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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
                
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
Commission File Number: 001-35039 

BankUnited, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware27-0162450
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
14817 Oak LaneMiami LakesFL33016
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (305569-2000 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
ClassTrading SymbolName of Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $0.01 Par ValueBKUNew York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No
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 ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, 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
Accelerated filer
 ☐
Emerging growth company
Non-accelerated filer
Smaller reporting 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.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes    No  ☒ 
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2020 was $1,852,385,492

The number of outstanding shares of the registrant common stock, $0.01 par value, as of February 24, 2021 was 92,862,055.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Portions of the registrant's definitive proxy statement for the 2021 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K in response to Part II. Item 5 and Part III. Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14.



BANKUNITED, INC.
Form 10-K
For the Year Ended December 31, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
  Page
 



i


GLOSSARY OF DEFINED TERMS

The following acronyms and terms may be used throughout this Form 10-K, including the consolidated financial statements and related notes.
ACI
Loans acquired with evidence of deterioration in credit quality since origination (Acquired Credit Impaired)
ACLAllowance for credit losses
AFSAvailable for sale
ALCOAsset/Liability Committee
ALLLAllowance for loan and lease losses
AOCIAccumulated other comprehensive income
APYAnnual Percentage Yield
ARMAdjustable rate mortgage
ASCAccounting Standards Codification
ASUAccounting Standards Update
Basel CommitteeInternational Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
BHC ActBank Holding Company Act of 1956
BHCBank holding company
BKUBankUnited, Inc.
BankUnitedBankUnited, National Association
The BankBankUnited, National Association
BridgeBridge Funding Group, Inc.
Buyout loansFHA and VA insured mortgages from third party servicers who have exercised their right to purchase these loans out of GNMA securitizations
CARES ActCoronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
CCACloud Computing Arrangements
CECLCurrent expected credit losses
CET1Common Equity Tier 1 capital
CFPBConsumer Financial Protection Bureau
C&ICommercial and Industrial
CLOCollateralized loan obligations
CMBSCommercial mortgage-backed securities
CMEChicago Mercantile Exchange
CMOsCollateralized mortgage obligations
Commercial Shared-Loss AgreementA commercial and other loans shared-loss agreement entered into with the FDIC in connection with the FSB Acquisition
Covered loansLoans covered under the Loss Sharing Agreements
COVID-19Coronavirus disease of 2019
CRACommunity Reinvestment Act
CRECommercial real estate
DFASTDodd-Frank Act Stress Test
DIFDeposit insurance fund
DSCRDebt Service Coverage Ratio
EPSEarnings per common share
EVEEconomic value of equity
FASBFinancial Accounting Standards Board
ExIm BankExport–Import Bank of the United States
FDIAFederal Deposit Insurance Act
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FDICFederal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FHAFederal Housing Administration
FHLBFederal Home Loan Bank
FICOFair Isaac Corporation (credit score)
FRBFederal Reserve Bank
FSB AcquisitionAcquisition of substantially all of the assets and assumption of all of the non-brokered deposits and substantially all of the other liabilities of BankUnited, FSB from the FDIC on May 21, 2009
GAAPU.S. generally accepted accounting principles
GDPGross Domestic Product
GLB ActThe Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999
GNMAGovernment National Mortgage Association
HPIHome price indices
HTMHeld to maturity
IPOInitial public offering
ISDAInternational Swaps and Derivatives Association
LGDLoss Given Default
LIBORLondon InterBank Offered Rate
Loss Sharing AgreementsTwo loss sharing agreements entered into with the FDIC in connection with the FSB Acquisition
LTVLoan-to-value
MBSMortgage-backed securities
MSAMetropolitan Statistical Area
MSLFFederal Reserve Main Street Lending Facility
MSRsMortgage servicing rights
NRSRONationally recognized statistical rating organization
NYSENew York Stock Exchange
OFACU.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control
OREOOther real estate owned
OTTIOther than temporary impairment
PCDPurchased credit-deteriorated
PDProbability of default
PinnaclePinnacle Public Finance, Inc.
PPNRPre-tax, pre-provision net revenue
PPPSmall Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program
PPPLFFRB Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility
Proxy StatementDefinitive proxy statement for the Company's 2021 annual meeting of stockholders
PSUPerformance Share Unit
ROU AssetRight-of-use Asset
RSURestricted Share Unit
SARShare Appreciation Right
SBAU.S. Small Business Administration
SECSecurities and Exchange Commission
Single Family Shared-Loss AgreementA single-family loan shared-loss agreement entered into with the FDIC in connection with the FSB Acquisition
SOFRSecured Overnight Financing Rate
S&P 500Standard & Poor's 500 Index
TDRTroubled-debt restructuring
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Tri-StateNew York, New Jersey and Connecticut
UPBUnpaid principal balance
USDAU.S. Department of Agriculture
VA loanLoan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
VIEsVariable interest entities
VIXCBOE Volatility Index
WARMWeighted-average remaining maturity
2010 Plan2010 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan
2014 Plan2014 Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan
401(k) PlanBankUnited 401(k) Plan

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Forward-Looking Statements
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "anticipate," "expect," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "estimate," "project," "predict," "will" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements.
These forward-looking statements are based on management's current views with respect to future results, and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements are based on beliefs and assumptions made by management using currently available information, such as market and industry materials, historical performance and current financial trends. These statements are only predictions and are not guarantees of future performance. The inclusion of forward-looking statements should not be regarded as a representation by the Company that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by a forward-looking statement will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties and assumptions, including those relating to the Company's operations, financial results, financial condition, business prospects, growth strategy and liquidity, including as impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or if the Company's underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, the Company's actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by a forward-looking statement. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation:
impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company's business operations, financial condition and results of operations;
strategic risk:
an inability to successfully execute our core business strategy;
competition;
natural or man-made disasters, social or health care crises or political unrest;
loss of executive officers or key personnel;
climate change or societal responses thereto;
credit risk inherent in the business of making loans and embedded in our securities portfolio:
inadequate allowance for credit losses:
the accuracy and completeness of information about counterparties and borrowers;
real estate market conditions, real estate valuations and other risks related to holding loans secured by real estate or real estate received in satisfaction of loans;
geographic concentration of the Company's markets in Florida and the New York tri-state area;
fluctuations in demand for and valuation of equipment under operating lease;
interest rate risk, including risks related to reference rate reform;
liquidity risk;
an inability to maintain adequate liquidity
restrictions on the ability of BankUnited, N.A. to pay dividends to BankUnited, Inc.;
risks related to the regulation of our industry;
operational risk:
inadequate or inaccurate forecasting tools and models;
inability to successfully launch new products, services, or business initiatives;
susceptibility to fraud, risk or errors;
dependence on information technology and third party service providers and the risk of systems failures, interruptions or breaches of security or inability to keep pace with technological change;
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reputational risk;
a variety of compliance and legal risks;
the impact of conditions in the financial markets and economic conditions generally;
ineffective risk management or internal controls; and
the selection and application of accounting policies and methods and related assumptions and estimates.
Additional factors are set forth in the Company's filings with the SEC, including this Annual Report on Form 10-K
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
As used herein, the terms the "Company," "we," "us," and "our" refer to BankUnited, Inc. and its subsidiaries unless the context otherwise requires.
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PART I - FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Item 1. Business
Overview
BankUnited, Inc., with total consolidated assets of $35.0 billion at December 31, 2020, is a bank holding company with one direct wholly-owned subsidiary, BankUnited, collectively, the Company. BankUnited, a national banking association headquartered in Miami Lakes, Florida, provides a full range of commercial lending and both commercial and consumer deposit services through banking centers located in Florida and the New York metropolitan area. The Bank also provides certain commercial lending and deposit products through national platforms and certain consumer deposit products through an online channel. Our core business strategy is to continue to build a leading regional commercial and small business bank, with a distinctive value proposition based on strong service-oriented relationships, robust digital enabled customer experiences and operational excellence, with an entrepreneurial work environment that empowers employees to deliver their best. To date, we have executed our strategy primarily through organic growth.
The Company was formed in 2009, when BankUnited entered into a Purchase and Assumption Agreement with the FDIC and acquired substantially all of the assets and assumed all of the non-brokered deposits and substantially all of the other liabilities of BankUnited FSB from the FDIC in the FSB Acquisition. Concurrently, BankUnited entered into the Single Family Shared-Loss Agreement and the Commercial Shared-Loss Agreement with the FDIC. The Commercial Shared-Loss Agreement terminated in 2014, and the Single Family Shared-Loss Agreement terminated in February, 2019. The Shared-Loss Agreements, assets formerly covered under the terms of those agreements, and transactions involving those assets have not had a material impact on the Company's financial condition or results of operations since the year ended December 31, 2018.
Our Products and Services
Lending and Leasing
General—Our primary lending focus is to serve small, middle-market and larger corporate businesses with a variety of financial products and services, while maintaining a disciplined credit culture. We offer a full array of lending products that cater to our customers' needs and have attracted and invested in experienced relationship management teams in our primary lending markets.
Commercial loans—Our commercial loans, which are generally made to growing small business, middle-market and larger corporate entities and non-profit organizations, include secured and unsecured lines of credit, formula-based lines of credit, equipment loans, owner-occupied commercial real estate term loans and lines of credit, mortgage warehouse lines, letters of credit, commercial credit cards, SBA and USDA product offerings, Export-Import Bank financing products, trade finance and business acquisition finance credit facilities. The Bank is also supporting its customers through participation in government programs such as the Small Business Administration's PPP and the Federal Reserve's MSLF.
Through the Bank's two commercial lending subsidiaries, Pinnacle and Bridge, we provide municipal, equipment and franchise financing on a national basis. Pinnacle, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, provides financing to state and local governmental entities directly and through vendor programs and alliances. Pinnacle offers a full array of financing structures including essential use equipment lease purchase and loan agreements and direct (private placement) bond refundings. Bridge, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, offers large corporate and middle market businesses equipment loans and leases including finance lease and operating lease structures through its equipment finance division. Bridge offers franchise equipment, acquisition and expansion financing through its franchise division.
Commercial real estate loans—We offer term financing for the acquisition or refinancing of properties, primarily rental apartments, mixed-use commercial properties, industrial properties, warehouses, retail shopping centers, free-standing single-tenant buildings, office buildings and hotels. Other products that we provide include real estate secured lines of credit, lending to REITs and institutional asset owners, subscription lines of credit to real estate funds, and, to a limited extent, acquisition, development and construction loan facilities and construction financing.
Residential mortgages—We do not originate residential loans, but do invest in residential loans originated through correspondent channels and community partners. Our residential loan portfolio is primarily comprised of loans purchased on a national basis through select correspondent channels. This national purchase program allows us to diversify our loan portfolio, both by product type and geography. Residential loans purchased are primarily closed-end, first lien jumbo mortgages for the purchase or re-finance of owner occupied property. A limited portion of the portfolio is secured by investor-owned properties. We do not originate or purchase negatively amortizing or sub-prime residential loans. We also acquire non-performing FHA and VA insured mortgages from third party servicers who have exercised their right to purchase these loans out of GNMA
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securitizations. Such loans that re-perform, either through modification or self-cure, may be eligible for re-securitization. The Company and the servicer share in the economics of the sale of these loans into new securitizations.
Other consumer loans— We do not originate, or currently intend to originate a significant amount of consumer loans. Home equity loans and lines of credit and other consumer loans are not significant components of our loan portfolio or of our lending strategy.
Credit risk management - Credit is analyzed, approved and managed through our line of defense framework as prescribed in our credit policies and procedures as follows. Credit is:
Analyzed within our first line of defense in accordance with our credit procedures;
Approved within our second line of defense in accordance with our risk-based delegated credit approval framework; and
Managed by our first and second lines of defense based upon the credit’s risk and performance characteristics.
Asset oversight committees meet at least quarterly and provide oversight of key credit governance, transactional, and credit management functions. These committees include:
Credit Risk Management Committee with responsibilities including credit governance policies and procedures and changes thereto and establishing and maintaining the delegated credit approval framework;

Executive Credit Committee with responsibilities including transactional credit approval for large and/or complex credit exposures as well as the approval of periodic asset monitoring reports for large and/or complex credit exposures;

Criticized Asset Committee with responsibilities including the evaluation and oversight of higher risk assets and oversight of workout and recovery functions; and

