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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934,
for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2020,
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934,
for the transition period from           N/A           to                                 .
Commission File Number: 0-23695
BROOKLINE BANCORP, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware04-3402944
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
131 Clarendon StreetBostonMA02116
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
(617425-4600
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, par value of $0.01 per shareBRKLNasdaq Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12 (g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1934. Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Act of 1934. Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirement for the past 90 days. Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer", "accelerated filer", "smaller reporting company", and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller Reporting Company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.                     
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes     No 



As of June 28, 2020, the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the shares of common stock held by nonaffiliates, based upon the closing price per share of the registrant's common stock as reported on NASDAQ, was approximately $0.8 billion.
As of February 26, 2021, there were 85,177,172 and 78,192,589 shares of the registrant's common stock, par value $0.01 per share, issued and outstanding, respectively.



Table of Contents
BROOKLINE BANCORP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
2020 FORM 10-K
Table of Contents
Page



Table of Contents
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K that are not historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and are intended to be covered by the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. These statements, which are based on certain assumptions and describe Brookline Bancorp, Inc.'s (the "Company's") future plans, strategies and expectations, can generally be identified by the use of the words "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," "plan," "potential," "estimate," "project," "believe," "intend," "anticipate," "expect," "target" and similar expressions. These statements include, among others, statements regarding the Company's intent, belief or expectations with respect to economic conditions, trends affecting the Company's financial condition or results of operations, and the Company's exposure to market, liquidity, interest-rate and credit risk.
Forward-looking statements are based on the current assumptions underlying the statements and other information with respect to the beliefs, plans, objectives, goals, expectations, anticipations, estimates and intentions of management and the financial condition, results of operations, future performance and business are only expectations of future results. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the Company’s forward-looking statements are reasonable, the Company’s actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of, among other factors, the negative impacts and disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures taken to contain its spread on the Company’s employees, customers, business operations, credit quality, financial position, liquidity and results of operations; continued deterioration in employment levels; turbulence in the capital and debt markets; changes in interest rates; competitive pressures from other financial institutions; the effects of weakness in general economic conditions on a national basis or in the local markets in which the Company operates; changes in consumer behavior due to changing political, business and economic conditions, including increased unemployment, or legislative or regulatory initiatives; changes in the value of securities and other assets in the Company’s investment portfolio; increases in loan and lease default and charge-off rates; the adequacy of allowances for loan and lease losses; decreases in deposit levels that necessitate increases in borrowing to fund loans and investments; operational risks including, but not limited to, cybersecurity incidents, fraud, natural disasters and future pandemics; changes in regulation; reputational risks relating to the Company’s participation in the Paycheck Protection Program (the "PPP"), and other pandemic-related legislative and regulatory initiatives and programs; the possibility that future credit losses may be higher than currently expected; due to changes in economic assumptions and adverse economic developments; the risk that goodwill and intangibles recorded in the Company’s financial statements will become impaired; and changes in assumptions used in making such forward-looking statements; and the other risks and uncertainties detailed in Item 1A, "Risk Factors." Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made.
PART I
Item 1.    Business
General
Brookline Bancorp, Inc. (the "Company"), a Delaware corporation, is the holding company for Brookline Bank and its subsidiaries, Bank Rhode Island ("BankRI") and its subsidiaries, and Brookline Securities Corp.
Brookline Bank, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, has three wholly-owned subsidiaries, Longwood Securities Corp. ("LSC"), First Ipswich Insurance Agency, and Eastern Funding LLC ("Eastern Funding"), and operates 30 full-service banking offices and two lending offices in the greater Boston metropolitan area. As of July 21, 2020, two of Brookline Bank's subsidiaries, BBS Investment Corp. and First Ipswich Securities II Corp were merged with and into LSC. On February 15, 2020, First Ipswich Bank ("First Ipswich"), formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, was merged with and into Brookline Bank.
BankRI, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, has four direct subsidiaries, Acorn Insurance Agency, BRI Realty Corp., Macrolease Corporation ("Macrolease"), and BRI Investment Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, BRI MSC Corp., and operates 20 full-service banking offices in the greater Providence, Rhode Island area.
The Company, through Brookline Bank and BankRI (the "Banks"), offers a wide range of commercial, business and retail banking services, including a full complement of cash management products, on-line banking services, consumer and residential loans and investment services, designed to meet the financial needs of small- to mid-sized businesses and individuals throughout central New England. Specialty lending activities, including equipment financing, are focused in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area, with services offered throughout the United States. As full-service financial institutions, the
1

Table of Contents
Banks and their subsidiaries focus on the continued addition of well-qualified customers, the deepening of long-term banking relationships through a full complement of products and excellent customer service, and strong risk management.
The Company's headquarters and executive management are located at 131 Clarendon Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116, and its telephone number is 617-425-4600.
Overview of Results
The loan and lease portfolio grew $531.7 million, or 7.9%, to $7.3 billion at December 31, 2020 from $6.7 billion at December 31, 2019. The Company's commercial loan portfolios, which are comprised of commercial real estate loans and commercial loans and leases, continued to exhibit growth. The Company's commercial loan portfolios, which totaled $6.1 billion, or 83.9% of total loans and leases, as of December 31, 2020, increased $590.8 million, or 10.7%, from $5.5 billion, or 81.7% of total loans and leases, as of December 31, 2019.
Total deposits increased $1.1 billion, or 18.5%, to $6.9 billion at December 31, 2020 from $5.8 billion as of December 31, 2019. Core deposits, which include demand checking, NOW, money market and savings accounts, increased 26.7% to $4.8 billion as of December 31, 2020 from $3.8 billion at December 31, 2019. The Company's core deposits were 69.8% of total deposits at December 31, 2020, an increase from 65.3% at December 31, 2019.
The allowance for loan and lease losses increased $53.3 million, or 87.3%, to $114.4 million as of December 31, 2020 from $61.1 million as of December 31, 2019. The ratio of the allowance for loan and lease losses to total loans and leases was 1.57% as of December 31, 2020 compared to 0.91% as of December 31, 2019. Nonperforming assets as of December 31, 2020 were $45.0 million, up from $22.1 million at the end of 2019. Nonperforming assets were 0.50% and 0.28% of total assets as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively. The Company's credit quality compares favorably to its peers, and remains a top priority within the Company.
Net interest income increased $6.9 million, or 2.7%, to $260.2 million in 2020 compared to $253.3 million in 2019. Net interest margin decreased 34 basis points to 3.17% in 2020 from 3.51% in 2019. Net income for 2020 decreased $40.1 million, or 45.7%, to $47.6 million from $87.7 million for 2019. Basic and fully diluted earnings per common share ("EPS") decreased to $0.60 for 2020 from $1.10 for 2019. See Item 7. “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
Competition
The Company provides banking services in the greater Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island, metropolitan marketplaces, each of which is dominated by several large national banking institutions. The Company faces considerable competition from banking and non-banking organizations, including traditional banks, digital banks, financial technology companies and others, in its market area for all aspects of banking and related service activities. Competitive factors considered for loan generation include product offerings, interest rates, terms offered, services provided and geographic locations. Competitive factors considered in attracting and retaining deposits include product offerings and rate of return, convenient branch locations and automated teller machines and online access to accounts.
Market Area and Credit Risk Concentration
As of December 31, 2020, the Company, through its Banks, operated 50 full-service banking offices in greater Boston, Massachusetts, and greater Providence, Rhode Island. The Banks' deposits are gathered from the general public, primarily in the communities in which the banking offices are located. The deposit market in Massachusetts and Rhode Island is highly concentrated in several banks. Based on June 30, 2020 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") statistics, the five largest banks in Massachusetts have an aggregate market share of approximately 67%, and the three largest banks in Rhode Island have an aggregate deposit market share of approximately 72%. The Banks' lending activities are concentrated primarily in the greater Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island, metropolitan areas, eastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and other Rhode Island areas. In addition, the Company, through its subsidiaries of Brookline Bank and BankRI, conducts equipment financing activities in the greater New York and New Jersey metropolitan area and elsewhere in the United States.
Commercial real estate loans. Multi-family and commercial real estate mortgage loans typically generate higher yields, but also involve greater credit risk. In addition, many of the Banks' borrowers have more than one multi-family or commercial real estate loan outstanding. The Banks manage this credit risk by prudent underwriting with conservative debt service coverage and Loan -to-value ratios at origination; lending to seasoned real estate owners/managers; frequently with personal guarantees of repayment; using reasonable appraisal practices; cross-collateralizing loans to one borrower when deemed prudent; and limiting the amount and types of construction lending. As of December 31, 2020, the largest commercial real estate relationship in the Company’s portfolio was $56.1 million.
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Commercial loans and equipment leasing. Brookline Bank originates commercial loans and leases for working capital and other business-related purposes, and concentrate such lending to companies located primarily in Massachusetts, and, in the case of Eastern Funding, in New York and New Jersey. BankRI originates commercial loans and lines of credit for various business-related purposes, for businesses located primarily in Rhode Island, and engages in equipment financing through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Macrolease, in the greater New York and New Jersey metropolitan area and elsewhere in the United States.
Because commercial loans are typically made on the basis of the borrower's ability to repay from the cash flow of the business, the availability of funds for the repayment of commercial and industrial loans may be significantly dependent on the success of the business itself. Further, the collateral securing the loans may be difficult to value, may fluctuate in value based on the success of the business and may deteriorate over time. For this reason, these loans and leases involve greater credit risk. Loans and leases originated by Eastern Funding generally earn higher yields because the borrowers are typically small businesses with limited capital such as laundries, dry cleaners, fitness centers, convenience stores and tow truck operators. The Macrolease equipment financing portfolio is comprised of small- to medium-sized businesses such as fitness centers, restaurants and other commercial equipment. The Banks manage the credit risk inherent in commercial lending by requiring strong debt service coverage ratios; limiting loan-to-value ratios; securing personal guarantees from borrowers; and limiting industry concentrations, franchisee concentrations and the duration of loan maturities. As of December 31, 2020, the largest commercial relationship in the Company’s portfolio was $58.4 million.
Consumer loans. Retail customers of Brookline Bank typically live and work in the Boston metropolitan area and eastern Massachusetts, are financially active and value personalized service and easy branch access. Retail customers of BankRI typically live and work throughout Rhode Island and value easy branch access, personalized service, and knowledge of local communities. The Banks' consumer loan portfolios, which include residential mortgage loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, and other consumer loans, cater to the borrowing needs of this customer base. Credit risk in these portfolios is managed by limiting loan-to-value ratios at loan origination and by requiring borrowers to demonstrate strong credit histories. As of December 31, 2020, the largest consumer relationship in the Company’s portfolio was $40.5 million.
Economic Conditions and Governmental Policies
Repayment of multi-family and commercial real estate loans are generally dependent on the properties generating sufficient income to cover operating expenses and debt service. Repayment of commercial loans and equipment financing loans and leases generally are dependent on the demand for the borrowers' products or services and the ability of borrowers to compete and operate on a profitable basis. Repayment of residential mortgage loans, home equity loans and indirect automobile loans generally are dependent on the financial well-being of the borrowers and their capacity to service their debt levels. The asset quality of the Company's loan and lease portfolio, therefore, is greatly affected by the economy. Should there be any setback in the economy or increase in the unemployment rates in the Boston, Massachusetts, or Providence, Rhode Island, metropolitan areas, the resulting negative consequences could affect occupancy rates in the properties financed by the Company and cause certain individual and business borrowers to be unable to service their debt obligations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused, and continues to cause, substantial disruptions to the global economy and to the customers and communities that we serve. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation has been enacted, such as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act established the Small Business Administration’s (the “SBA”) Paycheck Protection Program (the “PPP”). Additionally, on December 27, 2020, the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (the “Economic Aid Act”) was enacted which, among other items provides for an additional round of PPP loan funding. For further information on government policies enacted to address the COVID-19 pandemic, see Part I. Item 1. “Business - Supervision and Regulation” below.
Personnel and Human Capital Resources
As of December 31, 2020, the Company had 780 full-time employees and 33 part-time employees. The employees are not represented by a collective bargaining unit and the Company considers its relationship with its employees to be good.
