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FMAR > SEC Filings for FMAR > Form 10-Q on 16-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for FIRST MARINER BANCORP



Quarterly Report

Item 2 - Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

When used in this report, the terms "the Company," "we," "us," and "our" refer to First Mariner Bancorp and, unless the context requires otherwise, its consolidated subsidiary. The following discussion should be read and reviewed in conjunction with Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations set forth in First Mariner Bancorp's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.

The Company

First Mariner Bancorp is a bank holding company incorporated under the laws of Maryland and registered under the federal Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. First Mariner Bancorp's business is conducted primarily through its wholly-owned subsidiary, First Mariner Bank (the "Bank"). The Company had over 570 employees (approximately 559 full-time equivalent employees) as of September 30, 2012.

The Bank, with assets of $1.3 billion as of September 30, 2012, is engaged in the general commercial banking business, with particular attention and emphasis on the needs of individuals and small to mid-sized businesses, and delivers a wide range of financial products and services that are offered by many larger competitors. The Bank's primary market area for its core banking operations, which consist of traditional commercial and consumer lending, as well as retail and commercial deposit operations, is central Maryland and portions of Maryland's eastern shore. Products and services of the Bank include traditional deposit products, a variety of consumer and commercial loans, residential and commercial mortgage and construction loans, wire transfer services, nondeposit investment products, and Internet banking and similar services. Most importantly, the Bank provides customers with access to local Bank officers who are empowered to act with flexibility to meet customers' needs in an effort to foster and develop long-term loan and deposit relationships. The Bank is an independent community bank and its deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the "FDIC").

First Mariner Mortgage, a division of the Bank, engages in mortgage-banking activities, providing mortgages and associated products to customers and selling most of those mortgages into the secondary market. First Mariner Mortgage had assets of $371.6 million and $183.0 million as of September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively, and generated revenue of $41.9 million and $10.2 million, respectively, for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011. They recognized income before income taxes of $29.4 million and $1.1 million during the nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Origination volume during the nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011 was $1.8 billion and $691.8 million, respectively. During 2012, 50% of the originations were made in the state of Maryland, 15% in the immediately surrounding states and Washington, DC., and the remaining 35% in other states throughout the country. First Mariner Mortgage has offices in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina. See Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more detailed information on the results of our mortgage-banking operations.

Critical Accounting Policies

The Company's consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("U.S.") ("GAAP") and follow general practices within the industry in which it operates. Application of these principles requires management to make estimates, assumptions, and judgments that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. These estimates, assumptions, and judgments are based on information available as of the date of the consolidated financial statements; accordingly, as this information changes, the consolidated financial statements could reflect different estimates, assumptions, and judgments. Certain policies inherently have a greater reliance on the use of estimates, assumptions, and judgments and, as such, have a greater possibility of producing results that could be materially different than originally reported. Estimates, assumptions, and judgments are necessary when assets and liabilities are required to be recorded at fair value, when a decline in the value of an asset not carried on the consolidated financial statements at fair value warrants an impairment write-down or valuation reserve to be established, or when an asset or liability needs to be recorded contingent upon a future event. Carrying assets and liabilities at fair value inherently results in more financial statement volatility. When applying accounting policies in such areas that are subjective in nature, management must use its best judgment to arrive at the carrying value of certain assets and liabilities. Below is a discussion of our critical accounting policies.


We designate securities into one of three categories at the time of purchase. Debt securities that we have the intent and ability to hold to maturity are classified as held to maturity and recorded at amortized cost. Debt and equity securities are classified as trading if bought and held principally for the purpose of sale in the near term. Trading securities are reported at estimated fair value, with unrealized gains and losses included in earnings. Debt securities not classified as held to maturity and debt and equity securities not classified as trading securities are considered available for sale ("AFS") and are reported at estimated fair value, with unrealized gains and losses reported as a separate component of stockholders' deficit, net of tax effects, in accumulated other comprehensive loss.

