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Organization, Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Organization
Organization
E*TRADE Financial Corporation is a financial services company that provides brokerage and related products and services primarily to individual retail investors under the brand "E*TRADE Financial." The Company also provides investor-focused banking products, primarily sweep deposits, to retail investors. The Company's most significant, wholly-owned subsidiaries are described below:
E*TRADE Securities is a registered broker-dealer that clears and settles customer securities transactions.
E*TRADE Bank is a federally chartered savings bank that provides FDIC insurance on qualifying amounts of customer deposits and provides other banking and cash management capabilities.
E*TRADE Savings Bank, a subsidiary of E*TRADE Bank, is a federally chartered savings bank that provides FDIC insurance on qualifying amounts of customer deposits.
E*TRADE Futures is a registered non-clearing FCM that provides clearing and settlement services for customer futures transactions.
E*TRADE Capital Management is a registered investment adviser, through which the Company offers investment advisory services.
E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services is a provider of software and services for managing equity compensation plans to corporate clients.
Basis of Accounting
Basis of Presentation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its majority-owned subsidiaries as determined under the voting interest model. Entities in which the Company has the ability to exercise significant influence but in which the Company does not possess control are generally accounted for by the equity method. Entities in which the Company does not have the ability to exercise significant influence are generally carried at cost. Investments in marketable equity securities where the Company does not have the ability to exercise significant influence over the entities are accounted for as available-for-sale equity securities. The Company also evaluates its initial and continuing involvement with certain entities to determine if the Company is required to consolidate the entities under the variable interest entity (VIE) model. This evaluation is based on a qualitative assessment of whether the Company is the primary beneficiary of the VIE, which requires the Company to possess both: 1) the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the economic performance of the VIE; and 2) the obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive benefits of the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. The consolidated financial statements do not include any consolidated VIEs for all periods presented.
The Company's consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP. Intercompany accounts and transactions are eliminated in consolidation. These consolidated financial statements reflect all adjustments, which are normal and recurring in nature, necessary to present fairly the financial position, results of operations and cash flows for the periods presented.
Use of Estimates
Use of Estimates
Preparing the Company's consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and related notes for the periods presented. Actual results could differ from management’s estimates. Certain significant accounting policies are critical because they are based on estimates and assumptions that require complex and subjective judgments by management. Changes in these estimates or assumptions could materially impact the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. Material estimates in which management believes changes could reasonably occur include: allowance for loan losses, valuation of goodwill and acquired intangible assets and estimates of effective tax rates, deferred taxes and valuation allowance.
Cash and equivalents (policy)
Cash and Equivalents
The Company considers all highly liquid investments with original or remaining maturities of three months or less at the time of purchase that are not required to be segregated under federal or other regulations to be cash and equivalents. Cash and equivalents included $490 million and $1.1 billion at December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively, of overnight cash deposits, a portion of which the Company is required to maintain with the Federal Reserve Bank.
Cash required to be segregated under federal or other regulations (policy)
Cash Required to be Segregated Under Federal or Other Regulations
Certain cash balances that are required to be segregated for the exclusive benefit of the Company’s brokerage and futures customers are included in the cash required to be segregated under federal or other regulations line item.
Available-for-sale securities (policy)
Available-for-Sale Securities
Available-for-sale securities are composed principally of debt securities, primarily residential mortgage-backed securities and agency debt securities. Securities classified as available-for-sale are carried at fair value, with the unrealized gains and losses, after applicable hedge accounting adjustments, reflected as a component of accumulated other comprehensive loss, net of tax. Realized and unrealized gains or losses on available-for-sale debt and equity securities are computed using the specific identification method. Interest earned on available-for-sale securities is included in interest income. Amortization or accretion of premiums and discounts on available-for-sale debt securities is also recognized in interest income using the effective interest method over the contractual life of the security and is adjusted to reflect actual prepayments. Realized gains and losses on available-for-sale debt and equity securities, with the exception of other-than-temporary impairment (OTTI) if applicable, are included in the gains (losses) on securities and other, net line item. Available-for-sale securities that have an unrealized loss (impaired securities) are evaluated for OTTI at each balance sheet date. There was no OTTI recognized for the periods presented.
Held-to-maturity securities (policy)
Held-to-Maturity Securities
Held-to-maturity securities consist of debt securities, primarily residential mortgage-backed securities and agency debt securities. Held-to-maturity securities are carried at amortized cost based on the Company’s intent and ability to hold these securities to maturity. Interest earned on held-to-maturity debt securities is included in interest income. Amortization or accretion of premiums and discounts is also recognized in interest income using the effective interest method over the contractual life of the security and is adjusted to reflect actual prepayments. Held-to-maturity securities that have an unrecognized loss (impaired securities) are evaluated for OTTI at each balance sheet date. There was no OTTI recognized for the periods presented.