We encourage and support the growth and development of our employees. Continual learning and career development is advanced through ongoing performance and development conversations with employees, internally developed training programs, customized corporate training engagements and educational reimbursement programs.
The safety, health and wellness of our employees is a top priority. The COVID-19 pandemic presented a unique challenge with regard to maintaining employee safety while continuing successful operations. Through teamwork and the adaptability of our management and staff, we were able to transition, over a short period of time, 45% of our employees to effectively working from remote locations and ensure a safely-distanced working environment for employees performing customer facing activities
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at branches and operations centers. All employees are asked not to come to work when they experience signs or symptoms of a possible COVID-19 illness and have been provided additional paid time off to cover compensation during such absences. On an ongoing basis, we further promote the health and wellness of our employees by strongly encouraging work-life balance, offering flexible work schedules, keeping the employee portion of health care premiums to a minimum and sponsoring various wellness programs.
We believe our commitment to living out our core values, actively prioritizing concern for our employees’ well-being, supporting our employees’ career goals, offering competitive wages and providing valuable fringe benefits aids in retention of our top-performing employees.
Access to Information
As a public company, Brookline Bancorp, Inc. is subject to the informational requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and in accordance therewith, files reports, proxy and information statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The Company makes available on or through its internet website, www.brooklinebancorp.com, without charge, its annual reports on Form 10-K, proxy, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The Company’s reports filed with, or furnished to, the SEC are also available at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Press releases are also maintained on the Company’s website. Additional information for Brookline Bank and BankRI can be found at www.brooklinebank.com, and www.bankri.com, respectively. Information on the Company’s and any subsidiary's website is not incorporated by reference into this document and should not be considered part of this Report.
The Company’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select MarketSM under the symbol “BRKL”.
Supervision and Regulation
The following discussion addresses elements of the regulatory framework applicable to bank holding companies and their subsidiaries. This regulatory framework is intended primarily for the protection of the safety and soundness of depository institutions, the federal deposit insurance system, and depositors, rather than for the protection of shareholders of a bank holding company such as the Company.
As a bank holding company, the Company is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( the "FRB") under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “BHCA”), and by the Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks (the "Commissioner") under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 167A. The FRB is also the primary federal regulator of the Banks. In addition, Brookline Bank is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Massachusetts Division of Banks ("MDOB"), and BankRI is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Banking Division of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (the “RIBD”).
The following is a summary of certain aspects of various statutes and regulations applicable to the Company and its subsidiaries. This summary is not a comprehensive analysis of all applicable law, and is qualified by reference to the full text of the statutes and regulations referenced below.
Pandemic Response
Participation in the Paycheck Protection Program
The CARES Act appropriated $349 billion for “paycheck protection loans” through the SBA’s PPP. The amount appropriated for the PPP was subsequently increased to $659 billion (the “Original PPP”). Loans under the PPP that meet SBA requirements may be forgiven in certain circumstances, and are 100% guaranteed by SBA. The Company funded 2,922 PPP loans totaling $581.7 million as of August 8, 2020 when the Original PPP closed, of which $489.2 million remains outstanding, net of deferred fees and costs at December 31, 2020. All PPP loans have been funded. Additionally, the Economic Aid Act, enacted on December 27, 2020, provides for a second round of PPP loans (the “PPP-2”). The Banks are participating in the PPP-2 as of January 27, 2021. PPP loans are fully guaranteed by the U.S. government, have an initial term of up to five years and earn interest at a rate of 1%. We currently expect a significant portion of these loans will ultimately be forgiven by the SBA in accordance with the terms of the program. In conjunction with the PPP, the FRB has created a lending facility for qualified financial institutions. The FRB's Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility ("PPPLF") extends credit to depository institutions with a term of up to five years at an interest rate of 0.35%. Only loans issued under the PPP can be pledged as collateral to access the facility. The Company is participating in the PPPLF program.
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Troubled Debt Restructuring Relief
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security ("CARES") Act and regulatory guidance issued by the Federal banking agencies provides that certain short-term loan modifications to borrowers experiencing financial distress as a result of the economic impacts created by the COVID-19 pandemic are not required to be treated as TDRs under GAAP. As such, the Company suspended TDR accounting for COVID-19 pandemic related loan modifications meeting the loan modification criteria set forth under the CARES Act or as specified in the regulatory guidance. Further, loans granted payment deferrals related to the COVID-19 pandemic are not required to be reported as past due or placed on non-accrual status (provided the loans were not past due or on non-accrual status prior to the deferral). As of December 31, 2020, the Company granted 4,989 short-term deferments on loan and lease balances of $1.1 billion. Of these modifications, 4,691 loans and leases with total balances of $1.0 billion have returned to the payment status and 298 loans and leases with total balances of $90.4 million remain on the deferral status.which represent 1.2% of total loan and leases balances.
Regulation of the Company
The Company is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the FRB, which has the authority, among other things, to order bank holding companies to cease and desist from unsafe or unsound banking practices; to assess civil money penalties; and to order termination of non-banking activities or termination of ownership and control of a non-banking subsidiary by a bank holding company.
Source of Strength
Under the BHCA, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act, the Company is required to serve as a source of financial strength for the Banks in the event of the financial distress of the Banks. This provision of the Dodd-Frank Act codifies the longstanding policy of the FRB. This support may be required at times when the bank holding company may not have the resources to provide the additional financial support required by its subsidiary banks. In the event of a bank holding company’s bankruptcy, any commitment by the bank holding company to a federal bank regulatory agency to maintain the capital of a bank subsidiary will be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee and entitled to priority of payment.
Acquisitions and Activities
The BHCA prohibits a bank holding company, without prior approval of the FRB, from acquiring all or substantially all the assets of a bank, acquiring control of a bank, merging or consolidating with another bank holding company, or acquiring direct or indirect ownership or control of any voting shares of another bank or bank holding company if, after such acquisition, the acquiring bank holding company would control more than 5% of any class of the voting shares of such other bank or bank holding company. Further, as a Massachusetts bank holding company, the Company generally must obtain the prior approval of the Massachusetts Board of Bank Incorporation to acquire ownership or control of more than 5% of any voting stock in any other banking institution, acquire substantially all the assets of a bank, or merge with another bank holding company. However, there is an exemption from this approval requirement in certain cases in which the banking institution to be acquired, simultaneously with the acquisition, merges with a banking institution subsidiary of the Company in a transaction approved by the Commissioner.
The BHCA also generally prohibits a bank holding company from engaging directly or indirectly in activities other than those of banking, managing or controlling banks or furnishing services to its subsidiary banks. However, among other permitted activities, a bank holding company may engage in and may own shares of companies engaged in certain activities that the FRB has determined to be so closely related to banking or managing and controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto, subject to certain notification requirements.
Limitations on Acquisitions of Company Common Stock
The Change in Bank Control Act prohibits a person or group of persons from acquiring “control” of a bank holding company unless the FRB has been notified and has not objected to the transaction. Under rebuttable presumptions of control established by the FRB, the acquisition of control of voting securities of a bank holding company constitutes an acquisition of control under the Change in Bank Control Act, requiring prior notice to the FRB, if, immediately after the transaction, the acquiring person (or persons acting in concert) will own, control, or hold with power to vote 10% or more of any class of voting securities of the bank holding company, and if either (i) the bank holding company has registered securities under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or (ii) no other person will own, control, or hold the power to vote a greater percentage of that class of voting securities immediately after the transaction.
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In addition, the BHCA prohibits any company from acquiring control of a bank or bank holding company without first having obtained the approval of the FRB. Among other circumstances, under the BHCA, a company has control of a bank or bank holding company if the company owns, controls or holds with power to vote 25% or more of a class of voting securities of the bank or bank holding company; controls in any manner the election of a majority of directors or trustees of the bank or bank holding company; or the FRB has determined, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that the company has the power to exercise a controlling influence over the management or policies of the bank or bank holding company. The FRB has established presumptions of control under which the acquisition of control of 5% or more of a class of voting securities of a bank holding company, together with other factors enumerated by the FRB, could constitute the acquisition of control of a bank holding company for purposes of the BHCA.
Regulation of the Banks
Brookline Bank is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the MDOB and the FRB. BankRI is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the RIBD and the FRB. The enforcement powers available to federal and state banking regulators include, among other things, the ability to issue cease and desist or removal orders to terminate insurance of deposits; to assess civil money penalties; to issue directives to increase capital; to place the bank into receivership; and to initiate injunctive actions against banking organizations and institution-affiliated parties.
Deposit Insurance
Deposit obligations of the Banks are insured by the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund up to $250,000 per separately insured depositor for deposits held in the same right and capacity.
In 2016, as mandated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (the “FDIA”), the FDIC’s Board of Directors approved a final rule to increase the DIF's reserve ratio to the statutorily required minimum ratio of 1.35% of estimated insured deposits. On September 30, 2018, the DIF reserve ratio reached 1.36%. Small banks, which are generally banks with less than $10 billion in assets, were awarded assessment credits for the portion of their assessments that contributed to the growth in the reserve ratio from 1.15 percent to 1.35 percent.
Deposit insurance premiums are based on assets. In 2016, the FDIC’s Board of Directors adopted a final rule that changed the manner in which deposit insurance assessment rates are calculated for established small banks, generally those banks with less than $10 billion of assets that have been insured for at least five years. Under this method, each of seven financial ratios and a weighted average of CAMELS composite ratings are multiplied by a corresponding pricing multiplier. The sum of these products is added to a uniform amount, with the resulting sum being an institution’s initial base assessment rate (subject to minimum or maximum assessment rates based on a bank’s CAMELS composite rating). This method takes into account various measures, including an institution’s leverage ratio, brokered deposit ratio, one year asset growth, the ratio of net income before taxes to total assets, and considerations related to asset quality. For the year ending December 31, 2020, the Banks’ FDIC insurance assessments costs were $4.2 million.
The FDIC has the authority to adjust deposit insurance assessment rates at any time. In addition, under the FDIA, the FDIC may terminate deposit insurance, among other circumstances, upon a finding that the institution has engaged in unsafe and unsound practices; is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations; or has violated any applicable law, regulation, rule, order or condition imposed by the FDIC.
Until July 31, 2019, Brookline Bank was a member bank of the Depositors Insurance Fund (the “DIF”), a private, industry-sponsored insurance fund that insures all deposits above FDIC limits for Massachusetts-chartered savings banks. Brookline Bank converted its charter from a Massachusetts-chartered savings bank to a Massachusetts-chartered trust company and ended its membership in the DIF on July 31, 2019. Term deposits in excess of the FDIC insurance coverage will continue to be insured by the DIF until they reach maturity.
Cross-Guarantee
Similar to the source of strength doctrine discussed above in “Regulation of the Company-Source of Strength,” under the cross-guarantee provisions of the FDIA, the FDIC can hold any FDIC-insured depository institution liable for any loss suffered or anticipated by the FDIC in connection with (i) the “default” of a commonly controlled FDIC-insured depository institution; or (ii) any assistance provided by the FDIC to a commonly controlled FDIC-insured depository institution “in danger of default.”
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Acquisitions and Branching
The Banks must seek prior approval from the FRB to acquire another bank or establish a new branch office. Brookline Bank must also seek prior approval from the MDOB to acquire another bank or establish a new branch office and BankRI must also seek prior approval from the RIBD to acquire another bank or establish a new branch office. Well capitalized and well managed banks may acquire other banks in any state, subject to certain deposit concentration limits and other conditions, pursuant to the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act authorizes a state-chartered bank to establish new branches on an interstate basis to the same extent a bank chartered by the host state may establish branches.
Activities and Investments of Insured State-Chartered Banks
The FDIA generally limits the types of equity investments that FDIC-insured state-chartered member banks, such as the Banks, may make and the kinds of activities in which such banks may engage, as a principal, to those that are permissible for national banks. Further, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (the “GLBA”) permits state banks, to the extent permitted under state law, to engage through “financial subsidiaries” in certain activities which are permissible for subsidiaries of a financial holding company. In order to form a financial subsidiary, a state-chartered bank must be well capitalized, and must comply with certain capital deduction, risk management and affiliate transaction rules, among other requirements. In addition, the Federal Reserve Act provides that state member banks are subject to the same restrictions with respect to purchasing, selling, underwriting, and holding of investment securities as national banks.
