interstate banking laws, which permit banking organizations to expand geographically, and the California market has been particularly attractive to out-of-state institutions. The Financial Modernization Act, which has made it possible for full affiliations to occur between banks and securities firms, insurance companies, and other financial companies, is also expected to intensify competitive conditions.

 

Technological innovations have also resulted in increased competition in the financial services industry. Such innovations have, for example, made it possible for non-depository institutions to offer customers automated transfer payment services that were previously considered traditional banking products. In addition, many customers now expect a choice of several delivery systems and channels, including telephone, mail, home computer, mobile devices, ATMs, self-service branches and/or in-store branches.

 

Business Concentration.    No individual or single group of related accounts is considered material in relation to our total assets or deposits, or in relation to our overall business. However, approximately 83% of our loan portfolio held for investment at December 31, 2018 consisted of real estate-related loans, including construction loans, mini-perm loans, real estate mortgage loans and commercial loans secured by real estate. Moreover, our business activities are currently focused primarily in Central California, with the majority of our business concentrated in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Sacramento, Inyo and Mono Counties.  Consequently, our results of operations and financial condition are dependent upon the general trends in the Central California economies and, in particular, the residential and commercial real estate markets. In addition, the concentration of our operations in Central California exposes us to greater risk than other banking companies with a wider geographic base in the event of catastrophes, such as earthquakes, fires and floods in this region.

 

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Employees

 

As of December 31, 2018, we had 186 employees (155 full-time employees and 31 part-time employees). None of our employees are currently represented by a union or covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We consider our relations with our employees to be good.

 

 

Economic Conditions and Legislative and Regulatory Developments

 

As it is the case with financial institutions with our size and scope, our profitability primarily depends on interest rate differentials. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors that are beyond our control and cannot be predicted, such as inflation, recession and unemployment, and the impact that future changes in domestic and foreign economic conditions might have on the Company.  A more detailed discussion of the Company’s interest rate risks and the mitigation of those risks is included in Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Our business is also influenced by the monetary and fiscal policies of the Federal government and the policies of regulatory agencies.  The Federal Reserve Board implements national monetary policies (with objectives such as maintaining price stability, stimulating growth and reducing unemployment) through its open-market operations in U.S. Government securities, by adjusting the required level of reserves for depository institutions subject to its reserve requirements, and by varying the target Federal funds and discount rates applicable to borrowings by depository institutions. The actions of the Federal Reserve Board in these areas influence the growth of bank loans, investments, and deposits and also affect interest earned on interest-earning assets and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities. The nature and impact of any future changes in monetary and fiscal policies on us cannot be predicted.

 

From time to time, federal and state legislation is enacted that may have the effect of materially increasing the cost of doing business, limiting or expanding permissible activities, or affecting the competitive balance between banks and other financial services providers. In light of recent conditions in the United States economy and the financial services industry, the Trump administration, Congress, the regulators and various states continue to focus attention on the financial services industry. Additional proposals that affect the industry have been and will likely continue to be introduced. The Company cannot predict whether any of these proposals will be enacted or adopted or, if they are, the effect they would have on our business, the Company's operations or financial condition.

 

 

Supervision and Regulation in General

 

The banking and financial services business in which we engage is highly regulated. Such regulation is intended, among other things, to protect depositors insured by the FDIC and the entire banking system. These regulations affect our lending practices, consumer protections, capital structure, investment practices and dividend policy.

 

The Company is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Bank.  The Company and the Bank are each subject to supervision and regulation by a number of federal and state agencies and regulatory bodies, as outlined below.

 

Upon effectiveness of the bank holding company reorganization on July 2, 2008, the Company became subject to regulation under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (“BHCA”). As a bank holding company, the Company is regulated and is subject to inspection, examination and supervision by the Federal Reserve Board. It is also subject to the California Financial Code, as well as limited oversight by the DBO and the FDIC. Under the Federal Reserve Board’s regulations, a bank holding company is required to serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary banks. The BHCA regulates the activities of holding companies including acquisitions, mergers, and consolidations and, together with the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act of 1999, the scope of allowable banking activities.

 

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As a California-state chartered bank, the Bank is subject to primary supervision, examination and regulation by the DBO and the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board is the primary federal regulator of state member banks. The Bank is also subject to regulation by the FDIC, which insures the Bank’s deposits as permitted by law. If, as a result of an examination of a bank, the Federal Reserve Board determines that the financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity or other aspects of its operations are unsatisfactory, or that it or its management is violating or has violated any law or regulation, various remedies are available to the Federal Reserve Board. Such remedies include the power to: enjoin “unsafe or unsound” practices; require affirmative action to correct any conditions resulting from any violation or practice; issue an administrative order that can be judicially enforced; direct an increase in capital; restrict growth; assess civil monetary penalties; remove officers and directors; institute a receivership; and, ultimately terminate the bank’s deposit insurance, which would result in a revocation of its charter. The DBO separately holds many of the same remedial powers.

 

The commercial banking business is also influenced by the monetary and fiscal policies of the federal government and the policies of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, also known as the FRB or the Federal Reserve Board. As a member of the Federal Reserve System, we are subject to certain regulations of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The regulations of these agencies govern most aspects of our business, including the filing of periodic reports, and activities relating to dividends, investments, loans, borrowings, capital requirements, certain check-clearing activities, branching, mergers and acquisitions, reserves against deposits, and numerous other areas. Supervision, legal action and examination of us by the FRB is generally intended to protect depositors and is not intended for the protection of our shareholders. The Federal Reserve Board implements national monetary policies (with objectives such as curbing inflation and combating recession) by its open-market operations in United States Government securities, by adjusting the required level of reserves for financial intermediaries, subject to its reserve requirements and by varying the discount rates applicable to borrowings by depository institutions. The actions of the Federal Reserve Board in these areas influence the growth of bank loans, investments and deposits and affects interest rates charged on loans and paid on deposits. Indirectly such actions may also impact the ability of non-bank financial institutions to compete with us. The nature and impact of any future changes in monetary policies cannot be predicted.

 

The laws, regulations and policies affecting financial services businesses are continuously under review by Congress and state legislatures and federal and state regulatory agencies. From time to time, legislation is enacted which has the effect of increasing the cost of doing business, limiting or expanding permissible activities or affecting the competitive balance between banks and other financial intermediaries. Proposals to change the laws and regulations governing the operations and taxation of banks, bank holding companies and other financial intermediaries are frequently made in Congress, in the California legislature and by various bank regulatory agencies and other professional agencies. Changes in the laws, regulations or policies that impact us cannot necessarily be predicted, but they may have a material effect on our business and earnings.

 

The federal and state bank regulatory agencies may respond to concerns and trends identified in examinations by issuing enforcement actions to, and entering into cease and desist orders, consent orders and memoranda of understanding with, financial institutions requiring action by management and boards of directors to address credit quality, liquidity, risk management and capital adequacy concerns, as well as other safety and soundness or compliance issues. Banks and bank holding companies are also subject to examination and potential enforcement actions by their state regulatory agencies.

 

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Bank Holding Company and Bank Regulation

 

Bank holding companies and their subsidiaries are subject to significant regulation and restrictions by Federal and State laws and regulatory agencies.  Federal and State laws, regulations and restrictions, which may affect the cost of doing business, limit permissible activities and expansion or impact the competitive balance between banks and other financial services providers, are intended primarily for the protection of depositors and the FDIC deposit insurance fund (“DIF”), and secondarily for the stability of the U.S. banking system. They are not intended for the benefit of shareholders of financial institutions. The following discussion of key statutes and regulations to which the Company and the Bank are subject is a summary and does not purport to be complete nor does it address all applicable statutes and regulations. This discussion is qualified in its entirety by reference to the statutes and regulations referred to in this discussion.

 

The wide range of requirements and restrictions contained in both Federal and State banking laws include:

 

 

Requirements that bank holding companies serve as a source of strength for their banking subsidiaries. In addition, the regulatory agencies have “prompt corrective action” authority to limit activities and order an assessment of a bank holding company if the capital of a bank subsidiary falls below capital levels required by the regulators.

 

 

Limitations on dividends payable to shareholders. A substantial portion of the Company’s funds to pay dividends or to pay principal and interest on our debt obligations is derived from dividends paid by the Bank. The Company’s and the Bank’s ability to pay dividends is subject to legal and regulatory restrictions. The Federal Reserve Board has authority to prohibit bank holding companies from paying dividends if such payment is deemed to be an unsafe or unsound practice.

 

 

Limitations on dividends payable by bank subsidiaries. These dividends are subject to various legal and regulatory restrictions. The federal banking agencies have indicated that paying dividends that deplete a depositary institution’s capital base to an inadequate level would be an unsafe and unsound banking practice. Moreover, the federal agencies have issued policy statements that provide that bank holding companies and insured banks should generally only pay dividends out of current operating earnings.

 

 

Safety and soundness requirements. Banks must be operated in a safe and sound manner and meet standards applicable to internal controls, information systems, internal audit, loan documentation, credit underwriting, interest rate exposure, asset growth and compensation, as well as other operational and management standards. These safety and soundness requirements give bank regulatory agencies significant latitude in exercising their supervisory authority and their authority to initiate informal or formal enforcement action.

 

 

Requirements for approval of acquisitions and activities. Prior approval or non-objection of the applicable federal regulatory agencies is required for most acquisitions and mergers and in order to engage in certain non-banking activities and activities that have been determined by the Federal Reserve to be financial in nature, incidental to financial activities, or complementary to a financial activity. Laws and regulations governing state-chartered banks contain similar provisions concerning acquisitions and activities.

 

 

The Community Reinvestment Act (the “CRA”). The CRA requires that banks help meet the credit needs in their communities, including the availability of credit to low and moderate income individuals. If the Company or the Bank fails to adequately serve their communities, penalties may be imposed, including denials of applications for branches, to add subsidiaries and affiliates, or to merge with or purchase other financial institutions.

 

 

The Bank Secrecy Act, the USA Patriot Act, and other anti-money laundering laws. These laws and regulations require financial institutions to assist U.S. Government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering and other illegal acts by maintaining policies, procedures and controls designed to detect and report money laundering, terrorist financing, and other suspicious activity.

 

 

Limitations on the amount of loans to one borrower and its affiliates and to executive officers and directors.

 

 

Limitations on transactions with affiliates.

 

 

Restrictions on the nature and amount of any investments in, and ability to underwrite certain securities.

 

 

Requirements for opening of branches intra- and interstate.

 

 

Fair lending and truth in lending laws to ensure equal access to credit and to protect consumers in credit transactions.

 

 

Provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (“GLB Act”) and other federal and state laws dealing with privacy for nonpublic personal information of customers.

 

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The following discussion summarizes certain significant laws, rules and regulations affecting both the Company and the Bank. The Bank addresses the many state and federal regulations it is subject to through a comprehensive compliance program that addresses the various risks associated with these issues. The following discussion is not meant to cover all applicable rules and regulations and it is qualified in its entirety by reference to such laws, rules and regulations which may change from time to time.

 

 

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

 

The events of the past several years have led to numerous new laws and regulatory pronouncements in the United States and internationally for financial institutions. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”), enacted in 2010, is one of the most far reaching legislative actions affecting the financial services industry in decades and significantly restructures the financial regulatory regime in the United States.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act broadly affects the financial services industry by creating new resolution authorities, requiring ongoing stress testing of capital, mandating higher capital and liquidity requirements, increasing regulation of executive and incentive-based compensation and requiring numerous other provisions aimed at strengthening the sound operation of the financial services sector depending, in part, on the size of the financial institution. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act provides for:

 

 

capital standards applicable to bank holding companies may be no less stringent than those applied to insured depository institutions;

 

 

annual stress tests and early remediation or so-called living wills are required for larger banks with more than $50 billion of assets as well risk committees of their boards of directors that include a risk expert and such requirements may have the effect of establishing new best practices standards for smaller banks;

 

 

trust preferred securities must generally be deducted from Tier 1 capital over a three-year phase-in period which ended in 2016, although depository institution holding companies with assets of less than $15 billion as of year-end 2009 were grandfathered with respect to such securities for purposes of calculating regulatory capital;

 

 

the assessment base for federal deposit insurance was changed to consolidated assets less tangible capital instead of the amount of insured deposits, which generally increased the insurance fees of larger banks, but had relatively less impact on smaller banks;

 

 

repeal of the federal prohibition on the payment of interest on demand deposits, including business checking accounts, and made permanent the $250,000 limit for federal deposit insurance;

 

 

the establishment of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”) with responsibility for promulgating regulations designed to protect consumers’ financial interests and prohibit unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices by financial institutions, and with authority to directly examine those financial institutions with $10 billion or more in assets for compliance with the regulations promulgated by the CFPB;

 

 

limits, or places significant burdens and compliance and other costs, on activities traditionally conducted by banking organizations, such as originating and securitizing mortgage loans and other financial assets, arranging and participating in swap and derivative transactions, proprietary trading and investing in private equity and other funds; and

 

 

the establishment of new compensation restrictions and standards regarding the time, manner and form of compensation given to key executives and other personnel receiving incentive compensation, including documentation and governance, proxy access by stockholders, deferral and claw-back requirements.

 

As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, federal regulators have adopted regulations to (i) increase capital requirements on banks and bank holding companies pursuant to Basel III, and (ii) implement the so-called “Volcker Rule” of the Dodd-Frank Act, which significantly restricts certain activities by covered bank holding companies, including restrictions on proprietary trading and private equity investing.

 

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In addition to the Dodd-Frank Act, other legislative and regulatory proposals affecting banks have been made both domestically and internationally. Among other things, these proposals include significant additional capital and liquidity requirements and limitations on size or types of activity in which banks may engage.

 

Legislation is introduced from time to time in the United States Congress that may affect our operations. In addition, the regulations governing us may be amended from time to time. Any legislative or regulatory changes in the future, including those resulting from the Dodd-Frank Act, could adversely affect our operations and financial condition.

 

Volcker Rule

 

The final rules adopted on December 10, 2013, to implement a part of the Dodd-Frank Act commonly referred to as the “Volcker Rule”, prohibit insured depository institutions and companies affiliated with insured depository institutions (“banking entities”) from engaging in short-term proprietary trading of certain securities, derivatives, commodity futures and options on these instruments, for their own account. The final rules also impose limits on banking entities’ investments in, and other relationships with, hedge funds or private equity funds. These rules became effective on April 1, 2014.  Certain collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), securities backed by trust preferred securities which were initially defined as covered funds subject to the investment prohibitions, have been exempted to address the concern that many community banks holding such CDOs securities may have been required to recognize significant losses on those securities.

 

Like the Dodd-Frank Act, the final rules provide exemptions for certain activities, including market making, underwriting, hedging, trading in government obligations, insurance company activities, and organizing and offering hedge funds or private equity funds. The final rules also clarify that certain activities are not prohibited, including acting as agent, broker, or custodian.

 

The compliance requirements under the final rules vary based on the size of the banking entity and the scope of activities conducted. Banking entities with significant trading operations will be required to establish a detailed compliance program and their CEOs will be required to attest that the program is reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the final rule. Independent testing and analysis of an institution’s compliance program will also be required. The final rules reduce the burden on smaller, less-complex institutions by limiting their compliance and reporting requirements. Additionally, a banking entity that does not engage in covered trading activities will not need to establish a compliance program. The Company and the Bank held no investment positions at December 31, 2017 or 2016 that were subject to the final rule.  Therefore, while these new rules may require us to conduct certain internal analysis and reporting, we believe that they will not require any material changes in our operations or business.

 

 

Capital Adequacy Requirements

 

Banks and bank holding companies are subject to various capital requirements administered by state and federal banking agencies. Capital adequacy guidelines involve quantitative measures of assets, liabilities and certain off-balance-sheet items calculated under regulatory accounting practices. Capital amounts and classifications are also subject to qualitative judgments by regulators about components, risk weighting and other factors.

 

The federal banking agencies have adopted risk-based minimum capital guidelines intended to provide a measure of capital that reflects the degree of risk associated with a banking organization’s operations for both transactions reported on the balance sheet as assets and transactions which are recorded as off balance sheet items. Under these guidelines, nominal dollar amounts of assets and credit equivalent amounts of off balance sheet items are multiplied by one of several risk adjustment percentages, which range from 0% for assets with low credit risk, such as federal banking agencies, to 100% for assets with relatively high credit risk. The higher the category, the more risk a bank is subject to and thus the more capital that is required.

