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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
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
    For the transition period from __________________  to  __________________
Commission file number 001-39123
SILVERGATE CAPITAL CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Maryland
33-0227337
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
4250 Executive Square, Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
(858362-6300
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, par value $0.01 per shareSINew York Stock Exchange
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 of 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 (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Accelerated filer
Emerging growth company
Non-accelerated Filer
Smaller reporting company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new 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 value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2020 was $221.8 million.
As of February 26, 2021, the registrant had 23,477,496 shares of Class A voting common stock and 16,097 shares of Class B non-voting common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
The information required by Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K will be found in the Company’s definitive proxy statement for its 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and such information is incorporated herein by this reference.



SILVERGATE CAPITAL CORPORATION
FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
PART I
PART II
PART III
PART IV

1

Table of Contents
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). These forward-looking statements represent plans, estimates, objectives, goals, guidelines, expectations, intentions, projections and statements of our beliefs concerning future events, business plans, objectives, expected operating results and the assumptions upon which those statements are based. Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, any statement that may predict, forecast, indicate or imply future results, performance or achievements, and are typically identified with words such as “may,” “could,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan” or words or phases of similar meaning. We caution that the forward-looking statements are based largely on our expectations and are subject to a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties that are subject to change based on factors, which are in many instances, beyond our control. Actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those contemplated, expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.
The following factors, among others, could cause our financial performance to differ materially from that expressed in such forward-looking statements:
the success of the digital currency industry, the development and acceptance of which is subject to a high degree of uncertainty, as well as the continued evolution of the regulation of this industry and uncertainty of adoption of digital currencies;
the success of the digital currency initiative and our ability to implement aspects of our growth strategy;
the concentration of our depositor relationships in the digital currency industry generally and among digital currency exchanges in particular;
our ability to grow or sustain our low-cost funding strategy related to the digital currency initiative;
system failure or cybersecurity breaches of our network security;
our ability to keep pace with rapid technological changes in the industry or implement new technology effectively;
our reliance on third-party service providers for core systems support, informational website hosting, internet services, online account opening and other processing services;
our reliance on third party custodians to hold bitcoin in connection with our SEN Leverage product;
economic conditions (including interest rate environment, government economic and monetary policies, the strength of global financial markets and inflation and deflation) that impact the financial services industry and/or our business;
increased competition in the financial services industry, particularly from regional and national institutions;
credit risks, including risks related to the significance of commercial real estate loans in our portfolio, our ability to manage our credit risk effectively and the potential deterioration of the business and economic conditions in our primary market areas;
results of examinations of us by our regulators, including the possibility that our regulators may, among other things, require us to increase our allowance for loan losses or to write-down assets;
changes in the value of collateral securing our loans;
our ability to protect our intellectual property and the risks we face with respect to claims and litigation initiated against us;
interest rate risk associated with our business, including sensitivity of our interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities to interest rates, and the impact to our earnings from changes in interest rates;
our dependence on our management team and changes in management composition;
the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and our ability to remediate any future material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting.
the sufficiency of our capital, including sources of capital and the extent to which we may be required to raise additional capital to meet our goals;
potential exposure to fraud, negligence, computer theft and cyber-crime and other disruptions in our computer systems relating to our development and use of new technology platforms;
the adequacy of our risk management framework;
our involvement from time to time in legal proceedings, examinations and remedial actions by regulators;
changes in the laws, rules, regulations, interpretations or policies relating to financial institution, accounting, tax, trade, monetary and fiscal matters;
the financial soundness of other financial institutions;
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natural disasters and adverse weather, acts of terrorism, an outbreak of hostilities or other international or domestic calamities, and other matters beyond our control; and
other factors that are discussed in Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Further, given its ongoing and dynamic nature, it is difficult to predict the full impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic on our business. The extent of such impact will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain, including when the coronavirus can be controlled and abated and when and how the economy may be fully reopened. As the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related adverse local and national economic consequences, we could be subject to any of the following risks, any of which could have a material, adverse effect on our business, financial condition, liquidity, and results of operations: the demand for our products and services may decline, making it difficult to grow assets and income; if the economy is unable to fully reopen as planned, and high levels of unemployment continue for an extended period of time, loan delinquencies, problem assets, and foreclosures may increase, resulting in increased charges and reduced income; collateral for loans, especially real estate, may decline in value, which could cause loan losses to increase; our allowance for loan losses may increase if borrowers experience financial difficulties, which will adversely affect our net income; the net worth and liquidity of loan guarantors may decline, impairing their ability to honor commitments to us; as the result of the decline in the Federal Reserve’s target federal funds rate to near 0%, the yield on our assets may decline which would reduce our net interest margin and spread and reduce net income; our cybersecurity risks are increased as the result of an increase in the number of employees working remotely; and FDIC premiums may increase if the agency experiences additional resolution costs.
If one or more of the factors affecting our forward-looking information and statements proves incorrect, then our actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, forward-looking information and statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports and registration statements filed by us with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Therefore, we caution you not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking information and statements. We will not update the forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in the factors affecting the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking information and statements should not be viewed as predictions, and should not be the primary basis upon which investors evaluate us. Any investor in our common stock should consider all risks and uncertainties disclosed in our filings with the SEC, all of which are accessible on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

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PART I
Item 1. Business
All references to “we,” “us,” “our,” “Silvergate” or the “Company” mean Silvergate Capital Corporation and our consolidated subsidiaries, including Silvergate Bank, our primary operating subsidiary. All references to the ‘‘Bank’’ refer to Silvergate Bank. All references to the “Corporation” refer to Silvergate Capital Corporation. References to “common stock” or “Class A Common Stock” refer to our Class A voting common stock. References to “Class B Common Stock” refer to our Class B non-voting common stock. 
Overview
Silvergate Capital Corporation is the holding company for our wholly owned subsidiary, Silvergate Bank, which we believe is the leading provider of innovative financial infrastructure solutions and services to participants in the nascent and expanding digital currency industry. Key to our leadership position and growth strategy is the Silvergate Exchange Network (“SEN”), our proprietary, virtually instantaneous payment network for participants in the digital currency industry which serves as a platform for the development of additional products and services. The SEN has a powerful network effect that makes it more valuable as participants and utilization increase. The SEN has enabled us to significantly grow our noninterest bearing deposit product for digital currency industry participants, which has provided the majority of our funding over the last two years. This unique source of funding is a distinct advantage over most traditional financial institutions and allows us to generate revenue from a conservative portfolio of investments in cash, short term securities and certain types of loans that we believe generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. In addition, use of the SEN has resulted in an increase in noninterest income that we believe will become a valuable source of additional revenue as we develop and deploy fee-based solutions in connection with our digital currency initiative. We are also evaluating additional products or product enhancements specifically targeted at providing further financial infrastructure solutions to our customers and strengthening SEN network effects, such as our SEN Leverage lending product described below under “Lending Activities”.
The Company is a Maryland corporation, originally incorporated in 2000, whose assets consist primarily of its investment in the Bank and its primary activities are conducted through the Bank. The Company is a registered bank holding company that is subject to supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (“Federal Reserve”). The Bank is subject to supervision by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, Division of Financial Institutions (“DFPI”), and, as a Federal Reserve member bank since 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The Bank’s deposits are insured up to legal limits by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”).
The Bank provides financial services that include commercial banking, commercial and residential real estate lending, mortgage warehouse lending and commercial business lending. Our client base is diverse and consists of business and individual clients in California and other states and includes digital currency related customers in the United States and internationally. Following the Bank’s 2009 conversion from an industrial bank to a commercial bank we began introducing an expanded array of relationship-oriented business products and services, which in the past seven years has been significantly augmented by our digital currency initiative. While our commercial real estate lending activities are concentrated in California, we have a nationwide focus in our mortgage warehouse lending and even broader international reach with respect to deposit and cash management services for digital currency related businesses. Beginning in July 2020, we ceased issuing purchase commitments for residential real estate loans through our former correspondent lending unit but continue to service existing loans currently on our balance sheet.
The Company completed its Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) of 3.3 million shares of its Class A common stock at a public offering price of $12.00 per share on November 7, 2019. The common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “SI.” The IPO generated aggregate net proceeds to the Company of $6.5 million after deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses.
In January, 2021, the Company completed its underwritten public offering of 4.6 million shares of Class A common stock at a price of $63.00 per share. The aggregate gross proceeds of the offering were approximately $287.5 million, before discounts and expenses. The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to further supplement the regulatory capital levels of the Company and the Bank and for other general corporate purposes, which may include providing capital to support the Company’s growth organically or through strategic acquisitions, and other growth initiatives, including the Bank’s SEN Leverage lending product, discussed below, custody and other digital asset services.
Digital Currency Initiative
We leverage the SEN and our management team’s expertise in the digital currency industry to develop, implement and maintain critical financial infrastructure solutions and services for many of the largest U.S. digital currency exchanges and global investors, as well as other digital currency infrastructure providers that utilize the Company as a foundational layer for their products. The SEN is a central element of the operations of our digital currency related customers, which enables us to grow with our existing customers and to attract new customers who can benefit from our innovative solutions and services. We
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believe that our vision and advanced approach to compliance complement the SEN and empower us to extend our leadership position in the industry by developing additional infrastructure solutions and services that will facilitate growth in our business.
We began exploring the digital currency industry in 2013 based on market dynamics which we believed were highly attractive:
Significant and Growing Industry: Digital currency presented a revolutionary model for executing financial transactions with substantial potential for growth.
Infrastructure Needs: In order to become widely adopted, digital currency would need to rely on many traditional elements of financial services, including those services that support funds transfers, customer account controls and other security measures.
Regulatory Complexity as a Barrier to Entry: Providing infrastructure solutions and services to the digital currency industry would require specialized compliance capabilities and a management team with a deep understanding of both the digital currency and the financial services industries.
These insights have been proven correct and we believe they remain true today. In fact, we believe that the market opportunity for digital currencies, the need for infrastructure solutions and services and the regulatory complexity have all expanded significantly since 2013. Our ability to address these market dynamics over the past seven years has provided us with a first-mover advantage within the digital currency industry that is the cornerstone of our leadership position today.
Digital Currency Customers
Our customer base has grown rapidly, as many customers proactively approach us due to our reputation as the leading provider of innovative financial infrastructure solutions and services to participants in the digital currency industry, which includes our unique technology solutions. As of December 31, 2020, we had over 200 prospective digital currency customer leads in various stages of our customer onboarding process and pipeline, which includes extensive regulatory compliance diligence and integrating of the customer’s technology stack for those new digital currency customers interested in using our proprietary, cloud-based application programming interface (“API”).
The following list sets forth summary information regarding the types of market participants who are our primary customers:
Digital Currency Exchanges: Exchanges through which digital currencies are bought and sold; includes over-the-counter (“OTC”) trading desks.
Institutional Investors: Hedge funds, venture capital funds, private equity funds, family offices and traditional asset managers, which are investing in digital currencies as an asset class.
Other Customers: Companies developing new protocols, platforms and applications; mining operations; and providers of other services.
Our customers include some of the largest U.S. exchanges and global investors in the digital currency industry. These market participants generally hold either or both of two distinct types of funds: (i) those funds that market participants use for digital currency investment activities, which we refer to as investor funds, and (ii) those funds that market participants use for business operations, which we refer to as operating funds.
Our customer ecosystem also includes software developers, digital currency miners, custodians and general industry participants that need our solutions and services.
The following table presents a breakdown of our digital currency customer base and the deposits held by such customers at the dates noted below:
December 31,
2020
December 31,
2019
Number of Customers
Total Deposits(1)
Number of Customers
Total Deposits(1)
(Dollars in millions)
Digital currency exchanges76 $2,479 60 $527 
Institutional investors607 1,811 509 432 
Other customers286 749 235 286 
Total969 $5,039 804 $1,246 
________________________
(1)Total deposits may not foot due to rounding.
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The following chart sets forth our digital currency customer related fee income for the periods noted below:
Fee Income from Digital Currency Customers
(Dollars in thousands)
si-20201231_g1.jpg
Silvergate Exchange Network
We designed the SEN as a network of digital currency exchanges and digital currency investors that enables the efficient movement of U.S. dollars between SEN participants 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In this respect, the SEN is a first-of-its-kind digital currency infrastructure solution.
The core function of the SEN is to allow participants to make transfers of U.S. dollars from their SEN account at the Bank to the Bank account of another SEN participant with which a counterparty relationship has been established, and to view funds transfers received from their SEN counterparties. Counterparty relationships between parties effecting digital currency transactions are established on the SEN to facilitate U.S. dollar transfers associated with those transactions.
SEN transfers occur on a virtually instantaneous basis as compared to electronic funds transfers being sent outside of the Bank, such as wire transfers and ACH transactions, which can take from several hours to several days to complete. Our proprietary, cloud-based API combined with our online banking tools, allows customers to efficiently control their fiat currency, transact through the SEN and automate their interactions with our technology platform.
The following table presents the number of transactions and the U.S. dollar volume of transactions that occurred on the SEN for the periods presented:
Year Ended
December 31,
% Increase
20202019
(Dollars in millions)
# SEN Transactions230,815 46,063 401.1 %
$ Volume of SEN Transfers$135,685 $32,733 314.5 %
Compliance
Our digital currency industry solutions and services are currently offered through the Bank. Our solutions and services are built on our deep-rooted commitment and proprietary approach to regulatory compliance. Over the past seven years we have further developed our proprietary compliance capabilities, which include ongoing monitoring of customer activities and evaluating a market participant’s ability to actively monitor the flow of funds of their own customers. We believe these capabilities are a distinct competitive advantage for us, and provide a meaningful barrier to entry against our potential competitors, as there is not currently a well-established and easily navigable regulatory roadmap for competitors to serve digital currency industry customers. For this reason, our long-term investment in developing and enhancing our highly specialized compliance capabilities will remain a strategic priority for us.
Deposits
Our deposits serve as the primary funding source for lending, investing and other general banking purposes. We provide a full range of deposit products and services, including a variety of checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, remote deposit capture, online banking, mobile banking, e-Statements, bank-by-mail and direct deposit services.
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One of the key elements of our financial success is our low-cost deposit base. Our digital currency initiative has enabled the Bank to rapidly grow deposits from digital currency customers. Because of our focus on the digital currency industry in recent years and the unique value-add solutions and services we provide, we have achieved substantial improvements in our deposit base, specifically an increase in our noninterest bearing deposits, which has driven the Bank’s funding costs to among the lowest in the U.S. banking industry.
Our noninterest bearing deposits as a percentage of total deposits increased from 21.7% as of December 31, 2016 to 97.8% as of December 31, 2020. This funding base allows us to manage our interest earning assets conservatively and we have transitioned from primarily deploying our funding into loans to deploying funds into other assets that generate attractive risk-adjusted returns.
We segment our deposits based on their potential volatility, which drives our choices regarding the assets we fund with such deposits. Deposits attributable to digital currency customer investor funds are assigned the highest potential volatility. These deposits were approximately $4.0 billion as of December 31, 2020, and we invest these funds primarily in interest earning deposits in other banks and adjustable rate securities available-for-sale. We also use a portion of our deposits attributable to investor funds as the funding source for specialized lending opportunities, such as mortgage warehouse and SEN Leverage lending activities. We are comfortable with this strategy because of the short-term nature of those assets and because we can access funding at the Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) should we experience heightened volatility in the deposit balances related to these digital currency investor funds.
We use deposits attributable to digital currency customer operating funds to make loans across our other lending businesses. A significant portion of our portfolio consists of loans on residential real estate and both owner-occupied and non-owner-occupied commercial real estate. The properties securing these loans are located primarily throughout our markets and, with respect to commercial real estate loans, are generally diverse in terms of type.
Lending Activities
Overview. We maintain a diversified loan portfolio in terms of the types of loan products and customer characteristics, with a focus on shorter term and higher yielding products. The interest rates on our real estate loans generally have initial fixed rate terms for 5-7 years and adjust annually thereafter. Our lending services cover commercial real estate loans, multi-family real estate loans, construction loans, commercial and industrial loans (including digital currency collateralized loans), consumer loans and mortgage warehouse loans. Lending activities originate from the efforts of our loan officers, with an emphasis on lending to small- to medium-sized businesses and commercial companies primarily located in our market areas. Although all lending involves a degree of risk, we believe that commercial and industrial loans, commercial real estate loans and multi-family loans present greater risks than other types of loans in our portfolio. We mitigate these risks through conservative underwriting and continuous monitoring of credit quality indicators.
The following table presents the composition of our total loan portfolio, by segment, as of December 31, 2020:

LOAN PORTFOLIO COMPOSITION
Amount
Percentage
of
Total Gross
Loans
 (Dollars in thousands)
Real estate:
One-to-four family$187,855 25.0 %
Multi-family77,126 10.3 %
Commercial301,901 40.2 %
Construction6,272 0.8 %
Subtotal real estate573,154 76.3 %
Commercial and industrial78,909 10.5 %
Consumer and other162 0.0 %
Reverse mortgage1,333 0.2 %
Mortgage warehouse97,903 13.0 %
Total gross loans held-for-investment$751,461 100.0 %
Total loans held-for-sale(1)
$865,961 
________________________
(1)Loans held-for-sale consists of mortgage warehouse loans.
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One-to-Four Family Real Estate Loans. Our one-to-four family real estate loans primarily consist of non-qualified (“Non-QM”) single-family residential (“SFR”) mortgage loans and purchases of loan pools.
Non-QM SFR mortgage loans required compliance with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) mandated SFR Ability to Repay (“ATR”), and QM Rule, and the Bank established rigorous ATR compliance processes before becoming among the first to offer an adjustable rate Non-QM SFR loan product to be purchased from originating mortgage lenders. The Bank engaged in purchases and sales of Non-QM loans from 2014 until deciding to cease new loan purchases in mid-2020, but has retained remaining previously purchased loans as interest earning assets on its balance sheet. At December 31, 2020, gross Non-QM SFR loans were approximately $163.1 million.
Multi-Family Real Estate Loans. We offer multi-family real estate loans for the purchase or refinancing of apartment properties located primarily in our Southern California market area. We may periodically purchase these loans. These loans are primarily made based on the identified cash flows of the borrower and on the underlying real property collateral. Loans are generally extended for 10 years or less and amortize generally over 30 years or less, with interest rates being initially fixed for 5-7 years and adjusting annually thereafter, and we routinely charge an origination fee for our services.
Commercial Real Estate Loans. We originate and periodically purchase commercial real estate loans. These loans may be adversely affected by conditions in the real estate markets or in the general economy. Commercial real estate loans are generally extended for 10 years or less and amortize generally over 30 years or less. The interest rates on our commercial real estate loans generally have initial fixed rate terms for 5-7 years and adjust annually thereafter, and we routinely charge an origination fee for our services. We require a review of the principal owners’ personal financial statements and global debt service obligations and may require personal guarantees from borrowers. The properties securing the portfolio are located primarily throughout our markets and are generally diverse in terms of type. This diversity helps reduce the exposure to adverse economic events that affect any single industry.
