SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Basis of Presentation and Consolidation
The Consolidated Financial Statements (the “financial statements”) of Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. and its subsidiaries (the “Company” or “Berkshire”) have been prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). The Company is a Delaware corporation, headquartered in Boston, Mass., and the holding company for Berkshire Bank (the “Bank”), a Massachusetts-chartered trust company headquartered in Pittsfield, Mass., and Berkshire Insurance Group, Inc. These financial statements include the accounts of the Company, its wholly-owned subsidiaries and the Bank’s consolidated subsidiaries. In consolidation, all significant intercompany accounts and transactions are eliminated. The results of operations of companies or assets acquired are included only from the dates of acquisition. All material wholly-owned and majority-owned subsidiaries are consolidated unless GAAP requires otherwise.
The Company has evaluated subsequent events for potential recognition and/or disclosure through the date these financial statements were issued.
Certain items in prior financial statements have been reclassified to conform to the current presentation.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent liabilities at the date of the financial statements. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Business combinations are accounted for using the acquisition method of accounting. Under this method, the accounts of an acquired entity are included with the acquirer’s accounts as of the date of acquisition with any excess of purchase price over the fair value of the net assets acquired (including identifiable intangibles) capitalized as goodwill.
To consummate an acquisition, the Company will typically issue common stock and/or pay cash, depending on the terms of the acquisition agreement. The value of common shares issued is determined based upon the market price of the stock as of the closing of the acquisition.
Prior Period Acquisition
The Company completed the acquisition of Commerce Bancshares Corp. (“Commerce”), the parent company of Commerce Bank & Trust Company (“Commerce Bank”), at the close of business on October 13, 2017. With this acquisition, the Company established a market position in Worcester, New England’s second largest city. Additionally, this acquisition was a catalyst for the Company’s decision to relocate its corporate headquarters to Boston and to expand its Greater Boston market initiatives. This acquisition also increased the Company’s total assets over the $10 billion Dodd Frank Act threshold for additional regulatory requirements.
During the nine months ended September 30, 2018, immaterial adjustments were made to the preliminary valuation of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. These adjustments affect goodwill, other assets, and deferred tax assets. As of September 30, 2018, the Company finalized its valuation of all assets acquired and liabilities assumed, resulting in no material change to acquisition accounting adjustments. A summary of the fair values of the acquired assets, liabilities assumed, and resulting goodwill follows:
As Recorded by
Company common stock issued to Commerce common shareholders
Company preferred stock issued to certain Commerce shareholders
Cash in lieu paid to Commerce shareholders
Total consideration paid
Recognized amounts of identifiable assets acquired and (liabilities) assumed, at fair value:
Cash and short-term investments
Premises and equipment
Core deposit intangibles
Deferred tax assets, net
Goodwill and other intangibles
Total identifiable net assets
Cash and Cash equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include cash, balances due from banks, and short-term investments, all of which had an original maturity within 90 days. Due to the nature of cash and cash equivalents and the near term maturity, the Company estimated that the carrying amount of such instruments approximated fair value. The nature of the Bank’s business requires that it maintain amounts due from banks which at times, may exceed federally insured limits. The Bank has not experienced any losses on such amounts and all amounts are maintained with well-capitalized institutions.
The Company accounts for a tax advantaged economic development bond originated in 2008 at fair value, in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 320. The bond has been designated as a trading account security and is recorded at fair value, with changes in unrealized gains and losses recorded through earnings each period as part of non-interest income.
Debt securities that management has the intent and ability to hold to maturity are classified as held to maturity and carried at amortized cost. All other debt securities are classified as available for sale and carried at fair value, with unrealized gains and losses reported as a component of other net comprehensive income. Equity securities are carried at fair value, with changes in fair value reported in net income. Management determines the appropriate classification of securities at the time of purchase. Restricted equity securities, such as stock in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston (“FHLBB”) are carried at cost. There are no quoted market prices for the Company’s restricted equity securities. The Bank is a member of the FHLBB, which requires that members maintain an investment in FHLBB stock, which may be redeemed based on certain conditions. The Bank reviews for impairment based on the ultimate recoverability of the cost bases in the FHLBB stock.
Purchase premiums and discounts are recognized in interest income using the interest method, without anticipating prepayments, except mortgage-backed securities where prepayments are anticipated, over the terms of the securities. Gains and losses on the sale of securities are recorded on the trade date and are determined using the specific identification method.
The Company evaluates debt securities within the Company’s available for sale and held to maturity portfolios for other-than-temporary impairment (“OTTI”), at least quarterly. If the fair value of a debt security is below the amortized cost basis of the security, OTTI is required to be recognized if any of the following are met: (1) the Company intends to sell the security; (2) it is “more likely than not” that the Company will be required to sell the security before recovery of its amortized cost basis; or (3) the present value of expected cash flows is not sufficient to recover the entire amortized cost basis. For all impaired debt securities that the Company intends to sell, or more likely than not will be required to sell, the full amount of the depreciation is recognized as OTTI through earnings. Credit-related OTTI for all other impaired debt securities is recognized through earnings. Non-credit related OTTI for such debt securities is recognized in other comprehensive income, net of applicable taxes.