 

The regulatory agencies’ risk-based capital guidelines are based upon capital accords of the internal Basel Committee on Bank Supervision (“Basel Committee”), a committee of central banks and bank supervisors/regulators from the major industrialized countries that develops broad policy guidelines, which each country’s supervisors can use to determine the supervisory policies they apply to their home jurisdiction. In December 2010, the Basel Committee released its final framework for strengthening international capital and liquidity regulation, now officially identified as “Basel III.” Basel III, when fully phased-in, would require bank holding companies and their bank subsidiaries to maintain substantially more capital than currently required, with a greater emphasis on common equity. The Basel III capital framework, among other things:

 

•      introduces as a new capital measure, Common Equity Tier 1 (“CET1”), more commonly known in the United States as “Tier 1 Common,” and defines CET1 narrowly by requiring that most adjustments to regulatory capital measures be made to CET1 and not to the other components of capital, and expands the scope of the adjustments as compared to existing regulations;

 

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•      when fully phased in, requires banks to maintain: (i) a newly adopted international standard, a minimum ratio of CET1 to risk-weighted assets of at least 4.5%, plus a 2.5% “capital conservation buffer” (which is added to the 4.5% CET1 ratio as that buffer is phased in, effectively resulting in a minimum ratio of CET1 to risk-weighted assets of at least 7%); (ii) an additional “SIFI buffer” for those large institutions deemed to be systemically important, ranging from 1.0% to 2.5%, and up to 3.5% under certain conditions; (iii) a minimum ratio of Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 6.0%, plus the capital conservation buffer (which is added to the 6.0% Tier 1 capital ratio as that buffer is phased in, effectively resulting in a minimum Tier 1 capital ratio of 8.5% upon full implementation); (iv) a minimum ratio of Total (that is, Tier 1 plus Tier 2) capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 8.0%, plus the capital conservation buffer (which is added to the 8.0% total capital ratio as that buffer is phased in, effectively resulting in a minimum total capital ratio of 10.5% upon full implementation); and (v) as a newly adopted international standard, a minimum leverage ratio of 3%, calculated as the ratio of Tier 1 capital to balance sheet exposures plus certain off-balance sheet exposures (as the average for each quarter of the month-end ratios for the quarter); and

 

•     an additional “countercyclical capital buffer,” generally to be imposed when national regulators determine that excess aggregate credit growth becomes associated with a buildup of systemic risk, that would be a CET1 add-on to the capital conservation buffer in the range of 0% to 2.5% when fully implemented.

 

In July 2014, the U.S. banking agencies approved the U.S. version of Basel III. The federal bank regulatory agencies adopted version of Basel III revises the risk-based and leverage capital requirements and the method for calculating risk-weighted assets to make them consistent with Basel III and to meet the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act. Although many of the rules contained in these final regulations are applicable only to large, internationally active banks, some of them will apply on a phased in basis to all banking organizations, including the Company and the Bank. Among other things, the rules establish a new minimum common equity Tier 1 ratio (4.5% of risk-weighted assets), a higher minimum Tier 1 risk-based capital requirement (6.0% of risk-weighted assets) and a minimum non-risk-based leverage ratio (4.00% eliminating a 3.00% exception for higher rated banks). The new additional capital conservation buffer of 2.5% of risk weighted assets over each of the required capital ratios will be phased in from 2016 to 2019 and must be met to avoid limitations on the ability of the Bank to pay dividends, repurchase shares or pay discretionary bonuses. The additional “countercyclical capital buffer” is also required for larger and more complex institutions. The new rules assign higher risk weighting to exposures that are more than 90 days past due or are on nonaccrual status and certain commercial real estate facilities that finance the acquisition, development or construction of real property. The rules also change the permitted composition of Tier 1 capital to exclude trust preferred securities, mortgage servicing rights and certain deferred tax assets and include unrealized gains and losses on available for sale debt and equity securities (with a one-time opt out option for Standardized Banks (banks with less than $250 billion of total consolidated assets and less than $10 billion of foreign exposures)). The rules, including alternative requirements for smaller community financial institutions like the Company, would be phased in through 2019. The implementation of the Basel III framework for the Company and the Bank commenced on January 1, 2015.

 

The Bank is well capitalized. As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the Bank’s Total Risk-Based Capital Ratio was 11.7% and 11.3%, Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Ratio was 10.7% and 10.3%, and our Common Equity Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Ratio was 10.7% and 10.3%, respectively.

 

In addition to the risk-based guidelines, federal banking regulators require banking organizations to maintain a minimum amount of Tier 1 capital to total average assets, referred to as the leverage ratio. Banks that have received the highest rating of the five categories used by regulators to rate banks and are not anticipating or experiencing any significant growth must maintain a ratio of Tier 1 capital (net of all intangibles) to adjusted total assets, or “Leverage Capital Ratio”, of at least 3%. All other institutions are required to maintain a leverage ratio of at least 100 to 200 basis points above the 3% minimum, for a minimum of 4% to 5%. Pursuant to federal regulations, banks must maintain capital levels commensurate with the level of risk to which they are exposed, including the volume and severity of problem loans. As of December 31, 2018 and 2017, the Bank’s Leverage Capital Ratios were 8.7% and 8.4%, respectively.

 

Federal banking regulators may set capital requirements higher than the minimums described above for financial institutions whose circumstances warrant it. For example, a financial institution experiencing or anticipating significant growth may be expected to maintain capital positions substantially above the minimum supervisory levels without significant reliance on intangible assets.

 

A bank may be treated as though it were in the next lower capital category if, after notice and the opportunity for a hearing, the appropriate federal agency finds an unsafe or unsound condition or practice so warrants, but no bank may be treated as “critically undercapitalized” unless its actual capital ratio warrants such treatment.

 

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At each successively lower capital category, an insured bank is subject to increased restrictions on its operations. For example, a bank is generally prohibited from paying management fees to any controlling persons or from making capital distributions, if to do so would make the Bank “undercapitalized.” Asset growth and branching restrictions apply to undercapitalized banks, which are required to submit written capital restoration plans meeting specified requirements (including a guarantee by the parent holding company, if any). “Significantly undercapitalized” banks are subject to broad regulatory authority, including among other things, capital directives, forced mergers, restrictions on the rates of interest they may pay on deposits, restrictions on asset growth and activities, and prohibitions on paying certain bonuses without FRB approval. Even more severe restrictions apply to critically undercapitalized banks. Most importantly, except under limited circumstances, the appropriate federal banking agency is required to appoint a conservator or receiver for an insured bank not later than 90 days after the Bank becomes critically undercapitalized.

 

In addition to measures taken under the prompt corrective action provisions, insured banks may be subject to potential actions by federal regulators for unsafe or unsound practices in conducting their businesses or for violations of any law, rule, regulation or any condition imposed in writing by the agency or any written agreement with the agency. Enforcement actions may include the issuance of cease and desist orders, termination of insurance of deposits (in the case of a bank), the imposition of civil money penalties, the issuance of directives to increase capital, formal and informal agreements, or removal and prohibition orders against “institution-affiliated” parties.

 

 

Dividends

 

The payment of cash dividends by the Bank to the Company is subject to restrictions set forth in the California Financial Code (the “Code”).  Prior to any distribution from the Bank to the Company, a calculation is made to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Code and to ensure that the Bank remains within capital guidelines set forth by the DBO and the FRB. In the event that the intended distribution from the Bank to the Company exceeds the restriction in the Code, advance approval from FRB is required. Management anticipates that there will be sufficient earnings at the Bank level to provide dividends to the Company to meet its cash requirements for 2019.

 

 

Safety and Soundness Standards

 

Federal banking agencies have also adopted guidelines establishing safety and soundness standards for all insured depository institutions. Those guidelines relate to internal controls, information systems, internal audit systems, loan underwriting and documentation, compensation and interest rate exposure. In general, the standards are designed to assist the federal banking agencies in identifying and addressing problems at insured depository institutions before capital becomes impaired. If an institution fails to meet these standards, the appropriate federal banking agency may require the institution to submit a compliance plan and institute enforcement proceedings, if an acceptable compliance plan is not submitted.

 

 

Deposit Insurance and FDIC Insurance Assessments

 

Our deposits are insured by the FDIC to the maximum amount permitted by law, which is currently $250,000 per depositor. The Dodd-Frank Act made the deposit insurance coverage permanent at the $250,000 level retroactive to January 1, 2008.

 

As insurer, the FDIC imposes deposit insurance premiums and is authorized to conduct examinations of and to require reporting by FDIC-insured institutions. FDIC-insured institutions are required to pay an additional quarterly assessment called the FICO assessment in order to fund the interest on bonds issued to resolve thrift failures in the 1980s. This assessment will continue until the bonds mature in the years 2017 through 2019.

 

The FDIC assesses deposit insurance premiums quarterly on each FDIC-insured institution based on annualized rates. Each institution with $10 billion or more in assets is assessed under a scorecard method using supervisory ratings, financial ratios and other factors. Such institutions are also subject to a temporary surcharge required by the Dodd-Frank Act. As required by the Dodd-Frank Act, deposit insurance premiums are assessed on the amount of an institution’s total assets minus its Tier 1 capital. Smaller institutions are assessed by a method using supervisory ratings and financial ratios

 

 

Community Reinvestment Act

 

We are subject to certain requirements and reporting obligations involving the Community Reinvestment Act, or “CRA”. The CRA generally requires federal banking agencies to evaluate the record of financial institutions in meeting the credit needs of local communities, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods. The CRA further requires that a record be kept of whether a financial institution meets its community credit needs, which record will be taken into account when evaluating applications for, among other things, domestic branches, consummating mergers or acquisitions, or holding company formations. In measuring a bank’s compliance with its CRA obligations, the regulators now utilize a performance-based evaluation system, which bases CRA ratings on the Company’s actual lending service and investment performance, rather than on the extent to which the institution conducts needs assessments, documents community outreach activities or complies with other procedural requirements. In connection with its assessment of CRA performance, the FRB assigns a rating of “outstanding,” “satisfactory,” “needs to improve” or “substantial noncompliance.” Our CRA performance is evaluated by the FRB under the intermediate small bank requirements. The FRB’s last CRA performance examination was performed on us and completed in September of 2016 and we received an overall “Satisfactory” CRA Assessment Rating.

 

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Anti-Money Laundering Regulations

 

A series of banking laws and regulations beginning with the Bank Secrecy Act in 1970 require banks to prevent, detect, and report illicit or illegal financial activities to the federal government to prevent money laundering, international drug trafficking, and terrorism. Under the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, financial institutions are subject to prohibitions against specified financial transactions and account relationships as well as enhanced due diligence and “know your customer” standards in their dealings with high risk customers, foreign financial institutions, and foreign individuals and entities. We have extensive controls to comply with these requirements.

 

 

Privacy and Data Security

 

The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (“GLBA”) of 1999 imposed requirements on financial institutions with respect to consumer privacy. The GLBA generally prohibits disclosure of 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 consumers annually. The GLBA also directs federal regulators to prescribe standards for the security of consumer information. We are subject to such standards, as well as standards for notifying consumers in the event of a security breach. We must disclose our privacy policy to consumers and permit consumers to “opt out” of having certain personal financial information disclosed to unaffiliated third parties. We are 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.

 

 

Other Consumer Protection Laws and Regulations

 

Bank regulatory agencies are increasingly focusing on compliance with consumer protection laws and regulations.

 

Interest and other charges collected or contracted for by the Bank are subject to state usury laws and federal laws concerning interest rates. The Bank’s operations are also subject to federal laws applicable to credit transactions, and consumer protection statutes and regulations, such as the:

 

 

Truth-In-Lending Act, governing disclosures of credit terms to consumer borrowers;

 

Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, 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;

 

Equal Credit Opportunity Act, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, creed or other prohibited factors in extending credit;

 

Fair Credit Reporting Act, governing the use and provision of information to credit reporting agencies;

 

Fair Debt Collection Act, governing the manner in which consumer debts may be collected by collection agencies;

 

Truth in Savings Act; and

 

rules and regulations of the various federal agencies charged with the responsibility of implementing such federal laws.

 

The operations of the Bank are also subject to 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;

 

Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E promulgated thereunder, which govern automatic deposits to and withdrawals from deposit accounts and customers’ rights and liabilities arising from the use of automated teller machines and other electronic banking services;

 

Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (also known as “Check 21”), which gives “substitute checks,” such as digital check images and copies made from that image, the same legal standing as the original paper check; and

 

The USA PATRIOT Act, which requires financial institutions to, among other things, establish broadened anti-money laundering compliance programs, and due diligence policies and controls to ensure the detection and reporting of money laundering. Such required compliance programs are intended to supplement existing compliance requirements that also apply to financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act and the Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations.

 

Due to heightened regulatory concern related to compliance with consumer protection laws and regulations generally, we may incur additional compliance costs or be required to expend additional funds for investments in the local communities we serve.

 

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Restriction on Transactions between Member Banks and their Affiliates

 

Transactions between the Company and the Bank are quantitatively and qualitatively restricted under Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act and Federal Reserve Regulation W. Section 23A places restrictions on the Bank’s “covered transactions” with the Company, including loans and other extensions of credit, investments in the securities of, and purchases of assets from the Company. Section 23B requires that certain transactions, including all covered transactions, be on market terms and conditions. Federal Reserve Regulation W combines statutory restrictions on transactions between the Bank and the Company with FRB interpretations in an effort to simplify compliance with Sections 23A and 23B.

 

 

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

 

On July 30, 2002, President Bush signed into law The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act addresses accounting oversight and corporate governance matters relating to the operations of public companies. During 2003, the Commission issued a number of regulations under the directive of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act significantly increasing public company governance-related obligations and filing requirements, including:

 

● the establishment of an independent public oversight of public company accounting firms by a board that will set auditing, quality and ethical standards for and have investigative and disciplinary powers over such accounting firms,

 

● the enhanced regulation of the independence, responsibilities and conduct of accounting firms which provide auditing services to public companies,

 

● the increase of penalties for fraud related crimes,

 

● the enhanced disclosure, certification, and monitoring of financial statements, internal financial controls and the audit process, and

 

● the enhanced and accelerated reporting of corporate disclosures and internal governance.

 

Furthermore, in November 2003, in response to the directives of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, NASDAQ adopted substantially expanded corporate governance criteria for the issuers of securities quoted on the NASDAQ markets. The new NASDAQ rules govern, among other things, the enhancement and regulation of corporate disclosure and internal governance of listed companies and of the authority, role and responsibilities of their boards of directors and, in particular, of “independent” members of such boards of directors, in the areas of nominations, corporate governance, compensation and the monitoring of the audit and internal financial control processes.

 

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Commission rules promulgated thereunder, and the new NASDAQ governance requirements have required the Company to review its current procedures and policies to determine whether they comply with the new legislation and its implementing regulations. The Company is primarily responsible for ensuring compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley and the NASDAQ governance rules, as applicable.

 

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Securities Laws and Corporate Governance

 

The Company is subject to the disclosure and regulatory requirements of the 1933 Act and the 1934 Act, both as administered by the SEC. As a company listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, the Company is subject to NASDAQ listing standards for listed companies.

 

As discussed above, we are also subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, and other federal and state laws and regulations which address, among other issues, required executive certification of financial presentations, corporate governance requirements for board audit committees and their members, and disclosure of controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting, auditing and accounting, executive compensation, and enhanced and timely disclosure of corporate information. NASDAQ has also adopted corporate governance rules, which are intended to allow shareholders and investors to more easily and efficiently monitor the performance of companies and their directors.

 

Finally, the Company is subject to the provisions of the California General Corporation Law, while the Bank is also subject to the California Financial Code provisions.