Construction Loans. Our construction loans are offered very selectively within our Southern California operating area to builders of commercial or multi-family residential properties and single-family homes (generally in small subdivisions). Our construction loans typically have terms of 12 to 18 months. According to our underwriting standards, the ratio of loan principal to collateral value, as established by an independent appraisal, cannot exceed 75% for investor-owned and 80% for owner-occupied properties. We closely monitor our borrowers’ progress in construction buildout and strictly enforce our original underwriting guidelines for construction milestones and completion timelines.
Commercial and Industrial Loans. Our commercial and industrial loans consist of loans and lines of credit to businesses that are generally collateralized by accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, loan and lease receivables, digital currency assets such as bitcoin and other commercial assets, and may be supported by credit enhancements such as personal guarantees. Risk may arise from differences between expected and actual cash flows and/or liquidity levels of the borrowers, as well as the type of collateral securing these loans and the reliability of the conversion thereof to cash. Currently, commercial and industrial loans consist primarily of asset based loans.
In January 2020, the Company launched its SEN Leverage lending product. Following the successful conclusion of the pilot of SEN Leverage in September 2020, SEN Leverage is now one of the Company’s core lending products. Our SEN Leverage product allows the Bank’s customers to obtain U.S. dollar loans collateralized by bitcoin held at select digital currency exchanges and other custodians that are also customers of the Bank. The product uses the SEN to fund loans and process repayments in real-time, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
In connection with the SEN Leverage pilot in January 2020, we partnered with Bitstamp Ltd., a digital currency exchange founded in 2011, to serve as Silvergate’s initial agent to custody and manage bitcoin collateral. We subsequently expanded access to SEN Leverage in June 2020 by partnering with Anchorage, which was founded in 2017 and is a leading digital asset platform for institutional investors, to offer its customers access to increased trading capital by providing leverage on bitcoin held in custody.
As of December 31, 2020, we had SEN Leverage approved lines of credit totaling $82.5 million, as compared to $35.5 million at September 30, 2020. Our total outstanding SEN Leverage loans at December 31, 2020 amounted to $77.2 million, as compared to total outstanding SEN Leverage loans of $22.4 million at September 30, 2020. At December 31, 2020, our outstanding SEN Leverage loans comprised 4.8% of our total loan portfolio, as compared to 1.6% of our total loan portfolio at September 30, 2020.
We developed SEN Leverage within the framework of the Bank’s legal lending authority, conservative credit culture and robust approval process. Borrowers accessing SEN Leverage provide bitcoin or U.S. dollars as collateral in an amount greater than the line of credit being advanced. The Bank works with existing digital currency exchanges and other indirect lenders, as the case may be, to both act as its collateral custodian for such loans, and to liquidate the collateral in the event of a decline in collateral coverage below levels required in the borrower’s loan agreement.
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Our SEN Leverage product enables our digital currency customers to borrow U.S. dollars directly from the Bank to purchase bitcoin using bitcoin as the collateral for these loans, which we refer to as SEN Leverage direct lending. In the SEN Leverage direct lending structure, the exchange client holds the borrower’s bitcoin and the Bank uses the SEN to fund the loan directly to the borrower’s account at the exchange. In addition to providing SEN Leverage direct lending, the Bank also provides loans collateralized with bitcoin to certain third-party digital currency industry lenders for loans to their customers, which we refer to as SEN Leverage indirect lending. In the SEN Leverage indirect lending structure, the indirect lender uses bitcoin to collateralize its loan with the Bank and the funding of the loan and liquidation of the collateral may or may not occur via the SEN. The Bank uses a custodian to custody the bitcoin collateral and a separate digital currency service provider to monitor the bitcoin collateral coverage ratio and, if necessary, to liquidate the bitcoin collateral. We believe our SEN Leverage product is unique in the digital currency industry, creating both deeper relationships with our clients and an attractive source of potential future revenue growth.
At no time does the Bank directly hold the pledged digital currency. The Bank sets collateral coverage ratios at levels intended to yield collateral liquidation proceeds in excess of the borrower’s loan amount, but the borrower remains obligated for the payment of any deficiency notwithstanding any change in the condition of the exchange, financial or otherwise.
Mortgage Warehouse Loans. Our mortgage warehouse lending division provides short-term interim funding for single-family residential mortgage loans originated by mortgage bankers or other lenders pending the sale of such loans in the secondary market. Our risk is mitigated by comprehensive policies, procedures, and controls governing this activity, partial loan funding by the originating lender, guarantees or additional monies pledged to the Company as security, and the short holding period of funded loans on the Company’s balance sheet. In addition, loss rates of this portfolio have historically been minimal, and these loans are all subject to written purchase commitments from takeout investors or are hedged. Our mortgage warehouse loans may either be held-for-investment or held-for-sale depending on the underlying contract. Since the opening of the mortgage warehouse division in April 2009 through December 31, 2020, we purchased $40.7 billion in loans and incurred only $61,000 of net losses in 2017. We sold approximately $191.5 million and $151.3 million of loans to participants during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. At December 31, 2020, gross mortgage warehouse loans were approximately $963.9 million.
Credit Policies and Procedures
General. We adhere to what we believe are disciplined underwriting practices, pursuant to conservative standards and guidelines. We remain cognizant of the need to serve the credit needs of customers in our primary market areas by offering flexible loan solutions in a responsive and timely manner. We maintain asset quality through an emphasis on market knowledge, long-term customer relationships, consistent and thorough underwriting for all loans, continuous surveillance and monitoring of loan portfolio and a conservative credit culture. We also seek to maintain a diversified loan portfolio. These components, together with active portfolio management, are the foundation of our credit culture, which we believe is critical to maintaining and enhancing the long-term value of our organization to our customers, employees, shareholders and communities.
Credit Concentrations. We actively monitor and manage the composition of our loan portfolio, including credit concentrations. Our credit policies establish concentration limits by loan product types and geographic locations to enhance portfolio diversification. The Bank’s concentration management program couples quantitative data with a thorough qualitative approach to provide an in-depth understanding of its loan portfolio concentrations. The Bank’s routine commercial real estate portfolio analysis includes concentration trends by portfolio product type, overall commercial real estate growth trends, pool correlations, risk rating trends, policy and/or underwriting exceptions, nonperforming asset trends, market and submarket analysis and changing economic conditions. The portfolio concentration limits set forth in Bank’s Loan Concentration Policy are reviewed and approved by the Bank’s board of directors at least annually. Concentration levels are monitored by management and reported to the board of directors at least quarterly.
Loan Approval Process. As of December 31, 2020, the Bank had a legal lending limit of approximately $67.2 million for loans secured by cash, readily marketable collateral, or real estate collateral qualifying under the California Financial Code (the “Financial Code”), and $40.3 million for loans without such collateral or any collateral. The Bank’s lending activities are governed by written underwriting policies, standards and procedures that have been approved by the Management Lending Committee (“MLC”). The policies provide delegated lending authority to senior management of the Bank. The lending authority hierarchy varies depending on loan amount, exceptions and total borrower exposure. We believe that our credit approval process provides for thorough underwriting and efficient decision making.
Loan Reviews and Problem Loan Management. Our credit administration staff conducts meetings at least four times a year to review asset quality and loan delinquencies with the MLC. The Bank’s Loan Portfolio Management Procedure prescribes loan review frequency and scope through a risk-based approach that considers loan amount, type, risk rating and payment status. Individual loan reviews encompass a loan’s payment status and history, current and projected paying capacity of the borrower and/or guarantor(s), current condition and estimated value of any collateral, sufficiency of credit and collateral
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documentation, and compliance with Bank and regulatory lending standards. Loan reviewers assign an overall loan risk rating from one of the Bank’s loan rating categories and prepare a written report summarizing the review.
Once a loan is identified as a problem loan or a loan requiring a workout, the Bank makes an evaluation and develops a plan for handling the loan. In developing such a plan, management reviews all relevant information from the loan file and any loan review reports. We have conversations with the borrower and update current and projected financial information (including borrower global cash flows when possible) and collateral valuation estimates. Following analysis of all available relevant information, management adopts an action plan from the following alternatives: (a) continuation of loan collection efforts on their existing terms, (b) a restructure of the loan’s terms, (c) a sale of the loan, (d) a charge off or partial charge off, (e) foreclosure on pledged collateral, or (f) acceptance of a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
Investments
We manage our securities portfolio and cash to maintain adequate liquidity and to ensure the safety and preservation of invested principal, with a secondary focus on yield and returns. Specific objectives of our investment policy and portfolio are as follows:
Ensure the Safety of Principal—Bank investments are generally limited to investment-grade instruments that fully comply with all applicable regulatory guidelines and limitations. Allowable non-investment-grade instruments must be approved by the board of directors.
Income Generation—The Bank’s investment portfolio is managed to maximize income on invested funds in a manner that is consistent with the Bank’s overall financial goals and risk considerations.
Provide Liquidity—The Bank’s investment portfolio is managed to remain sufficiently liquid to meet anticipated funding demands either through declines in deposits and/or increases in loan demand.
Mitigate Interest Rate Risk—Portfolio strategies are used to assist the Bank in managing its overall interest rate sensitivity position in accordance with goals and objectives approved by the ALCO.
Since we are required to maintain high levels of liquidity for our customers who operate in the digital currency industry, our investment portfolio is comprised of available for sale securities such as mortgage-backed securities backed by government-sponsored entities, highly rated credit or government-sponsored asset backed securities, highly rated commercial mortgage-backed securities, and highly rated municipal bonds.
Our investment policy is reviewed and approved annually by our board of directors. Overall investment objectives are established by our board through our investment policy and monitored through our ALCO. Day-to-day activities pertaining to the securities portfolio are conducted under the supervision of the ALCO’s Investment Subcommittee consisting of our CEO, President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Credit Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and Portfolio Manager. We actively monitor our investments on an ongoing basis to identify any material changes in our mix of securities. We also review our securities for potential impairment (other than temporary impairments) at least quarterly.
Competition
The banking and financial services industry is highly competitive, and we compete with a wide range of financial institutions within our markets, including local, regional and national commercial banks and credit unions. We also compete with brokerage firms, consumer finance companies, mutual funds, securities firms, insurance companies, fintech companies and other financial intermediaries for certain of our products and services. Some of our competitors are not currently subject to the regulatory restrictions and the level of regulatory supervision applicable to us.
We face direct competition from a handful of banks that are actively seeking relationships with our current and prospective digital currency customers. In addition, we compete with other infrastructure service providers primarily related to the digital currency industry. As adoption of digital currency grows, we expect additional banks, other financial institutions and other infrastructure service providers to enter into the digital currency industry and compete with us for our current and prospective digital currency customers. Additionally, some of our current digital currency customers are also licensed financial institutions that may attempt to compete with us in the future. The pace of innovation within the digital currency industry is rapid and may result in competitors or new competing business models that we are not aware of today.
Interest rates on loans and deposits, as well as prices on fee-based services, are typically significant competitive factors within the banking and financial services industry. Many of our competitors are much larger financial institutions that have greater financial resources than we do and compete aggressively for market share. These competitors attempt to gain market share through their financial product mix, pricing strategies and banking center locations.
Other important standard competitive factors in our industry and markets include office locations and hours, quality of customer service, community reputation, continuity of personnel and services, capacity and willingness to extend credit, and ability to offer sophisticated banking products and services. While we seek to remain competitive with respect to fees charged,
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interest rates and pricing, we believe that our broad and sophisticated commercial banking product suite, our high quality customer service culture, our positive reputation and long-standing community relationships will enable us to compete successfully within our markets and enhance our ability to attract and retain customers.
Employees and Human Capital Resources
At December 31, 2020, we employed 218 persons, of which 216 were employed on a full-time basis. None of our employees are represented by any collective bargaining unit or are a party to a collective bargaining agreement. We believe the relationship with our employees to be good. Our ability to attract and retain employees is a key to our success. We offer a competitive total rewards program to our employees and monitor the competitiveness of our compensation and benefits programs in our various market areas.
Silvergate prides itself on being a values-driven organization, where employees are empowered to interact collaboratively, take ownership, and do more than what’s expected for our clients, while building a fun, vibrant and performance driven culture. Our company core values guide each team member as we explore, innovate and embrace change. In addition, we are committed to developing our staff through continuing education and training programs. Leadership development is supported through various programs available to all levels of leadership within the organization.
The safety, health and wellness for our employees is a top priority. We successfully moved to a virtual-first workplace, in 2020 with approximately 95% of our employees working remotely. The Company has adopted preventative measures to protect employees working in the office and continually provides guidelines to employees to promote healthy habits and ways to stay connected while working remotely.
Supervision and Regulation
General
We are extensively regulated under both federal and state law. These laws restrict permissible activities and investments and require compliance with various consumer protection provisions applicable to lending, deposit, brokerage, and fiduciary activities. They also impose capital adequacy requirements and conditions on a BHC’s ability to pay dividends to its shareholders, to repurchase stock or to receive dividends from its subsidiary banks. As a BHC, the Corporation is subject to regulation and supervision by the Federal Reserve. We are required to file with the Federal Reserve quarterly and annual reports and such additional information as the Federal Reserve may require pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “BHC Act”). The Federal Reserve conducts examinations of the Corporation and its subsidiaries. The Corporation is also a BHC within the meaning of the Financial Code. As such, the Corporation and its subsidiaries are subject to examination by, and may be required to file reports with, the DFPI. As a California state-chartered commercial bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve, the Bank is subject to supervision, periodic examination and regulation by the DFPI and the Federal Reserve. The Bank’s deposits are insured by the FDIC through the Deposit Insurance Fund (the “DIF”). Based on this deposit insurance function, the FDIC also has certain supervisory authority and powers over the Bank as well as all other FDIC insured institutions. As a California-chartered commercial bank, the Bank is also subject to certain provisions of California law. The Corporation’s and the Bank’s regulators generally have broad discretion to impose restrictions and limitations on our operations. Bank regulation is intended to protect depositors and consumers and not shareholders. This supervisory framework could materially impact the conduct and profitability of our activities.
To the extent that the following information describes statutory and regulatory provisions, it is qualified in its entirety by reference to the text of applicable statutory and regulatory provisions. Legislative and regulatory initiatives, which necessarily impact the regulation of the financial services industry, are introduced from time-to-time. We cannot predict whether or when potential legislation or new regulations will be enacted, and if enacted, the effect that new legislation or any implemented regulations and supervisory policies would have on our financial condition and results of operations. The Dodd-Frank Act, by way of example, contains a comprehensive set of provisions designed to govern the practices and oversight of financial institutions and other participants in the financial markets. The Dodd-Frank Act made extensive changes in the regulation of financial institutions and their holding companies. Some of the changes brought about by the Dodd-Frank Act have been modified by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (the “Regulatory Relief Act”), signed into law on May 24, 2018. The Dodd-Frank Act has increased the regulatory burden and compliance costs of the Company. Moreover, bank regulatory agencies can be more aggressive in responding to concerns and trends identified in examinations, which could result in an increased issuance of enforcement actions to financial institutions requiring action to address credit quality, liquidity and risk management, and capital adequacy, as well as other safety and soundness concerns.
Regulation of Silvergate Capital Corporation
We are registered as a BHC under the BHC Act and are subject to regulation and supervision by the Federal Reserve. The BHC Act and Home Owners’ Loan Act require us to secure the prior approval of the Federal Reserve before we own or control, directly or indirectly, more than 5% of the voting shares or substantially all the assets of any bank, thrift, bank holding company
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or thrift holding company, or merge or consolidate with another bank or thrift holding company. Further, under the BHC Act, our activities and those of any nonbank subsidiary are limited to: (i) those activities that the Federal Reserve determines to be so closely related to banking as to be a proper incident thereto, and (ii) investments in companies not engaged in activities closely related to banking, subject to quantitative limitations on the value of such investments. Prior approval of the Federal Reserve may be required before engaging in certain activities. In making such determinations, the Federal Reserve is required to weigh the expected benefits to the public, such as greater convenience, increased competition, and gains in efficiency, against the possible adverse effects, such as undue concentration of resources, decreased or unfair competition, conflicts of interest, and unsound banking practices.
Subject to various exceptions, the BHC Act and the Change in Bank Control Act (the “CBCA”), together with related regulations, require Federal Reserve approval prior to any person or company acquiring “control” of a BHC, such as the Corporation. Control is conclusively presumed to exist if an individual or company acquires 25% or more of any class of voting securities of the BHC. With respect to the CBCA, a rebuttable presumption of control arises if a person or company acquires 10% or more, but less than 25%, of any class of voting securities and either: (i) the BHC has registered securities under Section 12 of the Securities Act; or (ii) no other person owns a greater percentage of that class of voting securities immediately after the transaction. The Federal Reserve may require an investor to enter into passivity and, if other companies are making similar investments, anti-association commitments.
The BHC Act was substantially amended by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (the “GLBA”), which, among other things, permits a “financial holding company” to engage in a broader range of nonbanking activities, and to engage on less restrictive terms in certain activities than were previously permitted. These expanded activities include securities underwriting and dealing, insurance underwriting and sales, and merchant banking activities. To become a financial holding company, a BHC must certify that it and all depository institutions that it controls are both “well capitalized” and “well managed” (as defined by federal law), and that all subsidiary depository institutions have at least a “satisfactory” Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) rating. To date we have not elected to become a financial holding company.
There are several restrictions imposed on us by law and regulatory policy that are designed to minimize potential loss to depositors and to the DIF in the event that a subsidiary depository institution should become insolvent. For example, federal law requires a BHC to serve as a source of financial strength to its subsidiary depository institutions and to commit resources to support such institutions in circumstances where it might not do so in the absence of the rule. The Federal Reserve also has the authority under the BHC Act to require a BHC to terminate any activity or to relinquish control of a nonbank subsidiary upon the Federal Reserve’s determination that such activity or control constitutes a serious risk to the financial soundness and stability of any bank subsidiary of the BHC.
Any capital loan by a BHC to a subsidiary depository institution is subordinate in right of payment to deposits and certain other indebtedness of the institution. In addition, in the event of the BHC’s bankruptcy, any commitment made by the BHC to a federal banking regulatory agency to maintain the capital of its subsidiary depository institution(s) will be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee and entitled to a priority of payment.
The FDIC 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 a 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. If an insured depository institution, such as the Bank, fails, insured and uninsured depositors, along with the FDIC, will have priority in payment ahead of unsecured, non-deposit creditors, including the institution’s holding company, with respect to any extensions of credit they have made to such insured depository institution.