Residential Credit Risk Management Committee with responsibilities including residential and consumer portfolio performance monitoring and certain bulk purchase transactional authorities.
Our In-house Lending Limits ranging from $75 million to $150 million, are based upon loan type and are further limited by our risk-based Hold Limits that incorporate our assessment of the borrower’s financial condition and industry exposure. These limits are significantly below our legal lending limit. These limits are reviewed periodically by the Credit Risk Management Committee and approved annually by the Board of Directors.
Deposit and Treasury Solutions Products
We offer traditional deposit products including commercial and consumer checking accounts, money market deposit accounts, savings accounts and certificates of deposit with a variety of terms and rates as well as a robust suite of treasury, commercial payments and cash management services. We offer commercial and retail deposit products across our primary geographic footprint and certain commercial deposit, payments and treasury management products and services nationally. For our consumers, we also offer competitive money market and time deposit products through our online channel. Demand deposit balances are concentrated in commercial and small business accounts and our deposit growth strategy is focused on small business and middle market companies generally, as well as select industry verticals. Our service fee schedule and rates are competitive with other financial institutions in our markets.
Our Markets
Our primary banking markets are Florida and the Tri-State market of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, concentrated in the New York Metropolitan area. We believe both represent long-term attractive banking markets. In Florida, our largest concentration is in the Miami metropolitan statistical area; however, we are also focused on growth in other urban Florida markets in which we have a presence, such as the Broward, Palm Beach, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville markets. According to estimates from the United States Census Bureau and S&P Global Market Intelligence, from 2017 to 2020, Florida added approximately 800 thousand new residents, the second most of any U.S. state and had a total population of 21.9 million. According to the FDIC, at June 30, 2020, the Tri-State area had approximately $2.7 trillion in deposits, with the majority of the market concentrated in the New York metropolitan area. The Tri-State area had a total population of 31.8 million. We recently launched lending operations in Atlanta, which are not currently material to our business operations.
Pinnacle and Bridge offer lending products and the Bank provides mortgage warehouse financing on a national basis. We also offer a suite of commercial deposit, treasury solutions and cash management products nationally, primarily focused on select industry verticals. We have historically engaged in SBA lending on a national basis, selling the government guaranteed
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portion of our SBA and USDA loans on a servicing retained basis, and retaining the unguaranteed portion in portfolio. We have recently shifted our SBA lending strategy to an in-footprint strategy executed in partnership with our small business bankers and may retain the guaranteed portion of more of these loans in portfolio in the future.
Competition
Our markets are highly competitive, containing not only a large number of community and regional banks, but also a significant presence of the country's largest commercial banks. We compete with other state, national and international banks as well as savings associations, savings banks and credit unions with physical presence in our market areas or targeting our market areas digitally for deposits and loans. In addition, we compete with financial intermediaries such as FinTech companies, consumer finance companies, mortgage banking companies, insurance companies, securities firms, mutual funds and several government agencies as well as major retailers, all actively engaged in providing various types of loans and other financial services. Our largest banking competitors in the Florida market include Truist, JPMorgan Chase, PNC, Regions Bank, TD Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, First Horizon, Synovus and a number of community banks. In the Tri-State market, we also compete with, in addition to the national and international financial institutions listed, Capital One, Signature Bank, New York Community Bank, Valley National Bank, M&T Bank and numerous community banks.
Interest rates on both loans and deposits and prices of fee-based services are significant competitive factors among financial institutions generally. Other important competitive factors include convenience, quality of customer service, availability and quality of digital offerings, community reputation, continuity of personnel and services, and, in the case of larger commercial customers, relative lending limits and ability to offer sophisticated cash management and other commercial banking services. While we continue to provide competitive interest rates on both depository and lending products, we believe that we can compete most successfully by focusing on the financial needs of growing companies and small and middle-market businesses, offering them a broad range of personalized services and sophisticated cash management tools tailored to their businesses.
Regulation and Supervision
The U.S. banking industry is highly regulated under federal and state law. These regulations have a material effect on the operations of BankUnited, Inc. and its direct and indirect subsidiaries.
Statutes, regulations and policies limit the activities in which we may engage and the conduct of our permitted activities and establish capital requirements with which we must comply. The regulatory framework is intended primarily for the protection of depositors, borrowers, customers and clients, the FDIC insurance funds and the banking system as a whole, and not for the protection of our stockholders or creditors. In many cases, the applicable regulatory authorities have broad enforcement power over bank holding companies, banks and their subsidiaries, including the power to impose substantial fines and other penalties for violations of laws and regulations. Further, the regulatory system imposes reporting and information collection obligations. We incur significant costs related to compliance with these laws and regulations. Banking statutes, regulations and policies are continually under review by federal and state legislatures and regulatory agencies, and a change in them, including changes in how they are interpreted or implemented, could have a material impact on our business.
The material statutory and regulatory requirements that are applicable to us are summarized below. The description below is not intended to summarize all laws and regulations applicable to us.
Bank and Bank Holding Company Regulation
BankUnited is a national bank. As a national bank organized under the National Bank Act, BankUnited is subject to ongoing and comprehensive supervision, regulation, examination and enforcement by the OCC.
Any entity that directly or indirectly controls a bank must be approved by the Federal Reserve Board under the BHC Act to become a BHC. BHCs are subject to regulation, inspection, examination, supervision and enforcement by the Federal Reserve Board under the BHC Act. The Federal Reserve Board's jurisdiction also extends to any company that is directly or indirectly controlled by a BHC.
BankUnited, Inc., which controls BankUnited, is a BHC and, as such, is subject to ongoing and comprehensive supervision, regulation, examination and enforcement by the Federal Reserve Board.
Broad Supervision, Examination and Enforcement Powers
A principal objective of the U.S. bank regulatory system is to protect depositors by ensuring the financial safety and soundness of banking organizations. To that end, the banking regulators have broad regulatory, examination and enforcement
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authority. The regulators regularly examine the operations of banking organizations. In addition, banking organizations are subject to periodic reporting requirements.
The regulators have various remedies available if they determine that the financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity or other aspects of a banking organization's operations are unsatisfactory. The regulators may also take action if they determine that the banking organization or its management is violating or has violated any law or regulation. The regulators have the power to, among other things:
enjoin "unsafe or unsound" practices;
require affirmative actions to correct any violation or practice;
issue administrative orders that can be judicially enforced;
direct increases in capital;
direct the sale of subsidiaries or other assets;
limit dividends and distributions;
restrict growth;
assess civil monetary penalties;
remove officers and directors; and
terminate deposit insurance.
The FDIC may terminate a depository institution's deposit insurance upon a finding that the institution's financial condition is unsafe or unsound or that the institution has engaged in unsafe or unsound practices or has violated any applicable rule, regulation, order or condition enacted or imposed by the institution's regulatory agency. Engaging in unsafe or unsound practices or failing to comply with applicable laws, regulations and supervisory agreements could subject BankUnited, Inc., the Bank and their subsidiaries or their officers, directors and institution-affiliated parties to the remedies described above and other sanctions.
Notice and Approval Requirements Related to Control
Banking laws impose notice, approval, and ongoing regulatory requirements on any stockholder or other party that seeks to acquire direct or indirect "control" of an FDIC-insured depository institution. These laws include the BHC Act and the Change in Bank Control Act. Among other things, these laws require regulatory filings by individuals or companies that seek to acquire direct or indirect "control" of an FDIC-insured depository institution. The determination of whether an investor "controls" a depository institution is based on all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the investment. As a general matter, a party is deemed to control a depository institution or other company if the party owns or controls 25% or more of any class of voting stock. Subject to rebuttal, a party may be presumed to control a depository institution or other company if the investor owns or controls 10% or more of any class of voting stock. Except under limited circumstances, BHCs are prohibited from acquiring, without prior approval, control of any other bank or BHC or substantially all the assets thereof or more than 5% of the voting shares of a bank or BHC which is not already a subsidiary.
Permissible Activities and Investments
Banking laws generally restrict the ability of BankUnited, Inc. to engage in activities other than those determined by the Federal Reserve Board to be so closely related to banking as to be a proper incident thereto. The GLB Act expanded the scope of permissible activities for a BHC that qualifies as a financial holding company. Under the regulations implementing the GLB Act, a financial holding company may engage in additional activities that are financial in nature or incidental or complementary to a financial activity. BankUnited, Inc. is not a financial holding company.
In addition, as a general matter, the establishment or acquisition by BankUnited, Inc. of a non-bank entity, or the initiation of a non-banking activity, requires prior regulatory approval. In approving acquisitions or the addition of activities, the Federal Reserve Board considers, among other things, whether the acquisition or the additional activities can reasonably be expected to produce benefits to the public, such as greater convenience, increased competition or gains in efficiency, that outweigh such possible adverse effects as undue concentration of resources, decreased or unfair competition, conflicts of interest or unsound banking practices.
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Regulatory Capital Requirements and Capital Adequacy
The federal bank regulators view capital levels as important indicators of an institution's financial soundness. As a general matter, FDIC-insured depository institutions and their holding companies are required to maintain minimum capital relative to the amount and types of assets they hold. The final supervisory determination on an institution's capital adequacy is based on the regulator's assessment of numerous factors. Both BankUnited, Inc. and BankUnited are subject to regulatory capital requirements.
The Federal Reserve Board has established risk-based and leverage capital guidelines for BHCs, including BankUnited, Inc. The OCC has established substantially similar risk-based and leverage capital guidelines applicable to national banks, including BankUnited. BankUnited, Inc. and BankUnited are subject to capital rules implemented under the framework promulgated by the International Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (the "Basel III Capital Rules"). While some provisions of the rules are tailored to larger institutions, the Basel III Capital Rules generally apply to all U.S. banking organizations, including BankUnited, Inc. and BankUnited.
The Basel III Capital Rules provide for the following minimum capital to risk-weighted assets ratios to be considered adequately capitalized:
(i)4.5% based upon CET1;
(ii)6.0% based upon tier 1 capital; and
(iii)8.0% based upon total regulatory capital.
The Basel III Capital Rules require institutions to retain a capital conservation buffer of 2.5% above these required minimum capital ratio levels. A minimum leverage ratio (tier 1 capital as a percentage of average total assets) of 4.0% is also required under the Basel III Capital Rules. Banking organizations that fail to maintain the minimum required capital conservation buffer could face restrictions on capital distributions or discretionary bonus payments to executive officers, with distributions and discretionary bonus payments being completely prohibited if no capital conservation buffer exists, or in the event of the following: (i) the banking organization's capital conservation buffer was below 2.5% at the beginning of a quarter; and (ii) its cumulative net income for the most recent quarterly period plus the preceding four calendar quarters is less than its cumulative capital distributions (as well as associated tax effects not already reflected in net income) during the same measurement period.
Prompt Corrective Action
Under the FDIA, the federal bank regulatory agencies must take "prompt corrective action" against undercapitalized U.S. depository institutions. U.S. depository institutions are assigned one of five capital categories: "well capitalized," "adequately capitalized," "undercapitalized," "significantly undercapitalized," and "critically undercapitalized," and are subjected to differential regulation corresponding to the capital category within which the institution falls. As of December 31, 2020, a depository institution was deemed to be "well capitalized" if the banking institution had a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.0% or greater, a tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 8.0% or greater, a CET1 risk-based capital ratio of 6.5% and a leverage ratio of 5.0% or greater, and the institution was not subject to an order, written agreement, capital directive, or prompt corrective action directive to meet and maintain a specific level for any capital measure. Under certain circumstances, a well-capitalized, adequately-capitalized or undercapitalized institution may be treated as if the institution were in the next lower capital category. A banking institution that is undercapitalized is required to submit a capital restoration plan. Failure to meet capital guidelines could subject the institution to a variety of enforcement remedies by federal bank regulatory agencies, including: termination of deposit insurance by the FDIC, restrictions on certain business activities, and appointment of the FDIC as conservator or receiver. As of December 31, 2020, BankUnited, Inc. and BankUnited were well capitalized.
Source of strength
All companies, including BHCs, that directly or indirectly control an insured depository institution, are required to serve as a source of strength for the institution. Under this requirement, BankUnited, Inc. in the future could be required to provide financial assistance to BankUnited should it experience financial distress. Such support may be required at times when, absent this statutory and Federal Reserve Policy requirement, a BHC may not be inclined to provide it.
Regulatory Limits on Dividends and Distributions
Federal law currently imposes limitations upon certain capital distributions by national banks, such as certain cash dividends, payments to repurchase or otherwise acquire its shares, payments to stockholders of another institution in a cash-out
5