 

 

Environmental Regulations

 

In the course of our business, we may foreclose and take title to real estate, and could be subject to environmental liabilities with respect to these properties. We may be held liable to a governmental entity or to third parties for property damage, personal injury, investigation and clean-up costs incurred by these parties in connection with environmental contamination, or may be required to investigate or clean up hazardous or toxic substances, or chemical releases at a property. The costs associated with investigation or remediation activities could be substantial. In addition, as the owner or former owner of a contaminated site, we may be subject to common law claims by third parties based on damages and costs resulting from environmental contamination emanating from the property. If we ever become subject to significant environmental liabilities, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 

 

Other Pending and Proposed Legislation

 

Other legislative and regulatory initiatives which could affect us and the banking industry, in general, are pending and additional initiatives may be proposed or introduced before the United States Congress, the California legislature and other governmental bodies in the future. Such proposals, if enacted, may further alter the structure, regulation and competitive relationship among financial institutions, and may subject us to increased regulation, disclosure and reporting requirements. In addition, the various banking regulatory agencies often adopt new rules and regulations to implement and enforce existing legislation. We cannot predict whether, or in what form, any such legislation or regulations may be enacted or the extent to which our business would be affected thereby.

 

 

Available Information

 

The Company maintains an Internet website at http://www.ovcb.com. The Company makes available its annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to such reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the 1934 Act and other information related to the Company free of charge, through this site as soon as reasonably practicable after it electronically files those documents with, or otherwise furnishes them to, the SEC. The Company’s website also contains its Committee Charters, Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct and Corporate Governance Guidelines. The Company’s internet website and the information contained therein or connected thereto are not intended to be incorporated into this annual report on Form 10-K.

 

In addition, copies of our filings are available by requesting them in writing or by phone from:

 

Corporate Secretary

Oak Valley Bancorp

125 North Third Avenue

Oakdale, California

209-844-7578

 

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ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS

 

An investment in our securities is subject to certain risks. These risk factors should be considered by prospective and current investors in our securities when evaluating the disclosures in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business operations. If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, results of operations and financial condition could suffer. In that event, the value of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

 

Our business strategy includes sustainable growth plans, and our financial condition and results of operations could be negatively affected if we fail to grow or fail to manage our growth effectively.

 

We intend to pursue an organic growth strategy for our business. If appropriate opportunities present themselves, we may also engage in selected acquisitions of financial institutions, branch acquisitions and other business growth initiatives or undertakings. There can be no assurance that we will successfully execute our organic growth strategy, that we will be able to negotiate or finance such activities or that such activities, if undertaken, will be successful.

 

There are risks associated with our growth strategy. To the extent that we grow through acquisitions, we cannot ensure that we will be able to adequately or profitably manage this growth. Acquiring other banks, branches or other assets, as well as other expansion activities, involves various risks including the risks of incorrectly assessing the credit quality of acquired assets, encountering greater than expected costs of integrating acquired banks or branches, the risk of loss of customers and/or employees of the acquired institution or branch, executing cost savings measures, not achieving revenue enhancements and otherwise not realizing the transaction’s anticipated benefits. Our ability to address these matters successfully cannot be assured. There is also the risk that the requisite regulatory approvals might not be received and other conditions to consummation of a transaction might not be satisfied during the anticipated timeframes, or at all. In addition, our strategic efforts may divert resources or management’s attention from ongoing business operations, may require investment in integration and in development and enhancement of additional operational and reporting processes and controls, and may subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny. To finance an acquisition, we may borrow funds, thereby increasing our leverage and diminishing our liquidity, or raise additional capital, which could dilute the interests of our existing stockholders.

 

Our growth initiatives may also require us to recruit experienced personnel to assist in such initiatives. Accordingly, the failure to identify and retain such personnel would place significant limitations on our ability to successfully execute our growth strategy. In addition, to the extent we expand our lending beyond our current market areas, we could incur additional risks related to those new market areas. We may not be able to expand our market presence in our existing market areas or successfully enter new markets.

 

If we do not successfully execute our growth plan, it could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and growth prospects. In addition, if we were to conclude that the value of an acquired business had decreased and that the related goodwill had been impaired, that conclusion would result in an impairment of goodwill charge to us, which would adversely affect our results of operations. While we believe we will have the executive management resources and internal systems in place to successfully manage our future growth, there can be no assurance growth opportunities will be available or that we will successfully manage our growth.

 

Our financial condition and results of operations are dependent on the economy, particularly in the Bank’s market areas. A deterioration in economic conditions in the market areas we serve may impact our earnings adversely and could increase the credit risk of our loan portfolio.

 

Our primary market area is concentrated in the Central Valley and the Eastern Sierras. Adverse economic conditions in any of these areas can reduce our rate of growth, affect our customers’ ability to repay loans and adversely impact our financial condition and earnings. General economic conditions, including inflation, unemployment and money supply fluctuations, also may affect our profitability adversely.

 

A deterioration in economic conditions in the market areas we serve could result in the following consequences, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations:

 

 

Demand for our products and services may decline;

 

 

Loan delinquencies, problem assets and foreclosures may increase;

 

 

Collateral for our loans may further decline in value; and

 

 

The amount of our low cost or noninterest-bearing deposits may decrease.

 

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We cannot accurately predict the possibility of weakness in the national or local economy effecting our future operating results.

 

We cannot accurately predict the possibility of the national or local economy’s return to recessionary conditions or to a period of economic weakness, which would adversely impact the markets we serve. Any deterioration in national or local economic conditions would have an adverse effect, which could be material, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, and any economic weakness could present substantial risks for the banking industry and for us.

 

Severe weather, natural disasters, acts of war or terrorism and other external events could significantly impact our business.

 

Severe weather, natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfires, 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 our borrowers to repay their outstanding loans, cause significant property damage or otherwise impair the value of collateral securing our loans, and result in loss of revenue and/or cause us to incur additional expenses. Although we have established disaster recovery plans and procedures, and we monitor the effects of any such events on our loans, properties and investments, the occurrence of any such event could have a material adverse effect on us or our earnings or our financial condition.

 

There are risks associated with our lending activities and our allowance for loan losses may prove to be insufficient to absorb actual incurred losses in our loan portfolio.

 

Lending money is a substantial part of our business. Every loan carries a certain risk that it will not be repaid in accordance with its terms or that any underlying collateral will not be sufficient to assure repayment. This risk is affected by, among other things:

 

 

cash flow of the borrower and/or the project being financed;

 

 

in the case of a collateralized loan, the changes and uncertainties as to the future value of the collateral;

 

 

the credit history of a particular borrower;

 

 

changes in economic and industry conditions; and

 

 

the duration of the loan.

 

We maintain an allowance for loan losses which we believe is appropriate to provide for probable incurred losses inherent in our loan portfolio. The amount of this allowance is determined by our management through a periodic review and consideration of several factors, including, but not limited to:

 

 

an ongoing review of the quality, size and diversity of the loan portfolio;

 

 

evaluation of non-performing loans;

 

 

historical default and loss experience;

 

 

historical recovery experience;

 

 

existing economic conditions;

 

 

risk characteristics of the various classifications of loans; and

 

 

the amount and quality of collateral, including guarantees, securing the loans.

 

 

If actual losses on our loans exceed our estimates used to establish our allowance for loan losses, our business, financial condition and profitability may suffer.

 

The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance for loan losses inherently involves a high degree of subjectivity and requires us to make various assumptions and judgments about the collectability of our loan portfolio, including the creditworthiness of our borrowers and the value of the real estate and other assets serving as collateral for the repayment of many of our loans. In determining the amount of the allowance for loan losses, we review our loans and the loss and delinquency experience, and evaluate economic conditions and make significant estimates of current credit risks and future trends, all of which may undergo material changes. If our estimates are incorrect, the allowance for loan losses may not be sufficient to cover losses inherent in our loan portfolio, resulting in the need for additions to our allowance through an increase in the provision for loan losses. Deterioration in economic conditions affecting 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 loan losses. In addition, bank regulatory agencies periodically review our allowance for loan losses and may require an increase in the provision for loan losses or the recognition of further charge-offs (which will in turn also require an increase in the provision for loan losses if the charge-offs exceed the allowance for loan losses), based on judgments different than that of management. Any increases in the provision for loan losses will result in a decrease in net income and may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Our underwriting practices may not protect us against losses in our loan portfolio.

 

We seek to mitigate the risks inherent in our loan portfolio by adhering to specific underwriting practices, including: analyzing a borrower’s credit history, financial statements, tax returns and cash flow projections; valuing collateral based on reports of independent appraisers; and verifying liquid assets. Although we believe that our underwriting criteria are, and historically have been, appropriate for the various kinds of loans we make, we have incurred losses on loans that have met these criteria, and may continue to experience higher than expected losses depending on economic factors and consumer behavior. In addition, our ability to assess the creditworthiness of our customers may be impaired if the models and approaches we use to select, manage, and underwrite our customers become less predictive of future behaviors. Finally, we may have higher credit risk, or experience higher credit losses, to the extent our loans are concentrated by loan type, industry segment, borrower type, or location of the borrower or collateral. Deterioration in real estate values and underlying economic conditions in the Central Valley and the Eastern Sierras could result in significantly higher credit losses to our portfolio.

 

Our commercial real estate loans involve higher principal amounts than other loans and repayment of these loans may be dependent on factors outside our control or the control of our borrowers.

 

We originate commercial real estate loans for individuals and businesses for various purposes, which are secured by commercial properties. These loans typically involve higher principal amounts than other types of loans, and repayment is dependent upon income generated, or expected to be generated, by the property securing the loan in amounts sufficient to cover operating expenses and debt service, which may be adversely affected by changes in the economy or local market conditions. For example, if the cash flow from the borrower’s project is reduced as a result of leases not being obtained or renewed in a timely manner or at all, the borrower’s ability to repay the loan may be impaired.

 

Commercial real estate loans also expose us to greater credit risk than loans secured by residential real estate because the collateral securing these loans typically cannot be sold as easily as residential real estate. In addition, many of our commercial real estate loans are not fully amortizing and contain large balloon payments upon maturity. Such balloon payments may require the borrower to either sell or refinance the underlying property in order to make the payment, which may increase the risk of default or non-payment.

 

If we foreclose on a commercial real estate loan, our holding period for the collateral typically is longer than for residential mortgage loans because there are fewer potential purchasers of the collateral. Additionally, commercial real estate loans generally have relatively large balances to single borrowers or groups of related borrowers. Accordingly, if we make any errors in judgment in the collectability of our commercial real estate loans, any resulting charge-offs may be larger on a per loan basis than those incurred with our residential or consumer loan portfolios.

 

Repayment of our commercial and industrial loans is often dependent on the cash flows of the borrower, which may be unpredictable, and the collateral securing these loans may not be sufficient to repay the loan in the event of default.

 

We make our commercial and industrial loans primarily based on the identified cash flow of the borrower and secondarily on the underlying collateral provided by the borrower. Collateral securing commercial and industrial loans may depreciate over time, be difficult to appraise and fluctuate in value. In the case of loans secured by accounts receivable, the availability of funds for the repayment of these loans may be substantially dependent on the ability of the borrower to collect the amounts due from its customers.

 

We are exposed to risk of environmental liabilities with respect to real properties which we may acquire.

 

In prior years, due to weakness of the U.S. economy and, more specifically, the California economy, including higher levels of unemployment than the nationwide average and declines in real estate values, certain borrowers have been unable to meet their loan repayment obligations and, as a result, we have had to initiate foreclosure proceedings with respect to and take title to a number of real properties that had collateralized their loans. As an owner of such properties, we could become subject to environmental liabilities and incur substantial costs for any property damage, personal injury, investigation and clean-up that may be required due to any environmental contamination that may be found to exist at any of those properties, even though we did not engage in the activities that led to such contamination. In addition, if we are the owner or former owner of a contaminated site, we may be subject to common law claims by third parties seeking damages for environmental contamination emanating from the site. If we were to become subject to significant environmental liabilities or costs, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected.

 

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Our business is subject to interest rate risk and variations in interest rates may hurt our profits.

 

To be profitable, we have to earn more money in interest that we receive on loans and investments than we pay to our depositors and lenders in interest. If interest rates rise, our net interest income and the value of our assets could be reduced if interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings, increases more quickly than interest received on interest-earning assets, such as loans, other mortgage-related investments and investment securities. This is most likely to occur if short-term interest rates increase at a faster rate than long-term interest rates, which would cause our net interest income to go down. In addition, rising interest rates may hurt our income, because that may reduce the demand for loans and the value of our securities. In a rapidly changing interest rate environment, we may not be able to manage our interest rate risk effectively, which would adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We face significant operational risks.

 

We operate many different financial service functions and rely on the ability of our employees, third party vendors and systems to process a significant number of transactions. Operational risk is the risk of loss from operations, including fraud by employees or outside persons, employees’ execution of incorrect or unauthorized transactions, data processing and technology errors or hacking and breaches of internal control systems.

 

Our enterprise risk management framework may not be effective in mitigating risk and reducing the potential for losses.

 

Our enterprise risk management framework seeks to mitigate risk and loss to us. We have established comprehensive policies and procedures and an internal control framework designed to provide a sound operational environment for the types of risk to which we are subject, including credit risk, market risk (interest rate and price risks), liquidity risk, operational risk, compliance risk, strategic risk, and reputational risk. However, as with any risk management framework, there are inherent limitations to our current and future risk management strategies, including risks that we have not appropriately anticipated or identified. In certain instances, we rely on models to measure, monitor and predict risks. However, these models are inherently limited because they involve techniques, including the use of historical data in some circumstances, and judgments that cannot anticipate every economic and financial outcome in the markets in which we operate, nor can they anticipate the specifics and timing of such outcomes. There is no assurance that these models will appropriately capture all relevant risks or accurately predict future events or exposures. Accurate and timely enterprise-wide risk information is necessary to enhance management’s decision-making in times of crisis. If our enterprise risk management framework proves ineffective or if our enterprise-wide management information is incomplete or inaccurate, we could suffer unexpected losses, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition. In addition, our businesses and the markets in which we operate are continuously evolving. We may fail to fully understand the implications of changes in our businesses or the financial markets or fail to adequately or timely enhance our enterprise risk framework to address those changes. If our enterprise risk framework is ineffective, either because it fails to keep pace with changes in the financial markets, regulatory requirements, our businesses, our counterparties, clients or service providers or for other reasons, we could incur losses, suffer reputational damage or find ourselves out of compliance with applicable regulatory or contractual mandates.

 

An important aspect of our enterprise risk management framework is creating a risk culture in which all employees fully understand that there is risk in every aspect of our business and the importance of managing risk as it relates to their job functions. We continue to enhance our enterprise risk management program to support our risk culture, ensuring that it is sustainable and appropriate to our role as a major financial institution. Nonetheless, if we fail to create the appropriate environment that sensitizes all of our employees to managing risk, our business could be adversely impacted.

 

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Managing reputational risk is important to attracting and maintaining customers, investors and employees.

 

Threats to our reputation can come from many sources, including adverse sentiment about financial institutions generally, unethical practices, employee misconduct, failure to deliver minimum standards of service or quality, compliance deficiencies, regulatory investigations, marketplace rumors and questionable or fraudulent activities of our customers. We have policies and procedures in place to promote ethical conduct and protect our reputation. However, these policies and procedures may not be fully effective and cannot adequately protect against all threats to our reputation. Negative publicity regarding our business, employees, or customers, with or without merit, may result in the loss of customers, investors and employees, costly litigation, a decline in revenues and increased governmental oversight.

 

Liquidity risk could impair our ability to fund operations and jeopardize our financial condition.

 

Liquidity is essential to our business. An inability to raise funds through deposits, borrowings, the sale of loans and other sources could have a substantial negative effect on our liquidity. Our access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance our activities or on terms that are acceptable to us could be impaired by factors that affect us specifically or the financial services industry or economy in general.

 

Factors that could detrimentally impact our access to liquidity sources include a decrease in the level of our business activity as a result of a downturn in the markets in which our loans are concentrated or adverse regulatory action against us. Our ability to borrow could also be impaired by factors that are not specific to us, such as a disruption in the financial markets or negative views and expectations about the prospects for the financial services industry.

 

We depend on our key employees.

 

Our future prospects are and will remain highly dependent on our directors and executive officers. Our success will, to some extent, depend on the continued service of our directors and continued employment of the executive officers. The unexpected loss of the services of any of these individuals could have a detrimental effect on our business. Although we have entered into employment agreements with members of our senior management team, no assurance can be given that these individuals will continue to be employed by us. The loss of any of these individuals could negatively affect our ability to achieve our business plan and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We currently hold a significant amount of bank owned life insurance.

