NOTE 1 — Business and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”) is a bank holding company incorporated in Maryland and headquartered in Jericho, New York, with one branch office in Garden City, New York and an administrative office in Boca Raton, Florida. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, Esquire Bank, National Association (the “Bank”), is a full service commercial bank dedicated to serving the financial needs of the legal industry and small businesses nationally, as well as commercial and retail customers in the New York metropolitan area.
The Bank offers tailored products and solutions to the legal community and their clients as well as dynamic and flexible merchant services solutions to small business owners. Banking products offered for businesses and consumers include checking, savings, money market and time deposits; a wide range of commercial and consumer loans, as well as customary banking services. These activities, primarily anchored by our legal community focus, generate a stable source of low cost core deposits and a diverse asset base to support our overall operations.
The Bank operates a merchant services platform through third party Independent Sales Organizations (“ISOs”). As an acquiring bank, fees are charged to merchants for the settlement of credit card, debit card and ACH transactions. The Bank’s revenue from these operational services is presented as merchant processing income on the Consolidated Statement of Income.
The Consolidated Financial Statements include Esquire Financial Holdings, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Esquire Bank, N.A. and are referred to as “the Company.” Intercompany transactions and balances are eliminated in consolidation.
On June 30, 2017, we completed our initial public offering (“IPO”) and sold 1,800,000 shares of common stock. We received aggregate net proceeds of approximately $21,741, after deducting underwriting discount and other offering related expenses. On July 20, 2017 we sold 354,580 additional shares of common stock at the public offering price of $14.00 per share pursuant to the underwriter’s over-allotment options. The net proceeds of the additional shares after deducting the underwriting discount and other offering related expenses was approximately $4,600.
In December of 2014, the Company issued 157,985 0.00% Series B Non-Voting Preferred shares at a price of $12.50 per share for proceeds, net of offering costs, of approximately $1,800. The preferred stock did not have a maturity date and was not convertible by the holder, but was convertible on a one for one basis into common stock by us under certain circumstances. In addition, the preferred stock did not have a liquidation preference and had equal rights to receive dividends when dividends are declared on common stock, and thus were considered participating securities. These shares were later exchanged for 157,985 shares of common stock, par value $0.01. As of December 31, 2017 and 2018, there are no preferred shares outstanding.
Banking regulations require maintaining certain capital levels and may limit the dividends paid by the bank to the holding company or by the holding company to shareholders.
Basis of Presentation and Use of Estimates
The accounting and financial reporting policies are in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The preparation of financial statements requires that management make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of income and expenses during the reporting period. Such estimates are subject to change in the future as additional information becomes available or previously existing circumstances are modified. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Statement of Cash Flows
For purposes of the accompanying statements of cash flows, cash and cash equivalents are defined as the amounts included in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition under the captions “Cash and cash equivalents”, with contractual maturities of less than 90 days. Net cash flows are reported for customer loan and deposit transactions.
All securities are classified as available-for-sale and carried at fair value. Unrealized gains and losses on these securities are reported, net of applicable taxes, as a separate component of accumulated other comprehensive loss, a component of stockholders’ equity.
Interest income on securities, including amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts, is recognized using the level yield method without anticipating prepayments (except for mortgage-backed securities where prepayments are anticipated) over the lives of the individual securities. Realized gains and losses on sales of securities are computed using the specific identification method.
Loans that management has the intent and ability to hold for the foreseeable future until maturity or payoff are stated at the principal amount outstanding, net of deferred loan fees and costs for originated loans and net of unamortized premiums or discounts for purchased loans. Interest income is recognized using the level yield method. Net deferred loan fees, origination costs, unamortized premiums or discounts are recognized in interest income over the loan term as a yield adjustment.
Interest income on mortgage and commercial loans is discontinued at the time the loan is 90 days delinquent unless the loan is well-secured and in process of collection. Consumer loans are typically charged off no later than 120 days past due. Past due status is based on the contractual terms of the loan. In all cases, loans are placed on non-accrual or charged-off at an earlier date if collection of principal or interest is considered doubtful. Non-accrual loans and loans past due 90 days still on accrual include both smaller balance homogeneous loans that are collectively evaluated for impairment and individually classified impaired loans. A loan is moved to non-accrual status in accordance with the Company’s policy, typically after 90 days of non-payment.
All interest accrued but not received for loans placed on non-accrual is reversed against interest income. Interest received on such 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.
