10-K 1 fbp12312014x10k.htm 10-K  

 

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

(Mark one)

 

[X]      ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

                  For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2014

 

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

 

For the transition period from ___________________ to ___________________

 

 

Commission File Number 1-14793 

 

FIRST BANCORP.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Puerto Rico

66-0561882

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

1519 Ponce de León Avenue, Stop 23

00908

Santurce, Puerto Rico

(Zip Code)

(Address of principal executive office)

 

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:

 

(787) 729-8200

 

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

 

Common Stock ($0.10 par value)

New York Stock Exchange

 

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

7.125% Noncumulative Perpetual Monthly Income Preferred Stock, Series A (CUSIP: 318672201);

8.35% Noncumulative Perpetual Monthly Income Preferred Stock, Series B (CUSIP: 318672300);

7.40% Noncumulative Perpetual Monthly Income Preferred Stock, Series C (CUSIP: 318672409);

7.25% Noncumulative Perpetual Monthly Income Preferred Stock, Series D (CUSIP: 318672508); and

7.00% Noncumulative Perpetual Monthly Income Preferred Stock, Series E (CUSIP: 318672607)

 

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

 

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

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes  þ  No

 

Indicate by checkmark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes  þ  No  

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definite proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  

 

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

 

                                            Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer                  þ 

 

 

                                            Non-accelerated filer   (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

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

 

The aggregate market value of the voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2014 (the last trading day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter) was $579,253,969 based on the closing price of $5.44 per share of common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on June 30, 2014. The registrant had no nonvoting common equity outstanding as of June 30, 2014. For the purposes of the foregoing calculation only, the registrant has defined affiliates to include (a) the executive officers named in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K; (b) all directors of the registrant; and (c) each shareholder, including the registrant’s employee benefit plans but excluding shareholders that file on Schedule 13G, known to the registrant to be the beneficial owner of 5% or more of the outstanding shares of common stock of the registrant as of June 30, 2014. The registrant’s response to this item is not intended to be an admission that any person is an affiliate of the registrant for any purposes other than this response.

 

 Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date: 213,089,880 shares as of March 6, 2015.

 

 


 

 

FIRST BANCORP

2014 ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

                                                                               

PART I

Item 1.

Business

5

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

34

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

53

Item 2.

Properties

53

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

53

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosure

53

PART II

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

54

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

59

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

61

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

158

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

159

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

259

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

259

Item 9B.

Other Information

259

PART III

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

260

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

260

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

260

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

260

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

260

               PART IV 

  

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

261

SIGNATURES

265

 

                            

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Forward Looking Statements

 

This Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), which are subject to the safe harbor created by such sections.  When used in this Form 10-K or future filings by First BanCorp. (the “Corporation”) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), in the Corporation’s press releases or in other public or stockholder communications, or in oral statements made with the approval of an authorized executive officer, the word or phrases “would be,” “will allow,” “intends to,” “will likely result,” “are expected to,” “should,” “anticipate” and other terms of similar meaning or import in connection with any discussion of future operating, financial or other performance are meant to identify “forward-looking statements.”

 

First BanCorp. wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such “forward-looking statements,” which speak only as of the date made, and to advise readers that various factors, including, but not limited to, the following, could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, such “forward-looking statements”:

 

·         uncertainty about whether the Corporation and FirstBank Puerto Rico (“FirstBank” or “the Bank”) will be able to continue to fully comply with the written agreement dated June 3, 2010 (the “Written Agreement”) that the Corporation entered into with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the “New York FED” or “Federal Reserve”) and the consent order dated June 2, 2010 (the “FDIC Order”) and together with the Written Agreement, (the “Regulatory Agreements”) that the Corporation’s banking subsidiary, FirstBank entered into with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (“OCIF” or “Commissioner”) that, among other things, require the Bank to maintain certain capital levels and reduce its special mention, classified, delinquent and non-performing assets;

 

·         the risk of being subject to possible additional regulatory actions;

 

·         uncertainty as to the availability of certain funding sources, such as retail brokered certificates of deposit (“brokered CDs”);

 

·         the Corporation’s reliance on brokered CDs and its ability to obtain, on a periodic basis, approval from the FDIC to issue brokered CDs to fund operations and provide liquidity in accordance with the terms of the FDIC Order;

 

·         the risk of not being able to fulfill the Corporation’s cash obligations or resume paying dividends to the Corporation’s stockholders in the future due to the Corporation’s need to receive approval from the New York FED and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“the Federal Reserve Board”) to receive dividends from FirstBank or FirstBank’s failure to generate sufficient cash flow to make a dividend payment to the Corporation;

 

·         the strength or weakness of the real estate markets and of the consumer and commercial sectors and their impact on the credit quality of the Corporation’s loans and other assets, which has contributed and may continue to contribute to, among other things, high levels of non-performing assets, charge-offs and provisions for loan and lease losses and may subject the Corporation to further risk from loan defaults and foreclosures;

 

·         the ability of FirstBank to realize the benefits of its deferred tax assets subject to the remaining valuation allowance;

 

·         additional adverse changes in general economic conditions in Puerto Rico, the United States (“U.S.”), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (“USVI”), and British Virgin Islands (“BVI”), including the interest rate environment, market liquidity, housing absorption rates, real estate prices, and disruptions in the U.S. capital markets, which has reduced and may once again reduce interest margins and impact funding sources, and has affected demand for all of the Corporation’s products and services and reduce the Corporation’s revenues and earnings, and the value of the Corporation’s assets;

 

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·         a credit default by the Puerto Rico government or any of its public corporations or other instrumentalities, and recent and any future downgrades of the long-term and short-term debt ratings of the Puerto Rico government, which could exacerbate Puerto Rico’s adverse economic conditions;

 

·         an adverse change in the Corporation’s ability to attract new clients and retain existing ones;

 

·         a decrease in demand for the Corporation’s products and services and lower revenues and earnings because of the continued recession in Puerto Rico, the current fiscal problems of the Puerto Rico government and recent credit downgrades of the Puerto Rico government’s debt;

 

·         the risk that any portion of the unrealized losses in the Corporation’s investment portfolio is determined to be other-than-temporary, including unrealized losses on the Puerto Rico government’s obligations;   

 

·         uncertainty about regulatory and legislative changes for financial services companies in Puerto Rico, the U.S., the USVI and the BVI, which could affect the Corporation’s financial condition or performance and could cause the Corporation’s actual results for future periods to differ materially from prior results and anticipated or projected results;

 

·         changes in the fiscal and monetary policies and regulations of the U.S. federal government and the Puerto Rico government, including those determined by the Federal Reserve Board, the New York Fed, the FDIC, government-sponsored housing agencies, and regulators in Puerto Rico, the USVI and the BVI;

 

·         the risk of possible failure or circumvention of controls and procedures and the risk that the Corporation’s risk management policies may not be adequate;

 

·         the risk that the FDIC may increase the deposit insurance premium and/or require special assessments to replenish its insurance fund, causing an additional increase in the Corporation’s non-interest expenses;

 

·         the impact on the Corporation’s results of operations and financial condition of acquisitions and dispositions, including the recent acquisition of certain loans, ten branches and related deposits previously owned by Doral Bank;

 

·         a need to recognize impairments on financial instruments, goodwill or other intangible assets relating to acquisitions;

 

·         the risk that downgrades in the credit ratings of the Corporation’s long-term senior debt will adversely affect the Corporation’s ability to access necessary external funds;

 

·         the impact of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) on the Corporation’s businesses, business practices and cost of operations; and

 

·         general competitive factors and industry consolidation.

 

The Corporation does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update any “forward-looking statements” to reflect occurrences or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements except as required by the federal securities laws.

 

Investors should refer to Item 1A. Risk Factors, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, for a discussion of such factors and certain risks and uncertainties to which the Corporation is subject.

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 PART I

 

     First BanCorp., incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is sometimes referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as “the Corporation,” “we,” “our” or “the registrant.”

 

 

Item 1. Business 

 

GENERAL

 

First BanCorp. is a publicly owned financial holding company that is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the Federal Reserve Board. The Corporation was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to serve as the bank holding company for FirstBank. The Corporation is a full service provider of financial services and products with operations in Puerto Rico, the United States and the USVI and BVI. As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had total assets of $12.7 billion, total deposits of $9.5 billion and total stockholders’ equity of $1.7 billion.

 

The Corporation provides a wide range of financial services for retail, commercial and institutional clients. As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation controlled two wholly owned subsidiaries: FirstBank and FirstBank Insurance Agency, Inc. (“FirstBank Insurance Agency”). FirstBank is a Puerto Rico-chartered commercial bank, and FirstBank Insurance Agency is a Puerto Rico-chartered insurance agency.

 

FirstBank is subject to the supervision, examination and regulation of both the OCIF and the FDIC.  Deposits are insured through the FDIC Deposit Insurance Fund. In addition, within FirstBank, the Bank’s USVI operations are subject to regulation and examination by the United States Virgin Islands Banking Board; its BVI operations are subject to regulation by the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission; and its operations in the state of Florida are subject to regulation and examination by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. FirstBank Insurance Agency is subject to the supervision, examination and regulation of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and operates nine offices in Puerto Rico, and two offices in the USVI and BVI.

 

FirstBank conducts its business through its main office located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 54 banking branches in Puerto Rico as of March 1, 2015, 12 branches in the USVI and BVI and 10 branches in the state of Florida (USA).  FirstBank has 6 wholly owned subsidiaries with operations in Puerto Rico: First Federal Finance Corp. (d/b/a Money Express La Financiera), a finance company specializing in the origination of small loans with 27 offices in Puerto Rico; First Management of Puerto Rico, a domestic corporation which holds tax-exempt assets; FirstBank Puerto Rico Securities Corp., a broker-dealer subsidiary engaged in municipal bond underwriting and financial advisory services on structured financings principally provided to government entities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; FirstBank Overseas Corporation, an international banking entity organized under the International Banking Entity Act of Puerto Rico; and two other companies that hold and operate certain particular other real estate owned properties. FirstBank had one active subsidiary with operations outside of Puerto Rico: First Express, a finance company specializing in the origination of small loans with 2 offices in the USVI. 

 

Effective as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2014, the operations conducted by First Mortgage as a separate subsidiary were merged with and into FirstBank.

 

Effective at the close of business on Friday, February 27, 2015, FirstBank acquired 10 Puerto Rico branches of Doral Bank, assumed approximately $625 million in deposits related to such branches and purchased approximately $325 million in performing residential mortgage loans through an alliance with Banco Popular of Puerto Rico (“Popular”) who was the successful lead bidder with the FDIC on the failed Doral Bank. These numbers, which are as of December 31, 2014, are subject to post-closing adjustments based on closing totals and purchase accounting adjustments. Refer to “Significant Events Since the Beginning of 2014” below for additional information. 

 

 

5 

 


 

 

BUSINESS SEGMENTS

 

The Corporation has six reportable segments: Commercial and Corporate Banking; Consumer (Retail) Banking; Mortgage Banking; Treasury and Investments; United States Operations; and Virgin Islands Operations. These segments are described below as well as in Note 31, “Segment Information,” to the Corporation’s audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2014 included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.

 

Commercial and Corporate Banking

 

The Commercial and Corporate Banking segment consists of the Corporation’s lending and other services for large customers represented by specialized and middle-market clients and the public sector. FirstBank has developed expertise in a wide variety of industries. The Commercial and Corporate Banking segment offers commercial loans, including commercial real estate and construction loans, and floor plan financings, as well as other products, such as cash management and business management services. A substantial portion of this portfolio is secured by the underlying value of the real estate collateral and the personal guarantees of the borrowers.  This segment also includes the Corporation’s broker-dealer activities, which are primarily concentrated in the underwriting of bonds and financial advisory services provided to government entities in Puerto Rico.

 

Consumer (Retail) Banking

 

The Consumer (Retail) Banking segment consists of the Corporation’s consumer lending and deposit-taking activities conducted mainly through FirstBank’s branch network and loan centers in Puerto Rico. Loans to consumers include auto, boat and personal loans, credit cards, and lines of credit.  Deposit products include interest bearing and non-interest bearing checking and savings accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and retail certificates of deposit. Retail deposits gathered through each branch of FirstBank’s retail network serve as one of the funding sources for the lending and investment activities. 

 

Mortgage Banking

 

During 2014, the Mortgage Banking segment conducted its operations mainly through FirstBank and its mortgage origination subsidiary, First Mortgage. Effective as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2014, the operations conducted by First Mortgage as a separate subsidiary were merged with and into FirstBank. These operations consist of the origination, sale, securitization and servicing of a variety of residential mortgage loan products and related hedging activities. Originations are sourced through different channels such as FirstBank branches and purchases from mortgage bankers, and in association with new project developers.  The Mortgage Banking segment focuses on originating residential real estate loans, some of which conform to Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”), Veterans Administration (“VA”) and Rural Development (“RD”) standards. Loans originated that meet FHA standards qualify for the FHA’s insurance program whereas loans that meet VA and RD standards are guaranteed by those respective federal agencies.

 

Mortgage loans that do not qualify under these programs are commonly referred to as conventional loans. Conventional real estate loans can be conforming or non-conforming. Conforming loans are residential real estate loans that meet the standards for sale under the Fannie Mae (“FNMA”) and Freddie Mac (“FHLMC”) programs whereas loans that do not meet the standards are referred to as non-conforming residential real estate loans. The Corporation’s strategy is to penetrate markets by providing customers with a variety of high quality mortgage products to serve their financial needs through a faster and simpler process and at competitive prices.  The Mortgage Banking segment also acquires and sells mortgages in the secondary markets. Residential real estate conforming loans are sold to investors like FNMA and FHLMC. Most of the Corporation’s residential mortgage loan portfolio consists of fixed-rate, fully amortizing, full documentation loans. The Corporation obtained commitment authority to issue Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”) mortgage-backed securities from GNMA and, under this program, the Corporation has been securitizing FHA/VA mortgage loans into the secondary market.

 

 

6 

 


 

 

Treasury and Investments

 

The Treasury and Investments segment is responsible for the Corporation’s treasury and investment management functions. The treasury function, which includes funding and liquidity management, lends funds to the Commercial and Corporate Banking,  Mortgage Banking and Consumer (Retail) Banking segments to finance their respective lending activities and borrows from those segments and from the United States Operations segment. Funds not gathered by the different business units are obtained by the Treasury Division through wholesale channels, such as brokered deposits, advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”), and repurchase agreements with investment securities, among others.

 

United States Operations

 

The United States Operations segment consists of all banking activities conducted by FirstBank in the United States mainland.  FirstBank provides a wide range of banking services to individual and corporate customers primarily in southern Florida through its 10 branches.  Our success in attracting core deposits in Florida has enabled us to become less dependent on brokered CDs.  The United States Operations segment offers an array of both retail and commercial banking products and services. Consumer banking products include checking, savings and money market accounts, retail certificates of deposit (“retail CDs”), internet banking services, residential mortgages, home equity loans, lines of credit, and automobile loans. Deposits gathered through FirstBank’s branches in the United States also serve as one of the funding sources for lending and investment activities in Puerto Rico.

 

The commercial banking services include checking, savings and money market accounts, retail CDs, internet banking services, cash management services, remote data capture, and automated clearing house, or ACH, transactions.  Loan products include the traditional commercial and industrial (“C&I”) and commercial real estate products, such as lines of credit, term loans and construction loans. 

 

Virgin Islands Operations

 

The Virgin Islands Operations segment consists of all banking activities conducted by FirstBank in the USVI and BVI, including retail and commercial banking services, with a total of twelve branches serving the islands in the USVI of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, and the islands in the BVI of Tortola and Virgin Gorda.  The Virgin Islands Operations segment is driven by its consumer, commercial lending and deposit-taking activities. 

 

Loans to consumers include auto, boat, lines of credit, personal and residential mortgage loans.  Deposit products include interest bearing and non-interest bearing checking and savings accounts, IRAs, and retail CDs.  Retail deposits gathered through each branch serve as the funding sources for its own lending activities.

 

Employees

 

As of March 1, 2015, the Corporation and its subsidiaries employed 2,617 persons. None of its employees is represented by a collective bargaining group. The Corporation considers its employee relations to be good.

 

 

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF 2014

 

Partial Reversal of Deferred Tax Asset Valuation Allowance

 

The Corporation recognized an income tax benefit of $302.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 related to the reversal of a significant portion of the valuation allowance recorded against the deferred tax assets of its subsidiary bank, FirstBank. The Corporation concluded that, as of December 31, 2014, it is more likely than not that FirstBank will generate sufficient taxable income within the applicable net operating loss carry-forward periods to realize a significant portion of its deferred tax assets and, therefore, reversed $302.9 million of the valuation allowance.

 

7 

 


 

 

This conclusion is based upon consideration of a number of factors, including FirstBank’s (i) completion of a sixth consecutive quarter of profitability and (ii) forecast of future profitability, under several potential scenarios, where the Corporation has assigned more weight to its continued profitability than to potential future growth which it is planning to achieve. As a result of the partial reversal, the Corporation’s deferred tax asset amounted to $313.0 million as of December 31, 2014, net of the remaining valuation allowance of $204.6 million. Refer to Note 24 – Income Taxes in Item 8 of this Form 10-K for a detailed discussion on the Corporation’s deferred tax assets and the respective valuation allowance.

 

Acquisition of Certain Loans and Deposits of Doral Bank

 

Effective at the close of business on Friday, February 27, 2015, FirstBank acquired 10 Puerto Rico branches of Doral Bank, assumed approximately $625 million in deposits related to such branches and purchased approximately $325 million in performing residential mortgage loans through an alliance with Popular, who was the successful lead bidder with the FDIC on the failed Doral Bank.

 

Under the FDIC’s bidding format, Popular was the lead bidder and party to the purchase and assumption agreement with the FDIC covering all assets and deposits to be acquired by Popular and its alliance co-bidders. Popular entered into back to back purchase and assumption agreements with the alliance co-bidders, including FirstBank, for the transferred assets and deposits. Pursuant to the terms of the purchase and assumption agreement, FirstBank purchased the loans at an aggregate discount of 9.0%, or approximately $29 million, and assumed the deposits at a premium of 1.6%, or approximately $10 million. These numbers, which are as of December 31, 2014, are subject to post-closing adjustments based on closing date totals and purchase accounting adjustments.  There is no loss-share with the FDIC related to the acquired assets.

 

FirstBank entered into a transition services agreement with Popular that enables FirstBank to receive services reasonably necessary to operate the acquired branches during the transition period in a manner consistent with market practice, including the servicing of residential mortgage loans until the acquired assets are converted to FirstBank’s operating system, which is anticipated to occur within the next 6 months. Upon closing of the completion of the acquisition, the Corporation and FirstBank remained well in excess of “well capitalized” under the applicable regulatory standards, with no additional capital required to support this transaction, although the provisions of the Regulatory agreements preclude such designation. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings.

 

Acquisitions of Mortgage Loans from Doral Financial Corporation (“Doral”)

 

On May 30, 2014, FirstBank purchased from Doral all of its rights, title and interests in first and second mortgage loans having an unpaid principal balance of approximately $241.7 million for an aggregate price of approximately $232.9 million. Doral had pledged the mortgage loans to FirstBank as collateral for secured borrowings pursuant to a series of credit agreements between the parties entered into in 2006. As consideration for the purchase of the mortgage loans, FirstBank credited approximately $232.9 million as full satisfaction of the outstanding balance of the Doral secured borrowings plus interest owed to FirstBank. The estimated fair value of the mortgage loans at acquisition was $226.0 million. This transaction resulted in a loss of $6.9 million derived from the difference between the fair value of the mortgage loans acquired, $226.0 million, and the book value of the secured borrowings of $232.9 million. Approximately $5.5 million of the loss was part of the general allowance for loan losses established for commercial loans in prior periods; thus, an additional charge of $1.4 million to the provision was recorded in the second quarter of 2014. In addition, the Corporation recorded $0.6 million of professional service fees in the second quarter of 2014 specifically related to this transaction. On or about the same date, the parties entered into an Escrow Agreement with Chicago Title Insurance Company pursuant to which Doral deposited $1,300,000 in funds (the “Escrow Account”) from the proceeds of the transaction in order to cure certain identified title and tax defects. Under the terms of the Escrow Agreement, Doral had a period to cure the defects using the funds in the Escrow Account. 

 

 

8 

 


 

 

Acquired loans are recorded at fair value at the date of acquisition. The Corporation concluded that loans with a contractual unpaid principal balance of $119.2 million and an estimated fair value at acquisition of $102.8 million were acquired with evidence of credit quality deterioration and, as purchased credit impaired (“PCI”) loans, have been accounted for under Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 310-30, while loans with a contractual unpaid principal balance of $122.5 million and an estimated fair value at acquisition of $123.2 million are non-credit impaired purchased loans that have been accounted for under ASC 310-20. This transaction eliminated FirstBank’s largest single commercial loan exposure.

 

    On October 2, 2014, FirstBank, entered into a Mortgage Loan Purchase and Sale and Interim Servicing Agreement (the “Purchase Agreement”) with Doral Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Doral. Pursuant to the Purchase Agreement, FirstBank purchased on October 3, 2014 all rights, title and interests in certain performing residential mortgage loans (the “Mortgage Loans”) with approximately $192.6 million in outstanding unpaid principal balance.

As consideration for the purchase of the Mortgage Loans, FirstBank paid approximately $192.7 million in cash, less a holdback of $1.3 million which was deposited into escrow to cover certain representations and warranties made by Doral Bank with respect to the Mortgage Loans.  The Corporation incurred $0.7 million in professional service fees during the third quarter of 2014 specifically related to this transaction.

 

Settlement of the United States Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) tax audit

 

As previously reported, the years 2007 through 2009 were examined by the IRS and disputed issues, primarily related to the disallowance of certain expenses, were taken to administrative appeals during 2011.  As a result of a final settlement with the IRS Appeals Office in 2014, the Corporation’s unrecognized tax benefits decreased by $4.3 million during 2014. The Corporation released a portion of its reserve for uncertain tax positions resulting in a tax benefit of $1.8 million and paid $2.5 million to settle the tax liability resulting from the audit.   

 

Reduction of the U.S. Treasury’s ownership stake in the Corporation 

 

During the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “U.S. Treasury”) sold approximately 4.4 million shares of First BanCorp.’s common stock through its first pre-defined written trading plan. On March 9, 2015, the U.S. Treasury announced the sale of an additional 5 million shares of First BanCorp.’s common stock through its second pre-defined written trading plan. As of the announcement date, the U.S. Treasury held 10,291,553 shares, or approximately 4.8% of First BanCorp.’s common stock, excluding the 1.3 million shares underlying a warrant exercisable at $3.29 per share. Back in 2013, the U.S. Treasury sold 13,261,356 shares of First BanCorp.’s common stock at $6.75 per share in a registered offering.

 

Downgrades of the debt ratings of the Puerto Rico Government and public instrumentalities and related government actions

 

A significant portion of the Corporation’s financial activities and credit exposure is concentrated in Puerto Rico, which has endured a prolonged period of economic and fiscal challenges. 

 

In February 2014, the three principal rating agencies (Moody’s Investor Services, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings) lowered their ratings on the General Obligation bonds of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the bonds of several other Commonwealth instrumentalities to non-investment grade ratings. In connection with their rating actions, the rating agencies noted various factors, including high levels of public debt, the lack of clear economic growth catalysts, recurring fiscal budget deficits, the financial condition of the public sector employee pension plans, and liquidity concerns regarding the Commonwealth and Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico (“GDB”) and their ability to access the capital markets.

 

 

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In March 2014, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico sold $3.5 billion in General Obligation bonds, yielding 8.72%.  GDB has traditionally served as the principal source of short-term liquidity to the Commonwealth and its public instrumentalities and municipalities. Most of the proceeds of the bond issue were used to refinance outstanding bonds and notes, including repaying approximately $1.9 billion of lines of credit extended by GDB to the Commonwealth and certain public instrumentalities.