Margin receivables (policy)
Margin Receivables
Margin receivables represent credit extended to customers to finance their purchases of securities by borrowing against securities the customers own. Securities owned by customers are held as collateral for amounts due on the margin receivables, the value of which is not reflected in the consolidated balance sheet. The Company is permitted to sell or re-pledge these securities held as collateral and to use the securities to enter into securities lending transactions, to collateralize borrowings or for delivery to counterparties to cover customer short positions. Revenues earned from the securities lending transactions are included in interest income and expenses incurred are included in interest expense.
Loans receivable, net (policy) and Impaired loans (policy)
Loans Receivable, Net
Loans receivable, net consists of real estate, consumer loans and collateralized lines of credit that management has the intent and ability to hold for the foreseeable future or until maturity, also known as loans held-for-investment. Loans held-for-investment are carried at amortized cost adjusted for unamortized premiums or discounts on purchased loans, deferred fees or costs on originated loans, net charge-offs, and the allowance for loan losses. Premiums or discounts on purchased loans and deferred fees or costs on originated loans are recognized in interest income using the effective interest method over the contractual life of the loans and are adjusted for actual prepayments. The Company’s classes of loans are one- to four-family, home equity and consumer loans and other.
TDRs (policy)
Impaired Loans
The Company considers a loan to be impaired when it meets the definition of a TDR. Impaired loans exclude smaller-balance homogeneous one- to four-family, home equity and consumer loans that have not been modified as TDRs and are collectively evaluated for impairment. Delinquency status is the primary measure the Company uses to evaluate the performance of loans modified as TDRs.
Troubled Debt Restructurings
Loan modifications completed under the Company’s loss mitigation programs in which economic concessions were granted to borrowers experiencing financial difficulty are considered TDRs. TDRs also include loans that have been charged-off based on the estimated current value of the underlying property less estimated selling costs due to bankruptcy notification even if the loan has not been modified under the Company’s programs. Upon being classified as a TDR, such loan is categorized as an impaired loan and is considered impaired until maturity regardless of whether the borrower performs under the terms of the loan. The Company also processes minor modifications on a number of loans through traditional collections actions taken in the normal course of servicing delinquent accounts. Minor modifications resulting in an insignificant delay in the timing of payments are not considered economic concessions and therefore are not classified as TDRs.
Impairment on loan modifications is measured on an individual loan level basis, generally using a discounted cash flow model. When certain characteristics of the modified loan cast substantial doubt on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, the Company identifies the loan as collateral dependent and charges-off the amount of the modified loan balance in excess of the estimated current value of the underlying property less estimated selling costs. Collateral dependent TDRs are identified based on the terms of the modification, which includes assigning a higher level of risk to loans in which the LTV or CLTV is greater than 110% or 125%, respectively, a borrower’s credit score is less than 600 and certain types of modifications, such as interest-only payments. TDRs that are not identified as higher risk using this risk assessment process and for which impairment is measured using a discounted cash flow model, continue to be evaluated in the event that they become higher risk collateral dependent TDRs.
Nonperforming loans (policy)
Nonperforming Loans
The Company classifies loans as nonperforming when they are no longer accruing interest, which includes loans that are 90 days and greater past due, TDRs that are on nonaccrual status for all classes of loans (including loans in bankruptcy) and certain junior liens that have a delinquent senior lien. Interest previously accrued, but not collected, is reversed against current income when a loan is placed on nonaccrual status. Interest payments received on nonperforming loans are recognized on a cash basis in interest income until it is doubtful that full payment will be collected, at which point payments are applied to principal. The recognition of deferred fees or costs on originated loans and premiums or discounts on purchased loans in interest income is discontinued for nonperforming loans.
Nonperforming loans return to accrual status based on the following policy:
Nonperforming loans, excluding TDRs and certain junior liens that have a delinquent senior lien, return to accrual status when the loan becomes less than 90 days past due.
TDRs, excluding loans in bankruptcy, are classified as nonperforming loans at the time of modification. Such TDRs return to accrual status after six consecutive payments are made in accordance with the modified terms. Accruing TDRs that subsequently become delinquent will immediately return to nonaccrual status.
Bankruptcy loan TDRs are classified as nonperforming loans within 60 days of bankruptcy notification and remain on nonaccrual status regardless of the payment performance.
Delinquent Loans
Loans delinquent 180 days and greater have been written down to the estimated current value of the underlying property less estimated selling costs. Loans delinquent 90 to 179 days generally have not been written down to the estimated current value of the underlying property less estimated selling costs (unless they are in process of bankruptcy or are modifications for which there is substantial doubt as to the borrower’s ability to repay the loan), but present a risk of future charge-off. Additional charge-offs on loans delinquent 180 days and greater are possible if home prices decline beyond current estimates.