Regulation of Silvergate Bank
The operations and investments of our Bank are subject to the supervision, examination, and reporting requirements of the DFPI and the Federal Reserve and to federal banking statutes and regulations related to, among other things, the level of reserves that our Bank must maintain against deposits, restrictions on the types, amount, and terms and conditions of loans it may originate, and limits on the types of other activities in which our Bank may engage and the investments that it may make. Because our Bank’s deposits are insured by the FDIC to the maximum extent provided by law, it is also subject to certain FDIC regulations, and the FDIC has backup examination authority and some enforcement powers over our Bank. If, based on an examination of our Bank, the regulators should determine that the financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity or other aspects of the Bank’s operations are unsatisfactory or that the Bank or our management is violating or has violated any law or regulation, various remedies are available to the regulators. Such remedies include the power to enjoin unsafe or unsound practices, to require affirmative action to correct any conditions resulting from any violation or practice, to issue an administrative order that can be judicially enforced, to direct an increase in capital, to restrict growth, to assess civil monetary penalties, to remove officers and directors and ultimately to request the FDIC to terminate the Bank’s deposit insurance.
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Transactions with Affiliates and Insiders
We are subject to federal laws, such as Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act (the “FRA”), that limit the size, number and terms of the transactions that depository institutions may engage in with their affiliates. Under these provisions, covered transactions by a bank with nonbank affiliates (such as loans to or investments in an affiliate by the bank) must be on arms-length terms and generally be limited to 10% of the bank’s capital and surplus for all covered transactions with any one affiliate, and 20% of capital and surplus for all covered transactions with all affiliates. Any extensions of credit to affiliates, with limited exceptions, must be secured by eligible collateral in specified amounts. Banks are also prohibited from purchasing any “low quality” assets from an affiliate. The Dodd-Frank Act generally enhanced the restrictions on transactions with affiliates under Section 23A and 23B of the FRA, including an expansion of the definition of “covered transactions” to include derivatives transactions, repurchase agreements, reverse repurchase agreements and securities lending or borrowing transactions and an increase in the period of time during which collateral requirements regarding covered credit transactions must be satisfied. The Federal Reserve has promulgated Regulation W, which codifies prior interpretations under Sections 23A and 23B of the FRA and provides interpretive guidance with respect to affiliate transactions. Affiliates of a bank include, among other entities, a bank’s BHC parent and companies that are under common control with the bank. We are considered to be an affiliate of the Bank.
We are also subject to restrictions on extensions of credit to our executive officers, directors, shareholders who own more than 10% of our Class A and Class B Common Stock, and their related interests. These extensions of credit must be made on substantially the same terms, including interest rates and collateral, as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with third parties, and must not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features. Loans to such persons and certain affiliated entities of any of the foregoing, may not exceed, together with all other outstanding loans to such person and affiliated entities, the institution’s loans-to-one-borrower limit as discussed under “Loans to One Borrower.” Federal regulations also prohibit loans above amounts prescribed by the appropriate federal banking agency to directors, executive officers, and shareholders who own more than 10% of an institution, and their respective affiliates, unless such loans are approved in advance by a majority of the board of directors of the institution. Any “interested” director may not participate in the voting. The proscribed loan amount, which includes all other outstanding loans to such person, as to which such prior board of director approval is required, is the greater of $25,000 or 5% of capital and surplus up to $500,000. Furthermore, we are prohibited from engaging in asset purchases or sales transactions with our officers, directors, or principal shareowners unless the transaction is on market terms and, if the transaction represents greater than 10% of the capital and surplus of the bank, a majority of the bank’s disinterested directors has approved the transaction.
Indemnification payments to any director, officer or employee of either a bank or a BHC are subject to certain constraints imposed by the FDIC.
Incentive Compensation
Federal banking agencies have issued guidance on incentive compensation policies intended to ensure that the incentive compensation policies of banking organizations do not undermine the safety and soundness of such organizations by encouraging excessive risk-taking. The guidance, which covers all employees that have the ability to materially affect the risk profile of an organization, is based upon the key principles that a banking organization’s incentive compensation arrangements should (i) provide incentives that appropriately balance risk and rewards in a manner that does not encourage imprudent risk taking, (ii) be compatible with effective internal controls and risk management, and (iii) be supported by strong corporate governance, including active and effective oversight by the organization’s board of directors. In accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act, the federal banking agencies prohibit incentive-based compensation arrangements that encourage inappropriate risk taking by covered financial institutions (generally institutions that have over $1 billion in assets) and are deemed to be excessive, or that may lead to material losses.
The Federal Reserve will review, as part of the regular, risk-focused examination process, the incentive compensation arrangements of banking organizations, such as the Company, that are not “large, complex banking organizations.” These reviews will be tailored to each organization based on the scope and complexity of the organization’s activities and the prevalence of incentive compensation arrangements. The findings of the supervisory initiatives will be included in reports of examination. Deficiencies will be incorporated into the organization’s supervisory ratings, which can affect the organization’s ability to make acquisitions and take other actions. Enforcement actions may be taken against a banking organization if its incentive compensation arrangements, or related risk-management control or governance processes, pose a risk to the organization’s safety and soundness and the organization is not taking prompt and effective measures to correct the deficiencies.
The scope and content of the U.S. banking regulators’ policies on executive compensation may continue to evolve in the future. It presently cannot be determined whether compliance with such policies will adversely affect the Company’s ability to hire, retain and motivate its key employees.
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Loans to One Borrower
Under California law, our ability to make aggregate secured and unsecured loans-to-one-borrower is limited to 25% and 15%, respectively, of unimpaired capital and surplus. At December 31, 2020, the Bank’s limit on aggregate secured loans-to-one-borrower was approximately $67.2 million for loans secured by cash, readily marketable collateral, or real estate collateral qualifying under the Financial Code, and $40.3 million for loans without such collateral or any collateral.
Deposit Insurance
Our deposits are insured up to applicable limits by the DIF of the FDIC. Deposit insurance is mandatory. We are required to pay assessments to the FDIC on a quarterly basis. The assessment amount is the product of multiplying the assessment base by the assessment amount.
The assessment base against which the assessment rate is applied to determine the total assessment due for a given period is the depository institution’s average total consolidated assets during the assessment period less average tangible equity during that assessment period. Tangible equity is defined in the assessment rule as Tier 1 Capital and is calculated monthly, unless the insured depository institution has less than $1 billion in assets, in which case the insured depository institution calculates Tier 1 Capital on an end-of-quarter basis. Parents or holding companies of other insured depository institutions are required to report separately from their subsidiary depository institutions.
The FDIC’s methodology for setting assessments for individual banks has changed over time, although the broad policy is that lower-risk institutions should pay lower assessments than higher-risk institutions. The FDIC now uses a methodology, known as the “financial ratios method,” that began to apply on July 1, 2016, in order to meet requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act. The statute established a minimum designated reserve ratio (the “DFR”), for the DIF of 1.35% of the estimated insured deposits and required the FDIC to adopt a restoration plan should the reserve ratio fall below 1.35%. The financial ratios took effect when the DRR exceeded 1.15%. The FDIC declared that the DIF reserve ratio exceeded 1.15% by the end of the second quarter of 2016. Accordingly, beginning July 1, 2016, the FDIC began to use the financial ratios method. This methodology assigns a specific assessment rate to each institution based on the institution’s leverage capital, supervisory ratings, and information from the institution’s call report. Under this methodology, the assessment rate schedules used to determine assessments due from insured depository institutions become progressively lower when the reserve ratio in the DIF exceeds 2% and 2.5%.
The Dodd-Frank Act also raised the limit for federal deposit insurance to $250,000 for most deposit accounts and increased the cash limit of Securities Investor Protection Corporation protection from $100,000 to $250,000.
The FDIC has authority to increase insurance assessments. A significant increase in insurance assessments would likely have an adverse effect on our operating expenses and results of operations. We cannot predict what insurance assessment rates will be in the future. Furthermore, deposit insurance may be terminated by the FDIC upon a finding that an insured depository 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.
Dividends
It is the Federal Reserve’s policy that BHCs, such as the Company, should generally pay dividends on common stock only out of income available over the past year, and only if prospective earnings retention is consistent with the organization’s expected future needs and financial condition. It is also the Federal Reserve’s policy that BHCs should not maintain dividend levels that undermine their ability to be a source of strength to its banking subsidiaries. Additionally, in consideration of the current financial and economic environment, the Federal Reserve has indicated that BHCs should carefully review their dividend policy and has discouraged payment ratios that are at maximum allowable levels unless both asset quality and capital are very strong. It is our policy to retain earnings, if any, to provide funds for use in our business. We have never declared or paid dividends on our Class A and Class B Common Stock.
The Bank’s ability to pay dividends to the Company is subject to restrictions set forth in the Financial Code. The Financial Code provides that a bank may not make a cash distribution to its shareholders exceeding the lesser of a bank’s (1) retained earnings; or (2) net income for its last three fiscal years, less the amount of any distributions made by the bank or by any majority-owned subsidiary of the bank to the shareholders of the bank during such period. However, a bank may, with the approval of the DFPI, make a distribution to its shareholders in an amount not exceeding the greatest of (a) its retained earnings; (b) its net income for its last fiscal year; or (c) its net income for its current fiscal year. If bank regulators determine that the shareholders’ equity of a bank is inadequate or that the making of a distribution by the bank would be unsafe or unsound, the regulators may order the bank to refrain from making a proposed distribution. The payment of dividends could, depending on the financial condition of a bank, be deemed to constitute an unsafe or unsound practice. Under the foregoing provision of the Financial Code, the amount available for distribution from the Bank to the Company was approximately $79.8 million at December 31, 2020.
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Approval of the Federal Reserve is required for payment of any dividend by a state chartered bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve, such as the Bank, if the total of all dividends declared by the bank in any calendar year would exceed the total of its retained net income for that year combined with its retained net income for the preceding two years. In addition, a state member bank may not pay a dividend in an amount greater than its undivided profits without regulatory and shareholder approval. The Bank is also prohibited under federal law from paying any dividend that would cause it to become undercapitalized.
Capital Adequacy Guidelines
Bank holding companies and banks are subject to various regulatory capital requirements administered by state and federal agencies. These agencies may establish higher minimum requirements if, for example, a banking organization previously has received special attention or has a high susceptibility to interest rate risk. Risk-based capital requirements determine the adequacy of capital based on the risk inherent in various classes of assets and off-balance sheet items. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Federal Reserve must apply consolidated capital requirements to depository institution holding companies that are no less stringent than those currently applied to depository institutions. The Dodd-Frank Act additionally requires capital requirements to be countercyclical so that the required amount of capital increases in times of economic expansion and decreases in times of economic contraction, consistent with safety and soundness.
Under federal regulations, bank holding companies and banks must meet certain risk-based capital requirements. Effective as of January 1, 2015, the Basel III final capital framework, among other things, (i) introduces as a new capital measure “Common Equity Tier 1” (“CET1”), (ii) specifies that Tier 1 capital consists of CET1 and “Additional Tier 1 capital” instruments meeting specified requirements, (iii) defines CET1 narrowly by requiring that most adjustments to regulatory capital measures be made to CET1 and not to the other components of capital, and (iv) expands the scope of the adjustments as compared to existing regulations. Beginning January 1, 2016, financial institutions are required to maintain a minimum “capital conservation buffer” to avoid restrictions on capital distributions such as dividends and equity repurchases and other payments such as discretionary bonuses to executive officers. The minimum capital conservation buffer has been phased-in over a four year transition period with minimum buffers of 0.625%, 1.25%, 1.875%, and 2.50% during 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, respectively.
As fully phased-in on January 1, 2019, Basel III subjects banks to the following risk-based capital requirements:
a minimum ratio of CET1 to risk-weighted assets of at least 4.5%, plus a 2.5% capital conservation buffer, or 7%;
a minimum ratio of Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 6.0%, plus the capital conservation buffer, or 8.5%;
a minimum ratio of Total (Tier 1 plus Tier 2) capital to risk-weighted assets of at least 8.0%, plus the capital conservation buffer, or 10.5%; and
a minimum leverage ratio of 4%, calculated as the ratio of Tier 1 capital to balance sheet exposures plus certain off-balance sheet exposures.
The Basel III final framework provides for a number of deductions from and adjustments to CET1. These include, for example, the requirement that mortgage servicing rights, deferred tax assets dependent upon future taxable income and significant investments in non-consolidated financial entities be deducted from CET1 to the extent that any one such category exceeds 10% of CET1 or all such categories in the aggregate exceed 15% of CET1. Basel III also includes, as part of the definition of CET1 capital, a requirement that banking institutions include the amount of Additional Other Comprehensive Income (“AOCI”), which primarily consists of unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale securities, which are not required to be treated as other-than-temporary impairment, net of tax) in calculating regulatory capital. Banking institutions had the option to opt out of including AOCI in CET1 capital if they elected to do so in their first regulatory report following January 1, 2015. As permitted by Basel III, the Company and the Bank have elected to exclude AOCI from CET1.
In addition, goodwill and most intangible assets are deducted from Tier 1 capital. For purposes of applicable total risk-based capital regulatory guidelines, Tier 2 capital (sometimes referred to as “supplementary capital”) is defined to include, subject to limitations: perpetual preferred stock not included in Tier 1 capital, intermediate-term preferred stock and any related surplus, certain hybrid capital instruments, perpetual debt and mandatory convertible debt securities, allowances for loan and lease losses, and intermediate-term subordinated debt instruments. The maximum amount of qualifying Tier 2 capital is 100% of qualifying Tier 1 capital. For purposes of determining total capital under federal guidelines, total capital equals Tier 1 capital, plus qualifying Tier 2 capital, minus investments in unconsolidated subsidiaries, reciprocal holdings of bank holding company capital securities, and deferred tax assets and other deductions.
Basel III changed the manner of calculating risk-weighted assets. New methodologies for determining risk-weighted assets in the general capital rules are included, including revisions to recognition of credit risk mitigation, including a greater recognition of financial collateral and a wider range of eligible guarantors. They also include risk weighting of equity exposures and past due loans; and higher (greater than 100%) risk weighting for certain commercial real estate exposures that have higher credit risk profiles, including higher loan to value and equity components. In particular, loans categorized as “high-volatility
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commercial real estate” loans (“HVCRE loans”), as defined pursuant to applicable federal regulations, are required to be assigned a 150% risk weighting, and require additional capital support.
In addition to the uniform risk-based capital guidelines and regulatory capital ratios that apply across the industry, the regulators have the discretion to set individual minimum capital requirements for specific institutions at rates significantly above the minimum guidelines and ratios. Future changes in regulations or practices could further reduce the amount of capital recognized for purposes of capital adequacy. Such a change could affect our ability to grow and could restrict the amount of profits, if any, available for the payment of dividends.
In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act requires the federal banking agencies to adopt capital requirements that address the risks that the activities of an institution poses to the institution and the public and private stakeholders, including risks arising from certain enumerated activities.
Basel III became applicable to the Bank on January 1, 2015 and just recently to the Corporation due to the Corporation’s growth in excess of $3.0 billion. Overall, the Corporation believes that implementation of the Basel III Rule has not had and will not have a material adverse effect on the Corporation’s or the Bank’s capital ratios, earnings, shareholder’s equity, or its ability to pay dividends, effect stock repurchases or pay discretionary bonuses to executive officers.
In December 2017, the Basel Committee published standards that it described as the finalization of the Basel III post-crisis regulatory reforms (the standards are commonly referred to as “Basel IV”). Among other things, these standards revise the Basel Committee’s standardized approach for credit risk (including recalibrating risk weights and introducing new capital requirements for certain “unconditionally cancellable commitments,” such as unused credit card lines of credit) and provides a new standardized approach for operational risk capital. Under the Basel framework, these standards will generally be effective on January 1, 2022, with an aggregate output floor phasing in through January 1, 2027. Under the current U.S. capital rules, operational risk capital requirements and a capital floor apply only to advanced approaches institutions, and not to the Corporation or the Bank. The impact of Basel IV on us will depend on the manner in which it is implemented by the federal bank regulators.
In 2018, the federal bank regulatory agencies issued a variety of proposals and made statements concerning regulatory capital standards. These proposals touched on such areas as commercial real estate exposure, credit loss allowances under generally accepted accounting principles and capital requirements for covered swap entities, among others. Public statements by key agency officials have also suggested a revisiting of capital policy and supervisory approaches on a going-forward basis. In July 2019, the federal bank regulators adopted a final rule that simplifies the capital treatment for certain deferred tax assets, mortgage servicing assets, investments in non-consolidated financial entities and minority interests for banking organizations, such as the Corporation and the Bank, that are not subject to the advanced approaches requirements. We will be assessing the impact on us of these new regulations and supervisory approaches as they are proposed and implemented.
In February 2019, the U.S. federal bank regulatory agencies approved a final rule modifying their regulatory capital rules and providing an option to phase-in over a three-year period the Day 1 adverse regulatory capital effects of CECL accounting standard. Additionally, in March 2020, the U.S. Federal bank regulatory agencies issued an interim final rule that provides banking organizations an option to delay the estimated CECL impact on regulatory capital for an additional two years for a total transition period of up to five years to provide regulatory relief to banking organizations to better focus on supporting lending to creditworthy households and businesses in light of recent strains on the U.S. economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The capital relief in the interim is calibrated to approximate the difference in allowances under CECL relative to the incurred loss methodology for the first two years of the transition period using a 25% scaling factor. The cumulative difference at the end of the second year of the transition period is then phased in to regulatory capital at 25% per year over a three-year transition period. The final rule was adopted and became effective in September 2020. As a result, entities may gradually phase in the full effect of CECL on regulatory capital over a five-year transition period. The Corporation is not required to implement the CECL model until January 1, 2023.
Prompt Corrective Action
The federal banking regulators are required to take “prompt corrective action” with respect to capital-deficient institutions. Federal banking regulations define, for each capital category, the levels at which institutions are “well capitalized,” “adequately capitalized,” “undercapitalized,” “significantly undercapitalized,” and “critically undercapitalized.” Under applicable regulations, the Bank was “well capitalized,” which means it had a common equity Tier 1 capital ratio of 6.5% or higher; a Tier I risk-based capital ratio of 8.0% or higher; a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.0% or higher; a leverage ratio of 5.0% or higher; and was not subject to any written agreement, order or directive requiring it to maintain a specific capital level for any capital measure.
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As noted above, Basel III integrates the capital requirements into the prompt corrective action category definitions. The following capital requirements have applied to the Bank since January 1, 2015.
