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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

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission file number 001-36872

Hancock Whitney Corporation

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

 

Mississippi

 

64-0693170

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hancock Whitney Plaza, 2510 14th Street,
Gulfport, Mississippi

 

39501

 

(228) 868-4727

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Tit

 

 

Title of Each Class

 Trading Symbol

Name of Exchange on Which Registered

COMMON STOCK, $3.33 PAR VALUE

HWC

The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

6.25% SUBORDINATED NOTES

HWCPL

The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

5.95% SUBORDINATED NOTES

HWCPZ

The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

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 every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer,  a non-accelerated filer small reporting company or an emerging growth company. See 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

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company  

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  ☐

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 Act).    Yes      No  

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by nonaffiliates of the registrant was $1.8 billion based upon the closing market price on NASDAQ on June 30, 2020. For purposes of this calculation only, shares held by nonaffiliates are deemed to consist of (a) shares held by all shareholders other than directors and executive officers of the registrant plus (b) shares held by directors and officers as to which beneficial ownership has been disclaimed.

On January 31, 2021, the registrant had 86,750,409 shares of common stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the definitive proxy statement for our annual meeting of shareholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “the Commission”) are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.

 

 


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Hancock Whitney Corporation

Form 10-K

Index

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

5

ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

20

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

34

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

34

ITEM 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

34

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

34

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS
AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

35

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

37

ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS
OF OPERATIONS

41

ITEM 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

79

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

80

ITEM 9.

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

144

ITEM 9A.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

144

ITEM 9B.

OTHER INFORMATION

144

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

144

ITEM 11.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

145

ITEM 12.

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND
RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

145

ITEM 13.

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

145

ITEM 14.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

145

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

146

ITEM 16

FORM 10-K SUMMARY

149

 

 

 

 


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Hancock Whitney Corporation

Glossary of Defined Terms

 

Entities:

Hancock Whitney Corporation – a financial holding company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission  

Hancock Whitney Bank – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hancock Whitney Corporation through which Hancock Whitney Corporation conducts its banking operations

Company – Hancock Whitney Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries

Parent – Hancock Whitney Corporation, exclusive of its subsidiaries

Bank – Hancock Whitney Bank

Other Terms:

ACL – Allowance for credit losses

AFS – Available for sale securities

ALCO – Asset Liability Management Committee

AMERIBOR - Ameribor Index created by the American Financial Exchange as a potential replacement for LIBOR; calculated daily as the volume-weighted average interest rate of the overnight unsecured loans on American Financial Exchange

AOCI – accumulated other comprehensive income or loss

ALLL – allowance for loan and lease losses

ARRC – Alternative reference rate committee

ASC – Accounting Standards Codification

ASR- Accelerated Share Repurchase

ASU- Accounting standard update

ATM - automated teller machine

Basel III - Basel Committee's 2010 Regulatory Capital Framework (Third Accord)

Beta – amount by which deposit or loan costs change in response to movement in short-term interest rates

BOLI- Bank-owned life insurance

bp(s) – basis point(s)

C&I – commercial and industrial loans

CARES Act- Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act

CD – certificate of deposit

CDE – Community Development Entity

CECL – Current Expected Credit Losses the term commonly used to refer to the methodology of estimating credit losses required by ASC 326, “Financial Instruments – Credit Losses.” ASC 326 was adopted by the Company on January 1, 2020, superseding the methodology prescribed by ASC 310.

CEO – Chief Executive Officer

CFPB- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

CFO – Chief Financial Officer

Coronavirus – the novel coronavirus declared a pandemic during the first quarter of 2020, resulting in profound market disruptions

COSO – Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission

COVID-19 – disease caused by the novel coronavirus

CMO – Collateralized Mortgage Obligation

CRA – Community Reinvestment Act of 1977

CRE – commercial real estate

CET1 – common equity tier 1 capital as defined by Basel III capital rules

DIF – Deposit Insurance Fund

Dodd-Frank Act – The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

FASB – Financial Accounting Standards Board

FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FDICIA – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991

Federal Reserve Board – The 7-member Board of Governors that oversees the Federal Reserve System, establishes

monetary policy (interest rates, credit, etc.), and monitors the economic health of the country. Its members are appointed

by the President subject to Senate confirmation, and serve 14-year terms.

Federal Reserve System – The 12 Federal Reserve Banks, with each one serving member banks in its own district.

 

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This system, supervised by the Federal Reserve Board, has broad regulatory powers over the money supply and the

credit structure. They implement the policies of the Federal Reserve Board and also conduct economic research.

FFIEC – Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council

FHA – Federal Housing Administration

FHLB – Federal Home Loan Bank

GAAP – Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States of America

HTM- held to maturity securities

IRS – Internal Revenue Service

LIBOR – London Interbank Offered Rate

LIHTC – Low Income Housing Tax Credit

LTIP – long-term incentive plan

MBS – mortgage-backed securities

MD&A – management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations

MidSouth - MidSouth Bancorp, Inc., an entity the Company acquired on September 21, 2019

MDBCF – Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance

NAICS – North American Industry Classification System

NII- net interest income

n/m – not meaningful

NSF – non-sufficient funds

OCI – other comprehensive income or loss

OD - Overdraft

ORE – other real estate defined as foreclosed and surplus real estate

PCD- purchased credit deteriorated loans, as defined by ASC 326

PCI – Purchased credit impaired loans as defined by ASC 310-30

PPNR – pre-provision net revenue

PPP- Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program administered by the Small Business Administration designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on payroll during interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reference rate reform – refers to the global transition away from LIBOR and other interbank offered rates toward new reference rates that are more reliable and robust

Repos – securities sold under agreements to repurchase

SBA – Small Business Administration

SEC – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Securities Act – Securities Act of 1933, as amended

SOFR – Secured Overnight Financing Rate

Tax Act – Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

TDR – troubled debt restructuring (as defined in ASC 310-40)

TSR – Total shareholder return

te – taxable equivalent adjustment, or the term used to indicate that a financial measure is presented on a fully taxable equivalent basis

TDR- troubled debt restructuring

TSR- total shareholder return

USA Patriot Act– Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001

U.S. Treasury – The United States Department of the Treasury

Volcker Rule – section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act and regulations promulgated thereunder, as applicable

 

 

 

 

2


Table of Contents

 

PART I



FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS 



This report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning and protections of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements we make in this annual report are set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other reports or documents that we file from time to time with the SEC and include, but are not limited to, the following:



 

the negative impacts and disruptions resulting from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, on the economies and communities we serve, which has had and will likely continue to have an adverse impact on our business operations and performance, and has and may continue to have a negative impact on our credit portfolio, stock price, borrowers and the economy as a whole both globally and domestically;

 

government or regulatory responses to the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

balance sheet and revenue growth expectations may differ from actual results;

 

the risk that our provision for loan losses may be inadequate or may be negatively affected by credit risk exposure;

 

loan growth expectations;

 

the impact of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on our results;

 

management’s predictions about charge-offs, including energy-related credits, the impact of changes in oil and gas prices on our energy portfolio, and the downstream impact on businesses that support that sector, especially in the Gulf Coast Region;

 

the risk that our enterprise risk management framework may not identify or address risks adequately, which may result in unexpected losses;

 

the impact of future business combinations upon our performance and financial condition including our ability to successfully integrate the businesses;

 

deposit trends;

 

credit quality trends;

 

changes in interest rates;

 

the impact of reference rate reform;

 

net interest margin trends;

 

future expense levels;

 

improvements in expense to revenue (efficiency ratio);

 

success of revenue-generating initiatives;

 

the effectiveness of derivative financial instruments and hedging activities to manage risks;

 

risks related to our reliance on third parties to provide key components of our business infrastructure, including the risks related to disruptions in services or financial difficulties of a third-party vendor;

 

risks related to the ability of our operational framework to manage risks associated with our business such as credit risk and operation risk, including third-party vendors and other service providers, which could among other things, result in a breach of operating or security systems as a result of a cyber-attack or similar act;

 

projected tax rates;

 

future profitability;

 

purchase accounting impacts, such as accretion levels;

 

our ability to identify and address potential cybersecurity risks, heightened by the increased use of our virtual private network platform, including data security breaches, credential stuffing, malware, “denial-of-service” attacks, “hacking” and identity theft, a failure of which could disrupt our business and result in the disclosure of and/or misuse or misappropriation of confidential or proprietary information, disruption or damage to our systems, increased costs, losses, or adverse effects to our reputation;

 

our ability to receive dividends from Hancock Whitney Bank could affect our liquidity, including our ability to pay dividends or take other capital actions;

 

A net loss or a material decrease in net income over several quarters could result in a decrease in, or the elimination of, our quarterly cash dividend;

 

the impact on our financial results, reputation, and business if we are unable to comply with all applicable federal and state regulations or other supervisory actions or directives and any necessary capital initiatives;

 

our ability to effectively compete with other traditional and non-traditional financial services companies, some of whom possess greater financial resources than we do or are subject to different regulatory standards than we are;

 

our ability to maintain adequate internal controls over financial reporting;

 

potential claims, damages, penalties, fines and reputational damage resulting from pending or future litigation, regulatory proceedings and enforcement actions, including costs and effects of litigation related to our participation in stimulus programs associated with the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

the financial impact of future tax legislation; and changes in laws and regulations affecting our businesses, including governmental monetary and fiscal policies, legislation and regulations relating to bank products and services, as well as changes in the enforcement and interpretation of such laws and regulations by applicable governmental and self-regulatory

 

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agencies, which could require us to change certain business practices, increase compliance risk, reduce our revenue, impose additional costs on us, or otherwise negatively affect our businesses.

