SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
|☐||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 1-10706
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
|(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation)||(IRS Employer Identification Number)|
Comerica Bank Tower
1717 Main Street, MC 6404
Dallas, Texas 75201
(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of
the Exchange Act:
|Title of each class||Trading symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, $5 par value||CMA||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý No o
Indicate by check mark if registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No ý
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 ý No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ý No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☒|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ý
At June 30, 2020 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter), the registrant’s common stock, $5 par value, held by non-affiliates had an aggregate market value of approximately $5.3 billion based on the closing price on the New York Stock Exchange on that date of $38.10 per share. For purposes of this Form 10-K only, it has been assumed that all common shares Comerica’s Trust Department holds for Comerica’s employee plans, and all common shares the registrant’s directors and executive officers hold, are shares held by affiliates.
At February 5, 2021, the registrant had outstanding 139,286,040 shares of its common stock, $5 par value.
Documents Incorporated by Reference:
Part III: Items 10-14—Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held April 27, 2021.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Item 1. Business.
Comerica Incorporated (“Comerica”) is a financial services company, incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware in 1973, and headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Based on total assets as reported in the most recently filed Consolidated Financial Statements for Bank Holding Companies (FR Y-9C), it was among the 25 largest commercial United States (“U.S.”) financial holding companies. As of December 31, 2020, Comerica owned directly or indirectly all the outstanding common stock of 2 active banking subsidiaries (Comerica Bank, a Texas banking association, and Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association) and 31 non-banking subsidiaries. At December 31, 2020, Comerica had total assets of approximately $88.1 billion, total deposits of approximately $72.9 billion, total loans of approximately $52.3 billion and shareholders’ equity of approximately $8.1 billion.
Comerica has strategically aligned its operations into three major business segments: the Commercial Bank, the Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. In addition to the three major business segments, Finance is also reported as a segment.
Comerica operates in three primary geographic markets - Texas, California, and Michigan, as well as in Arizona and Florida, with select businesses operating in several other states, and in Canada and Mexico.
We provide information about the net interest income and noninterest income we received from our various classes of products and services: (1) under the caption, “Analysis of Net Interest Income” on page F-5 of the Financial Section of this report; (2) under the caption “Rate/Volume Analysis” on page F-6 of the Financial Section of this report; and (3) under the caption “Noninterest Income” on pages F-7 through F-8 of the Financial Section of this report.
The financial services business is highly competitive. Comerica and its subsidiaries mainly compete in their three primary geographic markets of Texas, California and Michigan, as well as in the states of Arizona and Florida. They also compete in broader, national geographic markets, as well as markets in Mexico and Canada. They are subject to competition with respect to various products and services, including, without limitation, commercial loans and lines of credit, deposits, cash management, capital market products, international trade finance, letters of credit, foreign exchange management services, loan syndication services, consumer lending, consumer deposit gathering, mortgage loan origination, consumer products, fiduciary services, private banking, retirement services, investment management and advisory services, investment banking services, brokerage services, the sale of annuity products, and the sale of life, disability and long-term care insurance products.
Comerica competes largely on the basis of industry expertise, the range of products and services offered, pricing and reputation, customer convenience, quality customer service and responsiveness to customer needs and the overall relationship with our clients. Our competitors are large national and regional financial institutions as well as smaller financial institutions. Some of Comerica's larger competitors, including certain nationwide banks that have a significant presence in Comerica's market area, may make available to their customers a broader array of product, pricing and structure alternatives and, due to their asset size, may more easily absorb credit losses in a larger overall portfolio. Some of Comerica's competitors (larger or smaller) may have more liberal lending policies and processes. Increasingly, Comerica competes with other companies based on financial technology and capabilities, such as mobile banking applications and funds transfer. Further, Comerica's banking competitors may be subject to a significantly different or reduced degree of regulation due to their asset size or types of products offered. They may also have the ability to more efficiently utilize resources to comply with regulations or may be able to more effectively absorb the costs of regulations into their existing cost structure. Comerica believes that the level of competition in all geographic markets will continue to increase in the future.
In addition to banks, Comerica's banking subsidiaries also face competition from other financial intermediaries, including savings and loan associations, consumer and commercial finance companies, leasing companies, venture capital funds, credit unions, investment banks, insurance companies and securities firms. Competition among providers of financial products and services continues to increase as technology advances have lowered the barriers to entry for financial technology companies, with customers having the opportunity to select from a growing variety of traditional and nontraditional alternatives, including crowdfunding, digital wallets and money transfer services. The ability of non-banking financial institutions to provide services previously limited to commercial banks has intensified competition. Because non-banking financial institutions are not subject to many of the same regulatory restrictions as banks and bank holding companies, they can often operate with greater flexibility and lower cost structures.
In addition, the industry continues to consolidate, which affects competition by eliminating some regional and local institutions, while potentially strengthening the franchises of acquirers.
SUPERVISION AND REGULATION
Banks, bank holding companies, and financial institutions are highly regulated at both the state and federal level. Comerica is subject to supervision and regulation at the federal level by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“FRB”) under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. Comerica Bank is chartered by the State of Texas and at the state level is supervised and regulated by the Texas Department of Banking under the Texas Finance Code. Comerica Bank has elected to be a member of the Federal Reserve System under the Federal Reserve Act and, consequently, is supervised and regulated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association is chartered under federal law and is subject to supervision and regulation by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) under the National Bank Act. Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association, by virtue of being a national bank, is also a member of the Federal Reserve System. Furthermore, given that Comerica Bank is a bank with assets in excess of $10 billion dollars, it is subject to supervision and regulation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") for purposes of assessing compliance with federal consumer financial laws. The deposits of Comerica Bank and Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association are insured by the Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) to the extent provided by law, and therefore Comerica Bank and Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association are each also subject to regulation and examination by the FDIC. Certain transactions executed by Comerica Bank are also subject to regulation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). The Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulates financial institutions providing services to plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Comerica Bank’s Canada branch is supervised by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and its Mexico representative office is supervised by the Banco de México.
The FRB supervises non-banking activities conducted by companies directly and indirectly owned by Comerica. In addition, Comerica’s non-banking subsidiaries are subject to supervision and regulation by various state, federal and self-regulatory agencies, including, but not limited to, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”), the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs of the State of Michigan and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (“MSRB”) (in the case of Comerica Securities, Inc.); the Department of Insurance and Financial Services of the State of Michigan (in the case of Comerica Insurance Services, Inc.); the DOL (in the case of Comerica Securities, Inc. and Comerica Insurance Services, Inc.); and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) (in the case of Comerica Securities, Inc. and World Asset Management, Inc.).
Both the scope of the laws and regulations and intensity of supervision to which Comerica’s business is subject have increased over the past decade in response to the financial crisis as well as other factors such as technological and market changes. Many of these changes have occurred as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and its implementing regulations, most of which are now in place. In 2018, with the passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (“EGRRCPA”), as described below, there has been some recalibration of the post-financial crisis framework; however, Comerica’s business remains subject to extensive regulation and supervision. Further, it is too soon for Comerica to predict what legislative or regulatory changes may occur as a result of the recent change in leadership resulting from the recent elections, or, if changes occur, the ultimate effect they would have upon the financial condition or results of operations of Comerica.
Comerica is also subject to the disclosure and regulatory requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, both as administered by the SEC, as well as the rules of the New York Stock Exchange.
Described below are material elements of selected laws and regulations applicable to Comerica and its subsidiaries. The descriptions are not intended to be complete and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the full text of the statutes and regulations described. Changes in applicable law or regulation, and in their application by regulatory agencies, cannot be predicted, but they may have a material effect on the business of Comerica and its subsidiaries.
Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act
On May 24, 2018, EGRRCPA was signed into law. Among other regulatory changes, EGRRCPA amended various sections of the Dodd-Frank Act, including section 165 of Dodd-Frank Act, which was revised to raise the asset thresholds for determining the application of enhanced prudential standards for bank holding companies. Under EGRRCPA bank holding companies with less than $100 billion of consolidated assets, including Comerica, are exempt from all of the Dodd-Frank enhanced prudential standards, except risk committee requirements. As a result, Comerica is no longer subject to Dodd-Frank Act supervisory and company-run stress testing or required to file a resolution plan under Section 165(d) of the Dodd-Frank Act. Comerica is not subject to internal liquidity stress testing and buffer requirements, the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (“CCAR”) process or the Liquidity Coverage Ratio. In addition, Comerica is no longer required to pay the supervision and regulation fee assessment under the Dodd-Frank Act.
Banks with less than $100 billion in total consolidated assets, including Comerica Bank, are also exempt from company-run stress testing requirements under the EGRRCPA.
Requirements for Approval of Activities and Acquisitions
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act expanded the activities in which a bank holding company registered as a financial holding company can engage. Comerica became a financial holding company in 2000. As a financial holding company, Comerica may affiliate with securities firms and insurance companies, and engage in activities that are financial in nature or incidental or complementary to activities that are financial in nature. Activities that are “financial in nature” include, but are not limited to: securities underwriting; securities dealing and market making; sponsoring mutual funds and investment companies (subject to regulatory requirements described below); insurance underwriting and agency; merchant banking; and activities that the FRB determines, in consultation with the Secretary of the United States Treasury, to be financial in nature or incidental to a financial activity. “Complementary activities” are activities that the FRB determines upon application to be complementary to a financial activity and that do not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally.
In order to maintain its status as a financial holding company, Comerica and each of its depository institution subsidiaries must each remain “well capitalized” and “well managed,” and Comerica, Comerica Bank and Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association are each “well capitalized” and “well managed” under FRB standards. If Comerica or any subsidiary bank of Comerica were to cease being “well capitalized” or “well managed” under applicable regulatory standards, the FRB could place limitations on Comerica’s ability to conduct the broader financial activities permissible for financial holding companies or impose limitations or conditions on the conduct or activities of Comerica or its affiliates. If the deficiencies persisted, the FRB could order Comerica to divest any subsidiary bank or to cease engaging in any activities permissible for financial holding companies that are not permissible for bank holding companies, or Comerica could elect to conform its non-banking activities to those permissible for a bank holding company that is not also a financial holding company.
In addition, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (“CRA”) requires U.S. banks to help serve the credit needs of their communities. Comerica Bank’s current rating under the CRA is “satisfactory.” If any subsidiary bank of Comerica were to receive a rating under the CRA of less than “satisfactory,” Comerica would be prohibited from engaging in certain activities.
Federal and state laws impose notice and approval requirements for mergers and acquisitions of other depository institutions or bank holding companies. In many cases, no FRB approval is required for Comerica to acquire a company engaged in activities that are financial in nature or incidental to activities that are financial in nature, as determined by the FRB. Prior approval is required before Comerica may acquire the beneficial ownership or control of more than 5% of any class of voting shares or substantially all of the assets of a bank holding company (including a financial holding company) or a bank. In considering applications for approval of acquisitions, the banking regulators may take several factors into account, including whether Comerica and its subsidiaries are well capitalized and well managed, are in compliance with anti-money laundering laws and regulations, or have CRA ratings of less than “satisfactory.”
