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EBSB > SEC Filings for EBSB > Form 10-K on 17-Mar-2014All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for MERIDIAN INTERSTATE BANCORP INC

Form 10-K for MERIDIAN INTERSTATE BANCORP INC


17-Mar-2014

Annual Report


ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSISOF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

This discussion and analysis reflects our consolidated financial statements and other relevant statistical data, and is intended to enhance your understanding of our financial condition and results of operations. You should read the information in this section in conjunction with our business and financial information and the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes that appear elsewhere in this Annual Report.

Critical Accounting Policies

A summary of significant accounting policies is described in Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013. Critical accounting estimates are necessary in the application of certain accounting policies and procedures and are particularly susceptible to significant change. Critical accounting policies are defined as those involving significant judgments and assumptions by management that could have a material impact on the carrying value of certain assets or on income under different assumptions or conditions. Management believes that the most critical accounting policies, which involve the most complex or subjective decisions or assessments, are as follows:

Allowance for Loan Losses. The determination of the allowance for loan losses is considered critical due to the high degree of judgment involved, the subjectivity of the underlying assumptions used, and the potential for changes in the economic environment that could result in material changes in the amount of the allowance for loan losses considered necessary. The allowance for loan losses is utilized to absorb losses inherent in the loan portfolio. The allowance represents management's estimate of losses as of the date of the financial statements. The allowance includes an allocated component for impaired loans and a general component for pools of non-impaired loans.

The adequacy of the allowance for loan losses is evaluated on a regular basis by management and is based upon management's periodic review of the collectability of the loans in light of historical experience, the nature and volume of the loan portfolio, adverse situations that may affect the borrower's ability to repay, estimated value of any underlying collateral and prevailing economic conditions. This evaluation is inherently subjective as it requires estimates that are susceptible to significant revision as more information becomes available.

While management believes that it uses the best information available to establish the allowance for loan losses, future adjustments to the allowance may be necessary and results of operations could be adversely affected if circumstances differ substantially from the assumptions used in making its determinations. Because the estimation of inherent losses cannot be made with certainty, there can be no assurance that the existing allowance for loan losses is adequate or that increases will not be necessary should the quality of any loan


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deteriorate as a result of the factors noted above. Any material increase in the allowance for loan losses may adversely affect the financial condition and results of operations and will be recorded in the period in which the circumstances become known.

Valuation of Goodwill and Analysis for Impairment. Our goodwill resulted from the acquisition of another financial institution accounted for under the acquisition method of accounting. The amount of goodwill recorded at acquisition is impacted by the recorded fair value of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed, which is an estimate determined by the use of internal or other valuation techniques.

Goodwill is subject to an annual impairment review by management that first assesses qualitative factors to determine whether it is necessary to perform the two-step quantitative goodwill impairment test. We would not be required to calculate our fair value of the reporting unit unless management determines, based on the qualitative assessment, that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. If the two-step quantitative goodwill impairment test is necessary, step one compares our book value of the reporting unit to our fair value, or to the fair value of the reporting unit. If test one is failed, a more detailed analysis is performed, which involves measuring the excess of the fair value of the reporting unit, as determined in step one, over the aggregate fair value of the individual assets, liabilities, and identifiable intangibles as if the financial reporting unit was being acquired in a business combination. In the event of future changes in fair value, we may be exposed to an impairment charge that could be material.

Other-than-temporary Impairment of Securities. In analyzing a debt issuer's financial condition, management considers whether the securities are issued by the federal government or its agencies, whether downgrades by bond rating agencies have occurred, industry analysts' reports and, to a lesser extent given the relatively insignificant levels of depreciation in our debt portfolio, spread differentials between the effective rates on instruments in the portfolio compared to risk-free rates. Management evaluates securities for other-than-temporary impairment at least on a quarterly basis, and more frequently when economic or market concerns warrant such evaluation.

From time to time, management's intent to hold depreciated debt securities to recovery or maturity may change as a result of prudent portfolio management. If management's intent changes, unrealized losses are recognized either as impairment charges to the consolidated income statement or as realized losses if a sale has been executed. In most instances, management sells the securities at the time their intent changes.

In analyzing an equity issuer's financial condition, management considers industry analysts' reports, financial performance and projected target prices of investment analysts within a one-year time frame. A decline of 10% or more in the value of an acquired equity security is generally the triggering event for management to review individual securities for liquidation and/or classification as other-than-temporarily impaired. Impairment losses are recognized when management concludes that declines in the value of equity securities are other than temporary, or when they can no longer assert that they have the intent and ability to hold depreciated equity securities for a period of time sufficient to allow for any anticipated recovery in fair value. Unrealized losses on marketable equity securities that are in excess of 25% of cost and that have been sustained for more than twelve months are generally considered-other-than temporary and charged to earnings as impairment losses, or realized through sale of the security.