 

On June 28, 2014, Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed into law the Puerto Rico Public Corporations Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act (the “Recovery Act”), which provides a framework for certain public corporations, including the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (“PREPA”), to restructure their debt obligations in order to ensure that the services they provide to the public are not interrupted. On July 1, 2014, Moody’s, as a consequence of the enactment of the Recovery Act, again downgraded the majority of the Puerto Rico central government and public instrumentalities’ obligations, expressing its concern for all of Puerto Rico’s municipal debt based on the deteriorating fiscal situation on the island and the possibility that application of the new law may further limit the Commonwealth’s ability to access the capital markets. Both S&P and Fitch later issued ratings downgrades for various Puerto Rico municipal issuers, including PREPA. In February 2015, a federal judge ruled that the Recovery Act is pre-empted by the Federal Bankruptcy Court and therefore void. After this decision, S&P and Moody’s downgraded Puerto Rico’s General Obligation bonds deeper into non-investment grade category.

 

PREPA faces significant fiscal and financial challenges that have to be addressed in the short-term in order to stabilize its operations. These include $696 million in outstanding short-term credit facilities from various banks that, by their terms, matured in July and August of 2014 but with respect to which the lenders have entered into forbearance agreements until March 31, 2015, significant recurring operational and budgetary shortfalls, high  electricity rates compared to U.S. utilities, high levels of debt, limited fuel diversification for electricity generation, significant nondiscretionary capital expenditure needs, and burdensome U.S. Federal environmental regulatory requirements. PREPA appointed a chief restructuring officer, who is assisting PREPA in evaluating and implementing changes with a view to achieving long-term sustainability. The Corporation has $75 million in outstanding lines of credit to PREPA as of December 31, 2014.    As a result of the forbearance, this credit was classified as a Troubled Debt Restructuring (“TDR”) loan during the third quarter of 2014.  The loan has been maintained in accrual status based on the estimated cash flow analyses performed on this noncollateral dependent loan, repayment prospects and compliance with contractual terms. 

 

As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had $339.0 million in credit facilities granted to the Puerto Rico government, its municipalities and public corporations, of which $308.0 million was outstanding, compared to $397.8 million outstanding as of December 31, 2013. Approximately $201.4 million of the outstanding credit facilities consists of loans to municipalities in Puerto Rico. Municipal debt exposure is secured by ad valorem taxation without limitation as to rate or amount on all taxable property within the boundaries of each municipality. The good faith, credit, and unlimited taxing power of the applicable municipality have been pledged to the repayment of all outstanding bonds and notes. Approximately $13.2 million consists of loans to units of the central government, and approximately $93.4 million consists of loans to public corporations, including the $75 million direct exposure to PREPA. Furthermore, the Corporation had $133.3 million outstanding as of December 31, 2014 in financing to the hotel industry in Puerto Rico guaranteed by the Tourism Development Fund (“TDF”), compared to $200.4 million as of December 31, 2013.

 

 In addition, as of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had outstanding $61.2 million in obligations of the Puerto Rico government, mainly bonds of the GDB and the Puerto Rico Building Authority, as part of its available-for-sale investment securities portfolio, carried on its books at a fair value of $43.2 million. 

 

Also in 2014, Act 24-2014 was approved by the Puerto Rico Legislature, seeking to further strengthen the liquidity of the GDB and the GDB’s oversight of public funds. 

 

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Among other measures, Act 24-2014 grants the GDB the ability to exercise additional oversight of certain public funds deposited at private financial institutions and grants the GDB the legal authority, subject to an entity’s ability to request waivers under certain specified circumstances, to require such public funds (other than funds of the Legislative Branch, the Judicial Branch, the University of Puerto Rico, governmental pension plans, municipalities and certain other independent agencies) to be deposited at the GDB, which is expected to maximize liquidity and to result in more efficient management of public resources. As anticipated, certain public corporations and agencies withdrew from FirstBank approximately $341.6 million during the second quarter of 2014. The Corporation will continue to focus on transactional accounts and to seek to obtain deposits from entities excluded from Act 24-2014.

 

In February 2015, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced a proposal for a new tax code that would replace the current 7% sales and use tax with a 16% value-added tax, while lowering income taxes. Refer to Supervision and Regulation – Puerto Rico Income Taxes – Proposed Tax Reform below for additional details.

 

WEBSITE ACCESS TO REPORT

The Corporation makes available annual reports on Form 10-K, 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, free of charge on or through its internet website at www.firstbankpr.com (under “Investor Relations”), as soon as reasonably practicable after the Corporation electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to, the SEC.

 

The Corporation also makes available the Corporation’s corporate governance guidelines and principles, the charters of the audit, asset/liability, compensation and benefits, credit, compliance, risk, corporate governance and nominating committees and the codes of conduct and independence principles mentioned below, free of charge on or through its internet website at www.firstbankpr.com (under “Investor Relations”):

 

•    Code of Ethics for CEO and Senior Financial Officers

 

•    Code of Ethics applicable to all employees

 

•    Corporate Governance Standards

 

•    Independence Principles for Directors

 

•    Luxury Expenditure Policy

 

The corporate governance guidelines and principles and the aforementioned charters and codes may also be obtained free of charge by sending a written request to Mr. Lawrence Odell, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, PO Box 9146, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00908.

 

The public may read and copy any materials that First BanCorp. files with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549. In addition, the public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy, and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC (www.sec.gov).

 

MARKET AREA AND COMPETITION

 

Puerto Rico, where the banking market is highly competitive, is the main geographic service area of the Corporation. As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation also had a presence in the state of Florida and in the USVI and BVI. Puerto Rico banks are subject to the same federal laws, regulations and supervision that apply to similar institutions in the United States mainland.

 

 

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Competitors include other banks, insurance companies, mortgage banking companies, small loan companies, automobile financing companies, leasing companies, brokerage firms with retail operations, and credit unions in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the state of Florida. The Corporation’s businesses compete with these other firms with respect to the range of products and services offered and the types of clients, customers and industries served.

 

The Corporation’s ability to compete effectively depends on the relative performance of its products, the degree to which the features of its products appeal to customers, and the extent to which the Corporation meets clients’ needs and expectations. The Corporation’s ability to compete also depends on its ability to attract and retain professional and other personnel, and on its reputation.

 

The Corporation encounters intense competition in attracting and retaining deposits and in its consumer and commercial lending activities. The Corporation competes for loans with other financial institutions, some of which are larger and have greater resources available than those of the Corporation. Management believes that the Corporation has been able to compete effectively for deposits and loans by offering a variety of account products and loans with competitive features, by pricing its products at competitive interest rates, by offering convenient branch locations, and by emphasizing the quality of its service. The Corporation’s ability to originate loans depends primarily on the rates and fees charged and the service it provides to its borrowers in making prompt credit decisions. There can be no assurance that in the future the Corporation will be able to continue to increase its deposit base or originate loans in the manner or on the terms on which it has done so in the past.

 

SUPERVISION AND REGULATION

 

References herein to applicable statutes or regulations are brief summaries of portions thereof which do not purport to be complete and which are qualified in their entirety by reference to those statutes and regulations. Numerous additional regulations and changes to regulations are anticipated as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, and future legislation may provide additional regulatory oversight of FirstBank. Any change in applicable laws or regulations may have a material adverse effect on the business of commercial banks and bank holding companies, including FirstBank and the Corporation.

    Dodd-Frank Act.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act significantly changed the regulation of financial institutions and the financial services industry.  The Dodd-Frank Act includes, the regulations adopted to date include, and the regulations still under development thereunder will include, provisions that have affected and will affect large and small financial institutions alike, including several provisions that have affected and will affect how banks and bank holding companies will be regulated in the future. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, which became law on July 21, 2010, there has been and will be in the future additional regulatory oversight and supervision of the Corporation and its subsidiaries.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act, among other things, imposes new capital requirements on bank holding companies; provides that a bank holding company must serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to each of its subsidiary banks and stand ready to commit resources to support each of them; changes the base for FDIC insurance assessments to a bank’s average consolidated total assets minus average tangible equity, rather than upon its deposit base, and permanently raises the current standard deposit insurance limit to $250,000; and expands the FDIC’s authority to raise insurance premiums.  The legislation also calls for the FDIC to raise the ratio of reserves to deposits from 1.15% to 1.35% for deposit insurance purposes by September 30, 2020 and to “offset the effect” of increased assessments on insured depository institutions with assets of less than $10 billion.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act establishes as an independent entity, within the Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the “CFPB”), which has broad rulemaking, supervisory and enforcement authority over consumer financial products and services, including deposit products, residential mortgages, home-equity loans and credit cards, and contains provisions on mortgage-related matters such as steering incentives, and  determinations as to a borrower’s ability to repay the principal amount and prepayment penalties. 

 

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The CFPB has had primary examination and enforcement authority over FirstBank and other banks with over $10 billion in assets with respect to consumer financial products and services since July 21, 2011.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act also limits interchange fees payable on debit card transactions. In June, 2011, the Federal Reserve Board approved a final debit card interchange rule, which is now fully operational.  The rule caps a debit card issuer’s base fee at 21 cents per transaction and allows an additional 5 basis-point charge per transaction to help cover fraud losses. The debit card interchange rule reduced our interchange fee revenue in line with industry-wide expectations, beginning with the quarter ended December 31, 2011. The new pricing negatively impacted FirstBank fee income by an approximate $2.0 million in 2012.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act includes provisions that affect corporate governance and executive compensation at all publicly-traded companies and allows financial institutions to pay interest on business checking accounts.  The legislation also restricts proprietary trading, places restrictions on the owning or sponsoring of hedge and private equity funds, and regulates the derivatives activities of banks and their affiliates. 

 

   Section 171 of the Dodd-Frank Act (“the Collins Amendment”), among other things, eliminates certain trust-preferred securities from Tier I capital.  Preferred securities issued under the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s (the “Treasury”) Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) are exempt from this treatment.  Bank holding companies, such as the Corporation, must fully phase out these instruments from Tier 1 capital by January 1, 2016 (25% allowed in 2015 and 0% in 2016); however, these instruments may remain in Tier 2 capital until the instruments are redeemed or mature.

Regulatory Capital and Liquidity Coverage Developments.  In July 2013, the federal banking agencies adopted final rules for U.S. banks that revise important aspects of the minimum regulatory capital requirements, the components of regulatory capital, and the risk-based capital treatment of bank assets and off-balance sheet exposures.  The final rules, with which the Corporation and our subsidiary bank must comply beginning January 1, 2015, generally are intended to align U.S. regulatory capital requirements with international regulatory capital standards adopted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“Basel Committee”), in particular the most recent international capital accord adopted in 2010 (and revised in 2011) known as “Basel III.”  The new rules will increase the quantity and quality of capital required by, among other things, establishing a new minimum common equity Tier 1 ratio of 4.5% of risk-weighted assets and an additional common equity Tier 1 capital conservation buffer of 2.5% of risk-weighted assets.  In addition, banks and bank holding companies are required to have a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 4.0%, a Tier 1 risk-based ratio of 6.0% and a total risk-based ratio of 8.0%.  The final rules also revise the definition of capital by expanding the conditions for the inclusion of equity capital instruments and minority interests as Tier 1 capital, and will impose limitations on capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments if additional specified amounts, or “buffers,” of common equity Tier 1 capital are not met. 

Consistent with Basel III and the Collins Amendment, the final rules also establish a more conservative standard for including an instrument such as trust-preferred securities as Tier 1 capital for bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $15 billion or more as of December 31, 2009.  Bank holding companies such as the Corporation must fully phase out these instruments from Tier I capital by January 1, 2016, although qualifying trust preferred securities may be included as Tier 2 capital until the instruments are redeemed or mature. As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had $225 million in trust preferred securities that are subject to the phase-out from Tier 1 capital under the final regulatory capital rules discussed above.

In addition, the final rules revise and harmonize the bank regulators’ rules for calculating risk-weighted assets to enhance risk sensitivity and address weaknesses that have been identified, by applying a variation of the Basel III “standardized approach” for the risk-weighting of bank assets and off-balance sheet exposures to all U.S. banking organizations other than large, internationally active banks. These new regulatory capital requirements are discussed in further detail in “Regulation and Supervision – Federal Reserve Board Capital Requirements” and “Regulation and Supervision – FDIC Capital Requirements.”

 

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The final capital rules became effective for the Corporation and our subsidiary bank on a- multi-year transitional basis starting on January 1, 2015, and in general will be fully effective as of January 1, 2019; the new general minimum regulatory capital requirements and the “standardized approach” for risk weighting of a banking organization’s assets, however, fully apply to us as of January 1, 2015.  We generally expect that the final rules will increase our regulatory capital requirements and will require us to hold more capital against certain of our assets and off-balance sheet exposures.  The Corporation’s  estimated pro-forma common equity Tier 1 ratio, Tier 1 capital ratio, total capital ratio, and the leverage ratio under the Basel III rules, giving effect as of December 31, 2014 to all the provisions that will be phased-in between January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2019, was 15.1%, 15.5%, 19.2%, and 11.7%, respectively.  These ratios would exceed the fully phased-in minimum capital ratios under Basel III. 

On September 3, 2014, the U.S. banking regulators issued their final rule implementing a key component of the Basel III capital framework - the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (“LCR”). The LCR is a short-term liquidity measure intended to ensure that banking organizations maintain a sufficient pool of liquid assets to cover net cash outflows over a 30-day stress period.  The LCR requirements, which would not affect the Corporation or the Bank, are applicable to large, internationally active banking organizations with $250 billion or more in total consolidated assets or $10 billion or more in total on-balance sheet foreign exposure, and to consolidated subsidiary depository institutions of these banking organizations with $10 billion or more in total consolidated assets.

International Regulatory Capital and Liquidity Coverage Developments   

Internationally, both the Basel Committee and the Financial Stability Board (established in April 2009 by the Group of Twenty (“G-20”) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to take action to strengthen regulation and supervision of the financial system with greater international consistency, cooperation and transparency) have committed to raise capital standards and liquidity buffers within the banking system under Basel III.  In 2010 (revised in 2011), the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision agreed to the calibration and phase-in of the Basel III minimum capital requirements (raising the minimum Tier 1 equity ratio to 6.0%, with full implementation by January 2015) and introducing a capital conservation buffer of common equity of an additional 2.5% with implementation by January 2019.  U.S. bank regulators approved a revised regulatory capital framework for implementing Basel III in July 2013 (see discussion above). 

On October 31, 2014, the Basel Committee issued its final requirements for a Net Stable Funding Ratio (“NSFR”).  The NSFR compares the amount of an institution’s available stable funding (“ASF”, the ratio’s numerator) to its required stable funding (“RSF”, the ratio’s denominator) to measure how the institution’s asset base is funded.  “ASF” is defined as the portion of capital and liabilities expected to be reliable over the time horizon considered by the NSFR, which extends to one year.  ASF generally is calculated by reference to the broad characteristics of the relative stability of an institution’s funding sources, including the contractual maturity of its liabilities and the differences in the propensity of different types of funding providers to withdraw their funding.  The amount of RSF of a specific institution is a function of the liquidity characteristics and residual maturities of the assets and off-balance sheet exposures held by the institution.   This ratio should be equal to at least 100% on an ongoing basis by January 1, 2018 according to the Basel Committee standard.  While the NSFR is intended to be applied to large, internationally active banks, at the discretion of national supervisors it can be applied to other banking organizations or classes of banking organizations.  The U.S. federal banking agencies are expected to issue a proposal for implementation of the NSFR in the U.S. sometime in 2015.

Prudential Regulation Developments. In May 2012, the federal banking agencies issued general supervisory guidance for stress testing practices applicable to banking organizations with more than $10 billion in total consolidated assets, such as us and our subsidiary bank, which became effective in July 2012.  This guidance outlines broad principles for a satisfactory stress testing framework, including principles related to governance, controls and use of results, and describes various stress testing approaches and how stress testing should be used at various levels within an organization.  In October 2012, the Federal Reserve Board and the other federal banking agencies issued a final rule implementing the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act that generally required bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of between $10 billion and $50 billion to comply with annual company-run stress testing requirements.

 

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As a result of these changes, the Corporation is subject to two new stress testing rules that implement provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, one issued by the Federal Reserve Board that applies to First BanCorp. on a consolidated basis and one issued by the FDIC that applies to the Bank.  These Dodd-Frank Act stress tests are designed to require banking organizations to assess the potential impact of different scenarios on their earnings, losses and capital over a set time period, with consideration given to certain relevant factors, including the organization's condition, risks, exposures, strategies, and activities.  The Dodd-Frank Act stress tests require banking organizations with total consolidated assets of more than $10 billion but less than $50 billion, including the Corporation and the Bank, to conduct annual company-run stress tests using certain scenarios that the Federal Reserve Board will publish by November 15 of each year, report the results to their primary federal regulator and the Federal Reserve Board by March 31 of the following year, and publicly disclose, beginning in 2015, a summary of the results by June 30 of that year. 

On February 1, 2014, the Federal Reserve approved a final rule strengthening supervision and regulation of large U.S. bank holding companies and foreign banking organizations, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act.  Most of its enhanced prudential standards apply only to institutions with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more, which would not affect the Corporation.   The final rule, however, requires publicly traded U.S. bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or more, such as the Corporation, to establish enterprise-wide risk committees.  These new requirements complement the stress testing and resolution planning requirements for large bank holding companies that the Federal Reserve previously finalized.  The Corporation must comply with these new requirements by January 1, 2015, and expects to be in compliance. The final rule requires the Corporation’s risk management framework to be commensurate with the Corporation’s structure, risk profile, complexity, activities and size, and must include policies and procedures establishing risk-management governance, risk-management policies, and risk control infrastructure for the Corporation’s global operations and processes and systems for implementing and monitoring compliance with such policies and procedures. Requirements applicable to the risk committee include a requirement that one independent director chair the committee, with the Corporation determining the appropriate proportion of independent directors on the committee, based on its size, scope, and complexity, provided that it meets the minimum requirement of one independent director.  Also, at least one director with risk-management experience must be appointed to the risk committee.

On March 5, 2014, the Federal Reserve Board and the other federal banking agencies published final supervisory guidance describing their supervisory expectations for the Dodd-Frank Act stress tests to be conducted by financial institutions, including the Corporation and the Bank. 

The final guidance provides flexibility to accommodate different risk profiles, sizes, business lines, market areas, and complexity approaches for banking institutions in the $10 billion to $50 billion asset range, and provides examples of practices that would be consistent with supervisory expectations. Affected banking organizations, including the Corporation, were required to submit to regulators their first company-run Dodd-Frank Act stress tests no later than March 31, 2014. Public disclosure of the results for the severely adverse economic scenario is expected to be made for the first time during the second quarter of 2015 on the Corporation’s website. The final guidance also confirms that banking organizations with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion are not subject to the more extensive capital planning and stress-testing requirements that apply to bank holding companies with assets of at least $50 billion, including the Federal Reserve Board capital plan rule, the annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, the Dodd-Frank Act supervisory stress tests, and related data collections.

 

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. New regulations implement the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”).  In general, among other changes, these regulations: (i) require lenders to make a reasonable good faith determination of a prospective residential mortgage borrower’s ability to repay based on specific underwriting criteria, certain of which need to be supported through the verification of third party records, and require stricter underwriting of “qualified mortgages,” discussed below, that presumptively satisfy the ability to pay requirement (thereby providing the lender a safe harbor from compliance claims), (ii) specify new limitations on loan originator compensation and establish criteria for the qualifications of, and registration or licensing of loan originators, (iii) further restrict certain high-cost mortgage loans by expanding the coverage of the Home Ownership and Equity Protections Act of 1994, (iv) expand mandated loan escrow accounts for certain loans, (v) revise existing appraisal requirements under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and require provision of a free copy of all appraisals to applicants for first lien loans, (vi) establish new appraisal standards for “higher-risk mortgages” under TILA, and (vii) combine in a single, new form required loan disclosures under the TILA and RESPA.

In January 2013, the CFPB issued a final regulation defining a “qualified mortgage” for purposes of the Dodd-Frank Act, and setting standards for mortgage lenders to determine whether a consumer has the ability to repay the mortgage.  This regulation also affords safe harbor legal protections for lenders making qualified loans that are not “higher priced.”  It is unclear how this regulation, or this regulation in tandem with an anticipated rule defining “qualified residential mortgage” and setting standards governing loans that are to be packaged and sold as securities, will affect the mortgage lending market by potentially curbing competition, increasing costs or tightening credit availability.

In January 2013, the CFPB also issued a final regulation containing new mortgage servicing rules that took effect in January 2014 and are applicable to the Bank.  The announced goal of the CFPB is to bring greater consumer protection to the mortgage servicing market.

   These changes affect notices given to consumers as to delinquency, foreclosure alternatives, modification applications, interest rate adjustments and options for avoiding “force-placed” insurance.  Servicers are prohibited from processing foreclosures when a loan modification is pending, and must wait until a loan is more than 120 days delinquent before initiating a foreclosure action.

The servicer must provide direct and ongoing access to its personnel, and provide prompt review of any loss mitigation application.  Servicers must maintain accurate and accessible mortgage records for the life of a loan and until one year after the loan is paid off or transferred.  These new standards are expected to add to our cost of conducting a mortgage servicing business. 

On December 15, 2014, the CFPB proposed further changes to these mortgage servicing rules.  The proposed changes generally would clarify and amend provisions regarding force-placed insurance notices, policies and procedures, early intervention, loss mitigation requirements and periodic statement requirements under the CFPB mortgage servicing rules.  The proposed amendments also would address proper compliance regarding certain servicing requirements when a consumer is a potential or confirmed successor in interest, is in bankruptcy, or sends a cease communication request under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Comment on these new proposals closes on March 16, 2015.

The Volcker Rule.  This section of the Dodd-Frank Act, subject to important exceptions, generally prohibits a banking entity such as the Corporation or FirstBank from acquiring or retaining any ownership in, or acting as sponsor to, a hedge fund or private equity fund.  The Volcker Rule also prohibits these entities from engaging, for their own account, in short-form proprietary trading of certain securities, derivatives, commodity futures and options on these instruments.

 

Final regulations implementing the Volcker Rule were adopted by the financial regulatory agencies on December 10, 2013.  The regulations became effective on April 1, 2014, although affected banking organizations generally will have until July 21, 2017 to bring most of their private fund activities into conformance with the Volcker Rule and the new regulations; banking entities, however, will have only until July 21, 2015 to bring their proprietary trading activities into compliance with the Volcker Rule. 

 

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Banking organizations are expected to engage in “good faith efforts” to bring all of their covered activities into compliance by the July 2015 or 2017 (whichever is applicable) conformance date. The Corporation does not believe that it or the Bank engages in any significant amount of proprietary trading as defined in the Volcker Rule and believes that any impact would be minimal. In addition, a review of the Corporation’s investments was undertaken to determine if any meet the Volcker Rule’s definition of covered funds. Based on that review, the Corporation’s investments are not considered covered funds under the Volcker Rule.

 

Future Legislation and Regulation.  Much of the Dodd-Frank Act must be implemented through regulations adopted by the various federal financial institutions regulatory agencies, including the FDIC and CFPB.  While the federal agencies have adopted regulations that implement many requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act, important regulatory actions (e.g., the adoption of rules regarding the compensation of financial institutions executives) that could have an impact on the Corporation and the Bank remain to be taken.  Additional consumer protection laws may be enacted, and the FDIC, Federal Reserve and CFPB have adopted and will adopt in the future new regulations that have addressed or may address, among other things, banks’ credit card, overdraft, collection, privacy and mortgage lending practices.  Additional consumer protection legislation and regulatory activity is anticipated in the near future.

Such proposals and legislation, if finally adopted and implemented, would change banking laws and our operating environment and that of our subsidiaries in ways that could be substantial and unpredictable.  We cannot determine whether such proposals and legislation will be adopted, or the ultimate effect that such proposals and legislation, if enacted, or regulations issued to implement the same, would have upon our financial condition or results of operations.

Bank Holding Company Activities and Other Limitations

The Corporation is registered and subject to regulation under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “Bank Holding Company Act” or “BHC Act”).  Under the provisions of the Bank Holding Company Act, a bank holding company must obtain Federal Reserve Board approval before it acquires direct or indirect ownership or control of more than 5% of the voting shares of another bank, or merges or consolidates with another bank holding company. The Federal Reserve Board also has authority under certain circumstances to issue cease and desist orders against bank holding companies and their non-bank subsidiaries.  In addition, the Corporation is subject to ongoing regulation, supervision, and examination by the Federal Reserve Board, and is required to file with the Federal Reserve Board periodic and annual reports and other information concerning its own business operations and those of its subsidiaries.