The Company monitors loans in which a borrower’s current credit history casts doubt on their ability to repay a loan. Loans are classified as special mention when they are between 30 and 89 days past due. The trend in special mention loan balances is generally indicative of the expected trend for charge-offs in future periods, as these loans have a greater propensity to migrate into nonaccrual status and ultimately charge-off. One- to four-family loans are generally secured in a first lien position by real estate assets, reducing the potential loss when compared to an unsecured loan. Home equity loans are generally secured by real estate assets; however, the majority of these loans are secured in a second lien position, which substantially increases the potential loss when compared to a first lien position.
Allowance for loan losses (policy)
Allowance for Loan Losses
The allowance for loan losses is management’s estimate of probable losses inherent in the loan portfolio as of the balance sheet date. In determining the adequacy of the allowance, the Company performs ongoing evaluations of the loan portfolio and loss assumptions. Loan losses are recognized when, based on management's estimate, it is probable that a loss has been incurred. The property value for both one- to four-family and home equity loans is assessed when the loan has been delinquent for 180 days or when the Company has received bankruptcy notification, regardless of whether or not the property is in foreclosure, and the amount of the loan balance in excess of the estimated current value of the underlying property less estimated selling costs is recognized as a charge-off to the allowance for loan losses. Modified loans considered TDRs are charged off when they are identified as collateral dependent based on certain terms of the modification. Closed-end consumer loans are charged off when the loan has been 120 days delinquent or when it is determined that collection is not probable.
Determining the adequacy of the allowance is complex and requires judgment by management about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain. Subsequent evaluations of the loan portfolio, in light of the factors then prevailing, may result in significant changes in the allowance for loan losses in future periods. For loans that are not TDRs, the Company establishes a general allowance and evaluates the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses by loan portfolio segment: one- to four-family, home equity and consumer and other. For modified loans accounted for as TDRs that are valued using the discounted cash flow model, a specific allowance is established by forecasting losses, including economic concessions to borrowers, over the estimated remaining life of these loans.
The estimate of the allowance for loan losses is based on a variety of quantitative and qualitative factors, including:
The composition and quality of the portfolio
Delinquency levels and trends
Current and historical charge-off and loss experience
The Company's historical loss mitigation experience
The condition of the real estate market and geographic concentrations within the loan portfolio
The interest rate climate
The overall availability of housing credit
General economic conditions, including the impact of weather-related events

The allowance for loan losses is typically equal to management’s forecast of loan losses in the 18 months following the balance sheet date as well as the forecasted losses, including economic concessions to borrowers, over the estimated remaining life of loans modified as TDRs. The quantitative allowance methodology also includes the identification of higher risk mortgage loans and the period of loan losses captured within the general allowance includes the total probable loss over the remaining life of these loans.
The general allowance for loan losses also includes a qualitative component to account for a variety of factors that present additional uncertainty that may not be fully considered in the quantitative loss model but are factors that may impact the level of credit losses. The Company utilizes a qualitative factor framework whereby, on a quarterly basis, the risk associated with the following three primary sets of factors are evaluated: external factors, internal factors, and portfolio specific factors. The uncertainty related to these factors may expand over time, temporarily increasing the qualitative component in advance of the more precise identification of these probable losses being captured within the quantitative component of the general allowance.
Receivables From And Payables To Brokers, Dealers And Clearing Organizations [Policy Text Block]
Receivables from and Payables to Brokers, Dealers and Clearing Organizations
Receivables from brokers, dealers and clearing organizations include deposits paid for securities borrowed, clearing deposits and net receivables arising from unsettled trades. Payables to brokers, dealers and clearing organizations include deposits received for securities loaned and net payables arising from unsettled trades.
Deposits paid for securities borrowed and deposits received for securities loaned are recorded at the amount of cash collateral advanced or received. Securities borrowing transactions require the Company to deposit cash with the lender whereas securities lending transactions result in the Company receiving collateral in the form of cash, with both requiring cash in an amount generally in excess of the market value of the securities. Interest income and interest expense are recorded on an accrual basis. The Company monitors the market value of the securities borrowed and loaned on a daily basis, with additional collateral obtained or refunded, as necessary.
Property and equipment, net (policy)
Property and Equipment, Net
Property and equipment is carried at cost and depreciated on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives, generally three to seven years. Leasehold improvements are depreciated over the lesser of their estimated useful lives or lease terms. An impairment loss is recognized if the carrying amount of the long-lived asset is not recoverable and exceeds its fair value.
The costs of internally developed software that qualify for capitalization are included in the property and equipment, net line item. For qualifying internal-use software costs, capitalization begins when the conceptual formulation, design and testing of possible software project alternatives are complete and management authorizes and commits to funding the project. The Company does not capitalize pilot projects and projects where it believes that future economic benefits are less than probable. Technology development costs incurred in the development and enhancement of software used in connection with services provided by the Company that do not otherwise qualify for capitalization treatment are expensed as incurred. Completed projects, as well as other purchased software, are carried at cost and are amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives. The estimated useful life of internally developed software is four years.
