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Table of Contents
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549 
FORM 10-K 
  ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 
OR
  TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE
    ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from             to 
Commission file number:  000-31977
CENTRAL VALLEY COMMUNITY BANCORP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
CALIFORNIA77-0539125
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
7100 N. Financial Dr., Suite 101, Fresno, CA
93720
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
 559-298-1775
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
[None]
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading SymbolName of Each Exchange on which Registered
Common Stock, no par valueCVCYNASDAQ Capital Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:  None 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.  Yes No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulations 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 x No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer
  
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
 
Smaller reporting company
 
Emerging reporting company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes No 
As of June 30, 2020, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $164,349,000 based on the price at which the stock was last sold on June 30, 2020. 
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.
Common Stock, No Par ValueOutstanding at March 5, 2021
12,524,259 shares
 DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with the 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 19, 2021 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report. The proxy statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission not later than 120 days after the Registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.


Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 

 


Table of Contents
PART I

ITEM 1 -DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS
 
General
 
Central Valley Community Bancorp is a bank holding company registered under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “Company”). The Company was incorporated on February 7, 2000 as a California corporation, for the purpose of becoming the holding company for Central Valley Community Bank (the “Bank”), formerly known as Clovis Community Bank, a California state chartered bank, through a corporate reorganization.  In the reorganization, the Bank became the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, and the shareholders of the Bank became the shareholders of the Company.  The Company made a decision in the first half of 2002 to change the name of its one subsidiary, Clovis Community Bank, to Central Valley Community Bank.
At December 31, 2020, the Bank was our only banking subsidiary.  The Bank is a multi-community bank that offers a full range of commercial banking services to small and medium size businesses, and their owners, managers and employees in the central valley area of California.  We serve nine contiguous counties in California’s central valley including Fresno County, El Dorado County, Madera County, Merced County, Placer County, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, and Tulare County, and their surrounding areas.  We do not currently conduct any operations other than through the Bank.  Unless the context otherwise requires, references to “us,” “we,” or “our” refer to the Company and the Bank on a consolidated basis.  At December 31, 2020, we had consolidated total assets of approximately $2,004,096,000.  See Items 7 and 8, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and Financial Statements.
The Company is regulated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The Bank is regulated by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (“DFPI”) and its primary Federal regulator is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”).
As of March 1, 2021, we had a total of 281 employees and 267 full time equivalent employees, including the employees of the Bank.
 
The Bank
 
The Bank was organized in 1979 and commenced business as a California state chartered bank in 1980.  The deposits of the Bank are insured by the FDIC up to applicable limits.  The Bank is not a member of the Federal Reserve System.
The Bank operates 20 full-service banking offices in Cameron Park, Clovis, Exeter, Folsom, Fresno, Gold River, Kerman, Lodi, Madera, Merced, Modesto, Oakhurst, Prather, Roseville, Sacramento, Stockton, and Visalia. The Bank conducts a commercial banking business, which includes accepting demand, savings and time deposits and making commercial, real estate and consumer loans.  It also provides domestic and international wire transfer services and provides safe deposit boxes and other customary banking services.  The Bank also offers Internet banking that consists of inquiry, account status, bill paying, account transfers, and cash management.  The Bank does not offer trust services or international banking services and does not currently plan to do so in the near future.  The Bank has a Real Estate Division, an Agribusiness Center, and an SBA Lending Division.  The Real Estate Division processes or assists in processing the majority of the Bank’s real estate related transactions, including interim construction loans for single family residences and commercial buildings.  We offer permanent single family residential loans through our mortgage broker services.  Our total market share of deposits in Fresno, Madera, San Joaquin, and Tulare counties was 3.40% in 2020 compared to 3.31% in 2019 based on FDIC deposit market share information published as of June 30, 2020. Our total market share in the other counties we operate in (El Dorado, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, and Stanislaus), was less than 1.00% in 2020 and 2019. We have a diversified loan portfolio. At December 31, 2020, we had total loans of $1,102,347,000.  Total commercial and industrial loans outstanding were $273,994,000 which included $192,916,000 in PPP loans , total agricultural land and production loans outstanding were $21,971,000, total real estate construction and other land loans outstanding were $55,419,000; total other real estate loans outstanding were $660,705,000, total equity loans and lines of credit were $55,634,000 and total consumer installment loans outstanding were $37,236,000.  Our loans are collateralized by real estate, listed securities, savings and time deposits, automobiles, inventory, accounts receivable, machinery and equipment.
In addition to acquisitions, we have experienced organic growth by expanding our branch network. Opening new branches provides us with opportunities to expand our loan and deposit base; however, based on past experience, management expects these new offices may initially have a negative impact on earnings until the volume of business grows to cover fixed overhead expenses.  Management of the Bank analyzes its branch network on an ongoing basis to determine whether to open new branches or consolidate or eliminate existing branches in the future. In 2019, we consolidated two banking offices into branches currently serving the same communities - one in Fair Oaks and one in Rancho Cordova. The Bank opened a full-service branch in Gold River, California in June 2019.
3

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The Bank has provided investment services since 1995 through a third party provider and in November 2017, the Bank ended its relationship with Investment Centers of America and entered into a new agreement with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. to provide Bank customers with access to investment services.
No individual or single group of related accounts is considered material in relation to the Bank’s assets or deposits, or in relation to our overall business.  We attract deposits from individual and commercial customers.  No single customer or group of related customers accounts for a material portion of our deposits such that the loss of any one or more would have a material adverse effect on our business. However, at December 31, 2020 approximately 69.8% of our loan portfolio held for investment consisted of loans secured by real estate, including construction loans, equity loans and lines of credit and commercial loans secured by real estate and 26.9% consisted of commercial loans.  See Item 7 — Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.  Currently, our business activities are primarily concentrated in Fresno, El Dorado, Madera, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare Counties in California.  Consequently, our results of operations and financial condition are dependent upon the general economic trends in our market area and, in particular, the residential and commercial real estate markets.  Further, our concentration of operations in this area of California exposes us to greater risk than other banking companies with a wider geographic base.


Competition

The banking business in California generally, and our primary service area specifically, is highly competitive with respect to both loans and deposits, and is dominated by a relatively small number of major banks with many offices operating over a wide geographic area.  Among the advantages such major banks have over us is their ability to finance wide-ranging advertising campaigns and to allocate their investment assets, including loans, to regions of higher yield and demand.  Major banks offer certain services such as international banking and trust services which we do not offer directly but which we usually can offer indirectly through correspondent institutions.  To compete effectively, we rely substantially on local promotional activity, personal contacts by our officers, directors and employees, referrals by our shareholders, personalized service and our reputation in the communities we serve.
Our total market share of deposits in Fresno, Madera, San Joaquin, and Tulare counties was 3.40% in 2020 compared to 3.31% in 2019 based on FDIC deposit market share information published as of June 2020. In Fresno and Madera Counties, in addition to our 10 full-service branch locations serving the Bank’s primary service areas, as of June 30, 2020 there were 129 operating banking and credit union offices in our primary service area, which consists of the cities of Clovis, Fresno, Kerman, Oakhurst, Madera, and Prather, California. Prather does not contain any banking offices other than our office. In San Joaquin County, in addition to our two full service branch locations, as of June 30, 2020 there were 99 operating banking and credit union offices. In Tulare County, in addition to our three branches there were 52 operating banking and credit union offices in our primary service area. Our total market share in the other counties we operate in (El Dorado, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, and Stanislaus), was less than 1.00% in 2020 and 2019.  In Merced County, in addition to our one branch, as of June 30, 2020 there were 28 operating banking and credit union offices in our primary service area. In Sacramento County, in addition to our two branches, as of June 30, 2020 there were 202 operating banking and credit union offices in our primary service area.  In Stanislaus County, in addition to our one branch, there were 82 operating banking and credit union offices in our primary service area. In El Dorado County, in addition to our one branch, there were 38 operating banking and credit union offices in our primary service area. In Placer County, in addition to our one branch, there were 86 operating banking and credit union offices in our primary service area. Business activity in our primary service area is oriented toward light industry, small business and agriculture.
By virtue of their greater total capitalization, larger banks have substantially higher lending limits than we do.  Legal lending limits to an individual customer are limited to a percentage of our total capital. As of December 31, 2020, the Bank’s legal lending limits to individual customers were $28,528,000 for unsecured loans and $47,546,000 for unsecured and secured loans combined.
For borrowers desiring loans in excess of the Bank’s lending limits, the Bank seeks to make such loans on a participation basis with other financial institutions. Banks also compete with money market funds and other money market instruments, which are not subject to interest rate ceilings.  In recent years, increased competition has also developed from specialized finance and non-finance companies that offer wholesale finance, credit card, and other consumer finance services, including on-line banking services and personal finance software.  Competition for deposit and loan products remains strong, from both banking and non-banking firms, and affects the rates of those products as well as the terms on which they are offered to customers.
Technological innovation continues to contribute to greater competition in domestic and international financial services markets.  Technological innovation has, for example, made it possible for non-depository institutions to offer customers automated transfer payment services that previously have been traditional banking products.  In addition, customers now expect a choice of several delivery systems and channels, including telephone, mail, home computer, ATMs, remote deposit, mobile banking applications, self-service branches, and in-store branches.
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Mergers between financial institutions have placed additional pressure on banks to streamline their operations, reduce expenses, and increase revenues to remain competitive.  In addition, competition has intensified due to federal and state interstate banking laws, which permit banking organizations to expand geographically with fewer restrictions than in the past.  Such laws allow banks to merge with other banks across state lines, thereby enabling banks to establish or expand banking operations in our market.  The competitive environment also is significantly impacted by federal and state legislation, which may make it easier for non-bank financial institutions to compete with us.

Supervision and Regulation
 
GENERAL
 
Banking is a complex, highly regulated industry. Regulation and supervision by federal and state banking agencies are intended to maintain a safe and sound banking system, protect depositors and the FDIC’s insurance fund, and to facilitate the conduct of sound monetary policy. In furtherance of these goals, Congress and the states have created several largely autonomous regulatory agencies and enacted numerous laws that govern banks, bank holding companies and the financial services industry. Consequently, the growth and earnings performance of the Company can be affected not only by management decisions and general economic conditions, but also by the requirements of applicable state and federal statutes, regulations and the policies of various governmental regulatory authorities, including the Federal Reserve, FDIC, DFPI and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). Furthermore, tax laws administered by the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities, accounting rules developed by the FASB, securities laws administered by the SEC and state securities authorities, anti-money laundering laws enforced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, or Treasury, and mortgage related rules, including with respect to loan securitization and servicing by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also impact our business. The effect of these statutes, regulations, regulatory policies and rules are significant to our financial condition and results of operations. Further, the nature and extent of future legislative, regulatory or other changes affecting financial institutions are impossible to predict with any certainty.
Federal and state banking laws impose a comprehensive system of supervision, regulation and enforcement on the operations of banks, their holding companies and their affiliates. These laws are intended primarily for the protection of the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund and bank customers rather than shareholders. Federal and state laws, and the related regulations of the bank regulatory agencies, affect, among other things, the scope of business, the kinds and amounts of investments banks may make, reserve requirements, capital levels relative to operations, the nature and amount of collateral for loans, the establishment of branches, the ability to merge, consolidate and acquire other financial institutions, dealings with insiders and affiliates, and the payment of dividends.
This supervisory and regulatory framework subjects banks and bank holding companies to regular examination by their respective regulatory agencies, which results in examination reports and ratings that, while not publicly available, can affect the conduct and growth of their businesses. These examinations consider not only compliance with applicable laws and regulations, but also capital levels, asset quality and risk, management ability and performance, earnings, liquidity, and various other factors. The regulatory agencies have broad discretion to impose restrictions and limitations on the operations of a regulated entity where the agencies determine, among other things, that such operations are unsafe or unsound, fail to comply with applicable law or are otherwise inconsistent with laws and regulations or with the supervisory policies of these agencies
The following is a summary of the material elements of the supervisory and regulatory framework applicable to the Company and its bank subsidiary. It does not describe all of the statutes, regulations and regulatory policies that apply, nor does it restate all of the requirements of those that are described. The descriptions are qualified in their entirety by reference to the particular statutory or regulatory provision.