Loans Held for Sale
Loans originated with the intent to be sold in the secondary market are accounted for under the fair value option. Non-refundable fees and direct loan origination costs related to residential mortgage loans held for sale are recognized in non-interest income or non-interest expense as earned or incurred. Fair value is primarily determined based on quoted prices for similar loans in active markets. Gains and losses on sales of residential mortgage loans (sales proceeds minus carrying value) are recorded in non-interest income.
Loans that were previously held for investment that the Company has an active plan to sell are transferred to loans held for sale at the lower of cost or market (fair value). The market price is primarily determined based on quoted prices for similar loans in active markets or agreed upon sales prices. Gains are recorded in non-interest income at sale to the extent that the sale price of the loan exceeds carrying value. Any reduction in the loan’s value, prior to being transferred to loans held for sale, is reflected as a charge-off of the recorded investment in the loan resulting in a new cost basis, with a corresponding reduction in the allowance for loan losses. Further changes in the fair value of the loan are recognized in non-interest income or expense, accordingly.
Loans are reported at their outstanding unpaid principal balances adjusted for charge-offs, the allowance for loan losses, the unamortized balance of any deferred fees or costs on originated loans and the unamortized balance of any premiums or discounts on loans purchased or acquired through mergers. Interest income is accrued on the unpaid principal balance. Interest income includes net accretion or amortization of deferred fees or costs and of premiums or discounts. Direct loan origination costs, net of any origination fees, in addition to premiums and discounts on loans, are deferred and recognized as an adjustment of the related loan yield using the interest method. Interest on loans, excluding automobile loans, is generally not accrued on loans which are ninety days or more past due unless the loan is well-secured and in the process of collection. Past due status is based on contractual terms of the loan. Automobile loans generally continue accruing until one hundred and twenty days delinquent, at which time they are charged off. All interest accrued but not collected for loans that are placed on non-accrual or charged-off is reversed against interest income, except for certain loans designated as well-secured. The interest on non-accrual loans is accounted for on the cash-basis or cost-recovery method, until qualifying for return to accrual. Loans are returned to accrual status when all the principal and interest amounts contractually due are brought current and future payments are reasonably assured.
Loans that the Company acquired in acquisitions are initially recorded at fair value with no carryover of the related allowance for credit losses. Determining the fair value of the loans involves estimating the amount and timing of principal and interest cash flows initially expected to be collected on the loans and discounting those cash flows at an appropriate market rate of interest.
For loans that meet the criteria stipulated in ASC 310-30, “Loans and Debt Securities Acquired with Deteriorated Credit Quality,” the Company recognizes the accretable yield, which is defined as the excess of all cash flows expected at acquisition over the initial fair value of the loan, as interest income on a level-yield basis over the expected remaining life of the loan. The excess of the loan’s contractually required payments over the cash flows expected to be collected is the nonaccretable difference. The nonaccretable difference is not recognized as an adjustment of yield, a loss accrual, or a valuation allowance.
For ASC 310-30 loans, the expected cash flows reflect anticipated prepayments, determined on a loan by loan or pool basis according to the anticipated collection plan of these loans. The expected prepayments used to determine the accretable yield are consistent between the cash flows expected to be collected and projections of contractual cash flows so as to not affect the nonaccretable difference. For ASC 310-30 loans, prepayments result in the recognition of the nonaccretable balance as current period yield. Changes in prepayment assumptions may change the amount of interest income and principal expected to be collected. Interest income is also net of recoveries recorded on acquired impaired loans. ASC310-30 loans that have similar risk characteristics, primarily credit risk, collateral type and interest rate risk, and are homogenous in size, are pooled and accounted for as a single asset with a single composite interest rate and an aggregate expectation of cash flows. ASC 310-30 loans that cannot be aggregated into a pool are accounted for individually.
After we acquire loans determined to be accounted for under ASC 310-30, actual cash collections are monitored to determine if they conform to management’s expectations. Revised cash flow expectations are prepared each quarter. A decrease in expected cash flows in subsequent periods may indicate impairment and would require us to establish an allowance for loan and lease losses (“ALLL”) by recording a charge to the provision for loan and lease losses. An increase in expected cash flows in subsequent periods initially reduces any previously established ALLL by the increase in the present value of cash flows expected to be collected, and requires us to recalculate the amount of accretable yield for the ASC 310-30 loan or pool. The adjustment of accretable yield due to an increase in expected cash flows is accounted for as a change in estimate. The additional cash flows expected to be collected are reclassified from the nonaccretable difference to the accretable yield, and the amount of periodic accretion is adjusted accordingly over the remaining life of the ASC 310-30 loan or pool.