Brokered Deposits
The FDIA and federal regulations generally limit the ability of an insured depository institution to accept, renew or roll over any brokered deposit unless the institution’s capital category is “well capitalized” or, with regulatory approval, “adequately capitalized.” Depository institutions that have brokered deposits in excess of 10% of total assets will be subject to increased FDIC deposit insurance premium assessments. Additionally, depository institutions considered “adequately capitalized” that need regulatory approval to accept, renew or roll over any brokered deposits are subject to additional restrictions on the interest rate they may pay on deposits. As of December 31, 2020, neither of the Banks had brokered deposits in excess of 10% of total assets.
Section 202 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the "Economic Growth Act"), which was enacted in 2018, amends the FDIA to exempt a capped amount of reciprocal deposits from treatment as brokered deposits for certain insured depository institutions.
The Community Reinvestment Act
The Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) requires the FRB to evaluate each of the Banks with regard to their performance in helping to meet the credit needs of the communities each of the Banks serve, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking operations, and to take this record into consideration when evaluating certain applications. The FRB’s CRA regulations are generally based upon objective criteria of the performance of institutions under three key assessment tests: (i) a lending test, to evaluate the institution’s record of making loans in its service areas; (ii) an investment test, to evaluate the institution’s record of investing in community development projects, affordable housing, and programs benefiting low- or moderate-income individuals and businesses; and (iii) a service test, to evaluate the institution’s delivery of services through its branches, ATMs, and other offices. Failure of an institution to receive at least a “satisfactory” rating could inhibit the Banks or the Company from undertaking certain activities, including engaging in activities permitted as a financial holding company under GLBA and acquisitions of other financial institutions. Each Bank has achieved a rating of “satisfactory” on its most recent CRA examination. Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island have adopted specific community reinvestment requirements which are substantially similar to those of the FRB.
Lending Restrictions
Federal law limits a bank’s authority to extend credit to directors and executive officers of the bank or its affiliates and persons or companies that own, control or have power to vote more than 10% of any class of securities of a bank or an affiliate of a bank, as well as to entities controlled by such persons. Among other things, extensions of credit to insiders are required to be made on terms that are substantially the same as, and follow credit underwriting procedures that are not less stringent than, those prevailing for comparable transactions with unaffiliated persons. Also, the terms of such extensions of credit may not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features and may not exceed certain limitations on the amount of credit extended to such persons, individually and in the aggregate, which limits are based, in part, on the amount of the bank’s capital.
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Capital Adequacy and Safety and Soundness
Regulatory Capital Requirements
The FRB has issued risk-based and leverage capital rules applicable to U.S. banking organizations such as the Company and the Banks. These rules are intended to reflect the relationship between the banking organization’s capital and the degree of risk associated with its operations based on transactions recorded on-balance sheet as well as off-balance sheet items. The FRB may from time to time require that a banking organization maintain capital above the minimum levels discussed below, due to the banking organization’s financial condition or actual or anticipated growth.
The capital adequacy rules define qualifying capital instruments and specify minimum amounts of capital as a percentage of assets that banking organizations are required to maintain. Common equity Tier 1 capital generally includes common stock and related surplus, retained earnings and, in certain cases and subject to certain limitations, minority interest in consolidated subsidiaries, less goodwill, other non-qualifying intangible assets and certain other deductions. Tier 1 capital for banks and bank holding companies generally consists of the sum of common equity Tier 1 elements, non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock, and related surplus in certain cases and subject to limitations, minority interests in consolidated subsidiaries that do not qualify as common equity Tier 1 capital, less certain deductions. Tier 2 capital generally consists of hybrid capital instruments, perpetual debt and mandatory convertible debt securities, cumulative perpetual preferred stock, term subordinated debt and intermediate-term preferred stock, and, subject to limitations, allowances for loan losses. The sum of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital less certain required deductions represents qualifying total risk-based capital. Prior to the effectiveness of certain provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, bank holding companies were permitted to include trust preferred securities and cumulative perpetual preferred stock in Tier 1 capital, subject to limitations. However, the FRB’s capital rule applicable to bank holding companies permanently grandfathers nonqualifying capital instruments, including trust preferred securities, issued before May 19, 2010 by depository institution holding companies with less than $15 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2009, subject to a limit of 25% of Tier 1 capital. In addition, under rules that became effective January 1, 2015, accumulated other comprehensive income (positive or negative) must be reflected in Tier 1 capital; however, the Company was permitted to make a one-time, permanent election to continue to exclude accumulated other comprehensive income from capital. The Company has made this election.
Under the capital rules, risk-based capital ratios are calculated by dividing common equity Tier 1, Tier 1, and total risk capital, respectively, by risk-weighted assets. Assets and off-balance sheet credit equivalents are assigned to one of several categories of risk-weights, based primarily on relative risk. Under the FRB's rules, the Company and the Banks are each required to maintain a minimum common equity Tier 1 capital ratio requirement of 4.5%, a minimum Tier 1 capital ratio requirement of 6.0%, a minimum total capital requirement of 8.0% and a minimum leverage ratio requirement of 4.0%. Additionally, these rules require an institution to establish a capital conservation buffer of common equity Tier 1 capital in an amount above the minimum risk-based capital requirements for "adequately capitalized" institutions of more than 2.5% of total risk weighted assets, or face restrictions on the ability to pay dividends, pay discretionary bonuses, and to engaged in share repurchases.
A bank holding company, such as the Company, is considered "well capitalized" if the bank holding company (i) has a total risk based capital ratio of at least 10.0%, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 6.0%, and (iii) is not subject to any written agreement order, capital directive or prompt corrective action directive to meet and maintain a specific capital level for any capital measure. In addition, under the FRB's prompt corrective action rules, a state member bank is considered “well capitalized” if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.0% or greater; (ii) a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 8.0% or greater; (iii) a common Tier 1 equity ratio of at least 6.5% or greater, (iv) a leverage capital ratio of 5.0% or greater; and (v) is not subject to any written agreement, order, capital directive, or prompt corrective action directive to meet and maintain a specific capital level for any capital measure. The FRB also considers: (i) concentrations of credit risk; (ii) interest rate risk; and (iii) risks from non-traditional activities, as well as an institution’s ability to manage those risks. When determining the adequacy of an institution’s capital, this evaluation is a part of the institution’s regular safety and soundness examination. Each of the Banks is currently considered well-capitalized under all regulatory definitions.
Generally, a bank, upon receiving notice that it is not adequately capitalized (i.e., that it is “undercapitalized”), becomes subject to the prompt corrective action provisions of Section 38 of FDIA that, for example, (i) restrict payment of capital distributions and management fees, (ii) require that its federal bank regulator monitor the condition of the institution and its efforts to restore its capital, (iii) require submission of a capital restoration plan, (iv) restrict the growth of the institution’s assets, and (v) require prior regulatory approval of certain expansion proposals. A bank that is required to submit a capital restoration plan must concurrently submit a performance guarantee by each company that controls the bank. A bank that is “critically undercapitalized” (i.e., has a ratio of tangible equity to total assets that is equal to or less than 2.0%) will be subject to further restrictions, and generally will be placed in conservatorship or receivership within 90 days.
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The Banks are considered “well capitalized” under the FRB's prompt corrective action rules and the Company is considered “well capitalized” under the FRB's rules applicable to bank holding companies.
Section 201 of the Economic Growth Act directs the federal bank regulatory agencies to establish a community bank leverage ratio (“CBLR”) of tangible capital to average total consolidated assets of not less than 8.0% or more than 10.0%. Under the final rule issued by federal banking agencies, effective January 1, 2020, depository institutions and depository institution holding companies that have less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets and meet other qualifying criteria, including a leverage ratio (equal to Tier 1 capital divided by average total consolidated assets) of greater than 9.0%, will be eligible to opt into the community bank leverage ratio framework. A community banking organization that elects to use the community bank leverage ratio framework and that maintains a leverage ratio of greater than 9.0% will be considered to have satisfied the generally applicable risk-based and leverage capital requirements in the banking agencies’ generally applicable capital rules and, if applicable, will be considered to have met the well-capitalized ratio requirements for purposes of Section 38 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. The final rule includes a two-quarter grace period during which a qualifying banking organization that temporarily fails to meet any of the qualifying criteria, including the greater than 9.0% leverage ratio requirement, generally would still be deemed well-capitalized so long as the banking organization maintains a leverage ratio greater than 8.0%. At the end of the grace period, the banking organization must meet all qualifying criteria to remain in the community bank leverage ratio framework or otherwise must comply with and report under the generally applicable rule. As required by Section 4012 the CARES Act, the federal banking agencies temporarily lowered the community bank leverage ratio, issuing two interim final rules to set the community bank leverage ratio at 8.0% and then gradually re-establish it at 9.0%. Under the interim final rules, the community bank leverage ratio was set at 8.0% beginning in the second quarter of 2020 through the end of the year. Community banks that have a leverage ratio of 8.0% or greater and meet certain other criteria may elect to use the community bank leverage ratio framework. Beginning in 2021, the community bank leverage ratio will increase to 8.5% for the calendar year. Community banks will have until January 1, 2022, before the leverage ratio requirement to use the CBLR framework will return to 9.0%. At this time, the Company does not anticipate opting in to the CBLR.
Safety and Soundness Standards
Guidelines adopted by the federal bank regulatory agencies pursuant to the FDIA establish general standards relating to internal controls and information systems, internal audit systems, loan documentation, credit underwriting, interest rate exposure, asset growth, asset quality, earnings and compensation, fees and benefits. In general, these guidelines require, among other things, appropriate systems and practices to identify and manage the risk and exposures specified in the guidelines. The guidelines prohibit excessive compensation as an unsafe and unsound practice and describe compensation as excessive when the amounts paid are unreasonable or disproportionate to the services performed by an executive officer, employee, director or principal stockholder. In addition, the federal banking agencies adopted regulations that authorize, but do not require, an agency to order an institution that has been given notice by an agency that it is not satisfying any of such safety and soundness standards to submit a compliance plan. If, after being so notified, an institution fails to submit an acceptable compliance plan or fails in any material respect to implement an acceptable compliance plan, the agency must issue an order directing action to correct the deficiency and may issue an order restricting asset growth, requiring an institution to increase its ratio of tangible equity to assets or directing other actions of the types to which an undercapitalized institution is subject under the “prompt corrective action” provisions of FDIA. See “- Regulatory Capital Requirements” above. If an institution fails to comply with such an order, the agency may seek to enforce such order in judicial proceedings and to impose civil money penalties.
Dividend Restrictions
The Company is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Banks. The revenue of the Company (on a parent company only basis) is derived primarily from dividends paid to it by the Banks. The right of the Company, and consequently the right of shareholders of the Company, to participate in any distribution of the assets or earnings of the Banks through the payment of such dividends or otherwise is subject to the prior claims of creditors of the Banks (including depositors), except to the extent that certain claims of the Company in a creditor capacity may be recognized.
Restrictions on Bank Holding Company Dividends
The FRB has authority to prohibit bank holding companies from paying dividends if such payment is deemed to be an unsafe or unsound practice. The FRB has indicated generally that it may be an unsafe or unsound practice for bank holding companies to pay dividends unless the bank holding company’s net income for the prior year is sufficient to fund the dividends and the expected rate of earnings retention is consistent with the organization’s capital needs, asset quality and overall financial condition. Further, under the FRBs capital rules, the Company's ability to pay dividends will be restricted if it does not maintain the required capital conservation buffer. See “Capital Adequacy and Safety and Soundness-Regulatory Capital Requirements” above.
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Restrictions on Bank Dividends
The FRB has the authority to use its enforcement powers to prohibit a bank from paying dividends if, in its opinion, the payment of dividends would constitute an unsafe or unsound practice. Federal law also prohibits the payment of dividends by a bank that will result in the bank failing to meet its applicable capital requirements on a pro forma basis. In addition, a state member bank may not declare or pay a dividend: (i) if the total of all dividends declared during the calendar year, including the proposed dividend, exceeds the sum of the bank's net income during the current calendar year and the retained net income of the prior two calendar years; or (ii) that would exceed its undivided profits; in either case, unless the dividend has been approved by the FRB. Payment of dividends by a bank is also restricted pursuant to various state regulatory limitations.