 
BANK HOLDING COMPANY REGULATION
 
The Company, as a bank holding company, is subject to regulation under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (“BHC Act”), and is subject to the supervision and examination of the Federal Reserve.  Pursuant to the BHC Act, we are required to obtain the prior approval of the Federal Reserve before we may acquire all or substantially all of the assets of any bank, or ownership or control of voting shares of any bank if, after giving effect to such acquisition, we would own or control, directly or indirectly, more than five percent of such bank.
Under the BHC Act, we may not engage in any business other than managing or controlling banks or furnishing services to our subsidiaries that the Federal Reserve deems to be so closely related to banking as to be a proper incident to banking.  Bank holding companies that qualify and elect to be treated as “financial holding companies” may engage in a broad range of additional activities that are (i) financial in nature or incidental to such financial activities or (ii) complementary to a financial activity and do not pose a substantial risk to the safety and soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally. These activities include securities underwriting and dealing, insurance underwriting and making merchant banking investments. We have not elected to be treated as a financial holding company and currently have no plans to make a financial holding company election.
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We are also prohibited, with certain exceptions, from acquiring direct or indirect ownership or control of more than five percent of the voting shares of any company unless the company is engaged in banking activities or the Federal Reserve determines that the activity is so closely related to banking to be a proper incident to banking.  The Federal Reserve’s approval must be obtained before the shares of any such company can be acquired and, in certain cases, before any approved company can open new offices.
The BHC Act and the Federal Reserve regulations also impose certain constraints on the payment of dividends and the redemption or purchase by a bank holding company of its own shares of stock.
Pursuant to Dodd-Frank, bank holding companies are required to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to their subsidiary banks. As such, the Company is expected to commit resources to support the Bank, including at times when the Company may not be in a financial position to do so. The Company must stand ready to use its available resources to provide adequate capital to the subsidiary bank during periods of financial stress or adversity. The Company must also maintain the financial flexibility and capital raising capacity to obtain additional resources to assist the Bank. The Company’s failure to meet its source of strength obligations may constitute an unsafe and unsound practice or a violation of the applicable regulations or both. The source of strength doctrine most directly affects bank holding companies where a bank holding company’s subsidiary bank fails to maintain adequate capital levels. In such a situation, the subsidiary bank will be required by the bank’s federal regulator to take “prompt corrective action.” Any capital loans by a bank holding company to a subsidiary bank are subordinate in right of payment to deposits and to certain other indebtedness of such bank.
In addition, banking subsidiaries of bank holding companies are subject to certain restrictions imposed by federal law in dealings with their holding companies and other affiliates.  Transactions between affiliates are subject to Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act. Regulation W codifies interpretive guidance with respect to affiliate transactions. Subject to certain exceptions set forth in the Federal Reserve Act and Regulation W, a bank can make a loan or extend credit to an affiliate, purchase or invest in the securities of an affiliate, purchase assets from an affiliate, accept securities of an affiliate as collateral security for a loan or extension of credit to any person or company, issue a guarantee, or accept letters of credit on behalf of an affiliate only if the aggregate amount of the above transactions of such subsidiary does not exceed 10 percent of such subsidiary’s capital stock and surplus on a per affiliate basis or 20 percent of such subsidiary’s capital stock and surplus on an aggregate affiliate basis.  Such transactions must be on terms and conditions that are consistent with safe and sound banking practices and on terms that are not more favorable than those provided to a non-affiliate. A bank and its subsidiaries generally may not purchase a “low-quality asset,” as that term is defined in the Federal Reserve Act, from an affiliate.  Such restrictions also generally prevent a holding company and its other affiliates from borrowing from a banking subsidiary of the holding company unless the loans are secured by collateral.
A holding company and its banking subsidiaries are prohibited from engaging in certain tie-in arrangements in connection with any extension of credit, sale or lease of property or provision of services.  For example, with certain exceptions a bank may not condition an extension of credit on a customer obtaining other services provided by it, a holding company or any of its other bank affiliates, or on a promise by the customer not to obtain other services from a competitor.
The Federal Reserve has cease and desist powers over parent bank holding companies and non-banking subsidiaries where actions of a parent bank holding company or its non-financial institution subsidiaries represent an unsafe or unsound practice or violation of law. 
The Federal Reserve has the authority to regulate debt obligations (other than commercial paper) issued by bank holding companies by imposing interest ceilings and reserve requirements on such debt obligations.
We are also a bank holding company within the meaning of Section 1280 of the California Financial Code.  As such, we and our subsidiaries are subject to examination by the DFPI.
Further, we are required by the Federal Reserve to maintain certain capital levels.  See “Capital Standards.”
 
REGULATION OF THE BANK

Banks are extensively regulated under both federal and state law.  The Bank, as a California state-chartered bank, is subject to primary supervision, regulation and periodic examination by the DFPI and the FDIC.  The Bank is not a member of the Federal Reserve System, but is nevertheless subject to certain Federal Reserve regulations.
If during an examination the FDIC determines 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 its management is violating or has violated any law or regulation, various remedies are available to the FDIC. 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 the growth of the Bank, to assess civil monetary penalties, to remove officers and directors, and ultimately to terminate the Bank’s deposit insurance, which for a California state-chartered bank would result in a revocation of the Bank’s charter. The DFPI has many of the same remedial powers.
The Bank is a member of the FDIC, which currently insures customer deposits in each member bank to a maximum of $250,000 per depositor.  For this protection, the Bank is subject to the rules and regulations of the FDIC, and, as is the case with all insured banks, may be required to pay a semi-annual statutory assessment. All of a depositor’s accounts at an insured
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depository institution, including all non-interest bearing transactions accounts, will be insured by the FDIC up to the standard maximum deposit insurance amount of $250,000 for each deposit insurance ownership category.
Various requirements and restrictions under the laws of the State of California and the United States affect the operations of the Bank. State and federal statutes and regulations relate to many aspects of the Bank’s operations, including standards for safety and soundness, reserves against deposits, interest rates payable on deposits, loans, investments, mergers and acquisitions, borrowings, dividends, locations of branch offices, fair lending requirements, Community Reinvestment Act activities, and loans to affiliates.
Depositor Preference. In the event of the “liquidation or other resolution” of an insured depository institution, the claims of depositors of the institution, including the claims of the FDIC as subrogee of insured depositors, and certain claims for administrative expenses of the FDIC as a receiver, will have priority over other general unsecured claims against the institution. If an insured depository institution fails, insured and uninsured depositors along with the FDIC, will have priority in payment ahead of unsecured, non-deposit creditors including the parent bank holding company with respect to any extensions of credit they have made to such insured depository institution.
Brokered Deposit Restrictions. Well-capitalized institutions are not subject to limitations on brokered deposits, while an adequately capitalized institution is able to accept, renew or roll over brokered deposits only with a waiver from the FDIC and subject to certain restrictions on the yield paid on such deposits. Undercapitalized institutions are generally not permitted to accept, renew, or roll over brokered deposits. The Bank is eligible to accept brokered deposits without limitations.
Loans to Directors, Executive Officers and Principal Shareholders. The authority of the Bank to extend credit to its directors, executive officers and principal shareholders, including their immediate family members and corporations and other entities that they control, is subject to substantial restrictions and requirements under Sections 22(g) and 22(h) of the Federal Reserve Act and Regulation O promulgated thereunder, as well as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. These statutes and regulations impose specific limits on the amount of loans the Bank may make to directors and other insiders, and specified approval procedures must be followed in making loans that exceed certain amounts. In addition, all loans the Bank makes to directors and other insiders must satisfy the following requirements:
the loans must be made on substantially the same terms, including interest rates and collateral, as prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with persons not affiliated with the Bank;
the Bank must follow credit underwriting procedures at least as stringent as those applicable to comparable transactions with persons who are not affiliated with the Bank; and
the loans must not involve a greater than normal risk of non-payment or include other features not favorable to the Bank.
Furthermore, the Bank must periodically report all loans made to directors and other insiders to the bank regulators, and these loans are closely scrutinized by the regulators for compliance with Sections 22(g) and 22(h) of the Federal Reserve Act and Regulation O. Each loan to directors or other insiders must be pre-approved by the Bank’s board of directors with the interested director abstaining from voting.
PAYMENT OF DIVIDENDS AND STOCK REPURCHASES
 
The Company’s shareholders are entitled to receive dividends when and as declared by our Board of Directors, out of funds legally available, subject to the dividends preference, if any, on preferred shares that may be outstanding. The principal source of cash revenue to the Company is dividends received from the Bank.  The Bank’s ability to make dividend payments to the Company is subject to state and federal regulatory restrictions.
The Company’s ability to pay dividends to its shareholders is affected by both general corporate law considerations and the policies of the Federal Reserve applicable to bank holding companies. As a general matter, the Federal Reserve has indicated that the board of directors of a bank holding company should eliminate, defer or significantly reduce dividends to shareholders if: (i) the bank holding company’s net income available to shareholders for the past four quarters, net of dividends previously paid during that period, is not sufficient to fully fund the dividends; or (ii) the prospective rate of earnings retention is inconsistent with the bank holding company’s capital needs and overall current and prospective financial condition. If the Company fails to adhere to these policies, the Federal Reserve could find that the Company is operating in an unsafe and unsound manner. See “Supervision and Regulation-Regulatory Capital Requirements” below.
Subject to exceptions for well-capitalized and well-managed holding companies, Federal Reserve regulations also require approval of holding company purchases and redemptions of its securities if the gross consideration paid exceeds 10 percent of consolidated net worth for any 12-month period. In addition, Federal Reserve policy requires that bank holding companies consult with and inform the Federal Reserve in advance of (i) redeeming or repurchasing capital instruments when experiencing financial weakness and (ii) redeeming or repurchasing common stock and perpetual preferred stock if the result will be a net reduction in the amount of such capital instruments outstanding for the quarter in which the reduction occurs.
As a California corporation, the Company is subject to the limitations of California law, which allows a corporation to distribute cash or property to shareholders, including a dividend or repurchase or redemption of shares, if the corporation meets either a retained earnings test or a “balance sheet” test. Under the retained earnings test, the Company may make a distribution from retained earnings to the extent that its retained earnings exceed the sum of (i) the amount of the distribution plus (ii) the
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amount, if any, of dividends in arrears on shares with preferential dividend rights. The Company may also make a distribution if, immediately after the distribution, the value of its assets equals or exceeds the sum of (a) its total liabilities plus (b) the liquidation preference of any shares which have a preference upon dissolution over the rights of shareholders receiving the distribution. Indebtedness is not considered a liability if the terms of such indebtedness provide that payment of principal and interest thereon are to be made only if, and to the extent that, a distribution to shareholders could be made under the balance sheet test. In addition, the Company may not make distributions if it is, or as a result of the distribution would be, likely to be unable to meet its liabilities (except those whose payment is otherwise adequately provided for) as they mature.
Dividends payable by the Bank to the Company are restricted under California law to the lesser of the Bank’s retained earnings, or the Bank’s net income for the latest three fiscal years, less dividends paid during that period, or, with the approval of the DFPI, to the greater of the retained earnings of the Bank, the net income of the Bank for its last fiscal year or the net income of the Bank for its current fiscal year.
In addition to the regulations concerning minimum uniform capital adequacy requirements described below, the FDIC has established guidelines regarding the maintenance of an adequate allowance for credit losses.  Therefore, the future payment of cash dividends by the Bank will generally depend, in addition to regulatory constraints, upon the Bank’s earnings during any fiscal period, the assessment of the Board of Directors of the capital requirements of the Bank and other factors, including the maintenance of an adequate allowance for credit losses.
 