merger and other distributions charged against capital. The Federal Reserve Board and OCC regulate all capital distributions by BankUnited directly or indirectly to BankUnited, Inc., including dividend payments.
BankUnited may not pay dividends to BankUnited, Inc. if, after paying those dividends, it would fail to meet the required minimum levels under risk-based capital guidelines and the minimum leverage capital ratio requirements, or in the event the OCC notified BankUnited that it was in need of more than normal supervision. Under the FDIA, an insured depository institution such as BankUnited is prohibited from making capital distributions, including the payment of dividends, if, after making such distribution, the institution would become "undercapitalized." Payment of dividends by BankUnited also may be restricted at any time at the discretion of the appropriate regulator if it deems the payment to constitute an unsafe and unsound banking practice.
BankUnited is subject to supervisory limits on its ability to declare or pay a dividend or reduce its capital unless certain conditions are satisfied.
In addition, it is the policy of the Federal Reserve Board that BHCs should pay cash dividends on common stock only out of income available over the past year and only if prospective earnings retention is consistent with the organization’s expected future needs and financial condition. The policy provides that BHCs should not maintain a level of cash dividends that undermines the BHC’s ability to serve as a source of strength to its banking subsidiaries.
Limits on Transactions with Affiliates and Insiders
Insured depository institutions are subject to restrictions on their ability to conduct transactions with affiliates and other related parties. Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act imposes quantitative limits, qualitative requirements, and collateral requirements on certain transactions by an insured depository institution with, or for the benefit of, its affiliates. Transactions covered by Section 23A include loans, extensions of credit, investment in securities issued by an affiliate, and acquisitions of assets from an affiliate. Section 23B of the Federal Reserve Act requires that most types of transactions by an insured depository institution with, or for the benefit of, an affiliate be on terms at least as favorable to the insured depository institution as if the transaction were conducted with an unaffiliated third party.
The Federal Reserve Board's Regulation O and OCC regulations impose restrictions and procedural requirements in connection with the extension of credit by an insured depository institution to directors, executive officers, principal stockholders and their related interests.
Examination Fees
The OCC currently charges fees to recover the costs of examining national banks, processing applications and other filings, and covering direct and indirect expenses in regulating national banks. Various regulatory agencies have the authority to assess additional supervision fees.
FDIC Deposit Insurance
The FDIC is an independent federal agency that insures the deposits of federally insured depository institutions up to applicable limits. The FDIC also has certain regulatory, examination and enforcement powers with respect to FDIC-insured institutions. The deposits of BankUnited are insured by the FDIC up to applicable limits. As a general matter, the maximum deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor.
Additionally, FDIC-insured depository institutions are required to pay deposit insurance assessments to the FDIC. The amount of a particular institution's deposit insurance assessment is based on that institution's risk classification under an FDIC risk-based assessment system. An institution's risk classification is assigned based on its capital levels and the level of supervisory concern the institution poses to the regulators.
Depositor Preference
The FDIA provides that, in the event of the "liquidation or other resolution" of an insured depository institution, the claims of depositors of the institution (including the claims of the FDIC as subrogee of insured depositors) and certain claims for administrative expenses of the FDIC as a receiver will have priority over other general unsecured claims against the institution. Insured and uninsured depositors, along with the FDIC, will have priority in payment ahead of unsecured, non-deposit creditors, including BankUnited, Inc., with respect to any extensions of credit they have made to such insured depository institution.
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Federal Reserve System and Federal Home Loan Bank System
As a national bank, BankUnited is required to hold shares of capital stock in a Federal Reserve Bank. BankUnited holds capital stock in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. As a member of the Federal Reserve System, BankUnited has access to the Federal Reserve discount window lending and payment clearing systems.
BankUnited is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Each FHLB provides a central credit facility primarily for its member institutions as well as other entities involved in home mortgage lending. Any advances from a FHLB must be secured by specified types of collateral. As a member of the FHLB, BankUnited is required to acquire and hold shares of capital stock in the FHLB of Atlanta. BankUnited is in compliance with this requirement.
Anti-Money Laundering and OFAC
Under federal law, financial institutions must maintain anti-money laundering programs that include established internal policies, procedures, and controls; a designated compliance officer; an ongoing employee training program; and testing of the program by an independent audit function. Financial institutions are also prohibited from entering into specified financial transactions and account relationships and must meet enhanced standards for due diligence and customer identification in their dealings with non-U.S. financial institutions and non-U.S. customers. Financial institutions must take reasonable steps to conduct enhanced scrutiny of account relationships to guard against money laundering and to report any suspicious transactions, and law enforcement authorities have been granted increased access to financial information maintained by financial institutions. Bank regulators routinely examine institutions for compliance with these obligations and they must consider an institution's compliance in connection with the regulatory review of applications, including applications for banking mergers and acquisitions. The regulatory authorities have imposed "cease and desist" orders and civil money penalty sanctions against institutions found to be violating these obligations.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's OFAC is responsible for helping to insure that U.S. entities do not engage in transactions with certain prohibited parties, as defined by various Executive Orders and Acts of Congress. OFAC publishes lists of persons, organizations, and countries suspected of aiding, harboring or engaging in terrorist acts, known as Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. If BankUnited, Inc. or BankUnited finds a name on any transaction, account or wire transfer that is on an OFAC list, BankUnited, Inc. or BankUnited must freeze or block such account or transaction, file a suspicious activity report and notify the appropriate authorities.
Consumer Laws and Regulations
Banking organizations are subject to numerous laws and regulations intended to protect consumers. These laws include, among others:
Truth in Lending Act;
Truth in Savings Act;
Electronic Funds Transfer Act;
Expedited Funds Availability Act;
Equal Credit Opportunity Act;
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act;
Fair Housing Act;
Fair Credit Reporting Act;
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act;
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act;
Right to Financial Privacy Act;
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act;
laws regarding unfair and deceptive acts and practices; and
usury laws.
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Many states and local jurisdictions have consumer protection laws analogous, and in addition to, those listed above. These federal, state and local laws regulate the manner in which financial institutions deal with customers when taking deposits, making loans, or conducting other types of transactions. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations could give rise to regulatory sanctions, customer rescission rights, action by state and local attorneys general, and civil or criminal liability.
Privacy and Information Security
Banking organizations are subject to many federal and state laws and regulations governing the collection, use and protection of customer information. For example, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires BankUnited to periodically disclose its privacy policies and practices relating to sharing nonpublic customer information and enables retail customers to opt out of our ability to share information with unaffiliated third parties under certain circumstances. Other federal and state laws and regulations impact our 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 BankUnited 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.
CFPB
The CFPB is tasked with establishing and implementing rules and regulations under certain federal consumer protection laws with respect to the conduct of providers of certain consumer financial products and services. The CFPB has rulemaking authority over many of the statutes governing products and services offered to bank and thrift consumers. For banking organizations with assets of $10 billion or more, such as BankUnited, Inc. and the Bank, the CFPB has exclusive rule making and examination, and primary enforcement authority under certain federal consumer protection financial laws. In addition, states are permitted to adopt consumer protection laws and regulations that are stricter than those regulations promulgated by the CFPB.
The Community Reinvestment Act
The CRA is intended to encourage banks to help meet the credit needs of their service areas, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. The bank regulators examine and assign each bank a public CRA rating.
The CRA requires bank regulators to take into account the bank's record in meeting the needs of its service area when considering an application by a bank to establish or relocate a branch or to conduct certain mergers or acquisitions. The Federal Reserve Board is required to consider the CRA records of a BHC's controlled banks when considering an application by the BHC to acquire a banking organization or to merge with another BHC. If BankUnited, Inc. or BankUnited applies for regulatory approval to make certain investments, the regulators will consider the CRA record of target institutions and BankUnited, Inc.'s depository institution subsidiaries. An unsatisfactory CRA record could substantially delay approval or result in denial of an application. The regulatory agency's assessment of the institution's record is made available to the public. Following its most recent CRA performance evaluation in September 2018, BankUnited received an overall rating of "Satisfactory."
Human Capital Resources
At December 31, 2020, we had 1,465 full-time employees and 30 part-time employees. None of our employees are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. We believe that our employees are our greatest asset and vital to our success. As such, we seek to hire and retain the best candidate for each position, without regard to age, gender, ethnicity, or other protected trait, but with an appreciation for a diversity of perspectives and experience. We have designed a compensation structure including an array of benefit plans and programs that we believe is attractive to our current and prospective employees.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Our mission is to create a safe, diverse and inclusive workplace where individuals are valued for their talents, feel free to express themselves and are empowered to reach their fullest potential. In support of this goal, BankUnited launched iCARE™, which stands for Inclusive Community of Advocacy, Respect and Equality. Through iCARE™, employees are encouraged to participate in interactive events, community forums and multiple volunteer and mentor opportunities. Further, all employees are granted paid time to participate in volunteer opportunities that are meaningful to them within their communities and the communities we serve. The iCARE™ Council consists of 11 employees across different divisions in our organization.
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Health, Wellness and Safety
BankUnited prioritizes employee health by focusing on ‘person centered’ wellness initiatives that incorporate mental, physical, intellectual, occupational, social, emotional, financial and spiritual components of wellness. BankUnited’s robust Wellness Program provides employees with on-site health screenings, eye exams, mammograms, and vaccine clinics; nutrition consultations; music and art therapy; meditation sessions; an on-site fitness center; financial literacy courses; live and virtual learning opportunities with area wellness experts; first aid, CPR, and safety courses and much more. BankUnited received the 2020 Healthiest Employer Award from the South Florida Business Journal.
Additionally, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we invested heavily to help ensure the health of our employees by successfully transitioning nearly 80% of our workforce to a temporary work-from-home state; procuring and providing necessary personal protective equipment for employees unable to work from home; providing ongoing COVID-19 education and awareness efforts and increased virtual wellness initiatives; and establishing daily health check-in protocols.
Career Growth and Development
At BankUnited, we aim to create an inclusive and diverse team of bold decision makers who are more than just average. In support of this, through the Go for More™ Academy, we provide employees with training and resources that feed an entrepreneurial spirit, increase skillsets and product knowledge, promote collaboration and career development. BankUnited provides employees with challenges and growth opportunities that advance personal and career goals. Examples include our Rising Leaders program and soon-to-be launched EXCELerate career development program.
Communication & Engagement
We strongly believe that communication is a key factor in employee engagement. Toward this end, we utilize a variety of channels to facilitate open and direct dialogue and communication, including: bi-weekly CEO update video calls, weekly newsletters, town halls, social media updates and employee surveys. Managers are encouraged to meet with their employees frequently and to establish an open door policy. Our iCARE™ program implemented affinity groups, mentorship programs and volunteering activities among others. Learning & Development activities include our Rising Leaders Program and a variety of product knowledge and soft skills training opportunities. Wellness activities include group exercise, seminars and a variety of interactive activities. All are designed to foster employee engagement.
Available Information
Our website address is www.bankunited.com. Our electronic filings with the SEC (including all Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and if applicable, amendments to those reports) are available free of charge on the website as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The information posted on our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report. In addition, the SEC maintains a website that contains reports and other information filed with the SEC. The website can be accessed at http://www.sec.gov.
Item 1A.   Risk Factors
An investment in our common stock is subject to risks inherent in our business. The material risks and uncertainties that management believes affect us are described below. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information included or incorporated by reference herein. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing us. Additional risks and uncertainties that management is not aware of or focused on or that management currently deems immaterial may also impair our business operations.
If any of the events described in the risk factors should actually occur, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. If this were to happen, the value of our securities could decline significantly, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
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Strategic Risk
The COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused substantial disruption to the global and domestic economies which has adversely affected, and is expected to continue to adversely affect, the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations. The future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global and domestic economies and the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations remains uncertain.
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The pandemic has resulted in governmental authorities implementing numerous measures attempting to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 such as travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, shelter in place orders, and limitations on business activities, including in major markets in which the Company and its clients are located or do business. The COVID-19 pandemic, and governmental responses to the pandemic, have disrupted supply chains, lowered some equity market valuations including those of financial institutions such as the Company, created significant volatility and disruption in financial markets, and increased unemployment levels.
This macroeconomic environment has had, and could continue to have, an adverse effect on the Company’s business and operations as well as on the business and operations of the Company's borrowers, customers and counterparties. The actual, expected or potential impact of the pandemic on the Company's borrowers and their ability to repay their loans resulted in an increase in the Company's provision for credit losses and ACL and a corresponding reduction in the Company's net income for 2020 as well as a reduction in the level of demand for certain of the Company's products and services, particularly lending products. Should economic and social impacts of COVID-19 persist or further deteriorate, this macroeconomic environment could have a continued adverse effect on our business and operations, including, but not limited to, decreased demand for the Company’s products and services, protracted periods of lower interest rates which may negatively impact the Company's net interest margin, loss of income resulting from forbearances, deferrals and fee waivers provided by the Company to its borrowers, increased credit losses due to deterioration in the financial condition of our borrowers including declining asset and collateral values, which may continue to increase our provision for credit losses and net charge-offs and possible constraints on liquidity and capital, including those related to increases in risk-weighted assets related to supporting client activities or to regulatory actions. The business operations of the Company may also be disrupted if significant portions of its workforce or those of vendors or third-party service providers are unable to work effectively, including because of illness, quarantines, government actions, restrictions in connection with the pandemic, and technology limitations and/or disruptions. The Company also faces an increased risk of litigation and governmental and regulatory scrutiny as a result of the effects of the pandemic on market and economic conditions and actions taken by governmental authorities in response to those conditions. The Company may also face a risk of litigation related to participation in government programs such as PPP.
The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as its regulatory capital ratios and liquidity, will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain, including the scope and duration of the pandemic and actions taken by governmental authorities and other third parties in response to the pandemic. Moreover, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may heighten many of the other risks described in this Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Current Report on Form 8-K including, but not limited to, financial market conditions, economic conditions, credit risk, interest rate risk, risk of security breaches and technology changes.
We may not be successful in executing our fundamental business strategy.
Optimizing risk adjusted returns, continued organic, diversified growth of our loan and deposit customer base, and improving the deposit mix are essential components of our business strategy. Commercial and consumer banking, for both loan and deposit products, in our primary markets is highly competitive. Our ability to achieve profitable organic growth is also dependent on economic conditions, on the interest rate environment, which is in turn dependent to a large degree on fiscal and monetary policy, and on depositor behavior and preferences. There is no guarantee that we will be able to successfully or profitably execute our fundamental business strategy.
While acquisitions have not historically been a primary component of our business strategy, we opportunistically consider potential acquisitions of financial institutions and complementary non-bank businesses. There are risks that may inhibit our ability to successfully execute such acquisitions, such as competition with other potential acquirers, the ability to obtain the required regulatory approvals in a timely matter or at all, and the successful integration of a consummated acquisition and realization of the expected benefits.
Growth, whether organic or through acquisition is dependent on the availability of capital and funding. Our ability to raise capital through the sale of stock or debt securities may be affected by market conditions, economic conditions or regulatory
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changes. There is no assurance that sufficient capital or funding to enable growth will be available in the future, upon acceptable terms or at all.
We face significant competition from other financial institutions and financial services providers, which may adversely impact our growth or profitability.
The primary markets we currently serve are Florida and the New York metropolitan area. Commercial and consumer banking in these markets is highly competitive. Our markets contain not only a large number of community and regional banks, but also a significant presence of the country's largest commercial banks. We compete with other state and national banks as well as savings and loan associations, savings banks and credit unions located in Florida, New York and adjoining states as well as those targeting our markets digitally for deposits and loans. In addition, we compete with financial intermediaries, such as FinTech companies, consumer finance companies, marketplace lenders, mortgage banking companies, insurance companies, securities firms, mutual funds and several government agencies as well as major retailers, all actively engaged in providing various types of loans and other financial services. The variety of entities providing financial services to businesses and consumers, as well as the technologies and delivery channels through which those services are provided are rapidly evolving.
The financial services industry is likely to become even more competitive as a result of legislative, regulatory and technological changes and continued consolidation. Banks, securities firms and insurance companies can merge under the umbrella of a financial holding company, which can offer virtually any type of financial service, including banking, securities underwriting, insurance (both agency and underwriting) and merchant banking. Increased competition among financial services companies may adversely affect our ability to market our products and services. Technology has lowered barriers to entry and made it possible for banks to compete in our markets without a retail footprint by offering competitive rates, as well as non-banks, including online providers and a growing number of FinTech companies, to offer products and services traditionally provided by banks. Many of our competitors have fewer regulatory constraints and may have lower cost structures. Additionally, due to their size or particular technology capabilities, many competitors may offer a broader range of products and services or may be able to offer better pricing for certain products and services than we can.
Our ability to compete successfully depends on a number of factors, including:
the ability to develop, maintain and build upon long-term customer relationships based on quality service, high ethical standards and safe and sound banking practices;
our ability to pro-actively and quickly respond to technological change;
the ability to attract and retain qualified employees to operate our business effectively;
the ability to expand our market position;
the scope, relevance and pricing of products and services offered to meet customer needs and demands;
the rate at which we introduce new products and services relative to our competitors;
customer satisfaction with our level of service; and
industry and general economic trends.
Failure to perform well in any of these areas could significantly weaken our competitive position, which could adversely affect our growth and profitability, which, in turn, could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Crypto-currencies and blockchain technology eventually may be the foundation for greatly enhancing transactional security throughout the banking industry, but also may eventually greatly reduce the need for banks as financial deposit-keepers and intermediaries.
Hurricanes and other weather-related events, social or health-care crises such as pandemics or political unrest, terrorist activity, or other natural or man-made disasters could cause a disruption in our operations or otherwise have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Our geographic markets in Florida and other coastal areas are susceptible to severe weather, including hurricanes, flooding and damaging winds. The occurrence of a hurricane or other natural disaster to which our markets are susceptible, a man-made catastrophe such as terrorist activity, pandemic outbreaks and other global health emergencies, political unrest or other man-made or natural disasters could disrupt our operations or our work-force, result in damage to our facilities, jeopardize our ability to continue to provide essential services to our customers and negatively affect our customers and the local economies in which we operate. These events may lead to a decline in loan originations, an increase in deposit outflows, strain our liquidity position, reduce or destroy the value of collateral for our loans, particularly real estate, negatively impact the business
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operations of our customers, and cause an increase in delinquencies, foreclosures and loan losses. Our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially, adversely impacted by these and other negative effects of such events.