Certain Transactions by Bank Holding Companies with their Affiliates
There are various statutory restrictions on the extent to which bank holding companies and their non-bank subsidiaries may borrow, obtain credit from or otherwise engage in “covered transactions” with their insured depository institution subsidiaries. An insured depository institution (and its subsidiaries) may not lend money to, or engage in covered transactions with, its non-depository institution affiliates if the aggregate amount of covered transactions outstanding involving the bank, plus the proposed transaction, exceeds the following limits: (i) in the case of any one such affiliate, the aggregate amount of covered transactions of the insured depository institution and its subsidiaries cannot exceed 10% of the capital stock and surplus of the insured depository institution; and (ii) in the case of all affiliates, the aggregate amount of covered transactions of the insured depository institution and its subsidiaries cannot exceed 20% of the capital stock and surplus of the insured depository institution. For this purpose, “covered transactions” are defined by statute to include a loan or extension of credit to an affiliate, a purchase of or investment in securities issued by an affiliate, a purchase of assets from an affiliate unless exempted by the FRB, the acceptance of securities issued by an affiliate as collateral for a loan or extension of credit to any person or company, the issuance of a guarantee, acceptance or letter of credit on behalf of an affiliate, securities borrowing or lending transactions with an affiliate that creates a credit exposure to such affiliate, or a derivatives transaction with an affiliate that creates a credit exposure to such affiliate. Covered transactions are also subject to certain collateral security requirements. Covered transactions as well as other types of transactions between a bank and a bank holding company must be conducted under terms and conditions, including credit standards, that are at least as favorable to the bank as prevailing market terms. If a banking organization elects to use the community bank leverage ratio framework described in “Capital Adequacy and Safety and Soundness - Regulatory Capital Requirements” above, the banking organization would be required to measure the amount of covered transactions as a percentage of Tier 1 capital, subject to certain adjustments. Moreover, Section 106 of the Bank Holding Company Act Amendment of 1970 provides that, to further competition, a bank holding company and its subsidiaries are prohibited from engaging in certain tying arrangements in connection with any extension of credit, lease or sale of property of any kind, or the furnishing of any service. As of and for the year ending December 31, 2020, there were no such transactions.
Consumer Protection Regulation
The Company and the Banks are subject to a number of federal and state laws designed to protect consumers and prohibit unfair or deceptive business practices. These laws include the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Housing Act, Home Ownership Protection Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (the “FACT Act”), GLBA, Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), the CRA, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, National Flood Insurance Act and various state law counterparts. These laws and regulations mandate certain disclosure requirements and regulate the manner in which financial institutions must interact with customers when taking deposits, making loans, collecting loans and providing other services. Further, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") also has a broad mandate to prohibit unfair, deceptive or abusive acts and practices and is specifically empowered to require certain disclosures to consumers and draft model disclosure forms. Failure to comply with consumer protection laws and regulations can subject financial institutions to enforcement actions, fines and other penalties. The FRB examines the Banks for compliance with CFPB rules and enforces CFPB rules with respect to the Banks.
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Mortgage Reform
The Dodd-Frank Act prescribes certain standards that mortgage lenders must consider before making a residential mortgage loan, including verifying a borrower’s ability to repay such mortgage loan, and allows borrowers to assert violations of certain provisions of the TILA as a defense to foreclosure proceedings. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, prepayment penalties are prohibited for certain mortgage transactions and creditors are prohibited from financing insurance policies in connection with a residential mortgage loan or home equity line of credit. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act prohibits mortgage originators from receiving compensation based on the terms of residential mortgage loans and generally limits the ability of a mortgage originator to be compensated by others if compensation is received from a consumer. The Dodd-Frank Act requires mortgage lenders to make additional disclosures prior to the extension of credit, and in each billing statement, and for negative amortization loans and hybrid adjustable rate mortgages. Additionally, the CFPB’s qualified mortgage rule requires creditors, such as the Banks, to make a reasonable good faith determination of a consumer's ability to repay any consumer credit transaction secured by a dwelling prior to making the loan. The Economic Growth Act included provisions that ease certain requirements related to mortgage transactions for certain institutions with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets.
Privacy and Customer Information Security
The GLBA requires financial institutions to implement policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of nonpublic personal information about consumers to nonaffiliated third parties. In general, the Banks must provide their customers with an annual disclosure that explains their policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of such nonpublic personal information and, except as otherwise required or permitted by law, the Banks are prohibited from disclosing such information except as provided in such policies and procedures. If the financial institution only discloses information under exceptions from the GLBA that do not require an opt out to be provided and if there has been no change in the financial institutions privacy policies and procedures since its most recent disclosures provide to customers, an annual disclosure is not required to be provided by the financial institution. The GLBA also requires that the Banks develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive written information security program designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information (as defined under GLBA), to protect against anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information and to protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer. The Banks are also required to send a notice to customers whose “sensitive information” has been compromised if unauthorized use of this information is “reasonably possible.” Most of the states, including the states where the Banks operate, have enacted legislation concerning breaches of data security and the duties of the Banks in response to a data breach. Congress continues to consider federal legislation that would require consumer notice of data security breaches. Pursuant to the FACT Act, the Banks must also develop and implement a written identity theft prevention program to detect, prevent, and mitigate identity theft in connection with the opening of certain accounts or certain existing accounts. Additionally, the FACT Act amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to generally prohibit a person from using information received from an affiliate to make a solicitation for marketing purposes to a consumer, unless the consumer is given notice and a reasonable opportunity and method to opt out of the making of such solicitations.
Anti-Money Laundering
The Bank Secrecy Act
Under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), a financial institution is required to have systems in place to detect certain transactions, based on the size and nature of the transaction. Financial institutions are generally required to report to the United States Treasury any cash transactions involving at least $10,000. In addition, financial institutions are required to file suspicious activity reports for any transaction or series of transactions that involve more than $5,000 and which the financial institution knows, suspects or has reason to suspect involves illegal funds, is designed to evade the requirements of the BSA or has no lawful purpose. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “USA PATRIOT Act”), which amended the BSA, is designed to deny terrorists and others the ability to obtain anonymous access to the U.S. financial system. The USA PATRIOT Act has significant implications for financial institutions and businesses of other types involved in the transfer of money. The USA PATRIOT Act, together with the implementing regulations of various federal regulatory agencies, has caused financial institutions, such as the Banks, to adopt and implement additional policies or amend existing policies and procedures with respect to, among other things, anti-money laundering compliance, suspicious activity, currency transaction reporting, customer identity verification and customer risk analysis. In evaluating an application to acquire a bank or to merge banks or effect a purchase of assets and assumption of deposits and other liabilities, the applicable federal banking regulator must consider the anti-money laundering compliance record of both the applicant and the target. In addition, under the USA PATRIOT Act, financial institutions are required to take steps to monitor their correspondent banking and private banking relationships as well as, if applicable, their relationships with “shell banks.”
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Office of Foreign Assets Control
The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions that affect transactions with designated foreign countries, nationals and others. These sanctions, which are administered by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), take many different forms. Generally, however, they contain one or more of the following elements: (i) restrictions on trade with or investment in a sanctioned country, including prohibitions against direct or indirect imports from and exports to a sanctioned country and prohibitions on “U.S. persons” engaging in financial or other transactions relating to a sanctioned country or with certain designated persons and entities; (ii) a blocking of assets in which the government or specially designated nationals of the sanctioned country have an interest, by prohibiting transfers of property subject to U.S. jurisdiction (including property in the possession or control of U.S. persons); and (iii) restrictions on transactions with or involving certain persons or entities. Blocked assets (for example, property and bank deposits) cannot be paid out, withdrawn, set off or transferred in any manner without a license from OFAC. Failure to comply with these sanctions could have serious legal and reputational consequences for the Company. As of December 31, 2020, the Company did not have any transactions with sanctioned countries, nationals, and others.
Item 1A.    Risk Factors
Before deciding to invest in us or deciding to maintain or increase your investment, you should carefully consider the risks described below, in addition to the other information contained in this report and in our other filings with the SEC. The risks and uncertainties described below and in our other filings are not the only ones facing us. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also affect our business. If any of these known or unknown risks or uncertainties actually occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be seriously harmed. In that event, the market price for our common stock could decline and you may lose your investment.
RISKS RELATED TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the measures taken to control its spread, will continue to adversely impact our employees, customers, business operations and financial results, and the ultimate impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, and will likely continue to, severely impact the national economy and the regional and local markets in which we operate, lower equity market valuations, create significant volatility and disruption in capital and debt markets, and increase unemployment levels. Our business operations may be disrupted if significant portions of our workforce are unable to work effectively, including because of illness, quarantines, government actions, or other restrictions in connection with the pandemic. We are subject to heightened cybersecurity, information security and operational risks as a result of work-from-home arrangements that we have put in place for our employees. Actions taken by the FRB to combat the economic contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the reduction of the target federal funds rate and quantitative easing programs, could, if prolonged, adversely affect our net interest income and margins, and our profitability. The continued closures of many businesses and the institution of social distancing, shelter in place and stay home orders in the states and communities we serve, have reduced business activity and financial transactions. Government policies and directives relating to the pandemic response are subject to change as the effects and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve. It is unclear whether any COVID-19 pandemic-related businesses losses that we or our customers may suffer will be covered by existing insurance policies. Additionally, certain government directives and social distancing protocols may hinder our ability to conduct timely property appraisals, which could delay or impact the accuracy of the recognition of credit losses in our loan portfolios. Increases in deposit balances due, among other things, to government stimulus and relief programs could adversely affect our financial performance if we are unable to successfully lend or invest those funds. The measures we have taken to aid our customers, including short-term loan payment deferments, may be insufficient to help our customers who have been negatively impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Loans that are currently in deferral status may become nonperforming loans. Changes in customer behavior due to worsening business and economic conditions or legislative or regulatory initiatives may impact the demand for our products and services, which could adversely affect our revenue, increase the recognition of credit losses in our loan portfolios and increases in our allowance for credit losses. Similarly, because of adverse economic and market conditions affecting issuers, we may be required to recognize further impairments on the securities we hold, goodwill, intangible assets, and deferred tax assets, as well as reductions in other comprehensive income. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our business, results of operations, and financial condition, as well as our regulatory capital and liquidity ratios, will depend on future developments, including the scope and duration of the pandemic and actions taken by governmental authorities and other third parties in response to the pandemic, as well as further actions we may take as may be required by government authorities or that we determine is in the best interests of our employees and customers. There is no certainty that such measures will be sufficient to mitigate the risks posed by the pandemic.
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Our participation in the SBA’s PPP may expose us to reputational harm, increased litigation risk, as well as the risk that the SBA may not fund some or all of the guarantees associated with PPP loans.
The Company funded 2,922 PPP loans totaling $581.7 million as of August 8, 2020 when the Original PPP closed, of which $489.2 million remains outstanding, net of deferred fees and costs at December 31, 2020. As of January 27, 2020, the Company’s banks are participating in the PPP-2. Lenders participating in the PPP have faced increased public scrutiny about their loan application process and procedures, and the nature and type of the borrowers receiving PPP loans. We depend on our reputation as a trusted and responsible financial services company to compete effectively in the communities that we serve, and any negative public or customer response to, or any litigation or claims that might arise out of, our participation in the PPP and any other legislative or regulatory initiatives and programs that may be enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, could adversely impact our business. Other larger banks have been subject to litigation regarding the process and procedures that such banks used in processing applications for the PPP, and we may be subject to the same or similar litigation, in addition to litigation in connection with our processing of PPP loan forgiveness applications. In addition, if the SBA determines that there is a deficiency in the manner in which a PPP loan was originated, funded, or serviced by us, the SBA may deny its liability under the guaranty, reduce the amount of the guaranty, or, if it has already paid under the guaranty, seek recovery of any loss related to the deficiency from us.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
Our business may be adversely affected by changes in economic and market conditions.
