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NOVB > SEC Filings for NOVB > Form 10-K on 12-Mar-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for NORTH VALLEY BANCORP



Annual Report


Certain matters discussed or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K including, but not limited to, matters described in Item 7, "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and subject to the safe-harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements may contain words related to future projections including, but not limited to, words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," and variations of those words and similar words that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, the following: (1) the duration of financial and economic volatility and actions taken by the United States Congress and governmental agencies, including the United States Department of the Treasury, to deal with challenges to the U.S. financial system; (2) variances in the actual versus projected growth in assets and return on assets; (3) loan losses; (4) expenses; (5) changes in the interest rate environment including interest rates charged on loans, earned on securities investments and paid on deposits and other borrowed funds; (6) competition effects; (7) fee and other noninterest income earned; (8) general economic conditions nationally, regionally, and in the operating market areas of the Company and its subsidiaries, including State and local budget issues being addressed in California; (9) changes in the regulatory environment including government intervention in the U.S. financial system; (10) changes in business conditions and inflation; (11) changes in securities markets, public debt markets, and other capital markets; (12) data processing and other operational systems failures or fraud; (13) a further decline in real estate values in the Company's operating market areas; (14) the effects of uncontrollable events such as terrorism, the threat of terrorism or the impact of the current military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and the conduct of the war on terrorism by the United States and its allies, worsening financial and economic conditions, natural disasters, and disruption of power supplies and communications; and (15) changes in accounting standards, tax laws or regulations and interpretations of such standards, laws or regulations, as well as other factors. The factors set forth under Item 1A, "Risk Factors," in this report and other cautionary statements and information set forth in this report should be carefully considered and understood as being applicable to all related forward-looking statements contained in this report when evaluating the business prospects of the Company and its subsidiaries.

Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. By their nature, they involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Actual results and shareholder values in the future may differ significantly from those expressed in forward-looking statements. You are cautioned not to put undue reliance on any forward-looking statement. Any such statement speaks only as of the date of the report, and in the case of any documents that may be incorporated by reference, as of the date of those documents. We do not undertake any obligation to update or release any revisions to any forward-looking statements, or to report any new information, future event or other circumstances after the date of this report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by law. However, your attention is directed to any further disclosures made on related subjects in our subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Forms 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K.

Critical Accounting Policies

General. The Company's financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). The financial information contained within our financial statements is, to a significant extent, financial information that is based on measures of the financial effects of transactions and events that have already occurred. A variety of factors could affect the ultimate value that is obtained either when earning income, recognizing an expense, recovering an asset or relieving a liability. We use historical loss factors as one factor in determining the inherent loss that may be present in our loan portfolio. Actual losses could differ significantly from the historical factors that we use. Other estimates that we use are related to the expected useful lives of our depreciable assets. In addition, GAAP itself may change from one previously acceptable method to another method. Although the economics of our transactions would be the same, the timing of events that would impact the accounting for such transactions could change.

A summary of the Company's most significant accounting policies and accounting estimates is contained in Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements. An accounting estimate recognized in the financial statements is a critical accounting estimate if the accounting estimate requires management to make assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain at the time the accounting estimate is made and different estimates that management could reasonably have used in the current period, or changes in the accounting estimate that are reasonably likely to occur from period to period, would have a material impact on the presentation of the Company's financial condition, changes in financial condition, or results of operations. Management considers the Company's allowance for loan losses, initial and subsequent valuation of other real estate owned, expenses related to the Company's share-based payments programs, valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities and investment impairment to be critical accounting policies.

Loans and Allowance for Loan Losses. The allowance for loan losses is an estimate of loan losses inherent in the Company's loan portfolio as of the balance-sheet date. The allowance is established through a provision for loan losses which is charged to expense. Additions to the allowance are expected to maintain the adequacy of the total allowance after loan losses and loan growth. Credit exposures determined to be uncollectible are charged against the allowance. Cash received on previously charged off amounts is recorded as a recovery to the allowance. The overall allowance consists of two primary components, specific reserves related to impaired loans and general reserves for inherent losses related to loans that are evaluated collectively for impairment.