 

At December 31, 2018, we held bank owned life insurance (BOLI) on certain key and former employees and executives and our directors, with a cash surrender value of $19,028,000. The eventual repayment of the cash surrender value is subject to the ability of the various insurance companies to pay death benefits or to return the cash surrender value to us if needed for liquidity purposes. We continually monitor the financial strength of the various companies with whom we carry these policies.

 

However, any one of these companies could experience a decline in financial strength, which could impair its ability to pay benefits or return our cash surrender value. If we need to liquidate these policies for liquidity purposes, we would be subject to taxation on the increase in cash surrender value and penalties for early termination, both of which would adversely impact earnings.

 

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We rely on numerous external vendors.

 

We rely on numerous external vendors to provide us with products and services necessary to maintain our day-to-day operations. Accordingly, our operations are exposed to risk that these vendors will not perform in accordance with the contracted arrangements under service level agreements. The failure of an external vendor to perform in accordance with the contracted arrangements under service level agreements because of changes in the vendor's organizational structure, financial condition, support for existing products and services or strategic focus or for any other reason, could be disruptive to our operations, which in turn could have a material negative impact on our financial condition and results of operations. We also could be adversely affected to the extent such an agreement is not renewed by the third party vendor or is renewed on terms less favorable to us.

 

We are subject to certain risks in connection with our use of technology.

 

Our security measures may not be sufficient to mitigate the risk of a cyber-attack or cyber theft.

 

Communications and information systems are essential to the conduct of our business, as we use such systems to manage our customer relationships, our general ledger and virtually all other aspects of our business. Our operations rely on the secure processing, storage, and transmission of confidential and other information in our computer systems and networks. Although we take protective measures and endeavor to modify them as circumstances warrant, the security of our computer systems, software, and networks may be vulnerable to breaches, unauthorized access, misuse, computer viruses, or other malicious code and cyber-attacks that could have a security impact. If one or more of these events occur, this could jeopardize our or our customers' confidential and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, our computer systems and networks, or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in our operations or the operations of our customers or counterparties. We may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify our protective measures or to investigate and remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures, and we may be subject to litigation and financial losses that are either not insured against or not fully covered through any insurance maintained by us. We could also suffer significant reputational damage.

 

Security breaches in our internet banking activities could further expose us to possible liability and damage our reputation. Any compromise of our security also could deter customers from using our internet banking services that involve the transmission of confidential information. We rely on standard internet security systems to provide the security and authentication necessary to effect secure transmission of data. These precautions may not protect our systems from compromises or breaches of our security measures, which could result in significant legal liability and significant damage to our reputation and our business.

 

Our security measures may not protect us from systems failures or interruptions.

 

While we have established policies and procedures to prevent or limit the impact of systems failures and interruptions, there can be no assurance that such events will not occur or that they will be adequately addressed if they do. In addition, we outsource certain aspects of our data processing and other operational functions to certain third-party providers. If our third-party providers encounter difficulties, or if we have difficulty in communicating with them, our ability to adequately process and account for transactions could be affected, and our business operations could be adversely impacted. Threats to information security also exist in the processing of customer information through various other vendors and their personnel.

 

We may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our information security infrastructure or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities in response to continuing information systems security threats.

 

The occurrence of any systems failure or interruption could damage our reputation and result in a loss of customers and business, could subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny, or could expose us to legal liability. Any of these occurrences could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We rely on communications, information, operating and financial control systems technology from third party service providers, and we may suffer an interruption in those systems.

 

We rely heavily on third party service providers for much of our communications, information, operating and financial control systems technology, including our online banking services and data processing systems. We also rely on third party vendors, who may experience unauthorized access to and disclosure of client or customer information or the destruction or theft of such information. Any failure or interruption, or breaches in security, of these systems could result in failures or interruptions in our customer relationship management, general ledger, deposit, servicing and/or loan origination systems and, therefore, could harm our business, operating results and financial condition. Additionally, interruptions in service and security breaches could lead existing customers to terminate their banking relationships with us and could make it more difficult for us to attract new banking customers.

 

We operate in a highly regulated environment and our operations and income may be affected adversely by changes in laws, rules and regulations governing our operations.

 

We are subject to extensive regulation and supervision by the FRB and the FDIC. The FRB regulates the supply of money and credit in the United States. Its fiscal and monetary policies determine in a large part our cost of funds for lending and investing and the return that can be earned on those loans and investments, both of which affect our net interest margin. FRB policies can also materially affect the value of financial instruments that we hold, such as debt securities. Its policies also can affect our borrowers, potentially increasing the risk that they may fail to repay their loans or satisfy their obligations to us. Changes in policies of the FRB are beyond our control and the impact of changes in those policies on our activities and results of operations can be difficult to predict.

 

The Company and the Bank are heavily regulated. This regulation is to protect depositors, federal deposit insurance funds and the banking system as a whole, and not stockholders. These regulatory authorities have extensive discretion in connection with their supervisory and enforcement activities, including the ability to impose increased capital requirements and restrictions on a bank’s operations, to reclassify assets, to determine the adequacy of a bank’s allowance for loan losses and to set the level of deposit insurance premiums assessed.

 

Congress, state legislatures and federal and state agencies continually review banking, lending and other laws, regulations and policies for possible changes. Any change in such regulation and oversight, whether in the form of regulatory policy, new regulations or legislation, that applies to us or additional deposit insurance premiums could have a material adverse impact on our operations. Because our business is highly regulated, the laws and applicable regulations are subject to frequent change. Any new laws, rules and regulations could make compliance more difficult or expensive or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition or growth prospects. Such changes could subject us to additional costs, limit the types of financial services and products we may offer and/or increase the ability of non-banks to offer competing financial services and products, among other things.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act and supporting regulations could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act provides for various capital requirements and new restrictions on financial institutions and their holding companies. These changes may result in additional restrictions on investments and other activities.

 

Regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act significantly impact our operations, and we expect to continue to face increased regulation. These regulations may affect the manner in which we do business and the products and services that we provide, affect or restrict our ability to compete in our current businesses or our ability to enter into or acquire new businesses, reduce or limit our revenue or impose additional fees, assessments or taxes on us, intensify the regulatory supervision of us and the financial services industry, and adversely affect our business operations.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act, among other things, established the CFPB with broad authority to administer and enforce a new federal regulatory framework of consumer financial regulation. Many of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act have extended implementation periods and require extensive rulemaking, guidance and interpretation by various regulatory agencies. While some rules have been finalized or issued in proposed form, some have yet to be proposed. It is impossible to predict when all such additional rules will be issued or finalized, and what the content of such rules will be.

 

We must apply resources to ensure that we are in compliance with all applicable provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and any implementing rules, which may increase our costs of operations and adversely impact our earnings. We expect that the Dodd-Frank Act, including current and future rules implementing its provisions and the interpretations of those rules, will reduce our revenues, increase our expenses, require us to change certain of our business practices, increase the regulatory supervision of us, increase our capital requirements and impose additional assessments and costs on us, and otherwise adversely affect our business.

 

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The short-term and long-term impact of the changing regulatory capital requirements and new capital rules is uncertain.

 

In July 2013, the FRB and the other federal bank regulatory agencies issued a final rule to revise their risk-based and leverage capital requirements and their method for calculating risk-weighted assets to make them consistent with Basel III and certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The final rule applies to all banking organizations. Among other things, the rule establishes a common equity Tier 1 minimum capital requirement of 4.5 percent of risk-weighted assets and a minimum Tier 1 risk-based capital requirement of 6.0 percent of risk-weighted assets and assigns higher risk-weightings than in the past (150 percent) to exposures that are more than 90 days past due or are on non-accrual status and certain commercial real estate facilities that finance the acquisition, development or construction of real property. The final rule also limits a banking organization’s capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments if the banking organization does not hold a “capital conservation buffer” in excess of 2.5 percent of common equity tier 1 capital in addition to the minimum risk-based capital ratios. The final rule became effective for the Company and the Bank on January 1, 2015. The capital conservation buffer was phased in over a three-year period that began on January 1, 2016 and ended on January 1, 2019, when the full capital conservation buffer requirement became effective. An institution will be subject to limitations on paying dividends, engaging in share repurchases, and paying discretionary bonuses if its capital level falls below the buffer amount.

 

While our current capital levels exceed the capital requirements, our capital levels could decrease in the future as a result of factors such as acquisitions, faster than anticipated growth, reduced earnings levels, operating losses and other factors. The application of more stringent capital requirements for us could, among other things, result in lower returns on equity, require the raising of additional capital, and result in our inability to pay dividends or repurchase shares if we were to be unable to comply with such requirements.

 

We are subject to federal and state fair lending laws, and failure to comply with these laws could lead to material penalties.

 

Federal and state fair lending laws and regulations, such as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, impose nondiscriminatory lending requirements on financial institutions. The Department of Justice, CFPB and other federal and state agencies are responsible for enforcing these laws and regulations. Private parties may also have the ability to challenge an institution’s performance under fair lending laws in private class action litigation. A successful challenge to our performance under the fair lending laws and regulations could adversely impact our rating under the CRA and result in a wide variety of sanctions, including the required payment of damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, imposition of restrictions on merger and acquisition activity and restrictions on expansion activity, which could negatively impact our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Non-compliance with the Patriot Act, Bank Secrecy Act, or other laws and regulations could result in fines or sanctions or operating restrictions.

 

The Patriot and Bank Secrecy Acts require financial institutions to develop programs to prevent financial institutions from being used for money laundering and terrorist activities. If such activities are detected, financial institutions are obligated to file suspicious activity reports with the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. These rules require financial institutions to establish procedures for identifying and verifying the identity of customers seeking to open new financial accounts. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in fines, sanctions or restrictions that could have a material adverse effect on our strategic initiatives. Several banking institutions have received large fines, or suffered limitations on their operations, for non-compliance with these laws and regulations. Although we have developed policies and procedures designed to assist in compliance with these laws and regulations, no assurance can be given that these policies and procedures will be effective in preventing violations of these laws and regulations.

 

Increases in deposit insurance premiums and special FDIC assessments will negatively impact our earnings.

 

We may pay higher FDIC premiums in the future. The Dodd-Frank Act increased the minimum FDIC deposit insurance reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent. The FDIC has adopted a plan under which it will meet this ratio by the statutory deadline of December 31, 2020.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act requires the FDIC to offset the effect of the increase in the minimum reserve ratio on institutions with assets less than $10 billion. To implement the offset requirement, the FDIC has imposed a temporary surcharge on institutions with assets greater than $10 billion. In addition to the minimum reserve ratio, the FDIC must set a designated reserve ratio. The FDIC has set a designated reserve ratio of 2.0, which exceeds the minimum reserve ratio.

 

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Our holding company relies on dividends from the Bank for substantially all of its income and the net proceeds of capital raising transactions are currently the primary source of funds for cash dividends to our preferred and common stockholders.

 

Our primary source of revenue at the holding company level is dividends from the Bank and we also have previously relied on the net proceeds of capital raising transactions as the primary source of funds for cash dividends to our preferred and common stockholders. To the extent we are limited in our ability to raise capital in the future, our ability to pay cash dividends to our stockholders could likewise be limited, especially if we are unable to increase the amount of dividends the Bank pays to us. If the Bank is unable to pay dividends to us, then we may not be able to service our debt, including our senior notes, pay our other obligations or pay cash dividends on our preferred and common stock. Our inability to service our debt, pay our other obligations or pay dividends to our stockholders could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and the value of your investment in our securities.

 

We may elect or be compelled to seek additional capital in the future, but that capital may not be available when it is needed.

 

We are required by federal regulatory authorities to maintain adequate levels of capital to support our operations. At some point, we may need to raise additional capital to support continued growth.

 

Our ability to raise additional capital, if needed, will depend on conditions in the capital markets, economic conditions, our financial performance and a number of other factors, many of which are outside our control. Accordingly, we cannot assure you of our ability to raise additional capital if needed or on terms acceptable to us. If we cannot raise additional capital when needed, our ability to further expand our operations could be materially impaired and our financial condition and liquidity could be materially and adversely affected.

 

The Company has a deferred tax asset that may or may not be fully realized.

 

The Company has a deferred tax asset and cannot assure that it will be fully realized. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are the expected future tax amounts for the temporary differences between the carrying amounts and the tax basis of assets and liabilities computed using enacted tax rates. If we determine that we will not achieve sufficient future taxable income to realize our net deferred tax asset, we are required under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to establish a full or partial valuation allowance. If we determine that a valuation allowance is necessary, we are required to incur a charge to operations. We regularly assess available positive and negative evidence to determine whether it is more likely than not that our net deferred tax asset will be realized. Realization of a deferred tax asset requires us to apply significant judgment and is inherently speculative because it requires estimates that cannot be made with certainty. At December 31, 2018, the Company had a net deferred tax asset of $4.1 million. For additional information, see Note 10 to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

We may experience future goodwill impairment.

 

If our estimates of the fair value of our reporting units change as a result of changes in our business or other factors, we may determine that a goodwill impairment charge is necessary. Estimates of fair value are based on a complex model using, among other things, estimated cash flows and industry pricing multiples. The Company tests its goodwill for impairment annually as of December 31 (the Measurement Date). At each Measurement Date, the Company, in accordance with ASC 350-20-35-3, evaluates, based on the weight of evidence, the significance of all qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of each of the reporting units is less than its carrying amount.

 

The assessment of qualitative factors at the most recent Measurement Date (December 31, 2018), indicated that it was not more likely than not that impairment existed; as a result, no further testing was performed. No assurance can be given that the Company will not record an impairment loss on goodwill in the future and any such impairment loss could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

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New lines of business, new products and services, or strategic project initiatives may subject us to additional risks.

 

From time to time, we may seek to implement new lines of business or offer new products and services within existing lines of business. There are substantial risks and uncertainties associated with these efforts, particularly in instances where the markets are not fully developed. In developing and marketing new lines of business 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, which could in turn have a material negative effect on our operating results. New lines of business and/or new products or services also could subject us to additional regulatory requirements, increased scrutiny by our regulators and other legal risks.

 

Additionally from time to time we undertake strategic project initiatives. Significant effort and resources are necessary to manage and oversee the successful completion of these initiatives. These initiatives often place significant demands on a limited number of employees with subject matter expertise and management and may involve significant costs to implement as well as increase operational risk as employees learn to process transactions under new systems. The failure to properly execute on these strategic initiatives could adversely impact our business and results of operations.

 

Strong competition within our market areas may limit our growth and profitability.

 

Competition in the banking and financial services industry is intense. In our market areas, we compete with commercial banks, savings institutions, mortgage brokerage firms, credit unions, finance companies, mutual funds, insurance companies, and brokerage and investment banking firms operating locally and elsewhere. Many of these competitors have substantially greater name recognition, resources and lending limits than we do and may offer certain services or prices for services that we do not or cannot provide. Our profitability depends upon our continued ability to successfully compete in our markets.

 

In addition, our future success will depend, in part, upon our ability to address the needs of our clients by using technology to provide products and services that will satisfy client demands for convenience, 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 clients.

 

Anti-takeover provisions could negatively impact our stockholders.

 

Provisions in our charter and bylaws, the corporate law of the State of California and federal regulations could delay, defer or prevent a third party from acquiring us, despite the possible benefit to our stockholders, or otherwise adversely affect the market price of any class of our equity securities.

 

These provisions include: the election of directors to staggered terms of three years; advance notice requirements for nominations for election to our Board of Directors and for proposing matters that stockholders may act on at stockholder meetings, a requirement that only directors may fill a vacancy in our Board of Directors, and the other provisions of our charter and bylaws. Our charter also authorizes our Board of Directors to issue preferred stock, and preferred stock could be issued as a defensive measure in response to a takeover proposal. In addition, pursuant to federal banking regulations, as a general matter, no person or company, acting individually or in concert with others, may acquire more than 10 percent of our common stock without prior approval from our federal banking regulator.

 

These provisions may discourage potential takeover attempts, discourage bids for our common stock at a premium over market price or adversely affect the market price of, and the voting and other rights of the holders of, our common stock. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for holders of our common stock to elect directors other than the candidates nominated by our Board of Directors.

 

Our business could be negatively affected as a result of actions by activist stockholders.