An ASC 310-30 loan may be derecognized either through receipt of payment (in full or in part) from the borrower, the sale of the loan to a third party, foreclosure of the collateral, or charge-off. If one of these events occurs, the loan is removed from the loan pool, or derecognized if it is accounted for as an individual loan. ASC 310-30 loans subject to modification are not removed from an ASC 310-30 pool even if those loans would otherwise be deemed troubled debt restructurings (“TDRs”) since the pool, and not the individual loan, represents the unit of account. Individually accounted for ASC 310-30 loans that are modified in a TDR are no longer classified as ASC 310-30 loans and are subject to TDR recognition.
Acquired loans that met the criteria for nonaccrual of interest prior to the acquisition are considered performing upon acquisition, regardless of whether the customer is contractually delinquent, if the Company can reasonably estimate the timing and amount of the expected cash flows on such loans and if the Company expects to fully collect the new carrying value of the loans. As such, the Company may no longer consider the loan to be nonaccrual or nonperforming and may accrue interest on these loans, including the impact of any accretable yield. The Company has determined that the Company can reasonably estimate future cash flows on the Company’s current portfolio of acquired loans that are past due 90 days or more and on which the Company is accruing interest and the Company expects to fully collect the carrying value of the loans.
For loans that do not meet the ASC 310-30 criteria, the Company accretes interest income based on the contractually required cash flows. Subsequent to the purchase date, the methods utilized to estimate the required allowance for loan losses for these loans is similar to originated loans.
Allowance for Loan Losses
The allowance for loan losses is established based upon the level of estimated probable incurred losses in the current loan portfolio. Loan losses are charged against the allowance when management believes the collectability of a loan balance is doubtful. Subsequent recoveries, if any, are credited to the allowance. The allowance for loan losses includes allowance allocations calculated in accordance with ASC 310, “Receivables,” and allowance allocations calculated in accordance with ASC 450, “Contingencies.” The allowance for loan losses is allocated to loan types using both a formula-based approach applied to groups of loans and an analysis of certain individual loans for impairment. The formula-based approach emphasizes loss factors derived from actual historical and industry portfolio loss rates, which are combined with an assessment of certain qualitative factors to determine the allowance amounts allocated to the various loan categories. Allowance amounts are based on an estimate of historical average annual percentage rate of loan loss for each loan segment, a temporal estimate of the incurred loss emergence and confirmation period for each loan category, and certain qualitative risk factors considered in the computation of the allowance for loan losses.
Qualitative risk factors impacting the inherent risk of loss within the portfolio include the following:
National and local economic conditions, regulatory/legislative changes, or other competitive factors affecting the collectability of the portfolio
Trends in underwriting characteristics, composition of the portfolio, and/or asset quality
Changes in underwriting standards and/or collection, charge off, recovery, and account management practice
The existence and effect of any concentrations of credit
Risk characteristics relevant to each portfolio segment are as follows:
Commercial real estate - Loans in this segment are primarily owner-occupied or income-producing properties throughout New England and Northeastern New York. The underlying cash flows generated by the properties are adversely impacted by a downturn in the economy, which in turn, will have an effect on the credit quality in this segment. Management monitors the cash flows of these loans. In addition, construction loans in this segment primarily include real estate development loans for which payment is derived from sale of the property or long term financing at completion. Credit risk is affected by cost overruns, time to sell at an adequate price, and market conditions
Commercial and industrial loans - Loans in this segment are made to businesses and are generally secured by assets of the business. Repayment is expected from the cash flows of the business. Loans in this segment include asset based loans which generally have no scheduled repayment and which are closely monitored against formula based collateral advance ratios. A weakened economy, and resultant decreased consumer spending, will have an effect on the credit quality in this segment.
Residential mortgage - All loans in this segment are collateralized by residential real estate and repayment is dependent on the credit quality of the individual borrower. The overall health of the economy, including unemployment rates and housing prices, will have an effect on the credit quality in this segment.
Consumer loans - Loans in this segment are primarily home equity lines of credit and second mortgages, together with automobile loans and other consumer loans. The overall health of the economy, including unemployment rates and housing prices, will have an effect on the credit quality in this segment.
The Company utilizes a blend of historical and industry portfolio loss rates for commercial real estate and commercial and industrial loans that are assessed by internal risk rating. Historical loss rates for residential mortgages, home equity and other consumer loans are not risk graded but are assessed based on the total of each loan segment. This approach incorporates qualitative adjustments based upon management’s assessment of various market and portfolio specific risk factors into its formula-based estimate. Due to the subjective nature of the loan loss estimation process and ever changing conditions, the qualitative risk attributes may not adequately capture amounts of incurred loss in the formula-based loan loss components used to determine allocations in the Company’s analysis of the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses.