Goodwill and other intangibles, net (policy)
Goodwill and Other Intangibles, Net
Goodwill is recognized as a result of business combinations and represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of net tangible assets and identifiable intangible assets. The Company evaluates goodwill for impairment on an annual basis as of November 30 and in interim periods when events or changes indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. The Company has the option of performing a qualitative assessment of goodwill to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of its equity is less than the carrying value. If it is more likely than not that the fair value exceeds the carrying value, then no further testing is necessary; otherwise, the Company must perform a two-step quantitative assessment of goodwill. The Company may elect to bypass the qualitative assessment and proceed directly to performing a two-step quantitative assessment.
For the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, the Company elected to perform a qualitative analysis to determine whether it was more likely than not that the fair value of its equity was less than the carrying value. As a result of this qualitative assessment, the Company determined that it was not necessary to perform a quantitative impairment test and concluded that there were no impairments to the carrying value of the Company's goodwill during the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016.
The Company currently does not have any intangible assets with indefinite lives other than goodwill. The Company evaluates intangible assets with finite lives for impairment on an annual basis or when events or changes indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. The Company also evaluates the remaining useful lives of intangible assets with finite lives each reporting period to determine whether events and circumstances warrant a revision to the remaining period of amortization. Customer relationship intangibles are amortized on an accelerated basis, while technology and trade name intangibles are amortized on a straight-line basis.
For additional information on goodwill and other intangibles, net, see Note 10—Goodwill and Other Intangibles, Net.
Income taxes (policy)
Income Taxes
Deferred income taxes are recorded when revenues and expenses are recognized in different periods for financial statement purposes than for tax purposes. Deferred tax asset or liability account balances are calculated at the balance sheet date using current tax laws and rates in effect. Valuation allowances for deferred tax assets are established if it is determined, based on evaluation of available evidence at the time the determination is made, that it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. Income tax expense (benefit) includes (1) deferred tax expense (benefit), which generally represents the net change in the deferred tax asset or liability balance during the year plus any change in valuation allowances, and (2) current tax expense (benefit), which represents the amount of tax currently payable to or receivable from a taxing authority. Uncertain tax positions are only recognized to the extent it is more likely than not that the uncertain tax position will be sustained upon examination. For uncertain tax positions, a tax benefit is recognized for cases in which it is more than fifty percent likely of being sustained on ultimate settlement. Interest and penalties, if any, related to income tax matters are recognized as income tax expense in the period they are incurred or such changes are enacted. For additional information on income taxes, see Note 15—Income Taxes.
Real estate owned and repossessed assets (policy)
Real Estate Owned and Repossessed Assets
Real estate owned and repossessed assets are included in the other assets line item in the consolidated balance sheet. Real estate owned represents real estate acquired through foreclosure and also includes those properties acquired through a deed in lieu of foreclosure or similar legal agreement. Both real estate owned and repossessed assets are carried at the lower of carrying value or fair value, less estimated selling costs.
Equity and Cost Method Investments, Policy [Policy Text Block]
Equity Method, Cost Method and Other Investments
The Company’s equity method, cost method and other investments are generally limited liability investments in partnerships, companies and other similar entities, including tax credit partnerships and community development entities, that are not required to be consolidated. These investments are reported in the other assets line item in the consolidated balance sheet. Under the equity method, the Company recognizes its share of the investee’s net income or loss in the gains (losses) on securities and other, net line item in the consolidated statement of income. The Company’s other investments include those accounted for using the proportional amortization method, whereby the initial cost of the investment is amortized in proportion to the tax credits and other tax benefits received and the net investment performance is recognized in the consolidated statement of income as a component of income tax expense. The Company recognizes a liability for all legally binding unfunded equity commitments to the investees in the other liabilities line item in the consolidated balance sheet.
The Company evaluates its equity and cost method investments for impairment when events or changes indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. If the impairment is determined to be other-than-temporary, the Company will recognize an impairment loss in the gains (losses) on securities and other, net line item equal to the difference between the expected realizable value and the carrying value of the investment.
The Company is a member of, and owns capital stock in, the FHLB system. As a condition of its membership in the FHLB, the Company is required to maintain a FHLB stock investment which totaled $36 million at December 31, 2017 and $15 million at December 31, 2016. The Company accounts for its investment in FHLB stock as a cost method investment.
Customer payables (policy)
Deposits and Customer Payables
Deposits are primarily composed of sweep deposits held at bank subsidiaries, which represent uninvested cash balances in certain customer brokerage accounts. Customer payables represent credit balances in customer brokerage accounts arising from deposits of funds and sales of securities and other funds pending completion of securities transactions. Customer payables primarily represent customer cash held by E*TRADE Securities. The Company pays interest on certain deposits and customer payables balances.
Other borrowings (policy)
Other Borrowings
Other borrowings includes securities sold under agreements to repurchase, FHLB advances, TRUPs and borrowings from lines of credit.