We depend on our executive officers and key personnel to execute our long-term business strategy and could be harmed by the loss of their services.
We believe that our continued growth and future success will depend in large part on the skills of our senior management team and other key personnel. We believe our senior management team possesses valuable knowledge about and experience in the banking industry and that their knowledge and relationships could be difficult to replicate. The composition of our senior management team and our other key personnel may change over time. Although our Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer has entered into an employment agreement with us, he may not complete the term of his employment agreement or renew it upon expiration. Other members of our senior management team are not subject to employment agreements. Our success also depends on the experience of other key personnel and on their relationships with the customers and communities they serve. The loss of service of one or more of our executive officers or key personnel, or the inability to recruit and retain qualified personnel in the future, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or operating results.
Climate change or societal responses to climate change could adversely affect our business and performance, including indirectly through impacts on our customers.
Concerns over the long-term impacts of climate change have led and will continue to lead to governmental efforts to mitigate those impacts. Consumers and businesses may change their behavior as a result of these concerns. We and our customers may need to respond to new laws and regulations as well as consumer and business preferences resulting from climate change concerns. We and our customers may face cost increases, asset value reductions and operating process changes. The impact on our customers will likely vary depending on their specific attributes, including reliance on or role in carbon intensive activities. Among the impacts to us could be a drop in demand for our products and services, particularly in certain sectors. In addition, we could face reductions in creditworthiness on the part of some customers or in the value of assets securing loans. Our efforts to take these risks into account in making lending and other decisions, including by increasing our business with climate-friendly companies, may not be effective in protecting us from the negative impact of new laws and regulations or changes in consumer or business behavior. One of our primary market areas is the state of Florida, particularly in coastal areas; as such, we may have an increased vulnerability to the ultimate impacts of climate change as compared to certain of our competitors.
Credit Risk
As a lender, our business is highly susceptible to credit risk.
As a lender, we are exposed to the risk that our customers will be unable to repay their loans according to their terms and that the collateral securing the payment of their loans, if any, may be insufficient to ensure repayment. Credit losses are inherent in the business of making loans. We are also subject to credit risk that is embedded in our securities portfolio. Our credit risk management framework inclusive of our underwriting standards, procedures and policies may not prevent us from incurring substantial credit losses, particularly if economic or market conditions deteriorate. It is difficult to determine the many ways in which a decline in economic or market conditions may impact the credit quality of our assets.
Our ACL may not be adequate to cover actual credit losses.
We maintain an ACL that represents management's estimate of current expected credit losses, or the amount of amortized cost basis not expected to be collected, on our loan portfolio and the amount of credit loss impairment on our available for sale securities portfolio. Determining the amount of the ACL is complex and requires extensive judgment by management about matters that are inherently subjective and uncertain. The measurement of expected credit losses encompasses information about historical events, current conditions and reasonable and supportable economic forecasts. Factors that may be considered in determining the amount of the ACL include but are not necessarily limited to, product or collateral type, industry, geography, internal risk rating, credit characteristics such as credit scores or collateral values, delinquency rates, historical or expected credit loss patterns and other quantitative and qualitative factors considered by management to have an impact on the adequacy of the ACL and the ability of borrowers to repay their loans. The adequacy of the ACL is also dependent on the effectiveness of the underlying models used in determining the estimate.
If management's assumptions and judgments prove to be incorrect, our credit loss models prove to be inaccurate or our processes and controls governing the determination of the amount of the ACL prove ineffective, our ACL may be insufficient and we may be required to increase our ACL. In addition, regulatory authorities periodically review our ACL and may require
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us to increase our provision for credit losses or recognize further loan charge-offs, based on judgments different than those of our management. Adverse economic conditions could make management's estimate even more complex and difficult to determine. Any increase in our ACL will result in a decrease in net income and capital and could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. See Item 7 "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Analysis of the Allowance for Credit Losses" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates—Allowance for Credit Losses."
We depend on the accuracy and completeness of information about clients and counterparties in making credit decisions.
In deciding whether to extend credit or enter into other transactions with clients and counterparties, we may rely on information furnished by or on behalf of clients and counterparties, including financial statements and other financial information. We also may rely on representations of clients and counterparties as to the accuracy and completeness of that information and, with respect to financial statements, on reports of independent auditors.
The credit quality of our loan portfolio and results of operations are affected by residential and commercial real estate values and the level of residential and commercial real estate sales and rental activity.
A material portion of our loans are secured by residential or commercial real estate. The ability of our borrowers to repay their obligations and our financial results may therefore be adversely affected by changes in real estate values. Commercial real estate valuations in particular are highly subjective, as they are based on many assumptions. Such valuations can be significantly affected over relatively short periods of time by changes in business climate, economic conditions, demographic and market trends such as the potential impact of the ongoing shift to on-line shopping on retail properties or the recent trend toward remote work on office properties, occupancy rates, the level of rents, regulatory changes such as recent changes to New York rent regulation, interest rates and, in many cases, the results of operations of businesses and other occupants of the real property. The properties securing income-producing investor real estate loans may not be fully leased at the origination of the loan. A borrower's ability to repay these loans is dependent upon stabilization of the properties and additional leasing through the life of the loan or the borrower's successful operation of a business. Weak economic conditions may impair a borrower's business operations, lead to elevated vacancy rates or lease turnover, slow the execution of new leases or result in falling rents. These factors could result in further deterioration in the fundamentals underlying the commercial real estate market and the deterioration in value of some of our loans. Similarly, residential real estate valuations can be impacted by housing trends, demographic trends, the availability of financing at reasonable interest rates, the level of supply of available housing, governmental policy regarding housing and housing finance and general economic conditions affecting consumers. Real estate values may also be impacted by weather events and other man-made or natural disasters, or ultimately, by the impact of climate change.
We make credit and reserve decisions based on current real estate values, the current conditions of borrowers, properties or projects and our expectations for the future. If real estate values or fundamentals underlying the commercial and residential real estate markets decline, we could experience higher delinquencies and charge-offs beyond that provided for in the ACL.
Since we engage in lending secured by real estate and may be forced to foreclose on the collateral property, we may be subject to risks associated with the ownership of commercial or residential real property, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
A significant portion of our loan portfolio is secured by residential or commercial real property. During the ordinary course of business, we may foreclose on and take title to properties securing certain loans, in which case, we are exposed to the risks and costs inherent in the ownership of real estate. The amount that we, as a mortgagee, may realize after a default is dependent upon factors outside of our control, including:
general or local economic conditions;
environmental cleanup liability;
neighborhood values;
interest rates;
commercial real estate rental and vacancy rates;
real estate tax rates;
operating expenses of the mortgaged properties;
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supply of and demand for properties;
ability to obtain and maintain adequate occupancy of the properties;
zoning laws;
governmental rules, regulations and fiscal policies;
hurricanes or other natural or man-made disasters; and
the impact of social or healthcare crises or political unrest.
These same factors may impact the ability of borrowers to repay their obligations that are secured by real property.
The geographic concentration of our markets in Florida and the New York tri-state area makes our business highly susceptible to local economic conditions.
Unlike some larger financial institutions that are more geographically diversified, our operations are concentrated in Florida and the New York tri-state area. Additionally, a significant portion of our loans secured by real estate are secured by commercial and residential properties in these geographic regions. Accordingly, the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans, and the value of the collateral securing such loans, may be significantly affected by economic conditions in these regions or by changes in the local real estate markets. Disruption or deterioration in economic conditions in the markets we serve could result in one or more of the following:
an increase in loan delinquencies;
an increase in problem assets and foreclosures;
a decrease in the demand for our products and services; or
a decrease in the value of collateral for loans, especially real estate, in turn reducing customers' borrowing power, the value of assets associated with problem loans and collateral coverage.
Our portfolio of operating lease equipment is exposed to fluctuations in the demand for and valuation of the underlying assets.
Our equipment leasing business is exposed to asset risk resulting from ownership of the equipment on operating lease. Asset risk arises from fluctuations in supply and demand for the underlying leased equipment. We are exposed to the risk that, at the end of the lease term or in the event of early termination, the value of the asset will be lower than expected, resulting in reduced future lease income over the remaining life of the asset or a lower sale value. Demand for and the valuation of the leased equipment is sensitive to shifts in general and industry specific economic and market trends, governmental regulations and changes in trade flows from specific events such as natural or man-made disasters. A significant portion of our equipment under operating lease consists of railcars used directly or indirectly in oil and gas drilling activities; future lease rates, the demand for this equipment and its valuation are heavily influenced by conditions in the energy industry. Although we regularly monitor the value of the underlying assets and the potential impact of declines in oil and natural gas prices on the value of railcars on operating lease, there is no assurance that the value of these assets will not be adversely impacted by conditions in the energy industry.
Interest Rate Risk
Our business is inherently highly susceptible to interest rate risk.
Our business and financial performance are impacted by market interest rates and movements in those rates. Since a high percentage of our assets and liabilities are interest bearing or otherwise sensitive in value to changes in interest rates, changes in rates, in the shape of the yield curve or in spreads between different types of rates can have a material impact on our financial condition and results of operations and the values of our assets and liabilities. Changes in the value of investment securities available for sale and certain derivatives directly impact equity through adjustments of accumulated other comprehensive income and changes in the values of certain other assets and liabilities may directly or indirectly impact earnings. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors over which we have no control and which we may not be able to anticipate adequately, including general economic conditions and the monetary and tax policies of various governmental bodies, particularly the Federal Reserve Board.
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Our earnings and cash flows depend to a great extent upon the level of our net interest income. Net interest income is the difference between the interest income we earn on loans, investments and other interest earning assets, and the interest we pay on interest bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings. The flattening of the yield curve and tightening credit spreads have limited our ability to add higher yielding assets to the balance sheet. If the flat rate environment persists beyond current forecasts, or the curve flattens further or inverts, downward pressure on our net interest margin may be exacerbated, negatively impacting our net interest income in the future. Changes in interest rates can increase or decrease our net interest income, because different types of assets and liabilities may react differently, and at different times, to market interest rate changes. When interest bearing liabilities mature or reprice more quickly than interest earning assets in a period of rising rates, an increase in interest rates could reduce net interest income. When interest earning assets mature or reprice more quickly than interest bearing liabilities, falling interest rates could reduce net interest income. An increase in interest rates may, among other things, reduce the demand for loans and lower-priced deposit products, decrease loan repayment rates and negatively affect borrowers' ability to meet their obligations. A decrease in the general level of interest rates may affect us through, among other things, increased prepayments on our loan and mortgage-backed securities portfolios. Competitive conditions may also impact the interest rates we are able to earn on new loans or are required to pay on deposits, negatively impacting both our ability to grow deposits and interest earning assets and our net interest income.
We attempt to manage interest rate risk by adjusting the rates, maturity, repricing, mix and balances of the different types of interest-earning assets and interest bearing liabilities and through the use of hedging instruments; however, interest rate risk management techniques are not precise, and we may not be able to successfully manage our interest rate risk. Our ability to manage interest rate risk could be negatively impacted by longer fixed rate terms on loans being added to our portfolio or by unpredictable behavior of depositors in various interest rate environments. A rapid or unanticipated increase or decrease in interest rates, changes in the shape of the yield curve or in spreads between rates could have an adverse effect on our net interest margin and results of operations.
  The anticipated discontinuance of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate may have an impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The FCA, which regulates LIBOR, has announced that it will not compel panel banks to contribute to LIBOR after 2021. It is likely that banks will not continue to provide submissions for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021 and possibly prior to then. The discontinuance of LIBOR has resulted in significant uncertainty regarding the transition to suitable alternative reference rates. At this time, no final consensus exists as to what rate or rates may become acceptable alternatives to LIBOR, although alternative reference rates such as SOFR are under consideration. Although the full impact of transition remains unclear, this change may have an adverse impact on the value of, return on and trading markets more globally for a broad array of financial products, including any LIBOR-based securities, loans, borrowings and derivatives that are included in our financial assets and liabilities. If LIBOR is discontinued after 2021 as expected, there may be uncertainty or differences in the calculation of the applicable interest rate or payment amount depending on the terms of the governing instruments, which may also impact our net interest income. In addition, LIBOR may perform differently during the phase-out period than in the past which could result in lower interest earned on certain assets and a reduction in the value of certain assets. If LIBOR rates are no longer available, and we are required to implement substitute indices for the calculation of interest rates under our loan agreements with our borrowers, we may incur significant expenses in effecting the transition, and may be subject to disputes or litigation with customers over the appropriateness or comparability to LIBOR of the substitute indices, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Liquidity Risk
A failure to maintain adequate liquidity could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Effective liquidity management is essential for the operation of our business. We require sufficient liquidity to meet customer loan requests, customer deposit maturities and withdrawals and other cash commitments under both normal operating conditions and under extraordinary or unpredictable circumstances causing industry or general financial market stress. Our access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance our activities on terms that are acceptable to us could be impaired by factors that affect us specifically or the financial services industry or economy generally. Factors that could detrimentally impact our access to liquidity sources at an acceptable price, or at all include, but are not limited to: a downturn in economic conditions in the geographic markets in which our operations are concentrated or in the financial or credit markets in general; increases in interest rates; the availability of sufficient collateral that is acceptable to the FHLB and the Federal Reserve Bank, both of whom provide us with contingent sources of liquidity; fiscal and monetary policy; and regulatory changes. Our access to liquidity in the form of deposits may also be affected by the liquidity needs of our depositors and by competition for deposits in our primary markets. A substantial portion of our liabilities consist of deposit accounts that are payable on demand or upon several days' notice, while by comparison, the majority of our assets are loans, which cannot be called or sold in the same time frame. Although we have historically been able to replace maturing deposits and borrowings as necessary, we might not be able
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to replace such funds in the future. A failure to maintain adequate liquidity could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
The inability of BankUnited, Inc. to receive dividends from its subsidiary bank could have a material adverse effect on the ability of BankUnited, Inc. to make payments on its debt, pay cash dividends to its shareholders or execute share repurchases.
BankUnited, Inc. is a separate and distinct legal entity from the Bank, and the substantial majority of its revenue consists of dividends from the Bank. These dividends are the primary funding source for the dividends paid by BankUnited, Inc. on its common stock, the interest and principal payments on its debt and any repurchases of outstanding common stock. Various federal and state laws and regulations limit the amount of dividends that a bank may pay to its parent company. In addition, our right to participate in a distribution of assets upon the liquidation or reorganization of a subsidiary may be subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary’s depositors and other creditors. If the Bank is unable to pay dividends, BankUnited, Inc. might not be able to service its debt, pay its obligations, pay dividends on its common stock or make share repurchases.
Operational Risk
We rely on analytical and forecasting models and tools that may prove to be inadequate or inaccurate, which could adversely impact the effectiveness of our strategic planning, the quality of certain accounting estimates including the ACL, the effectiveness of our risk management framework including but not limited to credit and interest rate risk monitoring and management and thereby our results of operations.
The processes we use to forecast future performance and estimate expected credit losses, the effects of changing interest rates, sources and uses of liquidity, real estate values, and economic indicators such as unemployment on our financial condition and results of operations depend upon the use of analytical and forecasting tools and models. These tools and models reflect assumptions that may not be accurate, particularly in times of market stress or other unforeseen circumstances. Furthermore, even if our assumptions are accurate predictors of future performance, the tools and models that utilize them may prove to be inadequate or inaccurate because of other flaws in their design or implementation. If these tools prove to be inadequate or inaccurate, our strategic planning processes, risk management and monitoring framework, earnings and capital may be adversely impacted.
New lines of business, new products and services or strategic project initiatives may subject us to additional operational risks, and the failure to successfully implement these initiatives could affect our results of operations.
From time to time, we may launch new lines of business or offer new banking products and services, which offerings may significantly increase operational, credit or reputational risks. In mid-2020, we launched a BankUnited, N.A.-branded commercial credit card program. This commercial credit card and any other new offerings may require significant effort and resources to manage and oversee the successful development, implementation, launch and/or scaling of such offerings, which effort and resources may be diverted from other of our products or services. While we invest significant time and resources in developing, marketing and managing new products and services, there are material uncertainties that could adversely impact estimated implementation and operational costs and/or projected adoption, sales, revenues and/or profits, and no assurance can be given that the commercial credit card offering or any or all other new offerings will be successfully developed, implemented, launched and/or scaled. New products and services may require startup costs and operational changes, as well as continued marketing campaigns to bring in new customers and retain existing ones. These new products and services take time to develop and grow and if not successfully implemented may result in unmet profitability targets, increased costs and/or other adverse impacts on our results of operations.
We are subject to the risk of fraud, theft or errors by employees or outsiders, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are exposed to many types of operational risks, including the risk of fraud or theft by employees or outsiders and operational errors, including clerical or record-keeping errors or those resulting from ineffective processes and controls or faulty or disabled technology. The occurrence of any of these events could cause us to suffer financial loss, face regulatory action and suffer damage to our reputation.
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Because the nature of the financial services business involves a high volume of transactions, certain errors may be repeated or compounded before they are discovered and successfully rectified. Our necessary dependence upon automated systems to record and process transactions and our large transaction volume may further increase the risk that technical flaws or employee tampering or manipulation of those systems will result in losses that are difficult to detect. The occurrence of any of these events could result in a diminished ability to operate our business as well as potential liability to customers and counterparties, reputational damage and regulatory intervention, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We are dependent on our information technology and telecommunications systems. System failures or interruptions could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our business is highly dependent on the successful and uninterrupted functioning of our information technology and telecommunications systems. We rely on these systems to process new and renewed loans, gather deposits, process customer transactions, provide customer service, facilitate collections, and share data across our organization. The failure of these systems could interrupt our operations. We may be subject to disruptions of our information technology and telecommunications systems arising from events that are wholly or partially beyond our control which may give rise to disruption of service to customers. Because our information technology and telecommunications systems interface with and depend on third-party systems, we could experience service denials if demand for such services exceeds capacity or such third-party systems fail or experience interruptions. If sustained or repeated, a system failure or service denial could result in a deterioration of our ability to process new and renewed loans, gather deposits, process customer transactions, provide customer service, compromise our ability to operate effectively, damage our reputation, result in a loss of customer business, and/or subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny and possible financial liability, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We are dependent on third-party service providers for significant aspects of our business infrastructure, information technology, and telecommunications systems.