REGULATORY CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS
 
    The Company and the Bank are subject to the comprehensive capital framework for U.S. banking organizations known as the Basel III Capital Rules adopted by the federal banking agencies. The Basel III Capital Rules are risk-based, meaning that they provide a measure of capital adequacy that reflects the perceived degree of risk associated with a banking organization’s operations, both for transactions reported on the balance sheet as assets and for transactions, such as letters of credit and recourse arrangements, that are recorded as off-balance sheet items.
The Basel III Capital Rules require the Bank to comply with several minimum capital standards. The Bank must maintain a Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 4.0%; a common equity Tier 1, which we refer to as CET1, to risk-weighted assets of 4.5%; a Tier 1 capital (that is, CET1 plus Additional Tier 1 capital) to risk-weighted assets of at least 6.0% and a total capital (that is, Tier 1 capital plus Tier 2 capital) to risk-weighted assets of at least 8.0%. CET1 capital is generally defined as common stockholders’ equity and retained earnings. Tier 1 capital is generally defined as CET1 and Additional Tier 1 capital. Additional Tier 1 capital generally includes certain noncumulative perpetual preferred stock and related surplus and minority interests in equity accounts of consolidated subsidiaries. Total capital includes Tier 1 capital (CET1 capital plus Additional Tier 1 capital) and Tier 2 capital. Tier 2 capital is comprised of capital instruments and related surplus meeting specified requirements, and may include cumulative preferred stock and long-term perpetual preferred stock, mandatory convertible securities, intermediate preferred stock and subordinated debt. Also included in Tier 2 capital is the allowance for loan loss limited to a maximum of 1.25% of risk-weighted assets. We exercised the opt-out election regarding the treatment of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (“AOCI”) in part to avoid significant variations in our capital levels resulting from changes in the fair value of our available-for-sale investment securities portfolio as interest rates fluctuate. Institutions that have not exercised the AOCI opt-out have AOCI incorporated into CET1 capital (including unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale-securities). The calculation of all types of regulatory capital is subject to deductions and adjustments specified in the regulations.
The Basel III Capital Rules provide for a number of deductions from and adjustments to CET1. These include, for example, the requirement that (i) mortgage servicing rights, (ii) deferred tax assets arising from temporary differences that could not be realized through net operating loss carrybacks, and (iii) 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 items, in the aggregate, exceed 15% of CET1. Implementation of the deductions and other adjustments to CET1 began on January 1, 2015 and was phased-in over a four-year period (beginning at 40% on January 1, 2015 and an additional 20% per year thereafter).
In addition to establishing the minimum regulatory capital requirements, the Basel III Capital Rules limit capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments to management if an institution does not hold a “capital conservation buffer” consisting of an additional 2.5% of CET1, on top of the minimum risk-weighted asset ratios. The capital conservation buffer is designed to absorb losses during periods of economic stress. As of January 1, 2019, the capital conservation buffer requirement is at its fully phased-in level of 2.5%.
On Aug. 28, 2018, the Federal Reserve issued an interim final rule, “Small Bank Holding Company and Savings and Loan Holding Company Policy Statement and Related Regulations; Changes to Reporting Requirements,” as required by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (“EGRRCPA”). The rule expands the applicability of its small-bank holding company policy statement from $1 billion to $3 billion total consolidated assets. The policy statement exempts holding companies with total consolidated assets of less than $3 billion that meet certain qualitative requirements from consolidated capital requirements.
In 2020, banking organizations were required to maintain a CET1 capital ratio of at least 6.375%, a Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 7.875%, and a total capital ratio of at least 9.875% to avoid limitations on capital distributions and certain discretionary incentive compensation payments. As phased-in on January 1, 2019, the Bank is required to meet a minimum
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Tier 1 leverage ratio of 4.0%, a minimum CET1 to risk-weighted assets of 4.5% (7% with the capital conservation buffer), a Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets of 6.0% (8.5% including the capital conservation buffer) and a minimum total capital to risk-weighted assets of 8.0% (10.5% including the capital conservation buffer).
In determining the amount of risk-weighted assets for purposes of calculating risk-based capital ratios, a bank’s assets, including certain off-balance sheet assets (e.g., recourse obligations, direct credit substitutes, residual interests), are multiplied by a risk weight factor assigned by the regulations based on perceived risks inherent in the type of asset. As a result, higher levels of capital are required for asset categories believed to present greater risk. For example, a risk weight of 0% is assigned to cash and U.S. government securities, a risk weight of 50% is generally assigned to prudently underwritten first lien 1-4 family residential mortgages, a risk weight of 100% is assigned to commercial and consumer loans, a risk weight of 150% is assigned to certain past due loans and a risk weight of between 0% to 600% is assigned to permissible equity interests, depending on certain specified factors. The Basel III Capital Rules increased the risk weights for a variety of asset classes, including certain commercial real estate mortgages. Additional aspects of the Basel III Capital Rules’ risk weighting requirements that are relevant to the Bank include:
assigning exposures secured by single-family residential properties to either a 50% risk weight for first-lien mortgages that meet prudent underwriting standards or a 100% risk weight category for all other mortgages;
providing for a 20% credit conversion factor for the unused portion of a commitment with an original maturity of one year or less that is not unconditionally cancellable (increased from 0% under the previous risk-based capital rules);
assigning a 150% risk weight to all exposures that are nonaccrual or 90 days or more past due (increased from 100% under the previous risk-based capital rules), except for those secured by single-family residential properties, which will be assigned a 100% risk weight, consistent with the Basel I risk-based capital rules;
applying a 150% risk weight instead of a 100% risk weight for certain high volatility CRE acquisition, development and construction loans; and
applying a 250% risk weight to the portion of mortgage servicing rights and deferred tax assets arising from temporary differences that could not be realized through net operating loss carrybacks that are not deducted from CET1 capital (increased from 100% under the previous Basel I risk-based capital rules).
As of December 31, 2020, the Bank’s capital ratios exceeded the minimum capital adequacy guideline percentage requirements of the federal banking agencies for “well capitalized” institutions under the Basel III Capital Rules on a fully phased-in basis.
On September 17, 2019, the federal bank regulatory agencies adopted a final rule implementing Section 201 of the EGRRCPA that provides for an optional simplified measure of capital adequacy. The final rule provides certain community banking organizations the ability to opt into a new community bank leverage ratio (“CBLR”) intended to simplify regulatory capital requirements. Starting on January 1, 2020, community banking organizations with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets may elect the new community banking leverage framework if they have a CBLR of greater than 8% in 2020, 8.5% in 2021, and 9% beginning on January 1, 2022, and hold 25 percent or less of assets in off-balance sheet exposures and 5 percent or less of assets in trading assets and liabilities. The CBLR is determined by dividing a banking organization’s tangible equity capital by its average total consolidated assets. Upon opt into the community banking leverage framework, a qualifying community banking organization would not be subject to other risk-based and capital leverage requirements (including the Basel III and Basel IV requirements) and would be considered to have met the well capitalized ratio requirements. Opting into the community banking leverage framework could ease the process of determining the Company and the Bank’s capital requirements. The Company has chosen not to opt in.

BANK SECRECY ACT/ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS
 
We are subject to federal laws aiming to counter money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as transactions with persons, companies and foreign governments sanctioned by the United States. These laws include, among others, the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), and the Money Laundering Act. Financial institutions are subject to prohibitions against specified financial transactions and account relationships as well as enhanced due diligence and identifying customers when establishing new relationships and standards in their dealings with high risk customers, foreign financial institutions, and foreign individuals and entities. The Customer Due Diligence final rule, which became effective in 2018, clarified and strengthened customer due diligence requirements for U.S. financial institutions, aiming to improve financial transparency and prevent criminals and terrorists from misusing companies to disguise their illicit activities and launder their ill-gotten gains. The Bank has extensive controls in place to comply with these requirements.

OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) is a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the U.S. Treasury Department. It administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes. The OFAC regulations require financial institutions to block or reject payments, transfers, withdrawals or other dealings with respect to accounts and assets of countries that are identified by
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the president as being a threat to national security. This may also include dealings with accounts and assets of nationals of a sanctioned country and with other specially designated individuals (such as designated narcotics traffickers). Financial institutions are also required to report all blocked transactions to OFAC within 10 business days of the occurrence. The Bank has extensive controls in place to comply with these requirements.

PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY

The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act of 1999 (“GLBA”) imposes requirements on financial institutions with respect to consumer privacy and disclosure of non-public personal information. The GLBA generally prohibits disclosure of consumer information to most nonaffiliated third parties unless the consumer has been given the opportunity to object and has not objected to such disclosure. In addition, the California Financial Information Privacy Act (“CFIPA”) also requires a financial institution to provide specific information to a consumer related to the sharing of that consumer’s nonpublic personal information.  The CFIPA allows a consumer to direct the financial institution not to share his or her nonpublic personal information with affiliated or nonaffiliated companies with which a financial institution has contracted to provide financial products and services, and requires that permission from each such consumer be acquired by a financial institution prior to sharing such information. Financial institutions are required to implement policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of nonpublic personal information about consumers to non-affiliated third parties. In general, financial institutions must provide explanations to consumers on policies and procedures regarding the disclosure of such nonpublic personal information and, except as otherwise required by law, prohibits disclosing such information. Similar to the CFIPA, the State of California recently enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) which gives consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them. The CCPA includes new privacy rights including the right to know about the personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared; the right to delete personal information collected from them (with some exceptions); the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information; and the right to non-discrimination for exercising their CCPA rights. Businesses (including Financial Institutions) are required to give consumers certain notices explaining their privacy rights. The Bank has implemented privacy policies addressing these restrictions which are distributed regularly to all existing and new customers of the Bank.
The federal bank regulatory agencies have adopted guidelines for safeguarding confidential, personal customer information. These guidelines require financial institutions to create, implement and maintain a comprehensive written information security program designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer information, protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information and protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer. The Bank has adopted a customer information security program to comply with such requirements.
State regulators have also been increasingly active in implementing privacy and cybersecurity standards and regulations. Recently, several states, including California where we conduct substantially all our banking business, have adopted laws and/or regulations requiring certain financial institutions to implement cybersecurity programs and providing detailed requirements with respect to these programs, including data encryption requirements. Many such states (including California) have also recently implemented or modified their data breach notification and data privacy requirements. We continue to monitor relevant legislative and regulatory developments in California where nearly all our customers are located and evaluate their impact on the Bank.
In the ordinary course of business, we rely on electronic communications and information systems to conduct our operations and to store sensitive data. We employ a variety of preventative and detective tools to monitor, block, and provide alerts regarding suspicious activity, as well as to report on any suspected advanced persistent threats. Risks and exposures related to cybersecurity attacks are expected to remain high for the foreseeable future due to the rapidly evolving nature and sophistication of these threats, as well as due to the expanding use of Internet banking, mobile banking and other technology-based products and services by us and our customers.

COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT

The Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) is intended to encourage insured depository institutions, while operating safely and soundly, to help meet the credit needs of their communities. The CRA specifically directs the federal bank regulatory agencies, in examining insured depository institutions, to assess their record of helping to meet the credit needs of their entire community, including low-and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound banking practices. The CRA further requires the agencies to take a financial institution’s record of meeting its community credit needs into account when evaluating applications for, among other things, domestic branches, consummating mergers or acquisitions or holding company formations. The federal banking agencies have adopted regulations which measure a bank’s compliance with its CRA obligations on a performance based evaluation system. This system bases CRA ratings on an institution’s actual lending service and investment performance rather than the extent to which the institution conducts needs assessments, documents community outreach or complies with other procedural requirements. The ratings range from “outstanding” to a low of “substantial noncompliance.” The Bank had a CRA rating of “satisfactory” as of its most recent regulatory examination.
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The federal banking agencies have expressed support for modernizing the CRA regulatory framework. In December 2019, the FDIC and the OCC issued a joint proposed rule that would amend the CRA regulations. The proposed rule sought to clarify what qualifies for credit under the CRA, update the definition of a small business loan and create an additional definition of “assessment area” tied to where deposits are located, partly to address changes that have occurred due to the rise in digital banking, ensuring that banks continue to serve low- and moderate-income customers in their communities. It is unclear at this time whether and to what extent any changes will be made to the applicable CRA requirements.

CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS AND REGULATIONS
 
The bank regulatory agencies are focusing greater attention on compliance with consumer protection laws and their implementing regulations.  Examination and enforcement have become more intense in nature, and insured institutions have been advised to monitor carefully compliance with such laws and regulations.  The Bank is subject to many federal consumer protection statutes and regulations, some of which are discussed below.
The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) generally prohibits discrimination in any credit transaction, whether for consumer or business purposes, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, receipt of income from public assistance programs, or good faith exercise of any rights under the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is designed to ensure that credit terms are disclosed in a meaningful way so that consumers may compare credit terms more readily and knowledgeably.  As a result of TILA, all creditors must use the same credit terminology to express rates and payments, including the annual percentage rate, the finance charge, the amount financed, the total of payments and the payment schedule, among other things.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) regulates many practices, including making it unlawful for any lender to discriminate in its housing-related lending activities against any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status.  A number of lending practices have been found by the courts to be, or may be considered, illegal under the FHA, including some that are not specifically mentioned in the FHA itself.
The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) grew out of public concern over credit shortages in certain urban neighborhoods. It seeks to provide public information showing whether financial institutions are serving the housing credit needs of the neighborhoods and communities in which they are located.  HMDA also includes a “fair lending” aspect that requires the collection and disclosure of data about applicant and borrower characteristics as a way of identifying possible discriminatory lending patterns and enforcing anti-discrimination statutes.
Finally, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires lenders to provide borrowers with disclosures regarding the nature and cost of real estate settlements.  RESPA also prohibits certain abusive practices, such as kickbacks, and places limitations on the amount of escrow accounts.  Penalties under the above laws may include fines, reimbursements and other civil money penalties.
Due to heightened regulatory concern related to compliance with the consumer protection laws, the Bank may incur additional compliance costs or be required to expend additional funds for investments in its local community.