Securities sold under agreements to repurchase the same or similar securities, also known as repurchase agreements, are collateralized by fixed- and variable-rate mortgage-backed securities or investment grade securities. Repurchase agreements are treated as secured borrowings for financial statement purposes and the obligations to repurchase securities sold are therefore reflected as liabilities in the consolidated balance sheet.
The FHLB provides the Company with reserve credit capacity and authorizes advances based on the security of pledged home mortgages and other assets (principally securities that are obligations of, or guaranteed by, the US Government) provided the Company meets certain creditworthiness standards.
Prior to 2008, E*TRADE Bank's parent company ETB Holdings, Inc. (ETBH) raised capital through the formation of trusts, which sold TRUPs in the capital markets. The capital securities must be redeemed in whole at the due date, which is generally 30 years after issuance. The trusts used the proceeds from the sale of issuances to purchase subordinated debentures issued by ETBH presented in the other borrowings line item.
For additional information on other borrowings, see Note 13—Other Borrowings.
Other LIabilities [Policy Text Block]
Other Liabilities
Other liabilities includes accrued operating expenses and contingent liabilities. These liabilities are impacted by estimates for litigation and regulatory matters as well as estimates related to general operating expenses, such as incentive compensation and market data usage within communications expense. Management estimates reflect the probable liability as of the balance sheet date. In determining the adequacy of estimated liabilities, the Company performs ongoing evaluations based on available information.
Comprehensive income (loss) (policy)
Comprehensive Income
The Company’s comprehensive income is composed of net income, the noncredit portion of OTTI on debt securities, unrealized gains (losses) on available-for-sale securities, the effective portion of the unrealized gains (losses) on derivatives in cash flow hedge relationships and foreign currency translation gains (losses), net of reclassification adjustments and related tax.
Interest income (policy)
Interest Income
Interest income is recognized as earned through holding interest-earning assets, such as available-for-sale and held-to-maturity securities, margin receivables, loans and cash, and from securities lending activities. Interest income also includes the impact of the Company’s derivative transactions related to interest-earning assets.
Interest expense (policy)
Interest Expense
Interest expense is recognized as incurred through holding interest-bearing liabilities, such as corporate debt, other borrowings, customer payables and deposits, and from securities lending activities. Interest expense also includes the impact of the Company’s derivative transactions related to interest-bearing liabilities.
Commissions (policy)
Commissions
Commissions are derived from the Company’s customers and are impacted by both trade type and trade mix. Commissions from securities transactions are recognized on a trade-date basis.
Fees and service charges (policy)
Fees and Service Charges
Fees and service charges consist of order flow revenue, mutual fund service fees, advisor management fees, foreign exchange revenue, reorganization fees and other fees and service charges. Fees and service charges also includes revenue earned on customer cash held by third parties.
Gains on loans and securities, net (policy)
Gains (Losses) on Securities and Other, Net
Gains (losses) on securities and other, net includes gains or losses resulting from the sale of available-for-sale securities; gains or losses resulting from sales of loans; hedge ineffectiveness and reclassification of deferred losses on cash flow hedges; gains or losses recognized on equity investments; and gains or losses on derivative instruments that are not accounted for as hedging instruments. Gains or losses resulting from the sale of available-for-sale securities are recognized at the trade-date, based on the difference between the anticipated proceeds and the amortized cost of the specific securities sold.
Other-than-temporary impairment (OTTI) (policy)
OTTI
The Company evaluates available-for-sale securities and held-to-maturity debt securities for OTTI on a quarterly basis. The Company considers OTTI for an available-for-sale or held-to-maturity debt security to have occurred if one of the following conditions are met: the Company intends to sell the impaired debt security; it is more likely than not that the Company will be required to sell the impaired debt security before recovery of the security’s amortized cost basis; or the Company does not expect to recover the entire amortized cost basis of the security.
For impaired debt securities that the Company does not intend to sell and it is not more likely than not that the Company will be required to sell before recovery of the security’s amortized cost basis, the Company uses both qualitative and quantitative valuation measures to evaluate whether the Company expects to recover the entire amortized cost basis of the security. If the Company does not expect to recover the entire amortized cost basis of these securities then the Company will separate OTTI into two components: 1) the amount related to credit loss, recognized in earnings; and 2) the noncredit portion of OTTI, recognized through other comprehensive income.
If the Company intends to sell an impaired debt security or if it is more likely than not that the Company will be required to sell the impaired debt security before recovery of the security’s amortized cost basis, the Company will recognize OTTI in earnings equal to the entire difference between the security’s amortized cost basis and the security’s fair value.
The Company considers OTTI for an available-for-sale equity security to have occurred if the decline in the security’s fair value below its cost basis is deemed other than temporary based on evaluation of both qualitative and quantitative valuation measures. If impairment is determined to be other-than-temporary, the Company will recognize OTTI in earnings equal to the entire difference between the security’s amortized cost basis and the security’s fair value. If the Company intends to sell an impaired equity security and the Company does not expect to recover the entire cost basis of the security prior to the sale, the Company will recognize OTTI in the period the decision to sell is made.