The Company evaluates certain loans individually for specific impairment. Large groups of small balance homogeneous loans such as the residential mortgage, home equity, and other consumer portfolios are collectively evaluated for impairment. A loan is considered impaired when, based on current information and events, it is probable that the Company will be unable to collect the scheduled payments of principal or interest when due according to the contractual terms of the loan agreement. Factors considered by management in determining impairment include payment status, collateral value, and the probability of collecting scheduled principal and interest payments when due. Loans that experience insignificant payment delays and payment shortfalls generally are not classified as impaired. Loans are selected for evaluation based upon a change in internal risk rating, occurrence of delinquency, loan classification, or non-accrual status. The evaluation of certain loans individually for specific impairment includes non-accrual loans over a threshold and loans that were determined to be Troubled Debt Restructurings (“TDRs”). A specific allowance amount is allocated to an individual loan when such loan has been deemed impaired and when the amount of the probable loss is able to be estimated. Estimates of loss may be determined by the present value of anticipated future cash flows or the loan’s observable fair market value, or the fair value of the collateral less costs to sell, if the loan is collateral dependent. However, for collateral dependent loans, the amount of the recorded investment in a loan that exceeds the fair value of the collateral is charged-off against the allowance for loan losses in lieu of an allocation of a specific allowance amount when such an amount has been identified definitively as uncollectible.
Regarding acquired loans, the Company subjects loans that do not meet the ASC 310-30 criteria to ASC 450-20 by collectively evaluating these loans for an allowance for loan loss. The Company applies a methodology similar to the methodology prescribed for business activities loans, which includes the application of environmental factors to each category of loans. The methodology to collectively evaluate the acquired loans outside the scope of ASC 310-30 includes the application of a number of environmental factors that reflect management’s best estimate of the level of incremental credit losses that might be recognized given current conditions. This is reviewed as part of the allowance for loan loss adequacy analysis. As the loan portfolio matures and environmental factors change, the loan portfolio will be reassessed each quarter to determine an appropriate reserve allowance.
Additionally, the Company considers the need for an additional reserve for acquired loans accounted for outside of the scope of ASC 310-30 under ASC 310-20. At acquisition date, the Bank determined a fair value mark with credit and interest rate components. Under the Company’s model, the impairment evaluation process involves comparing the carrying value of acquired loans, including the unamortized premium or discount, to the calculated reserve allowance. If necessary, the Company books an additional reserve to account for shortfalls identified through this calculation. A decrease in the expected cash flows in subsequent periods requires the establishment of an allowance for loan losses at that time for ASC 310-30 loans.
Bank-Owned Life Insurance
Bank-owned life insurance policies are reflected on the Consolidated Balance Sheets at the amount that can be realized under the insurance contract at the balance sheet date which is the cash surrender value. Changes in the net cash surrender value of the policies, as well as insurance proceeds received, are reflected in non-interest income on the Consolidated Statements of Income and are not subject to income taxes.
Foreclosed and Repossessed Assets
Other real estate owned is comprised of real estate acquired through foreclosure proceedings or acceptance of a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Repossessed collateral is primarily comprised of taxi medallions. Both other real estate owned and repossessed collateral are held for sale and are initially recorded at the fair value less estimated costs to sell at the date of foreclosure or repossession, establishing a new cost basis. The shortfall, if any, of the loan balance over the fair value of the property or collateral, less cost to sell, at the time of transfer from loans to other real estate owned or repossessed collateral is charged to the allowance for loan losses. Subsequent to transfer, the asset is carried at lower of cost or fair value less cost to sell and periodically evaluated for impairment. Subsequent impairments in the fair value of other real estate owned and repossessed collateral are charged to expense in the period incurred. Net operating income or expense related to other real estate owned and repossessed collateral is included in operating expenses in the accompanying Consolidated Statements of Income. Because of changing market conditions, there are inherent uncertainties in the assumptions with respect to the estimated fair value of other real estate owned and repossessed collateral. Because of these inherent uncertainties, the amount ultimately realized on other real estate owned and repossessed collateral may differ from the amounts reflected in the financial statements.
Capitalized Servicing Rights
Capitalized servicing rights are included in “other assets” in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Servicing assets are initially recognized as separate assets at fair value when rights are acquired through purchase or through sale of financial assets with servicing retained.
The Company's servicing rights accounted for under the fair value method are carried on the Consolidated Balance Sheets at fair value with changes in fair value recorded in income in the period in which the change occurs. Changes in the fair value of servicing rights are primarily due to changes in valuation inputs, assumptions, and the collection and realization of expected cash flows.
The Company’s servicing rights accounted for under the amortization method are initially recorded at fair value. Under that method, capitalized servicing rights are charged to expense in proportion to and over the period of estimated net servicing income. Fair value of the servicing rights is based on a valuation model that calculates the present value of estimated future net servicing income. The valuation model incorporates assumptions that market participants would use in estimating future net servicing income, such as the cost to service, the discount rate, prepayment speeds and default rates and losses. Impairment is recognized through a valuation allowance for an individual tranche, to the extent that fair value is less than the capitalized amount for the tranches. If the Company later determines that all or a portion of the impairment no longer exists for a particular tranche, a reduction of the allowance may be recorded as an increase to income.
Premises and Equipment
Land is carried at cost. Buildings, improvements, and equipment are carried at cost less accumulated depreciation and amortization computed on the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Leasehold improvements are amortized on the straight-line method over the shorter of the lease term, plus optional terms if certain conditions are met, or the estimated useful life of the asset.
Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the net assets acquired in a business combination. Goodwill is assessed annually for impairment, and more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that there may be an impairment. Adverse changes in the economic environment, declining operations, unanticipated competition, loss of key personnel, or other factors could result in a decline in the implied fair value of goodwill. If the implied fair value of goodwill is less than the carrying amount, a loss would be recognized in other non-interest expense to reduce the carrying amount to the implied fair value of goodwill.
The Company performs an annual qualitative assessment of whether it is more likely than not that the reporting unit's fair value is less than its carrying amount. If the results of the qualitative assessment suggest goodwill impairment, the Company would perform a two-step impairment test through the application of various quantitative valuation methodologies. Step 1, used to identify instances of potential impairment, compares the fair value of the reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the carrying amount, including goodwill, exceeds its fair value, the second step of the goodwill impairment analysis is performed to measure the amount of impairment loss, if any. Step 2 of the goodwill impairment analysis compares the implied fair value of reporting unit goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. If the carrying amount of goodwill for the reporting unit exceeds the implied fair value of the reporting unit’s goodwill, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to that excess. Subsequent reversals of goodwill impairment are prohibited. The Company may elect to bypass the qualitative assessment and begin with Step 1.
Intangible assets are acquired assets that lack physical substance but can be distinguished from goodwill because of contractual or other legal rights or the asset is capable of being sold or exchanged either on its own or in combination with a related contract, asset or liability.
The fair values of these assets are generally determined based on appraisals and are subsequently amortized on a straight-line basis or an accelerated basis over their estimated lives. Management assesses the recoverability of these intangible assets whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying value may not be recoverable. If the carrying amount exceeds fair value, an impairment charge is recorded to income.
Transfers of Financial Assets
Transfers of an entire financial asset, group of entire financial assets, or a participating interest in an entire financial asset are accounted for as sales when control over the assets has been surrendered. Control over transferred assets is deemed to be surrendered when (1) the assets have been isolated from the Company, (2) the transferee obtains the right to pledge or exchange the transferred assets, and (3) the Company does not maintain effective control over the transferred assets.
Deferred income taxes are recognized for the tax consequences of temporary differences by applying enacted statutory tax rates applicable for future years to differences between financial statement and tax bases of existing assets and liabilities. The effect of tax rate changes on deferred taxes is recognized in the income tax provision in the period that includes the enactment date. A tax valuation allowance is established, as needed, to reduce net deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized. In the event it becomes more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax asset allowances will not be needed, the valuation allowance will be adjusted.
In the ordinary course of business there is inherent uncertainty in quantifying the Company’s income tax positions. Income tax positions and recorded tax benefits are based upon management’s evaluation of the facts, circumstances, and information available at the reporting date. For those tax positions where it is more likely than not that a tax benefit will be sustained, we have determined the amount of the tax benefit to be recognized by estimating the largest amount of tax benefit that has a greater than 50% likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement with a taxing authority that has full knowledge of all relevant information. For those income tax positions where it is more-likely-than-not that a tax benefit will not be sustained, no tax benefit has been recognized in the financial statements. Where applicable, associated interest and penalties have also been recognized. We recognize accrued interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits as a component of income tax expense.
Commission revenue is recognized as of the effective date of the insurance policy or the date the customer is billed, whichever is later, net of return commissions related to policy cancellations. Policy cancellation is a variable consideration that is not deemed significant and thus, does not impact the amount of revenue recognized.
In addition, the Company may receive additional performance commissions based on achieving certain sales and loss experience measures. Such commissions are recognized when determinable, which is generally when such commissions are received or when the Company receives data from the insurance companies that allows the reasonable estimation of these amounts.
Advertising costs are expensed as incurred.
The Company measures and recognizes compensation cost relating to share-based payment transactions based on the grant-date fair value of the equity instruments issued. The fair value of restricted stock is recorded as unearned compensation. The deferred expense is amortized to compensation expense based on one of several permitted attribution methods over the longer of the required service period or performance period. For performance-based restricted stock awards, the Company estimates the degree to which performance conditions will be met to determine the number of shares that will vest and the related compensation expense. Compensation expense is adjusted in the period such estimates change.
Income tax benefits and/or tax deficiencies related to stock compensation determined as the difference between compensation cost recognized for financial reporting purposes and the deduction for tax, are recognized in the income statement as income tax expense or benefit in the period in which they occur.
Wealth management assets held in a fiduciary or agent capacity are not included in the accompanying Consolidated Balance Sheets because they are not assets of the Company.
Wealth management fees is primarily comprised of fees earned from consultative investment management, trust administration, tax return preparation, and financial planning. The Company’s performance obligation is generally satisfied over time and the resulting fees are recognized monthly, based on the daily accrual of the market value of the investment accounts and the applicable fee rate.
Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities
The Company enters into interest rate swap agreements as part of the Company’s interest rate risk management strategy for certain assets and liabilities and not for speculative purposes. Based on the Company’s intended use for the interest rate swap at inception, the Company designates the derivative as either an economic hedge of an asset or liability or a hedging instrument subject to the hedge accounting provisions of ASC 815, “Derivatives and Hedging.”