A loan is considered impaired when, based on current information and events, it is probable that the Company will be unable to collect all amounts due, including principal and interest, according to the contractual terms of the original agreement. Loans determined to be impaired are individually evaluated for impairment. When a loan is impaired, the Company measures impairment based on the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan's effective interest rate, except that as a practical expedient, it may measure impairment based on a loan's observable market price, or the fair value of the collateral if the loan is collateral dependent. A loan is collateral dependent if the repayment of the loan is expected to be provided solely by the underlying collateral.

A restructuring of a debt constitutes a troubled debt restructuring ("TDR") if the Company for economic or legal reasons related to the debtor's financial difficulties grants a concession to the borrower that it would not otherwise consider. Restructured loans typically present an elevated level of credit risk as the borrowers are not able to perform according to the original contractual terms. Loans that are reported as TDRs are considered impaired and measured for impairment as described above.

The determination of the general reserve for loans that are collectively evaluated for impairment is based on estimates made by management, to include, but not limited to, consideration of historical losses by portfolio segment, internal asset classifications, and qualitative factors to include economic trends in the Company's service areas, industry experience and trends, geographic concentrations, estimated collateral values, the Company's underwriting policies, the character of the loan portfolio, and probable losses inherent in the portfolio taken as a whole.

The Company calculates the allowance for each portfolio segment (loan type). These portfolio segments include commercial, real estate commercial, real estate construction (including land and development loans), real estate mortgage, installment and other loans (principally home equity loans). The allowance for loan losses attributable to each portfolio segment, which includes both individually impaired loans and loans that are collectively evaluated for impairment, is combined to determine the Company's overall allowance, which is included on the consolidated balance sheet.

The Company assigns a risk rating to all loans except pools of homogeneous loans and periodically performs detailed reviews of all such loans over a certain threshold to identify credit risks and to assess the overall collectability of the portfolio. These risk ratings are also subject to examination by independent specialists engaged by the Company and the Company's regulators. During these internal reviews, management monitors and analyzes the financial condition of borrowers and guarantors, trends in the industries in which borrowers operate and the fair values of collateral securing these loans. These credit quality indicators are used to assign a risk rating to each individual loan. The risk ratings can be grouped into five major categories, defined as follows:

Pass - A pass loan is a credit with no existing or known potential weaknesses deserving of management's close attention.

Special Mention - A special mention loan has potential weaknesses that deserve management's close attention. If left uncorrected, these potential weaknesses may result in deterioration of the repayment prospects for the loan or in the Company's credit position at some future date. Special Mention loans are not adversely classified and do not expose the Company to sufficient risk to warrant adverse classification.

Substandard - A substandard loan is not adequately protected by the current sound worth and paying capacity of the borrower or the value of the collateral pledged, if any. Loans classified as substandard have a well-defined weakness or weaknesses that jeopardize the liquidation of the debt. Well defined weaknesses include a project's lack of marketability, inadequate cash flow or collateral support, failure to complete construction on time or the project's failure to fulfill economic expectations. They are characterized by the distinct possibility that the Company will sustain some loss if the deficiencies are not corrected.

Doubtful - Loans classified doubtful have all the weaknesses inherent in those classified as substandard with the added characteristic that the weaknesses make collection or liquidation in full, on the basis of currently known facts, conditions and values, highly questionable and improbable.

Loss - Loans classified as loss are considered uncollectible and charged off immediately.

The general reserve component of the allowance for loan losses also consists of reserve factors that are based on management's assessment of the following for each portfolio segment: (1) inherent credit risk, (2) historical losses and
(3) other qualitative factors. These reserve factors are inherently subjective and are driven by the repayment risk associated with each portfolio segment described below.

Commercial. Commercial loans generally possess more inherent risk of loss than real estate portfolio segments because these loans are generally underwritten to existing cash flows of operating businesses. Debt coverage is provided by business cash flows and economic trends influenced by unemployment rates and other key economic indicators are closely correlated to the credit quality of these loans.