Capital Category
Total Risk-
Based
Capital Ratio
Tier 1 Risk-
Based
Capital Ratio
Common Equity
Tier 1 (CET1)
Capital Ratio
Leverage
Ratio
Tangible
Equity
to Assets
Supplemental
Leverage
Ratio
Well Capitalized10% or greater8% or greater6.5% or greater5% or greatern/an/a
Adequately Capitalized8% or greater6% or greater4.5% or greater4% or greatern/a3% or greater
UndercapitalizedLess than 8%Less than 6%Less than 4.5%Less than 4%n/aLess than 3%
Significantly UndercapitalizedLess than 6%Less than 4%Less than 3%Less than 3%n/an/a
Critically Undercapitalizedn/an/an/an/aLess than 2%n/a
As of December 31, 2020, the Bank and Corporation exceeded all regulatory capital requirements and exceeded the minimum CET 1, Tier 1 and total capital ratio inclusive of the fully phased-in capital conservation buffer of 7.0%, 8.5%, and 10.5%, respectively.
An institution may be downgraded to, or deemed to be in, a capital category that is lower than indicated by its capital ratios if it is determined to be in an unsafe or unsound condition or if it receives an unsatisfactory examination rating with respect to certain matters. An institution’s capital category is determined solely for the purpose of applying prompt corrective action regulations, and the capital category may not constitute an accurate representation of the institution’s overall financial condition or prospects for other purposes.
In the event an institution becomes “undercapitalized,” it must submit a capital restoration plan. The capital restoration plan will not be accepted by the regulators unless each company having control of the undercapitalized institution guarantees the subsidiary’s compliance with the capital restoration plan up to a certain specified amount. Any such guarantee from a depository institution’s holding company is entitled to a priority of payment in bankruptcy. The aggregate liability of the holding company of an undercapitalized bank is limited to the lesser of 5% of the institution’s assets at the time it became undercapitalized or the amount necessary to cause the institution to be “adequately capitalized.” The bank regulators have greater power in situations where an institution becomes “significantly” or “critically” undercapitalized or fails to submit a capital restoration plan. In addition to requiring undercapitalized institutions to submit a capital restoration plan, bank regulations contain broad restrictions on certain activities of undercapitalized institutions including asset growth, acquisitions, branch establishment and expansion into new lines of business. With certain exceptions, an insured depository institution is prohibited from making capital distributions, including dividends, and is prohibited from paying management fees to control persons if the institution would be undercapitalized after any such distribution or payment.
As an institution’s capital decreases, the regulators’ enforcement powers become more severe. A significantly undercapitalized institution is subject to mandated capital raising activities, restrictions on interest rates paid and transactions with affiliates, removal of management, and other restrictions. A regulator has limited discretion in dealing with a critically undercapitalized institution and is virtually required to appoint a receiver or conservator.
Banks with risk-based capital and leverage ratios below the required minimums may also be subject to certain administrative actions, including the termination of deposit insurance upon notice and hearing, or a temporary suspension of insurance without a hearing in the event the institution has no tangible capital.
In addition to the federal regulatory capital requirements described above, the DFPI has authority to take possession of the business and properties of a bank in the event that the tangible stockholders’ equity of a bank is less than the greater of (i) 4% of the bank’s total assets or (ii) $1.0 million.
Safety and Soundness Standards
The federal banking agencies have adopted guidelines designed to assist the federal banking agencies in identifying and addressing potential safety and soundness concerns before capital becomes impaired. The guidelines set forth operational and managerial standards relating to: (i) internal controls, information systems and internal audit systems; (ii) loan documentation; (iii) credit underwriting; (iv) asset growth; (v) earnings; and (vi) compensation, fees and benefits.
In addition, the federal banking agencies have also adopted safety and soundness guidelines with respect to asset quality and for evaluating and monitoring earnings to ensure that earnings are sufficient for the maintenance of adequate capital and reserves. These guidelines provide six standards for establishing and maintaining a system to identify problem assets and prevent those assets from deteriorating. Under these standards, an insured depository institution should: (i) conduct periodic asset quality reviews to identify problem assets; (ii) estimate the inherent losses in problem assets and establish reserves that are sufficient to absorb estimated losses; (iii) compare problem asset totals to capital; (iv) take appropriate corrective action to
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resolve problem assets; (v) consider the size and potential risks of material asset concentrations; and (vi) provide periodic asset quality reports with adequate information for management and the board of directors to assess the level of asset risk.
Community Reinvestment Act
The CRA requires the federal banking regulatory agencies to assess all financial institutions that they regulate to determine whether these institutions are meeting the credit needs of the communities they serve, including their assessment area(s) (as established for these purposes in accordance with applicable regulations based principally on the location of branch offices). In addition to substantial penalties and corrective measures that may be required for a violation of certain fair lending laws, the federal banking agencies may take compliance with such laws and CRA into account when regulating and supervising other activities. Under the CRA, institutions are assigned a rating of “outstanding,” “satisfactory,” “needs to improve,” or “unsatisfactory.” An institution’s record in meeting the requirements of the CRA is based on a performance-based evaluation system, and is made publicly available and is taken into consideration in evaluating any applications it files with federal regulators to engage in certain activities, including approval of a branch or other deposit facility, mergers and acquisitions, office relocations, or expansions into nonbanking activities. Our Bank received a “satisfactory” rating in its most recent CRA evaluation.
In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued a memorandum to the federal banking regulators recommending changes to the CRA’s regulations to reduce their complexity and associated burden on banks, and in December 2019, the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) proposed for public comment rules to modernize the agencies' regulations under the CRA. The OCC adopted its final rules in May 2020, and, to date, the FDIC has not adopted revised rules. In September 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System released for public comment its proposed rules to modernize CRA regulations. We will continue to evaluate the impact of any changes to the CRA regulations.
Anti-Terrorism, Money Laundering Legislation and OFAC
The Bank is subject to the Bank Secrecy Act and the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “USA Patriot Act”). These statutes and related rules and regulations impose requirements and limitations on specified financial transactions and accounts and other relationships intended to guard against money laundering and terrorism financing. The principal requirements for an insured depository institution include (i) establishment of an anti-money laundering program that includes training and audit components, (ii) establishment of a “know your customer” program involving due diligence to confirm the identities of persons seeking to open accounts and to deny accounts to those persons unable to demonstrate their identities, (iii) the filing of currency transaction reports for deposits and withdrawals of large amounts of cash and suspicious activities reports for activity that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other criminal activities, (iv) additional precautions for accounts sought and managed for non-U.S. persons and (v) verification and certification of money laundering risk with respect to private banking and foreign correspondent banking relationships. For many of these tasks a bank must keep records to be made available to its primary federal regulator. Anti-money laundering rules and policies are developed by a bureau within FinCEN, but compliance by individual institutions is overseen by its primary federal regulator.
The Bank has established appropriate anti-money laundering and customer identification programs. The Bank also maintains records of cash purchases of negotiable instruments, files reports of certain cash transactions exceeding $10,000 (daily aggregate amount), and reports suspicious activity that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other criminal activities pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act. The Bank otherwise has implemented policies and procedures to comply with the foregoing requirements.
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries and persons, as defined by various Executive Orders and Acts of Congress. OFAC publishes lists of persons that are the target of sanctions, including the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Financial institutions are responsible for, among other things, blocking accounts of and transactions with sanctioned persons and countries, prohibiting unlicensed trade and financial transactions with them and reporting blocked and rejected transactions after their occurrence. If the Company or the Bank finds a name or other information on any transaction, account or wire transfer that is on an OFAC list or that otherwise indicates that the transaction involves a target of sanctions, the Company or the Bank generally must freeze or block such account or transaction, file a suspicious activity report, and notify the appropriate authorities. Banking regulators examine banks for compliance with the economic sanctions regulations administered by OFAC.
The Bank has implemented policies and procedures to comply with the foregoing requirements.
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity
The GLBA and the implementing regulations issued by federal regulatory agencies require financial institutions (including banks, insurance agencies, and broker/dealers) to adopt policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of
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nonpublic personal information about their customers to non-affiliated third parties. In general, financial institutions are required to explain to customers their policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of such nonpublic personal information and, unless otherwise required or permitted by law, financial institutions are prohibited from disclosing such information except as provided in their policies and procedures. Specifically, the GLBA established certain information security guidelines that require each financial institution, under the supervision and ongoing oversight of its board of directors or an appropriate committee thereof, to develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive written information security program designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information, to protect against anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information, and to protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer.
Recent cyber-attacks against banks and other financial institutions that resulted in unauthorized access to confidential customer information have prompted the federal banking regulators to issue extensive guidance on cybersecurity. Among other things, financial institutions are expected to design multiple layers of security controls to establish lines of defense and ensure that their risk management processes address the risks posed by compromised customer credentials, including security measures to authenticate customers accessing internet-based services. A financial institution also should have a robust business continuity program to recover from a cyberattack and procedures for monitoring the security of third-party service providers that may have access to nonpublic data at the institution.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
The Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), which is an independent bureau with broad authority to regulate the consumer finance industry, including regulated financial institutions, nonbanks and others involved in extending credit to consumers. The CFPB has authority through rulemaking, orders, policy statements, guidance, and enforcement actions to administer and enforce federal consumer financial laws, to oversee several entities and market segments not previously under the supervision of a federal regulator, and to impose its own regulations and pursue enforcement actions when it determines that a practice is unfair, deceptive, or abusive. The federal consumer financial laws and all the functions and responsibilities associated with them, many of which were previously enforced by other federal regulatory agencies, were transferred to the CFPB on July 21, 2011. While the CFPB has the power to interpret, administer, and enforce federal consumer financial laws, the Dodd-Frank Act provides that the federal banking regulatory agencies continue to have examination and enforcement powers over the financial institutions that they supervise relating to the matters within the jurisdiction of the CFPB if such institutions have less than $10 billion in assets. The Dodd-Frank Act also gives state attorneys general the ability to enforce federal consumer protection laws.
Mortgage Loan Origination
The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes the CFPB to establish certain minimum standards for the origination of residential mortgages, including a determination of the borrower’s ability to repay. Under the Dodd-Frank Act and the implementing final rule adopted by the CFPB, or the ATR/QM Rule, a financial institution may not make a residential mortgage loan to a consumer unless it first makes a “reasonable and good faith determination” that the consumer has a “reasonable ability” to repay the loan. In addition, the ATR/QM Rule limits prepayment penalties and permits borrowers to raise certain defenses to foreclosure if they receive any loan other than a “qualified mortgage,” as defined by the CFPB. For this purpose, the ATR/QM Rule defines a “qualified mortgage” to include a loan with a borrower debt-to-income ratio of less than or equal to 43% or, alternatively, a loan eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac while they operate under federal conservatorship or receivership, and loans eligible for insurance or guarantee by the Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Administration, or United States Department of Agriculture. Additionally, a qualified mortgage may not: (i) contain excess upfront points and fees; (ii) have a term greater than 30 years; or (iii) include interest only or negative amortization payments. The ATR/QM Rule specifies the types of income and assets that may be considered in the ability-to-repay determination, the permissible sources for verification, and the required methods of calculating the loan’s monthly payments. The ATR/QM Rule became effective in January 2014.
The Regulatory Relief Act provides that for certain insured depository institutions and insured credit unions with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets, mortgage loans that are originated and retained in portfolio will automatically be deemed to satisfy the “ability to repay” requirement. To qualify for this, the insured depository institutions and credit unions must meet conditions relating to prepayment penalties, points and fees, negative amortization, interest-only features and documentation.
The Regulatory Relief Act directs Federal banking agencies to issue regulations exempting certain insured depository institutions and insured credit unions with assets of $10 billion or less from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for certain residential mortgage loans.
Insured depository institutions and insured credit unions that originated fewer than 500 closed-end mortgage loans or 500 open-end lines of credit in each of the two preceding years are exempt from a subset of disclosure requirements (recently
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imposed by the CFPB) under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (“HMDA”), provided they have received certain minimum CRA ratings in their most recent examinations.
The Regulatory Relief Act also directs the OCC to conduct a study assessing the effect of the exemption described above on the amount of HMDA data available at the national and local level.
In addition, Section 941 of the Dodd-Frank Act amended the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) to require sponsors of asset-backed securities (“ABS”) to retain at least 5% of the credit risk of the assets underlying the securities and generally prohibits sponsors from transferring or hedging that credit risk. In October 2014, the federal banking regulatory agencies adopted a final rule to implement this requirement (the “Risk Retention Rule”). Among other things, the Risk Retention Rule requires a securitizer to retain not less than 5% of the credit risk of any asset that the securitizer, through the issuance of an ABS, transfers, sells, or conveys to a third party; and prohibits a securitizer from directly or indirectly hedging or otherwise transferring the credit risk that the securitizer is required to retain. In certain situations, the final rule allows securitizers to allocate a portion of the risk retention requirement to the originator(s) of the securitized assets, if an originator contributes at least 20% of the assets in the securitization. The Risk Retention Rule also provides an exemption to the risk retention requirements for an ABS collateralized exclusively by Qualified Residential Mortgages (“QRMs”), and ties the definition of a QRM to the definition of a “qualified mortgage” established by the CFPB for purposes of evaluating a consumer’s ability to repay a mortgage loan. The federal banking agencies have agreed to review the definition of QRMs in 2019, following the CFPB’s own review of its “qualified mortgage” regulation. For purposes of residential mortgage securitizations, the Risk Retention Rule took effect on December 24, 2015. For all other securitizations, the rule took effect on December 24, 2016.
The Volcker Rule
On December 10, 2013, the federal regulators adopted final regulations to implement the proprietary trading and private fund prohibitions of the Volcker Rule under the Dodd-Frank Act. Under the final regulations, banking entities are generally prohibited, subject to significant exceptions from: (i) short-term proprietary trading as principal in securities and other financial instruments, and (ii) sponsoring or acquiring or retaining an ownership interest in private equity and hedge funds. Revisions to the Volcker Rule in 2019, that become effective in 2020, simplifies and streamlines the compliance requirements for banks that do not have significant trading activities. In 2020, the OCC, Federal Reserve, FDIC, SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission finalized further amendments to the Volcker Rule. The amendments include new exclusions from the Volcker Rule’s general prohibitions on banking entities investing in and sponsoring private equity funds, hedge funds, and certain other investment vehicles (collectively “covered funds”). The amendments in the final rule, which became effective on October 1, 2020, clarify and expand permissible banking activities and relationships under the Volcker Rule.
Other Provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act
The Dodd-Frank Act implements far-reaching changes across the financial regulatory landscape. In addition to the reforms previously mentioned, the Dodd-Frank Act also:
requires BHCs and banks to be both well capitalized and well managed in order to acquire banks located outside their home state and requires any BHC electing to be treated as a financial holding company to be both well managed and well capitalized;
eliminates all remaining restrictions on interstate banking by authorizing national and state banks to establish de novo branches in any state that would permit a bank chartered in that state to open a branch at that location; and
repeals Regulation Q, the federal prohibition on the payment of interest on demand deposits, thereby permitting depository institutions to pay interest on business transaction and other accounts.
Although a significant number of the rules and regulations mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act have been finalized, many of the requirements called for have yet to be implemented and will likely be subject to implementing regulations over the course of several years. Given the uncertainty associated with the manner in which the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act will be implemented by the various agencies, the full extent of the impact such requirements will have on financial institutions’ operations is unclear.
Federal Home Loan Bank Membership
The Bank is a member of the FHLB. Each member of the FHLB is required to maintain a minimum investment in the Class B stock of the FHLB. The Board of Directors of the FHLB can increase the minimum investment requirements in the event it has concluded that additional capital is required to allow it to meet its own regulatory capital requirements. Any increase in the minimum investment requirements outside of specified ranges requires the approval of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Because the extent of any obligation to increase the level of investment in the FHLB depends entirely upon the occurrence of a future event, we presently are unable to determine the extent of future required potential payments to the
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FHLB. Additionally, if a member financial institution fails, the right of the FHLB to seek repayment of funds loaned to that institution will take priority (a super lien) over the rights of all other creditors.
Other Laws and Regulations
Our operations are subject to several additional laws, some of which are specific to banking and others of which are applicable to commercial operations generally. For example, with respect to our lending practices, we are subject to the following laws and regulations, among several others:
Truth-In-Lending Act, governing disclosures of credit terms to consumer borrowers;
HMDA, requiring financial institutions to provide information to enable the public and public officials to determine whether a financial institution is fulfilling its obligation to help meet the housing needs of the community it serves;
Equal Credit Opportunity Act, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or other prohibited factors in extending credit;
Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1978, as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, governing the use and provision of information to credit reporting agencies, certain identity theft protections, and certain credit and other disclosures;
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, governing how consumer debts may be collected by collection agencies;
Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, requiring certain disclosures concerning loan closing costs and escrows, and governing transfers of loan servicing and the amounts of escrows for loans secured by one-to-four family residential properties;
Rules and regulations established by the National Flood Insurance Program;
Rules and regulations of the various federal agencies charged with the responsibility of implementing these federal laws.
Our deposit operations are subject to federal laws applicable to depository accounts, including:
Right to Financial Privacy Act, which imposes a duty to maintain confidentiality of consumer financial records and prescribes procedures for complying with administrative subpoenas of financial records;
Truth-In-Savings Act, requiring certain disclosures for consumer deposit accounts;
Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E of the Federal Reserve, which govern automatic deposits to and withdrawals from deposit accounts and customers’ rights and liabilities arising from the use of automated teller machines and other electronic banking services; and
Rules and regulations of the various federal agencies charged with the responsibility of implementing these federal laws.
We are also subject to a variety of laws and regulations that are not limited to banking organizations. For example, in lending to commercial and consumer borrowers, and in owning and operating our own property, we are subject to regulations and potential liabilities under state and federal environmental laws. In addition, we must comply with privacy and data security laws and regulations at both the federal and state level.
We are heavily regulated by regulatory agencies at the federal and state levels. Like most of our competitors, we have faced and expect to continue to face increased regulation and regulatory and political scrutiny, which creates significant uncertainty for us, as well as for the financial services industry in general.
Enforcement Powers
The federal regulatory agencies have substantial penalties available to use against depository institutions and certain “institution-affiliated parties.” Institution-affiliated parties primarily include management, employees, and agents of a financial institution, as well as independent contractors and consultants, such as attorneys, accountants, and others who participate in the conduct of the financial institution’s affairs. An institution can be subject to an enforcement action due to the failure to timely file required reports, the filing of false or misleading information, or the submission of inaccurate reports, or engaging in other unsafe or unsound banking practices. Civil penalties may be as high as $1,924,589 per day for violations.
The Financial Institution Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act provided regulators with greater flexibility to commence enforcement actions against institutions and institution-affiliated parties and to terminate an institution’s deposit insurance. It also expanded the power of banking regulatory agencies to issue regulatory orders. Such orders may, among other things, require affirmative action to correct any harm resulting from a violation or practice, including restitution, reimbursement, indemnification, or guarantees against loss. A financial institution may also be ordered to restrict its growth, dispose of certain assets, rescind agreements or contracts, or take other actions as determined by the ordering agency to be appropriate. The Dodd-Frank Act increases regulatory oversight, supervision and examination of banks, BHCs, and their respective subsidiaries by the appropriate regulatory agency.