Securities AFS are evaluated periodically to determine whether a decline in their value is other than temporary. The term "other than temporary" is not intended to indicate a permanent decline in value. Rather, it means that the prospects for near term recovery of value are not necessarily favorable, or that there is a lack of evidence to support fair values equal to, or greater than, the carrying value of the security.

The initial indications of other-than-temporary-impairment ("OTTI") for both debt and equity securities are a decline in the market value below the amount recorded for a security and the severity and duration of the decline. In determining whether an impairment is other than temporary, we consider the length of time and the extent to which the market value has been below cost, recent events specific to the issuer, including investment downgrades by rating agencies and economic conditions of its industry, our intent to sell the security, and if it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before recovery of its amortized cost basis. For marketable equity securities, we also consider the issuer's financial condition, capital strength, and near-term prospects. For debt securities and for perpetual preferred securities that are treated as debt securities for the purpose of OTTI analysis, we also consider the cause of the price decline (general level of interest rates and industry- and issuer-specific factors), the issuer's financial condition, near-term prospects and current ability to make future payments in a timely manner, the issuer's ability to service debt, and any change in agencies' ratings at evaluation date from acquisition date and any likely imminent action. Once a decline in value is determined to be other than temporary, the security is segmented into credit- and noncredit-related components. Any impairment adjustment due to identified credit-related components is recorded as an adjustment to current period earnings, while noncredit-related fair value adjustments are recorded through accumulated other comprehensive loss. In situations where we intend to sell or it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security, the entire OTTI loss is recognized in earnings.

Gains or losses on the sales of securities are calculated using a specific-identification basis and are determined on a trade-date basis. Premiums and discounts on securities are amortized (accreted) over the term of the security using methods that approximate the interest method. Gains and losses on trading securities are recognized regularly in income as the fair value of those securities changes.


Allowance for loan losses

Our allowance for loan losses represents an estimated amount that, in management's judgment, will be adequate to absorb probable incurred losses on existing loans. The allowance for loan losses consists of an allocated component and an unallocated component. Management uses a disciplined process and methodology to establish the allowance for losses each quarter. To determine the total allowance for loan losses, we estimate the reserves needed for each class of the portfolio, including loans analyzed individually and loans analyzed on a pooled basis. The allowance for loan losses consists of amounts applicable to:
(1) the commercial loan portfolio; (2) the commercial mortgage loan portfolio;
(3) the construction loan portfolios (both commercial and consumer); (4) the residential mortgage loan portfolio; (5) the home equity and second mortgage loan portfolio; and (6) the other consumer loan portfolio.

To determine the balance of the allowance account, loans are pooled by portfolio class and losses are modeled using historical experience, quantitative analysis, and other mathematical techniques over the loss emergence period. For each class of loan, significant judgment is exercised to determine the estimation method that fits the credit risk characteristics of that portfolio class. We use internally developed models in this process. Management must use judgment in establishing additional input metrics for the modeling processes. The models and assumptions used to determine the allowance are validated and reviewed to ensure that their theoretical foundation, assumptions, data integrity, computational processes, reporting practices, and end-user controls are appropriate and properly documented.

The establishment of the allowance for loan losses relies on a consistent process that requires multiple layers of management review and judgment and responds timely to changes in economic conditions and other influences. From time to time, events or economic factors may affect the loan portfolio, causing management to provide additional amounts to or release balances from the allowance for loan losses.

Management monitors differences between estimated and actual incurred loan losses utilizing charge-off history. Loans deemed uncollectible are charged against, while recoveries are credited to, the allowance. Management adjusts the level of the allowance through the provision for loan losses, which is recorded as a current period operating expense.