We rely on third parties to provide key components of our business infrastructure and major systems including, but not limited to, core banking systems such as loan servicing and deposit transaction processing systems, cloud based data storage, our electronic funds transfer transaction processing, cash management, online banking services, and computer and networking infrastructure. We have migrated a significant portion of our core information technology systems, data storage and customer-facing applications to private and public cloud infrastructure platforms. If we fail to administer these new environments in a well-managed, secure and effective manner, or if these platforms become unavailable or do not meet their service level agreements for any reason, we may experience unplanned service disruption or unforeseen costs which could result in material harm to our business, financial condition and results of operations. We must successfully develop and maintain information, financial reporting, disclosure, data-protection and other controls adapted to our reliance on outside platforms and providers. In addition, service providers could experience system breakdowns or failures, outages, downtime, cyber-attacks, adverse changes to financial condition, bankruptcy, or other adverse conditions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and reputation. While we have an established third party risk management framework and select and monitor the performance of third-party vendors carefully, we do not control their actions. Any problems caused by these third parties, including those resulting from disruptions in communication services provided by a vendor, failure of a vendor to handle current or higher volumes, failure of a vendor to provide services for any reason or poor performance of services, or the termination of a third-party software license or service agreement on which any of these systems is based, could adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to our customers and otherwise conduct our business. In many cases, our operations rely heavily on the secure processing, storage and transmission of information and the monitoring of a large number of transactions on a minute-by-minute basis, and even a short interruption in service could have significant consequences. Financial or operational difficulties of a third-party vendor could also adversely affect our operations if those difficulties interfere with the vendor's ability to serve us effectively or at all. Replacing these third-party vendors could also create significant delays and expense. Accordingly, use of such third parties creates an unavoidable inherent risk to our business operations.
Failure by us or third parties to detect or prevent a breach in information security or to protect customer information and privacy could have an adverse effect on our business.
In the normal course of our business, we collect, process, and retain sensitive and confidential client and customer information. Despite the security measures we have in place, our facilities and systems may be vulnerable to cyber attacks, security breaches, acts of vandalism, computer viruses, misplaced or lost data, programming and/or human errors, or other similar events, especially because, in the case of any intentional breaches, the techniques used change frequently or are not recognized until launched, and cyber attacks can originate from a wide variety of sources, including third parties.
We provide our customers the ability to bank remotely, including online, via mobile devices and over the telephone. The secure transmission of confidential information over the internet and other remote channels is a critical element of remote
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banking. Our network could be vulnerable to unauthorized access, computer viruses, phishing schemes and other security breaches. In addition to cyber attacks or other security breaches involving the theft of sensitive and confidential information, hackers recently have engaged in attacks against large financial institutions, particularly denial of service attacks, designed to disrupt key business services such as customer-facing websites. We may be required to spend significant capital and other resources to protect against the threat of security breaches and computer viruses, or to alleviate problems caused by security breaches or viruses. Any cyber attack or other security breach involving the misappropriation, loss or other unauthorized disclosure of confidential customer information could severely damage our reputation, erode confidence in the security of our systems, products and services, expose us to the risk of litigation and liability, disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business.
In addition, we interact with and rely on financial counterparties for whom we process transactions and who process transactions for us and rely on other third parties, as discussed above. Each of these third parties may be targets of the same types of fraudulent activity, computer break-ins, and other cyber security breaches described above. The cyber security measures that they maintain to mitigate the risk of such activity may be different from our own and, in many cases, we do not have any control over the types of security measures they may choose to implement. We may also incur costs as a result of data or security breaches of third parties with whom we do not have a significant direct relationship. As a result of financial entities and technology systems becoming more interdependent and complex, a cyber incident, information breach or loss, or technology failure that compromises the systems or data of one or more financial entities could have a material impact on counterparties or other market participants, including us.
Concerns regarding the effectiveness of our measures to safeguard personal information, or even the perception that such measures are inadequate, could cause us to lose customers or potential customers for our products and services and thereby reduce our revenues.
We have taken measures to implement safeguards to support our operations, but our ability to conduct business may be adversely affected by any significant disruptions to us or to third parties with whom we interact. We have a comprehensive set of information security policies and protocols and a dedicated information security division that reports to the Chief Information Officer, with oversight by the Risk Committee of the Board of Directors. The Risk Committee receives regular reporting related to information security risks and the monitoring and management of those risks.
Failure to keep pace with technological changes could have a material adverse impact on our ability to compete for loans and deposits, and therefore on our financial condition and results of operations.
Financial products and services have become increasingly technology driven. Our ability to meet the needs of our customers competitively, and in a cost-efficient manner, is dependent on our ability to keep pace with and pro-actively and quickly respond to technological advances and to invest in new technology as it becomes available. Many of our larger competitors have greater resources to invest in technology than we do and may be better equipped to market new technology-driven products and services. The widespread adoption of new technologies, including, but not limited to, digitally-enabled products and delivery channels and payment systems, could require us to incur substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services. Our failure to respond to the impact of technological change could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The soundness of other financial institutions, particularly our financial institution counterparties, could adversely affect us.
Our ability to engage in routine funding and other transactions could be adversely affected by the stability and actions of other financial services institutions. Financial services institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, servicing, counterparty, and other relationships. We have exposure to an increasing number of financial institutions and counterparties. These counterparties include institutions that may be exposed to various risks over which we have little or no control.
Adverse developments affecting the overall strength and soundness of the financial services industry as a whole and third parties with whom we have important relationships could have a negative impact on our business even if we are not subject to the same adverse developments.
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Regulatory, Legal and Compliance Risk
As a BHC, we and BankUnited operate in a highly regulated environment and the laws and regulations that govern our operations, corporate governance, executive compensation and other matters, or changes in them, or our failure to comply with them, may adversely affect us.
We operate in a highly regulated environment, and are subject to comprehensive statutory, legal and regulatory regimes, see Item 1 "Business—Regulation and Supervision." Intended to protect customers, depositors, the DIF, and the overall financial stability of the United States, these laws and regulations, among other matters, prescribe minimum capital requirements, impose limitations on the business activities in which we can engage, limit the dividend or distributions that BankUnited can pay to BankUnited, Inc., restrict the ability of institutions to guarantee our debt, and impose specific accounting requirements on us. Banking regulators may also from time to time focus on issues that may impact the pace of growth of our business, our ability to execute our business strategy and our operations. Compliance with laws and regulations can be difficult and costly, and changes to laws and regulations often impose additional compliance costs. In addition, federal banking agencies, including the OCC, Federal Reserve Board and CFPB, periodically conduct examinations of our business, including compliance with laws and regulations. Our failure to comply with these laws and regulations, even if the failure follows good faith effort or reflects a difference in interpretation, could subject us to restrictions on our business activities, fines, remedial actions, administrative orders and other penalties, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations and capital base.
Further, federal, state and local legislators and regulators regularly introduce measures or take actions that would modify the regulatory requirements applicable to banks, their holding companies and other financial institutions. Changes in laws, regulations or regulatory policies could adversely affect the operating environment for the Company in substantial and unpredictable ways, increase our cost of doing business, impose new restrictions on the way in which we conduct our operations or add significant operational constraints that might impair our profitability. We cannot predict whether new legislation will be enacted and, if enacted, the effect that it, or any implementing regulations, would have on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Changes in political administrations are likely to introduce new or modified regulations and related regulatory guidance and supervisory oversight. Newly enacted laws may significantly impact the regulatory framework in which we operate and may require material changes to our business processes in short timeframes. Inability to meet new statutory requirements within the prescribed periods could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as impact our reputation.
Our ability to expand through acquisition or de novo branching requires regulatory approvals, and failure to obtain them may restrict our growth.
We may identify opportunities to complement and expand our business by pursuing strategic acquisitions of financial institutions and other complementary businesses. We must generally receive federal regulatory approval before we can acquire an institution or business. In determining whether to approve a proposed acquisition, federal banking regulators will consider, among other factors, the effect of the acquisition on competition, our financial condition, our future prospects, and the impact of the proposal on U.S. financial stability. The regulators also review current and projected capital ratios and levels, the competence, experience, and integrity of management and its record of compliance with laws and regulations, the convenience and needs of the communities to be served (including the acquiring institution's record of compliance under the CRA) and the effectiveness of the acquiring institution in combating money laundering activities. Such regulatory approvals may not be granted on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all. We may also be required to sell or close branches as a condition to receiving regulatory approval, which condition may not be acceptable to us or, if acceptable to us, may reduce the benefit of any acquisition.
In addition to the acquisition of existing financial institutions, as opportunities arise, we may continue de novo branching as a part of our organic growth strategy and possibly enter into new markets through de novo branching. De novo branching and any acquisition carries with it numerous risks, including the inability to obtain all required regulatory approvals. The failure to obtain these regulatory approvals for potential future strategic acquisitions and de novo branches may impact our business plans and restrict our growth.
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Financial institutions, such as BankUnited, face a risk of noncompliance and enforcement action with the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering statutes and regulations.
The Bank Secrecy Act, the USA PATRIOT Act, and other laws and regulations require financial institutions, among other duties, to institute and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and file suspicious activity and currency transaction reports as appropriate. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, established by the U.S. Treasury Department to administer the Bank Secrecy Act, is authorized to impose significant civil money penalties for violations of those requirements, and has engaged in coordinated enforcement efforts with the individual federal banking regulators, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Internal Revenue Service. There is also increased scrutiny of compliance with the sanctions programs and rules administered and enforced by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
In order to comply with regulations, guidelines and examination procedures in this area, we dedicate significant resources to the ongoing execution of our anti-money laundering program, continuously monitor and enhance as necessary our policies and procedures and maintain a robust automated anti-money laundering software solution. If our policies, procedures and systems are deemed deficient or the policies, procedures and systems of financial institutions that we may acquire in the future are deemed deficient, we could be subject to liability, including fines and regulatory actions such as restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and the necessity to obtain regulatory approvals to proceed with certain aspects of our business plan, including our expansion plans.
We are subject to the CRA and fair lending laws, and failure to comply with these laws could lead to material penalties.
The CRA, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act and other fair lending laws and regulations impose nondiscriminatory lending requirements on financial institutions. The Department of Justice and other federal agencies are responsible for enforcing these laws and regulations. A successful challenge to an institution's performance under the CRA or fair lending laws and regulations could result in a wide variety of sanctions, including the required payment of damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, imposition of restrictions on mergers and acquisitions activity, and restrictions on expansion activity. Private parties may also have the ability to challenge an institution's performance under fair lending laws in private class action litigation.
The FDIC's restoration plan and any future related increased assessments could adversely affect our earnings.
Insured depository institutions such as BankUnited are required to pay deposit insurance premiums to the FDIC, which maintains a DIF. In 2020, the DIF fell below the statutory minimum reserve ratio and the FDIC adopted a Restoration Plan to restore the reserve ratio within 8 years. While the Restoration Plan did not provide for an immediate increase in deposit insurance premiums, if the current level of deposit premiums is insufficient for the DIF to meet its funding requirements in the future, special assessments or increases in deposit insurance premiums may be required. A change in BankUnited's risk classification within the FDIC's risk-based assessment framework could also result in increased deposit insurance premiums. We are generally unable to control the amount of premiums that we are required to pay for FDIC insurance. If there are additional bank or financial institution failures in the future, we may be required to pay FDIC premiums higher than current levels. Any future additional assessments or increases in FDIC insurance premiums may adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.
We are subject to laws regarding the privacy, information security and protection of personal information and any violation of these laws or another incident involving personal, confidential or proprietary information of individuals could damage our reputation and otherwise adversely affect our operations and financial condition.
Our business requires the collection and retention of large volumes of customer data, including personally identifiable information in various information systems that we maintain and in those maintained by third parties with whom we contract to provide data services. We are subject to complex and evolving laws and regulations governing the privacy and protection of personal information of individuals (including customers, employees, suppliers and other third parties). For example, our business is subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which, among other things: (i) imposes certain limitations on our ability to share nonpublic personal information about our customers with non-affiliated third parties; (ii) requires that we provide certain disclosures to customers about our information collection, sharing and security practices and afford customers the right to “opt out” of any information sharing by us with non-affiliated third parties (with certain exceptions); and (iii) requires that we develop, implement and maintain a written comprehensive information security program containing appropriate safeguards based on our size and complexity, the nature and scope of our activities, and the sensitivity of customer information we process, as well as plans for responding to data security breaches. Various state and federal banking regulators and states have also enacted data security breach notification requirements with varying levels of individual, consumer, regulatory or law enforcement notification in certain circumstances in the event of a security breach. Ensuring that our collection, use, transfer and storage of personal information complies with all applicable laws and regulations increases our costs. Furthermore, we may
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not be able to ensure that all of our customers, suppliers, counterparties and other third parties have appropriate controls in place to protect the confidentiality of the information that they exchange with us, particularly where such information is transmitted by electronic means. If personal, confidential or proprietary information of customers or others were to be mishandled or misused, we could be exposed to litigation or regulatory sanctions under personal information laws and regulations. Any failure or perceived failure to comply with applicable privacy or data protection laws and regulations may subject us to inquiries, examinations and investigations that could result in requirements to modify or cease certain operations or practices or in significant liabilities, fines or penalties, and could damage our reputation and otherwise adversely affect our operations and financial condition.
General Risk Factors
Damage to our reputation could adversely affect our operating results.
Our ability to originate new business and maintain existing customer relationships is highly dependent upon customer and other external perceptions of our business practices. Adverse perceptions regarding our business practices could damage our reputation in the customer, funding and capital markets, leading to difficulties in generating and maintaining business as well as obtaining financing. Negative public opinion can result from our actual or alleged conduct in any number of activities, including lending practices, employee relations, corporate governance and acquisitions and from actions taken by government regulators and community organizations in response to those activities. Adverse developments with respect to external perceptions regarding the practices of our competitors, or our industry as a whole, or the general economic climate may also adversely impact our reputation. These perceptions about us could cause our business to be negatively affected and exacerbate the other risks that we face. In addition, adverse reputational impacts on third parties with whom we have important relationships may adversely impact our reputation. Adverse reputational impacts or events may also increase our litigation risk.
Our enterprise risk management framework may not be effective in mitigating the risks to which we are subject, or in reducing the potential for losses in connection with such risks.
Our enterprise risk management framework is designed to identify and minimize or mitigate the risks to which we are subject, as well as any losses stemming from such risks. Although we seek to identify, measure, monitor, report, and control our exposure to such risks, and employ a broad and diversified set of risk monitoring and mitigation techniques in the process, those techniques are inherently limited in their ability to anticipate the existence or development of risks that are currently unknown and unanticipated. The ineffectiveness of our enterprise risk management framework in mitigating the impact of known risks or the emergence of previously unknown or unanticipated risks may result in our incurring losses in the future that could adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.
Our business may be adversely affected by conditions in the financial markets and economic conditions generally.
Deterioration in business or economic conditions generally, or more specifically in the principal markets in which we do business, could have one or more of the following adverse effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations:
A decrease in demand for our loan and deposit products;
An increase in delinquencies and defaults by borrowers or counterparties;
A decrease in the value of our assets;
A decrease in our earnings;
A decrease in liquidity; and
A decrease in our ability to access the capital markets.
Our reported financial results depend on management's selection and application of accounting policies and methods and related assumptions and estimates.
Our accounting policies and estimates are fundamental to our reported financial condition and results of operations. Management is required to make difficult, complex or subjective judgments in selecting and applying many of these accounting policies. In some cases, management must select an accounting policy or method from two or more alternatives, any of which may be reasonable under the circumstances, yet may result in us reporting materially different results than would have been reported under a different alternative.
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From time to time, the FASB and SEC may change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our financial statements. These changes can be difficult to predict and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retrospectively, resulting in a restatement of prior period financial statements. See Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements for more information about recent accounting pronouncements that may have a material impact on our reported financial results.
Changes in taxes and other assessments may adversely affect us.
The legislatures and taxing authorities in the tax jurisdictions in which we operate regularly enact reforms to the tax and other assessment regimes to which we and our customers are subject. The effects of these changes and any other changes that result from interpreting and implementing regulations or enactment of additional tax reforms cannot be quantified and there can be no assurance that any such reforms would not have an adverse effect upon our business.
Tax laws are complex and subject to different interpretations by the taxpayer and relevant governmental taxing authorities, which are sometimes subject to prolonged evaluation periods until a final resolution is reached. In establishing a provision for income tax expense, filing returns and establishing the value of deferred tax assets and liabilities for purposes of its financial statements, the Company must make judgments and interpretations about the application of these inherently complex tax laws. If the judgments, estimates and assumptions the Company uses in establishing provisions, preparing its tax returns or establishing the value of deferred tax assets and liabilities for purposes of its financial statements are subsequently found to be incorrect, there could be a material effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our internal controls may be ineffective.
Management regularly monitors, evaluates and updates our internal controls over financial reporting, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies and procedures. Any system of controls, however well designed and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the controls are met. Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Share Price Volatility
The price of our common stock may be volatile or may decline. The price of our common stock may fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside of management's control. In addition, the stock market is subject to fluctuations in the share prices and trading volumes that affect the market prices of the shares of many companies, including BankUnited, Inc. Among the factors that could affect our stock price include but are not limited to::
actual or anticipated quarterly fluctuations in the Company's operating results and financial condition;
changes in interest rates;
failure to meet analysts' revenue or earnings estimates;
changes in expectations as to our future financial performance, including financial estimates or recommendations by securities analysts and investors;
actual or forecasted deterioration in economic conditions in our market areas or more generally;
changes in the competitive or regulatory environment;
actions by institutional shareholders and
stock market volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or other external events.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
Item 2. Properties
BankUnited's corporate headquarters is located in leased office space in Miami Lakes, Florida. We also lease office space in Manhattan and in Melville, Long Island. At December 31, 2020, we provided banking services at 74 banking centers located in Florida and New York. In Florida, we had 70 banking centers in 14 counties. Of the 70 Florida banking centers, we leased 69
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locations and owned 1 location. In New York, we leased 4 banking centers, including 2 banking centers in New York City, 1 banking center in Brooklyn and 1 banking center in Melville, Long Island.
We lease office and operations space in Hunt Valley, Maryland to house Bridge and office and operations space in Scottsdale, Arizona to house Pinnacle.
We believe that our facilities are in good condition and are adequate to meet our operating needs for the foreseeable future.
Item 3.   Legal Proceedings
The Company is involved as plaintiff or defendant in various legal actions arising in the normal course of business. In the opinion of management, based upon advice of legal counsel, the likelihood is remote that the impact of these proceedings, either individually or in the aggregate, would be material to the Company’s consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
None.