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Available Information
The Company maintains an internet site at www.silvergatebank.com on which it makes available, free of charge, its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to the foregoing as soon as reasonably practicable after these reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. In addition, stockholders may access these reports and documents on the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov. The information on, or accessible through, our website or any other website cited in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is not part of, or incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K and should not be relied upon in determining whether to make an investment decision.

Item 1A. Risk Factors
An investment in our common stock involves significant risks. You should consider carefully the risk factors included below together with all of the information included in or incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as the same may be updated from time to time by our future filings with the SEC under the Exchange Act, before making a decision to invest in our common stock. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If any of the matters included in the following information about risk factors were to occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In such case, you may lose all or a substantial part of your investment. To the extent that any of the information contained in this document constitutes forward-looking statements, the risk factors below should be reviewed as cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by us or on our behalf. See “Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements.”
Risks Related to the Digital Currency Industry
The characteristics of digital currency have been, and may in the future continue to be, exploited to facilitate illegal activity such as fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and ransomware scams; if any of our customers do so or are alleged to have done so, it could adversely affect us.
Digital currencies and the digital currency industry are relatively new and, in many cases, lightly regulated or largely unregulated. Some types of digital currency have characteristics, such as the speed with which digital currency transactions can be conducted, the ability to conduct transactions without the involvement of regulated intermediaries, the ability to engage in transactions across multiple jurisdictions, the irreversible nature of certain digital currency transactions and encryption technology that anonymizes these transactions, that make digital currency particularly susceptible to use in illegal activity such as fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and ransomware scams. Two prominent examples of marketplaces that accepted digital currency payments for illegal activities include Silk Road, an online marketplace on the dark web that, among other things, facilitated the sale of illegal drugs and forged legal documents using digital currencies and AlphaBay, another darknet market that utilized digital currencies to hide the locations of its servers and identities of its users. Both of these marketplaces were investigated and closed by U.S. law enforcement authorities. U.S. regulators, including the SEC, Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”), and Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”), as well as non-U.S. regulators, have taken legal action against persons alleged to be engaged in Ponzi schemes and other fraudulent schemes involving digital currencies. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has noted the increasing use of digital currency in various ransomware scams.
While we believe that our risk management and compliance framework, which includes thorough reviews we conduct as part of our due diligence process (either in connection with onboarding new customers or monitoring existing customers), is reasonably designed to detect any such illicit activities conducted by our potential or existing customers (or, in the case of digital currency exchanges, their customers), we cannot ensure that we will be able to detect any such illegal activity in all instances. Because the speed, irreversibility and anonymity of certain digital currency transactions make them more difficult to track, fraudulent transactions may be more likely to occur. We or our banking counterparties may be specifically targeted by individuals seeking to conduct fraudulent transfers, and it may be difficult or impossible for us to detect and avoid such transactions in certain circumstances. If one of our customers (or in the case of digital currency exchanges, their customers) were to engage in or be accused of engaging in illegal activities using digital currency, we could be subject to various fines and sanctions, including limitations on our activities, which could also cause reputational damage and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. For more information regarding the regulatory agencies and regulations to which we are subject, see “—Risks Related to Regulation”. Lastly, we may experience a reduction in our deposits if such an incident were to impact one of our customers, even if there was no wrongdoing on our part.
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Risks Related to Our Digital Currency Initiative
We rely heavily on the success of the digital currency industry, the development and acceptance of which is subject to a variety of factors that are difficult to evaluate.
We have grown rapidly because of our initiative to provide traditional banking and other services to customers in the digital currency industry. We have created a unique, technology-led infrastructure platform, including the SEN and cash management solutions, to facilitate cash transactions for the Bank’s digital currency deposit customers. This platform has driven growth of a customer base that includes some of the largest and fastest growing companies within the digital currency industry, consisting primarily of digital currency exchanges, institutional investors and other industry participants. See “Item 1. Business—Digital Currency Customers.”
The businesses in which these customers engage involve digital currencies such as bitcoin, other technologies underlying digital currencies such as blockchain, and services associated with digital currencies and blockchain. The digital currency industry includes a diverse set of businesses that use digital currencies for different purposes and provide services to others who use digital currencies. This is a new and rapidly evolving industry, and the viability and future growth of the industry and adoption of digital currencies and the underlying technology is subject to a high degree of uncertainty, including based upon the adoption of the technology, regulation of the industry, and price volatility, among other factors. Because the sector is relatively new, your investment may be exposed to additional risks which are not yet known or quantifiable.
Bitcoin, the first widely used digital currency, and many other digital currencies were designed to function as a form of money. However, digital currencies have only recently become selectively accepted as a means of payment for goods and services and then only by some retail and commercial businesses. Use of digital currency by consumers as a form of payment is limited. Some digital currencies were built for uses other than as a substitute for fiat money. For example, the Ethereum network is intended to permit the development and use of smart contracts, which are programs that execute on a blockchain. The digital asset known as Ether was designed to facilitate transactions involving smart contracts on the Ethereum network. Many of these digital currencies are listed on digital currency exchanges and are traded and purchased as investments by a variety of market participants.
Other factors affecting the further development of the digital currency industry and our business include, but are not limited to:
the adoption and use of digital currencies, including adoption and use as a substitute for fiat currency or for other uses, which may be adversely impacted by continued price volatility;
the use of digital currencies, or the perception of such use, to facilitate illegal activity such as fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and ransomware scams by our customers;
heightened risks to digital currency businesses, such as digital currency exchanges, of hacking, malware attacks, and other cyber-security risks, which can lead to significant losses;
developments in digital currency trading markets, including decreasing price volatility of digital currencies, resulting in narrowing spreads for digital currency trading and diminishing arbitrage opportunities across digital currency exchanges, or increased price volatility, which could negatively impact our customers and therefore our deposits, either of which in turn may reduce the benefits of the SEN and negatively impact our business; and
the maintenance and development of the software protocol of the digital currency networks.
If any of these factors, or other factors, slows development of the digital currency industry, it could adversely affect our digital currency initiative and therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operation.
We may not be able to implement aspects of our growth strategy, which may impact our position as the leading provider of innovative financial infrastructure solutions and services to participants in the digital currency industry and adversely affect our ability to maintain our recent growth and earnings trends.
We have grown rapidly, primarily through organic growth related to our digital currency initiative. We may not be able to execute on aspects of our growth strategy, which may impair our ability to sustain this rate of growth or prevent us from growing at all.
The success of new or improved solutions and services depends on several factors, including costs, timely completion, regulatory approvals, the introduction, reliability and stability of our solutions and services, differentiation of new or improved solutions and market acceptance. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in developing and marketing our digital currency initiative in a timely manner or at all, or that our new or improved solutions and services will adequately address market demands. Market acceptance and adoption of solutions and services within our digital currency initiative will depend on, among other things, the solutions and services demonstrating a real advantage over existing products and services, the success of our sales and marketing teams in creating awareness of our solutions and services, competitive pricing of such solutions and
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services, customer recognition of the value of our technology and the general willingness of potential customers to try new technologies. In particular, if we are unable to achieve sufficient market adoption of the SEN, our growth strategy may be adversely affected.
Various factors, such as general economic conditions, conditions in the digital currency industry and competition with other financial institutions and infrastructure service providers, may impede or preclude the growth of our operations. Our business and the growth of our operations are dependent on, among other things, the continued success and growth of the SEN. If conditions in digital currency markets change such that certain trading strategies currently employed by our institutional investor customers become less profitable, the benefits of the SEN and the API may be diminished, resulting in a decrease in our deposit balances and adversely impacting our growth strategy. In addition, if a competitor or another third party were to launch an alternative to the SEN (such as the Federal Reserve’s recently announced plan to develop a virtually real time payment system for banks, which is expected to be available as early as 2023), we could lose noninterest bearing deposits and our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth strategy could be adversely impacted. Further, we may be unable to attract and retain experienced employees, which could adversely affect our growth.
The success of our strategy also depends on our ability to manage our growth effectively, which depends on many factors, including our ability to adapt our regulatory, compliance, credit, operational, technology and governance infrastructure to accommodate expanded operations, particularly as these relate to the digital currency industry. If we are successful in continuing our growth, we cannot assure you that further growth would offer the same levels of potential profitability, or that we would be successful in controlling costs and maintaining asset quality in the face of that growth. Accordingly, an inability to maintain growth, or an inability to effectively manage growth, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The further development and acceptance of digital currencies and blockchain technology are subject to a variety of factors that are difficult to evaluate, as discussed above. The slowing or stopping of the development or acceptance of digital currency networks and blockchain technology may adversely affect our ability to continue to grow and capitalize on our digital currency strategy.
The Bank has several large depositor relationships that are concentrated in the digital currency industry generally and among digital currency exchanges in particular, the loss of any of which could force us to fund our business through more expensive and less stable sources.
As of December 31, 2020, the Bank’s 10 largest depositors accounted for $2.5 billion in deposits, or approximately 47.5% of the Bank’s total deposits. Deposits from digital currency exchanges represent approximately 47.2% of the Bank’s overall deposits and are held by approximately 76 exchanges. Digital currency exchanges have discretion over which financial institution holds deposits on behalf of its customers. As a result, the Bank is exposed to high customer concentration with our exchange customers. A decision by the customers of an exchange to exit the exchange or a decision by an exchange to withdraw deposits or move deposits to our competitors could result in substantial changes in our deposit base. Exchanges present additional risks because they have been frequent targets and victims of fraud and cyber attacks and the failure or exit of one or more exchanges as customers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, withdrawals of deposits by any one of our largest depositors could force us to rely more heavily on borrowings and other sources of funding for our business and withdrawal demands, adversely affecting our net interest margin and results of operations. The Bank may also be forced, because of deposit withdrawals, to rely more heavily on other, potentially more expensive and less stable funding sources. Consequently, the occurrence of any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our digital currency initiative has contributed significantly to an increase in our noninterest bearing deposits, which has driven the Bank’s funding costs to levels that may not be sustainable.
Our digital currency initiative has contributed significantly to an increase in our noninterest bearing deposits, and has allowed us to generate attractive returns on lower risk assets through increased investments in interest earning deposits in other banks and securities, as well as funding limited loan growth. We have increased our noninterest bearing deposits as a percentage of total deposits from 12.4% as of December 31, 2013 to 97.8% as of December 31, 2020, an increase that is largely attributable to our digital currency initiative. Our future growth may be adversely impacted if we are unable to retain and grow this strong, low-cost deposit base. There may be competitive pressures to pay higher interest rates on deposits to our digital currency customers, which could increase funding costs and compress net interest margins. Further, even if we are otherwise able to grow and maintain our noninterest bearing deposit base, our deposit balances may still decrease if our digital currency customers are offered more attractive returns from our competitors. If our digital currency customers withdraw deposits, we could lose a low cost source of funds which would likely increase our funding costs and reduce our net interest income and net interest margin. These factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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The prices of digital currencies are extremely volatile. Fluctuations in the price of various digital currencies may cause uncertainty in the market and could negatively impact trading volumes of digital currencies and therefore the extent to which participants in the digital currency industry demand our services and solutions, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The value of digital currencies is based in part on market adoption and future expectations, which may or may not be realized. As a result, the prices of digital currencies are highly speculative and have been subject to dramatic fluctuations to date. The impact that changes in prices and/or trading volume of digital currencies have on our deposit balance from customers in the digital currency industry is unpredictable, as any reduction in deposits attributable to such changes may be amplified or mitigated by other developments, such as the onboarding of new customers, loss of existing customers and changes in our customers’ operational and trading strategies. We have experienced deposit fluctuations over the last few years which have been correlated with or contrary to the price and/or trading volume of digital currencies at various times. Volatility in the prices and/or trading volume of digital currencies may adversely impact the amount of such deposits in the future, our growth strategy and the demand for our services and therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Cybersecurity and Technology
System failure or cybersecurity breaches of our network security could subject us to increased operating costs as well as litigation and other potential losses.
Our computer systems and network infrastructure, including the SEN and API, could be vulnerable to hardware and cybersecurity issues. Our operations are dependent upon our ability to protect our computer equipment against damage from fire, power loss, telecommunications failure or a similar catastrophic event. We could also experience a breach by intentional or negligent conduct on the part of employees or other internal sources. Any damage or failure that causes an interruption in our operations could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Our operations are also dependent upon our ability to protect our computer systems and network infrastructure, including the SEN, the API, and our other online banking systems, against damage from physical break-ins, cybersecurity breaches and other disruptive problems caused by the internet or other users. Such computer break-ins and other disruptions would jeopardize the security of information stored in and transmitted through our computer systems and network infrastructure, which may result in significant liability, damage our reputation and inhibit the use of our internet banking services by current and potential customers. We could also become the target of various cyberattacks as a result of our focus on the digital currency industry. We regularly add additional security measures to our computer systems and network infrastructure to mitigate the possibility of cybersecurity breaches, including firewalls and penetration testing. However, it is difficult or impossible to defend against every risk being posed by changing technologies as well as acts of cyber-crime. Increasing sophistication of cyber criminals and terrorists make keeping up with new threats difficult and could result in a system breach. Controls employed by our information technology department and cloud vendors could prove inadequate. A breach of our security that results in unauthorized access to our data could expose us to a disruption or challenges relating to our daily operations, as well as to data loss, litigation, damages, fines and penalties, significant increases in compliance costs and reputational damage, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may not have the resources to keep pace with rapid technological changes in the industry or implement new technology effectively.
The financial services industry is undergoing rapid technological changes with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services. Our future success will depend, at least in part, upon our ability to address the needs of our customers by using technology to provide products and services that will satisfy customer demands for convenience as well as to create additional efficiencies in our operations as we continue to grow and expand our products and service offerings. We may experience operational challenges as we implement these new technology enhancements or products, which could impair our ability to realize the anticipated benefits from such new technology or require us to incur significant costs to remedy any such challenges in a timely manner.
The technology relied upon by the Company, including the SEN, the API and our other on-line banking systems, may not function properly, which may have a material impact on the Company’s operations and financial conditions. The importance of the SEN, the API and our other on-line banking systems to the Company’s operations means that any technological problems in its functionality would have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations, business model and growth strategy.
Many of our larger competitors have substantially greater resources to invest in technological improvements. Third parties upon which we rely for our technology needs may not be able to develop, on a cost-effective basis, systems that will enable us to keep pace with such developments. As a result, our larger competitors may be able to offer additional or superior products compared to those that we will be able to provide, which would put us at a competitive disadvantage. We may lose customers seeking new technology-driven products and services to the extent we are unable to provide such products and services. The
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ability to keep pace with technological change is important and the failure to do so could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our operations could be interrupted if our third-party service providers experience operational or other systems difficulties, terminate their services or fail to comply with banking regulations.
We outsource some of our operational activities to third parties for certain services, including, but not limited to, core systems support, informational website hosting, internet services, online account opening and other processing services. Our business depends on the successful and uninterrupted functioning of our information technology and telecommunications systems and third-party service providers. As a result, if these third-party service providers experience difficulties, are subject to cybersecurity breaches, or terminate their services, and we are unable to replace them with other service providers, particularly on a timely basis, our operations could be interrupted. If an interruption were to continue for a significant period, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Even if we can replace third-party service providers, it may be at a higher cost to us, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, the Bank’s primary federal regulator, the Federal Reserve, has issued guidance outlining the expectations for third-party service provider oversight and monitoring by financial institutions. Our operations could be interrupted if any of our third-party service providers fail to comply with banking regulations, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Our Traditional Banking Business
As a business operating in the financial services industry, our business and operations may be adversely affected in numerous and complex ways by weak economic conditions.
Our business and operations, which primarily consist of lending money to clients in the form of loans, borrowing money from clients in the form of deposits and investing in interest earning deposits in other banks and securities, are sensitive to general business and economic conditions in the United States. We solicit deposits throughout the United States and, while our primary lending market is the state of California, we purchase and originate loans throughout the United States. If the U.S. economy weakens, our growth and profitability from our lending, deposit and investment operations could be constrained. Uncertainty about the federal fiscal policymaking process, the medium- and long-term fiscal outlook of the federal government and future tax rates is a concern for businesses, consumers and investors in the United States. Adverse economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has led to periods of significant volatility in financial, commodities and other markets and could harm our business and results of operations.
In December 2019, COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since then, COVID-19 infections have spread to additional countries including the United States. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. Given the ongoing and dynamic nature of the circumstances surrounding this pandemic, it is difficult to predict the impact of the pandemic on our business, and there is no guarantee that our efforts to address or mitigate the adverse impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will be effective. The impact to date has included periods of significant volatility in financial, commodities and other markets. This volatility has had and, if it continues, could continue to have an adverse impact on our customers and on our business, financial condition and results of operations as well as our growth strategy.
Our business is dependent upon the willingness and ability of our customers to conduct banking and other financial transactions. The spread of COVID-19 has caused and could continue to cause severe disruptions in the U.S. economy at large, and has resulted and may continue to result in disruptions to our customers’ businesses, and a decrease in consumer confidence and business generally. In addition, recent actions by U.S. federal, state and local governments to address the pandemic, including travel bans, stay-at-home orders and school, business and entertainment venue closures, has had and may continue to have a significant adverse effect on our customers and the markets in which we conduct our business. The extent of impacts resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and other events beyond our control will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and actions taken to contain the coronavirus or its impact, among others.
Disruptions to our customers could result in increased risk of delinquencies, defaults, foreclosures and losses on our loans. The escalation of the pandemic may also negatively impact regional economic conditions for a period of time, resulting in declines in local loan demand, liquidity of loan guarantors, loan collateral (particularly in real estate), loan originations and deposit availability. If the global response to contain COVID-19 escalates or is unsuccessful, we could experience a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
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The spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and the governmental responses may disrupt banking and other financial activity in the areas in which we operate and could potentially create widespread business continuity issues for us.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the U.S. federal, state and local governmental responses may result in a disruption in the services we provide. We rely on our third-party vendors to conduct business and to process, record, and monitor transactions. If any of these vendors are unable to continue to provide us with these services or experience interruptions in their ability to provide us with these services, it could negatively impact our ability to serve our customers. Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic could negatively impact the ability of our employees and customers to engage in banking and other financial transactions in the geographic areas in which we operate and could create widespread business continuity issues for us. We also could be adversely affected if key personnel or a significant number of employees were to become unavailable due to infection, quarantine or other effects and restrictions of a COVID-19 outbreak in our market areas. Although we have business continuity plans and other safeguards in place, there is no assurance that such plans and safeguards will be effective. If we are unable to promptly recover from such business disruptions, our business and financial conditions and results of operations would be adversely affected. We also may incur additional costs to remedy damages caused by such disruptions, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Interest rate volatility stemming from COVID-19 could negatively affect our net interest income, lending activities, deposits and profitability.