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU

Dodd-Frank created a new, independent federal agency, the CFPB, which was granted broad rulemaking, supervisory and enforcement powers under various federal consumer financial protection laws. The CFPB is also authorized to engage in consumer financial education, track consumer complaints, request data and promote the availability of financial services to underserved consumers and communities. Although all institutions are subject to rules adopted by the CFPB and examination by the CFPB in conjunction with examinations by the institution’s primary federal regulator, the CFPB has primary examination and enforcement authority over institutions with assets of $10 billion or more. The FDIC has primary responsibility for examination of the Bank and enforcement with respect to federal consumer protection laws so long as the Bank has total consolidated assets of less than $10 billion, and state authorities are responsible for monitoring our compliance with all state consumer laws. The CFPB also has the authority to require reports from institutions with less than $10 billion in assets, such as the Bank, to support the CFPB in implementing federal consumer protection laws, supporting examination activities, and assessing and detecting risks to consumers and financial markets.
The consumer protection provisions of Dodd-Frank and the examination, supervision and enforcement of those laws and implementing regulations by the CFPB have created a more intense and complex environment for consumer finance regulation. The CFPB has significant authority to implement and enforce federal consumer finance laws, as well as the authority to identify and prohibit unfair, deceptive or abusive acts and practices. The review of products and practices to prevent such acts and practices is a continuing focus of the CFPB, and of banking regulators more broadly. The ultimate impact of this heightened scrutiny is uncertain but could result in changes to pricing, practices, products and procedures. It could also result in increased costs related to regulatory oversight, supervision and examination, additional remediation efforts and possible penalties. In addition, Dodd-Frank provides the CFPB with broad supervisory, examination and enforcement authority over various consumer financial products and services, including the ability to require reimbursements and other payments to customers for alleged legal violations and to impose significant penalties, as well as injunctive relief that prohibits
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lenders from engaging in allegedly unlawful practices. The CFPB also has the authority to obtain cease and desist orders providing for affirmative relief or monetary penalties. Dodd-Frank does not prevent states from adopting stricter consumer protection standards. State regulation of financial products and potential enforcement actions could also adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Under the newly adopted California legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2021, the DFPI was given broad jurisdiction and sweeping new authorities that closely resemble those of the CFPB. The DFPI stated that it intends to exercise its powers to protect consumers from unlawful, unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in connection with consumer financial products or services. The DFPI also as a matter of state law can now enforce the Dodd-Frank Act’s UDAAP provisions against any person offering or providing consumer financial products in the state of California. Going forward, financial institutions in California are likely to be faced with a powerful state financial services regulatory regime with expansive enforcement authority, and it is unclear how the DFPI and its enforcement activities will affect the Bank in the future.

DEPOSIT INSURANCE

The FDIC is an independent federal agency that insures deposits up to prescribed statutory limits of federally insured banks and savings institutions and safeguards the safety and soundness of the banking and savings industries. The FDIC insures the Bank’s customer deposits through the Deposit Insurance Fund (the “DIF”) up to prescribed limits for each depositor. Pursuant to Dodd-Frank, the maximum deposit insurance amount was increased to $250,000. The amount of FDIC assessments paid by each DIF member institution is based on its relative risk of default as measured by regulatory capital ratios and other supervisory factors.
The Bank is subject to deposit insurance assessments to maintain the DIF. Dodd-Frank increased the minimum designated reserve ratio of the DIF to 1.35% of the estimated amount of total insured deposits as of September 30, 2020, and eliminated the requirement that the FDIC pay dividends to depository institutions when the reserve ratio exceeds certain thresholds. At least semi-annually, the FDIC updates its loss and income projections for the DIF and, if needed, may increase or decrease the assessment rates, following notice and comment on proposed rulemaking.
We are generally unable to control the amount of premiums that we are required to pay for FDIC insurance. If there are additional bank or financial institution failures or if the FDIC otherwise determines, we may be required to pay even higher FDIC premiums than the recently increased levels. These announced increases and any future increases in FDIC insurance premiums may have a material and adverse effect on our earnings and could have a material adverse effect on the value of or market for our common stock.
The FDIC may terminate a depository institution’s deposit insurance upon a finding that the institution’s financial condition is unsafe or unsound or that the institution has engaged in unsafe or unsound practices that pose a risk to the DIF or that may prejudice the interest of the bank’s depositors. The termination of deposit insurance for a bank would also result in the revocation of the bank’s charter by the DFPI.
OTHER PENDING AND PROPOSED LEGISLATION
 
Other legislative and regulatory initiatives which could affect the Company and the Bank and the banking industry in general may be proposed or introduced before the United States Congress, the California legislature and other governmental bodies in the future. Such proposals, if enacted, may further alter the structure, regulation and competitive relationship among financial institutions, and may subject the Company or the Bank to increased regulation, disclosure and reporting requirements. In addition, the various banking regulatory agencies often adopt new rules and regulations to implement and enforce existing legislation. It cannot be predicted whether, or in what form, any such legislation or regulations may be enacted or the extent to which the business of the Company or the Bank would be affected thereby.
    Many aspects of Dodd-Frank are subject to continued rulemaking and will take effect over several years, making it difficult to anticipate the overall financial impact on us. Although the reforms primarily target systemically important financial service providers, Dodd-Frank’s influence has and is expected to continue to filter down in varying degrees to smaller institutions over time. In addition, some of the recent financial laws and regulations aiming to ease regulatory and compliance burden on financial institutions that were adopted during the last presidential administration could be rolled back in the near future. We will continue to evaluate the effect of Dodd-Frank, as it may be amended from time to time, and other pending and proposed legislation. The impact of any future legislative or regulatory changes cannot be predicted, but they could affect the Company and the Bank, and no current assurance may be given that they will not have a negative impact on the results of operations and financial condition of the Company and the Bank.

Human Capital Resources
 
Our success as a financial institution in our market areas is dependent on a workforce that embrace and are dedicated to our mission and culture. Our culture is grounded in a set of core values –teamwork, respect, accountability, integrity and leadership. In order to continue to deliver on our mission and maintain our culture, it is crucial that we attract and retain talent who desire and have the experience to provide creative and innovative financial solutions and options for the diverse
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communities we serve. Through our hiring and retention programs we aim to create an inclusive workforce with diversified backgrounds and experiences. We strive to maintain an inclusive, safe and healthy workplace, with opportunities for our employees to grow and develop in their careers, supported by advantageous compensation, benefits, health, and welfare programs.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 287 total employees, which included 275 full-time employees and 12 part-time employees. As a financial institution, approximately 62% of our employees are employed at our banking center and loan production offices, and another 38% are employed at our Headquarters. We believe our relationship with our employees to be generally good. None of these employees are represented by a collective bargaining agreement.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately 74% of our current workforce is female, 26% male, and our average tenure is six years, no change from the average tenure of six years as of December 31, 2019.
As part of our compensation philosophy, we offer market competitive total rewards programs for our employees in order to attract and retain superior talent. These programs, include annual bonus opportunities, an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, a matched 401(k) Plan, healthcare and insurance benefits, health savings and flexible spending accounts, paid time off, family leave, family care resources, flexible work schedules, adoption assistance, education reimbursement program, and employee assistance programs.
We encourage and support the growth and development of our associates and, wherever possible, seek to fill positions by promotion and transfer from within the organization. Additionally, all our employees are expected to display and encourage honest, ethical, and respectful conduct in the workplace. Our employees must adhere to our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics that sets standards for appropriate behavior and includes periodic training on preventing, identifying, reporting, and stopping discrimination of any kind.
The success of our business is fundamentally connected to the well-being of our people. Accordingly, we are committed to the health, safety and wellness of our employees. During 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented safety protocols and procedures to protect our employees, customers, homeowners and trade partners. These procedures include complying with social distancing and other health and safety standards as required by federal, state, and local government agencies. Additionally, we modified the way in which we conduct many aspects of our business to reduce the amount of in-person contact and interactions. We significantly expanded the use of virtual interactions in all aspects of our business, including customer facing activities. Our teams across all facets of the Company were able and continue to adapt to these changes in our work environment and have successfully managed our business during the pandemic.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
 
Copies of the annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 may be obtained without charge upon written request to David A. Kinross, Chief Financial Officer, at the Company’s administrative offices,  7100 N. Financial Dr., Suite 101, Fresno, CA  93720. The Form 10-K is available on our website: www.cvcb.com.
Inquiries regarding Central Valley Community Bancorp’s accounting, internal controls or auditing concerns should be directed to Steven D. McDonald, chairman of the Board of Directors’ Audit Committee, at steve.mcdonald@cvcb.com or anonymously at www.ethicspoint.com or EthicsPoint, Inc. at 1-866-294-9588.
General inquiries about Central Valley Community Bancorp or Central Valley Community Bank should be directed to LeAnn Ruiz, Assistant Corporate Secretary at 1-800-298-1775.
 
ITEM 1A -RISK FACTORS
 
An investment in our common stock is subject to risks inherent to our business.  The material risks and uncertainties that management believes may affect our business are described below.  Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below together with all of the other information included or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report.  The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing our business.  Additional risks and uncertainties that management is not aware of or focused on or that management currently deems immaterial may also impair our business operations.  This Annual Report is qualified in its entirety by these risk factors.
 
General Business and Industry Risks
 
Worsening economic conditions could adversely affect our business.

The Bank conducts banking operation principally in California’s Central Valley. The Central Valley is largely dependent on agriculture. The agricultural economy in the Central Valley is therefore important to our financial performance, results of operations and cash flows. We are also dependent in a large part upon the business activity, population growth, income levels and real estate activity in this market area. A downturn in agriculture and the agricultural related businesses could have a material adverse effect our business, results of operations and financial condition. The agricultural industry has been affected by declines in prices and changes in yields of various crops and other agricultural commodities. Weaker prices
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could reduce the cash flows generated by farms and the value of agricultural land in our local markets and thereby increase the risk of default by our borrowers or reduce the foreclosure value of agricultural land and equipment that serve as collateral of our loans. Moreover, weaker prices might threaten farming operations in the Central Valley, reducing market demand for agricultural lending. In particular, farm income has seen recent declines, and in line with the downturn in farm income, farmland prices are coming under pressure.

Risks relating to the impact of COVID-19 could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a material impact on businesses around the world and the economic environments in which they operate. In March 2020, the United States declared a federal state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to spread throughout the United States. The outbreak of this virus has disrupted global financial markets and negatively affected supply and demand across a broad range of industries. There are a number of factors associated with the outbreak and its impact on global economies including the United States that have had and could continue to have a material adverse effect on (among other things) the profitability, capital and liquidity of financial institutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to our customers, vendors and employees. California where we primarily operate has implemented restrictions on the movement of its citizens, with a resultant significant impact on economic activity in the state. The pandemic has resulted in temporary closures of many businesses and the institution of social distancing and sheltering in place requirements in California, including our primary market area. As a result, the demand for our products and services has been and may continue to be significantly impacted. The circumstances around this pandemic are evolving rapidly and will continue to impact our business in future periods. In the United States, the federal government has taken action to provide financial support to parts of the economy most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The details of how these actions will impact our customers and therefore the impact on the Company remains uncertain at this stage. The actions taken by the U.S. Government and the Federal Reserve may indicate a view on the potential severity of a downturn and post recovery environment, which from a commercial, regulatory and risk perspective could be significantly different to past crises and persist for a prolonged period. The pandemic has led to a weakening in gross domestic product and employment in the United States.
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, or results of operations:
demand for our products and services may decline, making it difficult to grow assets and income;
if the economy is unable to substantially reopen, 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 credit losses on loans may have to be increased if borrowers experience financial difficulties beyond forbearance periods, 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 Board’s target federal funds rate, the yield on our assets may decline to a greater extent than the decline in our cost of interest-bearing liabilities, reducing our net interest margin and spread and reducing net income;
a material decrease in net income or a net loss over several quarters could result in a decrease in the rate of our quarterly cash dividend;
a prolonged weakness in economic conditions resulting in a reduction of future projected earnings could result in our recording a valuation allowance against our current outstanding deferred tax assets;
the goodwill we recorded in connection with business acquisitions could become impaired and require charges to earnings;
we rely on third party vendors for certain services and the unavailability of a critical service due to the COVID-19 outbreak could have an adverse effect on us; and
FDIC premiums may increase if the agency experiences additional resolution costs.

Our future success and profitability substantially depends on the management skills of our executive officers and directors, many of whom have held officer and director positions with us for many years. The unanticipated loss or unavailability of key employees due to the outbreak could harm our ability to operate our business or execute our business strategy. We may not be successful in finding and integrating suitable successors in the event of key employee loss or unavailability.
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Furthermore, if the U.S. economy experiences a recession as a result of the pandemic, our business could be materially and adversely affected. To the extent the pandemic adversely affects our business, financial condition, or results of operations, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this report. The extent of such impact will depend on the outcome of certain developments, including but not limited to, the duration and spread of the pandemic as well as its continuing impact on our customers, vendors and employees, all of which are uncertain.

As a participating lender in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), we are subject to additional risks of litigation from our customers or other parties regarding our processing of loans for the PPP and risks that the SBA may not fund some or all PPP loan guaranties.