PART II - FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Item 5.    Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information and Holders of Record
Shares of our common stock trade on the NYSE under the symbol "BKU". The last sale price of our common stock on the NYSE on February 24, 2021 was $42.80 per share. As of February 24, 2021, there were 571 stockholders of record of our common stock.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The information set forth under the caption "Equity Compensation Plan Information" in our definitive proxy statement for the Company's 2021 annual meeting of stockholders (the "Proxy Statement") is incorporated herein by reference.
Dividend Policy
The Company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.23 per share on its common stock for each of the four quarters of 2020 and $0.21 per share for each of the four quarters of 2019, resulting in total dividends for 2020 and 2019 of $88.1 million and $83.2 million, respectively; or $0.92 and $0.84 per common share for each of the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. Dividends from the Bank are the principal source of funds for the payment of dividends on our common stock. The Bank is subject to certain restrictions that may limit its ability to pay dividends to us. See "Business—Regulation and Supervision—Regulatory Limits on Dividends and Distributions". The quarterly dividends on our common stock are subject to the discretion of our board of directors and dependent on, among other things, our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, restrictions contained in financing instruments and other factors that our board of directors may deem relevant.
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Stock Performance Graph
The graph set forth below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on an initial investment of $100 in our common stock between December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2020, with the comparative cumulative total return of such amount on the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Bank Index over the same period. Reinvestment of all dividends is assumed to have been made in our common stock.
The comparisons shown in the graph below are based upon historical data. We caution that the stock price performance shown in the graph below is not necessarily indicative of, nor is it intended to forecast, the potential future performance of our common stock.bku-20201231_g1.jpg