Our net interest income, lending activities, deposits and profitability could be negatively affected by volatility in interest rates caused by uncertainties stemming from COVID-19. In March 2020, the Federal Reserve lowered the target range for the federal funds rate to a range from 0 to 0.25 percent, citing concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on markets and stress in the energy sector. A prolonged period of extremely volatile and unstable market conditions may increase our funding costs and negatively affect market risk mitigation strategies. Higher income volatility from changes in interest rates and spreads to benchmark indices could cause a loss of future net interest income and a decrease in current fair market values of our assets. Fluctuations in interest rates will impact both the level of income and expense recorded on most of our assets and liabilities and the market value of all interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our net income, operating results, or financial condition.
We are subject to increasing credit risk as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could adversely impact our profitability.
Our business depends on our ability to successfully measure and manage credit risk. As a commercial lender, we are exposed to the risk that the principal of, or interest on, a loan will not be paid timely or at all or that the value of any collateral supporting a loan will be insufficient to cover our outstanding exposure. In addition, we are exposed to risks with respect to the risks resulting from changes in economic and industry conditions and risks inherent in dealing with individual loans and borrowers. As the overall economic climate in the U.S., generally, and in our market areas specifically, experiences material disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our borrowers may experience difficulties in repaying their loans and governmental actions may provide payment relief to borrowers affected by COVID-19 and preclude our ability to initiate foreclosure proceedings in certain circumstances and, as a result, the collateral we hold may decrease in value or become illiquid, and the level of our nonperforming loans, charge-offs and delinquencies could rise and require significant additional provisions for credit losses. Additional factors related to the credit quality of certain commercial real estate and multi-family residential loans include the duration of state and local moratoriums on evictions for non-payment of rent or other fees. The payment on these loans that are secured by income producing properties are typically dependent on the successful operation of the related real estate property and may subject us to risks from adverse conditions in the real estate market or the general economy.
We are actively working to support our borrowers to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on them and on our loan portfolio, including through loan modifications that defer payments for those who experienced a hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although recent regulatory guidance provides that such loan modifications are exempt from the calculation and reporting of troubled debt restructurings (“TDRs”) and loan delinquencies, we cannot predict whether such loan modifications may ultimately have an adverse impact on our profitability in future periods. Our inability to successfully manage the increased credit risk caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Unpredictable future developments related to or resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Because there have been no comparable recent global pandemics that resulted in a similar global impact, we do not yet know the full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on our business, operations, or the global economy as a whole. Any future development will be highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic, the effectiveness of our work from home arrangements, third party providers’ ability to support our operation, and any actions taken by governmental authorities and other third parties in response to the pandemic. We are continuing to monitor the
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COVID-19 pandemic and related risks, although the rapid development and fluidity of the situation precludes any specific prediction as to its ultimate impact on us. However, if the pandemic continues to spread or otherwise results in a continuation or worsening of the current economic and commercial environments, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows as well as our regulatory capital and liquidity ratios could be materially adversely affected and many of the risks described in our 2020 Form 10-K will be heightened.
We face strong competition from financial services companies and other companies that offer banking services.
We operate in the highly competitive financial services industry and face significant competition for customers from financial institutions located both within and beyond our principal markets. We compete with commercial banks, savings banks, credit unions, nonbank financial services companies and other financial institutions operating both within our market areas and nationally, and in respect of our digital currency initiative we also compete with other entities in the digital currency industry, including a limited number of other banks providing services to the digital currency industry and digital currency exchanges. Many of our non-bank competitors are not subject to the same extensive regulations that govern our activities and may have greater flexibility in competing for business. Our inability to compete successfully in the markets in which we operate could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We may not be able to measure and limit our credit risk adequately, which could lead to unexpected losses.
The business of lending is inherently risky, including risks that the principal of or interest on any loan will not be repaid in a timely manner or at all or that the value of any collateral supporting the loan will be insufficient to cover our outstanding exposure. Our risk management practices, such as monitoring the concentration of our loans within specific industries, and our credit approval practices may not adequately reduce credit risk. A failure to measure and limit the credit risk associated with our loan portfolio effectively could lead to unexpected losses and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our allowance for loan losses may prove to be insufficient to absorb potential losses in our loan portfolio.
We maintain an allowance for loan losses that represents management’s judgment of probable losses and risks inherent in our loan portfolio. The level of the allowance reflects management’s continuing evaluation of general economic conditions, diversification and seasoning of the loan portfolio, historic loss experience, identified credit problems, delinquency levels and adequacy of collateral. The determination of the appropriate level of our allowance for loan losses is inherently highly subjective and requires management to make significant estimates of and assumptions regarding current credit risks, all of which may undergo material changes. Inaccurate management assumptions, deterioration of economic conditions affecting borrowers, new information regarding existing loans, identification or deterioration of additional problem loans, acquisition of problem loans and other factors (including third-party review and analysis), both within and outside of our control, may require us to increase our allowance for loan losses. If we are required to materially increase our level of allowance for loan losses for any reason, such increase could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our commercial real estate loan portfolio exposes us to credit risks that may be greater than the risks related to other types of loans.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately $301.9 million, or 40.2%, of our total gross loans held-for-investment were commercial real estate loans (including owner-occupied commercial real estate loans). Further, as of December 31, 2020, our commercial real estate loans (excluding owner-occupied commercial real estate loans) totaled 109.7% of our total risk-based capital. These loans expose a lender to the risk of liquidating the collateral securing these loans in times when there may be significant fluctuation of commercial real estate values. Additionally, commercial real estate loans generally involve relatively large balances to single borrowers or related groups of borrowers. Unexpected deterioration in the credit quality of our commercial real estate loan portfolio could require us to increase our allowance for loan losses, which would reduce our profitability and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Because a significant portion of our loan portfolio held-for-investment is comprised of real estate loans, negative changes in the economy affecting real estate values and liquidity could impair the value of collateral securing our real estate loans and result in loan and other losses.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately $574.5 million, or 76.4%, of our total gross loans held-for-investment were loans with real estate as a primary or secondary component of collateral. The market value of real estate can fluctuate significantly in a short period of time. As a result, adverse developments affecting real estate values and the liquidity of real estate in our primary markets could increase the credit risk associated with our loan portfolio, and could result in losses that adversely affect our credit quality, financial condition and results of operations. Negative changes in the economy affecting real estate values and liquidity in our market areas could significantly impair the value of property pledged as collateral on loans and affect our ability to sell the collateral upon foreclosure without a loss or additional losses. Collateral may have to be sold for
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less than the outstanding balance of the loan, which could result in losses on such loans. Such declines and losses would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our nascent SEN Leverage product has unique risks and may not perform to our expectations in the future, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our SEN Leverage product, which was piloted during 2020, is now one of the Company’s core lending products. SEN Leverage currently allows certain of our SEN customers to borrow US dollars against the value of the digital currency bitcoin.
The loan to value (“LTV”) ratio of a SEN Leverage loan fluctuates in relation to the value of bitcoin held as collateral, which has historically been volatile and which serves as the collateral for these loans. There is no assurance that customers will be able to timely provide additional collateral under these loans or reduce the principal amount of the loan to maintain the loan’s required LTV ratio in a scenario where the value of the bitcoin, serving as the collateral for the loan, drops precipitously.
We utilize third party custodians to hold the bitcoin serving as the collateral of the SEN Leverage loans. Custodians of digital currency present additional risks because they are frequent targets and victims of cyber-attacks, which could impact the custodian’s timely delivery of digital currency collateral to us. If a SEN Leverage loan customer defaults on its loan and the bitcoin collateral is not liquidated in a timely manner, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely impacted.
Appraisals and other valuation techniques we use in evaluating and monitoring loans secured by real property, other real estate owned and repossessed personal property may not accurately describe the net value of the asset.
In considering whether to make a loan secured by real property, we generally require an appraisal of the property which may not accurately describe the net value of the real property collateral after the loan is made. As a result, we may not be able to realize the full amount of any remaining indebtedness if we foreclose on and sell the relevant property. In addition, we rely on appraisals and other valuation techniques to establish the value of our other real estate owned (“OREO”) and personal property that we acquire through foreclosure proceedings and to determine certain loan impairments. If any of these valuations are inaccurate, our consolidated financial statements may not reflect the correct value of our OREO, and our allowance for loan losses may not reflect accurate loan impairments. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
In the case of defaults on loans secured by real estate, we may be forced to foreclose on the collateral, subjecting us to the costs and potential risks associated with the ownership of the real property, or consumer protection initiatives or changes in state or federal law that may substantially raise the cost of foreclosure or prevent us from foreclosing at all.
Since we originate loans secured by real estate, we may have to foreclose on the collateral property to protect our investment and may thereafter own and operate such property for some period, in which case we would be exposed to the risks inherent in the ownership of real estate. Our inability to manage the amount of costs or size of the risks associated with the ownership of real estate, or write-downs in the value of other real estate owned, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Additionally, consumer protection initiatives or changes in state or federal law may substantially increase the time and expense associated with the foreclosure process or prevent us from foreclosing at all. Some states in recent years have either considered or adopted foreclosure reform laws that make it substantially more difficult and expensive for lenders to foreclose on properties in default. If new state or federal laws or regulations are ultimately enacted that significantly raise the cost of foreclosure or raise outright barriers, such laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operation.
We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights, and may become involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our intellectual property, which could be expensive, time consuming and unsuccessful.
Competitors may violate our intellectual property rights. To counter infringement or unauthorized use, litigation may be necessary to enforce or defend our intellectual property rights, to protect our trade secrets and/or to determine the validity and scope of our own intellectual property rights or the proprietary rights of others. Such litigation can be expensive and time consuming, which could divert management resources and harm our business and financial results. Potential competitors may have the ability to dedicate greater resources to litigate intellectual property rights than we can. Accordingly, despite our efforts, we may not be able to prevent third parties from infringing upon or misappropriating our intellectual property.
Our concentration of large loans to a limited number of borrowers may increase our credit risk.
As of December 31, 2020, our 10 largest borrowing relationships accounted for approximately 31.0% of our total gross loans held-for-investment. This high concentration of borrowers presents a risk to our lending operations. If any one of these borrowers becomes unable to repay its loan obligations because of economic or market conditions, or personal circumstances,
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such as divorce or death, our nonaccrual loans and our allowance for loan and lease losses could increase significantly, which could have a material adverse effect on our assets, business, financial condition and results of operations.
A lack of liquidity could impair our ability to fund operations and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Liquidity is essential to our business. We rely on our ability to generate deposits and effectively manage the repayment and maturity schedules of our loans and investment securities, respectively, to ensure that we have adequate liquidity to fund our operations. An inability to raise funds through deposits, borrowings, sales of our investment securities, sales of loans or other sources could have a substantial negative effect on our liquidity and our ability to continue our growth strategy.
Our most important source of funds is deposits. As of December 31, 2020, approximately $5.1 billion, or 97.8%, of our total deposits were noninterest bearing demand accounts. These deposits are subject to potentially dramatic fluctuations due to certain factors that may be outside of our control, such as a loss of confidence by customers in us or the banking sector generally, customer perceptions of our financial health and general reputation, any of which could result in significant outflows of deposits within short periods of time increasing our funding costs and reducing our net interest income and net income. Substantially all of these noninterest bearing demand accounts are deposits from our customers in the digital currency industry.
Additional liquidity is provided by our ability to borrow from the FHLB of San Francisco and the FRB. We also may borrow funds from third-party lenders, such as other financial institutions. Our access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance or capitalize our activities, or on terms that are acceptable to us, could be impaired by factors that affect us directly or the financial services industry or economy in general, such as disruptions in the financial markets or negative views and expectations about the prospects for the financial services industry. Our access to funding sources could also be affected by one or more adverse regulatory actions against us.
Any decline in available funding could adversely impact our ability to originate loans, invest in securities, meet our expenses or fulfill obligations such as repaying our borrowings or meeting deposit withdrawal demands, any of which could, in turn, have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to interest rate risk as fluctuations in interest rates may adversely affect our earnings.
Most of our banking assets and liabilities are monetary in nature and subject to risk from changes in interest rates. Like most financial institutions, our earnings are significantly dependent on our net interest income, the principal component of our earnings, which is the difference between interest earned by us from our interest earning assets, such as loans and investment securities, and interest paid by us on our interest bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings. We expect that we will periodically experience “gaps” in the interest rate sensitivities of our assets and liabilities, meaning that either our interest bearing liabilities will be more sensitive to changes in market interest rates than our interest earning assets, or vice versa. In either case, if market interest rates should move contrary to our position, this gap will negatively impact our earnings. The impact on earnings is more adverse when the slope of the yield curve flattens; that is, when short-term interest rates increase more than long-term interest rates or when long-term interest rates decrease more than short-term interest rates.
Any future failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could impair the reliability of our financial statements, which in turn could harm our business, impair investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and our access to the capital markets and cause the price of our common stock to decline and subject us to regulatory penalties.
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting and for evaluating and reporting on that system of internal control. Our internal control over financial reporting consists of a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to report our financial results accurately and in a timely manner, in which case our business may be harmed, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, we could be subject to regulatory penalties and the price of our common stock may decline.
The accuracy of our financial statements and related disclosures could be affected if the judgments, assumptions or estimates used in our critical accounting policies are inaccurate.
The preparation of financial statements and related disclosures in conformity with GAAP requires us to make judgments, assumptions and estimates that affect the amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. Our critical accounting policies, which are included in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” describe those significant accounting policies and methods used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements that we consider critical because they require judgments, assumptions and estimates that materially affect our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures. As a result, if future events or regulatory views concerning such analysis differ significantly from the judgments, assumptions and estimates in our critical accounting policies,
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those events or assumptions could have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures, in each case resulting in our need to revise or restate prior period financial statements, cause damage to our reputation and the price of our common stock and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We could recognize losses on investment securities held in our securities portfolio, particularly if interest rates increase or economic and market conditions deteriorate.
We invest a portion of our total assets (16.8% as of December 31, 2020) in investment securities with the primary objectives of providing a source of liquidity, providing an appropriate return on funds invested, managing interest rate risk and meeting pledging requirements. As of December 31, 2020, the fair value of our available-for-sale investment securities portfolio was $939.0 million, which included gross unrealized losses of $3.8 million and gross unrealized gains of $44.0 million. Factors beyond our control can significantly and adversely influence the fair value of securities in our portfolio. Because of changing economic and market conditions affecting interest rates, the financial condition of issuers of the securities and the performance of the underlying collateral, we may recognize realized and/or unrealized losses in future periods, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to certain operational risks, including, but not limited to, customer, employee or third-party fraud.
Employee errors and employee or customer misconduct could subject us to financial losses or regulatory sanctions and seriously harm our reputation. Misconduct by our employees could include hiding unauthorized activities from us, improper or unauthorized activities on behalf of our customers or improper use of confidential information. It is not always possible to prevent employee errors and misconduct, and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in all cases. Employee errors could also subject us to financial claims for negligence.
In addition, we rely heavily upon information supplied by third parties, including the information contained in credit applications, property appraisals, title information and employment and income documentation, in deciding which loans we will originate, as well as the terms of those loans. If any of the information upon which we rely is misrepresented, either fraudulently or inadvertently, and the misrepresentation is not detected prior to loan funding, the value of the loan may be significantly lower than expected, or we may fund a loan that we would not have funded or on terms that do not comply with our general underwriting standards. The sources of the misrepresentations are often difficult to locate, and it is often difficult to recover any of the resulting monetary losses we may suffer, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We rely heavily on our executive management team and other key employees, and we could be adversely affected by the unexpected loss of their services.
We are led by an experienced core management team with substantial experience in the markets that we serve, and our operating strategy focuses on providing products and services through long-term relationship managers and ensuring that our largest clients have relationships with our senior management team. Accordingly, our success depends in large part on the performance of these key personnel, as well as on our ability to attract, motivate and retain highly qualified senior and middle management. If any of our executive officers, other key personnel or directors leaves us or our Bank, our financial condition and results of operations may suffer because of his or her skills, knowledge of our market, years of industry experience and the difficulty of promptly finding qualified personnel to replace him or her.
Negative public opinion regarding the Company or failure to maintain our reputation in the communities we serve could adversely affect our business and prevent us from growing our business.
If our reputation is negatively affected by the actions of our employees or otherwise, including because of a successful cyberattack against us or other unauthorized release or loss of customer information, we may be less successful in attracting new talent and customers or may lose existing customers, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. In addition, if the reputation of the digital currency industry as a whole is harmed, including due to events such as cybersecurity breaches, scams perpetrated by bad actors or other unforeseen developments as a result of the evolving regulatory landscape of the digital currency industry, our reputation may be negatively affected due to our connection with the digital currency industry, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our exposure to and interactions with the digital currency industry put us at a higher risk of media attention and scrutiny. Further, negative public opinion can expose us to litigation and regulatory action and delay and impede our efforts to implement our expansion strategy, which could further adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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We may not be able to raise the additional capital needed, in absolute terms or on terms acceptable to us, to fund our growth strategy in the future if we continue to grow at our current pace.
As of December 31, 2020, our total consolidated assets were $5.6 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion, or 162.5%, from December 31, 2019. In light of our rapid growth and to sustain our growth strategy, we will likely need to raise additional capital in the future, though the timing and amounts of future capital needs are presently unknown.
We believe that we have sufficient capital to meet our capital needs for our immediate growth plans. However, we will continue to need capital to support our longer-term growth plans. If capital is not available on favorable terms when we need it, we will have to either issue common stock or other securities on less than desirable terms or reduce our rate of growth until market conditions become more favorable. Any such events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The failure to meet applicable regulatory capital requirements could result in one or more of our regulators placing limitations or conditions on our activities, including our growth initiatives, or restricting the commencement of new activities, and could adversely affect customer and investor confidence, our role in the digital currency ecosystem, our costs of funds and FDIC insurance costs, our ability to make acquisitions, and our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Risks Related to Regulation
There is substantial legal and regulatory uncertainty regarding the regulation of digital currencies and digital currency activities. This uncertainty or adverse regulatory changes may inhibit the growth of the digital currency industry, including our customers, and therefore have a material adverse effect on the digital currency initiative.
The U.S. Congress, U.S. state legislatures, and a number of U.S. federal and state regulators and law enforcement agencies, including FinCEN, U.S. federal banking regulators, SEC, CFTC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), the CFPB, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”), and state banking regulators, state financial services regulators, and states attorney generals, have been examining the operations of digital currency networks, exchanges, and digital currency businesses, with particular focus on the extent to which digital currencies can be used for illegal activities, including but not limited to laundering the proceeds of illegal activities, funding criminal or terrorist enterprises, engaging in fraudulent activities (see “—Risks Related to the Digital Currency Industry”), as well as whether and the extent to which digital currency businesses should be subject to existing or new regulation, including those applicable to banks, securities intermediaries, derivatives intermediaries, or money transmitters.