 

Campaigns by stockholders to effect changes at publicly traded companies are sometimes led by investors seeking to increase short-term stockholder value through various corporate actions. In the future we may have disagreements with activist stockholders which could prove disruptive to our operations. Activist stockholders could seek to elect their own candidates to our board of directors or could take other actions intended to challenge our business strategy and corporate governance. Responding to actions by activist stockholders may adversely affect our profitability or business prospects, by diverting the attention of management and our employees from executing our strategic plan. Any perceived uncertainties as to our future direction or strategy arising from activist stockholder initiatives could also cause increased reputational, operational, financial, regulatory and other risks, harm our ability to raise new capital, or adversely affect the market price or increase the volatility of our securities.

 

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If we fail to maintain proper and effective internal controls, our ability to produce accurate and timely financial statements could be impaired and investors’ views of us could be harmed.

 

As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. We have evaluated and tested our internal controls in order to allow management to report on our internal controls, as required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. If we are not able to meet the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner or with adequate compliance, we would be required to disclose material weaknesses if they develop or are uncovered and we may be subject to sanctions or investigation by regulatory authorities, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any such action could negatively impact the perception of us in the financial market and our business.

 

In addition, our internal controls may not prevent or detect all errors and fraud. A control system, no matter how well designed and operated, is based upon certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable assurance that the objectives of the control system will be met.

 

Changes in United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) could adversely affect our financial results and may require significant changes to our internal accounting systems and processes.

 

We prepare our consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP. These principles are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), the SEC and various bodies formed to interpret and create appropriate accounting principles and guidance. The FASB periodically issues new accounting standards on a variety of topics. For information regarding new accounting standards, please refer to Note 1 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements under the heading “Recent Accounting Pronouncements.” These and other such standards generally result in different accounting principles, which may significantly impact our reported results or could result in variability of our financial results.

 

In preparing our financial statements we make certain assumptions, judgments and estimates that affect amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements, which, if not accurate, may significantly impact our financial results.

 

We make assumptions, judgments and estimates for a number of items, including the fair value of financial instruments, goodwill and other intangible assets, the realizability of deferred tax assets, the fair value of stock awards, the allowances for loan losses, income tax provisions and determination, recognition and measurement of impaired loans. These assumptions, judgments and estimates are drawn from historical experience and various other factors that we believe are reasonable under the circumstances as of the date of the consolidated financial statements. Actual results could differ materially from our estimates, and such differences could significantly impact our financial results.

 

The recently passed comprehensive tax reform bill could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could be amended or subject to technical correction, which could change the financial impacts that were recorded at December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2018, or are expected to be recorded in future periods. Additionally, further guidance may be forthcoming from the FASB and SEC, as well as regulations, interpretations and rulings from federal and state tax agencies, which could result in additional impacts, possibly with retroactive effect.

 

Changes in tax laws could increase our corporate taxes, reduce our deferred tax assets or affect pricing of some of our products.

 

We are subject to U.S. federal and state taxes. Our provision for income taxes, our recorded tax liabilities and our net deferred tax assets, including any valuation allowances, are recorded based on estimates. These estimates require us to make significant judgments regarding a number of factors, including, among others, the applicability of various federal and state laws, our interpretation of tax laws and the interpretations given to those tax laws by taxing authorities and courts, the timing of future income and deductions, and our expected levels and sources of future taxable income. Additionally, from time to time there are changes to tax laws and interpretations of tax laws that could cause us to revise our estimates of the amount of tax benefits or deductions expected to be available to us in future periods. In such circumstances, any revisions to our prior estimates would be reflected in the period changed and could have a material and adverse effect on our effective tax rate, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

 

In addition, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a number of provisions, including the lowering of the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, effective January 1, 2018. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has impacted and is expected to continue to impact our Company’s operating results, cash flows, and financial condition. There could be additional tax effects or adjustments related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that could materially impact our results of operations and financial condition.

 

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If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they publish negative reports about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

 

The trading market for our common stock may be influenced by the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. We do not have control over these analysts. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our stock or change their opinion of our shares or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

 

The price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly, and this may make it difficult for you to sell shares of common stock owned by you at times or at prices you find attractive.

 

The trading price of our common stock may fluctuate widely as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside our control. In addition, the stock market is subject to fluctuations in the share prices and trading volumes that affect the market prices of the shares of many companies. These broad market fluctuations could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Among the factors that could affect our stock price are:

 

 

actual or anticipated quarterly fluctuations in our operating results and financial condition and prospects;

 

 

changes in revenue or earnings estimates or publication of research reports and recommendations by financial analysts;

 

 

failure to meet analysts’ revenue or earnings estimates;

 

 

speculation in the press or investment community;

 

 

strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions or restructurings;

 

 

acquisitions of other banks or financial institutions;

 

 

actions by institutional stockholders;

 

 

fluctuations in the stock price and operating results of our competitors;

 

 

general market conditions and, in particular, developments related to market conditions for the financial services industry;

 

 

proposed or adopted regulatory changes or developments;

 

 

anticipated or pending investigations, proceedings, or litigation that involve or affect us;

 

 

successful management of reputational risk; and

 

 

domestic and international economic factors, such as interest or foreign exchange rates, stock, commodity, credit, or asset valuations or volatility, unrelated to our performance.

 

The stock market and, in particular, the market for financial institution stocks, has experienced significant volatility. As a result, the market price of our common stock may be volatile. In addition, the trading volume in our common stock may fluctuate more than usual and cause significant price variations to occur. The trading price of the shares of our common stock and the value of our other securities will depend on many factors, which may change from time to time, including, without limitation, our financial condition, performance, creditworthiness and prospects, future sales of our equity or equity related securities, and other factors identified above in “Forward-Looking Statements,” and in this Item 1A — “Risk Factors.” The capital and credit markets can experience volatility and disruption. Such volatility and disruption can reach unprecedented levels, resulting in downward pressure on stock prices and credit availability for certain issuers without regard to their underlying financial strength. A significant decline in our stock price could result in substantial losses for individual stockholders and could lead to costly and disruptive securities litigation.

 

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ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

 

Our main branch office is located in a complex at 125 North Third Avenue, Oakdale, CA 95361, in downtown Oakdale and houses certain administrative offices.  The building has an automated teller machine and onsite parking.  The Company’s Oakdale complex includes the adjacent corporate headquarter building which occupies approximately 20,000 square feet of space. In 2016, our loan production operations expanded into a 15,592 square foot leased building in the adjacent block to the two existing Oakdale buildings.

 

Property Location and Address

 

Square
Footage

 

Lease
Expiration Date

 

Lease
Extension Options

 

Oakdale, 125 North Third Ave.

 

9,600

 

n/a*

 

n/a*

 

Oakdale, 338 East F Street

 

8,608

 

n/a*

 

n/a*

 

Oakdale, 210 East F Street

 

15,592

 

1/2021

 

No extensions

 

Sonora, 14890 Mono Way

 

2,957

 

n/a*

 

n/a*

 

Modesto, 12th & I Street

 

4,500

 

3/2021

 

one, 5-year term extensions

 

Bridgeport, 166 Main Street

 

2,875

 

n/a*

 

n/a*

 

Mammoth Lakes, 307 Old Mammoth Road

 

1,856

 

n/a*

 

n/a*

 

Bishop, 351 North Main Street

 

3,680

 

8/2019

 

one, 5-year term extensions

 

Modesto, 4120 Dale Road

 

4,500

 

3/2021

 

one, 5-year term extensions

 

Turlock, 241 West Main St.

 

7,515

 

1/2020

 

one, 5-year term extensions

 

Patterson, 20 Plaza Circle

 

2,100

 

n/a*

 

n/a*

 

Escalon, 1910 McHenry Ave.

 

3,500

 

4/2021

 

two, 5-year term extensions

 

Ripon, 150 North Wilma Ave.

 

1,800

 

12/2020

 

No remaining extensions

 

Stockton, 2935 West March Lane

 

8,000

 

12/2022

 

two, 5-year term extensions

 

Modesto, 3508 McHenry Ave.

 

5,400

 

n/a*

 

n/a*

 

Manteca, 191 W. North Street

 

2,800

 

5/2021

 

one, 5-year term extensions

 

Tracy, 1034 N. Central Ave.

 

5,000

 

7/2024

 

two, 5-year term extensions

 

Sonora, 85 Mono Way

 

4,000

 

12/2030

 

two, 5-year term extensions

 

Sacramento, 455 Capital Mall, Suite 115

 

3,109

 

8/2023

 

two, 5-year term extensions

 

 


* The Company owns this property.

 

Management has determined that all of its premises are adequate for its present and anticipated level of business.

 

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

From time to time, the Company is a party to claims and legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business. Our management evaluates its exposure to these claims and proceedings individually and in the aggregate and provides for potential losses on such litigation if the amount of the loss is estimable and the loss is probable.

 

To our knowledge, there are no material litigation matters pending at the current time. Although the results of any such litigation matters and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, we believe that the final outcome of any such claims and proceedings will not have a material adverse impact on the Company’s financial position, liquidity, or results of operations.

 

 

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.

 

 

Trading Symbol and Holders of Common Stock

 

Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “OVLY.” On February 26, 2019, there were approximately 402 shareholders of record of the common stock and 8,195,459 outstanding shares of common stock. The actual number of shareholders is greater than this number of record holders and includes shareholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees.

 

 

Dividends

 

Our ability to pay any cash dividends will depend not only upon our earnings during a specified period, but also on our meeting certain capital requirements.

 

Dividends the Company declares are subject to the restrictions set forth in the California General Corporation Law (the “Corporation Law”). The Corporation Law provides that a corporation may make a distribution to its shareholders if the corporation’s retained earnings equal at least the amount of the proposed distribution. The Corporation Law also provides that, in the event that sufficient retained earnings are not available for the proposed distribution, a corporation may nevertheless make a distribution to its shareholders if it meets two conditions, which generally stated are as follows: (i) the corporation’s assets equal at least 1 and 1/4 times its liabilities, and (ii) the corporation’s current assets equal at least its current liabilities or, if the average of the corporation’s earnings before taxes on income and before interest expenses for the two preceding fiscal years was less than the average of the corporation’s interest expenses for such fiscal years, then the corporation’s current assets must equal at least 1 and 1/4 times its current liabilities.

 

Additionally, the Federal Reserve Board has authority to limit the payment of dividends by bank holding companies, such as the Company, in certain circumstances, requiring, among other things, a holding company to consult with the Federal Reserve Board prior to payment of a dividend if the company does not have sufficient recent earnings in excess of the proposed dividend.

 

The principal source of funds from which the Company may pay dividends is the receipt of dividends from the Bank. The availability of dividends from the Bank is limited by various statutes and regulations. The Bank is subject first to corporate restrictions on its ability to pay dividends. Further, the Bank may not pay a dividend if it would be undercapitalized after the dividend payment is made. The payment of cash dividends by the Bank is subject to restrictions set forth in the California Financial Code (the “Financial Code”). The Financial Code provides that a bank may not make a cash distribution to its shareholders in excess of the lesser of (a) bank’s retained earnings; or (b) bank’s net income for its last three fiscal years, less the amount of any distributions made by the bank or by any majority-owned subsidiary of the bank to the shareholders of the bank during such period. However, a bank may, with the approval of the DBO, make a distribution to its shareholders in an amount not exceeding the greatest of (a) its retained earnings; (b) its net income for its last fiscal year; or (c) its net income for its current fiscal year. In the event that the DBO determines that the shareholders’ equity of a bank is inadequate or that the making of a distribution by the bank would be unsafe or unsound, the DBO may order the bank to refrain from making a proposed distribution. The FDIC may also restrict the payment of dividends if such payment would be deemed unsafe or unsound or if after the payment of such dividends, the bank would be included in one of the “undercapitalized” categories for capital adequacy purposes pursuant to federal law.

 

While the Federal Reserve Board has no general restriction with respect to the payment of cash dividends by an adequately capitalized bank to its parent holding company, the Federal Reserve Board might, under certain circumstances, place restrictions on the ability of a particular bank to pay dividends based upon peer group averages and the performance and maturity of the particular bank, or object to management fees to be paid by a subsidiary bank to its holding company on the basis that such fees cannot be supported by the value of the services rendered or are not the result of an arm’s length transaction.

 

Shareholders are entitled to receive dividends only when and if dividends are declared by our Board of Directors. Although we have paid dividends in the past, it is no guarantee that we will pay cash dividends in the future.

 

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Equity Compensation Plan Information

 

The following table provides information as of December 31, 2018 with respect to shares of our common stock that are subject to outstanding options issued under the 2008 Equity Plan (the “2008 Equity Plan”), and the number of shares that are authorized to be issued under the Company’s 2018 Equity Plan (the “2018 Equity Plan”). Shares subject to restricted stock awards are not included in the table below.

 

   

A

   

B

   

C

 

Plan Category

 

Number of Securities to be Issued Upon
Exercise of Outstanding Options

   

Weighted Average Exercise Price of
Outstanding Options

   

Number of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance

Under 2018 Equity Plan
(Excluding Securities

Reflected in Column A)

 

Equity Compensation Plans Approved by Shareholders

    1,000     $ 5.74       595,250  

Equity Compensation Plans Not Approved by Shareholders

    0       0       0  

Total

    1,000     $ 5.74       595,250  

 

 

ITEM 6.  SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

 

Not applicable.

 

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ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATION

 

The following discussion of financial condition as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and results of operations for each of the years in the two-year period ended December 31, 2018 should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto, included in this report. Average balances, including balances used in calculating certain financial ratios, are generally comprised of average daily balances. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, estimates and beliefs and involve numerous risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. You should carefully read “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” included in this report.

 

 

Introduction

 

Our continued focus on responsible community banking fundamentals and our strong customer relationships have enabled us to increase our market presence through growth in our loan portfolio, which is primarily funded by steady core deposit growth.

 

As of December 31, 2018, we had approximately $1.1 billion in total assets, $712 million in total gross loans, and $986 million in total deposits.

 

We believe the following were key indicators of our performance during 2018:

 

● Total assets increased to $1.09 billion at the end of 2018, an increase of 5.8%, from $1.03 billion at the end of 2017.

 

● Total deposits increased to $986 million at the end of 2018, an increase of 5.1%, from $939 million at the end of 2017.

 

● Total net loans increased to $702 million at the end of 2018, an increase of 7.5%, from $653 million at the end of 2017.

 

● Net interest income increased to $38.6 million in 2018, an increase of $4.4 million or 12.8%, compared to $34.2 million in 2017, mainly as a result of growth of our loan and investment portfolios.

 

● Provision for loan losses increased by $205,000 to $555,000 in 2018, compared to $350,000 in 2017, mainly due to loan growth as overall credit quality remains strong.

 

● The ratio of total non-performing loans to total loans decreased to 0.13% at December 31, 2018 from 0.20% at December 31, 2017. Management considers the size of the ratio of non-performing assets to total loans to be low and manageable, and reserves have been taken appropriately.

 

● Total noninterest income decreased to $4.7 million in 2018, a decrease of 21.2%, from $6.0 million in 2017, which is mainly attributable to merger related settlement payments from professional service providers recorded during 2017.

 

● Total noninterest expense increased from $24.6 million in 2017 to $27.4 million in 2018, primarily due to one new branch that opened in 2018, two branch relocations in 2018, and increased general operating costs to support our growing loan and deposit portfolios.

 

● Provision from income taxes decreased by $2.3 million to $3.8 million in 2018, mainly due to the lower federal income tax rate and the $983,000 deferred tax asset re-measurement recorded in December 2017, following the passing of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

 

These items, as well as other factors, contributed to the increase in net income for 2018 to $11.5 million from $9.09 million in 2017, which translates into $1.42 per diluted share in 2018 as compared to $1.13 per diluted share in 2017.

 

Over the past several years, our network of branches and loan production offices have expanded geographically. We currently maintain seventeen full-service offices. We intend to continue our growth strategy in future years through the opening of additional branches and loan production offices as our needs and resources permit.

 

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2019 Outlook

 

As we begin our strategic business plan for 2019, we remained focused on relationship-based expansion throughout our market area. We will continue to focus on increasing our loan-to-deposit ratio to expand our net interest margin, while attempting to control expenses and credit losses.