Other revenues (policy)
Other Revenues
Other revenues primarily consist of fees from software and services for managing equity compensation plans, which are recognized in accordance with software revenue recognition accounting guidance.
Advertising and market development (policy)
Advertising and Market Development
Advertising and market development includes production and placement of advertisements as well as customer promotions. Advertising production costs are expensed when the initial advertisement is run.
Earnings (loss) per share (policy)
Earnings Per Share
Basic earnings per share is computed by dividing net income available to common shareholders by the weighted-average common shares outstanding for the period. Diluted earnings per share reflects the potential dilution that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised or converted into common stock. The Company excludes from the calculation of diluted earnings per share stock options, unvested restricted stock awards and units, unvested performance share units and shares related to convertible debentures that would have been anti-dilutive.
Derivative instruments and hedging activities (policy)
Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities
The Company enters into derivative transactions primarily to protect against interest rate risk on the value of certain assets, liabilities and future cash flows. Each derivative instrument is recorded on the consolidated balance sheet at fair value as a freestanding asset or liability.
Accounting for derivatives differs depending on whether a derivative is designated as a hedge based on the applicable accounting guidance and, if designated as a hedge, the type of hedge designation. Derivative instruments designated in hedging relationships that mitigate the exposure to the variability in expected future cash flows or other forecasted transactions are considered cash flow hedges. Derivative instruments in hedging relationships that mitigate exposure to changes in the fair value of assets or liabilities are considered fair value hedges. In order to qualify for hedge accounting, the Company formally documents at inception all relationships between hedging instruments and hedged items and the risk management objective and strategy for each hedge transaction.
Fair value hedge ineffectiveness is measured on a quarterly basis and reflects the difference between the change in fair value on the derivative and the change in fair value on the hedged item, both of which are recognized within gains (losses) on securities and other, net on the consolidated statement of income. Ineffectiveness on cash flow hedges is also recorded to gains (losses) on securities and other, net. Cash flows from derivative instruments in hedging relationships are classified in the same category on the consolidated statement of cash flows as the cash flows from the items being hedged.
Hedge accounting is discontinued for fair value hedges if a derivative instrument is sold, terminated or otherwise de-designated. If fair value hedge accounting is discontinued, the previously hedged item is no longer adjusted for changes in fair value through the consolidated statement of income and the cumulative net gain or loss on the hedged asset or liability at the time of de-designation is amortized to interest income or interest expense using the effective interest method over the expected remaining life of the hedged item. Changes in the fair value of the derivative instruments after de-designation of fair value hedge accounting are recorded in the gains (losses) on securities and other, net line item in the consolidated statement of income.
The Company also recognizes certain contracts and commitments as derivatives if the characteristics of those contracts and commitments meet the definition of a derivative. For additional information on derivative instruments and hedging activities, see Note 8—Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities.
Fair value (policy)
Fair Value
Fair value is defined as 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. The Company determines the fair value for its financial instruments and for nonfinancial assets and nonfinancial liabilities that are recognized or disclosed at fair value in the consolidated financial statements on a recurring basis. In addition, the Company determines the fair value for nonfinancial assets and nonfinancial liabilities on a nonrecurring basis as required during impairment testing or by other accounting guidance. For additional information on fair value, see Note 4Fair Value Disclosures.
Share-based payments (policy)
Share-Based Payments
In 2015, the Company adopted and the shareholders approved the 2015 Omnibus Incentive Plan (2015 Plan), which replaced the 2005 Stock Incentive Plan (2005 Plan). The 2015 Plan provides the Company the ability to grant equity awards to officers, directors, employees and consultants, including, but not limited to, nonqualified or incentive stock options, restricted stock awards, restricted stock units and deferred restricted stock units at a price based on the date of the grant approved by the Board. The Company typically issues new shares upon exercise of stock options and vesting of other equity awards and intends to continue doing so.
Through 2011, the Company issued options to directors and to certain of the Company's officers and employees. Options generally vest ratably over a two- to four-year period from the date of grant and expire within seven to ten years from the date of grant. Certain options provide for accelerated vesting upon a change of control. The Company measures compensation expense based on the exercise price which is equal to the fair value of the shares on the grant date. As of December 31, 2017, there were less than 0.1 million options outstanding and no unrecognized compensation expense related to non-vested stock options.
The Company issues restricted stock awards and deferred restricted stock units to directors and restricted stock units to certain of the Company's officers and employees. Each restricted stock unit can be converted into one share of the Company’s common stock upon vesting. These shares of restricted stock and restricted stock units are issued at the fair value on the date of grant and vest ratably over the requisite service period, generally one to four years. Beginning in 2015, the Company also issued performance share units to certain of the Company’s officers. Each performance share unit can be converted into one share of the Company’s common stock upon vesting. Vesting of performance share units is contingent upon achievement of certain predefined individual and Company performance targets over the performance period. These performance share units are issued at the fair value on the date of grant and vest on a graded basis over the requisite service period, generally one to three years.