For example, FinCEN requires firms engaged in the business of administration, exchange, or transmission of a virtual currency to register with FinCEN under its money services business licensing regime. The New York DFS has established a licensing regime for businesses involved in virtual currency business activity in or involving New York, commonly known as BitLicense regime. The SEC and CFTC have each issued formal and informal guidance on the applicability of securities and derivatives regulations to digital currencies and digital currency activities. The SEC has suggested that, depending on the circumstances, an initial coin offering (“ICO”) may constitute securities offerings subject to the provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and the Exchange Act, and that some ICOs in the past have been illegal, which could, in turn, result in regulatory actions or other scrutiny against our customers or us. The SEC has also stated that venues that permit trading of tokens that are deemed securities are required to either register as national securities exchanges under Section 6 of the Exchange Act or obtain an exemption. If we or any of our digital currency customers are subject to regulatory actions relating to illegal securities offerings or are required to register as a national securities exchange under the Exchange Act, we may experience a substantial loss of deposits and our business may be materially adversely affected.
Many state and federal agencies have also issued consumer advisories regarding the risks posed to users and investors in digital currencies. U.S. federal and state legislatures, regulators and law enforcement agencies continue to develop views and approaches to a wide variety of digital currencies and activities involved in digital currencies and it is likely that, as the legal and regulatory landscape develops, additional regulatory requirements could apply to digital currency businesses, including our digital currency customers and us. U.S. state and federal, and foreign regulators and legislatures have taken legal actions against digital currency businesses or adopted restrictions in response to adverse publicity arising from hacks, consumer harm, criminal activity, or other activities related to digital currencies. Ongoing and future regulatory actions may alter, perhaps to a materially adverse extent, the nature of the digital currency industry or the ability of our customers to continue to operate. This may significantly impede the viability or growth of our existing funding sources based on deposits from digital currency business as well as our digital currency initiative. In addition, we may become subject to additional regulatory scrutiny as a result of certain aspects of our growth strategy, including our plans to develop credit products for the purchase of digital currency, custodian services and to expand our international customer base.
Digital currencies and digital currency related activities also currently face an uncertain regulatory landscape in many foreign jurisdictions such as the European Union, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Russia, Israel, Poland, India,
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Hong Kong, Canada and Singapore. Various foreign jurisdictions may adopt laws regulations or directives that affect digital currencies. Such laws, regulations or directives may conflict with those of the United States and may negatively impact the acceptance of digital currencies by users, merchants and service providers outside the United States and may therefore impede the growth or sustainability of the digital currency industry in these jurisdictions as well as in the United States and elsewhere, or otherwise negatively affect the digital currency industry or our customers, which may adversely affect our digital currency initiative and could therefore result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.
Legislative and regulatory actions taken now or in the future may increase our costs and impact our business, governance structure, financial condition or results of operations.
Federal and state regulatory agencies frequently adopt changes to their regulations or change the way existing regulations are applied. Regulatory or legislative changes to laws applicable to the financial industry, if enacted or adopted, may impact the profitability of our business activities, require more oversight or change certain of our business practices, including the ability to offer new products, obtain financing, attract deposits, make loans and achieve satisfactory interest spreads and could expose us to additional costs, including increased compliance costs. These changes also may require us to invest significant management attention and resources to make any necessary changes to operations to comply and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Because of the Dodd-Frank Act and related rulemaking, the Bank and the Company are subject to more stringent capital requirements.
The failure to meet applicable regulatory capital requirements could result in one or more of our regulators placing limitations or conditions on our activities, including our growth initiatives, or restricting the commencement of new activities, and could affect customer and investor confidence, our costs of funds and FDIC insurance costs, our ability to pay dividends on our common stock, our ability to make acquisitions, and our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Federal and state banking agencies periodically conduct examinations of our business, including our compliance with laws and regulations, and our failure to comply with any supervisory actions to which we are or become subject based on such examinations could adversely affect us.
As part of the bank regulatory process, the Federal Reserve and the DFPI periodically conduct examinations of our business, including compliance with laws and regulations. If, based on an examination, one of these federal banking agencies were to determine that the financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity, asset sensitivity, risk management or other aspects of any of our operations have become unsatisfactory, or that the Company, the Bank or their respective management were in violation of any law or regulation, it may take such remedial actions as it deems appropriate. If we become subject to such regulatory actions, our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation could be adversely affected.
Our regulators may limit current or planned activities related to the digital currency industry.
The digital currency industry is relatively new and is subject to significant risks. The digital currency initiative involves customers and activities with which regulators, including our primary banking regulators the Federal Reserve and DFPI, may be less familiar and which they may consider higher risk than those involving more established industries. While we have consulted, and will continue to consult with, our regulators regarding our activities involving digital currency industry customers and the digital currency initiative, in the future a regulator may determine to limit or restrict one or more of these activities. Such actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
Financial institutions, such as the Bank, face risks of noncompliance and enforcement actions related to the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering statutes and regulations (in particular, as such statutes and regulations relate to the digital currency industry).
The Bank Secrecy Act, USA Patriot Act, FinCEN and other laws and regulations require financial institutions, among other duties, to institute and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and file suspicious activity and currency transaction reports as appropriate. To administer the Bank Secrecy Act, FinCEN is authorized to impose significant civil money penalties for violations of those requirements and has recently engaged in coordinated enforcement efforts with the individual federal banking regulators, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS. There is also increased scrutiny of compliance with the sanctions programs and rules administered and enforced by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Our compliance with the anti-money laundering laws is in part dependent on our ability to adequately screen and monitor our customers for their compliance with these laws. Customers associated with our digital currency initiative may represent an increased compliance risk given the prevalence of money laundering activities using digital currencies. We have developed
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enhanced procedures to screen and monitor these customers, which include, but are not limited to, system monitoring rules tailored to digital currency activities, a system of “red flags” specific to various customer types and activities, the development of and investment in proprietary technology tools to supplement our third-party transaction monitoring system, customer risk scoring with risk factors specific to the digital-currency industry, and the use of various blockchain monitoring tools. We believe these enhanced procedures adequately screen and monitor our customers associated with the digital currency initiative for their compliance with anti-money laundering laws; however, given the rapid developments in digital currency markets and technologies, there can be no assurance that these enhanced procedures will be adequate to detect or prevent money laundering activity. If regulators determine that our enhanced procedures are insufficient to address the financial crimes risks posed by digital currencies, the digital currency initiative may be adversely affected, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
To comply with regulations, guidelines and examination procedures in this area, we have dedicated significant resources to our anti-money laundering program. If our policies, procedures and systems are deemed deficient, we could be subject to liability, including fines and regulatory actions such as restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and the inability to obtain regulatory approvals to proceed with certain aspects of our business plans, including acquisitions and de novo branching.
We are subject to anticorruption laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and we may be subject to other anti-corruption laws, as well as anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and other laws governing our operations, to the extent our business expands to non-U.S. jurisdictions. If we fail to comply with these laws, we could be subject to civil or criminal penalties, other remedial measures, and legal expenses, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We continue to pursue deposit sourcing opportunities outside of the United States. We are currently subject to anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA. The FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws generally prohibit us, our employees and intermediaries from bribing, being bribed or making other prohibited payments to government officials or other persons to obtain or retain business or gain other business advantages. We may also participate in collaborations and relationships with third parties whose actions could potentially subject us to liability under the FCPA or other jurisdictions’ anti-corruption laws. There is no assurance that we will be completely effective in ensuring our compliance with all applicable anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA. If we are not in compliance with the FCPA or other anti-corruption laws, we may be subject to criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement and other sanctions and remedial measures, and legal expenses, which could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Similarly, any investigation of any potential violations of the FCPA or other anti-corruption laws by authorities in the United States or other jurisdictions where we conduct business could also have an adverse impact on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
Increases in FDIC insurance premiums could adversely affect our earnings and results of operations.
The deposits of our Bank are insured by the FDIC up to legal limits and, accordingly, subject it to the payment of FDIC deposit insurance assessments as determined according to the calculation described in “Item 1. Business—Supervision and Regulation—Deposit Insurance.” Any future special assessments, increases in assessment rates or required prepayments in FDIC insurance premiums could reduce our profitability or limit our ability to pursue certain business opportunities, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Monetary policies and regulations of the Federal Reserve could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition to being affected by general economic conditions, our earnings and growth are affected by the policies of the Federal Reserve. An important function of the Federal Reserve is to influence the U.S. money supply and credit conditions. The monetary policies and regulations of the Federal Reserve have had a significant effect on the operating results of commercial banks in the past and are expected to continue to do so in the future. The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve are influenced by various factors, including inflation, unemployment, and short-term and long-term changes in the international trade balance and in the fiscal policies of the U.S. government. Future monetary policies cannot be predicted, and although we cannot determine the effects of such policies on us now, such policies could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
The market price of our common stock may be subject to substantial fluctuations, which may make it difficult for you to sell your shares at the volume, prices and times desired.
The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile, which may make it difficult for you to resell your shares at the volume, prices and times desired. There are many factors that may affect the market price and trading volume of our common stock, most of which are outside of our control.
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The stock market and the market for financial institution stocks has experienced substantial fluctuations in recent years, which in many cases have been unrelated to the operating performance and prospects of particular companies. In addition, significant fluctuations in the trading volume in our common stock may cause significant price variations to occur. Increased market volatility may materially and adversely affect the market price of our common stock, which could make it difficult to sell your shares at the volume, prices and times desired.
You may experience future dilution as a result of future equity offerings.
We may require additional capital in the future to continue our planned growth. To the extent we raise additional capital by issuing additional shares of our common stock or other securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, you may experience substantial dilution.
While our growth strategy is focused on the digital currency industry, investors should not expect that the value of our common stock to be correlated with the value of digital currencies. Our common stock is not a proxy for gaining exposure to digital currencies.
While our growth strategy is focused on the digital currency industry and the majority of the Bank’s deposits are from digital currency related activities, our common stock is not a proxy for gaining exposure to digital currencies. The impact of fluctuations in prices and/or trading volume of digital currencies on our deposit balance from customers in the digital currency industry and, by extension, our profitability, is unpredictable, and the price of our common stock may not be correlated to the prices of digital currencies.
Though not a proxy for gaining exposure to digital currencies, market participants may view our common stock as such, which could in turn attract investors seeking to buy or sell short our common stock in order to gain such exposure, therefore increasing the price volatility of our common stock. There may also be a heightened level of speculation in our common stock as a result of our exposure to the digital currency industry. For more information regarding the volatility of digital currencies, see “—Risks Related to Our Digital Currency Initiative—The prices of digital currencies are extremely volatile.” Fluctuations in the price of various digital currencies may cause uncertainty in the market and could negatively impact trading volumes of digital currencies and therefore the extent to which participants in the digital currency industry demand our services and solutions, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.”
We are an emerging growth company, and the reduced regulatory and reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an emerging growth company, as defined in the JOBS Act. For as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company we may take advantage of reduced regulatory and reporting requirements that are otherwise generally applicable to public companies. These include, without limitation, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced financial reporting requirements, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation and exemptions from the requirements of holding non-binding shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation or golden parachute payments.
We may take advantage of some or all of these provisions for up to five years or such earlier time as we cease to qualify as an emerging growth company, which will occur if we have more than $1.07 billion in total annual gross revenue, if we issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible debt in a three-year period, or if the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeds $700.0 million as of any June 30 before that time, in which case we would no longer be an emerging growth company as of the following December 31. Investors may find our common stock less attractive because we intend to rely on certain of these exemptions, which may result in a less active trading market and increased volatility in our stock price.
Provisions in our governing documents and Maryland law may have an anti-takeover effect, and there are substantial regulatory limitations on changes of control of bank holding companies.
Our corporate organizational documents and provisions of federal and state law to which we are subject contain certain provisions that could have an anti-takeover effect and may delay, make more difficult or prevent an attempted acquisition that you may favor or an attempted replacement of our board of directors or management.
In addition, certain provisions of Maryland law may delay, discourage or prevent an attempted acquisition or change in control. Furthermore, banking laws impose notice, approval, and ongoing regulatory requirements on any shareholder or other party that seeks to acquire direct or indirect “control” of an FDIC-insured depository institution or its holding company. These laws include the BHC Act and the CBCA. These laws could delay or prevent an acquisition.
Our common stock is not an insured deposit and is subject to risk of loss.
Our common stock is not a savings account, deposit account or other obligation of any of the Bank or any of our other subsidiaries and will not be insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. Investment in our common stock is subject to risk, including possible loss.
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Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Not applicable.

Item 2. Properties
Our headquarters office is currently located at 4250 Executive Square, La Jolla, California 92037. The following table summarizes pertinent details of our principal leased office property.
Location
Owned/
Leased
Lease
Expiration
Type of Office
4250 Executive Square, Suite 300
La Jolla, CA 92037
Leased10/31/2022Headquarters and Branch
We believe that the leases to which we are subject have terms that are generally consistent with prevailing market terms. None of the leases involve any of our directors, officers or beneficial owners of more than 5% of our voting securities or any affiliates of the foregoing. We believe that our facilities are in good condition and are adequate to meet our operating needs for the foreseeable future.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings
We are not currently subject to any material legal proceedings. We are from time to time subject to claims and litigation arising in the ordinary course of business. These claims and litigation may include, among other things, allegations of violation of banking and other applicable regulations, competition law, labor laws and consumer protection laws, as well as claims or litigation relating to intellectual property, securities, breach of contract and tort. We intend to defend ourselves vigorously against any pending or future claims and litigation.
In the current opinion of management, the likelihood is remote that the impact of such proceedings, either individually or in the aggregate, would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or cash flows. However, one or more unfavorable outcomes in any claim or litigation against us could have a material adverse effect for the period in which they are resolved. In addition, regardless of their merits or their ultimate outcomes, such matters are costly, divert management’s attention and may materially adversely affect our reputation, even if resolved in our favor.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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PART II
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Shareholder Information
The Class A Common Stock of the Company has been publicly traded since November 7, 2019 and is currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SI. As of February 26, 2021, there were approximately 177 holders of record of our Class A Common Stock.
Dividends
Holders of our Class A and Class B Common Stock are only entitled to receive dividends when, as and if declared by our board of directors out of funds legally available for dividends. We have not paid any cash dividends on our Class A and Class B Common Stock since inception, and we currently have no plans to pay dividends for the foreseeable future. As a Maryland corporation, we are only permitted to pay dividends out of net earnings.
Because we are a bank holding company and do not engage directly in business activities of a material nature, our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders depends, in large part, upon our receipt of dividends from the Bank, which is also subject to numerous limitations on the payment of dividends under California banking laws, regulations and policies. See “Item 1. Business—Supervision and Regulation—Dividends.”
Our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders in the future will depend on regulatory restrictions, our liquidity and capital requirements, our earnings and financial condition, the general economic climate, contractual restrictions, our ability to service any equity or debt obligations senior to our Class A and Class B Common Stock and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors.
Equity Compensation Plan Information
The following table provides information as of December 31, 2020, with respect to options and restricted stock units outstanding and shares available for future awards under the Company’s active equity incentive plans.
Plan CategoryNumber of Securities to be Issued Upon Exercise of Outstanding Options, Warrants and RightsWeighted-Average Exercise Price of Outstanding Options, Warrants and RightsNumber of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans (excluding securities reflected in the first column)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders:
   
2010 Equity Compensation Plan394,863 $4.37 — 
2018 Equity Compensation Plan200,440 15.19 1,245,337 
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
— — — 
Total595,303 $8.01 1,245,337 
Unregistered Sales and Issuer Repurchases of Common Stock
There were no unregistered sales of the Company’s stock during the fourth quarter of 2020. The Company did not repurchase any of its shares during the fourth quarter of 2020 and does not have any authorized share repurchase programs.

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Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this report. Information as of and for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 is derived from audited financial statements presented separately herein, while information as of and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 is derived from audited financial statements not included herein. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of any future period. The performance ratios and asset quality and capital ratios are unaudited and derived from our audited financial statements and other financial information as of and for the periods presented. Average balances have been calculated using daily averages. The selected historical consolidated financial and other data presented below contains certain financial measures that are not presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States and are not audited. A reconciliation table is set forth below following the selected historical financial and other data.
 Year Ended December 31,
  20202019201820172016
 (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
Statement of Operations Data:
Interest income$79,590 $81,035 $72,752 $48,306 $41,541 
Interest expense7,226 10,078 3,129 6,355 7,729 
Net interest income72,364 70,957 69,623 41,951 33,812 
Provision for (reversal of) loan losses742 (439)(1,527)262 1,136 
Net interest income after provision71,622 71,396 71,150 41,689 32,676 
Noninterest income19,177 15,754 7,563 3,448 3,308 
Noninterest expense59,605 52,478 48,314 30,706 24,214 
Income before income taxes31,194 34,672 30,399 14,431 11,770 
Income tax expense(1)
5,156 9,826 8,066 6,788 4,735 
Net income26,038 24,846 22,333 7,643 7,035 
Dividends on preferred stock— — — — 13 
Net income available to common shareholders$26,038 $24,846 $22,333 $7,643 $7,022 
Financial Ratios:
Return on average assets (ROAA)1.03 %1.19 %1.11 %0.66 %0.76 %
Return on average equity (ROAE)9.78 %11.54 %13.47 %10.80 %10.45 %
Net interest margin(2)
3.00 %3.47 %3.49 %3.68 %3.68 %
Noninterest income / average assets0.76 %0.76 %0.38 %0.30 %0.36 %
Noninterest expense / average assets2.37 %2.52 %2.41 %2.67 %2.60 %
Efficiency ratio(3)
65.11 %60.52 %62.59 %67.64 %65.23 %
Loan yield(4)
4.64 %5.45 %5.52 %5.20 %4.92 %
Share Data:
Basic earnings per share$1.39 $1.38 $1.35 $0.83 $0.72 
Diluted earnings per share$1.36 $1.35 $1.31 $0.79 $0.70 
Common stock shares issued and outstanding at end of period18,834 18,668 17,818 9,224 9,224 
Basic weighted average shares outstanding18,691 17,957 16,543 9,224 9,705 
Diluted weighted average shares outstanding19,177 18,385 17,023 9,618 10,039 
Book value per share at end of period$15.63 $12.38 $10.73 $8.00 $7.13 
________________________
(1)The year ended December 31, 2017 included a $1.2 million increase in income tax expense related to the revaluation of our deferred tax assets resulting from the reduction in the corporate income tax rate as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
(2)Net interest margin is a ratio calculated as net interest income, on a fully taxable equivalent basis for interest income on tax-exempt securities using the federal statutory tax rate of 21.0%, divided by average interest earning assets for the same period.