Income Taxes. We reduce deferred tax assets by a valuation allowance if, based on the weight of available evidence, it is not more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will be realized. We assess the realizability of our deferred tax assets by assessing the likelihood of our generating federal and state tax income, as applicable, in future periods in amounts sufficient to offset the deferred tax charges in the periods they are expected to reverse. Based on this assessment, management concluded that a valuation allowance was not required as of December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Business Strategy

We have a community banking strategy that emphasizes responsive and personalized service to our customers. Due to the consolidation of financial institutions in our market, we believe there is a significant opportunity for a community-focused bank to provide a full range of financial services to small and middle-market commercial and retail customers. By offering quicker decision making in the delivery of banking


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products and services, offering customized products where appropriate, and providing customer access to our senior managers, we distinguish ourselves from larger, regional banks operating in our market areas, while our larger capital base and product mix enable us to compete effectively against smaller banks. As a result, we believe we have a substantial opportunity to attract experienced management, loan officers and banking customers. We believe this will provide us a competitive advantage as we continue to expand into attractive, high growth markets around the Boston metropolitan area through the establishment of de novo bank branch offices, the potential acquisition of community banks and bank branches, and organic expansion where possible by growing our existing branches in their respective communities.

Our strategies center on our continued development into a full-service, community-oriented bank and the expansion of our branch network to more adequately cover the large geography of the Boston metropolitan area. In order to realize these objectives, we are pursuing the following strategies:

Emphasizing growth in commercial lending. We have diversified our loan portfolio by increasing the percentage of our assets consisting of higher-yielding commercial and industrial loans and commercial real estate loans with higher risk-adjusted returns, shorter maturities and more sensitivity to interest rate fluctuations, while still providing high quality loan products for single-family residential borrowers. We have a highly competitive suite of cash management services, technology solutions, and internal support expertise specific to the needs of small to mid-sized commercial business customers. In the third quarter of 2011, we significantly expanded our commercial and industrial lending platform with the establishment of a new corporate banking division comprised of a veteran team of bankers and related underwriting personnel that enhanced our presence in all of our market areas and strengthened our business product offerings and cash management expertise. During 2011, we also successfully expanded our commercial real estate loan origination capacity by adding a team of experienced loan originators and related underwriting personnel. We believe that we distinguish ourselves from larger, national banks operating in our market areas by offering quicker decision making in the delivery of our products and services and competitive customer-driven products with excellent service and responsiveness, and by providing customer access to our senior managers, while our larger capital base and product mix enable us to compete effectively against smaller banks. Our lending staff is experienced and knowledgeable about local commercial business in our markets, enabling us to build on the relationship-style banking that is our hallmark. We also intend to selectively add additional products to provide diversification of revenue sources and to capture our customer's full relationship. We intend to continue to expand our business by cross selling our loan and deposit products and services to our customers.

Hiring experienced employees with a customer service focus. We have been successful in attracting and retaining banking professionals with strong community relationships and significant knowledge of our markets which is central to our business strategy. Exceptional service, local involvement and timely decision making are integral parts of our business strategy, and we have attracted highly qualified and highly motivated individuals. We believe that by focusing on experienced bankers who are established in their communities, we enhance our market position and add profitable growth opportunities. Our compensation and incentive systems are aligned with our strategies to grow core deposits and commercial loans, while maintaining asset quality. We have a strong corporate culture based on personal accountability, high ethical standards and significant training opportunities, which is supported by our commitment to career development and promotion from within the organization.

Improving profitability through disciplined pricing, expense control and balance sheet management. We have achieved many milestones over the last five years as we have grown total assets from $1.2 billion at December 31, 2009 to $2.7 billion at December 31, 2013. Since 2002, we have opened 14 de novo branches, the most recent in November 2013, and acquired six branch offices in our 2010 acquisition of Mt. Washington Co-operative Bank. We intend to continue our geographic expansion in the greater Boston metropolitan area by opening de novo branches in communities contiguous to those we currently serve, as opportunities present themselves in favorable locations. We have also focused significant efforts and invested heavily in our infrastructure to support future growth, creating brand awareness, competitive products and a strong and experienced workforce. We believe these initiatives have positioned us well to implement a strategy focused on improving operating efficiency and earnings growth. While we expect to continue to drive an appropriate level of loan and deposit growth, we will keenly focus on enhancing our profitability by exercising a disciplined approach to product pricing, expense control and balance sheet mix.