Acquisitions of Ownership of Comerica
Acquisitions of Comerica’s voting stock above certain thresholds are subject to prior regulatory notice or approval under federal banking laws, including the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 and the Change in Bank Control Act of 1978. Under the Change in Bank Control Act, a person or entity generally must provide prior notice to the FRB before acquiring the power to vote 10% or more of Comerica’s outstanding common stock. On March 2, 2020, the FRB issued a final rule revising regulations related to control determinations under the Bank Holding Company Act. The final rule expands the number of presumptions for use in such determinations. Investors should be aware of these requirements when acquiring shares of Comerica’s stock.
Capital and Liquidity
Comerica and its bank subsidiaries are subject to risk-based capital requirements and guidelines imposed by the FRB and/or the OCC. In calculating risk-based capital requirements, a depository institution’s or holding company’s assets and certain specified off-balance sheet commitments are assigned to various risk categories defined by the FRB, each weighted differently based on the level of credit risk that is ascribed to such assets or commitments, based on counterparty type and asset class. A depository institution’s or holding company’s capital is divided into three tiers: Common Equity Tier 1 (“CET1”), additional Tier 1, and Tier 2. CET1 capital predominantly includes common shareholders’ equity, less certain deductions for goodwill, intangible assets and deferred tax assets that arise from net operating losses and tax credit carry-forwards, if any. Additional Tier 1 capital primarily includes any outstanding noncumulative perpetual preferred stock and related surplus. Comerica has also made the election to permanently exclude accumulated other comprehensive income related to debt and equity securities classified as available-for-sale, cash flow hedges, and defined benefit postretirement plans from CET1 capital. Tier 2 capital primarily includes qualifying subordinated debt and qualifying allowance for credit losses. On September 30, 2020, the federal banking agencies issued a final rule that provides banking organizations that implement the current expected
credit loss (“CECL”) standard during the 2020 calendar year the option to delay for two years an estimate of CECL’s effect on regulatory capital, relative to the incurred loss methodology’s effect on regulatory capital, followed by a three-year transition period. Comerica elected this deferral and at December 31, 2020, $72 million, or a cumulative 11-basis-point benefit to the capital ratios, was deferred. More information is set forth in the “Capital” section located on pages F-19 through F-21.
Entities that engage in trading activities that exceed specified levels also are required to maintain capital to account for market risk. Market risk includes changes in the market value of trading account, foreign exchange, and commodity positions, whether resulting from broad market movements (such as changes in the general level of interest rates, equity prices, foreign exchange rates, or commodity prices) or from position specific factors. From time to time, Comerica’s trading activities may exceed specified regulatory levels, in which case Comerica adjusts its risk-weighted assets to account for market risk as required.
Comerica and its bank subsidiaries, like other bank holding companies and banks, currently are required to maintain a minimum CET1 capital ratio, minimum Tier 1 capital ratio and minimum total capital ratio equal to at least 4.5 percent, 6 percent and 8 percent of their total risk-weighted assets (including certain off-balance-sheet items, such as standby letters of credit), respectively. Comerica and its bank subsidiaries are required to maintain a minimum capital conservation buffer of 2.5 percent in order to avoid restrictions on capital distributions and discretionary bonuses. Comerica and its bank subsidiaries are also required to maintain a minimum “leverage ratio” (Tier 1 capital to non-risk-adjusted average total assets) of 4 percent.
To be well capitalized, Comerica’s bank subsidiaries are required to maintain a total capital ratio, Tier 1 capital ratio, CET1 capital ratio and a leverage ratio equal to at least 10.0 percent, 8.0 percent, 6.5 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively. For purposes of the FRB’s Regulation Y, including determining whether a bank holding company meets the requirements to be a financial holding company, bank holding companies, such as Comerica, must maintain a Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 6.0 percent and a total capital ratio of at least 10.0 percent to be well capitalized. The FRB may require bank holding companies, including Comerica, to maintain capital ratios substantially in excess of mandated minimum levels, depending upon general economic conditions and a bank holding company’s particular condition, risk profile and growth plans.
Failure to be well capitalized or to meet minimum capital requirements could result in certain mandatory and possible additional discretionary actions by regulators, including restrictions on Comerica’s or its bank subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends or otherwise distribute capital or to receive regulatory approval of applications, or other restrictions on growth.
At December 31, 2020, Comerica met all of its minimum risk-based capital ratio and leverage ratio requirements plus the applicable capital conservation buffer and the applicable well capitalized requirements, as shown in the table below:
|(dollar amounts in millions)||Comerica|
|December 31, 2020|
CET1 capital (minimum $3.0 billion (Consolidated))
|$||6,919 ||$||7,278 |
Tier 1 capital (minimum $4.0 billion (Consolidated))
|7,313 ||7,278 |
Total capital (minimum $5.4 billion (Consolidated))
|8,833 ||8,547 |
|Risk-weighted assets||66,931 ||66,759 |
|Adjusted average assets (fourth quarter)||84,705 ||84,536 |
|CET1 capital to risk-weighted assets (minimum 4.5%)||10.34 ||%||10.90 ||%|
|Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets (minimum 6.0%)||10.93 ||10.90 |
|Total capital to risk-weighted assets (minimum 8.0%)||13.20 ||12.80 |
|Tier 1 capital to average assets (minimum 4.0%)||8.63 ||8.61 |
|Capital conservation buffer (minimum 2.5%)||4.93 ||4.80 |
|December 31, 2019|
CET1 capital (minimum $3.1 billion (Consolidated))
|$||6,919 ||$||7,199 |
Tier 1 capital (minimum $4.1 billion (Consolidated))
|6,919 ||7,199 |
Total capital (minimum $5.5 billion (Consolidated))
|8,282 ||8,371 |
|Risk-weighted assets||68,273 ||68,071 |
|Adjusted average assets (fourth quarter)||72,773 ||72,564 |
|CET1 capital to risk-weighted assets (minimum 4.5%)||10.13 ||%||10.58 ||%|
|Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets (minimum 6.0%)||10.13 ||10.58 |
|Total capital to risk-weighted assets (minimum 8.0%)||12.13 ||12.30 |
|Tier 1 capital to average assets (minimum 4.0%)||9.51 ||9.92 |
|Capital conservation buffer (minimum 2.5%)||4.13 ||4.30 |
Additional information on the calculation of Comerica’s and its bank subsidiaries’ CET1 capital, Tier 1 capital, total capital and risk-weighted assets is set forth in the “Capital” section located on pages F-19 through F-21 of the Financial Section
of this report and Note 20 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements located on pages F-96 through F-98 of the Financial Section of this report.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act (“FDICIA”) requires, among other things, the federal banking agencies to take “prompt corrective action” with respect to depository institutions that do not meet certain minimum capital requirements. FDICIA establishes five capital tiers: “well capitalized,” “adequately capitalized,” “undercapitalized,” “significantly undercapitalized” and “critically undercapitalized.” An institution that fails to remain well capitalized becomes subject to a series of restrictions that increase in severity as its capital condition weakens. Such restrictions may include a prohibition on capital distributions, restrictions on asset growth or restrictions on the ability to receive regulatory approval of applications. The FDICIA also provides for enhanced supervisory authority over undercapitalized institutions, including authority for the appointment of a conservator or receiver for the institution.
As of December 31, 2020, each of Comerica’s bank subsidiaries’ capital ratios exceeded those required for an institution to be considered “well capitalized” under these regulations.
As an additional means to identify problems in the financial management of depository institutions, FDICIA requires federal bank regulatory agencies to establish certain non-capital-based safety and soundness standards for institutions any such agency supervises. The standards relate generally to, among others, earnings, liquidity, operations and management, asset quality, various risk and management exposures (e.g., credit, operational, market, interest rate, etc.) and executive compensation. The agencies are authorized to take action against institutions that fail to meet such standards.
FDICIA also contains a variety of other provisions that may affect the operations of depository institutions including reporting requirements, regulatory standards for real estate lending, “truth in savings” provisions, the requirement that a depository institution give 90 days prior notice to customers and regulatory authorities before closing any branch, and a prohibition on the acceptance or renewal of brokered deposits by depository institutions that are not well capitalized or are adequately capitalized and have not received a waiver from the FDIC.
Comerica Incorporated is a legal entity separate and distinct from its banking and other subsidiaries. Since Comerica’s consolidated net income and liquidity consists largely of net income of and dividends received from Comerica’s bank subsidiaries, Comerica’s ability to pay dividends and repurchase shares depends upon its receipt of dividends from these subsidiaries. There are statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to the payment of dividends by subsidiary banks to Comerica, as well as by Comerica to its shareholders. Certain, but not all, of these requirements are discussed below. No assurances can be given that Comerica’s bank subsidiaries will, in any circumstances, pay dividends to Comerica.
Comerica Bank and Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association are required by federal law to obtain the prior approval of the FRB and/or the OCC, as the case may be, for the declaration and payment of dividends, if the total of all dividends declared by the board of directors of such bank in any calendar year will exceed the total of (i) such bank's net income (as defined and interpreted by regulation) for that year plus (ii) the retained net income (as defined and interpreted by regulation) for the preceding two years, less any required transfers to surplus or to fund the retirement of preferred stock. At January 1, 2021, Comerica's subsidiary banks could declare aggregate dividends of approximately $12 million from retained net profits of the preceding two years. Comerica's subsidiary banks declared dividends of $498 million in 2020, $1.2 billion in 2019 and $1.1 billion in 2018.
Comerica and its bank subsidiaries must maintain a CET1 capital conservation buffer of 2.5% to avoid becoming subject to restrictions on capital distributions, including dividends.
Furthermore, federal regulatory agencies can prohibit a bank or bank holding company from paying dividends under circumstances in which such payment could be deemed an unsafe and unsound banking practice. Under the FDICIA “prompt corrective action” regime discussed above, which applies to each of Comerica Bank and Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association, a bank is specifically prohibited from paying dividends to its parent company if payment would result in the bank becoming “undercapitalized.” In addition, Comerica Bank is also subject to limitations under Texas state law regarding the amount of earnings that may be paid out as dividends to Comerica, and requires prior approval for payments of dividends that exceed certain levels.