As of December 31, 2017, there were 2.5 million restricted stock awards and units outstanding and $37 million of total unrecognized compensation expense related to non-vested restricted stock awards and units. This cost is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of 1.4 years. As of December 31, 2017, there were also 0.2 million performance share units outstanding. The total fair value of restricted stock awards, restricted stock units and performance share units vested was $58 million, $48 million and $28 million for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
The Company recognized $41 million, $30 million and $34 million in expense for its options, restricted stock awards, restricted stock units and performance share units for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Under the 2015 Plan, the remaining unissued authorized shares of the 2005 Plan that are not subject to outstanding awards thereunder were authorized for issuance. Additionally, any shares that had been awarded but remained unissued under the 2005 Plan that were subsequently canceled, forfeited, or reacquired by the Company would be authorized for issuance under the 2015 Plan. As of December 31, 2017, 8.9 million shares were available for grant under the 2015 Plan.
The Company records share-based compensation expense in accordance with the stock compensation accounting guidance. The Company recognizes compensation expense at the grant date fair value of a share-based payment award over the requisite service period less estimated forfeitures. Forfeitures are based on the Company's historical experience and revised as needed based on actual forfeitures. Compensation expense for performance share units is also adjusted based on the Company’s estimated outcome of meeting the performance conditions. Share-based compensation expense is generally included in the compensation and benefits line item.
New accounting pronouncements (policy)
Adoption of New Accounting Standards
Accounting for Employee Share-Based Payments
In March 2016, the FASB amended the accounting guidance on employee share-based payments. Relevant changes in the amended guidance include the requirement to recognize all excess tax benefits and deficiencies upon exercise or vesting as income tax expense or benefit in the consolidated statement of income; to treat excess tax benefits and deficiencies as discrete items in the reporting period they occur; to not delay recognition of excess tax benefits until the tax benefit is realized through a reduction in current taxes payable; and to make an accounting policy election to either estimate forfeitures or account for them as they occur. The Company adopted the amended accounting guidance as of January 1, 2017 and recognized a $3 million deferred tax asset and cumulative-effect adjustment to equity as of the beginning of the period. In addition, for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, the Company reclassified $21 million and $11 million, respectively, related to shares withheld to pay taxes from cash flows from operating activities to the other line item within cash flows from financing activities. Forfeitures continue to be estimated consistent with the Company's prior accounting policies. The impact to the Company's financial condition, results of operations and cash flows will vary based on, among other factors, the market price of the Company's common stock. During the year ended December 31, 2017, the Company recognized a $7 million income tax benefit in accordance with the new guidance.
New Accounting Standards Not Yet Adopted
Revenue Recognition on Contracts with Customers
In May 2014, the FASB amended the guidance on revenue recognition on contracts with customers. The new standard outlines a single comprehensive model for entities to apply in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers. The Company's accounting for net interest income is not impacted by the new standard. The FASB issued supplemental amendments to the new standard to clarify certain guidance and to provide narrow scope improvements and practical expedients during 2016. The amended guidance became effective on January 1, 2018 and the Company adopted the guidance on a modified retrospective basis. This adoption did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows as the satisfaction of performance obligations under the new guidance is materially consistent with the Company's previous revenue recognition policies. Similarly, the amended guidance did not have a material impact on the recognition of costs incurred to obtain new contracts. The Company has evaluated the new guidance, including considerations relating to financial statement presentation, disclosures and controls and the amended presentation and disclosures will be reflected in interim reporting beginning in the first quarter of 2018.
Classification and Measurement of Financial Instruments
In January 2016, the FASB amended the accounting and disclosure guidance on the classification and measurement of financial instruments. Relevant changes in the amended guidance include the requirement that equity investments, excluding those accounted for under the equity method of accounting or those resulting in consolidation of the investee, be measured at fair value in the consolidated balance sheet with changes in fair value recognized in net income. For disclosure purposes, the Company will no longer be required to disclose the methods and significant assumptions used to estimate fair value for financial instruments measured at amortized cost in the consolidated balance sheet. The amended guidance became effective on January 1, 2018, and was applied on a modified retrospective basis. The adoption did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows as debt securities represent the majority of the Company's investment portfolio.
Accounting for Leases
In February 2016, the FASB amended the guidance on accounting for leases. The new standard requires lessees to recognize assets and liabilities on the balance sheet for the rights and obligations created by all qualifying leases with terms of more than twelve months. The recognition, measurement and presentation of expenses and cash flows arising from a lease by a lessee remains substantially unchanged and depends on classification as a finance or operating lease. The new standard also requires quantitative and qualitative disclosures that provide information about the amounts related to leasing arrangements recorded in the consolidated financial statements. The new guidance will be effective for interim and annual periods beginning on January 1, 2019, and is required to be applied on a modified retrospective basis to the earliest period presented, which includes practical expedient options in certain circumstances. The Company is in the process of evaluating the new accounting guidance, which includes the assessment of whether certain executory contracts contain embedded leases. The Company has 30 regional financial centers and 8 corporate locations which are leased. The right of use asset and corresponding lease liability for these leases will be recognized on the Company's balance sheet upon adoption.