A worsening of economic and market conditions, downside shocks, or a return to recessionary economic conditions could adversely affect us and others in the financial services industry. We primarily serve individuals and businesses located in the greater Boston metropolitan area, eastern Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Our success is largely dependent on local and regional economic conditions. Recessionary economic conditions, increased unemployment, inflation, a decline in real estate values or other factors beyond our control may adversely affect the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans, and could result in higher loan and lease losses and lower net income for us.
In addition, deterioration or defaults made by issuers of the underlying collateral of our investment securities may cause additional credit-related other-than-temporary impairment charges to our income statement. Our ability to borrow from other financial institutions or to access the debt or equity capital markets on favorable terms or at all could be adversely affected by disruptions in the capital markets or other events, including actions by rating agencies and deteriorating investor expectations.
Changes to interest rates could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our consolidated results of operations depend, on a large part, on net interest income, which is the difference between (i) interest income on interest-earning assets, such as loans, leases and securities, and (ii) interest expense on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowed funds. As a result, our earnings and growth are significantly affected by interest rates, which are subject to the influence of economic conditions generally, both domestic and foreign, to events in the capital markets and also to the monetary and fiscal policies of the United States and its agencies, particularly the FRB. The nature and timing of any changes in such policies or general economic conditions and their effect on us cannot be controlled and are extremely difficult to predict. An increase in interest rates could also have a negative impact on our results of operations by reducing the ability of borrowers to repay their current loan obligations, which could not only result in increased loan defaults, foreclosures and charge-offs, but also necessitate further increases to our allowances for loan losses. A decrease in interest rates may trigger loan prepayments, which may serve to reduce net interest income if we are unable to lend those funds to other borrowers or invest the funds at the same or higher interest rates.
We face significant and increasing competition in the financial services industry.
We operate in a highly competitive environment that includes financial and non-financial services firms, including traditional banks, online banks, financial technology companies and others. These companies compete on the basis of, among other factors, size, quality and type of products and services offered, price, technology and reputation. Emerging technologies have the potential to intensify competition and accelerate disruption in the financial services industry. In recent years, non-financial services firms, such as financial technology companies, have begun to offer services traditionally provided by financial institutions. These firms attempt to use technology and mobile platforms to enhance the ability of companies and individuals to borrow money, save and invest. Our ability to compete successfully depends on a number of factors, including our ability to develop and execute strategic plans and initiatives; to develop competitive products and technologies; and to attract, retain and develop a highly skilled employee workforce. If we are not able to compete successfully, we could be placed at a competitive disadvantage, which could result in the loss of customers and market share, and our business, results of operations and financial condition could suffer.
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Our business may be adversely affected if we fail to adapt our products and services to evolving industry standards and consumer preferences.
The financial services industry is undergoing rapid technological changes with frequent introductions of new technology driven products and services. The widespread adoption of new technologies, including internet services, cryptocurrencies and payment systems, could require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services as we grow and develop our internet banking and mobile banking channel strategies in addition to remote connectivity solutions. We might not be successful in developing or introducing new products and services, integrating new products or services into our existing offerings, responding or adapting to changes in consumer behavior, preferences, spending, investing and/or saving habits, achieving market acceptance of our products and services, reducing costs in response to pressures to deliver products and services at lower prices or sufficiently developing and maintaining loyal customers.
If our allowance for credit losses is not sufficient to cover actual loan and lease losses, our earnings may decrease.
We periodically make a determination of an allowance for credit losses based on available information, including, but not limited to, the quality of the loan and lease portfolio as indicated by trends in loan risk ratings, payment performance, economic conditions, the value of the underlying collateral and the level of nonaccruing and criticized loans and leases. Management relies on its loan officers and credit quality reviews, its experience and its evaluation of economic conditions, among other factors, in determining the amount of provision required for the allowance for credit losses. Provisions to this allowance result in an expense for the period. If, as a result of general economic conditions, previously incorrect assumptions, or an increase in defaulted loans or leases, we determine that additional increases in the allowance for credit losses are necessary, additional expenses may be incurred.
Determining the allowance for credit losses inherently involves a high degree of subjectivity and requires us to make significant estimates of current credit risks and trends, all of which may undergo material changes. We cannot be sure that we will be able to identify deteriorating credits before they become nonperforming assets or that we will be able to limit losses on those loans and leases that are identified. We have in the past been, and in the future may be, required to increase our allowance for credit losses for any of several reasons. State and federal regulators, in reviewing our loan and lease portfolio as part of a regulatory examination, may request that we increase the allowance for credit losses. Changes in economic conditions or individual business or personal circumstances affecting borrowers, new information regarding existing loans and leases, identification of additional problem loans and leases and other factors, both within and outside of our control, may require an increase in the allowance for credit losses. Any increases in the allowance for credit losses may result in a decrease in our net income and, possibly, our capital, and could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our loan and lease portfolios include commercial real estate mortgage loans and commercial loans and leases, which are generally riskier than other types of loans.
Our commercial real estate and commercial loan and lease portfolios currently comprise 83.9% of total loans and leases. Commercial loans and leases generally carry larger balances and involve a higher risk of nonpayment or late payment than residential mortgage loans. Most of the commercial loans and leases are secured by borrower business assets such as accounts receivable, inventory, equipment and other fixed assets. Compared to real estate, these types of collateral are more difficult to monitor, harder to value, may depreciate more rapidly and may not be as readily saleable if repossessed. Repayment of commercial loans and leases is largely dependent on the business and financial condition of borrowers. Business cash flows are dependent on the demand for the products and services offered by the borrower's business. Such demand may be reduced when economic conditions are weak or when the products and services offered are viewed as less valuable than those offered by competitors. Because of the risks associated with commercial loans and leases, we may experience higher rates of default than if the portfolio were more heavily weighted toward residential mortgage loans. Higher rates of default could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Environmental liability associated with our lending activities could result in losses.
In the course of business, we may acquire, through foreclosure, properties securing loans originated or purchased that are in default. Particularly in commercial real estate lending, there is a risk that material environmental violations could be discovered on these properties. In this event, we might be required to remedy these violations at the affected properties at our sole cost and expense. The cost of remedial action could substantially exceed the value of affected properties. We may not have adequate remedies against the prior owner or other responsible parties and could find it difficult or impossible to sell the affected properties. These events could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.


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Our securities portfolio performance in difficult market conditions could have adverse effects on our results of operations.
Unrealized losses on investment securities result from changes in credit spreads and liquidity issues in the marketplace, along with changes in the credit profile of individual securities issuers. Under GAAP, we are required to review our investment portfolio periodically for the presence of impairment of our securities, taking into consideration current and future market conditions, the extent and nature of changes in fair value, issuer rating changes and trends, volatility of earnings, current analysts' evaluations, our ability and intent to hold investments until a recovery of fair value, as well as other factors. Adverse developments with respect to one or more of the foregoing factors may require us to deem particular securities to be impaired, with the credit-related portion of the reduction in the value recognized as a charge to our earnings through an allowance. Subsequent valuations, in light of factors prevailing at that time, may result in significant changes in the values of these securities in future periods. Any of these factors could require us to recognize further impairments in the value of our securities portfolio, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations in future periods.
Potential downgrades of U.S. government securities by one or more of the credit ratings agencies could have a material adverse effect on our operations, earnings and financial condition.
A possible future downgrade of the sovereign credit ratings of the U.S. government and a decline in the perceived creditworthiness of U.S. government-related obligations could impact our ability to obtain funding that is collateralized by affected instruments, as well as affect the pricing of that funding when it is available. A downgrade may also adversely affect the market value of such instruments. We cannot predict if, when or how any changes to the credit ratings or perceived creditworthiness of these organizations will affect economic conditions. Such ratings actions could result in a significant adverse impact on us. Among other things, a downgrade in the U.S. government’s credit rating could adversely impact the value of our securities portfolio and may trigger requirements that the Company post additional collateral for trades relative to these securities. A downgrade of the sovereign credit ratings of the U.S. government or the credit ratings of related institutions, agencies or instruments would significantly exacerbate the other risks to which we are subject and any related adverse effects on the business, financial condition and results of operations.
Uncertainty about the future of LIBOR may adversely affect our business.
LIBOR is used extensively in the United States as a benchmark for various commercial and financial contracts, including funding sources, adjustable rate mortgages, corporate debt, interest rate swaps and other derivatives. LIBOR is set based on interest rate information reported by certain banks, which will stop reporting such information after 2021. It is uncertain at this time whether LIBOR will change or cease to exist or the extent to which those entering into financial contracts will transition to any other particular benchmark. Other benchmarks may perform differently than LIBOR or may have other consequences that cannot currently be anticipated. It is also uncertain what will happen with instruments that rely on LIBOR for future interest rate adjustments and which of those instruments may remain outstanding or be renegotiated if LIBOR ceases to exist. The uncertainty regarding the future of LIBOR as well as the transition from LIBOR to another benchmark rate or rates could have adverse impacts on our funding costs or net interest margins, as well as any floating-rate obligations, loans, deposits, derivatives, and other financial instruments that currently use LIBOR as a benchmark rate and, ultimately, adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to liquidity risk, which could negatively affect our funding levels.
Market conditions or other events could negatively affect our access to or the cost of funding, affecting our ongoing ability to accommodate liability maturities and deposit withdrawals, meet contractual obligations, or fund asset growth and new business initiatives at a reasonable cost, in a timely manner and without adverse consequences.
Although we maintain a liquid asset portfolio and have implemented strategies to maintain sufficient and diverse sources of funding to accommodate planned, as well as unanticipated, changes in assets, liabilities, and off-balance sheet commitments under various economic conditions, a substantial, unexpected, or prolonged change in the level or cost of liquidity could have a material adverse effect on us. If the cost effectiveness or the availability of supply in these credit markets is reduced for a prolonged period of time, our funding needs may require us to access funding and manage liquidity by other means. These alternatives may include generating client deposits, securitizing or selling loans, extending the maturity of wholesale borrowings, borrowing under certain secured borrowing arrangements, using relationships developed with a variety of fixed income investors, and further managing loan growth and investment opportunities. These alternative means of funding may result in an increase to the overall cost of funds and may not be available under stressed conditions, which would cause us to liquidate a portion of our liquid asset portfolio to meet any funding needs.


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Loss of deposits or a change in deposit mix could increase our cost of funding.
Deposits are a low cost and stable source of funding. We compete with banks and other financial institutions for deposits. Funding costs may increase if we lose deposits and are forced to replace them with more expensive sources of funding, if clients shift their deposits into higher cost products or if we need to raise interest rates to avoid losing deposits. Higher funding costs reduce our net interest margin, net interest income and net income.
Wholesale funding sources may prove insufficient to replace deposits at maturity and support our operations and future growth.
We and our banking subsidiaries must maintain sufficient funds to respond to the needs of depositors and borrowers. To manage liquidity, we draw upon a number of funding sources in addition to core deposit growth and repayments and maturities of loans and investments. These sources include Federal Home Loan Bank advances, proceeds from the sale of investments and loans, and liquidity resources at the holding company. Our ability to manage liquidity will be severely constrained if we are unable to maintain access to funding or if adequate financing is not available to accommodate future growth at acceptable costs. In addition, if we are required to rely more heavily on more expensive funding sources to support future growth, our revenues may not increase proportionately to cover our costs. In this case, operating margins and profitability would be adversely affected. Turbulence in the capital and credit markets may adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition and the willingness of certain counterparties and customers to do business with us.
Potential deterioration in the performance or financial position of the FHLBB might restrict our funding needs and may adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Significant components of our liquidity needs are met through our access to funding pursuant to our membership in the FHLBB. The FHLBB is a cooperative that provides services to its member banking institutions. The primary reason for joining the FHLBB is to obtain funding. The purchase of stock in the FHLBB is a requirement for a member to gain access to funding. Any deterioration in the FHLBB’s performance or financial condition may affect our ability to access funding and/or require the Company to deem the required investment in FHLBB stock to be impaired. If we are not able to access funding through the FHLBB, we may not be able to meet our liquidity needs, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations or financial condition. Similarly, if we deem all or part of our investment in FHLBB stock impaired, such action could have an adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
The soundness of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.