Provision and Allowance for Loan Losses
The allowance for loan losses is a valuation allowance for probable incurred credit losses. The allowance for loan losses is increased by provisions for loan losses charged to income. Losses are charged to the allowance when all or a portion of a loan is deemed to be uncollectible. Subsequent recoveries of loans previously charged off are credited to the allowance for loan losses when realized. Management estimates the allowance balance required using past loan loss experience, the nature and volume of the portfolio, information about specific borrower situations and estimated collateral values, economic conditions and other factors. Allocations of the allowance may be made for specific loans, but the entire allowance is available for any loan that, in management’s judgment, should be charged off.
The allowance consists of specific and general components. The specific component relates to loans that are individually classified as impaired when, based on current information and events, it is probable that the Company will be unable to collect all amounts 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. Management determines the significance of payment delays and payment shortfalls on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration all of the circumstances surrounding the loan and the borrower, including the length of the delay, the reasons for the delay, the borrower’s prior payment record, and the amount of the shortfall in relation to the principal and interest owed.
All loans, except for consumer loans, are individually evaluated for impairment. If a loan is impaired, a portion of the allowance is allocated as a specific allowance. The measurement of an impaired loan is based on (i) the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan’s effective interest rate, (ii) the loan’s observable market price or (iii) the fair value of the collateral if the loan is collateral dependent.
Loans for which the terms have been modified resulting in a concession, and for which the borrower is experiencing financial difficulties, are considered troubled debt restructurings and classified as impaired. Troubled debt restructurings are separately identified for impairment disclosures and are measured at the present value of estimated future cash flows using the loan’s effective rate at inception. If a troubled debt restructuring is considered to be a collateral dependent loan, the loan is reported, net, at the fair value of the collateral. For troubled debt restructurings that subsequently default, the Company determines the amount of reserve in accordance with the accounting policy for the allowance for loan losses.
The general component is based on historical loss experience adjusted for current factors. The historical loss experience is determined by portfolio segment and is based on the actual loss history experienced by the Company. This actual loss experience is supplemented with other economic factors based on the risks present for each portfolio segment. These economic factors include consideration of the following: levels of and trends in delinquencies and impaired loans; levels of and trends in charge-offs and recoveries; trends in volume and terms of loans; effects of any changes in risk selection and underwriting standards; other changes in lending policies, procedures, and practices; experience, ability, and depth of lending management and other relevant staff; national and local economic trends and conditions; industry conditions; and effects of changes in credit concentrations. The determination of the economic factors is a qualitative assessment that involves significant management judgment.
Management has identified the following loan segments: Commercial Real Estate, Multifamily, Construction, Commercial, 1 – 4 Family Residential and Consumer. The risks associated with a concentration in real estate loans include potential losses from fluctuating values of land and improved properties. Commercial Real Estate and Multifamily loans are expected to be repaid from the cash flow of the underlying property so the collective amount of rents must be sufficient to cover all operating expenses, property management and maintenance, taxes and debt service. Increases in vacancy rates, interest rates or other changes in general economic conditions can all have an impact on the borrower and their ability to repay the loan. Construction loans are considered riskier than commercial financing on improved and established commercial real estate. The risk of potential loss increases if the original cost estimates or time to complete are significantly off. The remainder of the loan portfolio is comprised of commercial and consumer loans. The primary risks associated with the commercial loans is the cash flow of the business, the experience and quality of the borrowers’ management, the business climate, and the impact of economic factors. The primary risks associated with 1 – 4 Family Residential and Consumer loans relate to the borrower, such as the risk of a borrower’s unemployment as a result of deteriorating economic conditions or the amount and nature of a borrower’s other existing indebtedness, and the value of the collateral securing the loan if the Bank must take possession of the collateral.
Premises and Equipment
Premises and equipment, including leasehold improvements, are stated at cost, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization. Equipment, which includes furniture and fixtures, are depreciated over the assets’ estimated useful lives using the straight-line method (three to ten years). Amortization of leasehold improvements is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lesser of the expected lease term or the estimated useful life of the asset. Costs incurred to improve or extend the life of existing assets are capitalized. Repairs and maintenance are charged to expense.
Implementation costs with respect to internal-use software is capitalized once the project stage is complete. Project stage includes determining the performance requirements, strategic decisions related to allocation of resources, determining the technology needed to achieve performance requirements, selection of vendors, and other items. Costs during the project stage are expensed as incurred. Once the internal-use software is placed into operation, capitalized software costs are amortized using the straight-line method over 3-5 years.