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Expanding our presence and market share in contiguous and nearby market areas and capturing business opportunities resulting from changes in the competitive environment. Over the last several years, our markets have been subject to large-scale consolidation of local community banks primarily by larger, out-of-state financial institutions. We believe there is a large customer base in our market that prefers doing business with a local institution and may be dissatisfied with the service received from larger regional banks. We believe that opportunities currently exist in contiguous and nearby market areas to grow our franchise and to complement our primary market areas. In addition, by delivering high quality, customer-focused products and services, we expect to attract additional borrowers and depositors and thus increase our market share and revenue generation.

We believe the success of our strategy is evidenced by the growth of our deposits to $2.249 billion at December 31, 2013 from $922.5 million at December 31, 2009, and net loans, which increased to $2.265 billion at December 31, 2013 from $813.3 million at December 31, 2009. We also believe that community bank consolidation will continue to take place and further believe that, with our capital and liquidity positions after this offering, we will be positioned to take advantage of industry consolidation through de novo branching, potential acquisition of individual branches, and the potential for whole bank acquisitions. We do not, however, currently have any understandings or agreements regarding any specific acquisition transaction and will be disciplined when evaluating and deciding on future expansion, acquisitions and de novo branching opportunities. Our focus will be on the Massachusetts markets we know and understand, with a primary view toward continued growth in the Boston metropolitan area. We believe our management team's unique understanding of the Massachusetts market facilitates our growth into locations that will provide the right complement to our existing franchise and geographic footprint.

It is our intention to achieve significant market penetration in a relatively short period of time when we enter a new market. In advance of any branch expansion we hire experienced local bankers and make a concerted effort to establish as many high profile contacts as possible in the new target area. We are focused on generating key loan relationships and capturing significant deposit market share in our markets. Upon commencement of operations in a new location, we monitor and aggressively pursue a core deposit strategy that enhances profitability and we believe provides quality market penetration in the most expedient manner.

Managing credit risk to maintain a low level of nonperforming assets, and interest rate risk to optimize our net interest margin. Managing risk is an essential part of successfully managing a financial institution. Credit risk and interest rate risk are two prominent risk exposures that we face. Credit risk is the risk of not collecting the interest and/or the principal balance of a loan or investment when it is due. Our strategy for credit risk management focuses on having well-defined credit policies and uniform underwriting criteria and providing prompt attention to potential problem loans. We believe that strong asset quality is a key to long-term financial success. We have sought to grow and diversify the loan portfolio, while maintaining a strong asset quality and moderate credit risk, using underwriting standards that we believe are conservative, as well as diligent monitoring of the portfolio and loans in non-accrual status and on-going collection efforts. Although we will continue to originate commercial real estate, commercial business and construction loans, we intend to continue our philosophy of managing large loan exposures through our experienced, risk-based approach to lending. In addition, we intend to remain focused on lending within our immediate market area, with a specific focus on commercial customers disaffected by their relationships with larger banks as a result of turmoil in the industry.

Interest rate risk is the potential reduction of net interest income as a result of changes in interest rates. Our earnings and the market value of our assets and liabilities are subject to fluctuations caused by changes in the level of interest rates. We manage the interest rate sensitivity of our interest-bearing liabilities and interest-earning assets in an effort to minimize the adverse effects of changes in the interest rate environment. To reduce the potential volatility of our earnings, we have sought to improve the match between asset and liability maturities and rates, while maintaining an acceptable interest rate spread. Our strategy for managing interest rate risk emphasizes:
originating loans with adjustable interest rates; selling the residential real estate fixed-rate loans with terms greater than 10 years that we originate; promoting core deposit products; and adjusting the interest rates and maturities of funding sources, as necessary.

Increasing core deposits through aggressive marketing and the offering of new deposit products. Deposits are our primary source of funds for investing and lending. Core deposits, which include all deposit account types except certificates of deposit, comprised 69.9% of our total deposits at December 31, 2013, up from 66.3% of


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total deposits at December 31, 2012. We value our core deposits because they represent a lower cost of funding and are generally less sensitive to withdrawal when interest rates fluctuate as compared to certificate of deposit accounts. We market core deposits through the internet, in-branch and local mail, print and television advertising, as well as programs that link various accounts and services together, minimizing service fees. We will continue to customize existing deposit products and introduce new products to meet the needs of our customers.

Continuing to grow and diversify our sources of non-interest income. Our profits rely heavily on the spread between the interest earned on loans and securities and interest paid on deposits and borrowings. In order to decrease our reliance on interest rate spread income, we have pursued initiatives to increase non-interest income. Our focus on attaining additional deposit customer relationships and balances has enabled us to increase income from customer service fees to $7.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 from $6.6 million and $5.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively. We have also increased our mortgage banking activities in recent years. We also offer non-deposit financial products, including mutual funds, annuities, stocks, bonds, life insurance and long-term care.