 

Also, any statement that does not describe historical or current facts is a forward-looking statement. These statements often include the words “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “forecast,” “goals,” “targets,” “initiatives,” “focus,” “potentially,” “probably,” “projects,” “outlook” or similar expressions or future conditional verbs such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “would,” and “could.” Forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of management and on information currently available to management. Our statements speak as of the date hereof, and we do not assume any obligation to update these statements or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those contained in such statements in light of new information or future events.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in the Company’s forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those risk factors outlined in Item 1A. “Risk Factors.”

 

You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of differences in actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting such statements, except as required by law.


 

4


Table of Contents

 

 

 

ITEM 1.       BUSINESS

 

ORGANIZATION

Hancock Whitney Corporation (the “Company”) is a financial services company that is both a bank holding company and a financial holding company registered under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. The Company provides comprehensive financial services through its bank subsidiary, Hancock Whitney Bank (the “Bank”), a Mississippi state bank, and other nonbank affiliates. Our principal executive offices are located at 2510 14th Street, Gulfport, Mississippi, 39501, and our telephone number is (800) 868-4000. Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “HWC.”

At December 31, 2020, our balance sheet had grown to $33.6 billion, with loans totaling $21.8 billion and deposits totaling $27.7 billion.

NATURE OF BUSINESS AND MARKETS

The Bank offers a broad range of traditional and online banking services to commercial, small business and retail customers, providing a variety of transaction and savings deposit products, treasury management services, secured and unsecured loan products (including revolving credit facilities), and letters of credit and similar financial guarantees. The Bank also provides trust and investment management services to retirement plans, corporations and individuals.

 

We offer other services through bank and nonbank subsidiaries. Our nonbank subsidiary of the holding company, Hancock Whitney Investment Services, Inc., provides investment brokerage services, annuity and life insurance products, and participates in select underwriting transactions, primarily for banking clients with which we have an existing relationship. The Bank’s subsidiaries Hancock Whitney Equipment Finance, LLC and Hancock Whitney Equipment Finance and Leasing, LLC, provide commercial finance products to middle market and corporate clients, including loans, leases and related structures. We have other subsidiaries of the bank for purposes such as facilitating investments in new market tax credit activities and holding certain foreclosed assets.

 

We operate primarily in the Gulf South region of the U.S., comprised of southern and central Mississippi; southern and central Alabama; southern, central and northwest Louisiana; the northern, central, and panhandle regions of Florida; and certain areas of east and northeast Texas, including the Houston, Beaumont and Dallas areas, among others. We also operate a loan production office in Nashville, Tennessee. Our operating strategy is to provide customers with the financial sophistication and range of products of a regional bank, while successfully retaining the commercial appeal and level of service of a community bank.

 

Some of the most common forms of commerce along the Gulf Coast and other areas we serve are retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, hospitality and tourism, petrochemical refining, energy and related services, military and government related activities, educational complexes, transportation services and port facilities.

 

Our priority is to continue to grow revenue in our existing markets with controlled expenses while providing five-star service through enhanced technology and processes that make banking simpler for our clients. We have and will continue to invest in promoting new and enhanced products that contribute to the goals of continuing to diversify our sources of revenue and increasing core deposit funding. In 2020, we have been particularly focused on supporting our customers through challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and highly active hurricane season, de-risking our balance sheet by building sufficient loss reserves, divesting a large part of our energy loan portfolio and issuing $172.5 million of subordinated debt. We have and will continue to evaluate future acquisition opportunities that have the potential to increase shareholder value, provided overall economic conditions and our capital levels support such a transaction.

 

Additional information regarding the Company and the Bank is available at https://www.hancockwhitney.com using the link titled Investor Relations.

 

Loan Production, Underwriting Standards and Credit Review

 

The Bank’s primary lending focus is to provide commercial, consumer and real estate loans to consumers, small and middle market businesses, and corporate clients in the markets served by the Bank. We seek to provide quality loan products that are attractive to the borrower and profitable to the Bank. We look to build strong, profitable client relationships over time and maintain a strong presence and position of influence in the communities we serve. Through our relationship-based approach, we have developed a deep knowledge of our customers and the markets in which they operate. We continually work to ensure consistency of the lending processes across our banking footprint, to strengthen the underwriting criteria we employ to evaluate new loans and loan renewals, and to diversify our loan portfolio in terms of type, industry and geographical concentration. We believe that these measures position the Bank to meet the credit needs of businesses and consumers in the markets we serve while pursuing a balanced strategy of loan profitability, growth and credit quality.

 

 

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The following describes the underwriting procedures of the lending function and presents our principal categories of loans. The results of our lending activities and the relative risk of the loan portfolio are discussed in Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

 

The Bank has a set of loan policies, underwriting standards and key underwriting functions designed to achieve a consistent lending and credit review approach. Our underwriting standards address the following criteria:

 

collateral requirements;

 

guarantor requirements (including policies on financial statements, tax returns, and guarantees);

 

requirements regarding appraisals and their review;

 

loan approval hierarchy;

 

standard consumer and small business credit scoring underwriting criteria (including credit score thresholds, maximum maturity and amortization, loan-to-value limits, global debt service coverage, and debt to income limits);

 

commercial real estate and commercial and industrial underwriting guidelines (including minimum debt service coverage ratio, maximum amortization, minimum equity requirements, maximum loan-to-value ratios);

 

lending limits; and

 

credit approval authorities.

 

Additionally, our loan concentration policy sets limits and manages our exposures within specified concentration tolerances, including those to particular borrowers, foreign entities, industries, and property types for commercial real estate. This policy sets standards for portfolio risk management and reporting, the monitoring of large borrower concentration limits and systematic tracking of large commercial loans and our portfolio mix. We continually monitor our concentration of commercial real estate, healthcare, shared national credits, leveraged loans and energy-related loans to ensure the mix is consistent with our risk tolerance. In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 economic environment, we have enhanced our due diligence on customers, portfolios and concentrations. This additional focus will continue for the duration of the national emergency, and likely longer, to ensure alignment between risk appetite and concentration risk management. We define concentration as the total of funded and unfunded commitments as a percentage of total Bank capital (as defined for risk-based capital ratios). Portfolio segment concentrations (shown as a percentage of risk-based capital) as of December 31, 2020 are as follows:  

 

Portfolio Segment Concentrations

 

Commercial non-real estate —527%

 

Commercial real estate - owner occupied —103%

 

Commercial real estate-income producing — 121%

 

Construction and land development —78%

 

Residential mortgage —92%

 

Consumer —121%

 

 

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The following details the more significant industry concentrations for commercial non-real estate and owner occupied real estate included above (shown as a percentage of risk-based capital) as of December 31, 2020:

 

Significant Industry Concentrations

 

Manufacturing — 66%

 

Healthcare and social assistance — 63%

 

Construction — 57%

 

Real estate and rental and leasing — 57%

 

Retail trade — 53%

 

Wholesale trade — 47%

 

Finance and insurance — 43%

 

Professional, scientific and technology services — 39%

 

Transportation and warehousing — 38%

 

Accommodation and food services — 26%

 

Government and public administration — 23%

 

Other services (except public administration) — 22%

 

Mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction — 20%

 

Our underwriting process is structured to require oversight that is proportional to the size and complexity of the lending relationship. We delegate designated regional managers, relationship managers, and credit officers loan authority that can be utilized to approve credit commitments for a single borrowing relationship. The limit of delegated authority is based upon the experience, skill and training of the relationship manager or credit officer. Certain types and sizes of loans and relationships must be approved by either one of the Bank’s centralized underwriting units or by Regional or Senior Regional Commercial Credit Officers, either individually or jointly with the Chief Credit Officer, depending upon the overall size of the borrowing relationship.

 

Loans are underwritten in accordance with the underwriting standards and loan policies of the Bank. Loans are underwritten primarily on the basis of the borrower’s ability to make timely debt service payments, and secondarily on collateral value. Generally, real estate secured loans and mortgage loans are made when the borrower produces evidence of the ability to make timely debt service payments along with appropriate equity investment in the property. Appropriate and regulatory compliant third party valuations are required at the time of origination for real estate secured loans.