Commercial (including commercial mortgages) and construction loans (including both commercial and consumer) are generally evaluated for impairment when the loan becomes 90 days past due and/or is rated as substandard. The difference between the fair value of the collateral, less estimated selling costs and the carrying value of the loan is charged off at that time. Residential mortgage loans are generally charged down to their fair value when the loan becomes 120 days past due or is placed in nonaccrual status, whichever is earlier. Consumer loans are generally charged off when the loan becomes 120 days past due or when it is determined that the amounts due are uncollectible (whichever is earlier). The above charge-off guidelines may not apply if the loan is both well secured and in the process of collection. These charge-off policies have not changed in the last three years.

As an additional portion of the allowance for loan losses, we also estimate probable losses related to unfunded loan commitments. These commitments are subject to individual review and are analyzed for impairment the same as a correspondent loan would be.


We determine a loan to be impaired when, based on current information and events, it is probable that we will be unable to collect all amounts due according to the contractual terms of the loan agreement. In general, impaired loans consist of nonaccrual loans and troubled debt restructures ("TDR" or "TDRs"). We do not consider a loan impaired during a period of delay in payment if we expect to collect all amounts due, including interest past due. Generally we consider a period of delay in payment to include delinquency up to 90 days, but may extend this period if the loan is collateralized by residential or commercial real estate with a low loan-to-value ("LTV") ratio, and where collection and repayment efforts are progressing. We evaluate our commercial, commercial mortgage, commercial construction, and consumer construction classes of loans individually for impairment. We evaluate larger groups of smaller-balance homogeneous loans, which include our residential mortgage, home equity and second mortgage, and other consumer classes of loans, collectively for impairment.

We identify impaired loans and measure impairment (1) at the present value of expected cash flows discounted at the loan's effective interest rate, (2) at the observable market price, or (3) at the fair value of the collateral if the loan is collateral dependent. If our measure of the impaired loan is less than the recorded investment in the loan, we record a charge-off for the deficiency unless it's a TDR, for which we recognize an impairment loss through an allocated portion of the allowance for loan losses.

When the ultimate collectability of an impaired loan's principal is in doubt, wholly or partially, all cash receipts are applied to principal. Once the recorded principal balance has been reduced to zero, future cash receipts are applied to interest income, to the extent any interest has been foregone, and then they are recorded as recoveries of any amounts previously charged off. When this doubt no longer exists, cash receipts are applied under the contractual terms of the loan agreement.

Nonaccrual status

For smaller noncommercial loans, we place loans in nonaccrual status when they are contractually past due 90 days as to either principal or interest, unless the loan is well secured and in the process of collection, or earlier, when, in the opinion of management, the collection of principal and interest is in doubt. For all commercial loans, larger loans, and certain mortgage loans, management applies Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") guidance on impaired loan accounting to determine accrual status. Under that guidance, when it is probable that we will be unable to collect all payments due, including interest, we place the loan in nonaccrual status. A loan remains in nonaccrual status until the loan is current as to payment of both principal and interest and the borrower demonstrates the ability to pay and remain current. Specifically, in order for a nonaccrual loan to be returned to accrual status, a borrower must make six consecutive monthly payments and the borrower must demonstrate the ability to keep the loan current going forward. When a loan is partially charged off, the remaining balance remains in nonaccrual status.

As a result of our ongoing review of the loan portfolio, we may classify loans as nonaccrual even though the presence of collateral or the borrower's financial strength may be sufficient to provide for ultimate repayment. In general, loans are charged off when a loan or a portion thereof is considered uncollectible. We determine that the entire balance of a loan is contractually delinquent for all classes if the minimum payment is not received by the specified due date. Interest and fees continue to accrue on past due loans until the date the loan goes in nonaccrual status. We recognize interest on nonaccrual loans only when it is received.

Income recognition

Interest income on loans is accrued at the contractual rate based on the principal outstanding. Loan origination fees and certain direct loan origination costs are deferred and amortized as a yield adjustment over the contractual loan terms or until the date of sale or disposition. Accrual of interest is discontinued when its receipt is in doubt, which typically occurs when a loan becomes impaired. Any interest accrued to income in the year when interest accruals are discontinued is generally reversed. Management may elect to continue the accrual of interest when a loan is in the process of collection and the estimated fair value of the collateral is sufficient to satisfy the principal balance and accrued interest. Payments on nonaccrual loans are applied to principal. See additional information on loan impairment and nonaccrual status above.