Balance Sheet Analysis

Assets. Our total assets increased $403.3 million, or 17.7%, to $2.682 billion at December 31, 2013 from $2.279 billion at December 31, 2012. Net loans increased $479.1 million, or 26.8%, to $2.265 billion at December 31, 2013 from $1.786 billion at December 31, 2012. Cash and cash equivalents decreased $6.9 million, or 7.4%, to $86.3 million at December 31, 2013 from $93.2 million at December 31, 2012. Securities available for sale decreased $61.6 million, or 23.5%, to $201.1 million at December 31, 2013 from $262.8 million at December 31, 2012.

Loan Portfolio Analysis. At December 31, 2013, net loans were $2.265 billion, or 84.5% of total assets. During the year ended December 31, 2013, net loans increased $479.1 million, or 26.8%. The increase was primarily due to increases of $236.8 million in commercial real estate loans, $109.2 million in multi-family loans, $35.5 million in construction loans, $99.2 million in commercial business loans and $10.9 million in one- to four-family residential loans.


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Our loan portfolio consists primarily of residential real estate, commercial real estate, construction, commercial and consumer segments. The residential real estate loans include classes for one- to four-family, multi-family and home equity lines of credit. There are no foreign loans outstanding. Interest rates charged on loans are affected principally by the demand for such loans, the supply of money available for lending purposes and the rates offered by our competitors. Loan detail by category was as follows:

                                                                                                                                                                  At December 31,
                                                                                        2013                                    2012                                    2011                                    2010                                    2009
                                                                             Amount             Percent              Amount             Percent              Amount             Percent              Amount             Percent              Amount             Percent
                                                                                                                                                               (Dollars in thousands)
Real estate loans:
Residential real estate:
One-to four-family                                                       $      454,148                19.8 %    $      443,228                24.5 %    $      417,889                30.9 %    $      402,887                34.0 %    $      276,122                33.5 %
Multi-family                                                                    288,172                12.6             178,948                 9.9             176,668                13.0             135,290                11.4              53,402                 6.5
Home equity lines of credit                                                      54,499                 2.4              60,907                 3.4              60,989                 4.5              62,750                 5.3              29,979                 3.6
Commercial real estate                                                        1,032,408                45.0             795,642                44.0             528,585                39.0             433,504                36.6             350,648                42.6
Construction                                                                    208,799                 9.1             173,255                 9.6              93,158                 6.9             113,142                 9.6              94,102                11.4

Total real estate loans                                                       2,038,026                88.9           1,651,980                91.4           1,277,289                94.3           1,147,573                96.9             804,253                97.6
Commercial business loans                                                       247,005                10.8             147,814                 8.2              71,544                 5.3              30,189                 2.6              18,029                 2.2
Consumer                                                                          7,225                 0.3               7,143                 0.4               5,195                 0.4               6,043                 0.5               1,205                 0.2

Total loans                                                                   2,292,256               100.0 %         1,806,937               100.0 %         1,354,028               100.0 %         1,183,805               100.0 %           823,487               100.0 %

Allowance for loan losses                                                       (25,335 )                               (20,504 )                               (13,053 )                               (10,155 )                                (9,242 )
Net deferred loan origination (fees) costs                                       (1,521 )                                   (94 )                                   326                                     (88 )                                  (945 )

Loans, net                                                               $    2,265,400                          $    1,786,339                          $    1,341,301                          $    1,173,562                          $      813,300

Loan Maturity. The following table sets forth certain information at December 31, 2013 regarding the dollar amount of loan principal repayments becoming due during the periods indicated. The table does not include any estimate of prepayments which significantly shorten the average life of all loans and may cause our actual repayment experience to differ from that shown below. Demand loans having no stated schedule of repayments and no stated maturity are reported as due in one year or less. The amounts shown below exclude net deferred loan origination fees. Our adjustable-rate mortgage loans generally do not provide for downward adjustments below the initial discounted contract rate, other than declines due to a decline in the index rate.

                                                                          December 31, 2013
                                                                    Commercial
                                               Real Estate           Business            Consumer             Total
                                                                            (In thousands)
Amounts due in:
One year or less                              $      210,690      $       36,773      $          644      $      248,107
More than one to five years                        1,176,867              83,916               6,581           1,267,364
More than five to ten years                          443,909              66,060                   -             509,969
More than ten years                                  206,560              60,256                   -             266,816

Total                                         $    2,038,026      $      247,005      $        7,225      $    2,292,256

Interest rate terms on amounts due after
one year:
Fixed-rate loans                              $      368,372      $       44,237      $        6,581      $      419,190
Adjustable-rate loans                              1,458,964             165,995                   -           1,624,959

Total                                         $    1,827,336      $      210,232      $        6,581      $    2,044,149

. . .

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