Securities, Restricted, at Cost
The Bank is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) system and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRB), and Atlantic Central Banker’s Bank where members are required to own a certain number of shares of stock in order to conduct business with these institutions. FHLB stock holdings are based on the level of mortgage related assets, borrowings and other factors while FRB stock holding levels are capital based. These equity investments are carried at cost and classified as restricted securities which are periodically evaluated for impairment based on the ultimate recovery of par value. Dividends from these equity investments are reported as interest income on the Consolidated Statements of Income.
The Company enters into commitments to extend credit to customers to meet their financing needs which are in the form of lines of credit, letters of credit, and loan funding commitments. The face amount of these financial instruments represents the exposure to loss before considering customer collateral or ability to repay. Such financial instruments are recorded on balance sheet at cost when funded and presented as loans on the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition.
Equity Investment Without Readily Determinable Fair Value
In April 2018, the Company purchased a 4.95% interest in Litify LLC, a technology solution to automate and manage a law firm’s business and cases, for a cost of $2,410. As Litify LLC is a private company, the investment does not have a readily determinable fair value and management has elected to determine the recorded carrying amount based on its cost adjusted for observable price changes less impairment. At December 31, 2018, the investment’s carrying amount was $2,410. Based on our evaluation, we noted no significant adverse changes which would indicate the asset is impaired or any observable price changes as of December 31, 2018. The investment is presented within other assets on the Consolidated Statement of Financial Condition.
Transfers of Financial Assets
Transfers of financial assets are accounted for as sales, when control over the assets has been relinquished. Control over transferred assets is deemed to be surrendered when the assets have been isolated from the Company, the transferee obtains the right (free of conditions that constrain it from taking advantage of that right) to pledge or exchange the transferred assets, and the Company does not maintain effective control over the transferred assets through an agreement to repurchase them before their maturity.
Income taxes are provided for under the asset and liability method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred taxes of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period the change occurs. Deferred tax assets are reduced, through a valuation allowance, if necessary, by the amount of such benefits that are not expected to be realized based on current available evidence.
A tax position is recognized as a benefit only if it is “more likely than not” that the tax position would be sustained in a tax examination, with a tax examination being presumed to occur. The amount recognized is the largest amount of tax benefit that is greater than 50% likely of being realized on examination. For tax positions not meeting the “more likely than not” test, no tax benefit is recorded. The Company recognizes interest and/or penalties related to income tax matters in income tax expense on the Consolidated Statements of Income.
Earnings per Common Share
Basic earnings per common share is net earnings allocated to common stock divided by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Any outstanding preferred shares are considered participating securities for computation of basic earnings per common share. Diluted earnings per common share include the dilutive effect of additional potential common shares issuable under stock options and restricted stock awards.
Share based payment guidance requires the Company to recognize the grant-date fair value of stock options and other equity-based compensation issued to employees and non-employees in the statements of income. A Black-Scholes model is utilized to estimate the fair value of stock options. Compensation cost for stock options are recognized as non-interest expense in the statement of income on a straight-line basis over the vesting period of each stock option grant. Compensation cost for stock options includes the impact of an estimated forfeiture rate.
Compensation expense for restricted stock awards is based on the fair value of the award on the measurement date, which is the date of grant, and the expense is recognized ratably over the service period of the award.
At December 31, 2018, no equity-based compensation had vesting conditions linked to the performance of the Company or market conditions.
The Company’s operations are exclusively in the financial services industry and include the provision of traditional banking services. Management evaluates the performance of the Company based on only one business segment, that of community banking. In the opinion of management, the Company does not have any other reportable segments as defined by Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 280, “Disclosure about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information.”
Restrictions on Cash
Cash on hand or on deposit with the FRB is required to meet regulatory reserve and clearing requirements.
Some items in the prior year financial statements were reclassified to conform to the current presentation. The reclassifications are immaterial and had no effect on prior year net income or stockholders’ equity.
Comprehensive income consists of net income and other comprehensive loss which includes unrealized gains and losses on securities available-for-sale.
Fair Value of Financial Instruments
Fair values of financial instruments are estimated using relevant market information and other assumptions, as more fully disclosed in a separate note. Fair value estimates involve uncertainties and matters of significant judgment regarding interest rates, credit risk, prepayments, and other factors, especially in the absence of broad markets for particular items. Changes in assumptions or in market conditions could significantly affect the estimates.