FRB supervisory guidance generally provides that a bank holding company should not pay dividends unless (1) the bank holding company’s net income over the last four quarters (net of dividends paid) is sufficient to fully fund the dividends, (2) the prospective rate of earnings retention appears consistent with the capital needs, asset quality and overall financial condition of the bank holding company and its subsidiaries and (3) the bank holding company will continue to meet minimum required capital adequacy ratios. The supervisory guidance also provides that a bank holding company should inform the FRB reasonably in advance of declaring or paying a dividend that exceeds earnings for the period for which the dividend is being
paid or that could result in a material adverse change to the bank holding company’s capital structure. Bank holding companies also are required to consult with the FRB before redeeming or repurchasing capital instruments (including common stock), or materially increasing dividends.
Transactions with Affiliates
Federal banking laws and regulations impose qualitative standards and quantitative limitations upon certain transactions between a bank and its affiliates, including between Comerica and its nonbank subsidiaries, on the one hand, and Comerica’s affiliate insured depository institutions, on the other. For example, Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act limits the aggregate outstanding amount of any insured depository institution’s loans and other “covered transactions” with any particular nonbank affiliate (including financial subsidiaries) to no more than 10% of the institution’s total capital and limits the aggregate outstanding amount of any insured depository institution’s covered transactions with all of its nonbank affiliates to no more than 20% of its total capital. “Covered transactions” are defined by statute to include (i) a loan or extension of credit to an affiliate, (ii) a purchase of securities issued by an affiliate, (iii) a purchase of assets (unless otherwise exempted by the FRB) from the affiliate, (iv) the acceptance of securities issued by the affiliate as collateral for a loan, (v) the issuance of a guarantee, acceptance or letter of credit on behalf of an affiliate and (vi) securities borrowing or lending transactions and derivative transactions with an affiliate, to the extent that either causes a bank or its affiliate to have credit exposure to the securities borrowing/lending or derivative counterparty. Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act also generally requires that an insured depository institution’s loans to its nonbank affiliates be, at a minimum, 100% secured, and Section 23B of the Federal Reserve Act generally requires that an insured depository institution’s transactions with its nonbank affiliates be on terms and under circumstances that are substantially the same or at least as favorable as those prevailing for comparable transactions with nonaffiliates. Federal banking laws also place similar restrictions on loans and other extensions of credit by FDIC-insured banks, such as Comerica Bank and Comerica Bank & Trust, National Association, and their subsidiaries to their directors, executive officers and principal shareholders.
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Regulation
Comerica is subject to many U.S. federal, U.S. state and international laws and regulations governing consumer data privacy protection, which require, among other things, maintaining policies and procedures to protect the non-public confidential information of customers and employees. The privacy provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act generally prohibit financial institutions, including Comerica and its subsidiaries, from disclosing nonpublic personal financial information of consumer customers to third parties for certain purposes (primarily marketing) unless customers have the opportunity to “opt out” of the disclosure. Other laws and regulations, at the international, federal and state levels, limit Comerica’s ability to share certain information with affiliates and non-affiliates for marketing and/or non-marketing purposes, or to contact customers with marketing offers. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act also requires banks to implement a comprehensive information security program that includes administrative, technical and physical safeguards to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information. Because we have a limited presence in New York, we are subject to certain requirements of the New York Department of Financial Service’s Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies, which include maintaining a cybersecurity program and policies and breach notification requirements.
In October 2016, the federal banking regulators issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding enhanced cyber risk management standards, which would apply to a wide range of large financial institutions, including Comerica, and their third-party service providers. The proposed standards would expand existing cybersecurity regulations and guidance to focus on cyber risk governance and management; management of internal and external dependencies; and incident response, cyber resilience and situational awareness. In addition, the proposal contemplates more stringent standards for institutions with systems that are critical to the financial sector. Comerica continues to monitor the development of this rule.
Data privacy and data protection are areas of increasing state legislative focus. For example, in June of 2018, the Governor of California signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “CCPA”). The CCPA, which became effective on January 1, 2020, applies to for-profit businesses that conduct business in California and meet certain revenue or data collection thresholds. The CCPA will give consumers the right to request disclosure of information collected about them, and whether that information has been sold or shared with others, the right to request deletion of personal information (subject to certain exceptions), the right to opt out of the sale of the consumer’s personal information, and the right not to be discriminated against for exercising these rights. The CCPA contains several exemptions, including an exemption applicable to information that is collected, processed, sold or disclosed pursuant to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The California Attorney General adopted regulations implementing the CCPA on August 14, 2020. Comerica has a physical footprint in California and is required to comply with the CCPA. In addition, similar laws may be adopted by other states where Comerica does business. The federal government may also pass data privacy or data protection legislation.
Like other lenders, Comerica Bank and other of Comerica’s subsidiaries use credit bureau data in their underwriting activities. Use of such data is regulated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), and the FCRA also regulates reporting
information to credit bureaus, prescreening individuals for credit offers, sharing of information between affiliates, and using affiliate data for marketing purposes. Similar state laws may impose additional requirements on Comerica and its subsidiaries.
FDIC Insurance Assessments
The DIF provides deposit insurance coverage for certain deposits up to $250,000 per depositor in each deposit account category. Comerica's subsidiary banks are subject to FDIC deposit insurance assessments to maintain the DIF. The FDIC imposes a risk-based deposit premium assessment system, where the assessment rates for an insured depository institution are determined by an assessment rate calculator, which is based on a number of elements to measure the risk each institution poses to the DIF. The assessment rate is applied to total average assets less tangible equity. Under the current system, premiums are assessed quarterly and could increase if, for example, criticized loans and/or other higher risk assets increase or balance sheet liquidity decreases. For 2020, Comerica’s FDIC insurance expense totaled $33 million.
Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
Comerica is subject to several federal laws that are designed to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and transactions with persons, companies or foreign governments designated by U.S. authorities ("AML laws"). This category of laws includes the Bank Secrecy Act, the Money Laundering Control Act, and the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, or USA PATRIOT Act.
The AML laws and their implementing regulations require insured depository institutions, broker-dealers, and certain other financial institutions to have policies, procedures, and controls to detect, prevent, and report money laundering and terrorist financing. The AML laws and their regulations also provide for information sharing, subject to conditions, between federal law enforcement agencies and financial institutions, as well as among financial institutions, for counter-terrorism purposes. Federal banking regulators are required, when reviewing bank holding company acquisition and bank merger applications, to take into account the effectiveness of the anti-money laundering activities of the applicants. To comply with these obligations, Comerica and its various operating units have implemented appropriate internal practices, procedures, and controls.
Office of Foreign Assets Control Regulation
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) is responsible for administering economic sanctions that affect transactions with designated foreign countries, nationals and others, as defined by various Executive Orders and Acts of Congress. OFAC-administered sanctions take many different forms. For example, sanctions may include: (1) restrictions on trade with or investment in a sanctioned country, including prohibitions against direct or indirect imports from and exports to a sanctioned country and prohibitions on U.S. persons engaging in financial transactions relating to, making investments in, or providing investment-related advice or assistance to, a sanctioned country; and (2) a blocking of assets in which the government or “specially designated nationals” of the sanctioned country have an interest, by prohibiting transfers of property subject to U.S. jurisdiction (including property in the possession or control of U.S. persons). OFAC also publishes lists of persons, organizations, and countries suspected of aiding, harboring or engaging in terrorist acts, known as Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Blocked assets (e.g., property and bank deposits) cannot be paid out, withdrawn, set off or transferred in any manner without a license from OFAC. Failure to comply with these sanctions could have serious legal and reputational consequences.
Interstate Banking and Branching
The Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act (the “Interstate Act”), as amended by the Dodd-Frank Act, permits a bank holding company, with FRB approval, to acquire banking institutions located in states other than the bank holding company's home state without regard to whether the transaction is prohibited under state law, but subject to any state requirement that the bank has been organized and operating for a minimum period of time, not to exceed five years, and the requirement that the bank holding company, prior to and following the proposed acquisition, control no more than 10 percent of the total amount of deposits of insured depository institutions in the U.S. and no more than 30 percent of such deposits in that state (or such amount as established by state law if such amount is lower than 30 percent). The Interstate Act, as amended, also authorizes banks to operate branch offices outside their home states by merging with out-of-state banks, purchasing branches in other states and by establishing de novo branches in other states, subject to various conditions. In the case of purchasing branches in a state in which it does not already have banking operations, de novo interstate branching is permissible if under the law of the state in which the branch is to be located, a state bank chartered by that state would be permitted to establish the branch. A bank holding company or bank must be well capitalized and well managed in order to take advantage of these interstate banking and branching provisions.
Comerica has consolidated the majority of its banking business into one bank, Comerica Bank, with banking centers in Texas, Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, as well as Canada.
Source of Strength and Cross-Guarantee Requirements
Federal law and FRB regulations require that bank holding companies serve as a source of strength to each subsidiary bank and commit resources to support each subsidiary bank. This support may be required at times when a bank holding company may not be able to provide such support without adversely affecting its ability to meet other obligations. The FRB may require a bank holding company to make capital injections into a troubled subsidiary bank and may charge the bank holding company with engaging in unsafe and unsound practices if the bank holding company fails to commit resources to such a subsidiary bank or if it undertakes actions that the FRB believes might jeopardize the bank holding company’s ability to commit resources to such subsidiary bank. Under these requirements, Comerica may in the future be required to provide financial assistance to its subsidiary banks should they experience financial distress. Capital loans by Comerica to its subsidiary banks would be subordinate in right of payment to deposits and certain other debts of the subsidiary banks. In the event of Comerica’s bankruptcy, any commitment by Comerica to a federal bank regulatory agency to maintain the capital of its subsidiary banks would be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee and entitled to a priority of payment.
Similarly, under the cross-guarantee provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, in the event of a loss suffered or anticipated by the FDIC (either as a result of the failure of a banking subsidiary or related to FDIC assistance provided to such a subsidiary in danger of failure), the other banking subsidiaries may be assessed for the FDIC’s loss, subject to certain exceptions. An FDIC cross-guarantee claim against a depository institution is superior in right of payment to claims of the holding company and its affiliates against such depository institution.
Supervisory and Enforcement Powers of Federal and State Banking Agencies
The FRB and other federal and state banking agencies have broad supervisory and enforcement powers, including, without limitation, and as prescribed to each agency by applicable law, the power to conduct examinations and investigations, impose nonpublic supervisory agreements, issue cease and desist orders, terminate deposit insurance, impose substantial fines and other civil penalties and appoint a conservator or receiver. Failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations could subject Comerica or its banking subsidiaries, as well as officers and directors of these organizations, to administrative sanctions and potentially substantial civil and criminal penalties. Bank regulators regularly examine the operations of bank holding companies and banks, and the results of these examinations, as well as certain supervisory and enforcement actions, are confidential and may not be made public.