Real estate acquired through foreclosure

We record real estate acquired through foreclosure at the lower of cost or market value ("LCM") on the acquisition date and at the lower of such initial amount or estimated fair value less estimated selling costs thereafter. Estimated fair value is based upon many subjective factors, including location and condition of the property and current economic conditions, among other things. Because the calculation of fair value relies on estimates and judgments relating to inherently uncertain events, results may differ from our estimates.

Write-downs at the time of transfer are made through the allowance for loan losses. Write-downs subsequent to transfer are included in our noninterest expenses, along with operating income, net of related expenses of such properties and gains or losses realized upon disposition.

Income taxes

Deferred income taxes are recognized for the tax consequences of temporary differences between financial statement carrying amounts and the tax bases of assets and liabilities. Deferred income taxes are provided on income and expense items when they are reported for financial statement purposes in periods different from the periods in which these items are recognized in the income tax returns. Deferred tax assets are recognized only to the extent that it is more likely than not that such amounts will be realized based upon consideration of available evidence, including tax planning strategies and other factors.

The calculation of tax liabilities is complex and requires the use of estimates and judgment since it involves the application of complex tax laws that are subject to different interpretations by us and the various tax authorities. These interpretations are subject to challenge by the tax authorities upon audit or to reinterpretation based on management's ongoing assessment of facts and evolving case law.

Periodically and in the ordinary course of business, we are involved in inquiries and reviews by tax authorities that normally require management to provide supplemental information to support certain tax positions we take in our tax returns. Uncertain tax positions are initially recognized in the financial statements when it is more likely than not the position will be sustained upon examination by the tax authorities. Such tax positions are initially and subsequently measured as the largest amount of tax benefit that is greater than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement with the tax authority assuming full knowledge of the position and all relevant facts. For tax positions not meeting the "more likely than not" test, no tax benefit is recorded. As of September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, we maintained a valuation allowance against the full amount of our deferred tax assets. Management believes it has taken appropriate positions on its tax returns, although the ultimate outcome of any tax review cannot be predicted with certainty. No assurance can be given that the final outcome of these matters will not be different than what is reflected in the current and historical financial statements.

We recognize interest and penalties related to income tax matters in income tax expense.

Financial Condition

Total assets increased to $1.3 billion at September 30, 2012 from $1.2 billion at December 31, 2011. Earning assets increased $140.4 million, or 14.6%, to $1.1 billion at September 30, 2012 from $959.1 million at December 31, 2011 primarily due mortgage-banking operations and the resultant $188.6 million increase in loans held for sale ("LHFS"). Deposits increased $93.4 million and our stockholders' deficit decreased by $16.6 million.


We utilize the securities portfolio as part of our overall asset/liability management practices to enhance interest revenue while providing necessary liquidity for the funding of loan growth or deposit withdrawals. We continually monitor the credit risk associated with investments and diversify the risk in the securities portfolios. We held $45.3 million and $22.7 million, respectively, in securities classified as AFS as of September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011.

Changes in current market conditions, such as interest rates and the economic uncertainties in the mortgage, housing, and banking industries have severely impacted the securities market. The secondary market for various types of securities has been limited and has negatively impacted security values. Quarterly, we review each security in our AFS portfolio to determine the nature of any decline in value and evaluate if any impairment should be classified as OTTI. For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, we determined that OTTI had occurred with respect to our pooled trust preferred securities portfolio in the amount of $460,000.

The trust preferred securities we hold in our securities portfolio were issued by other banks, bank holding companies, and insurance companies. As mentioned above, certain of these securities have experienced declines in credit ratings from credit rating firms, which have devalued these specific securities. While some of these issuers have reported weaker financial performance since acquisition of these securities, in management's opinion, they continue to possess acceptable credit risk. We monitor the actual default rates and interest deferrals for possible losses and contractual shortfalls of interest or principal, which could warrant further recognition of impairment.