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), which included a loan program administered through the SBA referred to as the PPP. Under the PPP, starting on April 3, 2020, small businesses and other entities and individuals can apply for loans from existing SBA lenders and other approved regulated lenders that enroll in the program, subject to numerous limitations and eligibility criteria. We are participating as a lender in the PPP.
Because of the short timeframe between the passing of the CARES Act and the opening of the PPP, there was some ambiguity in the laws, rules and guidance regarding the operation of the PPP. We may be exposed to the risk of litigation from both customers and non-customers that approached us regarding PPP loans regarding our process and procedures used in processing applications for the PPP, or litigation from agents with respect to agent fees. If any such litigation is filed against us and is not resolved in a manner favorable to the Company or the Bank, it may result in significant financial liability or adversely affect the Company’s reputation. In addition, litigation can be costly, regardless of outcome. Any financial liability, litigation costs or reputational damage caused by PPP related litigation could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We also have credit risk on PPP loans if a determination is made by the SBA that there is a deficiency in the manner in which the loan was originated, funded, or serviced by us, such as an issue with the eligibility of a borrower to receive a PPP loan, which may or may not be related to the ambiguity in the laws, rules and guidance regarding the operation of the PPP. In the event of a loss resulting from a default on a PPP loan and a determination by the SBA that there was a deficiency in the manner in which the PPP loan was originated, funded, or serviced by us, the SBA may deny its liability under the guaranty, reduce the amount of the guaranty, or, if it has already paid under the guaranty, seek recovery of any loss related to the deficiency from us.

Governmental monetary policies and intervention to stabilize the U.S. financial system may affect our business and are beyond our control.

The business of banking is affected significantly by the fiscal and monetary policies of the Federal government and its agencies. Such policies are beyond our control. We are particularly affected by the policies established by the Federal Reserve Board in relation to the supply of money and credit in the United States. The instruments of monetary policy available to the Federal Reserve Board can be used in varying degrees and combinations to directly affect the availability of bank loans and deposits, as well as the interest rates charged on loans and paid on deposits, and this can and does have a material effect on our business.
 
Liquidity risks could affect operations and jeopardize our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Liquidity is essential to our business. An inability to raise funds through deposits, borrowings, the sale of loans and/or investment securities and from other sources could have a substantial negative effect on our liquidity. Our most important source of funds consists of our customer deposits. Such deposit balances can decrease when customers perceive alternative investments, such as the stock market, as providing a better risk/return tradeoff. If customers move money out of bank deposits and into other investments, we could lose a relatively low cost source of funds, which would require us to seek wholesale funding alternatives in order to continue to grow, thereby increasing our funding costs and reducing our net interest income and net income. We also rely on alternative funding sources including unsecured borrowing lines with correspondent banks, secured borrowing lines with the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and public time certificates of deposits.  Our ability to access these sources could be impaired by deterioration in our financial condition as well as factors that are not specific to us, such as a disruption in the financial markets or negative views and expectations for the financial services industry or serious dislocation in the general credit markets.  In the event such a disruption should occur, our ability to access these sources could be adversely affected, both as to price and availability, which would limit or potentially raise the cost of the funds available to us. Any decline in available funding could adversely impact our ability to continue to implement our strategic plan, including our ability to originate loans, invest in securities, meet our expenses, or to fulfill obligations such as repaying our borrowings or meeting deposit withdrawal demands, any of which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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Fluctuations in interest rates could reduce our profitability.

We realize income primarily from the difference between interest earned on loans and securities and the interest paid on 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 event, if market interest rates should move contrary to our position, this “gap” will work against us, and our earnings may be negatively affected. We are unable to predict fluctuations of market interest rates, which are affected by the following factors outside our control.
Our asset/liability management strategy is designed to address the risk from changes in market interest rates and the shape of the yield curve. However, this strategy may not prevent changes in interest rates from having a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Additionally, increasing levels of competition in the banking and financial services business may decrease our net interest spread as well as net interest margin by forcing us to offer lower lending interest rates and pay higher deposit interest rates. Significant fluctuations in interest rates (such as a sudden and substantial increase in Overnight Fed Funds rates) as well as increasing competition may require us to increase rates on deposits at a faster pace than the yield we receive on interest earning assets increases.
When interest rates decline, borrowers tend to refinance higher, fixed-rate loans to lower rates, prepaying their existing loans. Under those circumstances we would not be able to reinvest those prepayments in assets earning interest rates as high as the rates on the prepaid loans. In addition, our commercial real estate and commercial loans, which carry interest rates that, in general, adjust in accordance with changes in the market rates, will adjust to lower rates. We are also significantly affected by the level of loan demand available in our market. Lower loan demand will generally result in lower interest income realized as we place funds in lower yielding investments. The impact of any sudden and substantial move in interest rates and/or increased competition may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operation.

Reforms to and uncertainty regarding LIBOR may adversely affect our business.

On July 27, 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced that it will no longer compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR in the future. Until recently, it was generally expected that LIBOR would be discontinued on December 31, 2021. However, in November 2020, the ICE Benchmark Administrator (“IBA”), which publishes the LIBOR rates and is regulated by the FCA, announced that it would initiate a consultation that would end 1-week and 2-month LIBOR by December 31, 2021 and continue to publish all other LIBOR rates through June 30, 2023. The consultation period ended on January 25, 2021 and the IBA and FCA are discussing the results now. While the 18-month extension of certain LIBOR rates is generally expected to be implemented, the FCA has not yet issued a final decision on the matter. As such, the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank's Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”) continues to urge parties to implement the preferred alternative to LIBOR, which is SOFR, in all new contracts and use the potential 18-month extension to allow time for existing agreements that use LIBOR to either expire or be re-negotiated. ARRC selected SOFR in June 2017 as the preferred alternative rate to LIBOR. SOFR differs from LIBOR in two respects: SOFR is a single overnight rate, while LIBOR includes rates of several tenors; and SOFR is deemed a credit risk-free rate while LIBOR incorporates an evaluation of credit risk. The ARRC and other entities intend for the transition to be economically neutral. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has proposed a methodology for generating SOFRs of three different tenors and an index is currently published with daily, 30, 90 and 180 day SOFR tenors. The ARRC has developed a methodology for adjusting SOFR to reflect the risk considerations that underlie LIBOR. On July 12, 2019, the SEC issued a statement on LIBOR transition, indicating the significant impact that the discontinuation of LIBOR could have on financial markets and market participants. Since the volume of our products that are indexed to LIBOR is not significant, the transition, if not sufficiently planned for and managed by our cross-functional teams, is not expected to adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. Although implementation of the SOFR benchmark is intended to have minimal economic effect on the parties to a LIBOR-based contract, the transition from LIBOR to a new benchmark rate could result in significant operational, systems, increased compliance, legal and operational costs. This transition may also result in our customers challenging the determination of their interest payments or entering into fewer transactions or postponing their financing needs, which could reduce the Company’s revenue and adversely impact our business. In addition, the uncertainty regarding the future of LIBOR as well as the transition from LIBOR to another benchmark rate or rates could have adverse impacts on floating-rate obligations, loans, deposits, derivatives, and other financial instruments that currently use LIBOR as a benchmark rate and, ultimately, adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.

The effects of changes to FDIC insurance coverage limits are uncertain and increased premiums may adversely affect us.

The Bank’s deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to applicable legal limits. All of a depositors’ accounts at an insured depository institution, including all non-interest bearing transactions accounts, will be insured by the FDIC up to the standard maximum deposit insurance amount of ($250,000) for each deposit insurance
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ownership category. Increases in FDIC insurance premiums will add to our cost of operations and could have a significant impact on the Bank. Depending on any future losses that the FDIC insurance fund may suffer due to failed institutions, there can be no assurance that there will not be additional significant premium increases in order to replenish the fund.

Competition with other financial institutions could adversely affect our profitability.

We face vigorous competition from banks and other financial institutions, including finance companies and credit unions. A number of these banks and other financial institutions have substantially greater resources and lending limits, larger branch systems and a wider array of banking services. To a limited extent, we also compete with other providers of financial services, such as money market mutual funds, brokerage firms, consumer finance companies, insurance companies, and fintech companies. This competition may reduce or limit our margins on banking services, reduce our market share and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. Additionally, we face competition primarily from other banks in attracting, developing and retaining qualified banking professionals.
Whenever new banks open in our service areas, we see price competition from these new banks, as they work to establish their markets. The existence of competitors, large and small, is a normal and expected part of our operations, but in responding to the particular short-term impact on business of new entrants to the marketplace, we could see a negative impact on revenue and income. Moreover, these near term impacts could be accentuated by the seasonal impact on revenue and income generated by the borrowing and deposit habits of the agricultural community that comprises a significant component of our customer base.

The current expected credit loss standard established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board will require significant data requirements and changes to methodologies.

In the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, decided to review how banks estimate losses in the allowance for credit loss calculation, and it issued the final Current Expected Credit Loss, or CECL, standard on June 16, 2016. Currently, the impairment model used by financial institutions is based on incurred losses, and loans are recognized as impaired when there is no longer an assumption that future cash flows will be collected in full under the originally contracted terms. This model will be replaced by the CECL model that will become effective for the Bank for the fiscal year beginning after December 15, 2022 in which financial institutions will be required to use historical information, current conditions, and reasonable forecasts to estimate the expected loss over the life of the loan. Management established a task force to begin the implementation process. The transition to the CECL model will require significantly greater data requirements and changes to methodologies to accurately account for expected losses. The Bank will likely be required to increase its allowance for credit losses as a result of the implementation of CECL. An increase in the allowance would increase the provision for credit losses, decreasing net income and retained earnings.

We may incur losses as a result of unforeseen or catastrophic events, including the emergence of a pandemic, terrorist attacks, extreme weather events or other natural disasters.

The occurrence of unforeseen or catastrophic events, including the emergence of a pandemic, or other widespread health emergency (or concerns over the possibility of such an emergency), terrorist attacks, extreme terrestrial or solar weather events or other natural disasters, could create economic and financial disruptions, and could lead to operational difficulties (including travel limitations) that could impair our ability to manage our businesses.

Risks Related to our Lending Activities

Agribusiness lending presents unique credit risks.

As of December 31, 2020, approximately 2.0% of our total gross loan portfolio was comprised of agribusiness loans. Repayment of agribusiness loans depends primarily on the successful planting and harvest of crops and marketing the harvested commodity or raising and feeding of livestock (including milk production). Collateral securing these loans may be illiquid. In addition, the limited purpose of some agricultural-related collateral affects credit risk because such collateral may have limited or no other uses to support values when loan repayment problems emerge. Many external factors can impact our agricultural borrowers’ ability to repay their loans, including adverse weather conditions, water issues, commodity price volatility, diseases, land values, production costs, changing government regulations and subsidy programs, changing tax treatment, technological changes, labor market shortages/increased wages, and changes in consumers’ preferences, over which our borrowers may have no control. These factors, as well as recent volatility in certain commodity prices, could adversely impact the ability of those to whom we have made agribusiness loans to perform under the terms of their borrowing arrangements with us, which in turn could result in credit losses and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Because a significant portion of our loan portfolio 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.

At December 31, 2020, $772 million, or 69.8% of our total loan and lease portfolio, consisted of real estate related loans. The real estate securing our loan portfolio is concentrated in California. The market value of real estate can fluctuate significantly in a short period of time as a result of market conditions in the geographic area in which the real estate is located. Real estate values and real estate markets are generally affected by changes in national, regional or local economic conditions, the rate of unemployment, fluctuations in interest rates and the availability of loans to potential purchasers, changes in tax laws and other governmental statutes, regulations and policies and acts of nature, such as earthquakes and natural disasters. Adverse changes affecting real estate values and the liquidity of real estate in one or more of our markets could increase the credit risk associated with our loan portfolio, 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, which could result in losses that would adversely affect profitability. Such declines and losses would have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if hazardous or toxic substances are found on properties pledged as collateral, the value of the real estate could be impaired.

Small Business Administration lending is an important part of our business. Our SBA lending program is dependent upon the U.S. federal government, and we face specific risks associated with originating SBA loans.

Our SBA lending program is dependent upon the U.S. federal government. As an approved participant in the SBA Preferred Lender’s Program (an “SBA Preferred Lender”), we enable our clients to obtain SBA loans without being subject to the potentially lengthy SBA approval process necessary for lenders that are not SBA Preferred Lenders. The SBA periodically reviews the lending operations of participating lenders to assess, among other things, whether the lender exhibits prudent risk management. When weaknesses are identified, the SBA may request corrective actions or impose enforcement actions, including revocation of the lender’s SBA Preferred Lender status. If we lose our status as an SBA Preferred Lender, we may lose some or all of our customers to lenders who are SBA Preferred Lenders, and as a result we could experience a material adverse effect to our financial results. Any changes to the SBA program, including but not limited to changes to the level of guarantee provided by the federal government on SBA loans, changes to program specific rules impacting volume eligibility under the guaranty program, as well as changes to the program amounts authorized by Congress may also have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, any default by the U.S. government on its obligations or any prolonged government shutdown could, among other things, impede our ability to originate SBA loans or sell such loans in the secondary market, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Because government regulation greatly affects the business and financial results of all commercial banks and bank holding companies and especially our organization, changes in the laws, regulations and procedures applicable to SBA loans could adversely business, financial condition and results of operation.