Accounting for Credit Losses
In June 2016, the FASB amended the accounting guidance on accounting for credit losses. The amended guidance requires measurement of all expected credit losses for financial instruments, including loans and debt securities, and other commitments to extend credit held at the reporting date. For financial assets measured at amortized cost, factors such as historical experience, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts will be used to estimate expected credit losses. The amended guidance will also change the manner in which credit losses are recognized on debt securities classified as available-for-sale. The new guidance will be effective for interim and annual periods beginning January 1, 2020. Early adoption is permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of the new accounting guidance on the Company's financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. The Company does not expect the amended accounting guidance to have as significant of an impact as it could have if the Company were originating or purchasing mortgage loans. Our evaluation contemplates the recent performance of the Company's run-off legacy mortgage and consumer loan portfolio and the credit profile of the current investment securities portfolio; however, the impact of the new guidance will depend on the current and expected macroeconomic conditions and the nature and characteristics of financial assets held by us on the date of adoption.
Classification of Certain Cash Receipts and Cash Payments
In August 2016, the FASB amended the guidance on the presentation and classification of certain cash receipts and cash payments in the consolidated statement of cash flows to eliminate current diversity in practice. The new guidance became effective on January 1, 2018, and the retrospective transition method will be applied to each period presented. Among other changes, the Company will begin classifying debt extinguishment costs within cash flows from financing activities.
Classification of Restricted Cash
In November 2016, the FASB amended the guidance on the presentation and classification of changes in restricted cash in the consolidated statement of cash flows to eliminate current diversity in practice. The amended guidance requires the consolidated statement of cash flows to explain the change during the period in the total cash, cash equivalents, and amounts generally described as restricted cash and restricted cash equivalents. The new guidance became effective on January 1, 2018 and will be applied using a retrospective transition method to each period presented. The Company concluded that cash required to be segregated under federal or other regulations is considered restricted cash and will present the segregated cash activity on the consolidated statement of cash flows.
Clarifying the Definition of a Business
In January 2017, the FASB issued guidance to clarify the definition of a business in order to assist companies in the evaluation of whether transactions should be accounted for as acquisitions or disposals of assets or businesses. The guidance became effective on January 1, 2018, and will be applied prospectively.
Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment
In January 2017, the FASB issued guidance to simplify the test for goodwill impairment by eliminating Step 2 from the goodwill impairment test. The amended guidance requires the Company to perform its annual goodwill impairment test by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount. An impairment charge should be recognized at the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the fair value of the reporting unit; however, the loss recognized should not exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit. Income tax effects resulting from any tax deductible goodwill should be considered when measuring the goodwill impairment loss, if applicable. The Company will still have the option to perform a qualitative assessment to conclude whether it is more likely than not that the carrying amount of the Company exceeds its fair value. The guidance will be effective for interim and annual periods beginning January 1, 2020, and must be applied prospectively. Early adoption is permitted.
Premium Amortization on Purchased Callable Debt Securities
In March 2017, the FASB issued guidance to amend the amortization period for certain callable debt securities held at a premium. The amended guidance shortens the amortization period for these securities by requiring the premium to be amortized to the earliest call date. The guidance does not amend the accounting for securities held at a discount. The Company early adopted this guidance beginning January 1, 2018, and it will be applied on a modified retrospective basis. A cumulative-effect adjustment to retained earnings was not required upon adoption since the Company did not hold any callable debt securities at a premium as of January 1, 2018.
Targeted Improvements to Accounting for Hedging Activities
In August 2017, the FASB issued guidance to update the recognition and presentation of hedging relationships. Among other changes, the new guidance eases hedge documentation requirements and allows additional types of hedge accounting strategies. The Company early adopted this guidance beginning January 1, 2018. The Company applied the guidance on a modified retrospective basis, which resulted in a $7 million cumulative-effect adjustment to increase retained earnings. In addition, the guidance provided a one-time transition election to transfer certain debt securities from held-to-maturity to available-for-sale. The Company transferred agency mortgage-backed and agency debt securities with a fair value of $4.7 billion, and recognized a net pre-tax gain of $7 million within other comprehensive income.
Reclassification of Certain Tax Effects from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income
In February 2018, the FASB issued guidance to address certain income tax effects in Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (AOCI) resulting from the tax reform enacted in 2017. The amended guidance provides an option to reclassify tax effects within AOCI to retained earnings in the period in which the effect of the tax reform is recorded. The amendments are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods. Early adoption is permitted. The Company adopted the amended guidance in the first quarter of 2018 and recorded a $14 million increase to retained earnings.