 

A bank holding company is prohibited under the Bank Holding Company Act, with limited exceptions, from engaging, directly or indirectly, in any business unrelated to the businesses of banking or managing or controlling banks. One of the exceptions to these prohibitions permits ownership by a bank holding company of the shares of any corporation if the Federal Reserve Board, after due notice and opportunity for hearing, by regulation or order has determined that the activities of the corporation in question are so closely related to the businesses of banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto.

 

The Bank Holding Company Act also permits a bank holding company to elect to become a financial holding company and engage in a broad range of activities that are financial in nature. The Corporation filed an election with the Federal Reserve Board and became a financial holding company under the Bank Holding Company Act.  Financial holding companies may engage, directly or indirectly, in any activity that is determined to be (i) financial in nature, (ii) incidental to such financial activity, or (iii) complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety and soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally. The Bank Holding Company Act specifically provides that the following activities have been determined to be “financial in nature”: (a) lending, trust and other banking activities; (b) insurance activities; (c) financial or economic advice or services; (d) pooled investments; (e) securities underwriting and dealing; (f) domestic activities permitted for existing bank holding company; (g) foreign activities permitted for existing bank holding company; and (h) merchant banking activities.

  

 

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A financial holding company that ceases to meet certain standards is subject to a variety of restrictions, depending on the circumstances, including precluding the undertaking of new activities or the acquisition of shares or control of other companies. Until compliance is restored, the Federal Reserve Board has broad discretion to impose appropriate limitations on the financial holding company’s activities.  If compliance is not restored within 180 days, the Federal Reserve Board may ultimately require the financial holding company to divest its depository institutions or, in the alternative, to discontinue or divest any activities that are permitted only to non-financial holding company bank holding companies. The Corporation and FirstBank must be well-capitalized and well-managed for regulatory purposes, and FirstBank must earn “satisfactory” or better ratings on its periodic Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) examinations to preserve the financial holding company status. By reason of, among other things, the Written Agreement, the Bank is not treated as “well-capitalized” and therefore is restricted in its ability to undertake new financial activities.

 

The potential restrictions are different if the lapse pertains to the CRA.  In that case, until all the subsidiary institutions are restored to at least a “satisfactory” CRA rating status, the financial holding company may not engage, directly or through a subsidiary, in any of the additional financial activities permissible under the Bank Holding Company Act or make additional acquisitions of companies engaged in the additional activities.  However, completed acquisitions and additional activities and affiliations previously begun are left undisturbed, as the Bank Holding Company Act does not require divestiture for this type of situation.

 

Under provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act and Federal Reserve Board policy, a bank holding company such as the Corporation is expected to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to its banking subsidiaries and to commit support to them. This support may be required at times when, absent such policy, the bank holding company might not otherwise provide such support. 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 capital of a subsidiary bank will be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee and be entitled to a priority of payment.

 

   In addition, any capital loans by a bank holding company to any of its subsidiary banks must be subordinated in right of payment to deposits and to certain other indebtedness of such subsidiary bank. As of December 31, 2014, and the date hereof, FirstBank was and is the only depository institution subsidiary of the Corporation.  The Dodd-Frank Act directs the Federal Reserve Board to adopt regulations adopting the statutory source-of-strength requirements, but implementing regulations have not yet been proposed.

 

Sarbanes-Oxley Act

 

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”) implemented a range of corporate governance and other measures to increase corporate responsibility, to provide for enhanced penalties for accounting and auditing improprieties at publicly traded companies, and to protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of disclosures under the federal securities laws.  In addition, SOX has established membership requirements and responsibilities for the audit committee, imposed restrictions on the relationship between the Corporation and external auditors, imposed additional responsibilities for the external financial statements on our chief executive officer and chief financial officer, expanded the disclosure requirements for corporate insiders, required management to evaluate its disclosure controls and procedures and its internal control over financial reporting, and required the auditors to issue a report on the internal control over financial reporting. 

 

The Corporation includes in its annual report on Form 10-K its management’s assessment regarding the effectiveness of the Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting.  The internal control report includes a statement of management’s responsibility for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting for the Corporation; management’s assessment as to the effectiveness of the Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting based on management’s evaluation, as of year-end; and the framework used by management as criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting.

 

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As of December 31, 2014, First BanCorp’s management concluded that its internal control over financial reporting was effective.  The Corporation’s independent registered public accounting firm reached the same conclusion.

 

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008  

 

Turmoil in the U.S. financial sector during 2008 resulted in the passage on October 3, 2008 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the “EESA”) and the adoption of several programs by the U.S. Treasury, as well as several actions by the Federal Reserve Board.  The EESA authorized the U.S. Treasury to access up to $700 billion to protect the U.S. economy and restore confidence and stability to the financial markets. One such program under the TARP was action by U.S. Treasury to make significant investments in U.S. financial institutions through the Capital Purchase Program (“CPP”).  The U.S. Treasury’s stated purpose in implementing the CPP was to improve the capitalization of healthy institutions, which would improve the flow of credit to businesses and consumers, and boost the confidence of depositors, investors, and counterparties alike.  All federal banking and thrift regulatory agencies encouraged eligible institutions to participate in the CPP.

 

The Corporation applied for, and the U.S. Treasury approved, a capital purchase in the amount of $400,000,000. The Corporation entered into a Letter Agreement, dated as of January 16, 2009, including the Securities Purchase Agreement Standard Terms (collectively the “Letter Agreement”) with the Treasury, pursuant to which the Corporation issued and sold to the Treasury for an aggregate purchase price of $400,000,000 in cash (i) 400,000 shares of Fixed Rate Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series F (the “Series F Preferred Stock”), and (ii) a warrant to purchase 389,483 shares of the Corporation’s common stock at an exercise price of $154.05 per share, subject to certain anti-dilution and other adjustments (the “warrant”). The TARP transaction closed on January 16, 2009. On July 20, 2010, we exchanged the Series F Preferred Stock, plus accrued dividends on the Series F Preferred Stock, for 424,174 shares of a new series of preferred stock, fixed rate Cumulative Mandatorily Convertible Preferred Stock, Series G (the “Series G Preferred Stock”), and amended the warrant. On October 7, 2011, we exercised our right to convert the Series G Preferred Stock into 32,941,797 shares of common stock. As a result of the issuance of $525 million of common stock in October 2011, the warrant was adjusted to provide for the issuance of approximately 1,285,899 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $3.29 per share.  On August 16, 2013, a secondary offering of the Corporation’s common stock was completed by certain of the Corporation’s existing stockholders, including the U.S. Treasury which sold 13 million shares in such secondary offering. In the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. Treasury sold an additional 4.4 million shares in accordance with its first pre-defined written trading plan. On March 9, 2015, the U.S. Treasury announced the sale of an additional 5 million shares of First BanCorp.’s common stock through its second pre-defined written trading plan. As of the announcement date, the U.S. Treasury owned approximately 4.8% of the Corporation’s outstanding common stock, excluding the shares underlying the warrant.

 

Under the terms of the amended Letter Agreement with the Treasury, (i) the Corporation amended its compensation, bonus, incentive and other benefit plans, arrangements and agreements (including severance and employment agreements) to the extent necessary to be in compliance with the executive compensation and corporate governance requirements of Section 111(b) of the EESA and applicable guidance or regulations issued by the Secretary of Treasury on or prior to January 16, 2009 and (ii) each Senior Executive Officer, as defined in the amended Letter Agreement, executed a written waiver releasing Treasury and the Corporation from any claims that such officers may otherwise have as a result of the Corporation’s amendment of such arrangements and agreements to be in compliance with Section 111(b). Until such time as Treasury ceases to own any debt or equity securities of the Corporation acquired pursuant to the amended Letter Agreement, the Corporation must remain in compliance with these requirements.

 

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009  

 

On February 17, 2009, the Congress enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“ARRA”).  The ARRA includes federal tax cuts, expansion of unemployment benefits and other social welfare provisions, and domestic spending in education, health care, and infrastructure, including the energy sector.

 

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The ARRA includes provisions relating to compensation paid by institutions that receive government assistance under TARP, including institutions that had already received such assistance, effectively amending the existing compensation and corporate governance requirements of Section 111(b) of the EESA. The provisions include restrictions on the amounts and forms of compensation payable, provisions for possible reimbursement of previously paid compensation and a requirement that compensation be submitted to a non-binding “say on pay” shareholder vote.

 

Later in 2009, the U.S Treasury issued regulations implementing the compensation requirements under ARRA, which amended the requirements of EESA. The regulations made effective the compensation provisions of ARRA and include rules requiring: (i) review of prior compensation by a Special Master; (ii) restrictions on paying or accruing bonuses, retention awards or incentive compensation for certain employees; (iii) regular review of all employee compensation arrangements by the company’s senior risk officer and compensation committee to ensure that the arrangements do not encourage unnecessary and excessive risk-taking or manipulation of the reporting of earnings; (iv) recoupment of bonus payments based on materially inaccurate information; (v) the prohibition of severance or change in control payments for certain employees; (vi) the adoption of policies and procedures to avoid excessive luxury expenses; and (vii) the mandatory “say on pay” vote by shareholders (which was effective beginning in February 2009). In addition, the regulations also introduced several additional requirements and restrictions, including: (i) Special Master review of ongoing compensation in certain situations; (ii) prohibition on tax gross-ups for certain employees; (iii) disclosure of perquisites; and (iv) disclosure regarding compensation consultants.

 

USA PATRIOT Act and Other Anti-Money Laundering Requirements. 

 

As a regulated depository institution, FirstBank is subject to the Bank Secrecy Act, which imposes a variety of reporting and other requirements, including the requirement to file suspicious activity and currency transaction reports that are designed to assist in the detection and prevention of money laundering and other criminal activities. In addition, under Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, also known as the International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act of 2001, all financial institutions are required to, among other things, identify their customers, adopt formal and comprehensive anti-money laundering programs, scrutinize or prohibit altogether certain transactions of special concern, and be prepared to respond to inquiries from U.S. law enforcement agencies concerning their customers and their transactions. Presently, only certain types of financial institutions (including banks, savings associations and money services businesses) are subject to final rules implementing the anti-money laundering program requirements of the USA PATRIOT Act.

 

Regulations implementing the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA PATRIOT Act are published and primarily enforced by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau of the Treasury.  Failure of a financial institution to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act’s or USA PATRIOT Act’s requirements could have serious legal and reputational consequences for the institution, including the possibility of regulatory enforcement or other legal action, including significant civil money penalties, against the Corporation or the Bank. The Corporation also is required  to comply with federal economic and trade sanctions requirements enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), a bureau of the Treasury.  The Corporation has adopted appropriate policies, procedures and controls to address compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, USA PATRIOT Act and economic/trade sanctions requirements, and to implement banking agency, Treasury and OFAC regulations.

 

Community Reinvestment

 

The CRA encourages banks to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which the bank offer it services, including low- and moderate-income individual and geographies, consistent with safe and sound operation of the bank.

 

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 CRA requires the federal supervisory agencies, as part of the general examination of supervised banks, to assess the bank’s record of meeting the credit needs of its community, assign a performance rating, and take such record and rating into account in their evaluation of certain applications by such bank. The CRA also requires all institutions to make public disclosure of their CRA ratings. FirstBank received a “satisfactory” CRA rating in its most recent examination by the FDIC.

Failure to adequately serve the communities could result in the denial by the regulators to merge, consolidate or acquire new assets, as well as expand or relocate branches. 

 

State Chartered Non-Member Bank and Banking Laws and Regulations in General

 

FirstBank is subject to regulation and examination by the OCIF, the CFPB and the FDIC, and is subject to comprehensive federal and state regulations dealing with a wide variety of subjects. The federal and state laws and regulations which are applicable to banks regulate, among other things, the scope of their businesses, their investments, their reserves against deposits, the timing and availability of deposited funds, and the nature and amount of and collateral for certain loans. In addition to the impact of regulations, commercial banks are affected significantly by the actions of the Federal Reserve Board as it attempts to control the money supply and credit availability in order to influence the economy.  Among the instruments used by the Federal Reserve Board to implement these objectives are open market operations in U.S. government securities, adjustments of the discount rate, and changes in reserve requirements against bank deposits.  These instruments are used in varying combinations to influence overall economic growth and the distribution of credit, bank loans, investments and deposits.  Their use also affects interest rates charged on loans or paid on deposits.  The monetary policies and regulations of the Federal Reserve Board have had a significant effect on the operating results of commercial banks in the past and are expected to continue to do so in the future.  The effects of such policies upon our future business, earnings and growth cannot be predicted.  

 

There are periodic examinations by the OCIF, the CFPB and the FDIC of FirstBank to test the Bank’s compliance with various statutory and regulatory requirements. This regulation and supervision establishes a comprehensive framework of activities in which an institution can engage.  The regulation and supervision by the FDIC are intended primarily for the protection of the FDIC’s insurance fund and depositors. The regulatory structure also gives the regulatory authorities discretion in connection with their supervisory and enforcement activities and examination policies, including policies with respect to the classification of assets and the establishment of adequate loan loss reserves for regulatory purposes. This enforcement authority includes, among other things, the ability to assess civil money penalties, issue cease-and-desist or removal orders and to initiate injunctive actions against banking organizations and institution-affiliated parties. In general, these enforcement actions may be initiated for violations of laws and regulations and for engaging in unsafe or unsound practices. In addition, certain bank actions are required by statute and implementing regulations. Other actions or failure to act may provide the basis for enforcement action, including the filing of misleading or untimely reports with regulatory authorities.

 

Regulatory Agreements

 

Effective June 2, 2010, FirstBank, by and through its Board of Directors, entered into the FDIC Order with the FDIC and OCIF. The FDIC Order provides for various things, including (among other things) the following: (1) having and retaining qualified management; (2) increased participation in the affairs of FirstBank by its Board of Directors; (3) development and implementation by FirstBank of a capital plan to attain a leverage ratio of at least 8%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 10% and a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 12%; (4) adoption and implementation of strategic, liquidity, and fund management and profit and budget plans and related projects within certain timetables set forth in the FDIC Order and on an ongoing basis; (5) adoption and implementation of plans for reducing FirstBank’s positions in certain classified assets and delinquent and non-accrual loans within timeframes set forth in the FDIC Order;

 

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 (6) refraining from lending to delinquent or classified borrowers already obligated to FirstBank on any extensions of credit so long as such credit remains uncollected, except where FirstBank’s failure to extend further credit to a particular borrower would be detrimental to the best interests of FirstBank, and any such additional credit is approved by FirstBank’s Board of Directors; (7) refraining from accepting, increasing, renewing, or rolling over brokered CDs without the prior written approval of the FDIC; (8) establishment of a comprehensive policy and methodology for determining the allowance for loan and lease losses and the review and revision of FirstBank’s loan policies, including the non-accrual policy; and (9) adoption and implementation of adequate and effective programs of independent loan review, appraisal compliance, and an effective policy for managing FirstBank’s sensitivity to interest rate risk. The foregoing summary is not complete and is qualified in all respects by reference to the actual language of the FDIC Order. Although all of FirstBank’s regulatory capital ratios exceeded the minimum capital ratios for “well-capitalized” levels, as well as the minimum capital ratios required by the FDIC Order, as of December 31, 2014, FirstBank cannot be treated as a “well-capitalized” institution under regulatory guidance while operating under the FDIC Order.

 

Effective June 3, 2010, the Corporation entered into the Written Agreement with the New York FED. The Written Agreement provides, among other things, that the holding company must serve as a source of strength to FirstBank, and that, except with the consent generally of the New York FED and the Federal Reserve Board, (1) the holding company may not pay dividends to stockholders or receive dividends from FirstBank, (2) the holding company and its nonbank subsidiaries may not make payments on trust-preferred securities or subordinated debt, and (3) the holding company cannot incur, increase, or guarantee debt or repurchase any capital securities. The Written Agreement also requires that the holding company submit a capital plan that reflects sufficient capital at the Corporation on a consolidated basis, which must be acceptable to the New York FED, and follow certain guidelines with respect to the appointment or change in responsibilities of senior officers. The foregoing summary is not complete and is qualified in all respects by reference to the actual language of the Written Agreement.

 

The Corporation submitted its Capital Plan setting forth how it plans to improve capital positions to comply with the FDIC Order and the Written Agreement over time. In addition to the Capital Plan, the Corporation submitted to its regulators a liquidity and brokered CD plan, including a contingency funding plan, a non-performing asset reduction plan, a budget and profit plan, a strategic plan, and a plan for the reduction of classified and special mention assets. As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had completed all of the items included in the Capital Plan and is continuing to work on reducing non-performing loans. Further, the Corporation has reviewed and enhanced the Corporation’s loan review program, various credit policies, the Corporation’s treasury and investment policy, the Corporation’s asset classification and allowance for loan and lease losses and non-accrual policies, the Corporation’s charge-off policy, and the Corporation’s appraisal program. The Regulatory Agreements also require the submission to the regulators of quarterly progress reports.

   

   The FDIC Order imposes no other restrictions on FirstBank’s products or services offered to customers, nor does it or the Written Agreement impose any type of penalties or fines upon FirstBank or the Corporation. Concurrent with the FDIC Order, the FDIC has granted FirstBank temporary waivers to enable it to continue accessing the brokered CD market through March 31, 2015. FirstBank will request approvals for future periods, although no assurance can be given that future approvals will be given.

Dividend Restrictions

The Corporation is subject to certain restrictions generally imposed on Puerto Rico corporations with respect to the declaration and payment of dividends (i.e., that dividends may be paid out only from the Corporation’s net assets in excess of capital or, in the absence of such excess, from the Corporation’s net earnings for such fiscal year and/or the preceding fiscal year). The Federal Reserve Board has also issued a policy statement that, as a matter of prudent banking, a bank holding company should generally not maintain a given rate of cash dividends unless its net income available to common shareholders has been sufficient to fund fully the dividends and the prospective rate of earnings retention appears to be consistent with the organization’s capital needs, asset quality, and overall financial condition.

 

In  2009, the Federal Reserve published the “Applying Supervisory Guidance and Regulations on the Payment of Dividends, Stock Redemptions, and Stock Repurchases at Bank Holding Companies” (the “Supervisory Letter”), which discussed the ability of bank holding companies to declare dividends and to repurchase equity securities.  The Supervisory Letter is generally consistent with prior Federal Reserve supervisory policies and guidance, although it places greater emphasis on discussions with the regulators prior to dividend declarations and redemption or repurchase decisions even when not explicitly required by the regulations.  The Federal Reserve provides that the principles discussed in the letter are applicable to all bank holding companies, but are especially relevant for bank holding companies that are either experiencing financial difficulties and/or receiving public funds under the Treasury’s TARP Capital Purchase Program. To that end, the Supervisory Letter specifically addresses the Federal Reserve’s supervisory considerations for TARP participants.

 

The Supervisory Letter provides that a board of directors should “eliminate, defer, or severely limit” dividends if: (i) the bank holding company’s net income available to shareholders for the prior four quarters, net of dividends paid during that period, is not sufficient to fully fund the dividends; (ii) the bank holding company’s rate of earnings retention is inconsistent with capital needs and overall macroeconomic outlook; or (iii) the bank holding company will not meet, or is in danger of not meeting, its minimum regulatory capital adequacy ratios. The Supervisory Letter further suggests that bank holding companies should inform the Federal

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Reserve in advance of paying a dividend that: (i) exceeds the earnings for the quarter in which the dividend is being paid; or (ii) could result in a material adverse change to the organization’s capital structure.

 

In prior years, the principal source of funds for the Corporation’s parent holding company was dividends declared and paid by its subsidiary, FirstBank. Pursuant to the Written Agreement with the Federal Reserve, the Corporation cannot directly or indirectly take dividends or any other form of payment representing a reduction in capital from the Bank without the prior written approval of the Federal Reserve. The ability of FirstBank to declare and pay dividends on its capital stock is regulated by the Puerto Rico Banking Law, the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (the “FDIA”), and FDIC regulations. In general terms, the Puerto Rico Banking Law provides that when the expenditures of a bank are greater than receipts, the excess of expenditures over receipts shall be charged against undistributed profits of the bank and the balance, if any, shall be charged against the required reserve fund of the bank. If the reserve fund is not sufficient to cover such balance in whole or in part, the outstanding amount must be charged against the bank’s capital account. The Puerto Rico Banking Law provides that, until said capital has been restored to its original amount and the reserve fund to 20% of the original capital, the bank may not declare any dividends.

 

    In general terms, the FDIA and the FDIC regulations restrict the payment of dividends when a bank is undercapitalized, when a bank has failed to pay insurance assessments, or when there are safety and soundness concerns regarding such bank.

 

   We suspended dividend payments on our common and preferred dividends commencing with the preferred dividend payments for the month of August 2009. Furthermore, so long as any shares of preferred stock remain outstanding and until we obtain the Federal Reserve’s approval, we cannot declare, set apart or pay any dividends on shares of our common stock unless any accrued and unpaid dividends on our preferred stock for the twelve monthly dividend periods ending on the immediately preceding dividend payment date have been paid or are paid contemporaneously and the full monthly dividend on our preferred stock for the then current month has been or is contemporaneously declared and paid or declared and set apart for payment.

Limitations on Transactions with Affiliates and Insiders

 

Certain transactions between financial institutions such as FirstBank and its affiliates are governed by Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act and by Federal Reserve Regulation W. An affiliate of a financial institution in general is any corporation or entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the financial institution.

 

In a holding company context, the parent bank holding company and any companies which are controlled by such parent bank holding company are affiliates of the financial institution. Generally, Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act (i) limit the extent to which the financial institution or its subsidiaries may engage in “covered transactions” (defined below) with any one affiliate to an amount equal to 10% of such financial institution’s capital stock and surplus, and contain an aggregate limit on all such transactions with all affiliates to an amount equal to 20% of such financial institution’s capital stock and surplus and (ii) require that all “covered transactions” be on terms substantially the same, or at least as favorable to the financial institution or affiliate, as those provided to a non-affiliate. The term “covered transaction” includes the making of loans, purchase of assets, issuance of a guarantee and other similar transactions. In addition, loans or other extensions of credit by the financial institution to the affiliate are required to be collateralized in accordance with the requirements set forth in Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act.  The Dodd-Frank Act added derivatives and securities lending and borrowing transactions to the list of “covered transactions” subject to Section 23A restrictions.

 

In addition, Sections 22(h) and (g) of the Federal Reserve Act, implemented through Regulation O, place restrictions on loans to executive officers, directors, and principal stockholders. Under Section 22(h) of the Federal Reserve Act, loans to a director, an executive officer, a greater than 10% stockholder of a financial institution, and certain related interests of these persons, may not exceed, together with all other outstanding loans to such persons and affiliated interests, the financial institution’s loans to one borrower limit, generally equal to 15% of the institution’s unimpaired capital and surplus. Section 22(h) of the Federal Reserve Act also requires that loans to directors, executive officers, and principal stockholders be made on terms substantially the same as offered in comparable transactions to other persons and also requires prior board approval for certain loans. In addition, the aggregate amount of extensions of credit by a financial institution to insiders cannot exceed the institution’s unimpaired capital and surplus. Furthermore, Section 22(g) of the Federal Reserve Act places additional restrictions on loans to executive officers.

 

Federal Reserve Board Capital Requirements

 

The Federal Reserve Board has adopted risk-based and leverage capital adequacy guidelines pursuant to which it assesses the adequacy of capital in examining and supervising a bank holding company and in analyzing applications to it under the Bank Holding Company Act.  The Federal Reserve Board’s historical risk-based capital guidelines have been based upon the 1988 capital accord (“Basel I”) of the Basel Committee.  These historical requirements, however, which included a legacy simplified risk-weighting system for the calculations of risk-based assets, as well as lower leverage capital requirements, have been superseded by new risk-based and leverage capital requirements that go into effect, on a multi-year transitional basis, on January 1, 2015.

 

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As discussed above, in July 2013, U.S. banking regulators approved a revised regulatory capital framework for U.S. banking organizations (the “Basel III rules”) that is based on international regulatory capital requirements adopted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision over the past several years. 