 

The following briefly describes the composition of our loan portfolio by segment:

 

Commercial and industrial

The Bank offers a variety of commercial loan services to a diversified customer base over a range of industries, including wholesale and retail trade in various durable and nondurable products, manufacturing of such products, financial and professional services, healthcare services, energy, marine transportation and maritime construction, and agricultural production. Commercial and industrial loans are made available to businesses for working capital (including financing of inventory and receivables), business expansion, to facilitate the acquisition of a business, and the purchase of equipment and machinery, including equipment leasing.

 

Commercial non-real estate loans may be secured by the assets being financed or other tangible or intangible business assets such as accounts receivable, inventory, enterprise value, or commodity interests, and may incorporate a personal or corporate guarantee; however, some short-term loans may be made on an unsecured basis, including a small portfolio of corporate credit cards, generally issued as a part of overall customer relationships.  Asset-based loans, such as accounts receivables and commodity interest secured loans, may have limits on borrowing that are based on the collateral values.  In the case of loans secured by accounts receivable, the availability of funds for the repayment of these loans may be substantially dependent on the ability of the borrower to collect amounts due from its customers.

 

Commercial non-real estate loans also include loans made under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP loans are guaranteed by the SBA and are forgivable to the debtor upon satisfaction of certain criteria. The loans bear interest at 1% per annum and have two or five year terms, depending on the date of origination. These loans also earn an origination fee of 1% to 5%, depending on the loan size, that is deferred and amortized over the estimated life of the loan using the effective yield method.

 

Commercial real estate – owner occupied loans consist of commercial mortgages on properties where repayment is generally dependent on the cash flow from the ongoing operations and activities of the borrower.  Like commercial non-real estate, these loans

 

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are primarily made based on the identified cash flows of the borrower, but also have the added strength of the value of underlying real estate collateral.  

 

Commercial real estate – income producing

Commercial real estate – income producing loans consist of loans secured by commercial mortgages on properties where the loan is made to real estate developers or investors and repayment is dependent on the sale, refinance or income generated from the operation of the property.  Properties financed include retail, office, multifamily, senior housing, hotel/motel, skilled nursing facilities and other commercial properties.  

 

Repayment of commercial real estate – income producing loans is generally dependent on the successful operation of the property securing the loan. Commercial real estate loans may be adversely affected by conditions in the real estate markets or in the general economy. The properties securing the commercial real estate – income producing portfolios are diverse in terms of type and geographic location. We monitor and evaluate these loans based on collateral, geography and risk grade criteria. This portfolio has experienced minimal losses in the last few years; however, past experience has shown that commercial real estate conditions can be volatile, so we actively monitor concentrations within this portfolio segment.  

 

Construction and land development

Construction and land development loans are made to facilitate the acquisition, development, improvement and construction of both commercial and residential-purpose properties. Such loans are generally made to builders and investors where repayment is expected to be made from the sale, refinance or operation of the property or to businesses to be used in their business operations.  

 

Acquisition and development loans are underwritten utilizing feasibility studies, independent appraisal reviews, sensitivity analysis of real estate absorption and lease rates, and financial analysis of the developers and property owners. Construction loans are generally based upon cost estimates, the amount of sponsor equity investment, and the projected value of the completed project. The Bank monitors the construction process to mitigate or identify risks as they arise. Construction loans often involve the disbursement of substantial funds with repayment largely dependent on the success of the ultimate project. Sources of repayment for these types of construction loans may be pre-committed permanent loans from approved long-term lenders, sales of developed property, or an interim loan commitment from the Bank until permanent financing is obtained. These loans are typically closely monitored by on-site inspections and are considered to have higher risks than other real estate loans due to their ultimate repayment being sensitive to interest rate changes, governmental regulation of real property, general economic conditions, and the availability of long-term financing to repay the construction loan in full.

 

Owner occupied loans for the development and improvement of real property to commercial customers to be used in their business operations are underwritten subject to normal commercial and industrial credit standards and are generally subject to project tracking processes, similar to those required for commercial real estate – income producing loans.

 

This portfolio also includes residential construction loans and loans secured by raw land not yet under development.

 

Residential Mortgages

Residential mortgages consist of closed-end loans secured by first liens on 1- 4 family residential properties. The portfolio includes both fixed and adjustable rate loans, although most longer-term, fixed-rate loans originated are sold in the secondary mortgage market.  The sale of fixed-rate mortgage loans allows the Bank to manage the interest rate risks related to such lending operations.

 

Consumer

Consumer loans include second lien mortgage home loans, home equity lines of credit and nonresidential consumer purpose loans. Nonresidential consumer loans include both direct and indirect loans. Direct nonresidential consumer loans are made to finance the purchase of personal property, including automobiles, recreational vehicles and boats, and for other personal purposes (secured and unsecured), and deposit account secured loans. Indirect nonresidential loans include automobile financing provided to the consumer through an agreement with automobile dealerships, though we are no longer engaged in this type of lending and the remaining portfolio is in runoff. Consumer loans also include a small portfolio of credit card receivables issued on the basis of applications received through referrals from the Bank’s branches, online and other marketing efforts.    

 

The Bank approves consumer loans based on income and financial information submitted by prospective borrowers as well as credit reports collected from various credit agencies. Financial stability and credit history of the borrower are the primary factors the Bank considers in granting such loans. The availability of collateral is also a factor considered in making such loans. Consideration is also given to whether the borrower is located in the Bank’s primary market areas.

 

 

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Securities Portfolio

 

The investment portfolio primarily consists of U.S. agency debt securities, U.S. agency mortgage-related securities and obligations of states and municipalities classified as either available for sale or held to maturity. We consider the available for sale portfolio as one of many sources of liquidity available to fund our operations. Investments are made in accordance with an investment policy approved by the Board Risk Committee. Company policies generally limit investments to agency securities and municipal securities determined to be investment grade according to an internally generated score, which generally includes a rating of not less than “Baa” or its equivalent by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization.  The investment portfolio is tested monthly under multiple stressed interest rate scenarios, the results of which are used to manage our interest rate risk position. The rate scenarios include regulatory and management agreed upon instantaneous and ramped rate movements that may be up to plus 500 basis points. The combined portfolio has a target effective duration of two to five and a half years.

 

A significant portion of the securities portfolio is used to secure certain deposits and other liabilities requiring collateralization. We limit the percentage of securities that can be pledged in order to keep a portion of securities available to support liquidity. The securities portfolio can also be pledged to increase our line of credit available at the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Dallas and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

 

The investments subcommittee of the asset/liability committee (ALCO) is responsible for the oversight, monitoring and management of the investment portfolio. The investments subcommittee is also responsible for the development of investment strategies for the consideration and approval of ALCO. Final authority and responsibility for all aspects of the conduct of investment activities rests with the Board Risk Committee, all in accordance with the overall guidance and limitations of the investment policy. See Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Enterprise Risk Management,” for further discussion.

 

Deposits

 

The Bank has several programs designed to attract deposit accounts from consumers and businesses at interest rates generally consistent with market conditions. Deposits are the most significant funding source for the Company’s interest-earning assets. Interest paid on deposits represents the largest component of our interest expense. Deposits are attracted principally from clients within our retail branch network through the offering of a broad array of deposit products to individuals and businesses, including noninterest-bearing demand deposit accounts, interest-bearing transaction accounts, savings accounts, money market deposit accounts, and time deposit accounts. Terms vary among deposit products with respect to commitment periods, minimum balances and applicable fees. Interest rates offered on interest-bearing deposits are determined based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, (1) interest rates offered in local markets by competitors, (2) current and expected economic conditions, (3) anticipated future interest rates, (4) the expected amount and timing of funding needs, and (5) the availability and cost of alternative funding sources. Deposit flows are generally controlled primarily through pricing, and to a lesser extent, through promotional activities. Deposit levels in 2020 were also influenced by pandemic driven factors, such as inflows from government stimulus payments and PPP loan proceeds and a general slowdown in consumer and business spending. Management believes that the rates that it offers on deposit accounts are generally competitive with other financial institutions in the Bank’s market areas. Client deposits are attractive sources of funding because of their stability and low relative cost. Deposits are regarded as an important part of the overall client relationship.

 

The Bank also holds deposits of public entities. The Bank’s strategy for acquiring public funds, as with any type of deposit, is determined by ALCO’s funding and liquidity subcommittee while pricing strategies are determined by ALCO’s deposit pricing subcommittee. Typically, many public fund deposits are allocated based upon the rate of interest offered and the ability of a bank to provide collateralization. The Bank can influence the level of its public fund deposits through pricing decisions. Public deposits typically require the pledging of collateral, most commonly marketable securities and Federal Home Loan Bank letters of credit. This is taken into account when determining the level of interest to be paid on public deposits. The pledging of collateral, monitoring and management reporting represents additional operational requirements for the Bank. Public fund deposits are more volatile than other core deposits because they tend to be price sensitive and have large balances. Public funds are only one of many possible sources of liquidity that the Bank has available to draw upon as part of its liquidity funding strategy as set by ALCO.