As a depository institution with $50 billion or more of total consolidated assets, Comerica Bank is required to periodically file a resolution plan with the FDIC. On April 16, 2019, the FDIC released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (“ANPR”) with respect to the FDIC’s bank resolution plan requirements meant to better tailor bank resolution plans to a firm’s size, complexity and risk profile. The ANPR offers two alternative approaches to resolution planning for commenters to consider and solicits comment on how to tailor the requirements of the rule to reflect differences in size, complexity and other factors among the population of large insured depository institutions, and on whether to increase the current threshold of $50 billion in assets that triggers application of the rule.
Comerica is subject to guidance issued by the FRB, OCC and FDIC intended to ensure that the incentive compensation policies of banking organizations do not undermine the safety and soundness of such organizations by encouraging excessive risk-taking. The guidance, which covers senior executives as well as other employees who, either individually or as part of a group, have the ability to expose the banking organization to material amounts of risk, is based upon the key principles that a banking organization's incentive compensation arrangements (i) should provide employees incentives that appropriately balance risk and financial results in a manner that does not encourage employees to expose their organizations to imprudent risk; (ii) should be compatible with effective controls and risk-management; and (iii) should be supported by strong corporate governance, including active and effective oversight by the organization's board of directors. Banking organizations are expected to review regularly their incentive compensation arrangements based on these three principles. Where there are deficiencies in the incentive compensation arrangements, they should be promptly addressed. Enforcement actions may be taken against a banking organization if its incentive compensation arrangements, or related risk-management control or governance processes, pose a risk to the organization's safety and soundness, particularly if the organization is not taking prompt and effective measures to correct the deficiencies. Similar to other large banking organizations, Comerica has been subject to a continuing review of incentive compensation policies and practices by representatives of the FRB, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Texas Department of Banking since 2011. As part of that review, Comerica has undertaken a thorough analysis of all the incentive compensation programs throughout the organization, the individuals covered by each plan and the risks inherent in each plan’s design and implementation. Comerica has determined that risks arising from employee compensation plans are not reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on Comerica. It is Comerica’s intent to continue monitoring regulations and best practices for sound incentive compensation practices.
In 2016, the FRB, OCC and several other federal financial regulators revised and re-proposed rules to implement Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 956 directed regulators to jointly prescribe regulations or guidelines prohibiting incentive-based payment arrangements, or any feature of any such arrangement, at covered financial institutions that encourage inappropriate risks by providing excessive compensation or that could lead to a material financial loss. This proposal supplements the final guidance issued by the banking agencies in June 2010. Consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act, the proposed rule would impose heightened standards for institutions with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets, which includes Comerica. For these larger institutions, the proposed rule would require the deferral of at least 40 percent of incentive-based payments for designated executives and significant risk-takers who individually have the ability to expose the institution to possible losses that are substantial in relation to the institution's size, capital or overall risk tolerance. Moreover, incentive-based compensation of these individuals would be subject to potential clawback for seven years following vesting. Further, the rule imposes enhanced risk management controls and governance and internal policy and procedure requirements with respect to incentive compensation. Comerica is monitoring the development of this rule.
The Volcker Rule
Comerica is prohibited under the Volcker Rule from (1) engaging in short-term proprietary trading for its own account and (2) having certain ownership interests in and relationships with hedge funds or private equity funds ("Covered Funds"). The Volcker Rule regulations contain exemptions for market-making, hedging, underwriting and trading in U.S. government and agency obligations, and permit certain ownership interests in certain types of Covered Funds to be retained. They also permit the offering and sponsoring of Covered Funds under certain conditions. The Volcker Rule regulations impose significant compliance and reporting obligations on banking entities.
Comerica has compliance programs required by the Volcker Rule and has either divested or received extensions for any holdings in Covered Funds. Additional information on Comerica's portfolio of indirect (through funds) private equity and venture capital investments, which includes the Covered Funds, is set forth in Note 1 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements located on page F-55 of the Financial Section of this report.
In October 2019, the five federal agencies with rulemaking authority with respect to the Volcker Rule finalized changes designed to simplify compliance with the Volcker Rule. The final rule formalized a three-tiered approach to compliance program requirements for banking entities based on their level of trading activity. As a banking entity with “moderate” trading assets and liabilities (less than $20 billion), Comerica is subject to simplified compliance requirements. In June 2020, regulators finalized a rule further modifying the Volcker Rule’s prohibition on banking entities investing in or sponsoring Covered Funds. The final rule modifies three areas of the rule by: streamlining the covered funds portion of the rule; addressing the extraterritorial treatment of certain foreign funds; and permitting banking entities to offer financial services and engage in other activities that do not raise concerns that the Volcker Rule was intended to address. Comerica continues to follow Volcker Rule developments.
As a state member bank, Comerica Bank may engage in derivative transactions, as permitted by applicable Texas and federal law. Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act contains a comprehensive framework for over-the-counter (“OTC”) derivatives transactions. Even though many of the requirements do not impact Comerica directly, since Comerica Bank does not meet the definition of swap dealer or major swap participant, Comerica continues to review and evaluate the extent to which such requirements impact its business indirectly. On November 5, 2018, the CFTC issued a final rule that sets the permanent aggregate gross notional amount threshold for the de minimis exception from the definition of swap dealer at $8 billion in swap dealing activity entered into by a person over the preceding 12 months. Comerica's swap dealing activities are currently below this threshold.
The initial margin requirements for non-centrally cleared swaps and security-based swaps will be effective for Comerica’s swap and security-based swap counterparties that are swap dealers or major swap participants on September 1, 2022, at which time such counterparties will be required to collect initial margin from Comerica. The initial margin requirements were issued for the purpose of ensuring safety and soundness of swap trading in light of the risk to the financial system associated with non-cleared swaps activity. Comerica is currently working toward meeting compliance with the initial margin requirements.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Certain Recent Consumer Finance Regulations
Comerica is subject to regulation by the CFPB, which has a broad rule-making authority for a wide range of consumer protection laws that apply to all banks and savings institutions and possesses examination and enforcement authority over all banks and savings institutions with more than $10 billion in assets, including Comerica Bank, and their depositary affiliates.
Comerica is also subject to certain state consumer protection laws, and under the Dodd-Frank Act, state attorneys general and other state officials are empowered to enforce certain federal consumer protection laws and regulations. In recent years, state authorities have increased their focus on and enforcement of consumer protection rules. These federal and state
consumer protection laws apply to a broad range of Comerica’s activities and to various aspects of its business and include laws relating to interest rates, fair lending, disclosures of credit terms and estimated transaction costs to consumer borrowers, debt collection practices, the use of and the provision of information to consumer reporting agencies, and the prohibition of unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices in connection with the offer, sale or provision of consumer financial products and services.
The loan portfolio is a primary source of profitability and risk, so proper loan underwriting is critical to Comerica's long-term financial success. Comerica extends credit to businesses, individuals and public entities based on sound lending principles and consistent with prudent banking practice. During the loan underwriting process, a qualitative and quantitative analysis of potential credit facilities is performed, and the credit risks associated with each relationship are evaluated. Important factors considered as part of the underwriting process for new loans and loan renewals include:
•People: Including the competence, integrity and succession planning of customers.
•Purpose: The legal, logical and productive purposes of the credit facility.
•Payment: Including the source, timing and probability of payment.
•Protection: Including obtaining alternative sources of repayment, securing the loan, as appropriate, with collateral and/or third-party guarantees and ensuring appropriate legal documentation is obtained.
•Perspective: The risk/reward relationship and pricing elements (cost of funds; servicing costs; time value of money; credit risk).
Comerica prices credit facilities to reflect risk, the related costs and the expected return, while maintaining competitiveness with other financial institutions. Loans with variable and fixed rates are underwritten to achieve expected risk-adjusted returns on the credit facilities and for the full relationship including the borrower's ability to repay the principal and interest based on such rates.
Credit Approval and Monitoring
Approval of new loan exposure and oversight and monitoring of Comerica's loan portfolio is the joint responsibility of the Credit Risk Management and Decisioning department and the Credit Underwriting department (collectively referred to as “Credit”), plus the business units (“Line”). Credit assists the Line with underwriting by providing objective financial analysis, including an assessment of the borrower's business model, balance sheet, cash flow and collateral. The approval of new loan exposure is the joint responsibility of Credit Risk Management and Decisioning and the Line. Each commercial borrower relationship is assigned an internal risk rating by Credit Risk Management and Decisioning. Further, Credit updates the assigned internal risk rating as new information becomes available as a result of periodic reviews of credit quality, a change in borrower performance or approval of new loan exposure. The goal of the internal risk rating framework is to support Comerica's risk management capability, including its ability to identify and manage changes in the credit risk profile of its portfolio, predict future losses and price the loans appropriately for risk. Finally, the Line and Credit (including its Portfolio Risk Analytics department) work together to insure the overall credit risk within the loan portfolio is consistent with the bank’s Credit Risk Appetite.
Comerica maintains a comprehensive set of credit policies. Comerica's credit policies provide Line and Credit Personnel with a framework of sound underwriting practices and potential loan structures. These credit policies also provide the framework for loan committee approval authorities based on its internal risk-rating system and establish maximum exposure limits based on risk ratings and Comerica's legal lending limit. Credit, in conjunction with the Line, monitors compliance with the credit policies and modifies the existing policies as necessary. New or modified policies/guidelines require approval by the Strategic Credit Committee, chaired by Comerica's Chief Credit Officer and comprised of senior credit, market and risk management executives.
Commercial Loan Portfolio
Commercial loans are underwritten using a comprehensive analysis of the borrower's operations. The underwriting process includes an analysis of some or all of the factors listed below:
•The borrower's business model and industry characteristics.
•Periodic review of financial statements including financial statements audited by an independent certified public accountant when appropriate.
•The proforma financial condition including financial projections.
•The borrower's sources and uses of funds.
•The borrower's debt service capacity.
•The guarantor's financial strength.
•A comprehensive review of the quality and value of collateral, including independent third-party appraisals of machinery and equipment and commercial real estate, as appropriate, to determine the advance rates.
•Physical inspection of collateral and audits of receivables, as appropriate.
For additional information specific to our Energy loan portfolio and certain leveraged transactions in our commercial portfolio, please see the captions “Energy Lending” and "Leveraged Loans" on pages F-31 through F-32 of the Financial Section of this report.
Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Loan Portfolio
Comerica's CRE loan portfolio consists of real estate construction and commercial mortgage loans and includes loans to real estate developers and investors and loans secured by owner-occupied real estate. Comerica's CRE loan underwriting policies are consistent with the approach described above and provide maximum loan-to-value ratios that limit the size of a loan to a maximum percentage of the value of the real estate collateral securing the loan. The loan-to-value percentage varies by the type of collateral and is limited by advance rates established by our regulators. Our loan-to-value limitations are, in certain cases, more restrictive than those required by regulators and are influenced by other risk factors such as the financial strength of the borrower or guarantor, the equity provided to the project and the viability of the project itself. CRE loans generally require cash equity. CRE loans are normally originated with full recourse or limited recourse to all principals and owners. There are limitations to the size of a single project loan and to the aggregate dollar exposure to a single guarantor. For additional information specific to our CRE loan portfolio, please see the caption “Commercial Real Estate Lending” on pages F-29 through F-30 of the Financial Section of this report.