 

The increased market interest rates in recent years has had a positive impact on net interest income mainly due to growth of earning assets and the fact that our balance sheet is slightly asset sensitive. We expect that we will likely not realize the same positive impact if there is a pull-back on the level of interest rate increases in 2019. The potential compression of net interest income and net interest margin would be a likely outcome if interest rates remain static or decline, given that our balance sheet is asset sensitive to interest rate changes primarily due to the number of variable rate loans and a high level of interest-earning cash balances. This could in turn result in further decrease on the yield of earning assets compared to the cost of deposits and other funds, which remain at historic lows which cannot reasonably be further reduced.

 

Favorable trends in our economy prompted the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, or FOMC, to increase the target federal funds by 0.25% in 2016, 0.75% in 2017 and 1.00% in 2018. Given our asset sensitive balance sheet, our net interest income will be expected to benefit from interest rate increases, but any such benefit will be proportional to the increase in rates. If we experience an increase in our yield on earnings assets, we could then determine to increase the interest rates we pay on our deposit accounts or change our promotional or other interest rates on new deposits in marketing activation programs to attempt to achieve a certain net interest margin. That said, in light of the current economic environment, if the rates increase is modest, it may not be possible to manage the interest margin in this manner, as competitive pressures may dictate that we increase deposit rates at a faster rate than the earning assets increase, thereby offsetting any gains to the net interest margin. The economies and real estate markets in our primary market areas will continue to be significant determinants of the quality of our assets in future periods and, thus, our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.

 

For 2019, management remains focused on the above challenges and opportunities and other factors affecting the business similar to the factors driving the 2018 results as discussed in this section.

 

 

Critical Accounting Policies

 

Critical accounting policies are those that are most important to the portrayal of our financial condition and results of operations and require management's most difficult, subjective, or complex judgments, often as a result of the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain.

 

The discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations is based upon our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). The preparation of these financial statements requires management to make estimates and judgments that effect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of our financial statements. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. In addition, GAAP itself may change from one previously acceptable method to another method, although the economics of our transactions would be the same.

 

Management has determined the following accounting policies to be critical:

 

 

Asset Impairment Judgments

 

Certain of our assets are carried in our consolidated balance sheets at fair value or at the lower of cost or fair value. Valuation allowances are established when necessary to recognize impairment of such assets. We periodically perform analyses to test for impairment of various assets. In addition to our impairment analyses related to loans, another significant impairment analysis relates to other than temporary declines in the value of our securities.

 

Loans for which it is probable that payment of interest and principal will not be made in accordance with the contractual terms of the loan agreement are considered impaired and are carried at fair value or below. Appraisals are done periodically on impaired loans and if required, an allowance is established based on the fair value of collateral less the cost related to liquidation of the collateral. In some circumstances, an impaired loan may be charged off to bring the carrying value to fair value.

 

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Other real estate assets (“OREO”) acquired through, or in lieu of, foreclosure, are held-for-sale and are initially recorded at the lower of cost or fair value, less selling costs. Any write-downs to fair value at the time of transfer to OREO are charged to the allowance for loan losses, subsequent to foreclosure. Appraisals or evaluations are then done periodically thereafter, charging any additional write-downs or valuation allowances to the appropriate expense accounts.

 

Net realizable value of the underlying collateral is the fair value of the collateral, less estimated selling costs and any prior liens. Appraisals, recent comparable sales, offers and listing prices are factored in when valuing the collateral. We review and verify the qualifications and licenses of the certified general appraisers used for appraising commercial properties or certified residential appraisers for residential properties. Real estate appraisals may utilize a combination of approaches including replacement cost, sales comparison and the income approach. Comparable sales and income data are analyzed by the appraisers and adjusted to reflect differences between them and the subject property such as type, leasing status and physical condition. When the appraisals are received, management reviews the assumptions and methodology utilized in the appraisal, as well as the overall resulting value in conjunction with independent data sources, such as recent market data and industry-wide statistics. We generally use a 6% discount for selling costs which is applied to all properties, regardless of size. Appraised values may be adjusted to reflect changes in market conditions that have occurred subsequent to the appraisal date, or for revised estimates regarding the timing or cost of the property sale. These adjustments are based on qualitative judgments made by management on a case-by-case basis.

 

Our available for sale portfolio is carried at estimated fair value, with any unrealized gains and losses, net of taxes, reported as accumulated other comprehensive income in shareholders’ equity. We conduct a periodic review and evaluation of the securities portfolio to determine if the value of any security has declined below its carrying value and whether such decline is other than temporary. If such decline is deemed other than temporary, we would adjust the carrying amount of the security by writing down the security to fair value through a charge to current period income. The fair values of our securities are significantly affected by changes in interest rates.

 

In general, as interest rates rise, the fair value of fixed-rate securities will decrease; as interest rates fall, the fair value of fixed-rate securities will increase. With significant changes in interest rates, we evaluate our intent and ability to hold the security for a sufficient time to recover the recorded principal balance. Estimated fair values for securities are based on published or securities dealers’ market values. Market volatility is unpredictable and may impact such values.

 

 

Allowance for Loan Losses

 

Credit risk is inherent in the business of lending and making commercial loans. Accounting for our allowance for loan losses involves significant judgment and assumptions by management and is based on historical data and management’s view of the current economic environment. At least on a quarterly basis, our management reviews the methodology and adequacy of allowance for loan losses and reports its assessment to the Board of Directors for its review and approval.

 

The allowance for loan losses is an estimate of probable incurred losses with regard to our loans. Our loan loss provision for each period is dependent upon many factors, including loan growth, net charge-offs, changes in the composition of the loans, delinquencies, management's assessment of the quality of the loans, the valuation of problem loans and the general economic conditions in our market area. We base our allowance for loan losses on an estimation of probable losses inherent in our loan portfolio.

 

Our methodology for assessing loan loss allowances are intended to reduce the differences between estimated and actual losses and involves a detailed analysis of our loan portfolio, in three phases:

 

 

the specific review of individual loans,

 

 

the segmenting and review of loan pools with similar characteristics, and

 

 

our judgmental estimate based on various subjective factors:

 

The first phase of our methodology involves the specific review of individual loans to identify and measure impairment. We evaluate each loan by use of a risk rating system, except for homogeneous loans, such as automobile loans and home mortgages. Specific risk rated loans are deemed impaired if all amounts, including principal and interest, will likely not be collected in accordance with the contractual terms of the related loan agreement. Impairment for commercial and real estate loans is measured either based on the present value of the loan’s expected future cash flows or, if collection on the loan is collateral dependent, the estimated fair value of the collateral, less selling and holding costs.

 

The second phase involves the segmenting of the remainder of the risk rated loan portfolio into groups or pools of loans, together with loans with similar characteristics, for evaluation. We determine the calculated loss ratio to each loan pool based on its historical net losses and benchmark it against the levels of other peer banks.

 

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In the third phase, we consider relevant internal and external factors that may affect the collectability of loan portfolio and each group of loan pool. The factors considered are, but are not limited to:

 

 

concentration of credits,

 

 

nature and volume of the loan portfolio,

 

 

delinquency trends,

 

 

non-accrual loan trend,

 

 

problem loan trend,

 

 

loss and recovery trend,

 

 

quality of loan review,

 

 

lending and management staff,

 

 

lending policies and procedures,

 

 

economic and business conditions, and

 

 

other external factors.

 

Our management estimates the probable effect of such conditions based on our judgment, experience and known or anticipated trends. Such estimation may be reflected as an additional allowance to each group of loans, if necessary. Management reviews these conditions with our senior credit officers. To the extent that any of these conditions is evidenced by a specifically identifiable problem credit or portfolio segment as of the evaluation date, management’s estimate of the effect of such condition may be reflected as a specific allowance applicable to such credit or portfolio segment. Where any of these conditions is not evidenced by a specific, identifiable problem credit or portfolio segment as of the evaluation date, management’s evaluation of the inherent loss related to such condition is reflected in the unallocated allowance.

 

Central to our credit risk management and our assessment of appropriate loss allowance is our loan risk rating system. Under this system, the originating credit officer assigns borrowers an initial risk rating based on a thorough analysis of each borrower’s financial capacity in conjunction with industry and economic trends. Approvals are made based upon the amount of inherent credit risk specific to the transaction and are reviewed for appropriateness by senior line and credit administration personnel. Credits are monitored by line and credit administration personnel for deterioration in a borrower’s financial condition which may impact the ability of the borrower to perform under the contract. Although management has allocated a portion of the allowance to specific loans, specific loan pools, and off-balance sheet credit exposures (which are reported separately as part of other liabilities), the adequacy of the allowance is considered in its entirety.

 

It is the policy of management to maintain the allowance for loan losses at a level adequate for risks inherent in the overall loan portfolio, however, the loan portfolio can be adversely affected if the state of California’s economic conditions and its real estate market in our general market area were to further deteriorate or weaken. Additionally, further weakness of a prolonged nature in the agricultural and general economy would have a negative impact on the local market. The effect of such economic events, although uncertain and unpredictable at this time, could result in an increase in the levels of nonperforming loans and additional loan losses, which could adversely affect our future growth and profitability. No assurance of the level of predicted credit losses can be given with any certainty.

 

 

Non-Accrual Loan Policy

 

Interest on loans is credited to income as earned and is accrued only if deemed collectible. Accrual of interest is discontinued when a loan is over 90 days delinquent or if management believes that collection is highly uncertain. Generally, payments received on nonaccrual loans are recorded as principal reductions. Interest income is recognized after all principal has been repaid or an improvement in the condition of the loan has occurred that would warrant resumption of interest accruals.

 

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Income Taxes

 

Deferred income taxes are provided for the temporary differences between the financial reporting basis and the tax basis of the Company’s assets and liabilities. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are reflected at currently enacted income tax rates applicable to the period in which the deferred tax assets or liabilities are expected to be realized or settled using the liability method. As changes in tax laws or rates are enacted, deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted through the provision for income taxes.

 

The Company files income tax returns in the U.S. federal jurisdiction, and the state of California. With few exceptions, the Company is no longer subject to U.S. federal or state/local income tax examinations by tax authorities for years before 2014.

 

 

Fair Value Measurements

 

We use fair value measurements to record fair value adjustments to certain assets and liabilities and to determine fair value disclosures. We base our fair values on the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. Securities available for sale, derivatives, and loans held for sale, if any, are recorded at fair value on a recurring basis. Additionally, from time to time, we may be required to record certain assets at fair value on a non-recurring basis, such as certain impaired loans held for investment and securities held to maturity that are other-than-temporarily impaired. These non-recurring fair value adjustments typically involve write-downs of individual assets due to application of lower-of-cost or market accounting.

 

We have established and documented a process for determining fair value. We maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when developing fair value measurements. Whenever there is no readily available market data, management uses its best estimate and assumptions in determining fair value, but these estimates involve inherent uncertainties and the application of management's judgment. As a result, if other assumptions had been used, our recorded earnings or disclosures could have been materially different from those reflected in these financial statements. For detailed information on our use of fair value measurements and our related valuation methodologies, see Note 15 to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this report.   

 

 

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

 

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606). This ASU is a converged standard involving FASB and International Financial Reporting Standards that provides a single comprehensive revenue recognition model for all contracts with customers across transactions and industries. The core principal of the guidance is that an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount and at a time that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. Subsequent updates related to Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) are as follows:

 

●      August 2015 ASU No. 2015-14 - Deferral of the Effective Date, institutes a one-year deferral of the effective date of this amendment to annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2017. Early application is permitted only as of annual periods beginning after December 15, 2016, including interim reporting periods within that reporting period.

 

●      March 2016 ASU No. 2016-08 - Principal versus Agent Considerations (Reporting Revenue Gross versus Net), clarifies the implementation guidance on principal versus agent considerations and on the use of indicators that assist an entity in determining whether it controls a specified good or service before it is transferred to the customer.

 

●      April 2016 ASU No. 2016-10 - Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing, provides guidance in determining performance obligations in a contract with a customer and clarifies whether a promise to grant a license provides a right to access or the right to use intellectual property.

 

●      May 2016 ASU No. 2016-12 - Narrow Scope Improvements and Practical Expedients, gives further guidance on assessing collectability, presentation of sales taxes, noncash consideration, and completed contracts and contract modifications at transition.

 

Topic 606 was adopted by the Company on January 1, 2018 and did not have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements. No additional disaggregated revenue disclosures are necessary because interest income sources are scoped out and there are no additional significant noninterest income sources to break out on the consolidated statement of income.

 

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In January 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-01, Financial Instruments - Overall (Subtopic 825-10): Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities. The amendments in this ASU make improvements to GAAP related to financial instruments that include the following as applicable to us.

 

●      Equity investments, except for those accounted for under the equity method of accounting or those that result in consolidation of the investee, are required to be measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in net income. However, an entity may choose to measure equity investments that do not have readily determinable fair values at cost minus impairment, if any, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for an identical or a similar investment of the same issuer.

 

●      This ASU simplifies the impairment assessment of equity investments without readily determinable fair values by requiring a qualitative assessment to identify impairment - if impairment exists, this requires measuring the investment at fair value.

 

●      This ASU eliminates the requirement for public companies to disclose the method(s) and significant assumptions used to estimate the fair value that is currently required to be disclosed for financial instruments measured at amortized cost on the balance sheet.

 

●      Public companies will be required to use the exit price notion when measuring the fair value of financial instruments for disclosure purposes.

 

●      This ASU requires separate presentation of financial assets and financial liabilities by measurement category and form of financial asset on the balance sheet or the accompanying notes to the financial statements.

 

●      The reporting entity should evaluate the need for a valuation allowance on a deferred tax asset related to available-for-sale securities in combination with the entity's other deferred tax assets.

 

ASU 2016-01 is effective for public business entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017, including interim periods within those fiscal years. This ASU was adopted by the Company on January 1, 2018 and impacted the Company’s financial statement disclosures but did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial condition or results of operations.

 

In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). This ASU was issued to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by recognizing lease assets and lease liabilities, including leases classified as operating leases under previous GAAP, on the balance sheet and requiring additional disclosures of key information about leasing arrangements. ASU 2016-02 is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within those annual periods, and requires a modified retrospective approach to adoption. Early application of the ASU is permitted. The Company has evaluated the impact to its balance sheet and expects that the gross-up in its balance sheet from recording a right-of-use asset and a lease liability for each lease as a result of adopting this ASU will not be material.

 

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326). This update changes the methodology used by financial institutions under current U.S. GAAP to recognize credit losses in the financial statements.  Currently, U.S. GAAP requires the use of the incurred loss model, whereby financial institutions recognize in current period earnings, incurred credit losses and those inherent in the financial statements, as of the date of the balance sheet.    This guidance results in a new model for estimating the allowance for loan and lease losses, commonly referred to as the Current Expected Credit Loss (“CECL”) model.  Under the CECL model, financial institutions are required to estimate future credit losses and recognize those losses in current period earnings.  The amendments within the update are effective for fiscal years and all interim periods beginning after December 15, 2019, with early adoption permitted.  Upon adoption of the amendments within this update, the Company will be required to make a cumulative-effect adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings in the year of adoption. The Company is currently in the process of evaluating the impact the adoption of this update will have on its financial statements. While the Company has not quantified the impact of this ASU, it does expect changing from the current incurred loss model to an expected loss model will result in an earlier recognition of losses.

 

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In February 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-02, Income Statement - Reporting Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): Reclassification of Certain Tax Effects from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income. The ASU was issued to address certain stranded tax effects in accumulated other comprehensive income as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The ASU provides companies the option to reclassify stranded tax effects within accumulated other comprehensive income to retained earnings in each period in which the effect of the change from the newly enacted corporate tax rate is recorded. The amount of the reclassification would be calculated on the basis of the difference between the historical and newly enacted tax rates for deferred tax liabilities and assets related to items within accumulated other comprehensive income. The ASU requires companies to disclose its accounting policy related to releasing income tax effects from accumulated other comprehensive income, whether it has elected to reclassify the stranded tax effects, and information about the other income tax effects that are reclassified. The guidance is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods, therein, and early adoption is permitted for public business entities for which financial statements have not yet been issued. As of December 31, 2017, the Company adopted the ASU and made a reclassification adjustment from accumulated other comprehensive income to retained earnings on the Consolidated Statements of Shareholders' Equity, related to the stranded tax effects due to the change in the federal corporate tax rate applied on the unrealized gains (losses) on investments on a portfolio basis, to reflect the provisions of this ASU.