If our allowance for credit losses is not sufficient to cover actual loan losses, our earnings could decrease.

Our loan customers may not repay their loans according to the terms of these loans, and the collateral securing the payment of these loans may be insufficient to assure repayment.  We may experience significant credit losses that could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.  We make various assumptions and judgments about the collectability of our loan portfolio, including the creditworthiness of our borrowers and the value of the real estate and other assets serving as collateral for the repayment of many of our loans. We maintain an allowance for loan losses for probable incurred losses in our loan portfolio. The allowance is established through a provision for loan losses based on management’s evaluation of the risks inherent in the loan portfolio and the general economy. The allowance is also appropriately increased for new loan growth. The allowance is based upon a number of factors, including the size of the loan portfolio, asset classifications, economic trends, industry experience and trends, industry and geographic concentrations, estimated collateral values, management’s assessment of the credit risk inherent in the portfolio, historical loan loss experience and loan underwriting policies. The allowance is only an estimate of the probable incurred losses in the loan portfolio and may not represent actual losses realized over time, either of losses in excess of the allowance or of losses less than the allowance. If our assumptions prove to be incorrect, our current allowance my not be sufficient to cover future loan losses and adjustments may be necessary to allow for different economic conditions or adverse developments in our loan portfolio. Our bank regulatory agencies will periodically review our allowance for loan losses and the value attributed to nonaccrual loans or to real estate acquired through foreclosure and may require us to adjust our determination of the value for these items. These adjustments may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Non-performing assets take significant time to resolve and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

At December 31, 2020, our non-performing loans and leases were 0.30% of total loans and leases compared to 0.18% at December 31, 2019, and 0.30% at December 31, 2018, and our non-performing assets (which include foreclosed real estate) were 0.16% of total assets compared to 0.11% at December 31, 2019.  The allowance for credit losses as a percentage of non-performing loans and leases was 393.99% as of December 31, 2020 compared to 539.28% at December 31, 2019.  Non-performing assets adversely affect our net income in various ways.  We generally do not record interest income on non-performing loans or other real estate owned, thereby adversely affecting our income and increasing our loan administration costs.  When we take collateral in foreclosures and similar proceedings, we are required to mark the related asset to the then fair value of the collateral, which may ultimately result in a loss.  An increase in the level of non-performing assets increases our risk profile and may impact the capital levels our regulators believe are appropriate in light of the ensuing risk profile, which could result in a request to reduce our level of non-performing assets.  When we reduce problem assets through loan sales, workouts, restructurings and otherwise, decreases in the value of the underlying collateral, or in these borrowers’ performance or financial condition, whether or not due to economic and market conditions beyond our control, could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.  In addition, the resolution of non-performing assets requires significant commitments of time from management and our directors, which can be detrimental to the performance of their other responsibilities.  There can be no assurance that we will not experience future increases in non-performing assets or that the disposition of such non-performing assets will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Our focus on lending to small to mid-sized community-based businesses may increase our credit risk.

Commercial real estate and commercial business loans generally are considered riskier than single-family residential loans because they have larger balances to a single borrower or group of related borrowers.  Commercial real estate and commercial business loans involve risks because the borrowers’ ability to repay the loans typically depends primarily on the successful operation of the businesses or the properties securing the loans.  Most of the Bank’s commercial real estate and commercial business loans are made to small to medium sized businesses who may have a heightened vulnerability to economic conditions.  Moreover, a portion of these loans have been made by us in recent years and the borrowers may not have experienced a complete business or economic cycle.  Furthermore, the deterioration of our borrowers’ businesses may hinder their ability to repay their loans with us, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We are exposed to risk of environmental liabilities with respect to properties to which we take title.

In the course of our business, we may foreclose and take title to real estate, and could be subject to environmental liabilities with respect to these properties. While we will take steps to mitigate this risk, we may be held liable to a governmental entity or to third parties for property damage, personal injury, investigation and clean-up costs incurred by these parties in connection with environmental contamination, or we may be required to investigate or clean-up hazardous or toxic substances, or chemical releases at one or more properties. The costs associated with investigation or remediation activities could be substantial. In addition, while there are certain statutory protections afforded lenders who take title to property through foreclosure on a loan, if we are the owner or former owner of a contaminated site, we may be subject to common law claims by third parties based on damages and costs resulting from environmental contamination emanating from the property. If we become subject to significant environmental liabilities, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We may suffer losses in our loan portfolio despite our underwriting practices.

We mitigate the risks inherent in our loan portfolio by adhering to sound and proven underwriting practices, managed by experienced and knowledgeable credit professionals. These practices include analysis of a borrower’s prior credit history, financial statements, tax returns, and cash flow projections, valuations of collateral based on reports of independent appraisers and verifications of liquid assets. Nonetheless, we may incur losses on loans that meet our underwriting criteria, and these losses may exceed the amounts set aside as reserves in our allowance for loan loss.

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Risks Related to Our Securities Portfolio

We have and in the future we may be required to recognize impairment with respect to investment securities, including the FHLB stock we hold.

Our securities portfolio contains whole loan private mortgage-backed securities and currently includes securities with unrecognized losses and securities that have been downgraded to below investment grade by national rating agencies. We may continue to observe declines in the fair market value of these securities. We evaluate the securities portfolio for any other-than-temporary impairment each reporting period, as required by generally accepted accounting principles. Numerous factors, including the lack of liquidity for re-sales of certain securities, the absence of reliable pricing information for securities, adverse changes in the business climate, adverse regulatory actions or unanticipated changes in the competitive environment, could have a negative effect on our securities portfolio and results of operations in future periods. There can be no assurance, however, that future evaluations of the securities portfolio will not require us to recognize further impairment charges with respect to these and other holdings.
In addition, as a condition to membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (the FHLB), we are required to purchase and hold a certain amount of FHLB stock. Our stock purchase requirement is based, in part, upon the outstanding principal balance of advances from the FHLB. At December 31, 2020, we held stock in the FHLB totaling $5,595,000 as compared to our minimum required stock holding of $4,865,000. The FHLB stock held by us is carried at cost and is subject to recoverability testing under applicable accounting standards. To date, the FHLB has not discontinued the distribution of dividends on its shares. However, there can be no assurance the FHLB’s dividend-paying practices will continue. As of December 31, 2020, we did not recognize an impairment charge related to our FHLB stock holdings. There can be no assurance, however, that future negative changes to the financial condition of the FHLB may not require us to recognize an impairment charge with respect to such holdings.

Risks Related to our Management

We are highly dependent on our management team, and the loss of our senior executive officers or other key employees could harm our ability to implement our strategic plan, impair our relationships with customers and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our success depends, in large degree, on the skills of our management team and our ability to retain, recruit and motivate key officers and employees. Our senior management team has significant industry experience, and their knowledge and relationships would be difficult to replace. Leadership changes will occur from time to time, and we cannot predict whether significant resignations will occur or whether we will be able to recruit additional qualified personnel. Competition for senior executives and skilled personnel in the financial services and banking industry is intense, which means the cost of hiring, paying incentives and retaining skilled personnel may continue to increase. We need to continue to attract and retain key personnel and to recruit qualified individuals to succeed existing key personnel to ensure the continued growth and successful operation of our business. In addition, as a provider of relationship-based commercial banking services, we must attract and retain qualified banking personnel to continue to grow our business, and competition for such personnel can be intense. The loss of the services of any senior executive or other key personnel, or the inability to recruit and retain qualified personnel in the future, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, to attract and retain personnel with appropriate skills and knowledge to support our business, we may offer a variety of benefits, which could reduce our earnings or have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Capital

    As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act and other regulations, we are subject to more stringent capital requirements.

    In July 2013, the U.S. federal banking authorities approved the implementation of the Basel III regulatory capital reforms, or Basel III, and issued rules effecting certain changes required by the Dodd-Frank Act. Basel III is applicable to all U.S. banks that are subject to minimum capital requirements as well as to bank and saving and loan holding companies, other than “small bank holding companies” (generally bank holding companies with consolidated assets of less than $3 billion). Basel III not only increased most of the required minimum regulatory capital ratios, it introduced a new common equity Tier 1 capital ratio and the concept of a capital conservation buffer. Basel III also expands the current definition of capital by establishing additional criteria that capital instruments must meet to be considered additional Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital. In order to be a “well-capitalized” depository institution under the new regime, an institution must maintain a common equity Tier 1 capital ratio of 6.5% or more; a Tier 1 capital ratio of 8% or more; a total capital ratio of 10% or more; and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 5% or more. The Basel III capital rules became effective as applied to the Company and the Bank on January 1, 2015 with a phase-in period that generally extended through January 1, 2019 for many of the changes. The failure to meet applicable
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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 have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and results of operations.

We may not be successful in raising additional capital needed in the future.

We may need to raise additional capital in the future to provide us with sufficient capital resources and liquidity to meet our commitments and business strategies. Our ability to raise additional capital, if needed, will depend on, among other things, conditions in the capital markets at that time which are outside of our control, and our financial performance. We cannot be assured that such capital will be available to us on acceptable terms or at all. Any occurrence that may limit our access to the capital markets may adversely affect our capital costs and our ability to raise capital. Moreover, if we need to raise capital in the future, we may have to do so when many other financial institutions are also seeking to raise capital and would have to compete with those institutions for investors. An inability to raise additional capital on acceptable terms when needed could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Growth

We may not be able to maintain our historical growth rate which may adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

We have initiated internal asset growth programs, completed various acquisitions and opened additional offices in prior years. We may not be able to sustain our historical rate of asset growth or may not even be able to grow at all. We may not be able to obtain the financing necessary to fund additional asset growth and may not be able to find suitable candidates for acquisition. Various factors, such as economic conditions and competition, may impede or prohibit the opening of new branch offices. Further, our inability to attract and retain experienced bankers may adversely affect our internal asset growth. A significant decrease in our historical rate of asset growth could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may be unable to complete future acquisitions, and once complete, may not be able to integrate our acquisitions successfully.

Our growth strategy includes our desire to acquire other financial institutions. We may not be able to complete any future acquisitions and, for completed acquisitions, we may not be able to successfully integrate the operations, management, products and services of the entities we acquire. We may not realize expected cost savings or make revenue enhancements. Following each acquisition, we must expend substantial managerial, operating, financial and other resources to integrate these entities. In particular, we may be required to install and standardize adequate operational and control systems, deploy or modify equipment, implement marketing efforts in new as well as existing locations and employ and maintain qualified personnel. Our failure to successfully integrate the entities we acquire into our existing operations could have a material and adverse affect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If the goodwill we have recorded in connection with our acquisitions becomes impaired, it could have an adverse impact on our earnings and capital.

At December 31, 2020, we had approximately $53,777,000 of goodwill on our balance sheet attributable to our acquisitions of the Bank of Madera County in January 2005, Service 1st Bancorp in November 2008, Visalia Community Bank in July 2013, Sierra Vista Bank in October 2016, and Folsom Lake Bank in October 2017. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, our goodwill is not amortized but rather evaluated for impairment on an annual basis or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that a potential impairment exists. Such evaluation is based on a variety of factors, including the quoted price of our common stock, market prices of the common stock of other banking organizations, common stock trading multiples, discounted cash flows, and data from comparable acquisitions. There can be no assurance that future evaluations of goodwill will not result in findings of impairment and write-downs, which could be material.

Risks Related to Our Reputation and Operations

Our ability to maintain our reputation is critical to the success of our business, and the failure to do so may materially and adversely affect our business and the value of our common stock.

We are a community bank, and our reputation is one of the most valuable components of our business. Threats to our reputation can come from many sources, including adverse sentiment about financial institutions generally, unethical practices,
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employee misconduct, failure to deliver minimum standards of service or quality, compliance deficiencies, and questionable or fraudulent activities of our customers. Negative publicity regarding our industry, Bank, employees, or customers, with or without merit, may result in the loss of customers, investors and employees, costly litigation, a decline in revenues and increased governmental regulation. If our reputation is negatively affected, by the actions of our employees or otherwise, our business and, therefore, our operating results and the value of our common stock may be adversely affected.

Our risk management framework may not be effective in mitigating risks and/or losses to us.

Our risk management framework is comprised of various processes, systems and strategies, and is designed to manage the types of risk to which we are subject, including, among others, credit, market, liquidity, interest rate and compliance. Our framework also includes financial or other modeling methodologies that involve management assumptions and judgment. Our risk management framework may not be effective under all circumstances and may not adequately mitigate any risk or loss to us. If our risk management framework is not effective, we could suffer unexpected losses and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. We may also be subject to potentially adverse regulatory consequences.

Technology is continually changing and we must effectively implement new technologies.

Our future growth prospects will be highly dependent on our ability to implement changes in technology that affect the delivery of banking services such as the increased demand for computer or mobile access to bank accounts and the availability to perform banking transactions electronically.  Our ability to compete will depend upon our ability to continue to adapt technology on a timely and cost-effective basis to meet such demands.  In addition, our business and operations could be susceptible to adverse effects from computer failures, communication and energy disruption, and activities such as fraud of unethical individuals with the technological ability to cause disruptions or failures of our data processing system.
 