Consumer and Residential Mortgage Loan Portfolios
Comerica's consumer and residential mortgage loan underwriting includes an assessment of each borrower's personal financial condition, including a review of credit reports and related FICO scores (a type of credit score used to assess an applicant's credit risk) and verification of income and assets, as applicable. After origination, internal risk ratings are assigned based on payment status and product type.
Comerica does not originate subprime loans. Although a standard industry definition for subprime loans (including subprime mortgage loans) does not exist, Comerica defines subprime loans as specific product offerings for higher risk borrowers, including individuals with one or a combination of high credit risk factors. These credit factors include low FICO scores, poor patterns of payment history, high debt-to-income ratios and elevated loan-to-value. Comerica generally considers subprime FICO scores to be those below 620 on a secured basis (excluding loans with cash or near-cash collateral and adequate income to make payments) and below 660 for unsecured loans. Residential mortgage loans retained in the portfolio are largely relationship based. The remaining loans are typically eligible to be sold on the secondary market. Adjustable-rate loans are limited to standard conventional loan programs. For additional information specific to our residential real estate loan portfolio, please see the caption “Residential Real Estate Lending” on page F-31 of the Financial Section of this report.
HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES
Comerica’s relationship banking strategy relies heavily on the personal relationships and the quality of service provided by employees. Accordingly, Comerica aims to attract, develop and retain employees who can drive financial and strategic growth objectives and build long-term shareholder value. Key items related to Comerica’s human capital resources are described below.
Structure. As of December 31, 2020, Comerica and its subsidiaries had 7,429 full-time and 441 part-time employees, primarily located in Comerica’s core markets of Michigan, Texas, California, Arizona and Florida. Comerica’s Chief Human Resources Officer reports directly to the Chairman, President and CEO and manages all aspects of the employee experience, including talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion, learning and development, talent management, compensation and benefits.
The Board of Directors and the Governance, Compensation and Nominating Committee are regularly updated on Comerica’s talent development and human capital management strategies. To enhance the Board’s understanding of Comerica's talent pipeline, the Board routinely meets with high-potential employees in formal and informal settings.
Productivity. Comerica carefully manages the size of its workforce and reallocates resources, as needed. As of December 31, 2020, Comerica’s total employee headcount, on a full-time equivalent basis, was 14 percent lower than as of December 31, 2015. Additionally, for 2020, Comerica managed an average of $15 million of loans and deposits per employee.
Diversity. Comerica has an organization-wide focus to improve recruitment and retention of women and ethnic minorities especially in leadership positions through its diversity outreach, diversity awareness and learning program and leadership development programs. As of December 31, 2020, Comerica’s U.S. colleagues had the following attributes:
|Female (%)||Minority (%)|
Officials and Managers(1)
(1) Based on EEO-1 job classifications.
(2) Using Securities and Exchange Commission definition.
Comerica was recognized in 2020 as the DiversityInc. No. 3 Top Regional Company for Diversity and LATINA Style's Top 50 Best Company for Latinas to Work in the U.S, as well as receiving a perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index (for LGBTQ equality).
Compensation and Benefits. Comerica strives to provide pay, benefits, and services that help meet the varying needs of its employees. Compensation and benefits include market-competitive pay, retirement programs, broad-based bonuses, an employee stock purchase plan, health and welfare benefits, financial counseling, paid time off, family leave and flexible work schedules. Effective January 2018, Comerica increased its minimum wage to $15 per hour, and in 2020, further increased its minimum wage to $16.50 per hour. Comerica periodically reviews compensation and benefits by grade level and position to ensure similar positions are paid comparatively and to ensure that Comerica has a competitive and valuable offering to meet the well-being and needs of its employees.
Attraction, Development and Retention. Comerica measures the success of its talent acquisition strategy on speed and quality of acquisition, diversity of new colleagues, retention, and overall performance metrics. Each of these metrics is tracked for each of the key business lines. Sourcing strategies and support structures are modified to ensure that performance targets are met consistently.
Comerica has also created internal programs to support the development and retention of its colleagues, including internal Leadership Development and Emerging Leaders programs designed to train high potential employees, Com-Tech college courses to help re-skill Technology colleagues, a Managing Essentials Certificate series for managers, and organizational change management learning for all colleagues. In 2020, over 6,900 skills-based courses were offered to Comerica colleagues and an average of 24 hours of training per employee were completed. Comerica also supports its employees’ involvement in external development programs. For example, starting in October 2020, Comerica is a participant in the CEO Action for Race and Equity Fellows Program, where one or more Comerica colleagues will commit one year to the Fellows Program while still being employed by Comerica receiving their full salary and benefits.
Comerica’s investment in its employees has resulted in a long-tenured workforce, with average tenure of 12.5 years of service. Of the approximately 1,485 open employee positions filled in 2020, 58% were filled by external hires and 42% were filled by internal hires. Employee turnover for 2020 was 11.6%. In 2020, Comerica conducted our first enterprise-wide employee engagement survey, and nearly 6,700 colleagues participated.
COVID-19. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 65 percent of Comerica’s colleagues were able to work remotely, and colleagues whose functions required them to be physically present were eligible for additional "Promise Pay" of up to $175 per week from late March through early June. Comerica also provided stipends to help cover unexpected dependent- and elder-care costs, no-cost health care benefits pertaining to COVID-19 and free telehealth visits and outplacement assistance for spouses of employees. While not a direct response to COVID-19, Comerica did not reduce salaries or any other benefits during this time to support our colleagues through the pandemic.
Comerica maintains an Internet website at www.comerica.com where the Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to those reports are available without charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after those reports are filed with or furnished to the SEC. The Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Employees, the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Members of the Board of Directors and the Senior Financial Officer Code of Ethics adopted by Comerica are also available on the Internet website and are available in print to any shareholder who requests them. Such requests should be made in writing to the Corporate Secretary at Comerica Incorporated, Comerica Bank Tower, 1717 Main Street, MC 6404, Dallas, Texas 75201.
In addition, pursuant to regulations adopted by the FRB, Comerica makes additional regulatory capital-related disclosures. Under these regulations, Comerica satisfies a portion of these requirements through postings on its website, and Comerica has done so and expects to continue to do so without also providing disclosure of this information through filings with the SEC.
Where we have included web addresses in this report, such as our web address and the web address of the SEC, we have included those web addresses as inactive textual references only. Except as specifically incorporated by reference into this report, information on those websites is not part hereof.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
This report includes forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In addition, Comerica may make other written and oral communications from time to time that contain such statements. All statements regarding Comerica's expected financial position, strategies and growth prospects and general economic conditions Comerica expects to exist in the future are forward-looking statements. The words, “anticipates,” “believes,” “contemplates,” “feels,” “expects,” “estimates,” “seeks,” “strives,” “plans,” “intends,” “outlook,” “forecast,” “position,” “target,” “mission,” “assume,” “achievable,” “potential,” “strategy,” “goal,” “aspiration,” “opportunity,” “initiative,” “outcome,” “continue,” “remain,” “maintain,” “on track,” “trend,” “objective,” “looks forward,” “projects,” “models” and variations of such words and similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “would,” “should,” “could,” “might,” “can,” “may” or similar expressions, as they relate to Comerica or its management, are intended to identify forward-looking statements.
Comerica cautions that forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, which change over time. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement is made, and Comerica does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to reflect facts, circumstances, assumptions or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements and future results could differ materially from historical performance.
In addition to factors mentioned elsewhere in this report or previously disclosed in Comerica's SEC reports (accessible on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov or on Comerica's website at www.comerica.com), the factors contained below, among others, could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements, and future results could differ materially from historical performance.
•Unfavorable developments concerning credit quality could adversely affect Comerica's financial results.
Although Comerica regularly reviews credit exposure related to its customers and various industry sectors in which it has business relationships, default risk may arise from events or circumstances that are difficult to detect or foresee. Under such circumstances, as occurred in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Comerica could experience an increase in the level of provision for credit losses, nonperforming assets, net charge-offs and reserve for credit losses, which could adversely affect Comerica's financial results.
•Declines in the businesses or industries of Comerica's customers - in particular the energy industry - could cause increased credit losses or decreased loan balances, which could adversely affect Comerica.
Comerica's business customer base consists, in part, of customers in volatile businesses and industries such as the automotive, commercial real estate, residential real estate and energy industries. These industries are sensitive to global economic conditions, supply chain factors and/or commodities prices. Any decline in one of these businesses or industries could cause increased credit losses, which in turn could adversely affect Comerica. Further, any decline in these businesses or industries could cause decreased borrowings, either due to reduced demand or reductions in the borrowing base available for each customer loan.
In particular, in 2020, energy markets, which were already experiencing stress prior to the pandemic, were further impacted by the rapid decline in demand resulting from social distancing policies. Energy prices and demand improved in the latter half of 2020 as the economy began to recover, but energy markets remain uncertain. Loans in the Energy business line were $1.6 billion, or approximately 3 percent of total loans, at December 31, 2020. At December 31, 2020, the reserve allocation for Energy loans was approximately 8 percent of the Energy portfolio. If oil and gas prices continue to remain depressed for a prolonged period of time, Comerica's energy portfolio could experience increased credit losses, which could adversely affect Comerica's financial results. Furthermore, a prolonged period of low oil prices could also have a negative impact on the Texas economy, which could have a material adverse effect on Comerica’s business, financial condition and results of operations. For more information regarding Comerica's energy portfolio, please see “Energy Lending” beginning on pages F-31 through F-32 of this report.
For more information regarding certain of Comerica's other lines of business, please see "Concentrations of Credit Risk," "Commercial Real Estate Lending," "Automotive Lending- Dealer," "Automotive Lending- Production," and "Residential Real Estate Lending" on pages F-29 through F-31 of the Financial Section of this report.
Additionally, certain industries have been particularly susceptible to the effects of the pandemic, such as retail commercial real estate, retail goods and services, hotels, arts/recreation, airlines, restaurants and bars, childcare, coffee shops, cruise lines, education, gasoline and convenience stores, religious organizations, senior living, freight and travel
arrangements, and Comerica has outstanding loans to clients in these industries, as described below under "Other Sectors Most at Risk due to Economic Stress Resulting from COVID-19 Impacts" on page F-32 of the Financial Section of this report.
•Changes in customer behavior due to outside factors may adversely impact Comerica's business, financial condition and results of operations.