Interest rate swaps designated as economic hedges are recorded at fair value within other assets or liabilities. Changes in the fair value of these derivatives are recorded directly through earnings.
For interest rate swaps that management intends to apply the hedge accounting provisions of ASC 815, the Company formally documents at inception all relationships between hedging instruments and hedged items, as well as its risk management objectives and strategies for undertaking the various hedges. Additionally, the Company uses dollar offset or regression analysis at the hedge’s inception and for each reporting period thereafter, to assess whether the derivative used in its hedging transaction is expected to be and has been highly effective in offsetting changes in the fair value or cash flows of the hedged item. The Company discontinues hedge accounting when it is determined that a derivative is not expected to be or has ceased to be highly effective as a hedge, and then reflects changes in fair value of the derivative in earnings after termination of the hedge relationship.
The Company has characterized its interest rate swaps that qualify under ASC 815 hedge accounting as cash flow hedges. Cash flow hedges are used to minimize the variability in cash flows of assets or liabilities, or forecasted transactions caused by interest rate fluctuations, and are recorded at fair value in other assets or liabilities within the Company’s balance sheets. Changes in the fair value of these cash flow hedges are initially recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income and subsequently reclassified into earnings when the forecasted transaction affects earnings. Any hedge ineffectiveness assessed as part of the Company’s quarterly analysis is recorded directly to earnings.
The Company enters into commitments to lend with borrowers, and forward commitments to sell loans or to-be-announced mortgage-backed bonds to investors to hedge against the inherent interest rate and pricing risk associated with selling loans. The commitments to lend generally terminate once the loan is funded, the lock period expires or the borrower decides not to contract for the loan. The forward commitments generally terminate once the loan is sold, the commitment period expires or the borrower decides not to contract for the loan. These commitments are considered derivatives which are accounted for by recognizing their estimated fair value on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as either a freestanding asset or liability. See Note 15 to the financial statements for more information on commitments to lend and forward commitments.
Off-Balance Sheet Financial Instruments
In the ordinary course of business, the Company enters into off-balance sheet financial instruments, consisting primarily of credit related financial instruments. These financial instruments are recorded in the financial statements when they are funded or related fees are incurred or received.
Fair Value Hierarchy
The Company groups assets and liabilities that are measured at fair value in three levels, based on the markets in which the assets and liabilities are traded and the reliability of the assumptions used to determine fair value.
Level 1 - Valuation is based on quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities. Valuations are obtained from readily available pricing sources for market transactions involving identical assets or liabilities.
Level 2 - Valuation is based on observable inputs other than Level 1 prices, such as quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities; quoted prices in markets that are not active; or other inputs that are observable or can be corroborated by observable market data for substantially the full term of the assets or liabilities.
Level 3 - Valuation is based on unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the fair value of the assets or liabilities. Level 3 assets and liabilities include financial instruments whose value is determined using unobservable techniques, as well as instruments for which the determination of fair value requires significant management judgment or estimation.
The Company maintains an employer sponsored 401(k) plan to which participants may make contributions in the form of salary deferrals and the Company provides matching contributions in accordance with the terms of the plan. Contributions due under the terms of the defined contribution plans are accrued as earned by employees.
Due to the Rome Bancorp acquisition in 2011, the Company inherited a noncontributory, qualified, defined benefit pension plan for certain employees who met age and service requirements; as well as other post-retirement benefits, principally health care and group life insurance. The Rome pension plan and postretirement benefits that were acquired in connection with the whole-bank acquisition in the second quarter of 2011 were frozen prior to the close of the transaction. The pension benefit in the form of a life annuity is based on the employee’s combined years of service, age, and compensation. The Company also has a long-term care post-retirement benefit plan for certain executives where upon disability, associated benefits are funded by insurance policies or paid directly by the Company.
In order to measure the expense associated with the Plans, various assumptions are made including the discount rate, expected return on plan assets, anticipated mortality rates, and expected future healthcare costs. The assumptions are based on historical experience as well as current facts and circumstances. The Company uses a December 31 measurement date for its Plans. As of the measurement date, plan assets are determined based on fair value, generally representing observable market prices. The projected benefit obligation is primarily determined based on the present value of projected benefit distributions at an assumed discount rate.
Net periodic pension benefit costs include interest costs based on an assumed discount rate, the expected return on plan assets based on actuarially derived market-related values, and the amortization of net actuarial losses. Net periodic postretirement benefit costs include service costs, interest costs based on an assumed discount rate, and the amortization of prior service credits and net actuarial gains. Differences between expected and actual results in each year are included in the net actuarial gain or loss amount, which is recognized in other comprehensive income. The net actuarial gain or loss in excess of a 10% corridor is amortized in net periodic benefit cost over the average remaining service period of active participants in the Plans. The prior service credit is amortized over the average remaining service period to full eligibility for participating employees expected to receive benefits.
The Company recognizes in its statement of condition an asset for a plan’s overfunded status or a liability for a plan’s underfunded status. The Company also measures the Plans’ assets and obligations that determine its funded status as of the end of the fiscal year and recognizes those changes in other comprehensive income, net of tax.