 

    The Basel III rules introduce new minimum capital ratios and capital conservation buffer requirements, change the composition of regulatory capital, require a number of new adjustments to and deductions from regulatory capital, and introduce a new “Standardized Approach” for the calculation of risk-weighted assets that will replace the risk-weighting requirements under the current U.S. regulatory capital rules.  The new minimum regulatory capital requirements and the Standardized Approach for the calculation of risk-weighted assets will become effective for the Corporation on January 1, 2015. The capital conservation buffer requirements, and the regulatory capital adjustments and deductions under the Basel III rules will be phased-in over several years ending on December 31, 2018. 

The Federal Reserve Board’s current risk-based capital guidelines generally require bank holding companies to maintain total capital equal to 8% of total risk-adjusted assets, with at least one-half of that amount consisting of Tier I or core capital and up to one-half of that amount consisting of Tier II or supplementary capital.

 

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Tier I capital for bank holding companies generally consists of the sum of common stockholders’ equity and perpetual preferred stock, subject in the case of the latter to limitations on the kind and amount of such perpetual preferred stock that may be included as Tier I capital, less goodwill and, with certain exceptions, other intangibles. Tier II capital generally consists of hybrid capital instruments, perpetual preferred stock that is not eligible to be included as Tier I capital, term subordinated debt and intermediate-term preferred stock and, subject to limitations, allowances for loan losses.  Legacy Federal Reserve Board leverage capital guidelines mandated a minimum leverage ratio of Tier 1 capital to adjusted quarterly average total assets less certain amounts (“leverage amounts”) equal to 3% for bank holding companies meeting certain criteria (including those having the highest regulatory rating), with all other banking organizations being required to maintain a leverage ratio of at least 3% plus an additional cushion of at least 100 basis points and in some cases more.

 

The Federal Reserve Board’s regulatory capital guidelines also provide that bank holding companies experiencing internal growth or making acquisitions are expected to maintain capital positions substantially above the minimum supervisory levels without significant reliance on intangible assets. Furthermore, the guidelines indicate that the Federal Reserve Board will continue to consider a “tangible Tier 1 leverage ratio” (i.e., Tier 1 after deducting all intangibles) in evaluating proposals for expansion or new activities.

 

The Federal Reserve Board’s Basel III rules introduce a new and separate ratio of Common Equity Tier 1 capital (“CET1”) to risk-weighted assets. CET1, a narrower subcomponent of total Tier 1 capital, generally consists of common stock and related surplus, retained earnings, accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”), and qualifying minority interests. Certain banking organizations, however, including the Corporation and FirstBank, will be allowed to make a one-time permanent election in early 2015 to continue to exclude AOCI items.  The Corporation and FirstBank expect to make this election in order to avoid significant variations in the level of capital depending upon the impact of interest rate fluctuations on the fair value of the securities portfolio. In addition, the Basel III rules also will require the Corporation to maintain an additional CET1 capital conservation buffer of 2.5%.  Under the rules, the Corporation will be required to maintain: (i) a minimum CET1 to risk-weighted assets ratio of at least 4.5%, plus the 2.5% “capital conservation buffer,” resulting in a required minimum CET1 ratio of at least 7% upon full implementation, (ii) a minimum ratio of total Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 6.0%, plus the 2.5% capital conservation buffer, resulting in a required minimum Tier 1 capital ratio of 8.5% upon full implementation, (iii) a minimum ratio of total Tier 1 plus Tier 2 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 8.0%, plus the 2.5% capital conservation buffer, resulting in a required minimum total capital ratio of 10.5% upon full implementation, and (iv) a required minimum leverage ratio of 4% (as contrasted to the legacy 3% requirement), calculated as the ratio of Tier 1 capital to average on-balance sheet (non-risk adjusted) assets.  The new basic minimum risk-based and leverage capital requirements will be effective for the Corporation on January 1, 2015.  The phase-in of the capital conservation buffer will begin on January 1, 2016 with a first year requirement of 0.625% of additional CET1, which will be progressively increased over a four-year period, increasing by that same percentage amount on each subsequent January 1 until it reaches the fully-phased in 2.5% CET1 requirement on January 1, 2019.

 

    In addition, the Basel III rules require a number of new deductions from and adjustments to CET1, including deductions from CET1 for mortgage servicing rights, and deferred tax assets dependent upon future taxable income; these adjustments generally will be phased in over a four-year period beginning on January 1, 2015.  In the case of mortgage servicing assets and deferred tax assets attributable to temporary differences, among others, these items would be required to be deducted to the extent that any one such category exceeds 10% of CET1 or all such categories in the aggregate exceed 15% of CET1.    

In addition, the Federal Reserve Board’s Basel III rules require that certain non-qualifying capital instruments, including cumulative preferred stock and Trust Preferred Securities (“TRuPs”), be excluded from Tier 1 capital.  In general, banking organizations such as the Corporation and the Bank, that are not advanced approaches banks, must begin to phase out TRuPs from Tier 1 capital by January 1, 2015.

 

The Corporation will be allowed to include 25% of the $225 million outstanding qualifying TRuPs as Tier 1 capital in 2015 and the TRuPs must be fully phased out from Tier 1 capital by January 1, 2016.  However, the Corporation’s TRuPs may continue to be included in Tier 2 capital until the instruments are redeemed or mature.  

Under the legacy Federal Reserve Board risk based capital requirements, a bank holding company’s assets are adjusted to take into account different risk characteristics, with the categories generally ranging from 0% (requiring no additional capital) for assets such as cash to 100% for assets such as commercial mortgage loans, commercial and industrial loans and consumer loans. Off-balance sheet items also are adjusted to take into account certain risk characteristics. The Basel III rules supersede this framework and establish a “standardized approach” for risk-weightings that expands the risk-weighting categories from the four major risk-weighting categories under the current regulatory capital rules (0%, 20%, 50% and 100%) to a much larger and more risk-sensitive number of categories, depending on the nature of the assets.  In a number of cases, the Standardized Approach will result in higher risk weights for a variety of asset categories. Specific changes to the risk-weightings of assets under the current regulatory capital rules include, among other things: (i) applying a 150% risk weight instead of a 100% risk weight for certain high volatility commercial real estate acquisition, development and construction loans, (ii) assigning a 150% risk weight to exposures that are 90 days past due (other than qualifying residential mortgage exposures, which remain at an assigned risk-weighting of 100%),  and (iii) establishing a 20% credit conversion factor for the unused portion of a commitment with an original maturity of one year or less that is not unconditionally cancellable, in contrast to the 0% risk-weighting under the prior rules.

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The Corporation’s estimated pro-forma CET1 ratio, Tier 1 capital ratio, total capital ratio, and leverage ratio under the Basel III rules, giving effect as of December 31, 2014 to all the provisions that will be phased-in between January 1, 2015 and January 2019, was 15.1%, 15.5%, 19.2%, and 11.7%, respectively.  These ratios would exceed the fully phased-in minimum capital ratios under Basel III. 

 

FDIC Capital Requirements

 

The FDIC historically promulgated regulations and a statement of policy regarding the capital adequacy of state-chartered non-member banks like FirstBank.  These regulations and statement of policy were based upon the Basel I regulatory capital requirements adopted by the Basel Committee. These requirements have been substantially similar to those adopted by the Federal Reserve Board regarding bank holding companies, as described above.  As is the case with the Federal Reserve Board’s requirements, the FDIC’s historical requirements, which included the same legacy simplified risk-weighting system for the calculation of risk-based assets, as well as lower leverage capital requirements, have been superseded by new risk-based and leverage capital requirements that go into effect, on a multi-year transitional basis, on January 1, 2015.

 

    The FDIC’s Basel III rules that apply to the Bank are substantively the same as the Federal Reserve Board rules that apply to the Corporation, as discussed above in “Regulation and Supervision -- Regulatory Capital” and “Regulation and Supervision – Federal Reserve Board Capital Requirements.”  Under the FDIC rules, the Bank will be required to maintain; (i) a minimum CET1 to risk-weighted assets ratio of at least 4.5%, plus the 2.5% “capital conservation buffer,” resulting in a required minimum CET1 ratio of at least 7% upon full implementation, (ii) a minimum ratio of total Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 6.0%, plus the 2.5% capital conservation buffer, resulting in a required minimum Tier 1 capital ratio of 8.5% upon full implementation, (iii) a minimum ratio of total Tier 1 plus Tier 2 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 8.0%, plus the 2.5% capital conservation buffer, resulting in a required minimum total capital ratio of 10.5% upon full implementation, and (iv) a required minimum leverage ratio of 4%, calculated as the ratio of Tier 1 capital to average on-balance sheet (non-risk adjusted) assets.  The new basic minimum risk-based and leverage capital requirements were effective for the Bank on January 1, 2015.  The phase-in of the capital conservation buffer will begin on January 1, 2016 with a first year requirement of 0.625% of additional CET1, which will be progressively increased over a four-year period, increasing by that same percentage amount on each subsequent January 1 until it reaches the fully-phased in 2.5% CET1 requirement on January 1, 2019. 

The FDIC’s Basel III rules similarly require the same deductions from and adjustments to CET1 as are required under the Federal Reserve Board rules, including deductions from CET1 for mortgage servicing rights, and deferred tax assets dependent upon future taxable income.  In the case of mortgage servicing assets and deferred tax assets, among others, these items would be required to be deducted to the extent that any one such category exceeds 10% of CET1 or all such categories in the aggregate exceed 15% of CET1.  Under current regulatory capital requirements, the effect of AOCI is excluded for the purposes of calculating the required regulatory capital ratios. By comparison, under the Basel III rules, the effects of certain AOCI items are not excluded.  The Bank, however, will be allowed to make a one-time permanent election in early 2015 to continue to exclude AOCI items, and expects to make this election in order to avoid significant variations in the level of capital depending upon the impact of interest rate fluctuations on the fair value of the securities portfolio.

 

Prompt Corrective Action.  The PCA provisions of the FDIA require the federal bank regulatory agencies to take prompt corrective action against any undercapitalized insured depository institution.  The FDIA establishes five capital categories: well-capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized, and critically undercapitalized. Well-capitalized insured depository institutions (“institutions”) significantly exceed the required minimum level for each relevant capital measure.  Adequately capitalized institutions include institutions that meet but do not significantly exceed the required minimum level for each relevant capital measure. Undercapitalized institutions consist of those that fail to meet the required minimum level for one or more relevant capital measures. Significantly undercapitalized institutions are those with capital levels significantly below the minimum requirements for any relevant capital measure. Critically undercapitalized institutions have minimal capital and are at serious risk for government seizure.   

 

Under certain circumstances, a well-capitalized, adequately capitalized or undercapitalized institution may be treated as if the institution were in the next lower capital category.  An institution is generally prohibited from making capital distributions (including paying dividends), or paying management fees to a holding company if the institution would thereafter be undercapitalized.  Institutions that are adequately capitalized but not well-capitalized cannot accept, renew or roll over brokered CDs except with a waiver from the FDIC and are subject to restrictions on the interest rates that can be paid on such deposits.  Undercapitalized institutions may not accept, renew or roll over brokered CDs.

 

    

 

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The federal bank regulatory agencies are permitted or, in certain cases, required to take certain actions with respect to institutions falling within one of the three undercapitalized categories.  Depending on the level of an institution’s capital, the agency’s corrective powers include, among other things:

•            prohibiting the payment of principal and interest on subordinated debt;

•            prohibiting the holding company from making distributions without prior regulatory approval;

•            placing limits on asset growth and restrictions on activities;

•            placing additional restrictions on transactions with affiliates;

•            restricting the interest rate the institution may pay on deposits;

•            prohibiting the institution from accepting deposits from correspondent banks; and

•            in the most severe cases, appointing a conservator or receiver for the institution

 

An institution that is undercapitalized is required to submit a capital restoration plan, and such a plan will not be accepted unless, among other things, the institution’s holding company guarantees the plan up to a certain specified amount.  Any such guarantee from an institution’s holding company is entitled to a priority of payment in bankruptcy. 

The banking agencies’ Basel III rules, discussed above, revise the PCA requirements by (i) introducing a separate CET1 ratio requirement for each PCA capital category (other than critically undercapitalized) with the required CET1 ratio being 6.5% for well-capitalized status; (ii) increasing the minimum Tier 1 capital ratio requirement for each PCA capital category with the minimum Tier 1 capital ratio for well-capitalized status being 8% (as compared to the current 6%); and (iii) eliminating the current provision that allows a bank with a composite supervisory rating of 1 to have a 3% leverage ratio and still be adequately capitalized and maintaining the minimum leverage ratio for well-capitalized status at 5%. The Basel III rules do not change the total risk-based capital requirement (10% for well-capitalized status) for any PCA capital category.  The new PCA requirements became effective on January 1, 2015.

Although o Although our regulatory capital ratios exceeded the required established minimum capital ratios for a “well-capitalized” institution as of December 31, 2014, as well as the capital requirements in the FDIC Order, because of the FDIC Order, FirstBank cannot be regarded as “well-capitalized” as of December 31, 2014. A bank’s capital category, as determined by applying the prompt corrective action provisions of the law, may not constitute an accurate representation of the overall financial condition or prospects of a bank, such as the Bank, and should be considered in conjunction with other available information regarding the financial condition and results of operations of the bank.

 

     Set forth below are the Corporation's and Firstbank's capital ratios as of December 31, 2014 based on Federal Reserve and FDIC guidelines, respectively, and the capital ratios required to be attained and maintained under the FDIC Order:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Banking Subsidiary

  

  

  

First BanCorp.

  

FirstBank

  

Well-Capitalized Minimum

  

Consent Order Minimum

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

As of December 31, 2014

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Total capital (Total capital to

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

    risk-weighted assets)

  

  

19.70%

  

  

19.37%

  

  

10.00%

  

  

12.00%

  

Tier 1 capital ratio (Tier 1 capital

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

    to risk-weighted assets)

  

  

18.44%

  

  

18.10%

  

  

6.00%

  

  

10.00%

  

Leverage ratio (1) 

  

  

13.27%

  

  

13.04%

  

  

5.00%

  

  

8.00%

  

_______________

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

(1) Tier 1 capital to average assets.

  

 

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   Deposit Insurance

 

The increase in deposit insurance coverage to up to $250,000 per customer, the FDIC’s expanded authority to increase insurance premiums, as well as the increase in the number of bank failures after the 2008 financial crisis have resulted in an increase in deposit insurance assessments for all banks, including FirstBank. The Dodd-Frank Act changes the requirements for the Deposit Insurance Fund by requiring that the designated reserve ratio for the Deposit Insurance Fund for any year may not be less than 1.35 percent of estimated insured deposits or the comparable percentage of the new deposit assessment base.  In addition, the FDIC must take steps as necessary for the reserve ratio to reach 1.35 percent of estimated insured deposits by September 30, 2020.  If the reserve ratio exceeds 1.5 percent, the FDIC must dividend to Deposit Insurance Fund members the amount above the amount necessary to maintain the Deposit Insurance Fund at 1.5 percent, but the FDIC Board of Directors may, in its sole discretion, suspend or limit the declaration of payment of dividends.  The FDIC has adopted a Deposit Reserve Fund restoration plan that projects that the designated reserve ratio will reach 1.35 percent by the 2020 deadline.

 

On February 7, 2011, the FDIC adopted a rule which redefines the assessment base for deposit insurance as required by the Dodd-Frank Act, makes changes to assessment rates, implements the Dodd-Frank Act’s Deposit Insurance Fund dividend provisions, and revises the risk-based assessment system for all large insured depository institutions (institutions with at least $10 billion in total assets), such as FirstBank.

 

If the FDIC is appointed conservator or receiver of a bank upon the bank’s insolvency or the occurrence of other events, the FDIC may sell some, part or all of a bank’s assets and liabilities to another bank or repudiate or disaffirm certain types of contracts to which the bank was a party if the FDIC believes such contract is burdensome and its disaffirmance will aid in the administration of the receivership.  In resolving the estate of a failed bank, the FDIC as receiver will first satisfy its own administrative expenses, and the claims of holders of U.S. deposit liabilities also have priority over those of other general unsecured creditors.

 

   Activities and Investments

 

The activities as “principal” and equity investments of FDIC-insured, state-chartered banks such as FirstBank are generally limited to those that are permissible for national banks. Under regulations dealing with equity investments, an insured state-chartered bank generally may not directly or indirectly acquire or retain any equity investments of a type, or in an amount, that is not permissible for a national bank.

 

Federal Home Loan Bank System

 

FirstBank is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) system. The FHLB system consists of twelve regional Federal Home Loan Banks governed and regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The Federal Home Loan Banks serve as reserve or credit facilities for member institutions within their assigned regions. They are funded primarily from proceeds derived from the sale of consolidated obligations of the FHLB system, and they make loans (advances) to members in accordance with policies and procedures established by the FHLB system and the board of directors of each regional FHLB.

 

FirstBank is a member of the FHLB of New York and as such is required to acquire and hold shares of capital stock in the FHLB in an amount calculated in accordance with the requirements set forth in applicable laws and regulations. FirstBank is in compliance with the stock ownership requirements of the FHLB. All loans, advances and other extensions of credit made by the FHLB to FirstBank are secured by a portion of FirstBank’s mortgage loan portfolio, certain other investments and the capital stock of the FHLB held by FirstBank.

 

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Ownership and Control

Because of FirstBank’s status as an FDIC-insured bank, as defined in the Bank Holding Company Act, the Corporation, as the owner of FirstBank’s common stock, is subject to certain restrictions and disclosure obligations under various federal laws, including the Bank Holding Company Act and the Change in Bank Control Act (the “CBCA”). Regulations pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act generally require prior Federal Reserve Board approval for an acquisition of control of an insured institution (as defined in the Act) or holding company thereof by any person (or persons acting in concert). Control is deemed to exist if, among other things, a person (or persons acting in concert) acquires 25% or more of any class of voting stock of an insured institution or holding company thereof. Under the CBCA, control is presumed to exist subject to rebuttal if a person (or persons acting in concert) acquires 10% or more of any class of voting stock and either (i) the corporation has registered securities under Section 12 of the Exchange Act, or (ii) no person will own, control or hold the power to vote a greater percentage of that class of voting securities immediately after the transaction. The concept of acting in concert is very broad and also is subject to certain rebuttable presumptions, including among others, that relatives, business partners, management officials, affiliates and others are presumed to be acting in concert with each other and their businesses. The regulations of the FDIC implementing the CBCA are generally similar to those described above.

The Puerto Rico Banking Law requires the approval of the OCIF for changes in control of a Puerto Rico bank. See “Puerto Rico Banking Law.”

Standards for Safety and Soundness

The FDIA requires the FDIC and the other federal bank regulatory agencies to prescribe standards of safety and soundness, by regulations or guidelines, relating generally to operations and management, asset growth, asset quality, earnings, stock valuation, and compensation. The implementing regulations and guidelines of the FDIC and the other federal bank regulatory agencies establish general standards relating to internal controls and information systems, internal audit systems, loan documentation, credit underwriting, interest rate exposure, asset growth and compensation, fees and benefits. In general, the regulations and guidelines require, among other things, appropriate systems and practices to identify and manage the risks and exposures specified in the guidelines. The regulations and 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 shareholder.

Brokered Deposits

FDIC regulations adopted under the FDIA govern the receipt of brokered deposits by banks. Well-capitalized institutions are not subject to limitations on brokered deposits, while adequately-capitalized institutions are able to accept, renew or rollover brokered deposits only with a waiver from the FDIC and subject to certain restrictions on the interest paid on such deposits. Undercapitalized institutions are not permitted to accept brokered deposits. The FDIC Order requires FirstBank to obtain FDIC approval prior to issuing, increasing, renewing or rolling over brokered CDs and required it to develop a plan to reduce its reliance on brokered CDs. The FDIC has issued temporary approvals permitting FirstBank to renew and/or roll over certain amounts of brokered CDs maturing through March 31, 2015.  FirstBank will continue to request approvals for future periods in a manner consistent with the plan it submitted pursuant to the FDIC Order to reduce its reliance on brokered CDs, although there is no assurance that such approvals will be granted.

Puerto Rico Banking Law

As a commercial bank organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FirstBank is subject to supervision, examination and regulation by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Commissioner of Financial Institutions (“Commissioner”) pursuant to the Puerto Rico Banking Law of 1933, as amended (the “Banking Law”).

 

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The Banking Law contains various provisions relating to FirstBank and its affairs, including its incorporation and organization, the rights and responsibilities of its directors, officers and stockholders and its corporate powers, lending limitations, capital requirements, and investment requirements. In addition, the Commissioner is given extensive rule-making power and administrative discretion under the Banking Law.

The Banking Law authorizes Puerto Rico commercial banks to conduct certain financial and related activities directly or through subsidiaries, including the leasing of personal property and the operation of a small loan business.

The Banking Law requires every bank to maintain a legal reserve, which shall not be less than twenty percent (20%) of its demand liabilities, except government deposits (federal, state and municipal) that are secured by actual collateral. The reserve is required to be composed of any of the following securities or a combination thereof: (1) legal tender of the United States; (2) checks on banks or trust companies located in any part of Puerto Rico that are to be presented for collection during the day following the day on which they are received; (3) money deposited in other banks provided said deposits are authorized by the Commissioner and subject to immediate collection; (4) federal funds sold to any Federal Reserve Bank and securities purchased under agreements to resell executed by the bank with such funds that are subject to be repaid to the bank on or before the close of the next business day; and (5) any other asset that the Commissioner identifies from time to time.

Section 17 of the Banking Law permits Puerto Rico commercial banks to make loans to any one person, firm, partnership or corporation in an aggregate amount of up to fifteen percent (15%) of the sum of: (i) the bank’s paid-in capital; (ii) the bank’s reserve fund; (iii) 50% of the bank’s retained earnings, subject to certain limitations; and (iv) any other components that the Commissioner may determine from time to time. If such loans are secured by collateral worth at least twenty five percent (25%) more than the amount of the loan, the aggregate maximum amount may reach one third (33.33%) of the sum of the bank’s paid-in capital, reserve fund, 50% of retained earnings, subject to certain limitations, and such other components that the Commissioner may determine from time to time. There are no restrictions under the Banking Law on the amount of loans that may be wholly secured by bonds, securities and other evidences of indebtedness of the Government of the United States, or of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or by bonds, not in default, of municipalities or instrumentalities of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 

The Banking Law prohibits Puerto Rico commercial banks from making loans secured by their own stock, and from purchasing their own stock, unless such purchase is made pursuant to a stock repurchase program approved by the Commissioner or is necessary to prevent losses because of a debt previously contracted in good faith. The stock purchased by the Puerto Rico commercial bank must be sold by the bank in a public or private sale within one year from the date of purchase.

The Banking Law provides that no officer, director, agent nor employee of a Puerto Rico commercial bank may serve as an officer, director, agent or employee of another Puerto Rico commercial bank, financial corporation, savings and loan association, trust corporation, corporation engaged in granting mortgage loans or any other institution engaged in the money lending business in Puerto Rico. This prohibition is not applicable to any such position with an affiliate of a Puerto Rico commercial bank.

The Banking Law requires that Puerto Rico commercial banks prepare each year a balance summary of their operations, and submit such balance summary for approval at a regular meeting of stockholders, together with an explanatory report thereon. The Banking Law also requires that at least ten percent (10%) of the yearly net income of a Puerto Rico commercial bank be credited annually to a reserve fund. This credit is required to be done every year until such reserve fund shall be equal to the total paid-in-capital of the bank.

The Banking Law also provides that when the expenditures of a Puerto Rico commercial bank are greater than receipts, the excess of the expenditures over receipts shall be charged against the undistributed profits of the bank, and the balance, if any, shall be charged against the reserve fund, as a reduction thereof. If there is no reserve fund sufficient to cover such balance in whole or in part, the outstanding amount shall be charged against the capital account and no dividend shall be declared until said capital has been restored to its original amount and the amount in the reserve fund equals twenty percent (20%) of the original capital.

 

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The Banking Law requires the prior approval of the Commissioner with respect to a transfer of capital stock of a bank that results in a change of control of the bank. Under the Banking Law, a change of control is presumed to occur if a person or a group of persons acting in concert, directly or indirectly, acquires more than 5% of the outstanding voting capital stock of the bank. The Commissioner has interpreted the restrictions of the Banking Law as applying to acquisitions of voting securities of entities controlling a bank, such as a bank holding company. Under the Banking Law, the determination of the Commissioner whether to approve a change of control filing is final and non-appealable.