Individual, economic, political, industry-specific conditions and other factors outside of Comerica's control, such as pandemics, fuel prices, energy costs, tariffs, real estate values or other factors that affect customer income levels, could alter predicted customer borrowing, repayment, investment and deposit practices. Such a change in these practices could materially adversely affect Comerica's ability to anticipate business needs and meet regulatory requirements.
Further, difficult economic conditions may negatively affect consumer confidence levels. A decrease in consumer confidence levels would likely aggravate the adverse effects of these difficult market conditions on Comerica, Comerica's customers and others in the financial institutions industry.
•Governmental monetary and fiscal policies may adversely affect the financial services industry, and therefore impact Comerica's financial condition and results of operations.
Monetary and fiscal policies of various governmental and regulatory agencies, in particular the FRB, affect the financial services industry, directly and indirectly. The FRB regulates the supply of money and credit in the U.S., and its monetary policies determine in a large part Comerica's cost of funds for lending and investing and the return that can be earned on such loans and investments. Changes in such policies, including changes in interest rates, such as decreases in the federal funds rate in 2020, or changes in the FRB's balance sheet, influence the origination of loans, the value of investments, the generation of deposits and the rates received on loans and investment securities and paid on deposits. Changes in monetary and fiscal policies are beyond Comerica's control and difficult to predict. Comerica's financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely impacted by changes in governmental monetary and fiscal policies.
•Fluctuations in interest rates and their impact on deposit pricing could adversely affect Comerica's net interest income and balance sheet.
The operations of financial institutions such as Comerica are dependent to a large degree on net interest income, which is the difference between interest income from loans and investments and interest expense on deposits and borrowings. Prevailing economic conditions and the trade, fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government and various regulatory agencies all affect market rates of interest and the availability and cost of credit, which in turn significantly affect financial institutions' net interest income and the market value of its investment securities. The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates significantly in 2020. A continued low interest rate environment will adversely affect the interest income Comerica earns on loans and investments. For a discussion of Comerica's interest rate sensitivity, please see, “Market and Liquidity Risk” beginning on page F-33 of the Financial Section of this report.
Deposits make up a large portion of Comerica’s funding portfolio. Comerica's funding costs may increase if it raises deposit rates to avoid losing customer deposits, or if it loses customer deposits and must rely on more expensive sources of funding. Higher funding costs will reduce Comerica's net interest margin and net interest income.
Volatility in interest rates can also result in disintermediation, which is the flow of funds away from financial institutions into direct investments, such as federal government and corporate securities and other investment vehicles, which, because of the absence of federal insurance premiums and reserve requirements, generally pay higher rates of return than financial institutions. Comerica's financial results could be materially adversely impacted by changes in financial market conditions.
•Interest rates on Comerica's outstanding financial instruments might be subject to change based on developments related to LIBOR, which could adversely affect its revenue, expenses, and the value of those financial instruments.
On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, publicly announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. Comerica has substantial exposure to LIBOR-based products, including loans, securities, derivatives and hedges, and Comerica and the banking industry are preparing to transition away from the widespread use of LIBOR to alternative rates. Comerica began indexing new retail adjustable rate mortgages to SOFR (Secured Overnight Financing Rate) in third quarter 2020. During fourth quarter 2020, Comerica began the process of incorporating fallback language in legacy LIBOR-based commercial loans and updated International Swaps and Derivative Association (ISDA) protocols in interest rate derivatives. Comerica continues to monitor market developments and regulatory updates, including recent
announcements from the ICE Benchmark Administrator to extend the cessation date for several USD LIBOR tenors to June 30, 2023, as well as collaborate with regulators and industry groups on the transition.
The market transition away from LIBOR to an alternative reference rate is complex and could have a range of adverse effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In particular, any such transition could:
•adversely affect the interest rates paid or received on, and the revenues and expenses associated with, Comerica’s floating rate obligations, loans, deposits, derivatives, and other financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates, or other securities or financial arrangements given LIBOR’s historical role in determining market interest rates globally;
•adversely affect the value of Comerica’s floating rate obligations, loans, deposits, derivatives, and other financial instruments tied to LIBOR rates, or other securities or financial arrangements given LIBOR’s historical role in determining market interest rates globally;
•prompt inquiries or other actions from regulators in respect to Comerica’s preparation and readiness for the replacement of LIBOR with an alternative reference rate;
•result in disputes, litigation or other actions with counterparties regarding the interpretation and enforceability of certain fallback language in LIBOR-based securities; and
•require the transition to or development of appropriate systems and analytics to effectively transition Comerica’s risk management processes from LIBOR-based products to those based on the applicable alternative pricing benchmark, such as SOFR.
Approximately 73 percent of Comerica's loans at December 31, 2020 were tied to LIBOR, which excludes the impact of interest rate swaps converting floating-rate loans to fixed. More information regarding the LIBOR transition is available on pages F-34 through F-35 under "LIBOR Transition."
The manner and impact of this transition, as well as the effect of these developments on Comerica’s funding costs, loan and investment and trading securities portfolios, asset-liability management, and business, is uncertain.
•Comerica must maintain adequate sources of funding and liquidity to meet regulatory expectations, support its operations and fund outstanding liabilities.
Comerica’s liquidity and ability to fund and run its business could be materially adversely affected by a variety of conditions and factors, including financial and credit market disruptions and volatility, a lack of market or customer confidence in financial markets in general, or deposit competition based on interest rates, which may result in a loss of customer deposits or outflows of cash or collateral and/or adversely affect Comerica's ability to access capital markets on favorable terms.
Other conditions and factors that could materially adversely affect Comerica’s liquidity and funding include a lack of market or customer confidence in, or negative news about, Comerica or the financial services industry generally which also may result in a loss of deposits and/or negatively affect Comerica's ability to access the capital markets; the loss of customer deposits to alternative investments; counterparty availability; interest rate fluctuations; general economic conditions; and the legal, regulatory, accounting and tax environments governing Comerica's funding transactions. Many of the above conditions and factors may be caused by events over which Comerica has little or no control. There can be no assurance that significant disruption and volatility in the financial markets will not occur in the future. Further, Comerica's customers may be adversely impacted by such conditions, which could have a negative impact on Comerica's business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, if Comerica is unable to continue to fund assets through customer bank deposits or access funding sources on favorable terms, or if Comerica suffers an increase in borrowing costs or otherwise fails to manage liquidity effectively, Comerica’s liquidity, operating margins, financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.
•Reduction in our credit ratings could adversely affect Comerica and/or the holders of its securities.
Rating agencies regularly evaluate Comerica, and their ratings are based on a number of factors, including Comerica's financial strength as well as factors not entirely within its control, such as conditions affecting the financial services industry generally. There can be no assurance that Comerica will maintain its current ratings. In March 2020, S&P Global Ratings revised each of Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank's outlook from "Stable" to “Negative,” and in April 2020, Fitch Ratings downgraded Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank's long-term issuer default ratings by one notch from "A" to "A-." While recent credit rating actions have had little to no detrimental impact on
Comerica's profitability, borrowing costs, or ability to access the capital markets, future downgrades to Comerica's or its subsidiaries' credit ratings could adversely affect Comerica's profitability, borrowing costs, or ability to access the capital markets or otherwise have a negative effect on Comerica's results of operations or financial condition. If such a reduction placed Comerica's or its subsidiaries' credit ratings below investment grade, it could also create obligations or liabilities under the terms of existing arrangements that could increase Comerica's costs under such arrangements. Additionally, a downgrade of the credit rating of any particular security issued by Comerica or its subsidiaries could negatively affect the ability of the holders of that security to sell the securities and the prices at which any such securities may be sold.
•The soundness of other financial institutions could adversely affect Comerica.
Comerica's ability to engage in routine funding transactions could be adversely affected by the actions and commercial soundness of other financial institutions. Financial services institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty or other relationships. Comerica has exposure to many different industries and counterparties, and it routinely executes transactions with counterparties in the financial industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial banks, investment banks, mutual and hedge funds, and other institutional clients. As a result, defaults by, or even rumors or questions about, one or more financial services institutions, or the financial services industry generally, have led, and may further lead, to market-wide liquidity problems and could lead to losses or defaults by us or by other institutions. Many of these transactions could expose Comerica to credit risk in the event of default of its counterparty or client. In addition, Comerica's credit risk may be impacted when the collateral held by it cannot be monetized or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the financial instrument exposure due to Comerica. There is no assurance that any such losses would not adversely affect, possibly materially, Comerica.
•Comerica faces security risks, including denial of service attacks, hacking, social engineering attacks targeting Comerica’s colleagues and customers, malware intrusion or data corruption attempts, and identity theft that could result in the disclosure of confidential information, adversely affect its business or reputation, and create significant legal and financial exposure.
Comerica’s computer systems and network infrastructure and those of third parties, on which Comerica is highly dependent, are subject to security risks and could be susceptible to cyber attacks, such as denial of service attacks, hacking, terrorist activities or identity theft. Comerica’s business relies on the secure processing, transmission, storage and retrieval of confidential, proprietary and other information in its computer and data management systems and networks, and in the computer and data management systems and networks of third parties. In addition, to access Comerica’s network, products and services, its customers and other third parties may use personal mobile devices or computing devices that are outside of its network environment and are subject to their own cybersecurity risks.
Cyber attacks could include computer viruses, malicious or destructive code, phishing attacks, denial of service or information, ransomware, improper access by employees or vendors, attacks on personal email of employees, ransom demands to not expose security vulnerabilities in Comerica's systems or the systems of third parties, or other security breaches, and could result in the destruction or exfiltration of data and systems. As cyber threats continue to evolve, Comerica may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance its protective measures or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities or incidents. Despite efforts to ensure the integrity of Comerica’s systems and implement controls, processes, policies and other protective measures, Comerica may not be able to anticipate all security breaches, nor may it be able to implement guaranteed preventive measures against such security breaches. Cyber threats are rapidly evolving and Comerica may not be able to anticipate or prevent all such attacks and could be held liable for any security breach or loss.
Although Comerica has programs in place related to business continuity, disaster recovery and information security to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its systems, business applications and customer information, such disruptions may still give rise to interruptions in service to customers and loss or liability to Comerica, including loss of customer data. Like other financial services firms, Comerica and its third party providers continue to be the subject of cyber attacks. Although to this date Comerica has not experienced any material losses or other material consequences related to cyber attacks, future cyber attacks could be more disruptive and damaging, and Comerica may not be able to anticipate or prevent all such attacks. Further, cyber attacks may not be detected in a timely manner.