 

 

Results of Operations

 

The Company earns income from two primary sources. The first is net interest income, which is interest income generated by earning assets less interest expense on interest-bearing liabilities. The second is noninterest income, which primarily consists of deposit service charges and fees, the increase in cash surrender value of life insurance and mortgage commissions. The majority of the Company's noninterest expenses are operating costs that relate to providing a full range of banking services to our customers.

 

 

Overview

 

We recorded net income for the year ended December 31, 2018 of $11,537,000 or $1.42 per diluted share compared to $9,094,000 or $1.13 per diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2017. The increase in net income for the year ended December 31, 2018 was primarily due to an increase of $4,388,000 in net interest income, mainly from the growth of our loan and investment portfolios. Non-interest income decreased by $1,264,000 in 2018, mainly as a result of non-recurring merger related settlement payments recorded in 2017. The provision for loan losses increased by $205,000 in 2018 due to loan growth. Non-interest expense increased by $2,813,000 associated with two branch relocations and one de novo branch opened in 2018, in addition to general operating overhead increases to support the growth of our loan and deposit portfolios. The income tax provision decreased by $2,337,000 due to the lower federal income tax rate in 2018 and a $983,000 deferred tax asset adjustment in 2017 related to the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

 

Highlights of the financial results are presented in the following table:

 

 

   

As of and for the years ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)

 

2018

   

2017

   

2016

 

For the period:

                       

Net income available to common shareholders

  $ 11,537       9,094     $ 7,665  

Net income per common share:

                       

Basic

  $ 1.43       1.13     $ 0.95  

Diluted

  $ 1.42       1.13     $ 0.95  

Return on average common equity

    12.26

%

    10.41

%

    9.43

%

Return on average assets

    1.08

%

    0.91

%

    0.83

%

Common stock dividend payout ratio of earnings during the period

    18.31

%

    22.23

%

    25.31

%

Efficiency ratio

    61.37

%

    60.66

%

    63.13

%

At period end:

                       

Book value per common share

  $ 18.30       11.21     $ 10.19  

Total assets

  $ 1,094,887       1,034,852     $ 1,002,110  

Total gross loans

  $ 711,902       662,544     $ 610,949  

Total deposits

  $ 986,495       938,882     $ 914,093  

Net loan-to-deposit ratio

    71.18

%

    69.55

%

    65.76

%

 

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Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin

 

Our primary source of revenue is net interest income, which is the difference between interest and fees derived from earning assets and interest paid on liabilities obtained to fund those assets. Our net interest income is affected by changes in the level and mix of interest-earning assets and interest- bearing liabilities, referred to as volume changes. Our net interest income is also affected by changes in the yields earned on assets and rates paid on liabilities, referred to as rate changes. Interest rates charged on our loans are affected principally by the demand for such loans, the supply of money available for lending purposes and competitive factors. Those factors are, in turn, affected by general economic conditions and other factors beyond our control, such as federal economic policies, the general supply of money in the economy, legislative tax policies, governmental budgetary matters, and the actions of the Federal Reserve Board.

 

For a detailed analysis of interest income and interest expense, see the “Average Balance Sheets” and the “Rate/Volume Analysis” below.

 

   

Distribution, Yield and Rate Analysis of Net Income

 
   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

2018

   

2017

 
   

Average Balance

   

Interest Income/ Expense

   

Avg

Rate/

Yield

   

Average Balance

   

Interest Income/ Expense

   

Avg

Rate/

Yield

 

Assets:

                                           

Earning assets:

                                           

Gross loans (1) (2)

  $ 657,896     $ 31,777     4.83%     $ 624,447     $ 29,227     4.68%  

Securities of U.S. government agencies

    17,933       210     1.17%       15,289       196     1.28%  

Other investment securities (2)

    184,588       6,033     3.27%       156,310       5,410     3.46%  

Federal funds sold

    10,173       191     1.88%       8,997       100     1.11%  

Interest-earning deposits

    137,590       2,646     1.92%       134,411       1,513     1.13%  

Total interest-earning assets

    1,008,180       40,857     4.05%       939,454       36,446     3.88%  

Total noninterest earning assets

    59,303                     62,460                

Total Assets

  $ 1,067,483                   $ 1,001,914                

Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity:

                                           

Interest-bearing liabilities:

                                           

Interest-Earning DDA

    238,829       517     0.22%       200,942       292     0.15%  

Money market deposits

    288,454       913     0.32%       289,155       553     0.19%  

Savings deposits

    74,317       35     0.05%       69,348       51     0.07%  

Time certificates over $250,000

    18,725       68     0.36%       20,273       74     0.37%  

Other time deposits

    26,845       73     0.27%       31,877       95     0.30%  

Total interest-bearing liabilities

    647,170       1,606     0.25%       611,595       1,065     0.17%  

Noninterest-bearing liabilities:

                                           

Noninterest-bearing deposits

    320,810                     297,364                

Other liabilities

    5,385                     5,566                

Total noninterest-bearing liabilities

    326,195                     302,930                

Shareholders' equity

    94,118                     87,389                

Total liabilities and shareholders' equity

  $ 1,067,483                   $ 1,001,914                

Net interest income

          $ 39,251                   $ 35,381        

Net interest spread (3)

                  3.80%                     3.71%  

Net interest margin (4)

                  3.89%                     3.77%  

 


(1)

Loan fees have been included in the calculation of interest income.

(2)

Yields on municipal securities and loans have been adjusted to their fully-taxable equivalents (FTE), based on a federal marginal tax rate of 21.0% in 2018 and 34% in 2017.

(3)

Represents the average rate earned on interest-earning assets less the average rate paid on interest-bearing liabilities.

(4)

Represents net interest income as a percentage of average interest-earning assets.

 

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Net interest income, on a fully tax equivalent basis (“FTE”), increased $3,870,000 or 10.9% to $39,251,000 for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $35,381,000 in 2017. Net interest spread and net interest margin were 3.80% and 3.89%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to 3.71% and 3.77%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2017. This upward trend is mainly due to the increase in earning asset yield as described below.

 

Our earning asset yield increased 17 basis points in 2018 compared to 2017. The yield on loans recognized an increase of 15 basis points for 2018 compared to 2017, which was primarily due to loan repricing of variable rate loans, higher rate indexes on new loans and an increase in loan fees. The increase in loan yield was complemented by growth in the loan and investment portfolio average balances of $33,449,000 and $30,922,000, respectively, in 2018 as compared to 2017. Lastly, the recent Federal Reserve interest rate hikes have had a positive impact to our earning asset yield given the large interest-earning cash balances we hold.

 

The cost of funds on interest-bearing liabilities increased slightly to 0.25% in 2018 compared to 0.17% in 2017 as our excess liquidity has allowed us to keep deposit rates low on a relative basis. Average non-interest-bearing demand deposit balances increased by $23,446,000 in 2018 compared to 2017, which contributed in maintaining our low cost of funds.

 

In spite of the interest margin expansion the Company has recognized over recent years, there are certain factors that have limited net interest margin expansion and could possibly result in in net interest margin compression if rates were to fall, which include: 1) deposit interest rates remain at historic lows from which they cannot reasonably be further reduced, 2) competition in the lending market restrict significant increases in new loan rates, and 3) deposit growth has out-paced loan growth in recent years resulting in higher interest-bearing cash balances, which yielded approximately 1.92% on average during 2018.

 

Changes in volume resulted in an increase in net interest income (on a FTE basis) of $2,591,000 for the year of 2018 compared to the year 2017, and changes in interest rates and the mix resulted in an increase in net interest income (on a FTE basis) of $1,279,000 for the year 2018 versus the year 2017. Management closely monitors both total net interest income and the net interest margin.

 

Market rates are in part based on the FOMC target Federal funds interest rate (the interest rate banks charge each other for short-term borrowings).  The change in the Federal funds sold rates is the result of target rate changes implemented by the FOMC.  In 2008, there were seven downward adjustments to the target rate totaling 325 basis points, bringing the target interest rate to a historic low with a range of 0% to 0.25% where it remained until December 2015 when the FOMC increased by 0.25% to a range of 0.25% to 0.50%. The FOMC increased the Federal funds rate again in December 2016 by 0.25% to a range of 0.50% to 0.75%. In 2017, the FOMC increased the Federal funds rate by 0.25% on three occasions resulting in a range of 1.25% to 1.50% as of December 31, 2017. In 2018, the FOMC increased the Federal funds rate by 0.25% on four occasions resulting in a range of 2.25% to 2.50% as of December 31, 2018.

 

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Rate/Volume Analysis

 

The following table below sets forth certain information regarding changes in interest income and interest expense of the Company for the periods indicated. For each category of earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, information is provided on changes attributable to (i) changes in volume (change in average volume multiplied by old rate); and (ii) changes in rates (change in rate multiplied by old average volume). Changes in rate/volume (change in rate multiplied by the change in volume) have been allocated to the changes due to volume and rate in proportion to the absolute value of the changes due to volume and rate prior to the allocation.

 

   

For the Year Ended December 31,

   

For the Year Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

2018 vs. 2017

   

2017 vs. 2016

 
   

Increases (Decreases)

   

Increases (Decreases)

 
   

Due to Change In

   

Due to Change In

 
                                     
   

Volume

   

Rate

   

Total

   

Volume

   

Rate

   

Total

 

Interest income:

                                               

Net loans (1)

  $ 1,566     $ 984     $ 2,550     $ 2,191     $ (446 )   $ 1,745  

Securities of U.S. government agencies

    34       (20 )     14       104       16       120  

Other Investment securities

    979       (356 )     623       591       (252 )     339  

Federal funds sold

    13       78       91       10       55       65  

Interest-earning deposits

    36       1,097       1,133       62       784       846  

Total interest income

    2,628       1,783       4,411       2,958       157       3,115  

Interest expense:

                                               

Interest-Earning DDA

  $ 55     $ 170     $ 225     $ 26     $ 105     $ 131  

Money market deposits

    (1 )     361       360       2       235       237  

Savings deposits

    4       (20 )     (16 )     (8 )     (58 )     (66 )

Time certificates over $250,000

    (6 )     0       (6 )     2       9       11  

Other time deposits

    (15 )     (7 )     (22 )     (5 )     (7 )     (12 )

Total interest expense

    37       504       541       17       284       301  

Change in net interest income

  $ 2,591     $ 1,279     $ 3,870     $ 2,941     $ (127 )   $ 2,814  

 

 


(1) Loan fees have been included in the calculation of interest income.

 

 

Provision for Loan Losses

 

Credit risk is inherent in the business of making loans. The Company establishes an allowance for loan losses through charges to earnings, which are shown in the consolidated statements of income as the provision for loan losses. Specifically identifiable and quantifiable losses are promptly charged off against the allowance. The Company maintains the allowance for loan losses at a level that it considers to be adequate to provide for credit losses inherent in its loan portfolio. Management determines the level of the allowance by performing a quarterly analysis that considers concentrations of credit, past loss experience, current economic conditions, the amount and composition of the loan portfolio (including nonperforming and potential problem loans), estimated fair value of underlying collateral, and other information relevant to assessing the risk of loss inherent in the loan portfolio such as loan growth, net charge-offs, changes in the composition of the loan portfolio, and delinquencies. As a result of management’s analysis, a range of the potential amount of the allowance for loan losses is determined.

 

The Company recorded a provision for loan losses of $555,000 during the year ended December 31, 2018 mainly to provide an adequate loan loss reserve for the new loan funding, as compared to provisions of $350,000 for the year ended December 31, 2017. Nonperforming loans were $920,000 at December 31, 2018 and $1,311,000 at December 31, 2017, or 0.13% and 0.20%, respectively, of total loans. Nonperforming loans are primarily in nonperforming real estate construction and development loans. The allowance for loan losses was $8,685,000 and $8,166,000 at December 31, 2018 and 2017, or 1.22% and 1.23%, respectively, of total loans. The decrease in the allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total loans is due to the decrease in non-accrual loans and noted trends in improved credit quality. The continued credit quality improvement has resulted in relatively low net charge-off totals of $36,000 in 2018 and $16,000 in 2017.

 

The Company will continue to monitor the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses and make additions to the allowance in accordance with the analysis referred to above. Because of uncertainties inherent in estimating the appropriate level of the allowance for loan losses, actual results may differ from management’s estimate of credit losses and the related allowance.

 

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Noninterest Income

 

The following table sets forth a summary of noninterest income for the periods indicated:

 

 

   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2018

   

2017

 
   

(Amount)

    (%)    

(Amount)

    (%)  

Service charges on deposit accounts

  $ 1,549       32.9 %   $ 1,424       23.8 %

Debit card transaction fee income

    1,185       25.1 %     1,104       18.5 %

Earnings on cash surrender value of life insurance

    511       10.8 %     514       8.6 %

Mortgage commissions

    110       2.3 %     168       2.8 %

Gains on called/sold securities

    81       1.7 %     395       6.6 %

Gain on sale of OREO

    193       4.1 %     211       3.5 %

Other income

    1,083       23.0 %     2,160       36.1 %

Total

  $ 4,712       100.0 %   $ 5,976       100.0 %
                                 

Average assets

  $ 1,067,483             $ 1,001,914          

Noninterest income as a % of average assets

            0.4 %             0.6 %

 

 

Noninterest income was $4,712,000 for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $5,976,000 for the year 2017. Service charge income and debit card transaction fee income increased to $1,549,000 and $1,185,000, respectively, for the year 2018 compared to $1,424,000 and $1,104,000 for the year 2017, as a result of the increase in the aggregate number of transaction deposit accounts and corresponding service fee income. Earnings on cash surrender value of life insurance and gains recognized a decrease of $3,000 in 2018 compared to 2017, due to a slight yield variance. Mortgage commissions have decreased by $58,000 for the year 2018, as compared to 2017, as a result of the decreased demand for home purchases and refinancing. Gains on called and sold securities decreased from $395,000 in 2017 to $81,000 in 2018, mainly from one security that was called during the first quarter of 2017. There was one sale of an OREO property in 2017 and 2018, which resulted in a gain of $193,000 for 2018 as compared to $211,000 for 2017. In 2018, other income decreased by $1,077,000, which was attributable to merger related settlement payments of $938,000 from professional service providers, and a $108,000 gain on sale of a fixed asset property that was recorded in 2017. The Company continues to evaluate its deposit product offerings with the intention of continuing to expand its offerings to the consumer and business depositors.

 

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Noninterest Expense

 

The following table sets forth a summary of noninterest expenses for the periods indicated:

 

 

   

For the Years Ended December 31,

 

(Dollars in thousands)

 

2018

   

2017

 
   

(Amount)

   

(%)

   

(Amount)

   

(%)

 

Salaries and employee benefits

  $ 16,287       59.5 %   $ 14,110       57.4 %

Occupancy expenses

    3,631       13.3 %     3,346       13.6 %

Data processing fees

    1,707       6.2 %     1,560       6.4 %

Regulatory assessments (FDIC & DBO)

    440       1.6 %     492       2.0 %

Other operating expenses

    5,313       19.4 %     5,057       20.6 %

Total

  $ 27,378       100.0 %   $ 24,565       100.0 %
                                 

Average assets

  $ 1,067,483             $ 1,001,914          

Noninterest expenses as a % of average assets

            2.6 %             2.5 %

 

 

Noninterest expense was $27,378,000 for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $2,813,000 or 11.5% compared to $24,565,000 for the year ended 2017. Salaries and employee benefits increased by $2,177,000 in 2018 to $16,287,000 compared to the prior year. Due to the new Sacramento branch and to support loan and deposit growth, we increased our full-time equivalent staff by eleven as of December 31, 2018 compared to last year, which resulted in increased salary expense and group medical insurance benefits.

 

Occupancy expense realized an increase of $285,000 in 2018 compared to the prior year, primarily from rent and other overhead expenses. The 2018 total includes rent from the new Sacramento branch and a non-recurring charge of $85,000 for the remaining lease obligation on our vacated Turlock branch, which was relocated during the second quarter of 2018.