If our information systems were to experience a system failure, our business and reputation could suffer.

We rely heavily on communications and information systems to conduct our business. The computer systems and network infrastructure we use could be vulnerable to unforeseen problems. Our operations are dependent upon our ability to minimize service disruptions by protecting our computer equipment, systems, and network infrastructure from physical damage due to fire, power loss, telecommunications failure, or a similar catastrophic event. We have protective measures in place to prevent or limit the effect of the failure or interruption of our information systems, and will continue to upgrade our security technology and update procedures to help prevent such events. However, if such failures or interruptions were to occur, they could result in damage to our reputation, a loss of customers, increased regulatory scrutiny, or possible exposure to financial liability, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The occurrence of fraudulent activity, breaches or failures of our information security controls or cybersecurity-related incidents could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

As a financial institution we are susceptible to fraudulent activity, information security breaches and cybersecurity-related incidents that may be committed against us or our customers which may result in financial losses or increased costs to us or our customers, disclosure or misuse of our information or our customer information, misappropriation of assets, privacy breaches against our customers, litigation, or damage to our reputation. Such fraudulent activity may take many forms, including check fraud, electronic fraud, wire fraud, online banking, phishing, social engineering and other dishonest acts. Information security breaches and cybersecurity-related incidents may include fraudulent or unauthorized access to systems used by us or our customers, denial or degradation of service attacks, and malware or other cyber-attacks. There continues to be a rise in electronic fraudulent activity, security breaches, and cyber-attacks within the financial services industry, especially in the commercial banking sector due to cyber criminals targeting commercial bank accounts. Consistent with industry trends, we have also experienced an increase in attempted electronic fraudulent activity, security breaches and cybersecurity-related incidents in recent periods. Moreover, in recent periods, several large corporations, including financial institutions and retail companies, have suffered major data breaches, in some cases exposing not only confidential and proprietary corporate information, but also sensitive financial and other personal information of their customers and employees and subjecting them to potential fraudulent activity. Some of our customers may have been affected by these breaches which increase their risks of identity theft, credit card fraud, and other fraudulent activity that could involve their accounts with us.
Information pertaining to us and our customers is maintained and transactions are executed on the networks and systems of ours, our customers, and certain of our third party partners, such as our online banking or core systems. The secure maintenance and transmission of confidential information as well as execution of transactions over these systems are essential to protect us and our customers against fraud and security breaches and to maintain our customers’ confidence. Breaches of information security also may occur, and in infrequent, incidental, cases have occurred, through intentional or unintentional acts
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by those having access to our systems or our customers’ or counterparties’ confidential information, including employees. In addition, increases in criminal activity levels and sophistication, advances in computer capabilities, new discoveries, vulnerabilities in third-party technologies (including browsers and operating systems) or other developments could result in a compromise or breach of the technology, processes and controls that we use to prevent fraudulent transactions and to protect data about us, our customers and underlying transactions as well as the technology used by our customers to access our systems. Although we have developed and continue to invest in systems and processes that are designed to detect and prevent security breaches and cyber-attacks and periodically test our security, our inability to anticipate, or failure to adequately mitigate, breaches of security could result in: losses to us or our customers; our loss of business and/or customers; damage to our reputation; the incurrence of additional expenses; disruption to our business; our inability to grow our online services or other businesses; additional regulatory scrutiny or penalties; or our exposure to civil litigation and possible financial liability - any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
More generally, publicized information concerning security and cyber-related problems could inhibit the use or growth of electronic or web-based applications or solutions as a means of conducting commercial transactions. Such publicity may also cause damage to our reputation as a financial institution. As a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

 Regulations relating to privacy, information security and data protection could increase our costs, affect or limit how we collect and use personal information.

We are subject to an increasing number of federal and state privacy, information security and data protection laws, and we could be negatively impacted by these laws. Various state and federal banking regulators and states have also enacted data security breach notification requirements with varying levels of individual, consumer, regulatory or law enforcement notification. Moreover, legislators and regulators in the United States are increasingly adopting or revising privacy, information security and data protection laws that potentially could have a significant impact on our current and planned privacy, data protection and information security-related practices, as well as on our collection, use, sharing, retention and safeguarding of consumer or employee information.
The effects of these privacy and data protection laws, including the cost of compliance and required changes in the manner in which the Company conducts its business, are not fully known and are potentially significant, and the failure to comply could adversely affect the Company. Compliance with current or future privacy, data protection and information security laws (including those regarding security breach notification) affecting customer or employee data to which we are subject could result in higher compliance and technology costs and could restrict our ability to provide certain products and services, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Our failure to comply with privacy, data protection and information security laws could result in potentially significant regulatory or governmental investigations or actions, litigation, fines, sanctions and damage to our reputation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Finance and Accounting Risks

Our controls over financial reporting and related governance procedures may fail or be circumvented.

Management regularly reviews and updates our internal control over financial reporting, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies and procedures.  We maintain controls and procedures to mitigate risks such as processing system failures or errors and customer or employee fraud, and we maintain insurance coverage for certain of these risks.  Any system of controls and procedures, however well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and provides only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met.  Events could occur which are not prevented or detected by our internal controls, are not insured against, or are in excess of our insurance limits.  Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures, or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our accounting estimates and risk management processes rely on analytical and forecasting models.

The processes we use to estimate our inherent loan losses and to measure the fair value of financial instruments, as well as the processes used to estimate the effects of changing interest rates and other market measures on our financial condition and results of operations, depends upon the use of analytical and forecasting models. These models reflect assumptions that may not be accurate, particularly in times of market stress or other unforeseen circumstances. Even if these assumptions are adequate, the models may prove to be inadequate or inaccurate because of other flaws in their design or their implementation. If the models we use for interest rate risk and asset-liability management are inadequate, we may incur increased or unexpected losses upon changes in market interest rates or other market measures. If the models we use for determining our probable loan losses are inadequate, the allowance for loan losses may not be sufficient to support future
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charge-offs. If the models we use to measure the fair value of financial instruments are inadequate, the fair value of such financial instruments may fluctuate unexpectedly or may not accurately reflect what we could realize upon sale or settlement of such financial instruments. Any such failure in our analytical or forecasting models could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

    We have a significant deferred tax asset and cannot assure that it will be fully realized.

    Deferred tax assets and liabilities are the expected future tax amounts for the temporary differences between the carrying amounts and tax basis of assets and liabilities computed using enacted tax rates. We regularly assess available positive and negative evidence to determine whether it is more likely than not that our net deferred tax asset will be realized. Realization of a deferred tax asset requires us to apply significant judgment and is inherently speculative because it requires estimates that cannot be made with certainty. At December 31, 2020, we had a net deferred tax asset of $4.74 million. If we were to determine at some point in the future that we will not achieve sufficient future taxable income to realize our net deferred tax asset, we would be required, under generally accepted accounting principles, to establish a full or partial valuation allowance which would require us to incur a charge to operations for the period in which the determination was made.
 
Risks Related to Legislative and Regulatory Developments

We are subject to extensive government regulation that could limit or restrict our activities, which, in turn, may hamper our ability to increase our assets and earnings.

Our operations are subject to extensive regulation by federal, state and local governmental authorities and we are subject to various laws and judicial and administrative decisions imposing requirements and restrictions on part or all of our operations. Similarly, the lending, credit and deposit products we offer are subject to broad oversight and regulation. Because our business is highly regulated, the laws, rules, regulations and supervisory guidance and policies applicable to us are subject to regular modification and change. Perennially, various laws, rules and regulations are proposed, which, if adopted, could impact our operations by making compliance much more difficult or expensive, restricting our ability to originate or sell loans or further restricting the amount of interest or other charges or fees earned on loans or other products. Current and future legal and regulatory requirements, restrictions and regulations, including those imposed under Dodd-Frank, may adversely impact our profitability and may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations, may require us to invest significant management attention and resources to evaluate and make any changes required by the legislation and accompanying rules, and may make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified executive officers and employees.
 
We face a risk of noncompliance and enforcement action with the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering statutes and regulations.

The Bank Secrecy Act, the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and other laws and regulations require financial institutions, among other duties, to institute and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and file suspicious activity and currency transaction reports as appropriate. The federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network 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 Internal Revenue Service. We are also subject to scrutiny of compliance with the rules enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If our policies, procedures, and systems are deemed deficient, we would be subject to liability, including fines and regulatory actions, which may include restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and the necessity to obtain regulatory approvals to proceed with certain aspects of our business plan. Failure to maintain and implement adequate programs to combat money laundering and terrorist financing could also have serious reputational consequences for us. Any of these results could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock

We may raise additional capital, which could have a dilutive effect on the existing holders of our common stock and adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

We are not restricted from issuing additional shares of common stock or securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for, or that represent the right to receive, common stock. We frequently evaluate opportunities to access the capital markets taking into account our regulatory capital ratios, financial condition and other relevant considerations, and subject to market conditions, we may take further capital actions. Such actions could include, among other things, the issuance
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of additional shares of common stock in public or private transactions in order to further increase our capital levels above the requirements for a well-capitalized institution established by the Federal bank regulatory agencies as well as other regulatory targets.
The issuance of any additional shares of common stock or securities convertible into or exchangeable for common stock or that represent the right to receive common stock, or the exercise of such securities including, without limitation, securities issued upon exercise of outstanding stock options under our stock option plans, could be substantially dilutive to shareholders of our common stock. With the exception of one major shareholder, holders of our shares of common stock have no preemptive rights that entitle holders to purchase their pro rata share of any offering of shares of any class or series and, therefore, such sales or offerings could result in increased dilution to our shareholders. The market price of our common stock could decline as a result of sales of shares of our common stock or the perception that such sales could occur.

The price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly, and this may make it difficult for you to resell shares of common stock owned by you at times or at prices you find attractive.

At times, the stock market and, in particular, the market for financial institution stocks, has experienced significant volatility, which has reached unprecedented levels.  In some cases, the markets have produced downward pressure on stock prices for certain issuers without regard to those issuers’ underlying financial strength.  As a result, the trading volume in our common stock may fluctuate more than usual and cause significant price variations to occur.  This may make it difficult for shareholders to resell shares of common stock at times or at prices you find attractive.  The low trading volume in our common shares on the NASDAQ Capital Market means that our shares may have less liquidity than other publicly traded companies.  We cannot ensure that the volume of trading in our common shares will be maintained or will increase in the future.
The trading price of the shares of our common stock will depend on many factors, which may change from time to time and which may be beyond our control including the other factors identified above in the forward-looking statement discussion under the section titled “Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and below.  Broad market fluctuations have adversely affected and may continue to adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Among the factors that could affect our stock price are:
actual or anticipated quarterly fluctuations in our operating results and financial condition;
changes in financial estimates or publication of research reports and recommendations by financial analysts or actions taken by rating agencies with respect to our common stock or those of other financial institutions;
failure to meet analysts’ revenue or earnings estimates;
speculation in the press or investment community generally or relating to our reputation, our market area, our competitors or the financial services industry in general;
strategic actions by us or our competitors, such as acquisitions;
actions by our institutional shareholders;
fluctuations in the stock price and operating results of our competitors;
future sales of our equity, equity-related or debt securities;
changes in the frequency or amount of dividends or share repurchases;
trading activities in our common stock, including short-selling;
domestic and international economic factors unrelated to our performance; and
general market conditions and, in particular, developments related to market conditions for the financial services industry.

An investment in our common stock is not an insured deposit.

Our common stock is not a bank deposit and, therefore, is not insured against loss by the FDIC, any other deposit insurance fund, or by any other public or private entity. Investment in our common stock is inherently risky for the reasons described in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this report and is subject to the same market forces that affect the price of common stock in any company. As a result, if you acquire our common stock, you could lose some or all of your investment.

Anti-takeover provisions and federal law may limit the ability of another party to acquire us, which could cause our stock price to decline.

Various provisions of our articles of incorporation and by-laws and certain other actions we have taken could delay or prevent a third party from acquiring us, even if doing so might be beneficial to our shareholders. The Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, and the Change in Bank Control Act of 1978, as amended, together with federal regulations, require that, depending on the particular circumstances, regulatory approval and/or appropriate regulatory filings may be required from either or all the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and the DFPI prior to any person or entity acquiring “control” (as defined in the
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applicable regulations) of a state non-member bank, such as the Bank. These provisions may prevent a merger or acquisition that would be attractive to shareholders and could limit the price investors would be willing to pay in the future for our common stock.