Cyber attacks or other information or security breaches, whether directed at Comerica or third parties, may result in a material loss or have material consequences. Furthermore, the public perception that a cyber attack on Comerica’s systems has been successful, whether or not this perception is correct, may damage its reputation with customers and third parties with whom it does business. Hacking of personal information and identity theft risks, in particular, could cause serious reputational harm. A successful penetration or circumvention of system security could cause Comerica serious negative consequences, including loss of customers and business opportunities, costs associated with
maintaining business relationships after an attack or breach; significant business disruption to Comerica’s operations and business, misappropriation, exposure, or destruction of its confidential information, intellectual property, funds, and/or those of its customers; or damage to Comerica’s or Comerica’s customers’ and/or third parties’ computers or systems, and could result in a violation of applicable privacy laws and other laws, litigation exposure, regulatory fines, penalties or intervention, loss of confidence in Comerica’s security measures, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensatory costs, additional compliance costs, and could adversely impact its results of operations, liquidity and financial condition. In addition, although Comerica maintains insurance coverage that may cover certain cyber losses (subject to policy terms and conditions), we may not have adequate insurance coverage to compensate for losses from a cybersecurity event.
•Cybersecurity and data privacy are areas of heightened legislative and regulatory focus.
As cybersecurity and data privacy risks for banking organizations and the broader financial system have significantly increased in recent years, cybersecurity and data privacy issues have become the subject of increasing legislative and regulatory focus. The federal bank regulatory agencies have proposed enhanced cyber risk management standards, which would apply to a wide range of large financial institutions and their third-party service providers, including Comerica and its bank subsidiaries, and would focus on cyber risk governance and management, management of internal and external dependencies, and incident response, cyber resilience and situational awareness. Several states have also proposed or adopted cybersecurity legislation and regulations, which require, among other things, notification to affected individuals when there has been a security breach of their personal data. For more information regarding cybersecurity regulation, refer to the “Supervision and Regulation” section of this report.
Comerica receives, maintains and stores non-public personal information of Comerica’s customers and counterparties, including, but not limited to, personally identifiable information and personal financial information. The sharing, use, disclosure and protection of this information are governed by federal and state law. Both personally identifiable information and personal financial information is increasingly subject to legislation and regulation, the intent of which is to protect the privacy of personal information that is collected and handled. For example, in June of 2018, the Governor of California signed into law the CCPA. The CCPA, which became effective on January 1, 2020, applies to for-profit businesses that conduct business in California and meet certain revenue or data collection thresholds, including Comerica. For more information regarding data privacy regulation, refer to the “Supervision and Regulation” section of this report.
Comerica may become subject to new legislation or regulation concerning cybersecurity or the privacy of personally identifiable information and personal financial information or of any other information Comerica may store or maintain. Comerica could be adversely affected if new legislation or regulations are adopted or if existing legislation or regulations are modified such that Comerica is required to alter its systems or require changes to its business practices or privacy policies. If cybersecurity, data privacy, data protection, data transfer or data retention laws are implemented, interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with Comerica’s current practices, it may be subject to fines, litigation or regulatory enforcement actions or ordered to change its business practices, policies or systems in a manner that adversely impacts Comerica’s operating results.
•Comerica’s operational or security systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties, could fail or be breached, which could disrupt Comerica’s business and adversely impact Comerica’s results of operations, liquidity and financial condition, as well as cause legal or reputational harm.
The potential for operational risk exposure exists throughout Comerica’s business and, as a result of its interactions with, and reliance on, third parties, is not limited to Comerica’s own internal operational functions. Comerica's operations rely on the secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential and other information on its technology systems and networks. These networks are subject to infrastructure failures, ongoing system maintenance and upgrades and planned network outages. The increased use of mobile and cloud technologies, as well as the increase in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, can heighten these and other operational risks. Any failure, interruption or breach in security of these systems could result in failures or disruptions in Comerica's customer relationship management, general ledger, deposit, loan and other systems.
Comerica relies on its employees and third parties in its day-to-day and ongoing operations, who may, as a result of human error, misconduct, malfeasance or failure, or breach of Comerica’s or of third-party systems or infrastructure, expose Comerica to risk. For example, Comerica’s ability to conduct business may be adversely affected by any significant disruptions to Comerica or to third parties with whom Comerica interacts or upon whom it relies. Although Comerica has programs in place related to business continuity, disaster recovery and information security to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of its systems, business applications and customer information, such disruptions may still give rise to interruptions in service to customers and loss or liability to Comerica, including loss
of customer data. In addition, Comerica’s ability to implement backup systems and other safeguards with respect to third-party systems is more limited than with respect to its own systems.
Comerica’s financial, accounting, data processing, backup or other operating or security systems and infrastructure may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors, including events that are wholly or partially beyond its control, which could adversely affect its ability to process transactions or provide services. Such events may include sudden increases in customer transaction volume and/or customer activity; electrical, telecommunications or other major physical infrastructure outages; natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods; disease pandemics; cyber attacks; and events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including wars and terrorist acts.
The occurrence of any failure or interruption in Comerica's operations or information systems, or any security breach, could cause reputational damage, jeopardize the confidentiality of customer information, result in a loss of customer business, subject Comerica to regulatory intervention or expose it to civil litigation and financial loss or liability, any of which could have a material adverse effect on Comerica.
•Comerica relies on other companies to provide certain key components of its delivery systems, and certain failures could materially adversely affect operations.
Comerica faces the risk of operational disruption, failure or capacity constraints due to its dependency on third party vendors for components of its delivery systems. Third party vendors provide certain key components of Comerica's delivery systems, such as cloud-based computing, networking and storage services, payment processing services, recording and monitoring services, internet connections and network access, clearing agency services, card processing services and trust processing services. While Comerica conducts due diligence prior to engaging with third party vendors and performs ongoing monitoring of vendor controls, it does not control their operations. Further, while Comerica's vendor management policies and practices are designed to comply with current regulations, these policies and practices cannot eliminate this risk. In this context, any vendor failure to properly deliver these services could adversely affect Comerica’s business operations, and result in financial loss, reputational harm, and/or regulatory action.
•Legal and regulatory proceedings and related matters with respect to the financial services industry, including those directly involving Comerica and its subsidiaries, could adversely affect Comerica or the financial services industry in general.
Comerica has been, and may in the future be, subject to various legal and regulatory proceedings. It is inherently difficult to assess the outcome of these matters, and there can be no assurance that Comerica will prevail in any proceeding or litigation. Any such matter could result in substantial cost and diversion of Comerica's efforts, which by itself could have a material adverse effect on Comerica's financial condition and operating results. Further, adverse determinations in such matters could result in fines or actions by Comerica's regulators that could materially adversely affect Comerica's business, financial condition or results of operations.
Comerica establishes reserves for legal claims when payments associated with the claims become probable and the costs can be reasonably estimated. Comerica may still incur legal costs for a matter even if it has not established a reserve. In addition, due to the inherent subjectivity of the assessments and unpredictability of the outcome of legal proceedings, the actual cost of resolving a legal claim may be substantially higher than any amounts reserved for that matter. The ultimate resolution of a pending legal proceeding, depending on the remedy sought and granted, could adversely affect Comerica's results of operations and financial condition.
•Comerica may incur losses due to fraud.
Fraudulent activity can take many forms and has escalated as more tools for accessing financial services emerge, such as real-time payments. Fraud schemes are broad and continuously evolving. Examples include but are not limited to: debit card/credit card fraud, check fraud, mechanical devices attached to ATM machines, social engineering and phishing attacks to obtain personal information, impersonation of our clients through the use of falsified or stolen credentials, employee fraud, information theft and other malfeasance. Increased deployment of technologies, such as chip card technology, defray and reduce aspects of fraud; however, criminals are turning to other sources to steal personally identifiable information in order to impersonate the consumer to commit fraud. Many of these data compromises have been widely reported in the media. Further, as a result of the increased sophistication of fraud activity, Comerica continues to invest in systems, resources, and controls to detect and prevent fraud. This will result in continued ongoing investments in the future.
•Controls and procedures may not prevent or detect all errors or acts of fraud.
Controls and procedures are designed to provide reasonable assurance that information required to be disclosed in reports Comerica files or submits under the Exchange Act is accurately accumulated and communicated to management, and recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC's rules and forms. Disclosure controls and procedures or internal controls and procedures, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met, due to certain inherent limitations. These limitations include the realities that judgments in decision making can be faulty, that alternative reasoned judgments can be drawn, that breakdowns can occur because of an error or mistake, or that controls may be fraudulently circumvented. Accordingly, because of the inherent limitations in control systems, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
•Changes in regulation or oversight may have a material adverse impact on Comerica's operations.
Comerica is subject to extensive regulation, supervision and examination by the U.S. Treasury, the Texas Department of Banking, the FDIC, the FRB, the OCC, the CFPB, the CFTC, the SEC, FINRA, DOL, MSRB and other regulatory bodies. Such regulation and supervision governs and limits the activities in which Comerica may engage. Regulatory authorities have extensive discretion in their supervisory and enforcement activities, including the imposition of restrictions on Comerica's operations and ability to make acquisitions, investigations and limitations related to Comerica's securities, the classification of Comerica's assets and determination of the level of Comerica's allowance for loan losses. Any change in such regulation and oversight, whether in the form of regulatory policy, regulations, legislation or supervisory action, may have a material adverse impact on Comerica's business, financial condition or results of operations. The impact of any future legislation or regulatory actions may adversely affect Comerica's businesses or operations. It is too soon for Comerica to predict what legislative or regulatory changes may occur as a result of the change in leadership resulting from the recent elections, or, if changes occur, the ultimate effect they would have upon the financial condition or results of operations of Comerica.
•Compliance with stringent capital requirements may adversely affect Comerica.
Comerica is required to satisfy stringent regulatory capital standards, as set forth in the “Supervision and Regulation” section of this report. These requirements, and any other new laws or regulations related to capital and liquidity, could adversely affect Comerica's ability to pay dividends or make share repurchases, or could require Comerica to reduce business levels or to raise capital, including in ways that may adversely affect its results of operations or financial condition and/or existing shareholders. Maintaining higher levels of capital may reduce Comerica's profitability and otherwise adversely affect its business, financial condition, or results of operations.
•Tax regulations could be subject to potential legislative, administrative or judicial changes or interpretations.
Federal income tax treatment of corporations may be clarified and/or modified by legislative, administrative or judicial changes or interpretations at any time. Any such changes could adversely affect Comerica, either directly, or indirectly as a result of effects on Comerica's customers. For example, the current administration has indicated it may propose increases to the federal corporate statutory tax rate. An increase in the federal corporate tax rate may increase Comerica’s tax provision expense. We are unable to predict whether these changes, or other proposals, will ultimately be enacted.
•Damage to Comerica’s reputation could damage its businesses.
Reputational risk is an increasing concern for businesses as customers are interested in doing business with companies they admire and trust. Such risks include compliance issues, operational challenges, or a strategic, high profile event. Comerica's business is based on the trust of its customers, communities, and entire value chain, which makes managing reputational risk extremely important. News or other publicity that impairs Comerica's reputation, or the reputation of the financial services industry generally, can therefore cause significant harm to Comerica’s business and prospects. Further, adverse publicity or negative information posted on social media websites regarding Comerica, whether or not true, may result in harm to Comerica’s prospects.