The Company operates as one consolidated reportable segment. The chief operating decision-maker evaluates consolidated results and makes decisions for resource allocation on this same data. Management periodically reviews and redefines its segment reporting as internal reporting practices evolve and components of the business change. The financial statements reflect the financial results of the Company's one reportable operating segment.
Recently Adopted Accounting Principles
Effective January 1, 2018, the following new accounting guidance was adopted by the Company:
ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606) (additional information is disclosed in Note 23 - Revenue of the Consolidated Financial Statements);
ASU No. 2016-01, Financial Instruments - Overall (Subtopic 825-10): Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities
The adoption of these accounting standards did not have a material impact on the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements.
In February 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-02, “Income statement - Reporting Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): Reclassification of Certain Tax Effects from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income” which will allow a reclassification from accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”) to retained earnings for stranded tax effects resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. These amendments are effective for all entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. For interim periods within those fiscal years, early adoption of the amendment is permitted including public business entities for reporting periods for which financial statements have not yet been issued. The Company elected to early adopt ASU 2018-02 during the first quarter of 2018, and elected to reclassify the income tax effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 from AOCI to retained earnings. The immaterial reclassification increased AOCI and decreased retained earnings by $896 thousand, with no net effect on total shareholders’ equity.
Future Application of Accounting Pronouncements
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, “Leases (Topic 842)”. The new pronouncement improves the transparency and comparability of financial reporting around leasing transactions and more closely aligns accounting for leases with the recently issued International Financial Reporting Standard. The pronouncement affects all entities that are participants to leasing agreements. From a lessee accounting perspective, the ASU requires a lessee to recognize assets and liabilities on the balance sheet for operating leases and changes many key definitions, including the definition of a lease. The ASU includes a short-term lease exception for leases with a term of twelve months or less, in which a lessee can make an accounting policy election not to recognize lease assets and lease liabilities. Lessees will continue to differentiate between finance leases (previously referred to as capital leases) and operating leases, using classification criteria that are substantially similar to the previous guidance. For lessees, the recognition, measurement, and presentation of expenses and cash flows arising from a lease have not significantly changed from previous GAAP. From a lessor accounting perspective, the guidance is largely unchanged, except for targeted improvements to align with new terminology under lessee accounting and with the updated revenue recognition guidance in Topic 606. For sale-leaseback transactions, for a sale to occur the transfer must meet the sale criteria under the new revenue standard, Topic 606. Entities will not be required to reassess transactions previously accounted under then existing guidance.
The ASU includes additional quantitative and qualitative disclosures required by lessees and lessors to help users better understand the amount, timing, and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases. ASU No. 2016-02 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 31, 2018, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Lessees and lessors are required to recognize and measure leases at the beginning of the earliest period presented using a modified retrospective approach. In July 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-11, “Leases (Topic 842) - Targeted Improvements” to provide entities with relief from the costs of implementing certain aspects of the new leasing standard. Specifically, under the amendments in ASU No. 2018-11 entities may elect not to recast the comparative periods presented when transitioning to the new leasing standard, and lessors may elect not to separate lease and non-lease components when certain conditions are met. As the Company elected the transition option provided in ASU No. 2018-11, the modified retrospective approach will be applied on January 1, 2019 (as opposed to January 1, 2017). The Company also elected certain practical expedients provided under ASU No. 2016-02 whereby we will not reassess (i) whether any expired or existing contracts are or contain leases, (ii) the lease classification for any expired or existing leases and (iii) initial direct costs for any existing leases. In December 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-20, “Leases (Topic 842): Narrow-Scope Improvements for Lessors,” which provides targeted improvements and clarification to guidance with FASB ASC Topic 842 specific to lessors. The amendments of ASU No. 2018-20 have the same effective date as ASU 2016-02 and may be applied either retrospectively or prospectively to all new and existing leases. The Company obtained a third-party software application which will provide lease accounting under the guidelines of FASB ASC Topic 842. The amendments of ASU No. 2016-02 and subsequently issued ASUs, which provided additional guidance and clarifications to various aspects of FASB ASC Topic 842, became effective for the Company on January 1, 2019. Management is currently finalizing the evaluation of the Company’s lease obligations as potential lease assets and liabilities as defined by ASU No. 2016-02. Based on management’s preliminary analysis of the Company’s existing lease contracts, it is estimated that the adoption of ASU 2016-02 will result in approximately $70 million to $90 million increase in assets and liabilities on the Company’s consolidated balance sheets. Disclosures required by the amendments of ASU No. 2016-02 will be presented beginning with the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ending March 31, 2019.