Real Estate Commercial. Real estate commercial loans generally possess a higher inherent risk of loss than other real estate portfolio segments, except land and construction loans. Adverse economic developments or an overbuilt market impact commercial real estate projects and may result in troubled loans. Trends in vacancy rates of commercial properties impact the credit quality of these loans. High vacancy rates reduce operating revenues and the ability for properties to produce sufficient cash flow to service debt obligations.

Real Estate Construction. Real estate construction loans generally possess a higher inherent risk of loss than other real estate portfolio segments. A major risk arises from the necessity to complete projects within specified cost and time lines. Trends in the construction industry significantly impact the credit quality of these loans, as demand drives construction activity. In addition, trends in real estate values significantly impact the credit quality of these loans, as property values determine the economic viability of construction projects.

Real Estate Mortgage. The degree of risk in real estate mortgage lending depends primarily on the loan amount in relation to collateral value, the interest rate and the borrower's ability to repay in an orderly fashion. These loans generally possess a lower inherent risk of loss than other real estate portfolio segments. Economic trends determined by unemployment rates and other key economic indicators are closely correlated to the credit quality of these loans. Weak economic trends indicate that the borrowers' capacity to repay their obligations may be deteriorating.

Individual loans and receivables in homogeneous loan portfolio segments are not evaluated for specific impairment. Rather, the sole component of the allowance for these loan types is determined by collectively measuring impairment reserve factors based on management's assessment of the following for each homogeneous loan portfolio segment: (1) inherent credit risk, (2) delinquencies,
(3) historical losses and (4) other qualitative factors. The homogenous loan portfolio segments are described in further detail below.

Installment - An installment loan portfolio is usually comprised of a large number of small loans scheduled to be amortized over a specific period. Most installment loans are made directly for consumer purchases. Economic trends determined by unemployment rates and other key economic indicators are closely correlated to the credit quality of these loans. Weak economic trends indicate that the borrowers' capacity to repay their obligations may be deteriorating.

Other (principally home equity loans) - The degree of risk in home equity loans depends primarily on the loan amount in relation to collateral value, the interest rate and the borrower's ability to repay in an orderly fashion. These loans generally possess a lower inherent risk of loss than other real estate portfolio segments. Economic trends determined by unemployment rates and other key economic indicators are closely correlated to the credit quality of these loans. Weak economic trends indicate that the borrowers' capacity to repay their obligations may be deteriorating.

Although management believes the allowance to be adequate, ultimate losses may vary from its estimates. At least quarterly, the Board of Directors reviews the adequacy of the allowance, including consideration of the relative risks in the portfolio, current economic conditions and other factors. If the Board of Directors and management determine that changes are warranted based on those reviews, the allowance is adjusted. In addition, the Company's primary regulators, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the California Department of Financial Institutions, as an integral part of their examination process, review the adequacy of the allowance. These regulatory agencies may require additions to the allowance based on their judgment about information available at the time of their examinations.

Other Real Estate Owned ("OREO"). OREO represents properties acquired through foreclosure or physical possession. Write-downs to fair value at the time of transfer to OREO is charged to allowance for loan losses. These properties are subsequently accounted for at the lower of cost or fair value less costs to sell. Subsequent to foreclosure, management periodically evaluates the value of OREO held for sale and records a valuation allowance for any subsequent declines in fair value less selling costs. Subsequent declines in value are charged to operations. Fair value is based on our assessment of information available to us and depends upon a number of factors, including our historical experience, economic conditions, and issues specific to individual properties. Management's evaluation of these factors involves subjective estimates and judgments that may change.