 

Brokered deposits totaled $14 million at December 31, 2020. Brokered deposits are funds which the Bank obtains through deposit brokers who sell participations in a given bank deposit account or instrument to one or more investors. These brokered deposits are fully insured by the FDIC because they are participated out by the deposit broker in shares of $250,000 or less. These brokered deposit issuances were approved by ALCO as one component of its funding strategy to support ongoing asset growth until such time as customer deposit growth ultimately replaces the brokered deposits. As a result of transaction and savings deposit growth in 2020 that largely stemmed from the deposit of government stimulus funds and PPP loans, the Company did not renew maturing brokered deposits. Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (“FDICIA”), the Bank may continue to accept brokered deposits as long as it is either “well-capitalized” or “adequately-capitalized.”

 

 

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Trust Services

 

The Bank, through its trust department, offers a full range of trust services on a fee basis. In its trust capacities, the Bank provides investment management services on an agency basis and acts as trustee for pension plans, profit sharing plans, corporate and municipal bond issues, living trusts, life insurance trusts and various other types of trusts created by or for individuals, businesses, and charitable and religious organizations. At December 31, 2020, the trust department of the Bank had approximately $27.0 billion of assets under administration, comprised of investment management and investment advisory agency accounts of $5.6 billion and other custody and safekeeping accounts of $10.6 billion, corporate trust accounts of $5.0 billion, and personal, employee benefit, estate and other trust accounts totaling $5.8 billion.

 

HUMAN CAPITAL RESOURCES

 

At December 31, 2020, we had 3,986 employees on a full-time equivalent basis. Our employees, whom we refer to as associates, are our most important asset. We maintain the practice of continually reviewing and developing strategies that support our associates while balancing business needs. During the latter half of 2020, we reduced our full-time equivalent headcount by approximately 5 percent through attrition and other initiatives in an effort to improve overall efficiency while maintaining our commitment to five-star service. Further discussion of these initiatives appear in Part I, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this document.

 

Following is a discussion of our areas of focus in attracting, developing and retaining our human capital resources:

 

Associate and Corporate Culture

Associates are the faces, voices and spirit of our organization. To the people and communities we serve, associates are Hancock Whitney. Our more than century-old culture of exemplifying the core values of our organization guides the manner in which our associates carry on our legacy through honor, integrity, teamwork, personal responsibility and service. The practices we define for associates further reinforce the founding principles fundamental to who we are and how we do business. We’ve created a company culture built around respect, diversity and teamwork.

 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Our company culture emphasizes our longstanding dedication to being respectful to others and having a workforce that is representative of the communities we serve. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to the spirit of our purpose. We believe in attracting, retaining and promoting quality talent and recognize that diversity makes us stronger as a company. Our talent acquisition teams partner with hiring managers and work to source and present a diverse slate of qualified candidates to strengthen our organization.

 

Talent Development

We are committed to developing and maintaining the talent of our associates. Our culture of advancement ensures our associates are motivated, rewarded and appreciated. Development programs and competitive compensation and benefit offerings allow us to attract, retain and promote exceptional talent. We invest in resources to ensure associates have access to the learning opportunities and tools needed to do their jobs effectively. We believe learning happens in a variety of ways: on-the-job experiences, self-directed study, mentoring and coaching discussions and in classroom environments.

 

Compensation

Our compensation philosophy is a performance-based strategy which aligns our programs with our business goals and objectives. We strive to remain competitive with our total compensation programs by reviewing market surveys on an annual basis. The company  rewards associates based on their individual performance through merit-based compensation increases and provides additional opportunities for financial advancement through promotions and incentive plan participation.

 

Health and Wellness

We offer an array of associate benefits, including vacation, parental leave, sick leave, holidays, leaves of absence, bereavement, tuition reimbursement and an Employee Assistance Program that provides confidential assessment and short-term professional counseling services. As part of the company’s total rewards package, we offer associates a variety of health and welfare benefit options, including medical, dental, vision, basic accidental death and dismemberment, basic group life insurance, flexible spending accounts and short and long-term disability coverage. Additionally, we offer an enhanced 401(k) plan with a company match.

 

COMPETITION

 

The financial services industry is highly competitive in our market areas. The principal factors in the competition for deposits and loans are interest rates and fee structures associated with the various products offered. We also compete through the efficiency, quality and range of services and products we provide, as well as the convenience provided by an extensive network of customer access

 

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channels including local branch offices, ATMs, online and mobile banking, and telebanking centers. In attracting deposits and in our lending activities, we generally compete with other commercial banks, savings associations, credit unions, mortgage banking firms,  securities brokerage firms, mutual funds and insurance companies, and other financial and non-financial institutions offering similar products.

 

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

 

We make available free of charge, on or through our investor relations website www.hancockwhitney.com/investors, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and other filings pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and amendments to such filings, as soon as reasonably practicable after each is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The SEC maintains a website that contains the Company’s reports, proxy statements, and the Company’s other SEC filings. The address of the SEC’s website is www.sec.gov. We include our website address throughout this filing only as textual references. The information contained on our website is not incorporated in this document by reference.

 

Also available on our investor relations website are our corporate governance documents, including Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Ethics for Officers and Associates, Whistleblower Policy, Code of Ethics for Financial Officers, Code of Ethics for Directors and Committee Charting.  These documents are also available in print to any stockholder who requests a copy.

 

SUPERVISION AND REGULATION

 

Bank holding companies and banks are extensively regulated under federal and state law.  This discussion is a summary and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the particular statutory and regulatory provisions described below and is not intended to be an exhaustive description of the statutes or regulations applicable to the Company or the Bank or all aspects of those statutes and regulations.

 

Changes in laws and regulations may alter the structure, regulation and competitive relationships of financial institutions. In addition, bank regulatory agencies may issue enforcement actions, policy statements, interpretive letters and similar written guidance applicable to us or the Bank.  It cannot be predicted whether and in what form new laws and regulations, or interpretations thereof, may be adopted or the extent to which the business of the Company and the Bank may be affected thereby, but they may have a material adverse effect on our business, operations, and earnings.

 

Supervision, regulation, and examination of the Company, the Bank, and our respective subsidiaries by the appropriate regulatory agencies, as described herein, are intended primarily for the protection of consumers, bank depositors and the Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) of the FDIC, and the U.S. banking and financial system, rather than holders of our capital stock.  

 

Bank Holding Company Regulation

 

The Company is subject to extensive supervision and regulation by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve”) pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “BHC Act”). We are required to file with the Federal Reserve periodic reports and such other information as the Federal Reserve may request.  Ongoing supervision is provided through regular examinations by the Federal Reserve and other means that allow the regulators to gauge management’s ability to identify, assess and control risk in all areas of operations in a safe and sound manner and to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. The Company is subject to regulation by the State of Mississippi under its general business corporation laws, and to supervision by the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance (the “MDBCF”).  The Federal Reserve may also examine our non-bank subsidiaries. Various federal and state bodies regulate and supervise our brokerage, investment advisory and insurance agency operations. These include, but are not limited to, the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), federal and state banking regulators and various state regulators of insurance and brokerage activities.  

 

Violations of laws and regulations, or other unsafe and unsound practices, may result in regulatory agencies imposing fines or penalties, cease and desist orders, or taking other enforcement actions. Under certain circumstances, these agencies may enforce these remedies directly against officers, directors, employees and other parties participating in the affairs of a bank or bank holding company. Under federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to the safety and soundness of insured depository institutions, federal and state banking regulators have the authority to compel or restrict certain actions on our part if they determine that we have insufficient capital or other resources, or are otherwise operating in a manner that may be deemed to be inconsistent with safe and sound banking practices. Under this authority, our regulators can require us or our subsidiaries to enter into informal or formal supervisory agreements, including board resolutions, memoranda of understanding, written agreements and consent or cease and desist orders, pursuant to which we would be required to take identified corrective actions to address cited concerns and to refrain from taking certain actions.

 

 

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If we become subject to and are unable to comply with the terms of any future regulatory actions or directives, supervisory agreements, or orders, then we could become subject to additional, heightened supervisory actions and orders, possibly including consent orders, prompt corrective action restrictions and/or other regulatory actions, including prohibitions on the payment of dividends on our common stock and preferred stock. If our regulators were to take such additional supervisory actions, then we could, among other things, become subject to significant restrictions on our ability to develop any new business, as well as restrictions on our existing business, and we could be required to raise additional capital, dispose of certain assets and liabilities within a prescribed period of time, or both. The terms of any such supervisory action could have a material negative effect on our business, reputation, operating flexibility, financial condition, and the value of our common stock and preferred stock.