The Finance Board, which is composed of the Commissioner, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Consumer Affairs, the President of the Economic Development Bank, the President of the Government Development Bank, and the President of the Planning Board, has the authority to regulate the maximum interest rates and finance charges that may be charged on loans to individuals and unincorporated businesses in Puerto Rico. The current regulations of the Finance Board provide that the applicable interest rate on loans to individuals and unincorporated businesses, including real estate development loans but excluding certain other personal and commercial loans secured by mortgages on real estate properties, is to be determined by free competition. Accordingly, the regulations do not set a maximum rate for charges on retail installment sales contracts, small loans, and credit card purchases and set aside previous regulations which regulated these maximum finance charges. Furthermore, there is no maximum rate set for installment sales contracts involving motor vehicles, commercial, agricultural and industrial equipment, commercial electric appliances and insurance premiums.

International Banking Act of Puerto Rico (“IBE Act 52”) 

The business and operations of FirstBank International Branch (“FirstBank IBE” or the “IBE division of FirstBank”) and FirstBank Overseas Corporation (the IBE subsidiary of FirstBank) are subject to supervision and regulation by the Commissioner. Under the IBE Act 52, certain sales, encumbrances, assignments, mergers, exchanges or transfers of shares, interests or participation(s) in the capital of an international banking entity (an “IBE”) may not be initiated without the prior approval of the Commissioner. The IBE Act 52 and the regulations issued thereunder by the Commissioner (the “IBE Regulations”) limit the business activities that may be carried out by an IBE. Such activities are limited in part to persons and assets located outside of Puerto Rico.

Pursuant to the IBE Act 52 and the IBE Regulations, each of FirstBank IBE and FirstBank Overseas Corporation must maintain books and records of all its transactions in the ordinary course of business. FirstBank IBE and FirstBank Overseas Corporation are also required thereunder to submit to the Commissioner quarterly and annual reports of their financial condition and results of operations, including annual audited financial statements.

The IBE Act 52 empowers the Commissioner to revoke or suspend, after notice and hearing, a license issued thereunder if, among other things, the IBE fails to comply with the IBE Act 52, the IBE Regulations or the terms of its license, or if the Commissioner finds that the business or affairs of the IBE are conducted in a manner that is not consistent with the public interest.

In 2012, the Puerto Rico Government approved Act Number 273 (“Act 273”).  Act 273 replaces, prospectively, IBE Act 52 with the objective of improving the conditions for conducting international financial transactions in Puerto Rico.  An IBE existing on the date of approval of Act 273, such as FirstBank IBE and FirstBank Overseas Corporation, can continue operating under IBE Act 52, or, it can voluntarily convert to an International Financial Entity (“IFE”) under Act 273 so it may broaden its scope of Eligible IFE Activities, as defined below, and obtain a grant of tax exemption under Act 273.

 

IFEs are licensed by the Commissioner, and authorized to conduct certain Act 273 specified financial transactions (“Eligible IFE Activities”). Once licensed, an IFE can request a grant of tax exemption (“Tax Grant”) from the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce, which will enumerate and secure the following tax benefits provided by Act 273 as contractual rights (i.e., regardless of future changes in Puerto Rico law) for a fifteen (15) year period:

 

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(1)     to the IFE:

 

·         a fixed 4% Puerto Rico income tax rate on the net income derived by the IFE from its Eligible IFE Activities; and

·         full property and municipal license tax exemptions on such activities.

 

(2)     to its shareholders:

 

·         6% income tax rate on distributions to Puerto Rico resident shareholders of earnings and profits derived from the Eligible IFE Activities; and

·         full Puerto Rico income tax exemption on such distributions to non-Puerto Rico resident shareholders.

  

The primary purpose of IFEs is to attract Unites States and foreign investors to Puerto Rico. Consequently, Act 273 authorizes them to engage in traditional banking and financial transactions, principally with non-residents of Puerto Rico. Furthermore, the scope of Eligible IFE Activities encompasses a wider variety of transactions than those previously authorized to IBEs.

 

As of the date of the issuance of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, FirstBank IBE and FirstBank Overseas Corporation are operating under IBE Act 52.

Puerto Rico Income Taxes

 

Under the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011, as amended (the “2011 PR Code”), the Corporation and its subsidiaries are treated as separate taxable entities and are not entitled to file a consolidated tax return and, thus, the Corporation is not able to utilize losses from one subsidiary to offset gains in another subsidiary. Accordingly, in order to obtain a tax benefit from a Net Operating Loss (“NOL”), a particular subsidiary must be able to demonstrate sufficient taxable income within the applicable NOL carryforward period.  In the case of losses incurred during tax years that commenced after December 31, 2004 and ended before January 1, 2013, the carryforward period was extended to 12 years.  The carryover period for an NOL incurred during taxable years commencing after December 31, 2012 is 10 years. The 2011 PR Code provides a dividend received deduction of 100% on dividends received from “controlled” subsidiaries subject to taxation in Puerto Rico and 85% on dividends received from other taxable domestic corporations.

 

Under the 2011 PR Code, as amended, First BanCorp. is subject to a maximum statutory tax rate of 39%. The 2011 PR Code also includes an alternative minimum tax of 30% that applies if the Corporation’s regular income tax liability is less than the alternative minimum tax requirements. Prior to the approval of Act No. 40 (“Act 40”), which amended the 2011 PR Code as explained below, First Bancorp.’s maximum statutory tax rate was 30% for the year ended December 31, 2012. 

 

The Corporation has maintained an effective tax rate lower than the maximum statutory rate mainly by investing in government obligations and mortgage-backed securities exempt from U.S. and Puerto Rico income taxes and by doing business through the IBE of the Bank and through the Bank’s subsidiary, FirstBank Overseas Corporation, whose interest income and gain on sales are exempt from Puerto Rico and U.S. income taxation. The IBE and FirstBank Overseas Corporation were created under the International Banking Entity Act of Puerto Rico, which provides for total Puerto Rico tax exemption on net income derived by IBEs operating in Puerto Rico on the specific activities identified in the IBE Act. An IBE that operates as a unit of a bank pays income taxes at normal rates to the extent that an IBE’s net income exceeds 20% of the bank’s total net taxable income.

 

 

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In 2013, the Puerto Rico Government approved Act No. 40, (“Act 40”), known as the “Tax Burden Adjustment and Redistribution Act,” which amended the 2011 PR Code. One of the main provisions of Act 40 that impacted financial institutions was the national gross receipts tax. The national gross receipts tax for financial institutions is computed on the basis of 1% of gross income, net of allowable exclusions. Subject to certain limitations, a financial institution is able to claim a credit of 0.5% of its gross income against its regular income tax of the alternative minimum tax (“AMT”). The Corporation’s national gross receipts tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2014 amounted to $5.7 million compared to $5.9 million recorded for 2013. This expense included as part of “Taxes, other than income taxes” in the consolidated statement of income (loss). In 2014, the Corporation recorded a $2.9 million benefit related to this credit as a reduction to the provision for income taxes compared to a benefit of $3.0 million recorded in 2013. On December 22, 2014, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed Act No. 238, which amended the 2011 PR Code. Act No. 238 clarifies that the national gross receipts tax will not be applicable to taxable years starting after December 31, 2014. 

 

Proposed Tax Reform

 

On February 11, 2015 the Governor of Puerto Rico introduced a tax reform through House Bill 2329 (“the Bill”) to be known upon enactment as the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2015 (“2015 Code”). The proposed tax regime intends to simplify the Puerto Rico taxation for individuals and corporations, as well as provide a relief in the income tax arena by reducing both corporate and individual tax rates. To compensate for the reduction in income taxes, the Bill replaces the current Sales and Use Tax (“SUT”) with a Value Added Tax (“VAT”), increasing the tax rate on consumption from 7% to 16%. Moreover, the VAT would have a broader basis, as most of the products and services are expected to be taxable.

 

The Bill is proposing few changes to the taxation of corporations, including, among others, the following:

 

·        A flat corporate tax rate of 30%, instead of the gradual income tax rate of 39%.

 

·        Surtax and recapture are expected to be eliminated.

 

·        For taxable years commenced after December 31, 2014, taxpayers would have to depreciate assets using only the straight line method. Moreover, those assets placed in service in prior periods would have to be depreciated using the straight line method for their remaining useful life based on their tax basis as of such year.

 

·        For AMT, the tax would be the higher of:

 

o   25% of the alternative minimum taxable income (“AMTI”) or

 

o   1.5% of purchases or transfers of inventory from related persons or Home Office (certain items would continue to be subject to a reduced rate). No waiver would be available to further reduce the rate on this component.

·      All expenses for services rendered or allocated from related persons or Home Office not subject to income tax in Puerto Rico will not be deductible in the determination of the AMTI.

 

·      Net capital gains would no longer be subject to a reduced rate since the Bill is proposing a 30% rate.

 

·      Dividend distributions to individuals, estates and trusts would be subject to a 30% tax.

 

·      Dividend distributions to foreign entities would remain subject to a 10% withholding tax at source.

 

 

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United States Income Taxes   

The Corporation is also subject to federal income tax on its income from sources within the United States and on any item of income that is, or is considered to be, effectively connected with the active conduct of a trade or business within the United States. The U.S. Internal Revenue Code provides for tax exemption of any portfolio interest received by a foreign corporation from sources within the United States; therefore, the Corporation is not subject to federal income tax on certain U.S. investments that qualify under the term “portfolio interest.”

Insurance Operations Regulation

FirstBank Insurance Agency is registered as an insurance agency with the Insurance Commissioner of Puerto Rico and is subject to regulations issued by the Insurance Commissioner relating to, among other things, the licensing of employees and sales, solicitation and advertising practices, and by the Federal Reserve as to certain consumer protection provisions mandated by the GLB Act and its implementing regulations.

Mortgage Banking Operations

In addition to FDIC and CFPB regulation, FirstBank is subject to the rules and regulations of the FHA, VA, FNMA, FHLMC, GNMA, and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) with respect to originating, processing, selling and servicing mortgage loans and the issuance and sale of mortgage-backed securities. Those rules and regulations, among other things, prohibit discrimination and establish underwriting guidelines that include provisions for inspections and appraisals, require credit reports on prospective borrowers and fix maximum loan amounts, and with respect to VA loans, fix maximum interest rates. Moreover, lenders such as FirstBank are required annually to submit audited financial statements to FHA, VA, FNMA, FHLMC, GNMA and HUD and each regulatory entity has its own financial requirements. FirstBank’s affairs are also subject to supervision and examination by FHA, VA, FNMA, FHLMC, GNMA and HUD at all times to assure compliance with applicable regulations, policies and procedures. Mortgage origination activities are subject to, among other requirements, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Federal Truth-in-Lending Act, and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder that, among other things, prohibit discrimination and require the disclosure of certain basic information to mortgagors concerning credit terms and settlement costs. FirstBank is licensed by the Commissioner under the Puerto Rico Mortgage Banking Law, and, as such, is subject to regulation by the Commissioner, with respect to, among other things, licensing requirements and the establishment of maximum origination fees on certain types of mortgage loan products.

     Section 5 of the Puerto Rico Mortgage Banking Law requires the prior approval of the Commissioner for the acquisition of control of any mortgage banking institution licensed under such law. For purposes of the Puerto Rico Mortgage Banking Law, the term “control” means the power to direct or influence decisively, directly or indirectly, the management or policies of a mortgage banking institution. The Puerto Rico Mortgage Banking Law provides that a transaction that results in the holding of less than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of a mortgage banking institution shall not be considered a change in control.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors  

 

RISKS RELATING TO THE CORPORATION’S BUSINESS

 

We are operating under agreements with our regulators.

We are subject to supervision and regulation by the Federal Reserve Board. We are a bank holding company and a financial holding company under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. 

 

As a financial holding company, we are permitted to engage in a broader spectrum of “financial” activities than those permitted to bank holding companies that are not financial holding companies.At this time, as a result of, among other things, the Regulatory Agreements, under the BHC Act, we currently are not able to engage in new financial activities, and we may not be able to acquire shares or control of other companies. In addition, we are subject to restrictions because of the Regulatory Agreements that our subsidiary FirstBank entered into with the FDIC and we entered into with the Federal Reserve, as further described above.

 

   On June 4, 2010, we announced that FirstBank agreed to the FDIC Order issued by the FDIC and OCIF, and we entered into the Written Agreement with the Federal Reserve. These Regulatory Agreements stemmed from the FDIC’s examination as of the period ended June 30, 2009 conducted during the second half of 2009. Although our regulatory capital ratios exceeded the required established minimum capital ratios for a “well-capitalized” institution as of December 31, 2014 and complied with the capital ratios required by the FDIC Order, FirstBank cannot be regarded as “well-capitalized” as of December 31, 2014 because of the FDIC Order.

 

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Under the FDIC Order, FirstBank agreed to address specific areas of concern to the FDIC and OCIF through the adoption and implementation of procedures, plans and policies designed to improve the safety and soundness of FirstBank. These actions include, among others: (1) having and retaining qualified management; (2) increased participation in the affairs of FirstBank by its Board of Directors; (3) development and implementation by FirstBank of a capital plan to attain a leverage ratio of at least 8%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 10% and a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 12%; (4) adoption and implementation of strategic, liquidity and fund management, and profit and budget plans and related projects within certain timetables set forth in the FDIC Order and on an ongoing basis; (5) adoption and implementation of plans for reducing FirstBank’s positions in certain classified assets and delinquent and non-accrual loans; (6) refraining from lending to delinquent or classified borrowers already obligated to FirstBank on any extensions of credit so long as such credit remains uncollected, except where FirstBank’s failure to extend further credit to a particular borrower would be detrimental to the best interests of FirstBank, and any such additional credit is approved by FirstBank’s Board of Directors, or a designated committee thereof; (7) refraining from accepting, increasing, renewing or rolling over brokered CDs without the prior written approval of the FDIC; (8) establishment of a comprehensive policy and methodology for determining the allowance for loan and lease losses and the review and revision of FirstBank’s loan policies, including the non-accrual policy; and (9) adoption and implementation of adequate and effective programs of independent loan review, appraisal compliance and an effective policy for managing FirstBank’s sensitivity to interest rate risk.

The Written Agreement, which is designed to enhance our ability to act as a source of strength to FirstBank, requires that we obtain prior Federal Reserve approval before declaring or paying dividends, receiving dividends from FirstBank, making payments on subordinated debt or trust-preferred securities, incurring, increasing or guaranteeing debt (whether such debt is incurred, increased or guaranteed, directly or indirectly, by us or any of our non-banking subsidiaries) or purchasing or redeeming any capital stock. The Written Agreement also required us to submit to the Federal Reserve a capital plan and requires that we submit progress reports, comply with certain notice provisions prior to appointing new directors or senior executive officers and comply with certain payment restrictions on severance payments and indemnification restrictions.

We anticipate that we will need to continue to dedicate significant resources to our efforts to comply with the Regulatory Agreements, which may increase operational costs or adversely affect the amount of time our management has to conduct our operations.

If we fail to comply with the Regulatory Agreements in the future, we may become subject to additional regulatory enforcement action up to and including the appointment of a conservator or receiver for FirstBank.

 

 

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Our high level of non-performing loans may adversely affect our future results from operations.

Our level of non-performing loans increased $28.2 million to $578.5 million, or 5% during 2014, which represents approximately 6% of our $9.3 billion loan portfolio. Total non-performing assets decreased $8.6 million to $716.8 million, or 1% during 2014. If we are unable to effectively maintain the quality of our loan portfolio, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Certain funding sources may not be available to us and our funding sources may prove insufficient and/or costly to replace.

 

FirstBank relies primarily on customer deposits, the issuance of brokered CDs, and advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank to maintain its lending activities and to replace certain maturing liabilities. As of December 31, 2014, we had $3.2 billion in brokered deposits (including CDs and money market accounts) outstanding, representing approximately 34% of our total deposits, and a reduction of $254.1 million from December 31, 2013. Approximately $1.8 billion in brokered CDs mature over the next twelve months, and the average term to maturity of the retail brokered CDs outstanding as of December 31, 2014 was approximately 1.0 years. None of these CDs are callable at the Corporation’s option.

 

   Although FirstBank has historically been able to replace maturing deposits and advances, we may not be able to replace these funds in the future if our financial condition or general market conditions were to change or the FDIC did not approve our request to issue brokered deposits, as required by the FDIC Order. The FDIC Order requires FirstBank to obtain FDIC approval prior to issuing, increasing, renewing or rolling over brokered deposits and to maintain the plan to reduce its reliance on brokered deposits. Although the FDIC has issued temporary approvals permitting FirstBank to renew and/or roll over certain amounts of brokered CDs maturing in the past and we have received approval from the FDIC to issue brokered deposits through March 31, 2015, the FDIC may not continue to issue such approvals, even if the requests are consistent with our plans to reduce reliance on brokered deposits, and, even if issued, such approvals may not be for amounts of brokered deposits sufficient for FirstBank to meet its funding needs. The use of brokered deposits has been particularly important for the funding of our operations. If we are unable to issue brokered deposits, or are unable to maintain access to our other funding sources, our results of operations and liquidity would be adversely affected.

Alternate sources of funding may carry higher costs than sources currently utilized. If we are required to rely more heavily on more expensive funding sources, profitability would be adversely affected. We may determine to seek debt financing in the future to achieve our long-term business objectives. Any future debt financing requires the prior approval of the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Reserve may not approve such financing. Additional borrowings, if sought, may not be available to us, or if available, may not be on acceptable terms. The availability of additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, our credit ratings and our credit capacity. In addition, the Bank may seek to sell loans as an additional source of liquidity. If additional financing sources are unavailable or are not available on acceptable terms, our profitability and future prospects could be adversely affected.  

 

We depend on cash dividends from FirstBank to meet our cash obligations.

 

As a holding company, dividends from FirstBank provided a substantial portion of our cash flow used to service the interest payments on our trust-preferred securities and other obligations. As outlined in the Written Agreement, we cannot receive any cash dividends from FirstBank without the prior written approval of the Federal Reserve. In addition, FirstBank is limited by law in its ability to make dividend payments and other distributions to us based on its earnings and capital position.  Our inability to receive approval from the Federal Reserve to receive dividends from FirstBank, or FirstBank’s failure to generate sufficient cash flow to make dividend payments to us, may adversely affect our ability to meet all projected cash needs in the ordinary course of business and may have a detrimental impact on our financial condition.

The Banking Act of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico requires that a minimum of 10% of FirstBank’s net income for the year be transferred to legal surplus until such surplus equals the total of paid-in-capital on common and preferred stock. Amounts transferred to the legal surplus account from the retained earnings account are not available for distribution to the Corporation without the prior consent of the OCIF.

 

If we do not obtain Federal Reserve approval to pay interest, principal or other sums on subordinated debentures or trust-preferred securities, a default under certain obligations may occur.

 

The Written Agreement provides that we cannot declare or pay any dividends or make any distributions of interest, principal or other sums on subordinated debentures or trust-preferred securities without prior written approval of the Federal Reserve. With respect to our $232 million of outstanding subordinated debentures, we have elected to defer the interest payments that were due in quarterly periods since March 2012. The aggregate amount of payments deferred and accrued approximates $21.9 million as of December 31, 2014.

Under the indentures, we have the right, from time to time, and without causing an event of default, to defer payments of interest on the subordinated debentures by extending the interest payment period at any time and from time to time during the term of the subordinated debentures for up to twenty consecutive quarterly periods. We may continue to elect extension periods for future quarterly interest payments if the Federal Reserve advises us that it will not approve such future quarterly interest payments. Our

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inability to receive approval from the Federal Reserve to make distributions of interest, principal or other sums on our trust-preferred securities and subordinated debentures could result in a default under those obligations if we need to defer such payments for longer than twenty consecutive quarterly periods.

 

Credit quality may result in additional losses.

 

The quality of our credits has continued to be under pressure as a result of continued recessionary conditions in the markets we serve that have led to, among other things, high unemployment levels, low absorption rates for new residential construction projects and further declines in property values. Our business depends on the creditworthiness of our customers and counterparties and the value of the assets securing our loans or underlying our investments. When the credit quality of the customer base materially decreases or the risk profile of a market, industry or group of customers changes materially, our business, financial condition, allowance levels, asset impairments, liquidity, capital and results of operations are adversely affected.

We have a commercial and construction loan portfolio held for investment in the amount of $4.3 billion as of December 31, 2014. Due to their nature, these loans entail a higher credit risk than consumer and residential mortgage loans, since they are larger in size, concentrate more risk in a single borrower and are generally more sensitive to economic downturns. Furthermore, given the slowdown in the real estate market, the properties securing these loans may be difficult to dispose of if they are foreclosed. As of December 31, 2014, we had $300.4 million in nonperforming commercial and construction loans held for investment. We may incur additional credit losses over the near term, either because of continued deterioration of the quality of the loans or because of sales of such loans, which would likely accelerate the recognition of losses. Any such losses would adversely impact our overall financial performance and results of operations.

Our allowance for loan and lease losses may not be adequate to cover actual losses, and we may be required to materially increase our allowance, which may adversely affect our capital, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to the risk of loss from loan defaults and foreclosures with respect to the loans we originate and purchase. We establish a provision for loan and lease losses, which leads to reductions in our income from operations, in order to maintain our allowance for inherent loan and lease losses at a level that our management deems to be appropriate based upon an assessment of the quality of the loan and lease portfolio. Management may fail to accurately estimate the level of inherent loan and lease losses or may have to increase our provision for loan and lease losses in the future as a result of new information regarding existing loans, future increases in non-performing loans, changes in economic and other conditions affecting borrowers or for other reasons beyond our control. In addition, bank regulatory agencies periodically review the adequacy of our allowance for loan and lease losses and may require an increase in the provision for loan and lease losses or the recognition of additional classified loans and loan charge-offs, based on judgments different than those of management.

 

    The level of the allowance reflects management’s estimates based upon various assumptions and judgments as to specific credit risks, evaluation of industry concentrations, loan loss experience, current loan portfolio quality, present economic, political and regulatory conditions and unidentified losses inherent in the current loan portfolio. The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance for loan and lease losses inherently involves a high degree of subjectivity and requires management to make significant estimates and judgments regarding current credit risks and future trends, all of which may undergo material changes. If our estimates prove to be incorrect, our allowance for credit losses may not be sufficient to cover losses in our loan portfolio and our expense relating to the additional provision for credit losses could increase substantially.

Any such increases in our provision for loan and lease losses or any loan losses in excess of our provision for loan and lease losses would have an adverse effect on our future financial condition and results of operations. Given the difficulties facing some of our largest borrowers, these borrowers may fail to continue to repay their loans on a timely basis or we may not be able to assess accurately any risk of loss from the loans to these borrowers. Also, additional economic weakness, which has resulted in downgrades of Puerto Rico’s general obligation debt to non-investment grade, among other consequences, could require increases in reserves.

 

Changes in collateral values of properties located in stagnant or distressed economies may require increased reserves.

 

Further deterioration of the value of real estate collateral securing our construction, commercial and residential mortgage loan portfolios would result in increased credit losses.  As of December 31, 2014, approximately 2%, 18% and 32% of our loan portfolio consisted of construction, commercial mortgage and residential real estate loans, respectively.

A substantial part of our loan portfolio is located within the boundaries of the U.S. economy. Whether the collateral is located in Puerto Rico, the USVI, the BVI, or the U.S. mainland, the performance of our loan portfolio and the collateral value backing the transactions are dependent upon the performance of and conditions within each specific real estate market.  Puerto Rico has been in an economic recession since 2006. Sustained weak economic conditions that have affected Puerto Rico and the United States over the last several years have resulted in declines in collateral values.

Construction and commercial loans, mostly secured by commercial and residential real estate properties, entail a higher credit risk than consumer and residential mortgage loans since they are larger in size, may have less collateral coverage, concentrate more risk in a single borrower and are generally more sensitive to economic downturns. As of December 31, 2014, commercial mortgage and construction real estate loans amounted to $1.8 billion or 20% of the total loan portfolio.