Share Based Compensation. At December 31, 2013, the Company had two stock-based compensation plans: the 1998 Employee Stock Incentive Plan and the 2008 Stock Incentive Plan, which are described more fully in Notes 1 and 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included herein in Item 8, "Financial Statements and Supplementary Data". Compensation cost is recognized on all share-based payments over the requisite service periods of the awards based on the grant-date fair value of the options determined using the Black-Scholes-Merton based option valuation model. Critical assumptions that are assessed in computing the fair value of share-based payments include stock price volatility, expected dividend rates, the risk free interest rate and the expected lives of such options. Compensation cost recorded is net of estimated forfeitures expected to occur prior to vesting. For further information on the computation of the fair value of share-based payments, see Notes 1 and 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Impairment of Investment Securities. An investment security is impaired when its carrying value is greater than its fair value. Investment securities that are impaired are evaluated on at least a quarterly basis and more frequently when economic or market conditions warrant such an evaluation to determine whether such a decline in their fair value is other than temporary. Management utilizes criteria such as the magnitude and duration of the decline and the intent and ability of the Company to retain its investment in the securities for a period of time sufficient to allow for an anticipated recovery in fair value, in addition to the reasons underlying the decline, to determine whether the loss in value is other than temporary. The term "other than temporary" is not intended to indicate that the decline is permanent, but indicates that the prospects for a near-term recovery of value is not necessarily favorable, or that there is a lack of evidence to support a realizable value equal to or greater than the carrying value of the investment. Once a decline in value is determined to be other than temporary, and management does not intend to sell the security or it is more likely than not that the Company will not be required to sell the security before recovery, only the portion of the impairment loss representing credit exposure is recognized as a charge to earnings, with the balance recognized as a charge to other comprehensive income. If management intends to sell the security or it is more likely than not that the Company will be required to sell the security before recovering its forecasted cost, the entire impairment loss is recognized as a charge to earnings.

Accounting for Income Taxes. The Company files its income taxes on a consolidated basis with its subsidiary. The allocation of income tax expense (benefit) represents each entity's proportionate share of the consolidated provision for income taxes.

The Company applies the asset and liability method to account for income taxes. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are calculated by applying applicable tax laws to the differences between the financial statement basis and the tax basis of assets and liabilities. The effect on deferred taxes of changes in tax laws and rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. On the consolidated balance sheet, net deferred tax assets are included in other assets. A valuation allowance, if needed, reduces deferred tax assets to the amount expected to be realized.

The Company accounts for uncertainty in income taxes by recording only tax positions that met the more likely than not recognition threshold, that the tax position would be sustained in a tax examination.

When tax returns are filed, it is highly certain that some positions taken would be sustained upon examination by the taxing authorities, while others are subject to uncertainty about the merits of the position taken or the amount of the position that would be ultimately sustained. The benefit of a tax position is recognized in the financial statements in the period during which, based on all available evidence, management believes it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon examination, including the resolution of appeals or litigation processes, if any. Tax positions taken are not offset or aggregated with other positions. Tax positions that meet the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold are measured as the largest amount of tax benefit that is more than 50 percent likely of being realized upon settlement with the applicable taxing authority. The portion of the benefits associated with tax positions taken that exceeds the amount measured as described above is reflected as a liability for unrecognized tax benefits in the accompanying balance sheet along with any associated interest and penalties that would be payable to the taxing authorities upon examination. As of December 31, 2013, the liability for unrecognized tax benefits is $519,000.

As of December 31, 2013, the net deferred tax asset was $15,309,000. This is compared to a net deferred tax asset of $12,346,000 as of December 31, 2012.

Business Organization

North Valley Bancorp (the "Company") is a California corporation and a bank holding company for NVB, a state-chartered, Federal Reserve Member bank. NVB operates out of its main office located at 300 Park Marina Circle, Redding, California 96001, with twenty-two branches, including two supermarket branches. The Company's principal business consists of attracting deposits from the general public and using the funds to originate commercial, real estate and installment loans to customers, who are predominately small and middle market businesses and middle income individuals. The Company's primary source of revenues is interest income from its loan and investment securities portfolios. The Company is not dependent on any single customer for more than ten percent of its revenues.