 

Activity Limitations.  The Company is registered with the Federal Reserve as a bank holding company and has elected to be treated as a financial holding company under the BHC Act. Bank holding companies generally are limited to the business of banking, managing or controlling banks, and other activities that the Federal Reserve determines to be closely related to banking, or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto. Bank holding companies are prohibited from acquiring or obtaining control of more than five percent (5%) of the outstanding voting interests of any company that engages in activities other than those activities permissible for bank holding companies. Examples of activities that the Federal Reserve has determined to be permissible are making, acquiring, brokering, or servicing loans; leasing personal property; providing certain investment or financial advice; performing certain data processing services; acting as agent or broker in selling credit life insurance and other insurance products in certain locations; securities brokerage; and performing certain insurance underwriting activities. The BHC Act does not place geographic limits on permissible non-banking activities of bank holding companies. Even with respect to permissible activities, however, the Federal Reserve has the power to order a holding company or its subsidiaries to terminate any activity or its control of any subsidiary when the Federal Reserve has reasonable cause to believe that continuation of such activity or control of such subsidiary would pose a serious risk to the financial safety, soundness or stability of any bank subsidiary of that holding company.

 

As a financial holding company, we are permitted to engage directly or indirectly in a broader range of activities than those permitted for a bank holding company that has not elected to be a financial holding company. Financial holding companies may also engage in activities that are considered to be financial in nature, as well as those incidental or, if determined by the Federal Reserve, complementary to financial activities. If the Company or the Bank ceases to be “well capitalized” or “well managed” under applicable regulatory standards, or if the Bank receives a rating of less than satisfactory under the CRA, the Federal Reserve may, among other things, place limitations on our ability to conduct these broader financial activities or, if the deficiencies persist, require us to divest the banking subsidiary or the businesses engaged in activities permissible only for financial holding companies.

 

In addition, the Federal Reserve has the power to order a bank holding company or its subsidiaries to terminate any nonbanking activity or terminate its ownership or control of any nonbank subsidiary, when it has reasonable cause to believe that continuation of such activity or such ownership or control constitutes a serious risk to the financial safety, soundness, or stability of any bank subsidiary of that bank holding company.  As further described below, each of the Company and the Bank is well-capitalized under applicable regulatory standards as of December 31, 2020, and the Bank has a rating of “Satisfactory” in its most recent CRA evaluation.

 

Source of Strength Obligations.  A bank holding company such as us is required to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary bank and to maintain resources adequate to support its bank. The term “source of financial strength” means the ability of a company, such as us, that directly or indirectly owns or controls an insured depository institution, such as the Bank, to provide financial assistance to such insured depository institution in the event of financial distress.  The appropriate federal banking agency for the depository institution (in the case of the Bank, this agency is the FDIC) may require reports from us to assess our ability to serve as a source of strength and to enforce compliance with the source of strength requirements by requiring us to provide financial assistance to the Bank in the event of financial distress.  If we were to enter bankruptcy or become subject to the orderly liquidation process established by the Dodd-Frank Act, any commitment by us to a federal bank regulatory agency to maintain the capital of the Bank would be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee or the FDIC, as appropriate, and entitled to a priority of payment. In addition, the FDIC provides that any insured depository institution generally will be liable for any loss incurred by the FDIC in connection with the default of, or any assistance provided by the FDIC to, a commonly controlled insured depository institution. The Bank is an FDIC-insured depository institution and thus subject to these requirements.

 

 

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Acquisitions. The BHC Act requires every bank holding company to obtain the prior approval of the Federal Reserve or waiver of such prior approval before it (1) acquires ownership or control of any voting shares of any bank if, after such acquisition, such bank holding company will own or control more than five percent (5%) of the voting shares of such bank, (2) acquires all of the assets of a bank, or (3) merges with any other bank holding company. In reviewing a proposed covered acquisition, among other factors, the Federal Reserve considers (1) the financial and managerial resources of the companies involved, including pro forma capital ratios; (2) the risk to the stability of the United States banking or financial system; (3) the convenience and needs of the communities to be served, including performance under the CRA; and (4) the effectiveness of the companies in combating money laundering. The Federal Reserve also reviews any indebtedness to be incurred by a bank holding company in connection with a proposed acquisition to ensure that the bank holding company can service such indebtedness without adversely affecting its ability to serve as a source of strength to its bank subsidiaries.  Well capitalized and well managed bank holding companies are permitted to acquire control of banks in any state, subject to federal regulatory approval, without regard to whether such a transaction is prohibited by the laws of any state. However, a bank holding company may not, following an interstate acquisition, control more than 10% of nationwide insured deposits or 30% of deposits within any state in which the acquiring bank operates. States have the right to lower the 30% limit, although no states within the Company’s current market area have done so.  Federal banking regulators are also required to take into account compliance with the CRA in evaluating any proposal for interstate bank acquisitions.

 

Change in Control.  Federal law restricts the amount of voting stock of a bank holding company or a bank that a person may acquire without the prior approval of banking regulators. Under the Change in Bank Control Act and the regulations thereunder, a person or group must give advance notice to and obtain approval from the Federal Reserve before acquiring control of any bank holding company, such as the Company. The Change in Bank Control Act creates a rebuttable presumption of control if a member or group acquires a certain percentage or more of a bank holding company’s voting stock. As a result, a person or entity generally must provide prior notice to the Federal Reserve before acquiring the power to vote 10% or more of our outstanding common stock.  The overall effect of such laws is to make it more difficult to acquire a bank holding company by tender offer or similar means than it might be to acquire control of another type of corporation. Consequently, shareholders of the Company may be less likely to benefit from the rapid increases in stock prices that may result from tender offers or similar efforts to acquire control of other companies. Investors should be aware of these requirements when acquiring shares of our stock.  

 

Anti-tying rules.  A bank holding company and its subsidiaries are prohibited from engaging in certain tying arrangements in connection with extensions of credit, leases or sales of property, or furnishing of services.

 

Volcker Rule. In its original form, the Volcker Rule generally prohibited us and our subsidiaries from (i) engaging in certain proprietary trading for our own account, and (ii) acquiring or retaining an ownership interest in or sponsoring a “covered fund,” all subject to certain exceptions. The Volcker Rule also specifies certain limited activities in which we and our subsidiaries may continue to engage, and required us to implement a compliance program. In 2020, amendments to the proprietary trading and covered funds regulations issued by the federal banking agencies, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission took effect, simplifying compliance and providing additional exclusions and exemptions.

 

Capital Requirements

 

The Company and the Bank are required under federal law to maintain certain minimum capital levels based on ratios of capital to total assets and capital to risk-weighted assets. The required capital ratios are minimums, and the federal banking agencies may determine that a banking organization, based on its size, complexity or risk profile, must maintain a higher level of capital in order to operate in a safe and sound manner. Risks such as concentration of credit risks and the risk arising from non-traditional activities, as well as the institution’s exposure to a decline in the economic value of its capital due to changes in interest rates, and an institution’s ability to manage those risks are important factors that are to be taken into account by the federal banking agencies in assessing an institution’s overall capital adequacy. The following is a brief description of the relevant provisions of these capital rules and their potential impact on our capital levels.

 

The Company and the Bank are subject to the following risk-based capital ratios: a common equity Tier 1 ("CET1") risk-based capital ratio, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio, which includes CET1 and additional Tier 1 capital, and a total risk-based capital ratio, which includes Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital.  CET1 is primarily comprised of the sum of common stock instruments and related surplus net of treasury stock, retained earnings, and certain qualifying minority interests, less certain adjustments and deductions, including with respect to goodwill, intangible assets, mortgage servicing assets and deferred tax assets subject to temporary timing differences. Additional Tier 1 capital is primarily comprised of noncumulative perpetual preferred stock, tier 1 minority interests and grandfathered trust preferred securities. Tier 2 capital consists of instruments disqualified from Tier 1 capital, including qualifying subordinated debt, other preferred stock and certain hybrid capital instruments, and a limited amount of loan loss reserves up to a maximum of 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, subject to certain eligibility criteria. The capital rules also define the risk-weights assigned to assets and off-balance sheet items to determine the risk-weighted asset components of the risk-based capital rules, including, for example, certain “high volatility” commercial real estate, past due assets, structured securities and equity holdings.

 

 

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The leverage capital ratio, which serves as a minimum capital standard, is the ratio of Tier 1 capital to quarterly average total assets net of goodwill, certain other intangible assets, and certain required deduction items. The required minimum leverage ratio for all banks and bank holding companies is 4%.

 

In addition, effective January 1, 2019, the capital rules required a capital conservation buffer of CET1 capital of 2.5% above each of the minimum capital ratio requirements (CET1, Tier 1, and total risk-based capital), which is designed to absorb losses during periods of economic stress.  These buffer requirements must be met for a bank or bank holding company to be able to pay dividends, engage in share buybacks or make discretionary bonus payments to executive management without restriction.