In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13 "Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments.” This ASU improves financial reporting by requiring timelier recording of credit losses on loans and other financial instruments. The ASU requires companies to measure all expected credit losses for financial assets held at the reporting date based on historical experience, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts. Forward-looking information will now be used in credit loss estimates. The ASU requires enhanced disclosures to provide better understanding surrounding significant estimates and judgments used in estimating credit losses, as well as the credit quality and underwriting standards of a company’s portfolio. These disclosures include qualitative and quantitative requirements that provide additional information about the amounts recorded in the financial statements. Additionally, the ASU amends the accounting for credit losses on available-for-sale debt securities and purchased financial assets with credit deterioration. Most debt instruments will require a cumulative-effect adjustment to retained earnings on the statement of financial position as of the beginning of the first reporting period in which the guidance is adopted (modified retrospective approach). However, there is instrument-specific transition guidance. ASU No. 2016-13 is effective for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2019. Early application will be permitted for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2018.
The Company is evaluating the provisions of ASU No. 2016-13, and will closely monitor developments and additional guidance to determine the potential impact on the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements. A cross-functional working group has been formed and is comprised of individuals from various functional areas including credit, risk management, finance and information technology, among others. Management is working through its implementation plan which includes assessment and documentation of processes and internal controls; model development and documentation; and system configuration. Management is also in the process of implementing a third-party vendor solution to assist us in the application of ASU No. 2016-13. The Company expects the primary changes to be the application of the new expected credit loss model from the incurred model. In addition, the Company expects the guidance to change the presentation of credit losses within the available-for-sale fixed maturities portfolio through an allowance method rather than as a direct write-down. The expected credit loss model will require a financial asset to be presented at the net amount expected to be collected. The allowance method for available-for-sale debt securities will allow the Company to record reversals of credit losses if the estimate of credit losses declines. The Company is in the process of identifying and implementing required changes to loan loss estimation models and processes and evaluating the impact of this new accounting guidance, which at the date of adoption is expected to increase the allowance for credit losses with a resulting negative adjustment to retained earnings.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-04, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment.” The ASU simplifies the test for goodwill impairment by eliminating the second step of the current two-step method. Under the new accounting guidance, entities will compare the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount. If the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value, the entity is required to recognize an impairment charge for this amount. Current guidance requires an entity to proceed to a second step, whereby the entity would determine the fair value of its assets and liabilities. The new method applies to all reporting units. The performance of a qualitative assessment is still allowable. This accounting guidance is effective prospectively for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2019. Early adoption is permitted. The Company does not expect adoption to have a material effect on its Consolidated Financial Statements.
In August 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-12, “Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815): Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities.” The purpose of this updated guidance is to better align a company’s financial reporting for hedging activities with the economic objectives of those activities. ASU No. 2017-12 is effective for public business entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, with early adoption, including adoption in an interim period, permitted. ASU No. 2017-12 requires a modified retrospective transition method in which the Company will recognize the cumulative effect of the change on the opening balance of each affected component of equity in the Consolidated Balance Sheets as of the date of adoption. ASU No. 2017-12 became effective for the Company on January 1, 2019. The adoption was not material to the financial statements.
In August 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-13, “Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework - Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement.” This ASU eliminates, adds and modifies certain disclosure requirements for fair value measurements. Among the changes, entities will no longer be required to disclose the amount of and reasons for transfers between Level 1 and Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy, but will be required to disclose the range and weighted average used to develop significant unobservable inputs for Level 3 fair value measurements. ASU No. 2018-13 is effective for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2019. Early adoption is permitted. Entities are also allowed to elect early adoption for the eliminated or modified disclosure requirements and delay adoption of the new disclosure requirements until their effective date. As ASU No. 2018-13 only revises disclosure requirements, it will not have a material impact on its Consolidated Financial Statements.
In August 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-14, “Compensation - Retirement Benefits - Defined Benefit Plans - General (Subtopic 715-20): Disclosure Framework - Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Defined Benefit Plans.” This ASU amends and modifies the disclosure requirements for employers that sponsor defined benefit pension or other post-retirement plans. The amendments in this update remove disclosures that no longer are considered cost beneficial, clarify the specific requirements of disclosures, and add disclosure requirements identified as relevant. ASU No. 2018-14 is effective for fiscal years ending after December 15, 2020, with early adoption permitted. As ASU No. 2018-14 only revises disclosure requirements, it will not have a material impact on the Consolidated Financial Statements.
In August 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-15, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other - Internal-Use Software (Subtopic 350-40): Customer’s Accounting for Implementation Costs Incurred in a Cloud Computing Arrangement That Is a Service Contract.” ASU No. 2018-15 clarifies certain aspects of ASU No. 2015-05, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other - Internal-Use Software (Subtopic 350-40): Customer’s Accounting for Fees Paid in a Cloud Computing Arrangement,” which was issued in April 2015. Specifically, ASU No. 2018-15 aligns the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred in a hosting arrangement that is a service contract with the requirements for capitalizing implementation costs incurred to develop or obtain internal-use software (and hosting arrangements that include an internal-use software license). ASU No. 2018-15 does not affect the accounting for the service element of a hosting arrangement that is a service contract. ASU No. 2018-15 is effective for interim and annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2019. Early adoption is permitted. The amendments in this ASU should be applied either retrospectively or prospectively to all implementation costs incurred after the date of adoption. While the Company continues to assess all potential impacts of the standard, we currently do not expect adoption to have a material impact on its Consolidated Financial Statements.