(3)Efficiency ratio is calculated by dividing noninterest expenses by net interest income plus noninterest income.
(4)Includes nonaccrual loans and loans 90 days and more past due.

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December 31,
20202019201820172016
(Dollars in thousands)
Statement of Financial Condition Data:
Interest earning deposits in other banks$2,945,682 $132,025 $670,243 $793,717 $31,055 
Securities939,015 897,766 357,251 191,921 89,455 
Loans held-for-sale865,961 375,922 350,636 190,392 166,986 
Loans held-for-investment, net746,751 664,622 592,781 689,303 669,136 
Total assets5,586,235 2,128,127 2,004,318 1,891,948 981,068 
Total deposits5,248,026 1,814,654 1,783,005 1,775,146 767,862 
FHLB advances— 49,000 — 15,000 115,000 
Total liabilities5,291,936 1,897,091 1,813,072 1,818,148 915,261 
Total shareholders’ equity294,299 231,036 191,246 73,800 65,807 
Nonperforming Assets:
Nonperforming loans$4,982 $5,909 $8,303 $4,510 $5,126 
Troubled debt restructurings1,525 1,791 514 592 944 
Other real estate owned, net— 128 31 2,308 562 
Nonperforming assets4,982 6,037 8,334 6,818 5,688 
Asset Quality Ratios:
Nonperforming assets / assets0.09 %0.28 %0.42 %0.36 %0.58 %
Nonperforming loans / loans(1)
0.66 %0.88 %1.39 %0.65 %0.76 %
Nonperforming assets / loans(1) + other real estate owned
0.66 %0.90 %1.40 %0.98 %0.84 %
Net charge-offs (recoveries) to average loans(1)
0.00 %0.01 %(0.01)%0.02 %0.00 %
Allowance for loan losses to total loans(1)
0.92 %0.93 %1.13 %1.17 %1.19 %
Allowance for loan losses to nonperforming loans138.82 %104.77 %80.97 %181.04 %156.93 %
Company Capital Ratios:
Tier 1 leverage ratio8.29 %11.23 %9.00 %6.15 %8.65 %
Common equity tier 1 capital ratio21.53 %24.52 %23.10 %10.54 %10.17 %
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio22.88 %26.21 %24.96 %12.72 %12.52 %
Total risk-based capital ratio23.49 %26.90 %25.77 %13.88 %13.77 %
Total shareholders’ equity to total assets5.27 %10.86 %9.54 %3.90 %6.71 %
Bank Capital Ratios:
Tier 1 leverage ratio8.22 %10.52 %8.51 %6.33 %9.03 %
Common equity tier 1 capital ratio22.71 %24.55 %23.68 %13.11 %13.06 %
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio22.71 %24.55 %23.68 %13.11 %13.06 %
Total risk-based capital ratio23.32 %25.24 %24.50 %14.29 %14.31 %
________________________
(1)Loans exclude loans held-for-sale at each of the dates presented.
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Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Our accounting and reporting policies conform to GAAP and the prevailing practices in the banking industry. However, we also evaluate our performance based on certain additional financial measures discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K as being “non-GAAP financial measures.” We identify certain financial measures as non-GAAP financial measures if that financial measure excludes or includes amounts, that are not included or excluded, as the case may be, in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP in our statements of operations, financial condition or cash flows. Non-GAAP financial measures do not include operating and other statistical measures or ratios that are calculated using exclusively financial measures presented in accordance with GAAP.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes certain non-GAAP financial measures for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, in order to present our results of operations for that period on a basis consistent with our historical operations. On November 15, 2018, the Company and the Bank entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with HomeStreet Bank to sell the Bank’s retail branch located in San Marcos, California and business loan portfolio to HomeStreet Bank. This transaction, which was completed in March 2019, generated a pre-tax gain on sale of $5.5 million.
We believe that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information to management and investors that is supplementary to our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows computed in accordance with GAAP. However, non-GAAP financial measures have a number of limitations, are not necessarily comparable to GAAP measures and should not be considered in isolation or viewed as a substitute for the most directly comparable or other financial measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. Moreover, the manner in which we calculate non-GAAP financial measures may differ from that of other companies reporting non-GAAP measures with similar names. You should understand how such other companies calculate their financial measures that may be similar or have names that are similar to the non-GAAP financial measures discussed herein when comparing such non-GAAP financial measures. Our management uses the non-GAAP financial measures set forth below in its analysis of our performance.
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Year Ended
December 31,
20202019
(Dollars in thousands)
Net income
Net income, as reported
$26,038 $24,846 
Adjustments:
Gain on sale of branch, net
— (5,509)
Tax effect(1)
— 1,574 
Adjusted net income
$26,038 $20,911 
Noninterest income / average assets
Noninterest income$19,177 $15,754 
Adjustments:
Gain on sale of branch, net— (5,509)
Adjusted noninterest income19,177 10,245 
Average assets2,517,037 2,082,007 
Noninterest income / average assets, as reported0.76 %0.76 %
Adjusted noninterest income / average assets0.76 %0.49 %
Return on average assets (ROAA)
Adjusted net income$26,038 $20,911 
Average assets2,517,037 2,082,007 
Return on average assets (ROAA), as reported1.03 %1.19 %
Adjusted return on average assets1.03 %1.00 %
Return on average equity (ROAE)
Adjusted net income$26,038 $20,911 
Average equity266,195 215,338 
Return on average equity (ROAE), as reported9.78 %11.54 %
Adjusted return on average equity9.78 %9.71 %
Efficiency ratio
Noninterest expense$59,605 $52,478 
Net interest income
72,364 70,957 
Noninterest income19,177 15,754 
Total net interest income and noninterest income91,541 86,711 
Adjustments:
Gain on sale of branch, net— (5,509)
Adjusted total net interest income and noninterest income91,541 81,202 
Efficiency ratio, as reported65.11 %60.52 %
Adjusted efficiency ratio65.11 %64.63 %
________________________
(1)Amount represents the total income tax effect of the adjustment, which is calculated based on the applicable marginal tax rate of 28.58%.


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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of our operations should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. In addition to historical consolidated financial information, this discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks uncertainties and assumptions. Certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, including but not limited to those set forth under “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Form 10-K, may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. We assume no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements
Principal Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations
Net Income. Net income is calculated by taking interest and noninterest income and subtracting our costs to do business, such as interest, salaries, taxes and other operational expenses. We evaluate our net income based on measures that include net interest margin, return on average assets and return on average equity.
Net Interest Income. Net interest income represents interest income, less interest expense. We generate interest income from interest, dividends and fees received on interest earning assets, including loans, interest earning deposits in other banks and investment securities we own. We incur interest expense from interest paid on interest bearing liabilities, including interest bearing deposits, borrowings and other forms of indebtedness. Net interest income typically is the most significant contributor to our net income. To evaluate net interest income, we measure and monitor: (i) yields on our loans, interest earning deposits in other banks and other interest earning assets; (ii) the costs of our deposits and other funding sources; (iii) our net interest spread; and (iv) our net interest margin. Net interest spread is the difference between rates earned on interest earning assets and rates paid on interest bearing liabilities. Net interest margin is a ratio calculated as net interest income divided by average interest earning assets for the same period. Because noninterest bearing sources of funds, such as noninterest bearing deposits and shareholders’ equity, also fund interest earning assets, net interest margin includes the benefit of these noninterest bearing sources.
Changes in market interest rates and interest we earn on interest earning assets or pay on interest bearing liabilities, as well as the volume and types of our interest earning assets, interest bearing and noninterest bearing liabilities and shareholders’ equity, usually have the largest impact on periodic changes in our net interest spread, net interest margin and net interest income. We measure net interest income before and after our provision for loan losses.
Provision for Loan Losses. Provision for loan losses is the amount of expense that, based on our management’s judgment, is required to maintain our allowance for loan losses at an adequate level to absorb probable losses inherent in our loan portfolio at the applicable balance sheet date and that, in our management’s judgment, is appropriate under relevant accounting guidance. Determination of the allowance for loan losses is complex and involves a high degree of judgment and subjectivity. For a description of the factors considered by our management in determining the allowance for loan losses see “—Financial Condition—Allowance for Loan Losses.”
Noninterest Income. Noninterest income consists of, among other things: (i) mortgage warehouse fee income; (ii) service fees related to off-balance sheet deposits; (iii) deposit related fees; (iv) gain on sale of securities (v) gain on sale of loans (vi) other gain and losses; and (vii) other noninterest income. Mortgage warehouse fee income are transaction fees collected as the funded loans are sold or settled. Service fees related to off-balance sheet deposits are fees earned for off-balance sheet deposit placements facilitated under agreements that allow us to sweep customer funds into deposit accounts at other insured depository institutions. In connection with such sweeps and placements, the Bank earns noninterest income based on the difference between the gross interest earned on such deposit placements and the net interest the Bank agreed to pay on such swept funds (if any). Deposit related fees include cash management fees, such as analyzed checking fees, account maintenance fees, insufficient funds fees, overdraft fees, stop payment fees, foreign exchange fee income, domestic and foreign wire transfer fees, SEN related fees and card processing fee income. Other gains and losses include gain on sale of branch and extinguishment of debt. In 2019, the Company and the Bank completed the sale of the Bank’s retail branch located in San Marcos, California and business loan portfolio. In 2020, the Company initiated and settled a $64.0 million FHLB five-year term advance. Due to an increase in FHLB advance rates after settlement, the Company repaid the advance and recorded a gain on extinguishment of debt of $0.9 million.
Noninterest Expense. Noninterest expense includes, among other things: (i) salaries and employee benefits; (ii) occupancy and equipment expense; (iii) communications and data processing fees; (iv) professional services fees; (v) federal deposit insurance; (vi) correspondent bank charges; and (vii) other general and administrative expenses.
Salaries and employee benefits include compensation, stock-based compensation, employee benefits and tax expenses for our personnel. Occupancy and equipment expense includes depreciation expense, lease expense on our leased properties and other occupancy-related expenses. Equipment expense includes expenses related to our furniture, fixtures, equipment and software. Communications expense includes costs for telephone and internet. Data processing fees include expenses paid to our
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third-party data processing system provider and other data service providers. Professional fees include legal, accounting, consulting and other outsourcing arrangements. Federal deposit insurance expense relates to FDIC assessments based on the level of our deposits. Correspondent bank charges include wire transfer fees, transaction fees and service charges related to transactions settled with correspondent relationships. Other general and administrative expenses include expenses associated with travel, meals, advertising, promotions, sponsorships, training, supplies, postage, insurance, board of director expenses and other expenses related to being a public company. Noninterest expenses generally increase as we grow our business.
Financial Condition
The primary factors we use to evaluate and manage our financial condition include asset quality, capital and liquidity.
Asset Quality. We manage the diversification and quality of our assets based on factors that include the level, distribution, severity and trend of problem, classified, delinquent, nonaccrual, nonperforming and restructured assets, the adequacy of our allowance for loan losses, the diversification and quality of our loan and investment portfolios, the extent of counterparty risks, credit risk concentrations and other factors.
Capital. Financial institution regulators have established guidelines for minimum capital ratios for banks and bank holding companies. The Bank’s capital ratios at December 31, 2020 exceeded all current well capitalized regulatory requirements.
We manage capital based upon factors that include: (i) the level and quality of capital and our overall financial condition; (ii) the trend and volume of problem assets; (iii) the adequacy of reserves; (iv) the level and quality of earnings; (v) the risk exposures in our balance sheet; (vi) the levels of Tier 1 and total capital; (vii) the Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio, the total risk-based capital ratio, the Tier 1 leverage ratio, and the common equity Tier 1 capital ratio; (viii) the state of local and national economic conditions; and (ix) other factors including our asset growth rate, as well as certain liquidity ratios.
Liquidity. We manage liquidity based on factors that include the amount of core deposits as a percentage of total deposits, the level of diversification of our funding sources, the allocation and amount of our deposits among deposit types, the short-term funding sources used to fund assets, the amount of non-deposit funding used to fund assets, the availability of unused funding sources, off-balance sheet obligations, the availability of assets to be readily converted into cash without undue loss, the amount of cash, interest earning deposits in other banks and liquid securities we hold, the re-pricing characteristics and maturities of our assets when compared to the re-pricing characteristics of our liabilities and other factors.
We maintain high levels of liquidity for our customers who operate in the digital currency industry, as these deposits are subject to potentially dramatic fluctuations due to certain factors that may be outside of our control. As a result, the Bank deploys its customer deposits into interest earning deposits in other banks and securities, as well as into specialized lending opportunities.
Results of Operations
Net Income
The following table sets forth the principal components of net income for the periods indicated.
Year Ended December 31,
20202019
$ Increase/
(Decrease)
% Increase/
(Decrease)
(Dollars in thousands)
Interest income$79,590 $81,035 $(1,445)(1.8)%
Interest expense7,226 10,078 (2,852)(28.3)%
Net interest income72,364 70,957 1,407 2.0 %
Provision for (reversal of) loan losses742 (439)1,181 269.0 %
Net interest income after provision71,622 71,396 226 0.3 %
Noninterest income19,177 15,754 3,423 21.7 %
Noninterest expense59,605 52,478 7,127 13.6 %
Net income before income taxes31,194 34,672 (3,478)(10.0)%
Income tax expense5,156 9,826 (4,670)(47.5)%
Net income$26,038 $24,846 $1,192 4.8 %
Net income for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $26.0 million, an increase of $1.2 million, or 4.8% ,from net income of $24.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase was primarily due to an increase of $1.4 million, or 2.0%, in net interest income, an increase of $3.4 million, or 21.7%, in noninterest income and a decrease of $4.7 million, or
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47.5%, in income tax expense, partially offset by a $7.1 million or 13.6% increase in noninterest expense, all as described below.
Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin Analysis (Taxable Equivalent Basis)
We analyze our ability to maximize income generated from interest earning assets and control the interest expenses of our liabilities, measured as net interest income, through our net interest margin and net interest spread. Net interest income is the difference between the interest and fees earned on interest earning assets, such as loans, interest earning deposits in other banks and securities, and the interest expense incurred on interest bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings, which are used to fund those assets.
Changes in market interest rates and the interest rates we earn on interest earning assets or pay on interest bearing liabilities, as well as in the volume and types of interest earning assets, interest bearing and noninterest bearing liabilities and shareholders’ equity, are usually the largest drivers of periodic changes in net interest income, net interest margin and net interest spread. Fluctuations in market interest rates are driven by many factors, including governmental monetary policies, inflation, deflation, macroeconomic developments, changes in unemployment, the money supply, political and international conditions and conditions in domestic and foreign financial markets. Periodic changes in the volume and types of loans in our loan portfolio are affected by, among other factors, economic and competitive conditions in the Southern California region, developments affecting the real estate, technology, hospitality, tourism and financial services sectors within our target markets and throughout the Southern California region, the volume and availability of residential loan pools and non-qualified residential loans and mortgage banker relationships. Our ability to respond to changes in these factors by using effective asset-liability management techniques is critical to maintaining the stability of our net interest income and net interest margin as our primary sources of earnings.
The following tables show the average outstanding balance of each principal category of our assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity, together with the average yields on our assets and the average costs of our liabilities for the periods indicated. Such yields and cost are calculated by dividing income or expense by the average daily balances of the associated assets or liabilities for the same period.
Tax-exempt income from securities is calculated on a taxable equivalent basis. Net interest income, net interest spread and net interest margin are presented on a taxable equivalent basis to consistently reflect income from taxable securities and tax-exempt securities based on the federal statutory tax rate of 21.0%.

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AVERAGE BALANCE SHEET AND NET INTEREST ANALYSIS
Year Ended December 31,
20202019
Average
Outstanding
Balance
Interest
Income/
Expense
Average
Yield/
Rate
Average
Outstanding
Balance
Interest
Income/
Expense
Average
Yield/
Rate
(Dollars in thousands)
Assets
Interest earning assets:
Interest earning deposits in other banks
$335,201 $1,639 0.49 %$389,707 $8,723 2.24 %
Taxable securities
735,534 17,465 2.37 %702,215 20,161 2.87 %
Tax-exempt securities(1)
193,282 6,408 3.32 %— — — 
Loans(2)(3)
1,180,390 54,732 4.64 %943,912 51,445 5.45 %
Other
13,612 692 5.08 %10,686 706 6.61 %
Total interest earning assets
2,458,019 80,936 3.29 %2,046,520 81,035 3.96 %
Noninterest earning assets
59,018 35,487 
Total assets
$2,517,037 $2,082,007 
Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity
Interest bearing liabilities:
Interest bearing deposits
$213,345 $5,807 2.72 %$340,595 $7,713 2.26 %
FHLB advances and other borrowings
69,352 372 0.54 %51,829 1,293 2.49 %
Subordinated debentures
15,823 1,047 6.62 %15,809 1,072 6.78 %
Total interest bearing liabilities
298,520 7,226 2.42 %408,233 10,078 2.47 %
Noninterest bearing liabilities:
Noninterest bearing deposits
1,931,310 1,445,232 
Other liabilities
21,012 13,204 
Shareholders’ equity
266,195 215,338 
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity
$2,517,037 $2,082,007 
Net interest spread(4)
0.87 %1.49 %
Net interest income, taxable equivalent basis
$73,710 $70,957 
Net interest margin(5)
3.00 %3.47 %
Reconciliation to reported net interest income:
Adjustments for taxable equivalent basis
(1,346)— 
Net interest income, as reported
$72,364 $70,957 
________________________
(1)Interest income on tax-exempt securities is presented on a taxable equivalent basis using the federal statutory tax rate of 21.0% for all periods presented.
(2)Loans include nonaccrual loans and loans held-for-sale, net of deferred fees and before allowance for loan losses.
(3)Interest income includes amortization of deferred loan fees, net of deferred loan costs.
(4)Net interest spread is the difference between interest rates earned on interest earning assets and interest rates paid on interest bearing liabilities.
(5)Net interest margin is a ratio calculated as net interest income, on a taxable equivalent basis, divided by average interest earning assets for the same period.

Information regarding the dollar amount of changes in interest income and interest expense for the periods indicated for each major component of interest earning assets and interest bearing liabilities and distinguishes between the changes
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attributable to changes in volume and changes attributable to changes in interest rates. For purposes of this table, changes attributable to both rate and volume that cannot be segregated have been proportionately allocated to both volume and rate.

ANALYSIS OF CHANGES IN NET INTEREST INCOME
 For the Year Ended
December 31, 2020 Compared to 2019
 Change Due ToInterest
Variance
 VolumeRate
 (Dollars in thousands)
Interest Income:
Interest earning deposits in other banks$(1,075)$(6,009)$(7,084)
Taxable securities921 (3,617)(2,696)
Tax-exempt securities(1)
6,408 — 6,408 
Loans11,683 (8,396)