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (“FDICIA”), among other things, requires the federal bank regulatory agencies to take “prompt corrective action” regarding depository institutions that do not meet minimum capital requirements. FDICIA establishes five regulatory capital tiers: “well capitalized,” “adequately capitalized,” “undercapitalized,” “significantly undercapitalized,” and “critically undercapitalized.” A depository institution’s capital tier will depend upon how its capital levels compare to various relevant capital measures and certain other factors, as established by regulation. FDICIA generally prohibits a depository institution from making any capital distribution (including payment of a dividend) or paying any management fee to its holding company if the depository institution would thereafter be undercapitalized. FDICIA imposes progressively more restrictive restraints on operations, management and capital distributions, depending on the category in which an institution is classified.  Undercapitalized depository institutions are subject to restrictions on borrowing from the Federal Reserve System. In addition, undercapitalized depository institutions may not accept brokered deposits absent a waiver from the FDIC, are subject to growth limitations and are required to submit capital restoration plans for regulatory approval. A depository institution's holding company must guarantee any required capital restoration plan, up to an amount equal to the lesser of 5 percent of the depository institution's assets at the time it becomes undercapitalized or the amount of the capital deficiency when the institution fails to comply with the plan.  Federal banking agencies may not accept a capital plan without determining, among other things, that the plan is based on realistic assumptions and is likely to succeed in restoring the depository institution's capital. If a depository institution fails to submit an acceptable plan, it is treated as if it is significantly undercapitalized. The Bank was well capitalized at December 31, 2020, and brokered deposits are not restricted.

 

To be well-capitalized, the Bank must maintain at least the following capital ratios:

 

6.5% CET1 to risk-weighted assets;

 

8.0% Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets;

 

10.0% Total capital to risk-weighted assets; and

 

5.0% leverage ratio.

 

The Federal Reserve has not yet revised the well-capitalized standard for bank holding companies to reflect the higher capital requirements imposed under the current capital rules applicable to banks. For purposes of the Federal Reserve’s Regulation Y, including determining whether a bank holding company meets the requirements to be a financial holding company, bank holding companies, such as the Company, must maintain a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 6.0% or greater and a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.0% or greater to be well-capitalized. If the Federal Reserve were to apply the same or a very similar well-capitalized standard to bank holding companies as that applicable to the Bank, the Company’s capital ratios as of December 31, 2020 would exceed such revised well-capitalized standard. Also, the Federal Reserve may require bank holding companies, including the Company, to maintain capital ratios substantially in excess of mandated minimum levels, depending upon general economic conditions and a bank holding company’s particular condition, risk profile and growth plans.

 

Failure to be well-capitalized or to meet minimum capital requirements could result in certain mandatory and possible additional discretionary actions by regulators that, if undertaken, could have an adverse material effect on our operations or financial condition. For example, only a well-capitalized depository institution may accept brokered deposits without prior regulatory approval. Failure to be well-capitalized or to meet minimum capital requirements could also result in restrictions on the Company’s or the Bank’s ability to pay dividends or otherwise distribute capital or to receive regulatory approval of applications or other restrictions on its growth.

 

In 2020, the Company’s and the Bank’s regulatory capital ratios are above the applicable well-capitalized standards and met the capital conservation buffer requirements. Based on current estimates, we believe that the Company and the Bank will continue to exceed all applicable well-capitalized regulatory capital requirements and the capital conservation buffer in 2021.  Risk-based capital ratios and the leverage capital ratio at December 31, 2020 for the Company and the Bank were as follows:    

 

 

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Minimum Capital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well-Capitalized

 

 

 

Plus Capital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under Prompt

 

 

 

Conservation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum

 

 

 

Corrective Action*

 

 

 

Buffer

 

 

 

Company

 

 

 

Bank

 

 

Tier 1 leverage capital ratio

 

 

4.00

 

%

 

 

5.00

 

 

 

N/A

 

%

 

 

7.88

  %

 

 

 

8.11

  %

 

Risk-based capital ratios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Equity Tier 1 capital

 

 

4.50

 

%

 

 

6.50

 

 

 

 

7.00

 

%

 

 

10.61

  %

 

 

 

10.94

  %

 

Tier 1 capital

 

 

6.00

 

%

 

 

8.00

 

 

 

 

8.50

 

%

 

 

10.61

  %

 

 

 

10.94

  %

 

Total risk-based capital (Tier 1 plus

   Tier 2)

 

 

8.00

 

%

 

 

10.00

 

 

 

 

10.50

 

%

 

 

13.22

  %

 

 

 

12.19

  %

 

*Applies to Bank

 

On January 1, 2020, the Company adopted the provisions of Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 326 – Financial Instruments – Credit Losses. ASC 326, commonly referred to as Current Expected Credit Losses, or CECL, replaced the “incurred loss” methodology for financial assets measured at amortized cost, and changed the approaches for recognizing and recording credit losses on available-for-sale debt securities and purchased credit impaired financial assets. Under the incurred loss methodology, credit losses were recognized only when the losses were probable or have been incurred; under CECL, companies are required to recognize the full amount of expected credit losses for the lifetime of the financial assets, based on historical experience, current conditions and reasonable and supportable forecasts.

 

On March 27, 2020, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued an interim final rule that provides an option to delay the estimated impact on regulatory capital stemming from the implementation CECL for a transition period of five years. The Company elected the five-year transition period option upon issuance of the interim final rule. The five-year rule provides a full delay of the estimated impact of CECL on regulatory capital transition (0%) for the first two years, followed by a three-year transition (25% of the impact included in 2022, 50% in 2023, 75% in 2024 and 100% thereafter). The two-year delay includes the full impact of day one CECL plus the estimated impact of current CECL activity calculated quarterly as 25% of the current ACL over the day one balance (“modified transition amount”). The modified transition amount will be recalculated each quarter in 2020 and 2021, with the December 31, 2021 impact carrying through the remaining three years of the transition. See further discussion of CECL and the impact of adoption in Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Recent Accounting Pronouncements in Item 8 – “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this document.

 

Payment of Dividends

 

Hancock Whitney Corporation is a legal entity separate and distinct from Hancock Whitney Bank and other subsidiaries.  Its primary source of cash, other than securities offerings, is dividends from the Bank. Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, no dividends may be paid by an insured bank if the bank is in arrears in the payment of any insurance assessment due to the FDIC.  The payment of dividends by the Bank may also be affected by other regulatory requirements and policies, such as the maintenance of adequate capital. If, in the opinion of the applicable regulatory authority, a bank under its jurisdiction is engaged in, or is about to engage in, an unsafe or unsound practice (which, depending on the financial condition of the bank, could include the payment of dividends), such authority may require, after notice and hearing, that such bank cease and desist from such practice. The FDIC has formal and informal policies which provide that insured banks should generally pay dividends only out of current operating earnings.

 

Under a Federal Reserve policy adopted in 2009, the board of directors of a bank holding company must consider certain factors to ensure that its dividend level is prudent relative to maintaining a strong financial position, and is not based on overly optimistic earnings scenarios, such as potential events that could affect its ability to pay, while still maintaining a strong financial position. As a general matter, the Federal Reserve has indicated that the board of directors of a bank holding company should consult with the Federal Reserve and eliminate, defer or significantly reduce the bank holding company’s dividends if:

 

 

its net income available to shareholders for the past four quarters, net of dividends previously paid during that period, is not sufficient to fully fund the dividends;

 

its prospective rate of earnings retention is not consistent with its capital needs and overall current and prospective financial condition; or

 

it will not meet, or is in danger of not meeting, its minimum regulatory capital adequacy ratios.

 

Bank Regulation

 

The operation of the Bank is subject to state and federal statutes applicable to state banks and the regulations of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The operations of the Bank may also be subject to applicable Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) regulation to the extent state banks are granted parity with national banks. Such statutes and regulations relate to, among other things, investments, loans, mergers and consolidations, issuances of securities,

 

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payments of dividends, establishment of branches, consumer protection and other aspects of the Bank’s operations. Violations of laws and regulations, or other unsafe and unsound practices, may result in these agencies imposing fines or penalties, cease and desist orders, or taking other enforcement actions.  Under certain circumstances, these agencies may enforce these remedies directly against officers, directors, employees and other parties participating in the affairs of a bank or bank holding company.

 

Safety and Soundness.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Act requires the federal prudential bank regulatory agencies, such as the FDIC, to prescribe, by regulation or guideline, operational and managerial standards for all insured depository institutions relating to: (1) internal controls; (2) information systems and audit systems; (3) loan documentation; (4) credit underwriting; (5) interest rate risk exposure; and (6) asset quality. The agencies also must prescribe standards for asset quality, earnings, and stock valuation, as well as standards for compensation, fees and benefits. The federal banking agencies have adopted regulations and Interagency Guidelines Establishing Standards for Safety and Soundness to implement these required standards. These guidelines set forth the safety and soundness standards used to identify and address problems at insured depository institutions before capital becomes impaired. Under the regulations, if a regulator determines that a bank fails to meet any standards prescribed by the guidelines, the regulator may require the bank to submit an acceptable plan to achieve compliance, consistent with deadlines for the submission and review of such safety and soundness compliance plans.

 

Examinations. The Bank is subject to regulation, reporting, and periodic examinations by the FDIC, the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance (the “MDBCF”), and the CFPB. These regulatory authorities routinely examine the Bank’s loan and investment quality, consumer compliance, management policies, procedures and practices and other aspects of operations. The FDIC has adopted the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s (“FFIEC”) rating system and assigns each financial institution a confidential composite rating based on an evaluation and rating of six essential components of an institution’s financial condition and operations, including Capital Adequacy, Asset Quality, Management, Earnings, Liquidity and Sensitivity to Market Risk (“CAMELS”), as well as the quality of risk management practices.  