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We measure the impairment of a loan based on the fair value of the collateral, if collateral dependent, which is generally obtained from appraisals. Updated appraisals are obtained when we determine that loans are impaired and are updated annually thereafter. In addition, appraisals are also obtained for certain residential mortgage loans on a spot basis based on specific characteristics such as delinquency levels, age of the appraisal and loan-to-value ratios. The appraised value of the collateral may decrease or we may not be able to recover collateral at its appraised value. A significant decline in collateral valuations for collateral dependent loans may require increases in our specific provision for loan losses and an increase in the general valuation allowance. Any such increase would have an adverse effect on our future financial condition and results of operations.   During the year ended December 31, 2014, net charge-offs specifically related to values of properties collateralizing construction, commercial mortgage and residential mortgage loan portfolios totaled $5.5 million, $15.2 million and $23.3 million, respectively.

The recent acquisition of certain assets and deposits of Doral Bank through an alliance with another financial institution could magnify certain of the risks the Corporation already faces and could present new risks.

On February 27, 2015, the Corporation through an alliance with another local financial institution who was the successful lead bidder with the FDIC on the failed Doral Bank, acquired certain assets and deposits of Doral Bank. The transaction could magnify certain of the risks the Corporation already faces that are described in these “Risk Factors” and could present new risks, including the following:

·         risks associated with weak economic conditions in the economy and in the real estate market in Puerto Rico, which adversely affect real estate prices, the job market, consumer confidence and spending habits, which may affect, among other things, the continued status of the loans acquired as performing loans, charge-offs and provision expense;

·         risks associated with maintaining customer relationships, including managing any potential customer confusion caused by the alliance structure;

·         risks associated with the limited amount of diligence able to be conducted by a buyer in an FDIC-assisted transaction;

·         changes in interest rates and market liquidity which may reduce interest margins;

·         changes in market rates and prices that may adversely impact the value of financial assets and liabilities;

·         difficulties in converting or integrating Doral Bank branches or any difficulties of the alliance co-bidder in providing transition support;

 

·         transaction expenses; and

·         failure to realize the anticipated acquisition benefits in the amounts and within the time frames expected.

Interest rate shifts may reduce net interest income.

Shifts in short-term interest rates may reduce net interest income, which is the principal component of our earnings. Net interest income is the difference between the amounts received by us on our interest-earning assets and the interest paid by us on our interest-bearing liabilities. Differences in the re-pricing structure of our assets and liabilities may result in changes in our profits when interest rates change.

Increases in interest rates may reduce the value of holdings of securities.

Fixed-rate securities acquired by us are generally subject to decreases in market value when interest rates rise, which may require recognition of a loss (e.g., the identification of an other-than-temporary impairment on our available-for-sale investment portfolio), thereby adversely affecting our results of operations. Market-related reductions in value also influence our ability to finance these securities. Furthermore, increases in interest rates may result in an extension of the expected average life of certain fixed-income securities, such as fixed-rate passthrough mortgage-backed securities. Such an extension could exacerbate the drop in market value related to shifts in interest rates.

Increases in interest rates may reduce demand for mortgage and other loans.

Higher interest rates increase the cost of mortgage and other loans to consumers and businesses and may reduce demand for such loans, which may negatively impact our profits by reducing the amount of loan interest income.

 

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Accelerated prepayments may adversely affect net interest income.

In general, fixed-income portfolio yields would decrease if the re-investment of pre-payment amounts is at lower rates.  Net interest income could also be affected by prepayments of mortgage-backed securities. Acceleration in the prepayments of mortgage-backed securities would lower yields on these securities, as the amortization of premiums paid upon the acquisition of these securities would accelerate. Conversely, acceleration in the prepayments of mortgage-backed securities would increase yields on securities purchased at a discount, as the accretion of the discount would accelerate. These risks are directly linked to future period market interest rate fluctuations. Also, net interest income in future periods might be affected by our investment in callable securities because decreases in interest rates might prompt the early redemption of such securities.

Changes in interest rates on loans and borrowings may adversely affect net interest income.

Basis risk is the risk of adverse consequences resulting from unequal changes in the difference, also referred to as the “spread” or basis, between the rates for two or more different instruments with the same maturity and occurs when market rates for different financial instruments or the indices used to price assets and liabilities change at different times or by different amounts. For example, the interest expense for liability instruments such as brokered CDs might not change by the same amount as interest income received from loans or investments. To the extent that the interest rates on loans and borrowings change at different speeds and by different amounts, the margin between our LIBOR-based assets and the higher cost of the brokered CDs might be compressed and adversely affect net interest income.

If all or a significant portion of the unrealized losses in our investment securities portfolio on our consolidated balance sheet is determined to be other-than-temporarily impaired, we would recognize a material charge to our earnings and our capital ratios would be adversely affected.

For the years ended December 31, 2012, 2013, and 2014, we recognized a total of $2.0 million, $0.2 million, and $0.4 million, respectively, in other-than-temporary impairments.  To the extent that any portion of the unrealized losses in our investment securities portfolio of $42.5 million as of December 31, 2014 is determined to be other-than-temporary and, in the case of debt securities, the loss is related to credit factors, we would recognize a charge to earnings in the quarter during which such determination is made and capital ratios could be adversely affected. Even if we do not determine that the unrealized losses associated with this portfolio require an impairment charge, increases in these unrealized losses adversely affect our tangible common equity ratio, which may adversely affect credit rating agency and investor sentiment towards us. Any negative perception also may adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets or might increase our cost of capital. Valuation and other-than-temporary impairment determinations will continue to be affected by external market factors including default rates, severity rates and macro-economic factors.

Downgrades in our credit ratings could further increase the cost of borrowing funds.

The Corporation’s ability to access new non-deposit sources of funding could be adversely affected by downgrades in our credit ratings. The Corporation’s liquidity is to a certain extent contingent upon its ability to obtain external sources of funding to finance its operations. The Corporation’s current credit ratings and any downgrades in such credit ratings can hinder the Corporation’s access to new forms of external funding and/or cause external funding to be more expensive, which could in turn adversely affect results of operations. Also, changes in credit ratings may further affect the fair value of unsecured derivatives that consider the Corporation’s own credit risk as part of the valuation.

Defective and repurchased loans may harm our business and financial condition.

In connection with the sale and securitization of loans, we are required to make a variety of customary representations and warranties regarding First BanCorp. on the loans sold or securitized. Our obligations with respect to these representations and warranties are generally outstanding for the life of the loan, and relate to, among other things:

·         compliance with laws and regulations;

·         underwriting standards;

·         the accuracy of information in the loan documents and loan file; and

·         the characteristics and enforceability of the loan

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A loan that does not comply with these representations and warranties may take longer to sell, may impact our ability to obtain third party financing for the loan, and may not be saleable or may be saleable only at a significant discount. If such a loan is sold before we detect non-compliance, we may be obligated to repurchase the loan and bear any associated loss directly, or we may be obligated to indemnify the purchaser against any loss, either of which could reduce our cash available for operations and liquidity. Management believes that it has established controls to ensure that loans are originated in accordance with the secondary market’s requirements, but mistakes may be made, or certain employees may deliberately violate our lending policies.

Our controls and procedures may fail or be circumvented, our risk management policies and procedures may be inadequate and operational risk could adversely affect our consolidated results of operations.

We may fail to identify and manage risks related to a variety of aspects of our business, including, but not limited to, operational risk, interest-rate risk, trading risk, fiduciary risk, legal and compliance risk, liquidity risk and credit risk. We have adopted and periodically improved various controls, procedures, policies and systems to monitor and manage risk. Any improvements to our controls, procedures, policies and systems, however, may not be adequate to identify and manage the risks in our various businesses. If our risk framework is ineffective, either because it fails to keep pace with changes in the financial markets or our businesses or for other reasons, we could incur losses or suffer reputational damage or find ourselves out of compliance with applicable regulatory mandates or expectations.

We may also be subject to disruptions from external events that are wholly or partially beyond our control, which could cause delays or disruptions to operational functions, including information processing and financial market settlement functions. In addition, our customers, vendors and counterparties could suffer from such events. Should these events affect us, or the customers, vendors or counterparties with which we conduct business, our consolidated results of operations could be negatively affected. When we record balance sheet reserves for probable loss contingencies related to operational losses, we may be unable to accurately estimate our potential exposure, and any reserves we establish to cover operational losses may not be sufficient to cover our actual financial exposure, which may have a material impact on our consolidated results of operations or financial condition for the periods in which we recognize the losses.

Cyber-attacks, system risks and data protection breaches could present significant reputational, legal and regulatory costs.  

First BanCorp. is under continuous threat of cyber-attacks especially as we continue to expand customer services via the internet and other remote service channels. Three of the most significant cyber-attack risks that we face are e-fraud, denial-of-service and computer intrusion that might result in loss of sensitive customer data. Loss from e-fraud occurs when cybercriminals breach and extract funds from customer bank accounts. Denial-of-service disrupts services available to our customers through our on-line banking system. Computer intrusion attempts might result in the breach of sensitive customer data, such as account numbers and social security numbers, and could present significant reputational, legal and/or regulatory costs to the Corporation if successful. Our risk and exposure to these matters remains heightened because of the evolving nature and complexity of the threats from organized cybercriminals and hackers, and our plans to continue to provide electronic banking services to our customers.

If personal, non-public, confidential or proprietary information of our customers in our possession were to be mishandled or misused, we could suffer significant regulatory consequences, reputational damage and financial loss. Such mishandling or misuse could include, for example, if such information were erroneously provided to parties who are not permitted to have the information, either by fault of our systems, employees, or counterparties, or where such information is intercepted or otherwise inappropriately taken by third parties.

 

 

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We rely on other companies to perform key aspects of our business infrastructure.

Third parties perform key aspects of our business operations such as data processing, information security, recording and monitoring transactions, online banking interfaces and services, internet connections and network access. While we have selected these third party vendors carefully, we do not control their actions. Any problems caused by these third parties, including those resulting from disruptions in communication services provided by a vendor, failure of a vendor to handle current or higher volumes, failure of a vendor to provide services for any reason or poor performance of services, or failure of a vendor to notify us of a reportable event, could adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to our customers and otherwise conduct our business. Financial or operational difficulties of a third party vendor could also hurt our operations if those difficulties interfere with the vendor’s ability to serve us. Replacing these third party vendors could also create significant delay and expense. Accordingly, use of such third parties creates an inherent risk to our business operations.

Hurricanes and other weather-related events could cause a disruption in our operations or other consequences that could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

A significant portion of our operations is located in a region susceptible to hurricanes. Such weather events can cause disruption to our operations and could have a material adverse effect on our overall results of operations. We maintain hurricane insurance, including coverage for lost profits and extra expense; however, there is no insurance against the disruption to the markets that we serve that a catastrophic hurricane could produce. Further, a hurricane in any of our market areas could adversely impact the ability of borrowers to timely repay their loans and may adversely impact the value of any collateral held by us. The severity and impact of future hurricanes and other weather-related events are difficult to predict and may be exacerbated by global climate change. The effects of future hurricanes and other weather-related events could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Competition for our employees is intense, and we may not be able to attract and retain the highly skilled people we need to support our business.

Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to attract and retain key people. Competition for the best people in most activities in which we engage can be intense, and we may not be able to hire people or retain them, particularly in light of uncertainty concerning compensation restrictions applicable to banks but not applicable to other financial services firms. The unexpected loss of services of one or more of our key personnel could adversely affect our business because of the loss of their skills, knowledge of our markets and years of industry experience and, in some cases, because of the difficulty of promptly finding qualified replacement employees. Similarly, the loss of key employees, either individually or as a group, could result in a loss of customer confidence in our ability to execute banking transactions on their behalf. 

Further increases in the FDIC deposit insurance premium or in FDIC required reserves may have a significant financial impact on us.

The FDIC insures deposits at FDIC-insured depository institutions up to certain limits. The FDIC charges insured depository institutions premiums to maintain the Deposit Insurance Fund (the “DIF”). Economic conditions since 2008 have resulted in higher bank failures. In the event of a bank failure, the FDIC takes control of a failed bank and ensures payment of deposits up to insured limits using the resources of the DIF. The FDIC is required by law to maintain adequate funding of the DIF, and the FDIC may increase premium assessments to maintain such funding.

     The Dodd-Frank Act requires the FDIC to increase the DIF’s reserves against future losses, which will require institutions with assets greater than $10 billion to bear an increased responsibility for funding the prescribed reserve to support the DIF. Since then, the FDIC addressed plans to bolster the DIF by increasing the required reserve ratio for the industry to 1.35 percent (ratio of reserves to insured deposits) by September 30, 2020, as required by the Dodd-Frank Act. The FDIC has also adopted a final rule raising its industry target ratio of reserves to insured deposits to 2 percent, 65 basis points above the statutory minimum, but the FDIC does not project that goal to be met for several years.

 

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The FDIC’s revised rule on deposit insurance assessments implements a provision in the Dodd-Frank Act that changes the assessment base for deposit insurance premiums from one based on domestic deposits to one based on average consolidated total assets minus average Tier 1 capital. The rule changes the assessment rate schedules for insured depository institutions so that approximately the same amount of revenue would be collected under the new assessment base as would be collected under the previous rate schedule and the schedules previously proposed by the FDIC. The rule also revises the risk-based assessment system for all large insured depository institutions (generally, institutions with at least $10 billion in total assets, such as FirstBank). Under the rule, the FDIC uses a scorecard method to calculate assessment rates for all such institutions.

The FDIC may further increase FirstBank’s premiums or impose additional assessments or prepayment requirements in the future. The Dodd-Frank Act has removed the statutory cap for the reserve ratio, leaving the FDIC free to set this cap going forward.

Our businesses may be adversely affected by litigation.

From time to time, our customers, or the government on their behalf, may make claims and take legal action relating to our performance of fiduciary or contractual responsibilities. We may also face employment lawsuits or other legal claims. In any such claims or actions, demands for substantial monetary damages may be asserted against us resulting in financial liability or an adverse effect on our reputation among investors or on customer demand for our products and services. We may be unable to accurately estimate our exposure to litigation risk when we record balance sheet reserves for probable loss contingencies. As a result, any reserves we establish to cover any settlements or judgments may not be sufficient to cover our actual financial exposure, which may have a material adverse impact on our consolidated results of operations or financial condition.

 

   In the ordinary course of our business, we are also subject to various regulatory, governmental and law enforcement inquiries, investigations and subpoenas. These may be directed generally to participants in the businesses in which we are involved or may be specifically directed at us. In regulatory enforcement matters, claims for disgorgement, the imposition of penalties and the imposition of other remedial sanctions are possible.

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted. A securities class action suit against us could result in substantial costs, potential liabilities and the diversion of management’s attention and resources.

The resolution of legal actions or regulatory matters, if unfavorable, could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated results of operations for the quarter in which such actions or matters are resolved or a reserve is established.

Our businesses may be negatively affected by adverse publicity or other reputational harm.

Our relationships with many of our customers are predicated upon our reputation as a fiduciary and a service provider that adheres to the highest standards of ethics, service quality and regulatory compliance. Adverse publicity, regulatory actions, like the Regulatory Agreements, litigation, operational failures, the failure to meet customer expectations and other issues with respect to one or more of our businesses could materially and adversely affect our reputation, or our ability to attract and retain customers or obtain sources of funding for the same or other businesses. Preserving and enhancing our reputation also depends on maintaining systems and procedures that address known risks and regulatory requirements, as well as our ability to identify and mitigate additional risks that arise due to changes in our businesses, the market places in which we operate, the regulatory environment and customer expectations. If any of these developments has a material adverse effect on our reputation, our business will suffer.

 

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Changes in accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board may adversely affect our financial statements.

Our financial statements are subject to the application of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), which are periodically revised and expanded. Accordingly, from time to time, we are required to adopt new or revised accounting standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Market conditions have prompted accounting standard setters to promulgate new requirements that further interpret or seek to revise accounting pronouncements related to financial instruments, structures or transactions as well as to revise standards to expand disclosures. The impact of accounting pronouncements that have been issued but not yet implemented is disclosed in footnotes to our financial statements, which are incorporated herein by reference. An assessment of proposed standards is not provided as such proposals are subject to change through the exposure process and, therefore, the effects on our financial statements cannot be meaningfully assessed. It is possible that future accounting standards that we are required to adopt could change the current accounting treatment that we apply to our consolidated financial statements and that such changes could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Any impairment of our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets may adversely affect our operating results.

If our goodwill or amortizable intangible assets become impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings. Under GAAP, we review our amortizable intangible assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable.

Goodwill is tested for impairment at least annually. Factors that may be considered a change in circumstances, indicating that the carrying value of the goodwill or amortizable intangible assets may not be recoverable, include reduced future cash flow estimates and slower growth rates in the industry.

The goodwill impairment evaluation process requires us to make estimates and assumptions with regards to the fair value of our reporting units. Actual values may differ significantly from these estimates. Such differences could result in future impairment of goodwill that would, in turn, negatively impact our results of operations and the reporting unit where the goodwill is recorded. We conducted our 2014 evaluation of goodwill during the fourth quarter of 2014.

 

    The Step 1 evaluation of goodwill allocated to the Florida reporting unit under both valuation approaches (market and discounted cash flow analysis) indicated that the fair value of the unit was above the carrying amount of its equity book value as of the valuation date (October 1), which meant that Step 2 was not undertaken. Goodwill with a carrying value of $28.1 million was not impaired as of December 31, 2014 or 2013, nor was any goodwill written off due to impairment during 2014, 2013, and 2012. If we are required to record a charge to earnings in our consolidated financial statements because an impairment of the goodwill or amortizable intangible assets is determined, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Recognition of deferred tax assets is dependent upon the generation of future taxable income by the Bank.     

   As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had a deferred tax asset of $313.0 million (net of a valuation allowance of $204.6 million), including $188.4 million associated with NOLs. Under Puerto Rico law, the Corporation and its subsidiaries, including FirstBank, which incurred most of the NOLs, are treated as separate taxable entities and are not entitled to file consolidated tax returns.  To obtain the full benefit of the applicable deferred tax asset attributable to NOLs, FirstBank must have sufficient taxable income within the applicable carry forward period (7 years for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2005, 12 years for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2004 and before December 31, 2012, and 10 years for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012). The Bank incurred all of its NOLs on or after 2009. Accounting for income taxes requires that companies assess whether a valuation allowance should be recorded against their deferred tax asset based on an assessment of the amount of the deferred tax asset that is more likely than not to be realized.

 

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The Corporation concluded that, as of December, 31, 2014, it is more likely than not that FirstBank will generate sufficient taxable income within the applicable NOL carry-forward periods to realize a significant portion of its deferred tax assets and recorded a partial reversal of its valuation allowance in the amount of $302.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. As a result of the partial reversal, the Corporation’s valuation allowance decreased to $204.6 million, as of December 31, 2014, from $522.7 million as of December 31, 2013. Due to significant estimates utilized in determining the valuation allowance and the potential for changes in facts and circumstances, it is reasonably possible that, in the future, the Corporation will not be able to reverse the remaining valuation allowance or that the Corporation will need to increase its current deferred tax asset valuation allowance.

The Corporation’s judgments regarding accounting policies and the resolution of tax disputes may impact the Corporation’s earnings and cash flow.

Significant judgment is required in determining the Corporation’s effective tax rate and in evaluating its tax positions. The Corporation provides for uncertain tax positions when such tax positions do not meet the recognition thresholds or measurement criteria prescribed by applicable GAAP.

Fluctuations in federal, state, local and foreign taxes or a change to uncertain tax positions, including related interest and penalties, may impact the Corporation’s effective tax rate. When particular tax matters arise, a number of years may elapse before such matters are audited and finally resolved. In addition, tax positions may be challenged by the IRS and the tax authorities in the jurisdictions in which we operate and we may estimate and provide for potential liabilities that may arise out of tax audits to the extent that uncertain tax positions fail to meet the recognition standard under applicable GAAP. Unfavorable resolution of any tax matter could increase the effective tax rate and could result in a material increase in our tax expense. Resolution of a tax issue may require the use of cash in the year of resolution. Tax year 2012 is currently under examination by the IRS. If any issues addressed in this examination are resolved in a manner not consistent with the Corporation’s expectations, the Corporation could be required to adjust its provision for income taxes in the period in which such resolution occurs.

 

We must respond to rapid technological changes, and these changes may be more difficult or expensive than anticipated.

 

If competitors introduce new products and services embodying new technologies, or if new industry standards and practices emerge, our existing product and service offerings, technology and systems may become obsolete. Further, if we fail to adopt or develop new technologies or to adapt our products and services to emerging industry standards, we may lose current and future customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The financial services industry is changing rapidly and, in order to remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the functionality and features of our products, services and technologies. These changes may be more difficult or expensive than we anticipate.

 

RISKS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT AND OUR INDUSTRY

Difficult market conditions have affected the financial industry and may adversely affect us in the future.

Given that most of our business is in Puerto Rico and the United States and given the degree of interrelation between Puerto Rico’s economy and that of the United States, we are exposed to downturns in the U.S. economy, including factors such as unemployment and underemployment levels in the United States and real estate valuations. The deterioration of these conditions could adversely affect the credit performance of mortgage loans, credit default swaps and other derivatives, and result in significant write-downs of asset values by financial institutions, including government-sponsored entities as well as major commercial banks and investment banks.

Despite improving labor markets in the U.S. in the past year, an elevated amount of underemployment and household debt, the prolonged low interest rate environment, along with a continued sluggish recovery in the consumer real estate market and certain commercial real estate market in the U.S., pose challenges for the U.S. economic performance and the financial services industry.

 

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In particular, we may face the following risks:

 

 

 

Our ability to assess the creditworthiness of our customers may be impaired if the models and approaches we use to select, manage, and underwrite the loans become less predictive of future behaviors.

 

 

 

The models used to estimate losses inherent in the credit exposure require difficult, subjective, and complex judgments, including forecasts of economic conditions and how these economic predictions might impair the ability of the borrowers to repay their loans, which may no longer be capable of accurate estimation and which may, in turn, impact the reliability of the models.

 

 

 

Our ability to borrow from other financial institutions or to engage in sales of mortgage loans to third parties (including mortgage loan securitization transactions with government-sponsored entities and repurchase agreements) on favorable terms, or at all, could be adversely affected by disruptions in the capital markets or other events, including deteriorating investor expectations.

 

 

 

Competitive dynamics in the industry could change as a result of consolidation of financial services companies in connection with adverse changes in market conditions.

 

 

 

We may be unable to continue to comply with the Regulatory Agreements, which could result in further regulatory enforcement actions.

 

 

 

We expect to continue to face increased regulation of our industry. Compliance with such regulation may increase our costs and limit our ability to pursue business opportunities.

 

  

 

There may be downward pressure on our stock price.

The deterioration of economic conditions in the U.S. and disruptions in the financial markets could adversely affect our ability to access capital and our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Continuation of the economic slowdown and decline in the real estate market in Puerto Rico could continue to harm our results of operations.

The residential mortgage loan origination business has historically been cyclical, enjoying periods of strong growth and profitability followed by periods of shrinking volumes and industry-wide losses. The market for residential mortgage loan originations has declined over the past few years and this trend may continue to reduce the level of mortgage loans we produce in the future and adversely affect our business. During periods of rising interest rates, the refinancing of many mortgage products tends to decrease as the economic incentives for borrowers to refinance their existing mortgage loans are reduced. In addition, the residential mortgage loan origination business is impacted by home values.

 

   The actual rates of delinquencies, foreclosures and losses on loans have been higher during the economic slowdown. Rising unemployment, lower interest rates and declines in housing prices have had a negative effect on the ability of borrowers to repay their mortgage loans. Any sustained period of increased delinquencies, foreclosures or losses could continue to harm our ability to sell loans, the prices we receive for loans, the values of mortgage loans held for sale or residual interests in securitizations, which could continue to harm our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, any additional material decline in real estate values would further weaken the collateral loan-to-value ratios and increase the possibility of loss if a borrower defaults. In such event, we will be subject to the risk of loss on such real estate arising from borrower defaults to the extent not covered by third-party credit enhancement.

 

The Corporation’s credit quality may be adversely affected by Puerto Rico’s current economic condition.

 

A significant portion of our financial activities and credit exposure is concentrated in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which has endured a prolonged period of economic and fiscal challenges. Based on the first six months of fiscal year 2013-2014, the main economic indicators suggest that the Puerto Rico economy remains weak. According to the Puerto Rico Planning Board, the Commonwealth’s gross national product (“GNP”) contracted (in real terms) from 2006 through 2011, reflecting its first period of slight economic growth in 2012 and 2013 when GNP grew 0.9% and 0.3%, respectively. For the fiscal years ending June 30, 2014 and 2015, the Puerto Rico Planning Board projects a slight economic growth in real GNP of 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. This continued period of economic stagnation may have an adverse effect on employment and could have an adverse effect on Commonwealth tax revenues.