 

Data processing costs increased in 2018 over 2017 by $147,000, primarily due to servicing costs on the growing number of loan and deposit accounts. Other operating expenses increased in 2018 by $256,000 compared to 2017, due to various operating expense increases that were necessary to support the growing loan and deposit portfolios.

 

FDIC and DBO regulatory assessments decreased by $52,000 to $440,000 in 2018 compared to $492,000 in 2017. The initial base assessment rate for financial institutions varies based on the overall risk profile of the institution as defined by the FDIC and our risk profile was stable during 2017 and 2018, with a slight improvement for both years in asset quality metrics that are included in the risk profile. The result was a reduction in our assessment rate in 2018; however, we expect this will be offset by deposit growth in 2019. The decrease to our recorded expense in 2018 was despite the higher deposit balances in 2018, as the FDIC assessment rates are applied to average quarterly total liabilities as the primary basis.

 

Other operating expenses increased by $256,000 or 5.1% to $5,313,000 in 2018, primarily as a result of various general operating expense increases required to support our growing business portfolios and compliance mandates, some of which included telephone and data communications, provision for losses on undisbursed loan commitments, audit expenses and director expenses.

 

Management anticipates that noninterest expense will continue to increase as we continue to grow, and management believes the Company’s administration as currently set up is scalable to handle future deposit growth.  However, management remains committed to cost-control and efficiency, and we expect to keep these increases to a minimum relative to growth.

 

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Provision for Income Taxes

 

We reported a provision for income taxes of $3,810,000 and $6,147,000 for the years 2018 and 2017, respectively. The effective income tax rate on income from continuing operations was 24.8% for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to 40.3% for the year 2017. Included in the 2017 tax provision is the deferred tax asset re-measurement adjustment of $983,000 related to the U.S. Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which lowered the corporate federal income tax rate to 21% for the 2018 tax year. Excluding this adjustment, the effective tax rate on core operations would have been 33.9% in 2017. These provisions reflect accruals for taxes at the applicable rates for federal income tax and California franchise tax based upon reported pre-tax income and adjusted for the effects of all permanent differences between income for tax and financial reporting purposes (such as earnings on qualified municipal securities, BOLI and certain tax-exempt loans).

 

 

Financial Condition

 

The Company’s total assets were $1,094,887,000 at December 31, 2018 compared to $1,034,852,000 at December 31, 2017, an increase of $60,077,000 or 5.8%. Net loans increased $49,231,000, investments increased $27,458,000, bank premises and equipment increased $459,000, interest receivable and other assets increased $5,813,000, while cash and cash equivalents decreased $23,028,000 for the year ended December 31, 2018 as compared to December 31, 2017.

 

Loans gross of the allowance for loan losses and deferred fees were $711,902,000 at December 31, 2018, compared to $662,544,000 at December 31, 2017, an increase of $49,358,000 or 7.5%. The increase was primarily due to an increase of $37,369,000 or 7.2% in commercial real estate loans, an increase of $12,642,000 or 18.2% in commercial and industrial loans, a decrease of $795,000 or 2.1% in consumer loans and consumer residential loans and an increase of $142,000 or 0.4% in agriculture loans. The composition of the loan portfolio categories remained relatively unchanged as a percentage of total loans, with commercial real estate comprising 78% of the loan portfolio at December 31, 2018 and 2017.

 

Deposits increased $47,613,000 or 5.1% to $986,495,000 at December 31, 2018 compared to $938,882,000 at December 31, 2017. Money Market and Time Deposits decreased by $7,576,000 and $7,215,000, respectively, while Demand and Savings increased by $55,119,000 and $7,285,000, respectively, as of December 31, 2018 as compared to December 31, 2017.

 

There were no short-term borrowing or long-term debt outstanding balances at December 31, 2018 and 2017. The Company uses short-term borrowings, primarily short-term FHLB advances, to fund short-term liquidity needs and manage net interest margin.

 

Equity increased $8,271,000 or 9.1% to $99,038,000 at December 31, 2018, compared to $90,767,000 at December 31, 2017.

 

 

Investment Activities

 

Investments are a key source of interest income. Management of our investment portfolio is set in accordance with strategies developed and overseen by our Investment Committee. Investment balances, including cash equivalents and interest-bearing deposits in other financial institutions, are subject to change over time based on our asset/liability funding needs and interest rate risk management objectives. Our liquidity levels take into consideration anticipated future cash flows and all available sources of credits and are maintained at levels management believes are appropriate to assure future flexibility in meeting anticipated funding needs.

 

Cash Equivalents and Interest-bearing Deposits in other Financial Institutions

 

The Company holds federal funds sold, unpledged available-for-sale securities and salable government guaranteed loans to help meet liquidity requirements and provide temporary holdings until the funds can be otherwise deployed or invested. As of December 31, 2018, and 2017, we had $9,720,000 and $6,205,000, respectively, in federal funds sold.

 

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Table of Contents

 

Investment Securities

 

Management of our investment securities portfolio focuses on providing an adequate level of liquidity and establishing an interest rate-sensitive position, while earning an adequate level of investment income without taking undue risk. Investment securities that we intend to hold until maturity are classified as held-to-maturity securities, and all other investment securities are classified as either available-for-sale or equity securities. Currently, all of our investment securities are classified as available-for-sale, except for one mutual fund classified as an equity security.

 

The fair value of the equity security was $3,106,000 and $3,112,000 at December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017, respectively. Consistent with ASU 2016-01, equity securities are carried at fair value with the changes in fair value recognized in the consolidated statement of income. Accordingly, the Company recognized an unrealized loss of $90,000 during the year ended December 31, 2018.

 

Our available for sale investment securities holdings increased by $27,464,000 or 15.3%, to $206,712,000 at December 31, 2018, compared to holdings of $179,248,000 at December 31, 2017. The carrying values of available-for-sale investment securities are adjusted for unrealized gains or losses as a valuation allowance and any gain or loss is reported on an after-tax basis as a component of other comprehensive income.

 

Total investment securities as a percentage of total assets increased to 19.2% as of December 31, 2018 compared to 17.6% at December 31, 2017. As of December 31, 2018, $118,771,000 of the investment securities were pledged to secure public deposits.

 

As of December 31, 2018, the total unrealized loss on debt securities that were in a loss position for less than 12 continuous months was $765,000 with an aggregate fair value of $62,617,000. The total unrealized loss on debt securities that were in a loss position for greater than 12 continuous months was $1,586,000 with an aggregate fair value of $57,672,000.

 

The following table summarizes the book value and fair value and distribution of our debt investment securities, which does not include equity securities, as of the dates indicated:

 

Debt Investment Securities Portfolio

 

   

December 31, 2018

   

December 31, 2017

   

December 31, 2016

 
   

Amortized

   

Market

   

Amortized

   

Market

   

Amortized

   

Market

 
Dollars in Thousands  

Cost

    Value    

Cost

    Value    

Cost

    Value  

Available-for-Sale:

                                               

U.S. agencies

  $ 44,474     $ 44,106     $ 29,741     $ 29,972     $ 27,879     $ 28,286  

Collateralized mortgage obligations

    2,071       2,012       2,628       2,593       4,159       4,109  

Municipal securities

    92,257       93,237       91,201       93,067       77,957       78,329  

SBA pools

    8,707       8,673       11,818       11,850       7,219       7,168  

Corporate debt

    21,426       20,587       19,358       18,789       21,349       20,563  

Asset backed securities

    38,395       38,097       22,866       22,977       18,888       18,819  

Total debt securities

  $ 207,330     $ 206,712     $ 177,612     $ 179,248     $ 157,451     $ 157,274  

 

 

At December 31, 2018, thirty-four municipalities, eleven U.S. agencies, nine corporate debts, four Small Business Administration pools, three collateralized mortgage obligations and two asset-backed securities make up the total debt securities in an unrealized loss position for greater than 12 months. At December 31, 2018, eighteen U.S. agencies, fourteen municipalities, twelve asset-backed securities, three SBA pools, two corporate debts, one collateralized mortgage obligation make up the total debt securities in a loss position for less than 12 months. Management periodically evaluates each available-for-sale investment security in an unrealized loss position to determine if the impairment is temporary or other than temporary. This evaluation encompasses various factors including, the nature of the investment, the cause of the impairment, the severity and duration of the impairment, credit ratings and other credit related factors such as third party guarantees and the volatility of the security’s fair value. Management has determined that no investment security is other than temporarily impaired. The unrealized losses are due primarily to interest rate changes, and the Company does not intend to sell the securities and it is not likely that the Company will be required to sell the securities before the earlier of the forecasted recovery or the maturity of the underlying investment security. As of December 31, 2018, we did not have any investment securities that constituted 10% or more of the stockholders’ equity of any third-party issuer.

 

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The following table summarizes the maturity and repricing schedule of our debt investment securities, which does not include equity securities, at their amortized cost and their weighted average yields at December 31, 2018:

 

 

Debt Investment Maturities and Repricing Schedule

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

Within One Year

   

After One But

Within Five Years

   

After Five But

Within Ten Years

   

After Ten Years

   

Total

 
   

Amount

   

Yield

   

Amount

   

Yield

   

Amount

   

Yield

   

Amount

   

Yield

   

Amount

   

Yield

 

Available-for-sale:

                                                                               

U.S. agencies

  $ 10,199       1.02

%

  $ 2,885       3.16

%

  $ 5,442       3.12

%

  $ 25,948       2.68

%

  $ 44,474       2.38

%

Collateralized mortgage obligations

    0       0.00

%

    0       0.00

%

    0       0.00

%

    2,071       2.67

%

    2,071       2.67

%

Municipalities

    20,749       3.08

%

    47,288       3.09

%

    21,150       4.00

%

    3,070       4.93

%

    92,257       3.36

%

SBA pools

    0       0.00

%

    0       0.00

%

    3,215       4.16

%

    5,492       3.92

%

    8,707       4.01

%

Corporate debt

    6,024       3.06

%

    4,844       3.67

%

    10,558       3.08

%

    0       0.00

%

    21,426       3.21

%

Asset backed securities

    0       0.00

%

    0       0.00

%

    6,042       4.08

%

    32,353       3.82

%

    38,395       3.86

%

Total debt securities

  $ 36,972       2.51

%

  $ 55,017       3.15

%

  $ 46,407       3.71

%

  $ 68,934       3.41

%

  $ 207,330       3.25

%

 

 

Yields in the above table have been adjusted to a fully tax equivalent basis. Securities are reported at the earliest possible call, repricing or maturity date.

 

 

Loans

 

The following table sets forth the amount of total loans outstanding (including unearned income) and the percentage distributions in each category, as of the dates indicated.

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31,

 
   

2018

   

2017

   

2016

   

2015

   

2014

 

Commercial real estate

  $ 554,519     $ 517,150     $ 478,855     $ 423,047     $ 358,398  

Commercial and industrial

    82,252       69,610       64,201       63,776       54,051  

Consumer

    1,314       689       767       774       805  

Consumer residential

    35,741       37,161       38,672       32,588       25,464  

Agriculture

    38,076       37,934       28,454       20,847       15,753  

Unearned income

    (997 )     (1,389 )     (2,013 )     (3,282 )     (446 )

Total Loans, net of unearned income

  $ 710,905     $ 661,155     $ 608,936     $ 537,750     $ 454,025  
                                         

Participation loans sold and serviced by the Bank

    22,119       19,722       21,348       19,848       16,243  
                                         

Commercial real estate

    78.0 %     78.2 %     78.6 %     78.7 %     78.9 %

Commercial and industrial

    11.6 %     10.5 %     10.5 %     11.9 %     11.9 %

Consumer

    0.2 %     0.1 %     0.1 %     0.1 %     0.2 %

Consumer residential

    5.0 %     5.6 %     6.4 %     6.1 %     5.6 %

Agriculture

    5.4 %     5.7 %     4.7 %     3.9 %     3.5 %

Unearned income

    -0.1 %     -0.2 %     -0.3 %     -0.6 %     -0.1 %

Total Loans, net of unearned income

    100.0 %     100.0 %     100.0 %     100.0 %     100.0 %

 

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Commercial real estate loans increased $37,369,000 in 2018 as compared to 2017, due to the increased demand by qualified borrowers in our serving area. Of the commercial real estate loans at December 31, 2018, 60% are non-owner occupied and 40% are owner occupied. Our commercial real estate loan portfolio is weighted towards term loans for which the primary source of repayment is cash flow from net operating income of the real estate property.

 

Commercial and industrial loans increased $12,642,000 in 2018 as compared to 2017. We have historically targeted well-established local businesses with strong guarantors that have proven to be resilient in periods of economic stress.

 

Our residential loan portfolio includes no sub-prime loans, nor is it our normal practice to underwrite loans commonly referred to as "Alt-A mortgages", the characteristics of which are loans lacking full documentation, borrowers having low FICO scores or collateral compositions reflecting high loan-to-value ratios. Substantially all of our residential loans are indexed to Treasury Constant Maturity Rates and have provisions to reset five years after their origination dates.

 

The following table summarizes our commercial real estate loan portfolio by the geographic location in which the property is located as of December 31, 2018 and 2017:

 

Commercial Real Estate Loans Outstanding by Geographic Location

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

December 31, 2018

 

December 31, 2017

Commercial real estate loans by geographic location (County)

 

Amount

 

% of
Commercial
Real Estate

Loans

 

Amount

 

% of
Commercial
Real Estate

Loans

Stanislaus

  $ 157,945       28.5 %   $ 173,479       33.5 %

San Joaquin

    122,900       22.2 %     90,275       17.5 %

Sacramento

    42,312       7.6 %     20,501       4.0 %

Tuolumne

    34,515       6.2 %     33,648       6.5 %

Fresno

    31,256       5.6 %     35,711       6.9 %

Merced

    16,458       3.0 %     17,276       3.3 %

Contra Costa

    14,381       2.6 %     10,373       2.0 %

Marin

    12,233       2.2 %     12,658       2.4 %

Madera

    9,517       1.7 %     9,766       1.9 %

Santa Clara

    9,443       1.7 %     2,784       0.5 %

Calaveras

    9,089       1.6 %     8,399       1.6 %

Sonoma

    8,155       1.5 %     8,544       1.7 %

San Luis Obispo

    7,628       1.4 %     11,424       2.2 %

Inyo

    6,802       1.2 %     7,176       1.4 %

Alameda

    5,626       1.0 %     6,675       1.3 %

San Francisco

    5,405       1.0 %     5,521       1.1 %

Solano

    5,363       1.0 %     5,311       1.0 %

Mono

    5,113       0.9 %     6,529       1.3 %

Butte

    4,424       0.8 %     4,162       0.8 %

Other

    45,954       8.3 %     46,938       9.1 %

Total

  $ 554,519       100.0 %   $ 517,150       100.0 %

 

50

Table of Contents

 

Construction and land loans are classified as commercial real estate loans and decreased $10.1 million in 2018 as compared to 2017.  The table below shows an analysis of construction loans by type and location. Non-owner-occupied land loans of $11.0 million at December 31, 2018 included loans for lands specified for commercial development of $6.6 million and for residential development of $4.4 million, the majority of which are located in Stanislaus County.

 

Construction and Land Loans Outstanding by Type and Geographic Location

 

(Dollars in Thousands)

 

December 31, 2018

 

December 31, 2017

Construction and land loans by type

 

Amount

 

% of
Construction

and Land

Loans

 

Amount

 

% of
Construction

and Land

Loans

Single family non-owner-occupied

  $ 2,276       7.3 %   $ 1,040       2.5 %

Single family owner-occupied

    2,169       6.9 %     1,039       2.5 %

Commercial non-owner-occupied

    9,328       29.9 %     20,989       50.8 %

Commercial owner-occupied

    6,490       20.8 %     8,197       19.8 %

Land non-owner-occupied

    10,951       35.1 %     10,072       24.4 %

Total

  $ 31,214       100.0 %   $ 41,337       100.0 %

 

 

Construction and land loans by geographic location (County)

 

Amount

 

% of
Construction

and Land

Loans

 

Amount

 

% of
Construction

and Land

Loans

San Joaquin

  $ 10,653       34.1 %   $ 4,994       12.1 %

Stanislaus

    6,034       19.3 %     4,954       12.0 %

Tuolumne

    3,069       9.8 %     1,395       3.4 %

Shasta

    2,033