Our ability to engage in routine funding transactions could be adversely affected by the actions and commercial soundness of other financial institutions.  Financial services institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty and other relationships.  We have exposure to many different counterparties, and we routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial industry, including brokers and dealers, other commercial banks, investment banks, mutual and hedge funds, and other financial institutions.  As a result, defaults by, or even rumors or questions about, one or more financial services institutions, or the financial services industry generally, could lead to market-wide liquidity problems and losses or defaults by us or by other institutions and organizations.  Many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of default of our counterparty or client.  In addition, our credit risk may be exacerbated when the collateral held by us cannot be liquidated or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the financial instrument exposure due to us. There is no assurance that any such losses would not materially and adversely affect our results of operations.
Damage to our reputation could significantly harm our business, including our competitive position and business prospects.
We are dependent on our reputation within our market area, as a trusted and responsible financial company, for all aspects of our relationships with customers, employees, vendors, third-party service providers, and others, with whom we conduct business or potential future business. Our ability to attract and retain customers and employees could be adversely affected if our reputation is damaged. Our actual or perceived failure to address various issues could give rise to reputational risk that could cause harm to us and our business prospects. These issues also include, but are not limited to, legal and regulatory requirements; properly maintaining customer and employee personal information; record keeping; money-laundering; sales and trading practices; ethical issues; appropriately addressing potential conflicts of interest; and the proper identification of the legal, reputational, credit, liquidity and market risks inherent in our products. Failure to appropriately address any of these issues could also give rise to additional regulatory restrictions and legal risks, which could, among other consequences, increase the size and number of litigation claims and damages asserted or subject us to enforcement actions, fines and penalties and incur related costs and expenses. In addition, our businesses are dependent on the integrity of our employees. If an employee were to misappropriate any client funds or client information, our reputation could be negatively affected, which may result in the loss of accounts and have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
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We may be unable to attract and retain qualified key employees, which could adversely affect our business prospects, including our competitive position and results of operations.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to attract and retain highly skilled individuals. There is significant competition for those individuals with the experience and skills required to conduct many of our business activities. We may not be able to hire or retain the key personnel that we depend upon for success. The unexpected loss of services of one or more of these or other key personnel could have a material adverse impact on our business because of their skills, knowledge of the markets in which we operate, years of industry experience and the difficulty of promptly finding qualified replacement personnel. Frequently, we compete in the market for talent with entities that are not subject to comprehensive regulation, including with respect to the structure of incentive compensation. Our inability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees could adversely impact our business.
Our ability to service our debt and pay dividends is dependent on capital distributions from our subsidiary banks, and these distributions are subject to regulatory limits and other restrictions.
We are a legal entity that is separate and distinct from the Banks. Our revenue (on a parent company only basis) is derived primarily from dividends paid to us by the Banks. Our right, and consequently the right of our shareholders, to participate in any distribution of the assets or earnings of the Banks through the payment of such dividends or otherwise is necessarily subject to the prior claims of creditors of the Banks (including depositors), except to the extent that certain claims of ours in a creditor capacity may be recognized. It is possible, depending upon the financial condition of our subsidiary banks and other factors, that applicable regulatory authorities could assert that payment of dividends or other payments is an unsafe or unsound practice. If one or more of our subsidiary banks is unable to pay dividends to us, we may not be able to service our debt or pay dividends on our common stock. Further, as a result of the capital conservation buffer requirement of the Final Capital Rule, our ability to pay dividends on our common stock or service our debt could be restricted if we do not maintain a capital conservation buffer. A reduction or elimination of dividends could adversely affect the market price of our common stock and would adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. See Item 1, “Business-Supervision and Regulation-Dividend Restrictions” and “Business-Supervision and Regulation-Capital Adequacy and Safety and Soundness-Regulatory Capital Requirements.”
We face continuing and growing security risks to our information base, including the information we maintain relating to our customers.
In the ordinary course of business, we rely on electronic communications and information systems to conduct our business and to store sensitive data, including financial information regarding customers. Our electronic communications and information systems infrastructure, as well as the systems infrastructures of the vendors we use to meet our data processing and communication needs, could be susceptible to cyber-attacks, such as denial of service attacks, hacking, terrorist activities or identity theft. Financial services institutions and companies engaged in data processing have reported breaches in the security of their websites or other systems, some of which have involved sophisticated and targeted attacks intended to obtain unauthorized access to confidential information, destroy data, disable or degrade service or sabotage systems, often through the introduction of computer viruses or malware, cyber-attacks and other means. Denial of service attacks have been launched against a number of large financial services institutions. Hacking and identity theft risks, in particular, could cause serious reputational harm. Cyber threats are rapidly evolving and we may not be able to anticipate or prevent all such attacks. Although to date we have not experienced any material losses relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches, there can be no assurance that we will not suffer such losses in the future. No matter how well designed or implemented our controls are, we will not be able to anticipate all security breaches of these types, and we may not be able to implement effective preventive measures against such security breaches in a timely manner. A failure or circumvention of our security systems could have a material adverse effect on our business operations and financial condition.
We regularly assess and test our security systems and disaster preparedness, including back-up systems, but the risks are substantially escalating. As a result, cyber-security and the continued enhancement of our controls and processes to protect our systems, data and networks from attacks, unauthorized access or significant damage remain a priority. Accordingly, we may be required to expend additional resources to enhance our protective measures or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities or exposures. Any breach of our system security could result in disruption of our operations, unauthorized access to confidential customer information, significant regulatory costs, litigation exposure and other possible damages, loss or liability. Such costs or losses could exceed the amount of available insurance coverage, if any, and would adversely affect our earnings. Also, any failure to prevent a security breach or to quickly and effectively deal with such a breach could negatively impact customer confidence, damaging our reputation and undermining our ability to attract and keep customers.
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We may not be able to successfully implement future information technology system enhancements, which could adversely affect our business operations and profitability.
We invest significant resources in information technology system enhancements in order to provide functionality and security at an appropriate level. We may not be able to successfully implement and integrate future system enhancements, which could adversely impact the ability to provide timely and accurate financial information in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, which could result in sanctions from regulatory authorities. Such sanctions could include fines and suspension of trading in our stock, among others. In addition, future system enhancements could have higher than expected costs and/or result in operating inefficiencies, which could increase the costs associated with the implementation as well as ongoing operations.
Failure to properly utilize system enhancements that are implemented in the future could result in impairment charges that adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations and could result in significant costs to remediate or replace the defective components. In addition, we may incur significant training, licensing, maintenance, consulting and amortization expenses during and after systems implementations, and any such costs may continue for an extended period of time.
We rely on other companies to provide key components of our business infrastructure.
Third party vendors provide key components of our business infrastructure such as internet connections, network access and core application processing. While we have selected these third party vendors carefully, we do not control their actions. Any problems caused by these third parties, including as a result of their not providing us their services for any reason or their performing their services poorly, could adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to our customers or otherwise conduct our business efficiently and effectively. Replacing these third party vendors could also entail significant delay and expense.
We may incur significant losses as a result of ineffective risk management processes and strategies.
We seek to monitor and control our risk exposure through a risk and control framework encompassing a variety of separate but complementary financial, credit, operational, compliance, and legal reporting systems; internal controls; management review processes; and other mechanisms. While we employ a broad and diversified set of risk monitoring and risk mitigation techniques, those techniques and the judgments that accompany their application may not be effective and may not anticipate every economic and financial outcome in all market environments or the specifics and timing of such outcomes.
Our internal controls, procedures and policies may fail or be circumvented.
Management regularly reviews and updates our internal controls, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies and procedures. Any system of controls, however well-designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met. Any failure or circumvention of the controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Natural disasters, acts of terrorism, pandemics and other external events could harm our business.
Natural disasters can disrupt our operations, result in damage to our properties, reduce or destroy the value of the collateral for our loans and negatively affect the economies in which we operate, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition. A significant natural disaster, such as a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, fire or flood, could have a material adverse impact on our ability to conduct business, and our insurance coverage may be insufficient to compensate for losses that may occur. Acts of terrorism, war, civil unrest or pandemics could cause disruptions to our business or the economy as a whole. While we have established and regularly test disaster recovery procedures, the occurrence of any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, operations and financial condition.
Our financial statements are based in part on assumptions and estimates, which, if wrong, could cause unexpected losses in the future.
Pursuant to U.S. GAAP, we are required to use certain assumptions and estimates in preparing our financial statements, including in determining loan loss and litigation reserves, goodwill impairment and the fair value of certain assets and liabilities, among other items. If assumptions or estimates underlying our financial statements are incorrect, we may experience material losses. See the "Critical Accounting Policies" section in Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
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Changes in accounting standards can be difficult to predict and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations.
Our accounting policies and methods are fundamental to how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. From time to time, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or "FASB", changes the financial accounting and reporting principles that govern the preparation of our financial statements. These changes can be hard to anticipate and implement, and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, resulting in our restating prior period financial statements. Additionally, significant changes to accounting standards may require costly technology changes, additional training and personnel, and other expense that will negatively impact our results of operations.
As a result of the adoption of ASU 2016-13 effective January 1, 2020, the Company updated its critical accounting policy to the allowance for credit losses. The updates in this standard replace the incurred loss impairment methodology GAAP with the CECL methodology. The CECL methodology incorporates current condition, and "reasonable and supportable" forecasts, as well as prepayments, to estimate loan losses over the life of the loan. See Note 7, "Allowance for Credit Losses" for further discussion on the new policy and processes.
Changes in tax laws and regulations and differences in interpretation of tax laws and regulations may adversely impact our financial statements.
From time to time, local, state or federal tax authorities change tax laws and regulations, which may result in a decrease or increase to our net deferred tax assets. Local, state or federal tax authorities may interpret tax laws and regulations differently than we do and challenge tax positions that we have taken on tax returns. This may result in differences in the treatment of revenues, deductions, credits and/or differences in the timing of these items. The differences in treatment may result in payment of additional taxes, interest or penalties that could have a material adverse effect on our results.
Future capital offerings may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
In the future, we may attempt to increase our capital resources or, if our banking subsidiaries' capital ratios fall below required minimums, we could be forced to raise additional capital by making additional offerings of debt, common or preferred stock, trust preferred securities, and senior or subordinated notes. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and shares of preferred stock and lenders with respect to other borrowings will receive distributions of our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. Additional equity offerings may dilute the holdings of our existing stockholders or reduce the market price of our common stock, or both. Because our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Moreover, we cannot assure you that such capital will be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. Our inability to raise sufficient additional capital on acceptable terms when needed could adversely affect our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.
The market price and trading volume of our common stock may be volatile.
The market price of our common stock may be volatile. In addition, the trading volume in our common stock may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur. We cannot assure you that the market price of our common stock will not fluctuate or decline significantly in the future. Some of the factors that could negatively affect our share price or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our common stock include:
quarterly variations in our operating results or the quality of our assets;
operating results that vary from the expectations of management, securities analysts and investors;
changes in expectations as to our future financial performance;
announcements of innovations, new products, strategic developments, significant contracts, acquisitions and other material events by us or our competitors;
the operating and securities price performance of other companies that investors believe are comparable to us;
our past and future dividend practices;
future sales of our equity or equity-related securities; and
changes in global financial markets and global economies and general market conditions, such as interest rates, stock, commodity or real estate valuations or volatility.
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Anti-takeover provisions could negatively impact our stockholders.
Provisions of Delaware law and provisions of our certificate of incorporation and by-laws could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us or have the effect of discouraging a third party from attempting to acquire control of us, even if a merge might be in the best interest of our stockholders. Our articles of organization authorize our Board of Directors to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval and such preferred stock could be issued as a defensive measure in response to a takeover proposal. These and other provisions could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us.
If we acquire or seek to acquire other companies, our business may be negatively impacted by certain risks inherent with such acquisitions.