 

The Government has implemented a multi-year budget plan for reducing the deficit. Some of the measures implemented by the government include increasing corporate taxes and reforming the employee retirement systems of the Commonwealth. Since the government is an important source of employment in Puerto Rico, these measures had a temporary adverse effect on the island’s

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already weak economy.  The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Puerto Rico decreased to 13.7% in December 2014, compared to 15.45% in December 2013. The seasonally adjusted payroll non-farm employment decreased by 0.9% in December 2014, compared to December 2013. On July 1, 2014, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed a balanced budget for fiscal year 2015, the first balanced budget in more than a decade. 

 

The economy of Puerto Rico is highly sensitive to global oil prices since the island does not have a significant mass transit system available to the public and most of its electricity is powered by oil, making it highly vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices. A substantial increase in the price of oil could adversely impact the economy by reducing disposable income and increasing the operating costs for most businesses and government operations. Consumer spending is particularly sensitive to wide fluctuations in oil prices. Several bills have been filed at the Legislative Assembly that address energy costs in Puerto Rico. One bill supported by the Governor proposes to transform the Telecommunications Regulatory Board into the Energy and Telecommunications Commission, which will be responsible for all energy and telecommunications regulatory matters. This new entity would also be responsible for all tariff-related issues. Another bill approved by the Senate proposes the creation of a regulatory agency that will approve or reject energy rates for all energy producers in Puerto Rico and would be responsible for opening Puerto Rico’s energy market to competition. Both proposals are intended to substantially reduce Puerto Rico’s energy costs.

 

The decline in Puerto Rico’s economy since 2006 has resulted, among other things, in a decline in our loan originations, an increase in the level of our non-performing assets, loan loss provisions and charge-offs, particularly in our construction and commercial loan portfolios, an increase in the rate of foreclosure loss on mortgage loans, and a reduction in the value of our loan portfolio, all of which have adversely affected our profitability. Any further potential deterioration of economic activity could result in further adverse effects on our profitability.

 

    As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had $339.0 million in credit facilities granted to the Puerto Rico government, its municipalities and public corporations, of which $308.0 million was outstanding, compared to $397.8 million outstanding as of December 31, 2013. Approximately $201.4 million of the outstanding credit facilities consists of loans to municipalities in Puerto Rico. Municipal debt exposure is secured by ad valorem taxation without limitation as to rate or amount on all taxable property within the boundaries of each municipality. The good faith, credit, and unlimited taxing power of the applicable municipality have been pledged to the repayment of all outstanding bonds and notes. Approximately $13.2 million consists of loans to units of the central government, and approximately $93.4 million consists of loans to public corporations. Furthermore, the Corporation had $133.3 million outstanding as of December 31, 2014 in financing to the hotel industry in Puerto Rico guaranteed by the TDF, compared to $200.4 million as of December 31, 2013. 

On June 28, 2014, the governor of Puerto Rico signed into law The Recovery Act to provide a legislative framework for certain public corporations that are experiencing severe financial stress to address their financial obstacles through an orderly, statutory process that allows them to handle their debts, while ensuring the continuity of essential services to citizens and infrastructure upgrades. 

 

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As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had an exposure to public corporations covered by the Recovery Act amounting to $93.4 million, including the $75 million direct exposure to PREPA. In August 2014, PREPA entered into a forbearance agreement with a group of banks, including FirstBank, to extend further its maturing credit lines to March 31, 2015. As a result of the forbearance, the credit was classified as a TDR loan during the third quarter of 2014. The loan has been maintained in accrual status based on the estimated cash flow analyses performed on this non-collateral dependent loan and repayment prospects.       

 

In addition, as of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had outstanding $61.2 million in obligations of the Puerto Rico government, mainly bonds of the GDB and the Puerto Rico Building Authority, as part of its available-for-sale investment securities portfolio, carried on its books at a fair value of $43.2 million. 

 

On February 4, 2014, S&P downgraded the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s debt to BB+, one level below investment grade. S&P also downgraded to levels below investment grade the credit rating of the GDB and other government entities. On February 7, 2014, Moody’s downgraded the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico general obligation bonds to Ba2, two notches below investment grade. Moody’s also downgraded to Ba2 the Public Building Authority Bonds, the Pension Funding Bonds, the GDB senior notes, the Municipal Finance Authority Bonds, the Puerto Rico Infrastructure Finance Authority Special Tax Revenue Bonds, the Convention Center District Authority Hotel Occupancy Tax Revenue Bonds, the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority Transportation Revenue Bonds, various ratings of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. In addition, the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation’s senior-lien bonds were downgraded by Moody’s to Baa1 from A2, retaining investment grade status. Following the downgrades by S&P and Moody’s, Fitch became the third agency to downgrade the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico debt to BB, two notches below investment grade. On March 11, 2014, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico sold $3.5 billion in general obligation bonds at a yield of 8.72% to refinance short-term liabilities and to address liquidity needs.

 

In July 2014, the Puerto Rico debt and the debt of certain public corporations were downgraded further into speculative grade by these credit agencies after the enactment of The Recovery Act. In February 2015, a federal judge ruled that the Recovery Act is pre-empted by the Federal Bankruptcy Court and therefore void. After this decision, S&P and Moody’s downgraded Puerto Rico’s general obligation debt deeper into non-investment grade category. S&P now rates Puerto Rico’s general obligation bonds at B, five notches below investment grade, Moody’s at Caa1, seven notches below investment grade, and Fitch at BB-, three notches below investment grade. The issuers of Puerto Rico government and agencies bonds held by the Corporation have not defaulted, and the contractual payments on these securities have been made as scheduled.

 

It is uncertain how the financial markets may react to any potential further rating downgrades of Puerto Rico’s debt obligation. However, further deterioration in the fiscal situation, could adversely affect the value of our portfolio of Puerto Rico government and agencies securities.

 

    In February 2015, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced a proposal for a new tax code that would replace the current 7% sales and use tax with a 16% value-added tax, while lowering income taxes. While legislation for the new tax code has been introduced, it is too early to determine what changes will be made during the legislative process and what effect this proposal, if enacted into law, will have on economic activity.  

As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had $227.4 million of Puerto Rico public sector deposits ($208.1 million in transactional accounts and $19.3 million in time deposits) compared to $546.5 million as of December 31, 2013. Approximately 54% is from municipalities in Puerto Rico and 46% is from public corporations and the central government and agencies.

   

In 2014, Act 24-2014 was approved by the Puerto Rico Legislature, seeking to further strengthen the liquidity of the GDB and the GDB’s oversight of public funds. 

 

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Among other measures, Act 24-2014 grants the GDB the ability to exercise additional oversight of certain public funds deposited at private financial institutions and grants the GDB the legal authority, subject to an entity’s ability to request waivers under certain specified circumstances, to require such public funds (other than funds of the Legislative Branch, the Judicial Branch, the University of Puerto Rico, governmental pension plans, municipalities and certain other independent agencies) to be deposited at the GDB, which is expected to maximize liquidity and to result in a more efficient management of public resources. As anticipated, certain public corporations and agencies withdrew from FirstBank approximately $341.6 million during the second quarter of 2014. The Corporation will continue to focus on transactional accounts and to seek to obtain deposits from entities excluded from Act 24-2014.

 

The failure of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.

 

Our ability to engage in routine funding transactions could be adversely affected by future failures of financial institutions and the actions and commercial soundness of other financial institutions. Financial institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty and other relationships. We have exposure to different industries and counterparties and routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, investment companies and other institutional clients. In certain of these transactions, we are required to post collateral to secure the obligations to the counterparties. In the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency proceeding involving one of such counterparties, we may experience delays in recovering the assets posted as collateral, or we may incur a loss to the extent that the counterparty was holding collateral in excess of the obligation to such counterparty, such as the loss of our assets that we pledged to Lehman Brothers, Inc., which we have been trying to recover, so far unsuccessfully.

In addition, many of these transactions expose us to credit risk in the event of a default by our counterparty or client. In addition, the credit risk may be exacerbated when the collateral held by us cannot be realized or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the loan or derivative exposure due to us. Any losses resulting from our routine funding transactions may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Legislative and regulatory actions taken now or in the future may increase our costs and impact our business, governance structure, financial condition or results of operations.

We and our subsidiaries are subject to extensive regulation by multiple regulatory bodies. These regulations may affect the manner and terms of delivery of our services. If we do not comply with governmental regulations, we may be subject to fines, penalties, lawsuits or material restrictions on our businesses in the jurisdiction where the violation occurred, which may adversely affect our business operations. Changes in these regulations can significantly affect the services that we are asked to provide as well as our costs of compliance with such regulations. In addition, adverse publicity and damage to our reputation arising from the failure or perceived failure to comply with legal, regulatory or contractual requirements could affect our ability to attract and retain customers.

 

The financial crisis resulted in government regulatory agencies and political bodies placing increased focus and scrutiny on the financial services industry. The U.S. government intervened on an unprecedented scale, responding by temporarily enhancing the liquidity support available to financial institutions, establishing a commercial paper funding facility, temporarily guaranteeing money market funds and certain types of debt issuances and increasing insurance on bank deposits.

 

    These programs have subjected financial institutions, particularly those participating in TARP, to additional restrictions, oversight and costs. In addition, new proposals for legislation are periodically introduced in the U.S. Congress that could further substantially increase regulation of the financial services industry, impose restrictions on the operations and general ability of firms within the industry to conduct business consistent with historical practices, including in the areas of interest rates, financial product offerings and disclosures, and have an effect on bankruptcy proceedings with respect to consumer residential real estate mortgages, among other things. Federal and state regulatory agencies also frequently adopt changes to their regulations or change the manner in which existing regulations are applied.

In recent years, regulatory oversight and enforcement have increased substantially, imposing additional costs and increasing the potential risks associated with our operations. If these regulatory trends continue, they could adversely affect our business and, in turn, our consolidated results of operations.

We could be adversely affected by changes in tax laws and regulations or the interpretation of such laws and regulations.

The Corporation and its subsidiaries are subject to Puerto Rico income tax laws on their income from all sources. As Puerto Rico corporations, First BanCorp. and its subsidiaries are treated as foreign corporations for U.S. and USVI income tax purposes and are generally subject to U.S. and USVI income tax only on their income from sources within the U.S. and USVI or income effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in those regions. These tax laws are complex and subject to different interpretations. We must make judgments and interpretations about the application of these inherently complex tax laws when determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities, and our valuation allowance.

In February 2015, the Governor of Puerto Rico announced a proposal for a new tax code that would, among other things, replace the current 7% sales and use tax with a 16% value-added tax, while lowering income taxes. While legislation for the new tax code has been introduced, it is too early to determine what changes will be made during the legislative process. Legislative changes, particularly changes in tax laws, could adversely impact our results of operations.

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Financial services legislation and regulatory reforms may have a significant impact on our business and results of operations and on our credit ratings.

The Corporation faces increased regulation and regulatory scrutiny as a result of, among other things, its participation in the TARP.  The U.S. Treasury acquired shares of Common Stock from the Corporation in October 2011 in exchange for shares of preferred stock that it owned because of the Corporation’s issuance of preferred stock to Treasury in January 2009 pursuant to the TARP.  In July 2010, the Corporation issued to Treasury a warrant, which amends, restates and replaces the original warrant that it issued to Treasury in January 2009 under the TARP. The Corporation’s participation in the TARP also imposes limitations on the payments it may make to its senior leaders.

The Dodd-Frank Act significantly changed the regulation of financial institutions and the financial services industry. The Dodd-Frank Act includes, and the regulations developed and to be developed thereunder include or will include, provisions affecting large and small financial institutions alike.

The Collins Amendment of the Dodd-Frank Act, among other things, requires the federal banking agencies to establish minimum leverage and risk-based capital requirements that will apply to both insured banks and their holding companies. Regulations implementing the Collins Amendment set as a floor for the capital requirements of the Corporation and FirstBank a minimum capital requirement computed using the FDIC’s general risk-based capital rules.

As previously discussed, the federal banking agencies have adopted final rules for U.S. banks that revise in important respects the minimum regulatory capital requirements, the components of regulatory capital, and the risk-based capital treatment of bank assets and off-balance sheet exposures.  The final rules, which became effective for the Corporation and FirstBank beginning January 1, 2015, generally are intended to align U.S. regulatory capital requirements with Basel III international regulatory capital standards adopted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in 2010 (and revised in 2011) known as “Basel III.” The new rules increase the quantity and quality of required capital by, among other things, establishing a new minimum common equity Tier 1 ratio of 4.5% of risk-weighted assets and an additional common equity Tier 1 capital conservation buffer of 2.5% of risk-weighted assets.  In addition, banks and bank holding companies are required to have a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 4.0%, a Tier 1 risk-based ratio of 6.0% and a total risk-based ratio of 8.0%.  The final rules also revise the definition of capital by expanding the conditions for the inclusion of equity capital instruments and minority interests as Tier 1 capital, and impose limitations on capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments if additional specified amounts, or “buffers,” of common equity Tier 1 capital are not met. 

     Consistent with Basel III and the Collins Amendment, the final rules also establish a more conservative standard for including an instrument such as trust-preferred securities as Tier 1 capital for bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $15 billion or more as of December 31, 2009, setting out a phase-out schedule.  Bank holding companies such as the Corporation must fully phase out these instruments from Tier I capital by January 1, 2016, although qualifying trust preferred securities may be included as Tier 2 capital until the instruments are redeemed or mature. As of December 31, 2014, the Corporation had $225 million in trust preferred securities that are subject to the phase-out from Tier 1 capital under the final regulatory capital rules discussed above.

In addition, the final rules revise and harmonize the bank regulators’ rules for calculating risk-weighted assets to enhance risk sensitivity and address weaknesses that have been identified recently, by applying a variation of the Basel III “standardized approach” for the risk-weighting of bank assets and off-balance sheet exposures to all U.S. banking organizations other than large, internationally active banks.

The final capital rules became effective for the Corporation and our subsidiary bank on a multi-year transitional basis starting on January 1, 2015, and in general will be fully effective as of January 1, 2019. First BanCorp. and FirstBank were able to meet well-capitalized capital ratios upon implementation of the requirements. Although we expect to continue to exceed the minimum requirements for well capitalized status under the new capital rules, there can be no assurance that we will remain well capitalized. Moreover, for as long as we and FirstBank are subject to the provisions of the Regulatory Agreements, we cannot be considered to be well-capitalized.

 Additional regulatory proposals and legislation, if finally adopted, would change banking laws and our operating environment and that of our subsidiaries in substantial and unpredictable ways.  The ultimate effect that such legislation, if enacted, or regulations would have upon our financial condition or results of operations may be adverse.

Rulemaking changes implemented by the CFPB will result in higher regulatory and compliance costs related to originating and servicing residential mortgage loans and may adversely affect our results of operations.

The Dodd-Frank Act significantly changed the regulation of single-family residential mortgage lending in the United States. Among other things, the law transferred rule-making and enforcement powers from a number of federal agencies to the CFPB, imposed new risk retention and recordkeeping requirements on lenders (such as the Bank) that sell single-family residential mortgage loans in the secondary market, required revision of disclosure documents, limited loan originator compensation and expanded recordkeeping and reporting requirements under other federal statutes.

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New regulations implement the Dodd-Frank Act amendments to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”). See “Regulation and Supervision – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

Among other consequences of these numerous changes, the new ability to repay requirements may result in reduced credit availability and higher borrowing costs to cover the costs of compliance.  The ability of borrowers to raise new defenses in foreclosure proceedings on defaulted mortgage loans also may lead to increased foreclosure costs, extend foreclosure timeliness, and increase the severity of loan losses.  Increased repurchase and indemnity requests with respect to mortgage loans sold into the secondary markets may also result.  

Some of these new rules became effective in June 2013, while others became effective in January 2014. These and other changes required by the Dodd-Frank Act will require substantial modifications to the entire mortgage lending and servicing industry. Their impact may involve changes to our operations and increased compliance costs in making single-family residential mortgage loans.  Additional rulemaking affecting the residential mortgage business may occur, which may cause us to incur additional increased regulatory and compliance costs.

Compliance with stress testing requirements may be challenging.

The Corporation is currently subject to supervisory guidance for stress testing practices issued by the federal banking agencies in May 2012.  This guidance outlines broad principles for a satisfactory stress testing framework and describes various stress testing approaches and how stress testing should be used at various levels within an organization.  As previously discussed, the Corporation is also subject to two new stress testing rules that implement provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, one issued by the Federal Reserve Board that applies to First BanCorp. on a consolidated basis and one issued by the FDIC that applies to the Bank. 

Under the Dodd-Frank Act stress tests, the Corporation’s first annual company-run stress testing should be submitted to regulators no later than March 31, 2015. Public disclosure of the results for the severely adverse economic scenario is expected to be made during the second quarter of 2015 on the Corporation’s website. Such public disclosure of stress test results could result in reputational harm if the Corporation’s results are worse than those of its competitors or otherwise indicate that the Corporation’s risk profile is excessive or elevated.  Furthermore, given that the Corporation will be subject to multiple stress testing requirements that are administered at different levels by more than one federal banking agency, and compliance with such requirements will be complicated, if the Corporation fails to fully comply with these requirements, it may be subject to regulatory action.

Monetary policies and regulations of the Federal Reserve Board could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition to being affected by general economic conditions, our earnings and growth are affected by the policies of the Federal Reserve Board. An important function of the Federal Reserve Board is to regulate the money supply and credit conditions. Among the instruments used by the Federal Reserve Board to implement these objectives are open market operations in U.S. government securities, adjustments of the discount rate and changes in reserve requirements against bank deposits. These instruments are used in varying combinations to influence overall economic growth and the distribution of credit, bank loans, investments and deposits. Their use also affects interest rates charged on loans or paid on deposits.

The monetary policies and regulations of the Federal Reserve Board have had a significant effect on the operating results of commercial banks in the past and are expected to continue to do so in the future. The effects of such policies upon our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adverse.

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 nondiscriminatory lending requirements on financial institutions. 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 or 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 activity, 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.

 

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We face a risk of noncompliance and enforcement action related to the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering statutes and regulations.

The Bank Secrecy Act, the USA PATRIOT Act and other laws and regulations require financial institutions, among other duties, to institute and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and file suspicious activity and currency transaction reports as appropriate. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is authorized to impose significant civil money penalties for violations of those requirements and has recently engaged in coordinated enforcement efforts with the individual federal banking regulators, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS. We are also subject to increased scrutiny of compliance with trade and economic sanctions requirements and rules enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. If our policies, procedures and systems are deemed deficient, we would be subject to liability, including fines and regulatory actions, which may include restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and the necessity to obtain regulatory approvals to proceed with certain aspects of our business plan, including our acquisition plans. Failure to maintain and implement adequate programs to combat money laundering and terrorist financing could also have serious reputational consequences for us. Any of these results could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

RISKS RELATING TO AN INVESTMENT IN THE CORPORATION’S COMMON AND PREFERRED STOCK

 

Sales in the public market under an outstanding resale registration statement filed with the SEC by the small group of large stockholders that hold in the aggregate approximately 44.7% of our outstanding shares could adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.

The following stockholders own an aggregate of approximately 44.7% of our outstanding shares of common stock: funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P. (“THL”), which own approximately 19.7%; funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. (“Oaktree”), which own approximately 19.7%; and U.S. Treasury which owns approximately 5.4%, including the shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of the warrant.  We are obligated to keep the prospectus, which is part of the resale registration statement, current so that the securities can be sold in the public market at any time. The resale of the securities in the public market, or the perception that these sales might occur, could cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

Issuance of additional equity securities in the public market and other capital management or business strategies that we may pursue also may depress the market price of our common stock and could result in dilution of holders of our common stock and preferred stock.

Generally, we are not restricted from issuing additional equity securities, including common stock.  We may choose or be required in the future to identify, consider and pursue additional capital management strategies to bolster our capital position. We may issue equity securities (including convertible securities, preferred securities, and options and warrants on our common or preferred stock securities) in the future for a number of reasons, including to finance our operations and business strategy, adjust our leverage ratio, address regulatory capital concerns, restructure currently outstanding debt or equity securities or satisfy our obligations upon the exercise of outstanding options or warrants. Future issuances of our equity securities, including common stock, in any transaction that we may pursue may dilute the interests of our existing holders of our common stock and preferred stock and cause the market price of our common stock to decline.

The Corporation has outstanding a warrant held by the Treasury to purchase 1,285,899 shares of common stock. If the warrant is exercised, the issuance of shares of Common Stock would reduce our income per share, and further reduce the book value per share and voting power of our current common stockholders.

Additionally, THL and Oaktree have anti-dilution rights, which they acquired when they purchased shares of common stock in the $525 million capital raise, completed in October 2011 that have been, and will be in the future, triggered, subject to certain exceptions, upon our issuance of additional shares of common stock. In such a case, THL and Oaktree had, and will have, the right to acquire the amount of shares of common stock that will enable them to maintain their percentage ownership interest in the Corporation.

 

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The market price of our common stock may continue to be subject to significant fluctuations and volatility.

The stock markets have experienced high levels of volatility since 2008. These market fluctuations have adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, the trading price of our common stock. In addition, the market price of our common stock has been subject to significant fluctuations and volatility because of factors specifically related to our businesses and may continue to fluctuate or decline.

Factors that could cause fluctuations, volatility or a decline in the market price of our common stock, many of which could be beyond our control, include the following:

 

 

 

uncertainties and developments related to the resolution of the Puerto Rico Government fiscal problems;

 

 

our ability to continue to comply with the Regulatory Agreements;

 

 

any additional regulatory actions against us; 

 

 

changes or perceived changes in the condition, operations, results or prospects of our businesses and market assessments of these changes or perceived changes;

 

 

announcements of strategic developments, acquisitions and other material events by us or our competitors, including any failures of banks;

 

 

changes in governmental regulations or proposals, or new governmental regulations or proposals, affecting  us;

 

 

a continuing recession in the Puerto Rico market and a lack of growth in our other principal markets in the Virgin Islands and the United States;

  

 

the departure of key employees;

  

 

changes in the credit, mortgage and real estate markets;

  

 

operating results that vary from  the expectations of management, securities analysts and investors;

  

 

operating and stock price performance of companies that investors deem comparable to us; and

  

 

the public perception of the banking industry and its safety and soundness.

In addition, the stock market in general, and the NYSE and the market for commercial banks and other financial services companies in particular, have experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that sometimes have been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. These broad market and industry factors may seriously harm the market price of our common stock, regardless of our operating performance. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted. A securities class action suit against us could result in substantial costs, potential liabilities and the diversion of management’s attention and resources.

Our suspension of dividends may have adversely affected and may further adversely affect our stock price and could result in the expansion of our Board of Directors.

In March 2009, the Federal Reserve Board issued a supervisory guidance letter intended to provide direction to bank holding companies (“BHCs”) on the declaration and payment of dividends, capital redemptions and capital repurchases by BHCs in the context of their capital planning process. The letter reiterates the long-standing Federal Reserve Board supervisory policies and guidance to the effect that BHCs should only pay dividends from current earnings. More specifically, the letter heightens expectations that BHCs will inform and consult with the Federal Reserve Board supervisory staff on the declaration and payment of dividends that exceed earnings for the period for which a dividend is being paid. In consideration of the financial results reported for the second quarter ended June 30, 2009, we decided, as a matter of prudent fiscal management and following the Federal Reserve Board guidance, to suspend the payment of dividends. Furthermore, our Written Agreement with the Federal Reserve Board precludes us from declaring any dividends without the prior approval of the Federal Reserve. We cannot anticipate if and when the payment of dividends might be reinstated.

 

 

52 

 


 

 

This suspension may have adversely affected and may continue to adversely affect our stock price. Further, because dividends on our Series A through E Preferred Stock have not been paid since we suspended dividend payments in August 2009, the holders of the preferred stock have the right to appoint two additional members to our Board of Directors. Any member of the Board of Directors appointed by the holders of Series A through E Preferred Stock is required to vacate his or her office if the Corporation resumes the payment of dividends in full for twelve consecutive monthly dividend periods.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments  

 

None.