Index12/31/201512/31/201612/31/201712/31/201812/31/201912/31/2020
BankUnited, Inc.100.00 107.31 118.73 89.23 111.74 110.73 
S&P 500 Index100.00 111.96 136.40 130.42 171.49 203.04 
S&P 500 Bank Index100.00 124.31 152.35 127.30 179.03 154.41 
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
None.
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
The Company temporarily suspended its share repurchase program on March 16, 2020; and on January 20, 2021, the Company’s Board of Directors reinstated the share repurchase program. Authorization to repurchase up to approximately $44.9 million in shares of its outstanding common stock remained under the share repurchase program at the date of the reinstatement.


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Item 6.    Selected Consolidated Financial Data
You should read the selected consolidated financial data set forth below in conjunction with "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," and the audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. The selected consolidated financial data set forth below is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements.
 At December 31,
 20202019201820172016
 (dollars in thousands)
Consolidated Balance Sheet Data: 
Cash and cash equivalents$397,716 $214,673 $382,073 $194,582 $448,313 
Investment securities
$9,176,683 $7,769,237 $8,166,878 $6,690,832 $6,073,584 
Loans, net$23,608,719 $23,046,317 $21,867,077 $21,271,709 $19,242,441 
FDIC indemnification asset$— $— $— $295,635 $515,933 
Operating lease equipment, net$663,517 $698,153 $702,354 $599,502 $539,914 
Total assets$35,010,493 $32,871,293 $32,164,326 $30,346,986 $27,880,151 
Deposits$27,495,816 $24,394,591 $23,474,223 $21,878,479 $19,490,890 
FHLB advances $3,122,999 $4,480,501 $4,796,000 $4,771,000 $5,239,348 
Notes and other borrowings$722,495 $429,338 $402,749 $402,830 $402,809 
Total liabilities$32,027,481 $29,890,514 $29,240,493 $27,320,924 $25,461,722 
Total stockholders' equity$2,983,012 $2,980,779 $2,923,833 $3,026,062 $2,418,429 

 Years Ended December 31,
 20202019201820172016
 (dollars in thousands, except per share data)
Consolidated Income Statement Data:    
Interest income
$1,067,609 $1,281,870 $1,449,144 $1,204,461 $1,059,217 
Interest expense
315,851 529,085 399,051 254,189 188,832 
Net interest income
751,758 752,785 1,050,093 950,272 870,385 
Provision for credit losses178,431 8,904 25,925 68,747 50,911 
Net interest income after provision for credit losses573,327 743,881 1,024,168 881,525 819,474 
Non-interest income
133,221 147,204 132,022 157,904 106,417 
Non-interest expense
457,189 487,089 740,540 634,968 590,447 
Income before income taxes
249,359 403,996 415,650 404,461 335,444 
Provision (benefit) for income taxes (1)
51,506 90,898 90,784 (209,812)109,703 
Net income
$197,853 $313,098 $324,866 $614,273 $225,741 
Share Data:
   
Earnings per common share, basic
$2.06 $3.14 $3.01 $5.60 $2.11 
Earnings per common share, diluted
$2.06 $3.13 $2.99 $5.58 $2.09 
Cash dividends declared per common share
$0.92 $0.84 $0.84 $0.84 $0.84 
Dividend payout ratio
44.65 %26.75 %27.95 %14.99 %39.85 %
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 As of or for the Years Ended December 31,
 20202019201820172016
 (dollars in thousands, except per share data)
Other Data (unaudited):
   