 

Consumer Protection. The CFPB has rule writing, examination, and enforcement authority with regard to the Bank’s (and the Company’s) compliance with a wide array of consumer financial protection laws, including the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Truth in Savings Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (except Sections 615(e) and 628), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (sections 502 through 509 relating to privacy), among others. The CFPB has broad authority to enforce a prohibition on unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices. The Bank is subject to direct supervision and examination by the CFPB. The CFPB also may examine our other direct or indirect subsidiaries that offer consumer financial products or services. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act permits states to adopt consumer protection laws and regulations that are stricter than those regulations promulgated by the CFPB, and state attorneys general are permitted to enforce consumer protection rules adopted by the CFPB against certain institutions.

 

Branching. The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes national and state banks to establish de novo branches in other states to the same extent a bank chartered in those states would be so permitted.

 

Deposit Insurance Assessments. The deposits of the Bank are insured by the FDIC up to applicable limits.  The Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) of the FDIC insures the deposits of the Bank generally up to a maximum of $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.  The FDIC charges insured depository institutions quarterly premiums to maintain the DIF.  Deposit insurance assessments are based on average total consolidated assets minus its average tangible equity and applies one of four risk categories determined by reference to its capital levels, supervisory ratings, and certain other factors. The assessment rate schedule can change from time to time, at the discretion of the FDIC, subject to certain limits.

 

Insurance of deposits may be terminated by the FDIC upon a finding that an institution has engaged in unsafe or unsound practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations or has violated any applicable law, regulation, rule, order or condition imposed by the FDIC.  The Bank does not believe that it is taking or is subject to any action, condition or violation that could lead to termination of its deposit insurance.  In addition, the Federal Deposit Insurance Act 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, including those of the parent bank holding company.

 

Transactions with Affiliates and Insiders. The Bank is subject to restrictions on extensions of credit and certain other transactions between the Bank and the Company or any nonbank affiliate. Generally, these covered transactions with either the Company or any affiliate are limited to 10% of the Bank’s capital and surplus, and all such transactions between the Bank and the Company and all of its nonbank affiliates combined are limited to 20% of the Bank’s capital and surplus. Loans and other extensions of credit from the Bank to the Company or any affiliate generally are required to be secured by eligible collateral in specified amounts. In addition, any transaction between the Bank and the Company or any affiliate are required to be on an arm’s length basis. Federal banking laws also place similar restrictions on certain extensions of credit by insured banks, such as the Bank, to their directors, executive officers and principal shareholders.

 

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Mergers, Subsidiaries. The FDIC is also authorized to approve mergers, consolidations and assumption of deposit liability transactions between insured banks and between insured banks and uninsured banks or institutions to prevent capital or surplus diminution in such transactions where the resulting, continuing or assumed bank is an insured nonmember state bank.

 

Reserves. Although the Bank is not a member of the Federal Reserve, it is subject to Federal Reserve regulations that require the Bank to maintain reserves against transaction accounts (primarily checking accounts). These reserve requirements are subject to annual adjustment by the Federal Reserve. Effective March 26, 2020, reserve requirement ratios were reduced to zero percent.

 

Anti-Money Laundering. A continued focus of governmental policy relating to financial institutions in recent years has been combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The USA PATRIOT Act broadened the application of anti-money laundering regulations to apply to additional types of financial institutions such as broker-dealers, investment advisors and insurance companies, and strengthened the ability of the U.S. Government to help prevent, detect and prosecute international money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The principal provisions of Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act require that regulated financial institutions, including state member banks: (i) establish an anti-money laundering program that includes training and audit components; (ii) comply with regulations regarding the verification of the identity of any person seeking to open an account; (iii) take additional required precautions with non-U.S. owned accounts; and (iv) perform certain verification and certification of money laundering risk for their foreign correspondent banking relationships. Failure of a financial institution to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act’s requirements could have serious legal and reputational consequences for the institution. The Bank has augmented its systems and procedures to meet the requirements of these regulations and will continue to revise and update its policies, procedures and controls to reflect changes required by law.

 

FinCEN has adopted rules that require financial institutions to obtain beneficial ownership information with respect to legal entities with which such institutions conduct business, subject to certain exclusions and exemptions. Bank regulators are focusing their examinations on anti-money laundering compliance, and we continue to monitor and augment, where necessary, our anti-money laundering compliance programs.

 

Bank regulators routinely examine institutions for compliance with these anti-money laundering obligations and recently have been active in imposing “cease and desist” and other regulatory orders and money penalty sanctions against institutions found to be in violation of these requirements.  On January 1, 2021, Congress passed federal legislation that made sweeping changes to federal anti-money laundering laws, including changes that will be implemented in 2021 and subsequent years.

 

Economic Sanctions. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) is responsible for helping to ensure 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, and routinely updates, lists of names of persons and organizations suspected of aiding, harboring or engaging in terrorist acts, including the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.  If we find a name on any transaction, account or wire transfer that is on an OFAC list, we must undertake certain specified activities, which could include blocking or freezing the account or transaction requested, and we must notify the appropriate authorities.

 

Concentrations in Lending.  During 2006, the federal bank regulatory agencies released guidance on “Concentrations in Commercial Real Estate Lending” (the “Guidance”) and advised financial institutions of the risks posed by CRE lending concentrations. The Guidance requires that appropriate processes be in place to identify, monitor and control risks associated with real estate lending concentrations. Higher allowances for loan losses and capital levels may also be required. The Guidance is triggered when CRE loan concentrations exceed either:

 

 

Total reported loans for construction, land development, and other land of 100% or more of a bank’s total risk based capital; or

 

Total reported loans secured by multifamily and nonfarm nonresidential properties and loans for construction, land development, and other land of 300% or more of a bank’s total risk based capital.

 

The Guidance also applies when a bank has a sharp increase in CRE loans or has significant concentrations of CRE secured by a particular property type.

Community Reinvestment Act.  The Bank is subject to the provisions of the CRA, which imposes a continuing and affirmative obligation, consistent with their safe and sound operation, to help meet the credit needs of entire communities where the bank accepts deposits, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The FDIC’s assessment of the Bank’s CRA record is made available to the public. Further, a less than satisfactory CRA rating will slow, if not preclude, expansion of banking activities and prevent a company from becoming or remaining a financial holding company. Federal CRA regulations require, among other things, that evidence of discrimination against applicants on a prohibited basis, and illegal or abusive lending practices be considered in the CRA evaluation. The Bank has a rating of “Satisfactory” in its most recent CRA evaluation.

 

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Consumer Regulation. Activities of the Bank are subject to a variety of statutes and regulations designed to protect consumers. These laws and regulations include, among numerous other things, provisions that:

 

limit the interest and other charges collected or contracted for by the Bank, including rules respecting the terms of credit cards and of debit card overdrafts;

 

govern the Bank’s disclosures of credit terms to consumer borrowers;

 

require the Bank to provide information to enable the public and public officials to determine whether it is fulfilling its obligation to help meet the housing needs of the communities it serves;

 

prohibit the Bank from discriminating on the basis of race, creed or other prohibited factors when it makes decisions to extend credit;

 

govern the manner in which the Bank may collect consumer debts; and

 

prohibit unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices in the provision of consumer financial products and services.

 

Mortgage Rules. Pursuant to rules adopted by the CFPB, banks that make residential mortgage loans are required to make a good faith determination that a borrower has the ability to repay a mortgage loan prior to extending such credit, require that certain mortgage loans contain escrow payments, obtain new appraisals under certain circumstances, comply with integrated mortgage disclosure rules, and follow specific rules regarding the compensation of loan originators and the servicing of residential mortgage loans. In 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act granted certain forbearance rights and protection against foreclosure to borrowers with a “federally backed mortgage loan,” including certain first or subordinate lien loans designed principally for the occupancy of one to four families. These consumer protections continue during the COVID 19 pandemic emergency.

 

Risk-retention rules. Banks that sponsor the securitization of asset-backed securities are generally required to retain not less than 5% of the credit risk of any loan they securitize, except for residential mortgages that meet certain low-risk standards.

 

Privacy, Credit Reporting and Cybersecurity.  The Bank is subject to federal and state banking regulations that limit its ability to disclose non-public information about consumers to non-affiliated third parties and prescribe standards for the protection of consumer information. These limitations require us to periodically disclose our privacy policies to consumers and allow consumers to prevent disclosure of certain personal information to a non-affiliated third party under certain circumstances.  Consumers also have the option to direct banks and other financial institutions not to share information about transactions and experiences with affiliated companies for the purpose of marketing products or services.  Banking institutions are required 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, as well as maintain procedures for notifying customers in the event of a security breach.  These security and privacy policies and procedures for the protection of confidential and personal information are in effect across our lines of business.  The Company has adopted and implemented our Comprehensive Information Security Policy to comply with these federal requirements.  