Loss contingencies, including claims and legal actions arising in the ordinary course of business, are recorded as liabilities when the likelihood of loss is probable and an amount or range of loss can be reasonably estimated. Management does not believe there now are such matters that will have a material effect on the Consolidated Financial Statements.
New Accounting Pronouncements
Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2014‑09, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606)” implements a common revenue standard that clarifies the principles for recognizing revenue. The core principle of ASU 2014‑09 is that an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. To achieve that core principle, an entity should apply the following steps: (i) identify the contract(s) with a customer, (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract, (iii) determine the transaction price, (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) the entity satisfies a performance obligation. Topic 606 was effective for the Company on January 1, 2018. The Company has applied ASU 2014‑09 using the modified retrospective approach to all existing contracts with customers covered under the scope of the standard. The adoption of this ASU was not significant to the Company and had no material effect on how the Company recognizes revenue nor did it result in a cumulative effect adjustment or any presentation changes to the Consolidated Financial Statements. See Note 7 for additional information related to revenue generated from contracts with customers.
On January 5, 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016‑01, “Financial Instruments — Overall: Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities” (the ASU). Under this ASU, the current GAAP model is changed in the areas of accounting for equity investments, financial liabilities under the fair value option, and the presentation and disclosure requirements for financial instruments. In addition, the FASB clarified guidance related to the valuation allowance assessment when recognizing deferred tax assets resulting from unrealized losses on available-for-sale debt securities. This standard was adopted on January 1, 2018 which had no impact on the Company’s operating results or financial condition. However, the Company did enhance its computation of fair value of loans disclosure to comply with the exit price notion as well as implemented the other disclosure requirements as required by the ASU.
On February 25, 2016, the FASB established Topic 842, Leases, by issuing Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2016-02, which requires lessees to recognize leases on-balance sheet and disclose key information about leasing arrangements. Topic 842 was subsequently amended by ASU No. 2018-01, Land Easement Practical Expedient for Transition to Topic 842; ASU No. 2018-10, Codification Improvements to Topic 842, Leases; and ASU No. 2018-11, Targeted Improvements. The new standard establishes a right-of-use model (ROU) that requires a lessee to recognize a ROU asset and lease liability on the balance sheet for all leases with a term longer than 12 months. Leases will be classified as finance or operating, with classification affecting the pattern and classification of expense recognition in the income statement.
The new standard is effective for us on January 1, 2019. A modified retrospective transition approach is required, applying the new standard to all leases existing at the date of initial application. An entity may choose to use either (1) its effective date or (2) the beginning of the earliest comparative period presented in the financial statements as its date of initial application. We expect to adopt the new standard on January 1, 2019 and use the effective date as our date of initial application. Consequently, financial information will not be updated and the disclosures required under the new standard will not be provided for dates and periods before January 1, 2019.
The new standard provides a number of optional practical expedients in transition. We expect to elect the ‘package of practical expedients’, which permits us not to reassess under the new standard our prior conclusions about lease identification, lease classification and initial direct costs. We do not expect to elect the use-of-hindsight or the practical expedient pertaining to land easements; the latter not being applicable to us.
On adoption, we expect to recognize additional lease liabilities of approximately $3,100 with corresponding ROU assets of the same amount.
The new standard also provides practical expedients for an entity’s ongoing accounting. We currently expect to elect the short-term lease recognition exemption for all leases that qualify. This means, for those leases that qualify, we will not recognize ROU assets or lease liabilities, and this includes not recognizing ROU assets or lease liabilities for existing short-term leases of those assets in transition.
On June 16, 2016, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2016‑13, “Financial Instruments — Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments” (the ASU). This ASU replaces the incurred loss model with an expected loss model, referred to as “current expected credit loss” (CECL) model. It will significantly change estimates for credit losses related to financial assets measured at amortized cost, including loans receivable, held-to-maturity (HTM) debt securities and certain other contracts. This ASU will be effective for the Company in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods within those fiscal years. The Company plans to adopt ASU 2016-13 in the first quarter of 2020 using the required modified retrospective method with a cumulative effect adjustment as of the beginning of the reporting period. The Company is currently gathering data and has selected a vendor to assist with the implementation of this standard.
In January 2019, the board of directors approved a stock repurchase program which authorized the repurchase of up to 300,000 shares of its common stock, or approximately 4.0% of its outstanding shares. There is no expiration for the stock repurchase plan. There have been no shares repurchased as of February 28, 2019.