We have acquired and will continue to consider the acquisition of other financial services companies. To the extent that we acquire other companies in the future, our business may be negatively impacted by certain risks inherent with such acquisitions. Some of these risks include the following:
We may incur substantial expenses in pursuing potential acquisitions;
Management may divert its attention from other aspects of our business;
We may assume potential and unknown liabilities of the acquired company as a result of an acquisition;
The acquired business will not perform in accordance with management's expectations, including because we may lose key clients or employees of the acquired business as a result of the change in ownership;
Difficulties may arise in connection with the integration of the operations of the acquired business with the operations of our businesses; and
We may lose key employees of the combined business.
We may be required to write down goodwill and other acquisition-related identifiable intangible assets.
When we acquire a business, a portion of the purchase price of the acquisition may be allocated to goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets. The excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the net identifiable tangible and intangible assets acquired determines the amount of the purchase price that is allocated to goodwill acquired. As of December 31, 2020, goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets were $163.6 million. Under current accounting guidance, if we determine that goodwill or intangible assets are impaired, we would be required to write down the value of these assets. We conduct an annual review to determine whether goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets are impaired. We conduct a quarterly review for indicators of impairment of goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets. Our management recently completed these reviews and concluded that no impairment charge was necessary for the year ended December 31, 2020. We cannot provide assurance whether we will be required to take an impairment charge in the future. Any impairment charge would have a negative effect on stockholders' equity and financial results and may cause a decline in our stock price.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
We operate in a highly regulated industry, and laws and regulations, or changes in them, could limit or restrict our activities and could have a material adverse effect on our operations.
We and our banking subsidiaries are subject to extensive state and federal regulation and supervision. Federal and state laws and regulations govern numerous matters affecting us, including changes in the ownership or control of banks and bank holding companies, maintenance of adequate capital and the financial condition of a financial institution, permissible types, amounts and terms of extensions of credit and investments, permissible non-banking activities, the level of reserves against deposits and restrictions on dividend payments. The FRB and the state banking regulators have the power to issue cease and desist orders to prevent or remedy unsafe or unsound practices or violations of law by banks subject to their regulation, and the FRB possesses similar powers with respect to bank holding companies. These and other restrictions limit the manner in which we and our banking subsidiaries may conduct business and obtain financing.
The laws, rules, regulations, and supervisory guidance and policies applicable to us are subject to regular modification and change. Such changes could, among other things, subject us to additional costs, including costs of compliance; limit the types of financial services and products we may offer; and/or increase the ability of non-banks to offer competing financial services and products. Failure to comply with laws, regulations, policies, or supervisory guidance could result in enforcement and other legal actions by federal or state authorities, including criminal and civil penalties, the loss of FDIC insurance, revocation of a banking charter, other sanctions by regulatory agencies, civil money penalties, and/or reputational damage, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. See the "Supervision and Regulation" section of Item 1, "Business."
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We are subject to numerous laws designed to protect consumers, including the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws, and failure to comply with these laws could lead to a wide variety of sanctions.
The Community Reinvestment Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act, and other fair lending laws and regulations impose community investment and nondiscriminatory lending requirements on financial institutions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Justice and other federal agencies are responsible for enforcing these laws and regulations. A successful regulatory challenge to an institution’s performance under the Community Reinvestment Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act or other fair lending laws and regulations could result in a wide variety of sanctions, including damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, restrictions on mergers and acquisitions, restrictions on expansion and restrictions on entering new business lines. Private parties may also have the ability to challenge an institution’s performance under fair lending laws in private class action litigation. Such actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may become subject to enforcements actions even though noncompliance was inadvertent or unintentional.
The financial services industry is subject to intense scrutiny from bank supervisors in the examination process and aggressive enforcement of federal and state regulations, particularly with respect to mortgage-related practices and other consumer compliance matters, and compliance with anti-money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act and Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, and economic sanctions against certain foreign countries and nationals. Enforcement actions may be initiated for violations of laws and regulations and unsafe or unsound practices. We maintain systems and procedures designed to ensure that we comply with applicable laws and regulations; however, some legal/regulatory frameworks provide for the imposition of fines or penalties for noncompliance even though the noncompliance was inadvertent or unintentional and even though there was in place at the time systems and procedures designed to ensure compliance. Failure to comply with these and other regulations, and supervisory expectations related thereto, may result in fines, penalties, lawsuits, regulatory sanctions, reputation damage, or restrictions on our business.
We face significant legal risks, both from regulatory investigations and proceedings and from private actions brought against us.
From time to time we are named as a defendant or are otherwise involved in various legal proceedings, including class actions and other litigation or disputes with third parties. There is no assurance that litigation with private parties will not increase in the future. Actions against us may result in judgments, settlements, fines, penalties or other results adverse to us, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations, or cause serious reputational harm to us. As a participant in the financial services industry, it is likely that we could continue to experience a high level of litigation related to our businesses and operations.
Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
Item 2.    Properties
The Company’s executive administration offices are located at 131 Clarendon Street, Boston, Massachusetts, which is owned by Brookline Bank, as well as its corporate operations center in Lincoln, Rhode Island, which is owned by BankRI, with other administrative and operations functions performed at several different locations. 
Brookline Bank conducts its business from 30 banking offices, 6 of which are owned, 23 of which are leased, and 1 of which is subleased. Brookline Bank's main banking office is leased and located in Brookline, Massachusetts. Brookline Bank also has 2 additional lending offices and 2 remote ATM locations, all of which are leased. Eastern Funding conducts its business from leased premises in New York City, New York and in Melville, New York.
BankRI conducts its business from 20 banking offices, 6 of which are owned and 14 of which are leased. BankRI's main banking office is leased and located in Providence, Rhode Island. BankRI also has 2 remote ATM locations, all of which are leased. Macrolease conducts its business from leased premises in Plainview, New York.
Refer to Note 13, "Commitments and Contingencies," to the consolidated financial statements for information regarding the Company's lease commitments as of December 31, 2020.
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Item 3.    Legal Proceedings
During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, the Company was not involved in any legal proceedings other than routine legal proceedings occurring in the ordinary course of business. Management believes that those routine legal proceedings involve, in the aggregate, amounts that are immaterial to the Company's financial condition and results of operations.
Item 4.    Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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PART II
Item 5.    Market for the Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
(a)The common stock of the Company is traded on NASDAQ under the symbol BRKL. The approximate number of registered holders of common stock as of February 26, 2021 was 1,682. The Company currently pays quarterly cash dividends in the amount of $0.115 per share. The Company expects comparable cash dividends will be paid in the future.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
Refer to Note 20, "Employee Benefit Plans" for a discussion of the Company's equity compensation plans.
Five-Year Performance Comparison
The following graph compares total shareholder return on the Company's common stock over the last five years with the S&P 500 Index, the Russell 2000 Index and the SNL Index of Banks with assets between $5 billion and $10 billion. Index values are as of December 31 of each of the indicated years.
brkl-20201231_g1.jpg
At December 31,
Index201520162017201820192020
Brookline Bancorp, Inc.100.00 147.24 144.42 130.17 159.57 121.83 
Russell 2000 Index100.00 121.31 139.08 123.76 155.35 186.31 
SNL Bank $5B-$10B Index100.00 143.27 142.73 129.17 160.06 122.43 
S&P 500 Index100.00 111.96 136.40 130.42 171.49 203.02 
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The graph assumes $100 invested on December 31, 2015 in each of the Company's common stock, the S&P 500 Index, the Russell 2000 Index and the SNL Index of Banks with assets between $5 billion and $10 billion. The graph also assumes reinvestment of all dividends.
(b)Not applicable.

(c)    The following table presents a summary of the Company's share repurchases during the quarter ended December 31, 2020.
PeriodTotal Number of Shares PurchasedAverage Price Paid Per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Programs (1)
Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Programs (1)
October 28 through December 31, 2020867,411 $11.06 867,411 — 
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
(1) On December 4, 2019, the Company's Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase program (the "2020 Stock Repurchase Plan") authorizing management to repurchase up to $10.0 million of the Company’s common stock over a period of twelve months commencing on January 1, 2020. On March 9, 2020, the Board of Directors approved an increase in the repurchase amount of $10.0 million bringing the total authorized amount to $20.0 million. Effective March 24, 2020, the Company suspended the 2020 Stock Repurchase Plan. On October 28, 2020, the Board of Directors authorized the resumption of the 2020 Stock Repurchase Plan. As of December 31, 2020, the Company had completed the program.
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Item 6.    Selected Financial Data
The selected financial and other data of the Company set forth below are derived in part from, and should be read in conjunction with, the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company and Notes thereto presented elsewhere herein.
At or for the year ended December 31,
20202019201820172016
(Dollars in Thousands, Except Per Share Data)
FINANCIAL CONDITION DATA
Total assets $8,942,424 $7,856,853 $7,392,805 $6,780,249 $6,438,129 
Total loans and leases7,269,553 6,737,816 6,303,516 5,730,679 5,398,864 
Allowance for loan and lease losses (6)
114,379 61,082 58,692 58,592 53,666 
Investment securities available-for-sale745,822 498,995 502,793 540,124 523,634 
Investment securities held-to-maturity— 86,780 114,776 109,730 87,120 
Equity securities held-for-trading526 3,581 4,207 — — 
Goodwill and identified intangible assets163,579 164,850 166,513 143,934 146,023 
Total deposits6,910,696 5,830,072 5,454,044 4,871,343 4,611,076 
Core deposits (1)
4,826,789 3,808,430 3,664,879 3,663,873 3,570,054 
Certificates of deposit1,389,998 1,671,738 1,438,478 932,725 837,630 
Brokered deposits693,909 349,904 350,687 274,745 203,392 
Total borrowed funds820,247 902,749 920,542 1,020,819 1,044,086 
Stockholders' equity 941,778 945,606 900,140 803,830 695,544 
Tangible stockholders' equity (*)778,199 780,756 733,627 659,896 549,521 
Nonperforming loans and leases (2)
38,448 19,461 24,097 27,272 40,077 
Nonperforming assets (3)
44,963 22,092 28,116 31,691 41,476 
EARNINGS DATA
Interest and dividend income$326,817 $347,626 $313,893 $263,050 $239,648 
Interest expense66,654 94,326 66,194 39,869 35,984 
Net interest income260,163 253,300 247,699 223,181 203,664 
Provision for credit losses61,886 9,583 4,951 18,988 10,353 
Non-interest income 24,644 29,793 25,224 32,173 22,667 
Non-interest expense 160,844 157,481 155,232 139,111 130,362 
Provision for income taxes 14,442 28,269 26,189 43,636 30,392 
Net income 47,635 87,717 83,062 50,518 52,362 
Operating earnings (*)46,124 88,184 85,796 52,444 52,362 
PER COMMON SHARE DATA
Earnings per share - Basic $0.60 $1.10 $1.04 $0.68 $0.74 
Earnings per share - Diluted 0.60 1.10 1.04 0.68 0.74 
Operating earnings per share (*)0.58 1.10 1.07 0.70 0.74 
Dividends paid per common share0.460 0.440 0.395 0.360 0.360 
Book value per share (end of period) 12.05 11.87 11.30 10.49 9.88 
Tangible book value per share (*)9.96 9.80 9.21 8.61 7.81 
Stock price (end of period)12.04 16.46 13.82 15.70 16.40 
PERFORMANCE RATIOS
Net interest margin3.17 %3.51 %3.61 %3.57 %3.44 %
Return on average assets 0.55 %1.15 %1.15 %0.76 %0.83 %
Operating return on average assets (*)0.53 %1.15 %1.19 %0.79 %0.83 %
Return on average tangible assets (*)0.56 %1.17 %1.18 %0.78 %0.85 %
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At or for the year ended December 31,
20202019201820172016
(Dollars in Thousands, Except Per Share Data)
Operating return on average tangible assets (*)0.54 %1.17 %1.22 %0.81 %0.85 %
Return on average stockholders' equity 5.09 %9.56 %9.51 %6.53 %7.59 %
Operating return on average stockholders' equity (*)4.93 %9.61 %9.82 %6.78 %7.59 %
Return on average tangible stockholders' equity (*)6.17 %11.67 %11.70 %8.04 %9.66 %
Operating return on average tangible stockholders' equity (*)5.97 %11.73 %12.09 %8.35 %9.66 %
Dividend payout ratio (*)76.41 %40.03 %37.85 %53.52 %48.44 %
Efficiency ratio (4)
56.47 %55.63 %56.88 %54.48 %57.60 %
GROWTH RATIOS
Total loan and lease growth (5)
7.89 %6.89 %10.00 %6.15 %8.07 %
Total deposit growth (5)
18.54 %6.89 %11.96 %5.64 %7.08 %
ASSET QUALITY RATIOS
Net loan and lease charge-offs as a percentage of average loans and leases0.18 %0.11 %0.08 %0.25 %0.25 %
Nonperforming loans and lease losses as a percentage of total loans and leases0.53 %0.29 %0.38 %0.48 %0.74 %
Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets 0.50 %0.28 %0.38 %0.47 %0.64 %
Total allowance for loan and leases losses as a percentage of total loans and leases
1.57 %0.91 %0.93 %1.02 %0.99 %
CAPITAL RATIOS
Stockholders' equity to total assets 10.53 %12.04 %12.18 %11.86 %10.80 %
Tangible equity ratio (*)8.86 %10.15 %10.15 %9.94 %8.73 %
Tier 1 leverage capital ratio8.92 %10.28 %10.58 %10.43 %9.16 %
Common equity Tier 1 capital ratio (**)11.04 %11.44 %11.94 %12.02 %10.48 %
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio11.18 %11.58 %12.26 %12.34 %10.79 %
Total risk-based capital ratio13.51 %13.59 %14.42 %14.75 %13.20 %
_______________________________________________________________________________
(1) Core deposits consist of demand checking, NOW, money market and savings accounts.