•Comerica may not be able to utilize technology to efficiently and effectively develop, market, and deliver new products and services to its customers.
The financial services industry experiences rapid technological change with regular introductions of new technology-driven products and services. The ability to access and use technology is an increasingly important competitive factor in the financial services industry, and having the right technology is a critically important component to customer
satisfaction. As well, the efficient and effective utilization of technology enables financial institutions to reduce costs. Comerica's future success depends, in part, upon its ability to address the needs of its customers by using technology to market and deliver products and services that will satisfy customer demands, meet regulatory requirements, and create additional efficiencies in Comerica's operations. Comerica may not be able to effectively develop new technology-driven products and services or be successful in marketing or supporting these products and services to its customers, which could have a material adverse impact on Comerica's financial condition and results of operations.
•Competitive product and pricing pressures within Comerica's markets may change.
Comerica operates in a very competitive environment, which is characterized by competition from a number of other financial institutions in each market in which it operates. Comerica competes largely on the basis of industry expertise, the range of products and services offered, pricing and reputation, customer convenience, quality customer service and responsiveness to customer needs and the overall relationship with our clients. Our competitors are large national and regional financial institutions as well as smaller financial institutions. Some of Comerica's larger competitors, including certain nationwide banks that have a significant presence in Comerica's market area, may make available to their customers a broader array of product, pricing and structure alternatives and, due to their asset size, may more easily absorb credit losses in a larger overall portfolio. Some of Comerica's competitors (larger or smaller) may have more liberal lending policies and processes. Increasingly, Comerica competes with other companies based on financial technology and capabilities, such as mobile banking applications and funds transfer.
Additionally, the financial services industry is subject to extensive regulation. For more information, see the “Supervision and Regulation” section of this report. Such regulations may require significant additional investments in technology, personnel or other resources or place limitations on the ability of financial institutions, including Comerica, to engage in certain activities. Comerica's competitors may be subject to a significantly different or reduced degree of regulation due to their asset size or types of products offered. They may also have the ability to more efficiently utilize resources to comply with regulations or may be able to more effectively absorb the costs of regulations into their existing cost structure.
In addition to banks, Comerica's banking subsidiaries also face competition from other financial intermediaries, including savings and loan associations, consumer and commercial finance companies, leasing companies, venture capital funds, credit unions, investment banks, insurance companies and securities firms. Competition among providers of financial products and services continues to increase as technology advances have lowered the barriers to entry for financial technology companies, with customers having the opportunity to select from a growing variety of traditional and nontraditional alternatives, including crowdfunding, digital wallets and money transfer services. The ability of non-banking financial institutions to provide services previously limited to commercial banks has intensified competition. Because non-banking financial institutions are not subject to many of the same regulatory restrictions as banks and bank holding companies, they can often operate with greater flexibility and lower cost structures.
If Comerica is unable to compete effectively in products and pricing in its markets, business could decline, which could have a material adverse effect on Comerica's business, financial condition or results of operations.
•The introduction, implementation, withdrawal, success and timing of business initiatives and strategies may be less successful or may be different than anticipated, which could adversely affect Comerica's business.
Comerica makes certain projections and develops plans and strategies for its banking and financial products. If Comerica does not accurately determine demand for its banking and financial product needs, it could result in Comerica incurring significant expenses without the anticipated increases in revenue, which could result in a material adverse effect on its business.
•Management's ability to maintain and expand customer relationships may differ from expectations.
The financial services industry is very competitive. Comerica not only vies for business opportunities with new customers, but also competes to maintain and expand the relationships it has with its existing customers. While management believes that it can continue to grow many of these relationships, Comerica will continue to experience pressures to maintain these relationships as its competitors attempt to capture its customers. Failure to create new customer relationships and to maintain and expand existing customer relationships to the extent anticipated may adversely impact Comerica's earnings.
•Management's ability to retain key officers and employees may change.
Comerica's future operating results depend substantially upon the continued service of its executive officers and key personnel. Comerica's future operating results also depend in significant part upon its ability to attract and retain qualified management, financial, technical, marketing, sales and support personnel. Competition for qualified personnel is intense, and Comerica cannot ensure success in attracting or retaining qualified personnel. There may be
only a limited number of persons with the requisite skills to serve in these positions, and it may be increasingly difficult for Comerica to hire personnel over time.
Further, Comerica's ability to retain key officers and employees may be impacted by legislation and regulation affecting the financial services industry. In 2016, the FRB, OCC and several other federal financial regulators revised and re-proposed rules to implement Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act. Section 956 directed regulators to jointly prescribe regulations or guidelines prohibiting incentive-based payment arrangements, or any feature of any such arrangement, at covered financial institutions that encourage inappropriate risks by providing excessive compensation or that could lead to a material financial loss. Consistent with the Dodd-Frank Act, the proposed rule would impose heightened standards for institutions with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets, which includes Comerica. For these larger institutions, the proposed rule would require the deferral of at least 40 percent of incentive-based payments for designated executives and significant risk-takers who individually have the ability to expose the institution to possible losses that are substantial in relation to the institution's size, capital or overall risk tolerance. Moreover, incentive-based compensation of these individuals would be subject to potential clawback for seven years following vesting. Further, the rule imposes enhanced risk management controls and governance and internal policy and procedure requirements with respect to incentive compensation. Accordingly, Comerica may be at a disadvantage to offer competitive compensation compared to other financial institutions (as referenced above) or companies in other industries, which may not be subject to the same requirements.
Comerica's business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by the loss of any of its key employees, or Comerica's inability to attract and retain skilled employees.
•Any future strategic acquisitions or divestitures may present certain risks to Comerica's business and operations.
Difficulties in capitalizing on the opportunities presented by a future acquisition may prevent Comerica from fully achieving the expected benefits from the acquisition, or may cause the achievement of such expectations to take longer to realize than expected.
Further, the assimilation of any acquired entity's customers and markets could result in higher than expected deposit attrition, loss of key employees, disruption of Comerica's businesses or the businesses of the acquired entity or otherwise adversely affect Comerica's ability to maintain relationships with customers and employees or achieve the anticipated benefits of the acquisition. These matters could have an adverse effect on Comerica for an undetermined period. Comerica would be subject to similar risks and difficulties in connection with any future decisions to downsize, sell or close units or otherwise change the business mix of Comerica.
•The COVID-19 pandemic has and will likely continue to adversely impact our business, and the ultimate impact on our business and financial results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic and actions taken by governmental authorities in response to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the global economy, disrupted global supply chains, lowered equity market valuations, created significant volatility and disruption in financial markets, and increased unemployment levels. In addition, the pandemic has resulted in temporary closures of many businesses and the institution of social distancing and sheltering in place requirements in many states and communities. As a result, the demand for our products and services has been, and is expected to continue to be, significantly impacted. Furthermore, the pandemic has influenced and could further influence the recognition of credit losses in our loan portfolios and has increased and could further increase our allowance for credit losses, particularly as some businesses remain closed or are forced to close again and as more customers may draw on their lines of credit or seek additional loans to help finance their businesses. Certain industries have been particularly susceptible to the effects of the pandemic, such as retail commercial real estate, retail goods and services, hotels, arts/recreation, airlines, restaurants and bars, childcare, coffee shops, cruise lines, education, gasoline and convenience stores, religious organizations, senior living, freight and travel arrangements, and Comerica has outstanding loans to clients in these industries, as described below under "Other Sectors Most at Risk due to Economic Stress Resulting from COVID-19 Impacts" on page F-32. Similarly, because of changing economic and market conditions affecting issuers, the securities we hold may lose value. We have temporarily closed and/or limited access to certain of our branches and offices or may do so in the future, and our business operations may also be disrupted if significant portions of our workforce are unable to work effectively long-term, including because of illness, quarantines, government actions, or other restrictions in connection with the pandemic. In response to the pandemic, we have also enacted hardship relief assistance for customers experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19, including fee and penalty waivers, loan deferrals or other scenarios that may help our customers. As of December 31, 2020, pandemic-related payment deferrals totaled $141 million,
representing approximately 100 obligors and consisting of 42 percent commercial loans and 58 percent retail loans, primarily residential mortgages.
As well, we are a lender for the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") and other SBA, Federal Reserve or United States Treasury programs that have been or may be created in the future in response to the pandemic. These programs are new and their effects on Comerica's business are uncertain. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our business, results of operations, and financial condition, as well as our regulatory capital and liquidity ratios, will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic and actions taken by governmental authorities and other third parties in response to the pandemic.
•General political, economic or industry conditions, either domestically or internationally, may be less favorable than expected.
Local, domestic, and international events including economic, financial market, political and industry specific conditions affect the financial services industry, directly and indirectly. The economic environment and market conditions in which Comerica operates continue to be uncertain. The U.S. economy contracted into a recession with unusual speed and force in the first half of 2020, ending the longest expansionary period in U.S. history. The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve responded to the pandemic with unprecedented measures. In addition to the Federal Reserve reducing the target federal funds rate to zero to 0.25 percent, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that included an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package. Although the U.S. economy began to recover in third quarter 2020 as social distancing policies loosened, economic metrics in fourth quarter 2020 indicate an uneven path to recovery. In December 2020, Congress amended the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to provide an additional $900 billion of stimulus relief to mitigate the continued impacts of the pandemic. While certain factors point to improving economic conditions, uncertainty remains regarding the path of the economic recovery, the mitigating impacts of government interventions, the success of vaccine distribution and the efficacy of administered vaccines, as well as the effects of the change in leadership resulting from the recent elections. Conditions related to inflation, recession, unemployment, volatile interest rates, international conflicts, changes in trade policies and other factors, such as real estate values, energy prices, state and local municipal budget deficits, government spending and the U.S. national debt, outside of our control may, directly and indirectly, adversely affect Comerica.
•Methods of reducing risk exposures might not be effective.
Instruments, systems and strategies used to hedge or otherwise manage exposure to various types of credit, market, liquidity, technology, operational, compliance, financial reporting and strategic risks could be less effective than anticipated. As a result, Comerica may not be able to effectively mitigate its risk exposures in particular market environments or against particular types of risk, which could have a material adverse impact on Comerica's business, financial condition or results of operations.
For more information regarding risk management, please see "Risk Management" on pages F-22 through F-38 of the Financial Section of this report.
•Catastrophic events may adversely affect the general economy, financial and capital markets, specific industries, and Comerica.
Acts of terrorism, cyber-terrorism, political unrest, war, civil disturbance, armed regional and international hostilities and international responses to these hostilities, natural disasters (including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, droughts and floods), global health risks or pandemics, or the threat of or perceived potential for these events could have a negative