Financial ratios
   
Return on average assets
0.57 %0.95 %1.05 %2.13 %0.87 %
Return on average common equity
6.90 %10.63 %10.57 %23.36 %9.64 %
Yield on earning assets (2)
3.31 %4.16 %5.04 %4.58 %4.51 %
Cost of interest bearing liabilities
1.26 %2.09 %1.66 %1.12 %0.93 %
Tangible common equity to tangible assets
8.32 %8.85 %8.87 %9.74 %8.42 %
Net interest margin (2)
2.35 %2.47 %3.67 %3.65 %3.73 %
Loan to deposit ratio
86.89 %95.07 %93.78 %98.04 %99.72 %
Tangible book value per common share
$31.22 $30.52 $28.71 $27.59 $22.47 
Asset quality ratios
Non-performing loans to total loans (3)
1.02 %0.88 %0.59 %0.81 %0.70 %
Non-performing assets to total assets (3)
0.71 %0.63 %0.43 %0.61 %0.53 %
ACL to total loans1.08 %0.47 %0.50 %0.68 %0.79 %
ACL to non-performing loans (3)
105.26 %53.07 %84.63 %83.53 %112.55 %
Net charge-offs to average loans(4)
0.26 %0.05 %0.28 %0.38 %0.13 %
 At December 31,
 20202019201820172016
Capital ratios    
Tier 1 leverage8.63 %8.90 %8.99 %9.72 %8.41 %
CET1 risk-based capital12.57 %12.32 %12.57 %13.11 %11.63 %
Tier 1 risk-based capital12.57 %12.32 %12.57 %13.11 %11.63 %
Total risk-based capital14.66 %12.79 %13.08 %13.78 %12.45 %
(1)Includes a discrete income tax benefit of $327.9 million during the year ended December 31, 2017.
(2)On a tax-equivalent basis, at a federal income tax rate of 21% for 2020, 2019 and 2018, and 35% for years 2017 and 2016.
(3)We define non-performing loans to include non-accrual loans, and loans, other than PCD loans (or ACI loans prior to 2020) and government insured residential loans that are past due 90 days or more and still accruing. Contractually delinquent PCD and government insured residential loans on which interest continues to be accrued are excluded from non-performing loans.
(3)Non-performing assets include non-performing loans, OREO and other repossessed assets.
(4)The ratio of charge-offs of taxi medallion loans to average total loans was 0.18%, 0.28% and 0.06% for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Item 7.    Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 
The following discussion and analysis is intended to assist readers in understanding the consolidated financial condition and results of operations of BankUnited, Inc. and its subsidiary (the "Company", "we", "us" and "our") and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements, accompanying footnotes and supplemental financial data included herein. In addition to historical information, this discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from management's expectations. Factors that could cause such differences are discussed in the sections entitled "Forward-looking Statements" and "Risk Factors." We assume no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements.
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Our Response
In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Governmental authorities implemented a number of measures attempting to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 such as travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, shelter in place orders, and limitations on business activities. While many of these restrictions are beginning to ease and economic activity has started to resume, the pandemic and these precautionary measures have negatively impacted the global and domestic economies, including in the Company's primary market areas. Certain sectors to which the
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Company has credit exposure, such as travel and hospitality and retail have been particularly impacted. The response of the U.S. Government to the economic impact of the crisis was swift and broad-based. The government has taken a series of actions to support individuals, households and businesses that have been negatively impacted by the economic disruption caused by the pandemic including enactment and subsequent extension of the CARES Act. The Federal Reserve also enacted a suite of facilities using its emergency lending powers designed to support liquidity and the flow of credit. Banking regulators reduced reserve requirements and enacted rules designed to support financial institutions in their efforts to work with customers during this time. While development of vaccines and improvements in treatments for the virus are positive signs and economic indicators have shown improvement over the latter half of 2020, there remains a high level of uncertainty about the future trajectory of the virus and its ultimate impact on the economy and on our financial condition and results of operations.
A summary of the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our Company and of our expectations about how our Company may be impacted in the future follows. These matters are discussed in further detail throughout this Form 10-K.
Our results of operations and financial condition at and for the year ended December 31, 2020 were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deterioration in economic conditions led to a higher provision for credit losses and ACL during the year ended December 31, 2020. There continues to be significant uncertainty as to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on future credit loss expense and future levels of the ACL, but they may be more volatile and may change materially from current levels. Future levels of the ACL could be significantly impacted, in either direction, by changes in the economic outlook and by the evolving impact of COVID-19 on individual borrowers in the portfolio.
Levels of criticized and classified assets have increased, largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact or potential impact on our borrowers. Additionally, a significant number of borrowers requested and were granted relief in the form of temporary payment deferrals or modifications. Risk ratings were re-evaluated for a substantial portion of the commercial portfolio during 2020, with a particular focus on portfolio segments we identified for enhanced monitoring and loans for which we granted temporary payment deferrals or modifications in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. At December 31, 2020, non-performing assets had increased to $247.6 million from $208.7 million at December 31, 2019. It is difficult to predict whether or to what extent levels of non-performing assets and delinquencies will further increase as a result of the pandemic, although they may do so. Similarly, charge-offs increased during the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to the prior year and may increase further. These impacts may manifest in a delayed fashion due to temporary payment deferrals and modifications and various forms of government assistance that our borrowers may receive.
The level of commercial loan origination activity, outside of our participation in the PPP, was lower in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
Volatility in our share price increased in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. We temporarily suspended our share repurchase program in March 2020 and in June 2020 we issued $300 million in subordinated debt to strengthen our capital position during this challenging economic environment. In January 2021 our Board of Directors authorized the resumption of our suspended share repurchase program.
Although we took significant measures to prepare for possible disruptions in liquidity, we have not experienced such disruptions to date and continue to have sufficient levels of available liquidity.
The pandemic has impacted our operations. Currently, the substantial majority of our non-branch employees are working remotely. We did not experience any significant operational difficulties, technology failures or outages, or customer service disruptions in our transition to a remote work environment. 86% of our branches remain open to serve customers via drive-through or lobby appointments, in some cases operating with reduced hours. Generally, branch locations without drive-through facilities are temporarily closed. We have focused on ensuring that our technology systems and internal controls continue to operate effectively in a remote work environment. We have put mechanisms in place to allow us to evaluate all significant modifications to processes and procedures to insure continued effectiveness of our control environment. We have not identified any instances in which our control environment has failed to operate effectively.
Customer demand for our products and services, particularly lending products, has been and may continue to be negatively affected by the impact of the pandemic on their businesses or by social distancing measures. Potential borrowers impacted by the pandemic may no longer meet our underwriting criteria. Loan production in many portfolio segments may continue to be muted, at least over the first half of 2021. While we currently expect loan production to begin to grow by the second half of 2021, our ability to increase production will depend on the future trajectory of the pandemic and on the pace and timing of economic recovery.
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In response to the pandemic, we have prioritized risk management and implemented a number of measures to support our customers, employees and communities. Specifically, we have:
Activated and continue to operate under our business continuity plan under the leadership of executive management.
Enhanced liquidity monitoring and management protocols.
Maintained a regular cadence of Board of Directors update calls.
Enhanced the level and frequency of pro-active outreach to borrowers and our portfolio management activities.
Segregated certain segments of the loan portfolio for enhanced monitoring.
Enhanced our workout and recovery staffing and processes.
Enhanced our stress testing framework. Results of internal stress testing indicate that we have sufficient capital to withstand an increase in credit losses materially beyond levels currently expected, and to withstand a severe downturn.
Proactively reached out to our critical third party service providers and evaluated their ability to continue to provide support in the current environment. We have experienced no significant service disruptions.
Expanded certain employee benefits and launched a number of programs to keep our employees healthy and engaged.
Enhanced personal protective measures for employees working at our corporate locations and begun planning for the eventual return to office of a larger percentage of our workforce, when conditions permit.
Supported our clients through participating in the Small Business Administration’s PPP, the Federal Reserve's MSLF program and granting payment deferrals, loan modifications and fee waivers on a case-by-case basis.
Temporarily halted new residential foreclosure actions.
Disbursed over 150 grants to nonprofit organizations across our footprint, including an end of year donation of $100,000 to local food banks.
Continued helping to meet the various needs of our community partners through over 1,500 employee "virtual" volunteer hours during the pandemic.
We remain confident in our long-term underlying strength and stability, and our ability to navigate these challenging conditions.
Overview
The following discussion and analysis presents the more significant factors that affected our financial condition as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 and results of operations for each of the years then ended. Refer to Item 7 "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 28, 2020 for a discussion and analysis of the more significant factors that affected periods prior to 2019.
Performance Highlights
In evaluating our financial performance, we consider the level of and trends in net interest income, the net interest margin, the cost of deposits, levels and composition of non-interest income and non-interest expense, performance ratios such as the return on average equity and return on average assets and asset quality ratios, including the ratio of non-performing loans to total loans, non-performing assets to total assets, trends in criticized and classified assets and portfolio delinquency and charge-off trends. We consider growth in earning assets and deposits, particularly non-interest bearing deposits, trends in funding mix and cost of funds. We analyze these ratios and trends against our own historical performance, our budgeted performance and the financial condition and performance of comparable financial institutions.
Performance highlights include:
Net income for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $197.9 million, or $2.06 per diluted share, compared to $313.1 million, or $3.13 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the return on average stockholders' equity was 6.9% and the return on average assets was 0.57%. Results for the year ended December 31, 2020 were negatively impacted by the application of CECL, including the impact of COVID-19 on the provision for credit losses.
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PPNR improved to $427.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 from $412.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $751.8 million, essentially flat to the prior year. The net interest margin, calculated on a tax-equivalent basis, was 2.35% for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 2.47% for the year ended December 31, 2019.
The provision for credit losses totaled $178.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. At December 31, 2020, the ACL was $257 million, or 1.08% of loans compared to $109 million or 0.47% of loans at December 31, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company recorded a provision for loan losses, under the incurred loss model, of $8.9 million. The increase in the provision for credit losses and the ACL resulted from the application of the CECL methodology and the impact on expected credit losses of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The average cost of total deposits decreased to 0.77% for the year ended December 31, 2020 from 1.63% for 2019. On a spot basis, the average APY on total deposits declined to 0.36% at December 31, 2020 from 1.42% at December 31, 2019. This decline in the cost of deposits reflects both our ongoing strategy to increase non-interest bearing deposits as a percentage of total deposits and to reduce rates paid on interest-bearing deposits, as well as declines in market interest rates generally.
Total deposits increased by $3.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2020, of which $2.7 billion or 88% was non-interest bearing demand deposits. Non-interest bearing demand deposits increased by 63% in 2020, to 25% of total deposits at December 31, 2020. The following charts illustrate the composition of deposits at December 31, 2020 and 2019:
bku-20201231_g2.jpg
Interest earning assets grew by $2.2 billion during the year ended December 31, 2020. Loans grew by $711 million; we saw growth in PPP loans and the residential and mortgage warehouse portfolio sub-segments while other portfolio sub-segments declined. Investment securities grew by $1.4 billion as liquidity was deployed into the securities portfolio in a challenging credit environment.
Loans on deferral totaled $207 million or less than 1% of total loans at December 31, 2020. Loans modified under the CARES Act totaled $587 million at December 31, 2020. In the aggregate, this represents $794 million or 3% of the total loan portfolio at December 31, 2020, down from $3.6 billion or 15% of total loans that were granted an initial 90 day deferral as reported at the end of the second quarter. See section entitled "Asset Quality—Payment Deferrals and Modifications" for further details.
During the second quarter of 2020, the Company completed an underwritten public offering of $300 million aggregate principal amount of its 5.125% subordinated notes, augmenting Tier 2 capital.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company repurchased approximately 3.3 million shares of its common stock for an aggregate purchase price of $101 million, at a weighted average price of $30.36. The Company temporarily suspended its share repurchase program on March 16, 2020. On January 20, 2021, the Company's Board
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of Directors reinstated the share repurchase program. Authorization to repurchase up to approximately $44.9 million in shares of its outstanding common stock remains under the program.
In the first quarter of 2020, the Company increased its quarterly cash dividend by $0.02 to $0.23 per share, reflecting a 10% increase from the previous quarterly cash dividend of $0.21 per share and has maintained that quarterly dividend level throughout 2020.
Book value per common share grew to $32.05 at December 31, 2020 from $31.33 at December 31, 2019 while tangible book value per common share increased to $31.22 from $30.52 over the same period.
The Company's and the Bank's capital ratios exceeded all regulatory "well capitalized" guidelines. The charts below present the Company's and the Bank's regulatory capital ratios compared to regulatory guidelines at December 31, 2020 and 2019:
BankUnited, Inc.
bku-20201231_g3.jpg
BankUnited, N.A.:
bku-20201231_g4.jpg
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Strategic Priorities
Management has identified the following strategic priorities for our Company:
Maximizing risk adjusted returns through a combination of sustainable, diversified and prudently managed organic growth and capital optimization.
Growing core deposit relationships.
Building a foundational and scalable small business and middle-market franchise.
Emphasizing growth in areas where our delivery model is a differentiator.
Continuing to execute on our BankUnited 2.0 revenue generating initiatives.
Investing in digital capabilities, automation and data analytics.
Maintaining an efficient, effective and scalable support model through operational excellence.
Monitoring the M&A landscape while growing organically.
Some of the challenges confronting our Company, which may also impact the banking industry more broadly, include:
The current interest rate environment, characterized by generally low interest rates, and relatively tight spreads, may impact our ability to achieve margin expansion.
The impact of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on the economy, our borrowers, our employees and the work environment and demand for our products and services.
Regulatory changes and other policy implications that may follow the recent change in the political landscape.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP and follow general practices within the banking industry. Application of these principles requires management to make complex and subjective estimates and judgments that affect the amounts reported in the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable and appropriate under current circumstances. These assumptions form the basis for our judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily available from independent, objective sources. We evaluate our estimates on an ongoing basis. Use of alternative assumptions may have resulted in significantly different estimates. Actual results may differ from these estimates.
Accounting policies are an integral part of our financial statements. A thorough understanding of these accounting policies is essential when reviewing our reported results of operations and our financial position. We believe that the critical accounting policies and estimates discussed below involve a heightened level of management judgment due to the complexity, subjectivity and sensitivity involved in their application.
Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements contains a further discussion of our significant accounting policies.
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ACL
The ACL represents management's estimate of current expected credit losses, or the amount of amortized cost basis not expected to be collected, on our loan portfolio and the amount of credit loss impairment on our AFS securities portfolio. Determining the amount of the ACL is considered a critical accounting estimate because of its complexity and because it requires extensive judgment and estimation. Estimates that are particularly susceptible to change that may have a material impact on the amount of the ACL include:
our evaluation of current conditions;
our determination of a reasonable and supportable economic forecast;
our evaluation of historical loss experience;
our evaluation of changes in composition and characteristic of the loan portfolio, including internal risk ratings;
our estimate of expected prepayments;
the value of underlying collateral, which may impact loss severity and certain cash flow assumptions for collateral-dependent, criticized and classified loans;
our selection and evaluation of qualitative factors;
the amount and timing of expected future cash flows from PCD loans; and
our estimate of expected cash flows on AFS debt securities in unrealized loss positions.
Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements describes the methodology used to determine the ACL.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 1 to our consolidated financial statements for a discussion of recent accounting pronouncements.
Results of Operations
Net Interest Income
Net interest income is the difference between interest earned on interest earning assets and interest incurred on interest bearing liabilities and is the primary driver of core earnings. Net interest income is impacted by the mix of interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities, the ratio of interest earning assets to total assets and of interest bearing liabilities to total funding sources, movements in market interest rates, the shape of the yield curve, levels of non-performing assets and pricing pressure from competitors.
The mix of interest earning assets is influenced by loan demand, market and competitive conditions in our primary lending markets, by management's continual assessment of the rate of return and relative risk associated with various classes of earning assets and liquidity considerations. The mix of interest bearing liabilities is influenced by the Company's liquidity profile, management's assessment of the desire for lower cost funding sources weighed against relationships with customers and growth expectations, our ability to attract and retain core deposit relationships, competition for deposits in the Company's markets and the availability and pricing of other sources of funds.
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The following table presents, for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, information about (i) average balances, the total dollar amount of taxable equivalent interest income from earning assets and the resultant average yields; (ii) average balances, the total dollar amount of interest expense on interest bearing liabilities and the resultant average rates; (iii) net interest income; (iv) the interest rate spread; and (v) the net interest margin. Non-accrual and restructured loans are included in the average balances presented in this table; however, interest income foregone on non-accrual loans is not included. Interest income, yields, spread and margin have been calculated on a tax-equivalent basis for loans and investment securities that are exempt from federal income taxes, at a federal tax rate of 21% (dollars in thousands):
 202020192018
 Average
Balance
Interest (1)
Yield/
Rate
(1)
Average
Balance
Interest (1)
Yield/
Rate
(1)
Average
Balance
Interest(1)
Yield/
Rate
(1)
Assets:
Interest earning assets:      
Loans $23,385,832 $879,082 3.76 %$22,553,250 $998,130 4.43 %21,597,142 1,215,749 5.63 %
Investment securities (2)
8,739,023 196,954 2.25 %8,231,858 284,849 3.46 %7,124,372 238,602 3.35 %
Other interest earning assets672,634 9,578 1.42 %555,992 19,902 3.58 %506,154 17,812 3.52 %
Total interest earning assets32,797,489 1,085,614 3.31 %31,341,100 1,302,881 4.16 %29,227,668 1,472,163 5.04 %
Allowance for credit losses(236,704)(112,890)(136,758)
Non-interest earning assets1,860,322 1,625,579 1,878,284 
Total assets$34,421,107 $32,853,789 $30,969,194 
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity:
Interest bearing liabilities:
Interest bearing demand deposits$2,582,951 19,445 0.75 %$1,824,803 25,054 1.37 %$1,627,828 18,391 1.13 %
Savings and money market deposits10,843,894 85,572 0.79 %10,922,819 197,942 1.81 %10,634,970 146,324 1.38 %
Time deposits6,617,939 94,963 1.43 %6,928,499 162,184 2.34 %6,617,006 119,848 1.81 %
Total interest bearing deposits20,044,784 199,980 1.00 %19,676,121 385,180 1.96 %18,879,804 284,563 1.51 %
Federal funds purchased71,858 418 0.58 %124,888 2,802 2.24 %48,940 1,035 2.11 %
FHLB and PPPLF borrowings4,295,882 85,491 1.99 %5,089,524 119,901 2.36 %4,637,247 92,234 1.99 %
Notes and other borrowings592,521 29,962 5.06 %403,704 21,202 5.25 %402,795 21,219 5.27 %
Total interest bearing liabilities25,005,045 315,851 1.26 %25,294,237 529,085 2.09 %23,968,786 399,051 1.66 %
Non-interest bearing demand deposits5,760,309 3,950,612 3,389,191 
Other non-interest bearing liabilities786,337 662,590 538,575 
Total liabilities31,551,691 29,907,439 27,896,552 
Stockholders' equity2,869,416 2,946,350 3,072,642 
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity$34,421,107 $32,853,789 $30,969,194 
Net interest income$769,763 $773,796 $1,073,112 
Interest rate spread2.05 %2.07 %3.38 %
Net interest margin2.35 %2.47 %3.67 %
(1)On a tax-equivalent basis where applicable. The tax-equivalent adjustment for tax-exempt loans was $14.9 million, $16.7 million, and $17.5 million and the tax-equivalent adjustment for tax-exempt investment securities was $3.1 million, $4.3 million and $5.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
(2)     At fair value except for securities held to maturity.    
Increases and decreases in interest income, calculated on a tax-equivalent basis, and interest expense result from changes in average balances (volume) of interest earning assets and liabilities, as well as changes in average interest rates. The following table shows the effect that these factors had on the interest earned on our interest earning assets and the interest incurred on our interest bearing liabilities for the years indicated. The effect of changes in volume is determined by multiplying the change in volume by the previous year's average rate. Similarly, the effect of rate changes is calculated by multiplying the change in
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average rate by the previous year's volume. Changes applicable to both volume and rate have been allocated to volume (in thousands):

 2020 Compared to 20192019 Compared to 2018
 Change Due to Volume Change Due to RateIncrease (Decrease)Change Due to VolumeChange Due to RateIncrease (Decrease)
Interest Income Attributable to:      
Loans $32,059 $(151,107)$(119,048)$41,547 $(259,166)$(217,619)
Investment securities 11,710(99,605)(87,895)38,4107,837 46,247 
Other interest earning assets1,685(12,009)(10,324)1,786304 2,090 
Total interest earning assets45,454(262,721)(217,267)81,743(251,025)(169,282)
Interest Expense Attributable to:
Interest bearing demand deposits5,705 (11,314)(5,609)2,756 3,907 6,663 
Savings and money market deposits(957)(111,413)(112,370)5,888 45,730 51,618 
Time deposits(4,172)(63,049)(67,221)7,266 35,070 42,336 
Total interest bearing deposits576