(2) Nonperforming loans and leases consist of nonaccrual loans and leases.
(3) Nonperforming assets consist of nonperforming loans and leases, other real estate owned and other repossessed assets.
(4) The efficiency ratio is calculated by dividing non-interest expense by the sum of net interest income and non-interest income for the period.
(5) Total growth is calculated by dividing the change in the balance during the period by the balance at the beginning of the period.
(6) The allowance for loan and lease losses at December 31, 2020 reflects the adoption of CECL.
(*) Refer to Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Reconciliation to GAAP.
(**) Common equity tier 1 capital ratio is calculated by dividing common equity Tier 1 capital by risk-weighted assets. The ratio was established as part of the implementation of Basel III, effective January 1, 2015.

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Item 7.    Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Introduction
The Company, a Delaware corporation, operates as a multi-bank holding company for Brookline Bank and its subsidiaries; BankRI and its subsidiaries; and Brookline Securities Corp.
As a commercially-focused financial institution with 50 full-service banking offices throughout greater Boston, the north shore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the Company, through the Banks, offers a wide range of commercial, business and retail banking services, including a full complement of cash management products, foreign exchange services, on-line and mobile banking services, consumer and residential loans and investment advisory services, designed to meet the financial needs of small- to mid-sized businesses and individuals throughout central New England. Specialty lending activities including equipment financing, comprise 27.8% in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.
The Company focuses its business efforts on profitably growing its commercial lending businesses, both organically and through acquisitions. The Company’s customer focus, multi-bank structure, and risk management are integral to its organic growth strategy and serve to differentiate the Company from its competitors. As full-service financial institutions, the Banks and their subsidiaries focus their efforts on developing and deepening long-term banking relationships with qualified customers through a full complement of products and excellent customer service, and strong risk management.
The Company manages the Banks under uniform strategic objectives, with one set of uniform policies consistently applied by one executive management team. Within this environment, the Company believes that the ability to make customer decisions locally enhances management's motivation, service levels and, as a consequence, the Company's financial results. As such, while most back-office functions are consolidated at the holding company level, branding and decision-making, including credit decisions and pricing, remain largely local in order to better meet the needs of bank customers and further motivate the Banks’ commercial, business and retail bankers. These credit decisions, at the local level, are executed through corporate policies overseen by the Company's credit department.
The competition for loans and leases and deposits remains intense. The Company expects the operating environment to remain challenging. The volume of loan and lease originations and loan and lease losses will depend, to a large extent, on how the economy performs. Loan and lease growth and deposit growth are also greatly influenced by the rate-setting actions of the FRB. A sustained, low interest rate environment with a flat interest rate curve may negatively impact the Company's yields and net interest margin. While the Company is slightly asset sensitive and should benefit from rising rates, changes in interest rates could also precipitate a change in the mix and volume of the Company's deposits and loans. The future operating results of the Company will depend on its ability to maintain or increase the current net interest margin, while minimizing exposure to credit risk, along with increasing sources of non-interest income, while controlling the growth of non-interest expenses.
The Company and the Banks are supervised, examined and regulated by the FRB. As a Massachusetts-chartered trust company, Brookline Bank is also subject to regulation under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Division of Banks. As a Rhode Island-chartered financial institution, BankRI is also subject to regulation under the laws of the State of Rhode Island and the jurisdiction of the Banking Division of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. The FDIC continues to insure each of the Banks’ deposits up to $250,000 per depositor. Until July 31, 2019, Brookline Bank was a member bank of the Depositors Insurance Fund (the “DIF”), a private, industry-sponsored insurance fund that insures all deposits above FDIC limits for Massachusetts-chartered savings banks. Brookline Bank converted its charter from a Massachusetts-chartered savings bank to a Massachusetts-chartered trust company and ended its membership in the DIF on July 31, 2019. Term deposits in excess of the FDIC insurance coverage will continue to be insured by the DIF until they reach maturity.
The Company’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select MarketSM under the symbol “BRKL.”
Executive Overview
Growth
Total assets of $8.9 billion as of December 31, 2020 increased $1.1 billion, or 13.8%, from December 31, 2019. The increase was primarily driven by increases in loans and leases, cash and cash equivalents and investment securities.
Total loans and leases of $7.3 billion as of December 31, 2020 increased $531.7 million, or 7.9%, from December 31, 2019. The Company's commercial loan portfolios, which are comprised of commercial real estate loans and commercial loans and leases, totaled $6.1 billion, or 83.9% of total loans and leases as of December 31, 2020, an increase of $590.8 million, or 10.7%, from $5.5 billion, or 81.7% of total loans and leases, as of December 31, 2019.
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Total deposits of $6.9 billion as of December 31, 2020 increased $1.1 billion, or 18.5%, from $5.8 billion as of December 31, 2019. Core deposits, which include demand checking, NOW, money market and savings accounts, totaled $4.8 billion, or 69.8% of total deposits as of December 31, 2020, an increase of $1.0 billion, from $3.8 billion, or 65.3% of total deposits as of December 31, 2019. Certificate of deposit balances totaled $1.4 billion, or 20.1% of total deposits as of December 31, 2020, a decrease of $281.7 million, or 16.9% on an annualized basis from $1.7 billion, or 28.7% of total deposits, as of December 31, 2019. Brokered deposit balances totaled $693.9 million, or 10.0% of total deposits as of December 31, 2020, an increase of $344.0 million, or 98.3% on an annualized basis from $349.9 million, or 6.0% of total deposits, as of December 31, 2019.
Asset Quality
Nonperforming assets as of December 31, 2020 totaled $45.0 million, or 0.50% of total assets, compared to $22.1 million, or 0.28% of total assets, as of December 31, 2019. Net charge-offs for the year ended December 31, 2020 were $13.0 million, or 0.18% of average loans and leases, compared to $7.2 million, or 0.11% of average loans and leases, for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase in nonperforming assets was primarily driven by the inclusion of one commercial relationship of $4.3 million, one construction relationship of $3.9 million, and one commercial relationship classified as OREO loan of $5.4 million during the year ending December 31, 2020.
The ratio of the allowance for loan and lease losses to total loans and leases was 1.57% as of December 31, 2020, compared to 0.91% as of December 31, 2019. On January 1, 2020, the Company implemented the CECL methodology to calculate the allowance for credit losses. Refer also to Note 7, "Allowance for Credit Losses."
Capital Strength
The Company is a "well-capitalized" bank holding company as defined in the FRB's Regulation Y. The Company's common equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 11.04% as of December 31, 2020, compared to 11.44% as of December 31, 2019. The Company's Tier 1 Leverage Ratio was 8.92% as of December 31, 2020, compared to 10.28% as of December 31, 2019. As of December 31, 2020, the Company's Tier 1 Risk-Based Ratio was 11.18%, compared to 11.58% as of December 31, 2019. The Company's Total Risk-Based Ratio was 13.51% as of December 31, 2020, compared to 13.59% as of December 31, 2019.
The Company's ratio of stockholders' equity to total assets was 10.53% and 12.04% as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively. The Company's tangible equity ratio was 8.86% and 10.15% as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively.
Net Income
For the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company reported net income of $47.6 million, or $0.60 per basic and diluted share, a decrease of $40.1 million, or 45.7%, from $87.7 million, or $1.10 per basic and diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease in net income is primarily the result of an increase in the provision for credit losses of $52.3 million, an increase in non-interest expense of $3.4 million and a decrease in non-interest income of $5.1 million, partially offset by an increase in net interest income of $6.9 million and a decrease in the provision for income taxes of $13.8 million.
The return on average assets was 0.55% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 1.15% for the year ended December 31, 2019. The return on average stockholders' equity was 5.09% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 9.56% for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The net interest margin was 3.17% for the year ended December 31, 2020 down from 3.51% for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease in the net interest margin is a result of a decrease in the yield on interest-earning assets of 82 basis points to 3.99% in 2020 from 4.81% in 2019, partially offset by a decrease of 54 basis points in the Company's overall cost of funds to 0.89% in 2020 from 1.43% in 2019.
Results for 2020 included a $61.9 million provision for credit losses, as discussed in the "Allowance for Credit Losses—Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses" section below.
Non-interest income decreased $5.1 million to $24.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 from $29.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. Several factors contributed to the year over year decrease, including decreases of $4.0 million in loan level derivative income, net, $1.6 million in deposit fees, $0.6 million in gain on sales of loans and leases and $0.4 million in other non-interest income, partially offset by an increase of $1.5 million in gain on sales of investment securities, net.
Non-interest expense increased $3.4 million to $160.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 from $157.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase was largely attributable to increases of $4.4 million in compensation and employee benefits expense and $2.8 million in FDIC insurance expense, partially offset by decreases of $1.6 million in other
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non-interest expense, $1.3 million in equipment and data processing expense, and $1.1 million in merger and acquisition expense.
Critical Accounting Policies
The accounting policies described below are considered critical to understanding the Company's financial condition and operating results. Such accounting policies are considered to be especially important because they involve a higher degree of complexity and require management to make difficult and subjective judgments which often require assumptions or estimates about matters that are inherently uncertain. The use of different judgments, assumptions and estimates could result in material differences in the Company's operating results or financial condition.
Allowance for Credit Losses
The allowance for credit losses represents management's estimate of expected losses over the life of the loan and lease portfolio. The allowance for credit losses consists of the allowance for loan and lease losses and reserve for unfunded commitments, which are classified as a contra-asset and liability within other liabilities, respectively, on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Additions to the allowance for credit losses are made by charges to the provision for credit losses. Losses on loans and leases are deducted from the allowance when all or a portion of a loan or lease is considered uncollectible. The determination of the loans on which full collectability is not reasonably assured, the estimates of the fair value of the underlying collateral, and the assessment of economic and other conditions are subject to assumptions and judgments by management. Valuation allowances could differ materially as a result of changes in, or different interpretations of, these assumptions and judgments.
Management evaluates the adequacy of the allowance on a quarterly basis and reviews its conclusion as to the amount to be established with the Audit Committee and the Board of Directors.
As a result of the adoption of ASU 2016-13 effective January 1, 2020, the Company updated its critical accounting policy for the allowance for credit losses. The updates in this standard replace the incurred loss impairment GAAP methodology with the CECL methodology. The CECL methodology incorporates current condition, and "reasonable and supportable" forecasts, as well as prepayments, to estimate credit losses over the life of the loan.
See Note 7, "Allowance for Credit Losses," to the consolidated financial statements for further discussion on the new policy and processes.