Proposed Merger with TriCo Bancshares

As announced by the Company on January 21, 2014 and reported in the Company's Current Report on Form 8-K, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 22, 2014 (the "Current Report"), the Company has entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger and Reorganization dated January 21, 2014 (the "Merger Agreement"), pursuant to which the Company would merge with and into TriCo Bancshares, a California corporation ("TriCo"), with TriCo being the surviving corporation. Immediately thereafter, the Company's subsidiary bank, North Valley Bank, would be merged with and into TriCo's subsidiary bank, Tri Counties Bank. Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, the Company shareholders would receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.9433 shares of TriCo common stock for each share of Company common stock, providing the Company shareholders with aggregate ownership on a pro forma basis of approximately 28.6% of the common stock of the combined company. Holders of the Company's outstanding in-the-money stock options would receive cash, net of applicable taxes withheld, for the value of their unexercised stock options. The merger is expected to qualify as a tax-free exchange for shareholders who receive shares of TriCo common stock. The transactions contemplated by the Merger Agreement are expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2014, pending approvals of the Company shareholders and the TriCo shareholders, the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals, and the satisfaction of other closing conditions which are customary for such transactions. For additional information, reference should be made to the text of the Agreement and Plan of Merger and Reorganization, filed as an exhibit to the Current Report, and to other information regarding TriCo and the Company, their respective businesses and the status of their proposed merger, as reported from time to time in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Financial Results

For the year ended December 31, 2013, the Company recorded net income of $3,625,000, compared to net income of $6,290,000, for the year ended December 31, 2012. For 2013, the Company realized a return on average stockholders' equity of 3.78% and a return on average assets of 0.40%, as compared to a return on average stockholders' equity of 6.70% and a return on average assets of 0.69% for 2012.

During 2013, total assets increased $15,421,000, or 1.71%, to $917,764,000 at year end. The loan portfolio increased $17,033,000, or 3.46%, and totaled $509,244,000 at December 31, 2013 compared to $492,211,000 at December 31, 2012. See "Loan Portfolio" on page 39 for further information. Available-for-sale investment securities decreased $6,336,000 to $279,479,000 at December 31, 2013 from $285,815,000 at December 31, 2012 due to proceeds from maturities and principal pay downs. The loan to deposit ratio at December 31, 2013 was 64.6% as compared to 64.0% at December 31, 2012. Total deposits increased $19,269,000, or 2.51%, to $787,849,000 at December 31, 2013 compared to $768,580,000 at December 31, 2012. The overall increase in deposits was due to the increase in non-maturity deposits of $41,908,000. This was offset by a decrease in time certificates of $22,639,000.

Nonperforming loans (defined as nonaccrual loans and loans 90 days or more past due and still accruing interest) decreased $742,000, or 12.7%, to $5,093,000 at December 31, 2013 from $5,835,000 at December 31, 2012. Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans were 1.00% at December 31, 2013, compared to 1.19% at December 31, 2012.

Nonperforming assets (defined as nonperforming loans and OREO) totaled $8,547,000 at December 31, 2013, a decrease of $19,711,000 from the December 31, 2012 balance of $28,258,000. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets were 0.93% at December 31, 2013 compared to 3.13% at December 31, 2012.

Gross charge-offs for the year ended December 31, 2013 were $1,840,000 and recoveries for the same year totaled $683,000 resulting in net charge-offs of $1,157,000, compared to gross charge-offs for the year ended December 31, 2012 of $4,702,000 and recoveries of $404,000 resulting in net charge-offs of $4,298,000.

Results of Operations

Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin (fully taxable equivalent basis):
Net interest income is the difference between interest earned on loans and investments and interest paid on deposits and borrowings, and is the primary revenue source for the Company. Net interest margin is net interest income expressed as a percentage of average earning assets. These items have been adjusted to give effect to $190,000, $272,000 and $324,000 of taxable-equivalent interest income on tax-free investments for the years ending December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Net interest income for 2013 was $30,785,000, a $307,000, or 1.01%, increase from net interest income of $30,478,000 in 2012. Interest income decreased $1,600,000, or 4.71%, to $32,403,000 in 2013 due primarily to a decrease in average yield on loans. The Company also had $224,000 in foregone interest income for the loans placed on nonaccrual status during the year ended December . . .

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