 

The Bank uses credit bureau data in underwriting activities.  Use of such data is regulated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Regulation V on a uniform, nationwide basis, including credit reporting, prescreening, and sharing of information between affiliates and the use of credit data.  The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, which amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act, permits states to enact identity theft laws that are not inconsistent with the conduct required by the provisions of that Act.

 

Furthermore, the federal banking regulators regularly issue guidance regarding cybersecurity intended to enhance cyber risk management. A financial institution is expected to implement multiple lines of defense against cyber-attacks and ensure that their risk management procedures address the risk posed by potential cyber threats.  A financial institution is further expected to maintain procedures to effectively respond to a cyber-attack and resume operations following any such attack. The Company has adopted and implemented an Information Security Program to comply with the regulatory cybersecurity guidance. On December 18, 2020, the federal banking agencies proposed a new rule that would require banks to notify their regulators within 36 hours of a “computer-security incident” that rises to the level of a “notification incident.” 

 

Debit Interchange Fees. Interchange fees are fees that merchants pay to credit card companies and card-issuing banks such as the Bank for processing electronic payment transactions on their behalf. The maximum permissible interchange fee that an issuer may receive for an electronic debit transaction is the sum of 21 cents per transaction and 5 basis points multiplied by the value of the transaction, subject to an upward adjustment of 1 cent if an issuer certifies that it has implemented policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve the fraud-prevention standards set forth by the Federal Reserve. In addition, the legislation prohibits card issuers and networks from entering into arrangements requiring that debit card transactions be processed on a single network or only two affiliated networks, and allows merchants to determine transaction routing.

 

 

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Nonbanking Subsidiaries

 

The Company’s nonbanking subsidiaries may also be subject to a variety of state and federal laws. For example, Hancock Whitney Investment Services, Inc. is subject to supervision and regulation by the SEC, FINRA and the State of Mississippi.  

 

Compensation

 

In June 2010, the federal banking agencies issued joint guidance on executive compensation designed to help ensure that a banking organization’s incentive compensation policies do not encourage imprudent risk taking and are consistent with the safety and soundness of the organization. In addition, in June 2012, the Commission issued final rules to implement the Dodd-Frank Act’s requirement that the Commission direct the national securities exchanges to adopt certain listing standards related to the compensation committee of a company’s board of directors as well as its compensation advisers.

 

In 2016, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and SEC proposed rules that would, depending upon the assets of the institution, directly regulate incentive compensation arrangements and would require enhanced oversight and recordkeeping. As of December 31, 2020, these rules had not been implemented. We have instituted measures to ensure that our incentive compensation plans do not encourage inappropriate risks, consistent with three key principles—that incentive compensation arrangements should appropriately balance risk and financial rewards, be compatible with effective controls and risk management, and be supported by strong corporate governance.

 

Accounting and Controls

 

The Company is also required to file certain reports with, and otherwise comply with the rules and regulations of the SEC under federal securities laws.   For example, we are required to comply with various corporate governance and financial reporting requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules and regulations adopted by the SEC, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and Nasdaq.  In particular, we are required to include management and independent registered public accounting firm reports on internal controls over financial reporting as part of our Annual Report on Form 10‑K in order to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  We have evaluated our controls, including compliance with the SEC rules on internal controls.  The assessments of our financial reporting controls as of December 31, 2020 are included in this report under Item 9A. “Controls and Procedures.”  Our failure to comply with these internal control rules may materially adversely affect our reputation, ability to obtain the necessary certifications to financial statements, and the value of our securities.  

 

Corporate Governance

 

The Dodd-Frank Act addressed many investor protection, corporate governance, and executive compensation matters that affect most U.S. publicly traded companies. The Dodd-Frank Act (1) granted shareholders of U.S. publicly traded companies an advisory vote on executive compensation; (2) enhances independence requirements for Compensation Committee members; and (3) requires companies listed on national securities exchanges to adopt incentive-based compensation clawback policies for executive officers.

 

Effect of Governmental Monetary and Fiscal Policies

 

The difference between the interest rate paid on deposits and other borrowings and the interest rate received on loans and securities comprises most of a bank’s earnings. In order to mitigate the interest rate risk inherent in the industry, the banking business is becoming increasingly dependent on the generation of fee and service charge revenue.

 

The earnings and growth of a bank will be affected by both general economic conditions and the monetary and fiscal policy of the U.S. government and its agencies, particularly the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve sets national monetary policy such as seeking to curb inflation and combat recession. This is accomplished by its open-market operations in U.S. government securities, adjustments in the amount of reserves that financial institutions are required to maintain and adjustments to the discount rates on borrowings and target rates for federal funds transactions. The actions of the Federal Reserve in these areas influence the growth of bank loans, investments and deposits and also affect interest rates on loans and deposits. The nature and timing of any future changes in monetary policies and their potential impact on the Company cannot be predicted.

 

 

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INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

 

The names, ages, positions and business experience of our executive officers as of February 26, 2021:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name

 

Age

 

Position

John M. Hairston

 

57

 

President of the Company since 2014; Chief Executive Officer since 2008 and Chief Operating Officer from 2008 to 2014; Director since 2006.

Michael M. Achary

 

60

 

Senior Executive Vice President since 2017; Executive Vice President from 2008 to 2016; Chief Financial Officer since 2007.

Joseph S. Exnicios

 

65

 

Senior Executive Vice President since 2017; Executive Vice President from 2011 to 2016; President of Whitney Bank since 2011.

D. Shane Loper

 

55

 

Senior Executive Vice President since 2017; Executive Vice President from 2008 to 2016; Chief Operating Officer since 2014; Chief Administrative Officer from 2013 to 2014; Chief Risk Officer from 2012 to 2013; Chief Risk and Administrative Officer from 2010 to 2012.

Joy Lambert Phillips

 

64

 

Senior Executive Vice President since 2020; Executive Vice President from 2009 to 2020; Corporate Secretary since 2011; General Counsel since 1999.

Steven E. Barker

 

64

 

Executive Vice President since 2016; Senior Accounting and Finance Executive since 2019; Chief Accounting Officer since 2011.

Cecil W. Knight, Jr.

 

57

 

Executive Vice President since 2016; Chief Banking Officer since 2016; President and owner of Alidade partners, LLC from 2012 to 2016.

Michael Otero

 

54

 

Executive Vice President since 2013; Chief Risk Officer since 2020; Chief Internal Auditor from 2013 to 2018.

Ruena H. Wetzel

 

59

 

Executive Vice President since 2011; Chief Human Resources Officer since 2011.

Christopher S. Ziluca

 

59

 

Executive Vice President since 2018; Chief Credit Officer since 2018; Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer of Webster Bank from 2010 to 2018.

 

ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS

 

We face a number of material risks and uncertainties in connection with our operations. Our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected by the factors described below. The sharp contraction of global market conditions following the March 2020 declaration of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic has adversely affected our business and significant risk and extensive market disruption remain as the virus continues to spread. While we describe risks stemming from operating in the COVID-19 economic environment separately from each of the other risks we identify as material, a number of the risks described are interrelated, and certain of these risks could trigger effects of other risks described below. Also, the risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones that we may face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us, or that we do not currently consider to be material, could also potentially impair and/or have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

 

Risks Related to Economic and Market Conditions

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted our business and financial results, and the ultimate impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic and actions taken by governmental authorities in response to the pandemic.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created extensive disruptions to the global economy and to the lives of individuals throughout the world, and will likely continue to have a significant impact for at least the near term. Governments, businesses, and the public have taken unprecedented actions to contain the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate its effects, including quarantines, travel bans, shelter-in-place orders, closures of businesses and schools, fiscal stimulus packages, and legislation designed to deliver monetary aid and other relief. While the scope, duration, and full effects of COVID- 19 continue to evolve and are not yet fully known, the pandemic and related efforts to contain it have disrupted global economic activity, adversely affected the functioning of financial markets, impacted interest rates, increased economic and market uncertainty, and disrupted trade and supply chains. If these effects continue for a prolonged period, it could result in sustained economic stress or recession, and such effects could have a material adverse impact on us in a number of ways related to credit, collateral, customer demand, funding, operations, interest rate risk, liquidity and litigation, as described in more detail below.

Credit Risk. Our risks of timely loan repayment and the value of collateral supporting the loans are affected by the strength of our borrowers’ business. Concern about the spread of COVID-19 has caused and is likely to continue to cause business shutdowns, limitations on commercial activity and financial transactions, labor shortages, supply chain interruptions, increased unemployment and commercial property vacancy rates, reduced profitability and ability for property owners to make mortgage payments, and overall economic and financial market instability, all of which may cause our customers to be unable to make scheduled loan payments. If the effects of COVID-19 result in widespread and sustained repayment shortfalls on loans in our

 

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portfolio, we could incur significant delinquencies, foreclosures and credit losses, particularly if the available collateral is insufficient to cover our exposure. The future effects of COVID-19 on economic activity could negatively affect the collateral values associated with our existing loans, the ability to liquidate the real estat