 

Item 2. Properties

 

As of March 1, 2015, First BanCorp owned the following three main offices located in Puerto Rico:

 

-          Headquarters – Located at First Federal Building, 1519 Ponce de León Avenue, Santurce, Puerto Rico, a 16 story office building. Approximately 60% of the building, an underground three level parking garage and an adjacent parking lot are owned by the Corporation.

 

-          Service Center – a building located on 1130 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. These facilities accommodate branch operations, data processing and administrative and certain headquarter offices. The building houses 180,000 square feet of modern facilities and over 1,000 employees from operations, FirstMortgage and FirstBank Insurance Agency headquarters and customer service. In addition, it has parking for 750 vehicles and 9 training rooms, including classrooms for training tellers and a computer room for interactive trainings, as well as a spacious cafeteria for employees and customers

 

-          Consumer Lending Center – A three-story building with a three-level parking garage located at 876 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. This facility is fully occupied by the Corporation.

 

The Corporation owns 28 branch and office premises and auto lots and leased 89 branch premises, loan and office centers and other facilities. In certain situations, financial services such as mortgage and, insurance businesses and commercial banking services are located in the same building.  All of these premises are located in Puerto Rico, Florida and the USVI and BVI. Management believes that the Corporation’s properties are well maintained and are suitable for the Corporation’s business as presently conducted.

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

 

Reference is made to Note 28, Regulatory matters, commitments and contingencies, included in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Report, which is incorporated herein by reference.   

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosure.

 

Not applicable.

53 

 


 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity and Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Information about Market and Holders

 

The Corporation’s common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol FBP. On March 6, 2015, there were 560 holders of record of the Corporation’s common stock, not including beneficial owners whose shares are held in the name of brokers or other nominees. The last sales price for the common stock on that date was $6.46.

 

On July 30, 2009, the Corporation announced the suspension of the payment of common and preferred stock dividends. The Corporation has no current plans to resume dividend payments on the common or preferred stock. The common stock ranks junior to all series of preferred stock as to dividend rights and as to rights on liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Corporation.

 

The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the per share high and low closing sales prices and the cash dividends declared on the Corporation’s common stock during such periods.

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

High

  

Low

  

Last

  

Dividends per Share

  

Quarter Ended

  

  

  

  

  

2014:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Fourth Quarter Ended December 31, 2014

  

$

 5.89 

  

$

 4.56 

  

$

 5.87 

  

$

 -   

  

Third Quarter Ended September 30, 2014

  

  

 5.57 

  

  

 4.75 

  

  

 4.75 

  

  

 -   

  

Second Quarter Ended June 30, 2014

  

  

 5.66 

  

  

 4.87 

  

  

 5.44 

  

  

 -   

  

First Quarter Ended March 31, 2014

  

  

 6.04 

  

  

 4.42 

  

  

 5.44 

  

  

 -   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

2013:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Fourth Quarter Ended December 31, 2013

  

$

 6.38 

  

$

 5.06 

  

$

 6.19 

  

$

 -   

  

Third Quarter Ended September 30, 2013

  

  

 8.61 

  

  

 5.67 

  

  

 5.68 

  

  

 -   

  

Second Quarter Ended June 30, 2013

  

  

 7.19 

  

  

 5.64 

  

  

 7.08 

  

  

 -   

  

First Quarter Ended March 31, 2013

  

  

 6.30 

  

  

 4.59 

  

  

 6.23 

  

  

 -   

  

 

On August 16, 2013, THL, Oaktree and the U.S. Treasury completed a secondary offering of the Corporation’s common stock. The U.S. Treasury sold 12 million shares of common stock, THL sold 8 million shares of common stock, and Oaktree sold 8 million shares of common stock. Subsequently, on September 11, 2013, the underwriters in the secondary offering exercised their option to purchase an additional 2.9 million shares of common stock from the selling stockholders (1,261,356 shares from the U.S. Treasury, 840,903 shares from THL and 840,904 shares from Oaktree). The Corporation did not receive any proceeds from the offering.

 

During the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. Treasury sold approximately 4.4 million shares of First BanCorp.’s common stock through its first pre-defined written trading plan.  On March 9, 2015, the U.S. Treasury announced the sale of an additional 5 million shares of First BanCorp.’s common stock through its second pre-defined written trading plan. Back in 2013, the U.S. Treasury sold 13,261,356 shares of First BanCorp.’s common stock at $6.75 per share in a registered offering.

 

As of March 9, 2015, each of THL and Oaktree owned 19.7% of the Corporation’s outstanding common stock and the Treasury owned 4.8%, excluding the 1.3 million common shares underlying the warrant owned by the Treasury, which is exercisable for $3.29 per share.

 

Effective April 1, 2013, the Board determined to increase the salary amounts paid to certain executive officers primarily by paying the increased salary amounts in the form of shares of the Corporation’s Common Stock, instead of cash. The Corporation issued 312,850 shares of common stock with a weighted average market value of $5.20 in 2014 as such additional salary amounts (2013 – 220,639 shares with a weighted average market value of $6.23). The Corporation withheld 105,000 shares from the common stock paid to the officers as additional compensation to cover employee payroll and income tax withholding liabilities in 2014 (2013 – 71,326 shares); these shares are held as treasury shares. The Corporation paid any fractional share of salary stock that the officer was entitled to in cash.

 

 

54 

 


 

 

In 2014, the Corporation granted 1,219,711 shares of restricted stock to certain executive officers, other employees, and independent directors (2013 – 743,185 shares).

 

The Corporation has 50,000,000 authorized shares of preferred stock. First BanCorp has five outstanding series of nonconvertible, noncumulative preferred stock: 7.125% noncumulative perpetual monthly income preferred stock, Series A (liquidation preference $25 per share); 8.35% noncumulative perpetual monthly income preferred stock, Series B (liquidation preference $25 per share); 7.40% noncumulative perpetual monthly income preferred stock, Series C (liquidation preference $25 per share); 7.25% noncumulative perpetual monthly income preferred stock, Series D (liquidation preference $25 per share,); and 7.00% noncumulative perpetual monthly income preferred stock, Series E (liquidation preference $25 per share) (collectively the “Series A through E Preferred Stock”). Effective January 17, 2012, the Corporation delisted all of its outstanding series of non-convertible, non-cumulative preferred stock from the NYSE. The Corporation has not arranged for listing on another national securities exchange or for quotation of the Series A through E Preferred Stock in a quotation medium.

 

The Series A through E Preferred Stock rank on a parity with respect to dividend rights and rights upon liquidation, winding up or dissolution. Holders of each series of preferred stock are entitled to receive cash dividends, when, as and if declared by the board of directors of First BanCorp. out of funds legally available for dividends.

 

The terms of the Corporation’s Series A through E Preferred Stock do not permit the Corporation to declare, set apart or pay any dividend or make any other distribution of assets on, or redeem, purchase, set apart or otherwise acquire shares of common stock or of any other class of stock of First BanCorp. ranking junior to the preferred stock, unless all accrued and unpaid dividends on the preferred stock and any parity stock for the twelve monthly dividend periods ending on the immediately preceding dividend payment date shall have been paid or are paid contemporaneously; the full monthly dividend on the preferred stock and any parity stock for the then current month has been or is contemporaneously declared and paid or declared and set apart for payment; and the Corporation has not defaulted in the payment of the redemption price of any shares of the preferred stock and any parity stock called for redemption.  If the Corporation is unable to pay in full the dividends on the preferred stock and on any other shares of stock of equal rank as to the payment of dividends, all dividends declared upon the preferred stock and any such other shares of stock will be declared pro rata.

 

The Corporation may not issue shares ranking, as to dividend rights or rights on liquidation, winding up and dissolution, senior to the Series A through E Preferred Stock, except with the consent of the holders of at least two-thirds of the outstanding aggregate liquidation preference of such preferred stock.

 

2013 Exchange Offer

 

On February 14, 2013, the Corporation commenced an offer to issue up to 10,087,488 shares of its common stock, in exchange for (the “Exchange Offer”) any and all of the issued and outstanding shares of its Series A through E Preferred Stock ($63 million in aggregate liquidation preference value). The Exchange Offer was terminated on April 9, 2013 given that the Corporation did not receive the consent required from holders of the Series A through E Preferred Stock to amend the certificates of designation of each series of the Series A through E Preferred Stock to delete the right to designate two board members once the Corporation has not paid dividends on the Preferred Stock for a specified period (the Preferred Stock Amendment). The Preferred Stock Amendment was a condition to completion of the Exchange Offer. In addition, the related consent solicitation also terminated, and no consent fee became payable with respect to consents granted in favor of the Preferred Stock Amendment. All shares of the Series A through E Preferred Stock that were tendered were returned promptly to the tendering holders.

 

 

55 

 


 

 

2014 Exchange

 

In 2014, the Corporation issued an aggregate of 4,597,121 shares of its common stock in exchange for an aggregate 1,077,726 shares of the Corporation’s Series A through E Preferred Stock, having an aggregate liquidation value of $26.9 million.  The shares of common stock were issued to holders of the Series A through E Preferred Stock in separate and unrelated transactions in reliance upon the exemption set forth in Section 3(a)(9) of the Securities Act, for securities exchanged by an issuer with existing security holders where no commission or other remuneration is paid or given directly or indirectly by the issuer for soliciting such exchange.  

 

Dividends

 

The Corporation had a policy of paying quarterly cash dividends on its outstanding shares of common stock subject to its earnings and financial condition. On July 30, 2009, after reporting a net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2009, the Corporation announced that the Board of Directors resolved to suspend the payment of the common and preferred dividends, effective with the preferred dividend for the month of August 2009. The Corporation’s ability to pay future dividends will necessarily depend upon its earnings and financial condition as well as its receipt of approval from the Federal Reserve to pay dividends. See the discussion under “Dividend Restrictions” under Item 1 for additional information concerning restrictions on the payment of dividends that apply to the Corporation and FirstBank.

 

The Corporation withheld in 2014 approximately 105,000 shares (2013- 71,326 shares) from the common stock paid to certain senior officers as additional compensation and 68,870 shares of restricted stock that vested during 2014, to cover employee payroll and income tax withholding liabilities; these shares are also held as treasury shares. As of December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, the Corporation had 740,049 and 566,179 shares held as treasury stock, respectively.

 

The 2011 PR Code requires the withholding of income tax from dividend income sourced within Puerto Rico to be received by any individual, resident of Puerto Rico or not, trusts and estates and by non-resident custodians, partnerships, and corporations.

 

Resident U.S. Citizens

 

A special tax of 10% will be imposed on any eligible dividends paid to individuals, special partnerships, trusts, and estates to be applied to all distributions unless the taxpayer specifically elects otherwise. Once this election is made it is irrevocable. However, the taxpayer can elect to include in gross income the eligible distributions received and take a credit for the amount of tax withheld. If the taxpayer does not make this election on the tax return, then he can exclude from gross income the distributions received and reported without claiming the credit for the tax withheld.

 

Nonresident U.S. Citizens

 

Nonresident U.S. citizens have the right to certain exemptions when a Withholding Tax Exemption Certificate (Form 2732) is properly completed and filed with the Corporation. The Corporation, as withholding agent, is authorized to withhold a tax of 10% only from the excess of the income paid over the applicable tax-exempt amount.

 

U.S. Corporations and Partnerships

 

Corporations and partnerships not organized under Puerto Rico laws that have not engaged in a trade or business in Puerto Rico during the taxable year in which the dividend, if any, is paid are subject to the 10% dividend tax withholding. Corporations or partnerships not organized under the laws of Puerto Rico that have engaged in a trade or business in Puerto Rico are not subject to the 10% withholding, but they must declare any dividend as gross income on their Puerto Rico income tax return.

 

56 

 


 

 

    Securities authorized for issuance under equity compensation plans

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

    The following table summarizes equity compensation plans approved by security holders and equity compensation plans that were not approved by security holders as of December 31, 2014:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

(c)

  

  

(a)

  

(b)

  

Number of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans (Excluding Securities Reflected in Column (a))         

  

  

Number of Securities to be Issued Upon Exercise of Outstanding Options, warrants and rights

  

Weighted Average Exercise Price of Outstanding Options, warrants and rights

  

Plan category

  

  

  

Equity compensation plans

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  approved by stockholders

  

  

 82,575 

(1)

  

  

  

$

 - 

  

  

  

  

 4,951,990 

(2)

  

Equity compensation plans

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  not approved by stockholders

  

  

N/A

  

  

  

  

  

N/A

  

  

  

  

N/A

  

  

Total

  

  

 82,575 

  

  

  

  

$

 - 

  

  

  

  

 4,951,990 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

(1) Stock options granted under the 1997 stock option plan, which expired on January 21, 2007. All outstanding awards under the stock option plan continue in full force and effect, subject to their original terms and the shares of common stock underlying the options are subject to adjustments for stock splits, reorganization and other similar events.

(2) Securities available for future issuance under the First BanCorp. 2008 Omnibus Incentive Plan (the "Omnibus Plan"), which was initially approved by stockholders on April 29, 2008 and amended with stockholder approval on December 9, 2011 to increase the number of shares reserved for issuance under the Omnibus Plan. The Omnibus Plan provides for equity-based compensation incentives through the grant of stock options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock, restricted stock units, performance shares, and other stock-based awards. As amended, this plan provides for the issuance of up to 8,169,807 shares of common stock, subject to adjustments for stock splits, reorganization and other similar events. As of December 31, 2014, 4,951,990 shares of Common Stock were available for future issuance under the Omnibus Plan.

  

 

    Purchase of equity securities by the issuer and affiliated purchasers

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

    The following table provides information relating to the Corporation's purchases of shares of its common stock in the three-month period ended December 31, 2014.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Maximum

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Total Number of

  

  

Number of Shares

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Shares Purchased

  

  

That May Yet be

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Average

  

  

as Part of Publicly

  

  

Purchased Under

  

  

  

  

Total number of

  

  

Price

  

  

Announced Plans

  

  

These Plans or

  

Period

  

shares purchased (1)

  

  

Paid

  

  

Or Programs

  

  

Programs

  

October, 2014

  

 13,739 

  

$

4.83 

  

  

 - 

  

  

 - 

  

November, 2014

  

 8,640 

  

  

5.12 

  

  

 - 

  

  

 - 

  

December, 2014

  

 52,947 

  

  

5.74 

  

  

 - 

  

  

 - 

  

Total

  

 75,326 

  

$

5.50 

  

  

 - 

  

  

 - 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

(1)

Reflects shares of common stock withheld from the common stock paid to certain senior officers as additional compensation which the Corporation calls salary stock, and upon vesting of restricted stock to cover minimum tax withholding obligations. The Corporation intends to continue to satisfy statutory tax withholding obligations in connection with shares paid as salary stock to certain senior officers and the vesting of outstanding restricted stock through the withholding of shares.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

57 

 


 

 

STOCK PERFORMANCE GRAPH

 

The following Performance Graph shall not be deemed incorporated by reference by any general statement incorporating by reference this Annual Report on Form 10-K into any filing under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, except to the extent that First BanCorp. specifically incorporates this information by reference, and shall not otherwise be deemed filed under these Acts.

 

The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return of First BanCorp. during the measurement period with the cumulative total return, assuming reinvestment of dividends, of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P Supercom Banks Index (the “Peer Group”). The Performance Graph assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2009 in each of First BanCorp common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the Peer Group. The comparisons in this table are set forth in response to SEC disclosure requirements, and are therefore not intended to forecast or be indicative of future performance of First BanCorp.’s common stock.

  

     The cumulative total stockholder return was obtained by dividing (i) the cumulative amount of dividends per share, assuming dividend reinvestment since the measurement point, December 31, 2009 plus (ii) the change in the per share price since the measurement date, by the share price at the measurement date.

 

 

58 

 


 

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

 

   The following table sets forth certain selected consolidated financial data for each of the five years in the period ended December 31, 2014. This information should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Year Ended December 31,

(In thousands, except for per share and financial ratios)

  

2014 

  

2013 

  

2012 

  

2011 

  

2010 

Condensed Income Statements:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

            Total interest income

  

$

 633,949 

  

$

 645,788 

  

$

 637,777 

  

$

 659,615 

  

$

 832,686 

            Total interest expense

  

  

 115,876 

  

  

 130,843 

  

  

 176,072 

  

  

 266,103 

  

  

 371,011 

            Net interest income

  

  

 518,073 

  

  

 514,945 

  

  

 461,705 

  

  

 393,512 

  

  

 461,675 

            Provision for loan and lease losses

  

  

 109,530 

  

  

 243,751 

  

  

 120,499 

  

  

 236,349 

  

  

 634,587 

            Non-interest income (loss)

  

  

61,348 

  

  

 (15,489) 

  

  

 49,391 

  

  

 107,981 

  

  

 117,903 

            Non-interest expenses

  

  

 378,253 

  

  

 415,028 

  

  

 354,883 

  

  

 338,054 

  

  

 366,158 

            Income (loss) before income taxes

  

  

91,638 

  

  

 (159,323) 

  

  

35,714 

  

  

(72,910)

  

  

(421,167)

            Income tax benefit (expense)

  

  

300,649 

  

  

(5,164)

  

  

(5,932)

  

  

(9,322)

  

  

(103,141)

            Net income (loss) 

  

  

392,287 

  

  

 (164,487) 

  

  

29,782 

  

  

(82,232)

  

  

(524,308)

            Net income (loss) attributable to common

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

               stockholders - basic    

  

  

393,946 

  

  

 (164,487) 

  

  

 29,782 

  

  

173,226 

  

  

(122,045)

            Net income (loss) attributable to common

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

               stockholders - diluted           

  

  

393,946 

  

  

 (164,487) 

  

  

 29,782 

  

  

195,763 

  

  

(122,045)

Per Common Share Results:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

            Net earnings (loss) per common share -

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

               basic              

  

$

1.89 

  

$

 (0.80) 

  

$

 0.15 

  

$

2.69 

  

$

(10.79)

            Net earnings (loss) per common share -

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

               diluted              

  

$

1.87 

  

$

 (0.80) 

  

$

 0.14 

  

$

2.18 

  

$

(10.79)

            Cash dividends declared

  

  

 -   

  

  

 - 

  

  

 -   

  

  

 -   

  

  

 -   

            Average shares outstanding

  

  

 208,752 

  

  

 205,542 

  

  

 205,366 

  

  

 64,466 

  

  

 11,310 

            Average shares outstanding diluted

  

  

 210,540 

  

  

 205,542 

  

  

 205,828 

  

  

 89,658 

  

  

 11,310 

            Book value per common share

  

$

 7.68 

  

$

 5.57 

  

$

 6.89 

  

$

 6.73 

  

$

 29.71 

            Tangible book value per common share (1)

  

$

 7.45 

  

$

 5.30 

  

$

 6.60 

  

$

 6.54 

  

$

 27.73 

Balance Sheet Data:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

            Total loans, including loans held for sale                

  

$

 9,339,392 

  

$

 9,712,139 

  

$

 10,139,508 

  

$

 10,575,214 

  

$

 11,956,202 

            Allowance for loan and lease losses

  

  

 222,395 

  

  

 285,858 

  

  

 435,414 

  

  

 493,917 

  

  

 553,025 

            Money market and investment securities    

  

  

 2,008,380 

  

  

 2,208,342 

  

  

 1,986,669 

  

  

 2,200,888 

  

  

 3,369,332 

            Intangible assets

  

  

 49,907 

  

  

 54,866 

  

  

 60,944 

  

  

 39,787 

  

  

 42,141 

            Deferred tax asset, net

  

  

 313,045 

  

  

 7,644 

  

  

 4,867 

  

  

 5,442 

  

  

 9,269 

            Total assets

  

  

 12,727,835 

  

  

 12,656,925 

  

  

 13,099,741 

  

  

 13,127,275 

  

  

 15,593,077 

            Deposits

  

  

 9,483,945 

  

  

 9,879,924 

  

  

 9,864,546 

  

  

 9,907,754 

  

  

 12,059,110 

            Borrowings

  

  

 1,456,959 

  

  

 1,431,959 

  

  

 1,640,399 

  

  

 1,622,741 

  

  

 2,311,848 

            Total preferred equity

  

  

 36,104 

  

  

 63,047 

  

  

 63,047 

  

  

 63,047 

  

  

 425,009 

            Total common equity

  

  

 1,653,990 

  

  

 1,231,547 

  

  

 1,393,546 

  

  

 1,361,899 

  

  

 615,232 

            Accumulated other comprehensive (loss) income,

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

               net of tax                 

  

  

(18,351)

  

  

 (78,736) 

  

  

 28,430 

  

  

 19,198 

  

  

 17,718 

            Total equity 

  

  

 1,671,743 

  

  

 1,215,858 

  

  

 1,485,023 

  

  

 1,444,144 

  

  

 1,057,959 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

59 

 


 

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Year Ended December 31,

  

  

  

2014 

  

2013 

  

2012 

  

2011 

  

2010 

  

Selected Financial Ratios (In Percent):

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Profitability:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

            Return on Average Assets

  

  

 3.10 

  

  

  

 (1.28) 

  

  

  

0.23 

  

  

  

 (0.57) 

  

  

  

2.93 

  

  

            Return on Average Total Equity

  

  

 30.25 

  

  

  

 (12.39) 

  

  

  

2.04 

  

  

  

(7.31)

  

  

  

(36.23)

  

  

            Return on Average Common Equity

  

  

 31.38 

  

  

  

 (13.01) 

  

  

  

2.14 

  

  

  

(13.38)

  

  

  

(80.07)

  

  

            Average Total Equity to Average Total Assets

  

  

 10.25 

  

  

  

 10.36 

  

  

  

 11.24 

  

  

  

 7.83 

  

  

  

 8.10 

  

  

            Interest Rate Spread (2)  

  

  

 4.16 

  

  

  

 4.01 

  

  

  

 3.41 

  

  

  

 2.59 

  

  

  

 2.48 

  

  

            Interest Rate Margin (2) 

  

  

 4.34 

  

  

  

 4.21 

  

  

  

 3.68 

  

  

  

 2.86 

  

  

  

 2.77 

  

  

            Tangible common equity ratio (1) 

  

  

 12.51 

  

  

  

 8.71 

  

  

  

 10.44 

  

  

  

 10.25 

  

  

  

 3.80 

  

  

            Dividend payout ratio

  

  

 -   

  

  

  

 -   

  

  

  

 -   

  

  

  

 -   

  

  

  

 -   

  

  

            Efficiency ratio (3) 

  

  

 65.28 

  

  

  

 83.10 

  

  

  

 69.44 

  

  

  

 67.41 

  

  

  

 63.18 

  

  

Asset Quality:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

            Allowance for loan and lease losses to loans held

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

                 for investment                

  

  

 2.40 

  

  

  

 2.97 

  

  

  

 4.33 

  

  

  

 4.68 

  

  

  

 4.74 

  

  

            Net charge-offs to average loans (4) 

  

  

 1.81 

  

  

  

 4.01 

  

  

  

 1.74 

  

  

  

 2.68 

  

  

  

 4.76 

  

  

            Provision for loan and lease losses to net

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

                 charge-offs                 

  

  

 0.63 

x

  

  

 0.69 

x

  

  

 0.67 

x

  

  

 0.80 

x

  

  

 1.04 

x

  

            Non-performing assets to total assets (4) 

  

  

 5.63 

  

  

  

 5.73 

  

  

  

 9.45 

  

  

  

 10.19 

  

  

  

 10.02 

  

  

            Non-performing loans held for investment to total 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

                 loans held for investment (4) 

  

  

 5.66 

  

  

  

 5.14 

  

  

  

 9.70 

  

  

  

 10.78 

  

  

  

 10.63 

  

  

            Allowance to total non-performing loans held

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

                 for investment               

  

  

 42.45 

  

  

  

 57.69 

  

  

  

 44.63 

  

  

  

 43.39 

  

  

  

 44.64 

  

  

            Allowance to total non-performing loans held for  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

                 investment, excluding residential real estate loans                

  

  

 64.80 

  

  

  

 85.56 

  

  

  

 65.78 

  

  

  

 61.73 

  

  

  

 65.30 

  

  

Other Information:

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

            Common stock price: End of period

  

$

 5.87 

  

  

$

 6.19