All of the remaining securities that are impaired are so due to declines in fair values resulting from changes in interest rates or increased credit/liquidity spreads compared to the time they were purchased. We have the intent to hold these securities to maturity and it is more likely than not that we will not be required to sell the securities before recovery of value. As such, management considers the impairments to be temporary.

Our AFS securities portfolio composition is as follows:

                                    September 30,     December 31,
                                        2012              2011
                                   ---------------   --------------
                                        (dollars in thousands)
Mortgage-backed securities         $         5,556   $        1,959
Trust preferred securities                   9,081           10,268
U.S. government agency notes                25,458            8,518
U.S. Treasury securities                     3,038            1,004
Equity securities - banks                    1,404              151
Equity securities - mutual funds               797              782
                                   -- ------------   -- -----------
                                   $        45,334   $       22,682
                                   -- ------------   -- -----------


We originate residential mortgage loans for sale on the secondary market. At September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, such LHFS, which are carried at fair value, amounted to $371.6 million and $183.0 million, respectively.

When we sell mortgage loans we make certain representations to the purchaser related to loan ownership, loan compliance and legality, and accurate documentation, among other things. If a loan is found to be out of compliance with any of the representations subsequent to the date of purchase, we may be required to repurchase the loan or indemnify the purchaser for losses related to the loan, depending on the agreement with the purchaser. In addition other factors may cause us to be required to repurchase or "make-whole" a loan previously sold.

Prior to January 1, 2008, we used investor contracts that contained early payment default clauses that required us to repurchase and "make-whole" requests on loans sold prior to that date. We experienced losses on loans closed prior to 2008 due to borrower loan payment default. After January 1, 2008, we revised our contract and terms process to include the elimination of early payment default as a risk factor in the majority of our investor contracts and resulting loan sales. The most common reason for a loan repurchase for loans sold since January 1, 2008 is due to a documentation error or disagreement with an investor or on rare occasions for fraud. Repurchase requests are negotiated with each investor at the time we are notified of the demand and an appropriate reserve is taken at that time. Repurchase and or "make-whole" requests are initially negotiated by the secondary marketing department and monitored by the secondary marketing committee where most disagreements are resolved with no reserve requirement or loss to the Company. In the event there is an unresolved repurchase or "make-whole" request, the loan is managed by the secondary marketing committee and is elevated to be monitored by the mortgage overview committee to determine the final settlement terms with the investor. Repurchases amounted to $827,000 and $435,000 during the nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively. Our reserve for potential repurchases was $345,000 and $660,000 as of September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, respectively. These reserves were calculated based upon an analysis of the specific loans in question. We do not foresee increases in repurchases to be a growing trend nor do we see it having a significant impact on our financial results.


     Our loan portfolio is expected to produce higher yields than investment
securities and other interest-earning assets; the absolute volume and mix of
loans and the volume and mix of loans as a percentage of total earning assets is
an important determinant of our net interest margin.

     The following table sets forth the composition of our loan portfolio:

                           September 30,     Percent      December 31,     Percent
                               2012          of Total         2011         of Total
                          ---------------   ----------   --------------   ----------
                                            (dollars in thousands)
Commercial                $        45,717          7.1 % $       52,842          7.5 %
Commercial mortgage               296,274         46.0 %        326,530         46.5 %
Commercial construction            48,319          7.5 %         54,349          7.8 %
Consumer construction              18,886          2.9 %         16,280          2.3 %
Residential mortgage              112,815         17.6 %        121,119         17.3 %
Consumer                          121,457         18.9 %        130,631         18.6 %
                          -- ------------   -- -------   -- -----------   -- -------
Total loans               $       643,468        100.0 % $      701,751        100.0 %
                          -- ------------   -- -------   -- -----------   -- -------

Total loans decreased $58.3 million during 2012. We experienced lower . . .

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