The Company is a holding company and depends on the Bank for dividends, distributions, and other payments

The Company is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Bank. The Company’s principal source of cash flow, including cash flow to pay dividends to our shareholders, is dividends from the Bank. The Company’s ability to pay dividends to its stockholders is substantially dependent upon the Bank’s ability to pay dividends to the Company. Federal and state law imposes limits on the ability of the Bank to pay dividends and make other distributions and payments. If the Bank is unable to meet regulatory requirements to pay dividends or make other distributions to the Company, the Company will be unable to pay dividends to its shareholders.

ITEM 1B -    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2 -DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY
 
The Company owns the property on which full-service branch offices are situated at the following California locations: the Clovis Main office in Clovis, the Foothill office in Prather, the Modesto office, the Kerman office, the Floral office in Visalia, and the Exeter office.
All other property is leased by the Company, including the principal executive offices in Fresno, which houses the Company’s corporate offices, comprised of various departments, including accounting, information services, human resources, real estate department, loan servicing, credit administration, branch support operations, and compliance.
The Company continually evaluates the suitability and adequacy of the Company’s offices and has a program of relocating or remodeling them as necessary to be efficient and attractive facilities. Management believes that its existing facilities are adequate for its present purposes.
Properties owned by the Bank are held without loans or encumbrances. All of the property leased is leased directly from independent parties. Management considers the terms and conditions of each of the existing leases to be in the aggregate favorable to the Company. See Note 9 of the Company’s audited Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Annual Report.
 
ITEM 3 -LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
 
The Company is subject to legal proceedings and claims which arise in the ordinary course of business. In the opinion of management, the amount of ultimate liability with respect to such actions will not materially affect the consolidated financial position or consolidated results of operations of the Company.
 
ITEM 4 -MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

None to report.
  

PART II

ITEM 5 -MARKET FOR COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
Our common stock is listed for trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol CVCY. As of March 5, 2021, we had approximately 934 shareholders of record.
The following table shows the high and low sales prices for the common stock for each quarter as reported by The NASDAQ Stock Market and cash dividend payment for each quarter presented.
 
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Common Stock Prices and Dividends
 
Quarter 1
2019
Quarter 2
2019
Quarter 3
2019
Quarter 4
2019
Quarter 1
2020
Quarter 2
2020
Quarter 3
2020
Quarter 4
2020
High$20.35 $21.48 $21.75 $22.15 $21.69 $16.81 $15.68 $16.70 
Low$18.10 $19.08 $18.97 $19.24 $10.68 $10.59 $11.51 $12.25 
Dividends per share$0.10 $0.11 $0.11 $0.11 $0.11 $0.11 $0.11 $0.11 
 
We paid common share cash dividends of $0.44 and $0.43 per share in 2020 and 2019, respectively. The Company’s primary source of income with which to pay cash dividends is dividends from the Bank.  See Note 13 in the audited Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Annual Report.
The amount of future dividends will depend upon our earnings, financial condition, capital requirements and other factors, and will be determined by our board of directors on a quarterly basis. It is Federal Reserve policy that bank holding companies 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 Federal Reserve policy that bank holding companies not maintain dividend levels that undermine the holding company’s ability to be a source of strength to its banking subsidiaries. Additionally, the Federal Reserve has indicated that bank holding companies 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. Under the federal Prompt Corrective Action regulations, the Federal Reserve or the FDIC may prohibit a bank holding company from paying any dividends if the holding company’s bank subsidiary is classified as undercapitalized.
As a holding company, our ability to pay cash dividends is affected by the ability of our bank subsidiary, to pay cash dividends. The ability of the Bank (and our ability) to pay cash dividends in the future and the amount of any such cash dividends is and could be in the future further influenced by bank regulatory requirements and approvals and capital guidelines.
The decision whether to pay dividends will be made by our board of directors in light of conditions then existing, including factors such as our results of operations, financial condition, business conditions, regulatory capital requirements and covenants under any applicable contractual arrangements, including agreements with regulatory authorities.
The Company has outstanding trust preferred securities from special purpose trust and accompanying subordinated debt. The subordinated debt is senior to our shares of common stock. As a result, we must make payments on the subordinated debt before any dividends can be paid on our common stock. Under the terms of the subordinated debt, we may defer interest payments for up to five years. If the Company should ever defer such interest payments, we would be prohibited from declaring or paying any cash dividends on any shares of our common stock.
For information on the statutory and regulatory limitations on the ability of the Company to pay dividends and on the Bank to pay dividends to Company see “Item 1 - Business - Supervision and Regulation - Dividends.”
ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
A summary of the repurchase activity of the Company’s common stock for the year ended December 31, 2020 follows.
PeriodTotal number of shares purchasedAverage price paid per shareTotal number of shares purchased as part of publicly announced plans (1) (2) (3)Approximate dollar value of shares that may yet be purchased under current plans (in thousands)
01/1/2020 - 01/31/2020167,223 $20.05 $167,223 $7,694 
02/1/2020 - 02/29/2020211,233 $19.31 211,233 $3,610 
03/1/2020 - 03/31/2020242,923 $14.83 242,923 $— 
Total621,379 $17.76 621,379 
(1) The Company approved a stock repurchase program effective July 17, 2019 with the intent to purchase up to $10,000,000 of the Company’s outstanding common stock, or approximately 479,616 shares. During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company repurchased and retired a total of 431,444 shares at an approximate cost of $8,948,000. Under this program, the Company repurchased and retired a total of 49,269 shares at an approximate cost of $1,052,000, during the year ended December 31, 2020, completing the stock repurchase program.
(2) The Company approved a stock repurchase program effective January 15, 2020 with the intent to purchase an additional $10,000,000 of the Company’s outstanding common stock, or approximately 487,805 shares. During the year ended
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December 31, 2020, the Company repurchased and retired a total of 572,110 shares at an approximate cost of $17.45 per share, completing the stock repurchase program.
(3) All share repurchases were effected in accordance with the safe harbor provisions of Rule 10b-18 of the Securities Exchange Act.

EQUITY COMPENSATION PLAN INFORMATION
 
The following chart sets forth information for the year ended December 31, 2020, regarding equity-based compensation plans of the Company.
 Number of
securities to be
issued upon
exercise of
outstanding
options, warrants
and rights
Weighted-
average exercise
price of
outstanding
options, warrants
and rights
Number of securities
remaining available
for future issuance
under equity
compensation plans
(excluding securities
reflected in column
(a))
Plan Category(a)(b)(c)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders77,070 (1)$10.06 768,560 (2)
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
N/AN/AN/A
Total77,070 $10.06 768,560 
(1)    Under the Central Valley Community Bancorp 2015 Omnibus Incentive Plan (2015 Plan) and the Central Valley Community Bancorp 2005 Omnibus Incentive Plan (2005 Plan), the Company is authorized to issue restricted stock awards. Restricted stock awards are not included in the total in column (a). See Note 14 in the audited Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Annual Report.
(2)    Includes securities available for issuance of stock options and restricted stock.
At December 31, 2020, there were 30,013 shares of restricted common stock issued and outstanding. No options to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock were issued during the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 from any of the Company’s equity-based compensation plans. During the year ended December 31, 2020, 21,397 shares of restricted common stock were granted under the 2015 Plan, and 25,420 shares of restricted common stock were granted during the year ended December 31, 2019.

ITEM 6 -SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA
Years Ended December 31,
(In thousands, except per-share amounts)20202019201820172016
Statements of Income     
Total interest income$66,018 $66,331 $64,187 $57,376 $46,676 
Total interest expense1,595 2,559 1,484 1,137 1,096 
Net interest income before provision for credit losses64,423 63,772 62,703 56,239 45,580 
Provision for (reversal of) credit losses3,275 1,025 50 (1,150)(5,850)
Net interest income after provision for credit losses61,148 62,747 62,653 57,389 51,430 
Non-interest income13,797 13,305 10,324 10,836 9,591 
Non-interest expenses47,684 46,100 45,068 44,406 38,922 
Income before provision for income taxes27,261 29,952 27,909 23,819 22,099 
Provision for income taxes6,914 8,509 6,620 9,793 6,917 
Net income$20,347 $21,443 $21,289 $14,026 $15,182 
Basic earnings per share$1.62 $1.60 $1.55 $1.12 $1.34 
Diluted earnings per share$1.62 $1.59 $1.54 $1.10 $1.33 
Cash dividends declared per common share$0.44 $0.43 $0.31 $0.24 $0.24 
 
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December 31,
(In thousands)20202019201820172016
Balances at end of year:     
Investment securities, Federal funds sold and deposits in other banks
$753,829 $506,597 $477,932 $604,801 $558,132 
Net loans1,089,432 934,250 909,591 891,901 747,302 
Total deposits1,722,710 1,333,285 1,282,298 1,425,687 1,255,979 
Total assets2,004,096 1,596,755 1,537,836 1,661,655 1,443,323 
Shareholders’ equity245,021 228,128 219,738 209,559 164,033 
Earning assets1,837,402 1,450,347 1,406,987 1,505,436 1,319,065 
Average balances:     
Investment securities, Federal funds sold and deposits in other banks
$623,117 $494,455 $526,606 $568,426 $560,860 
Net loans1,043,470 921,546 903,204 784,085 636,475 
Total deposits1,568,194 1,295,780 1,333,754 1,284,305 1,144,231 
Total assets1,832,987 1,574,089 1,577,410 1,491,696 1,321,007 
Shareholders’ equity229,807 228,352 211,324 182,507 154,325 
Earning assets1,676,567 1,423,015 1,435,025 1,358,930 1,205,142 
 
Data from 2017 reflects the partial year impact of the acquisition of Folsom Lake Bank on October 1, 2017. Data from 2016 reflects the partial year impact of the acquisition of Sierra Vista Bank on October 1, 2016.


ITEM 7 -MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

Management’s discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the Company’s audited Consolidated Financial Statements, including the Notes thereto, in Item 8 of this Annual Report.
 
Certain matters discussed in this report constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  All statements contained herein that are not historical facts, such as statements regarding the Company’s current business strategy and the Company’s plans for future development and operations, are based upon current expectations.  These statements are forward-looking in nature and involve a number of risks and uncertainties.  Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to (1) significant increases in competitive pressure in the banking industry; (2) the impact of changes in interest rates; (3) a decline in economic conditions in the Central Valley and the Greater Sacramento Region; (4) the Company’s ability to continue its internal growth at historical rates; (5) the Company’s ability to maintain its net interest margin; (6) the decline in quality of the Company’s earning assets; (7) a decline in credit quality; (8) changes in the regulatory environment; (9) fluctuations in the real estate market; (10) changes in business conditions and inflation; (11) changes in securities markets (12) risks associated with acquisitions, relating to difficulty in integrating combined operations and related negative impact on earnings, and incurrence of substantial expenses; (13) political developments, uncertainties or instability, catastrophic events, acts of war or terrorism, or natural disasters, such as earthquakes, drought, pandemic diseases or extreme weather events, any of which may affect services we use or affect our customers, employees or third parties with which we conduct business;  (14) the uncertainties related to the Covid-19 pandemic including, but not limited to, the potential adverse effect of the pandemic on the economy, our employees and customers, and our financial performance; and (15) the impact of the federal CARES Act and the significant additional lending activities undertaken by the Company in connection with the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program enacted thereunder, including risks to the Company with respect to the uncertain application by the Small Business Administration of new borrower and loan eligibility, forgiveness and audit criteria.  Therefore, the information set forth in such forward-looking statements should be carefully considered when evaluating the business prospects of the Company.
 
When the Company uses in this Annual Report the words “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “commit,” “believe” and similar expressions, the Company intends to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are not guarantees of performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including those described in this Annual Report.  Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or
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should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, estimated, expected, projected, intended, committed or believed.  The future results and shareholder values of the Company may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements.  Many of the factors that will determine these results and values are beyond the Company’s ability to control or predict. For those statements, the Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  See also the discussion of risk factors in Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”

We are not able to predict all the factors that may affect future results. You should not place undue reliance on any forward looking statement, which speaks only as of the date of this Report on Form 10-K. Except as required by applicable laws or regulations, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

INTRODUCTION
 
Central Valley Community Bancorp (NASDAQ: CVCY) (the Company) was incorporated on February 7, 2000.  The formation of the holding company offered the Company more flexibility in meeting the long-term needs of customers, shareholders, and the communities it serves.  The Company currently has one bank subsidiary, Central Valley Community Bank (the Bank) and one business trust subsidiary, Service 1st Capital Trust 1. The Company’s market area includes the central valley area from Sacramento, California to Bakersfield, California.
During 2020, we focused on managing the COVID-19 affects on businesses, customers and employees.  We also focused on assuring that competitive products and services were made available to our clients while adjusting to the many new laws and regulations that affect the banking industry.
As of December 31, 2020, the Bank operated 20 full-service offices. Additionally, the Bank maintains a Commercial Real Estate Division, an Agribusiness Center and a SBA Lending Division.  The Real Estate Division processes or assists in processing the majority of the Bank’s real estate related transactions, including interim construction loans for single family residences and commercial buildings. We offer permanent single family residential loans through our mortgage broker services.
 
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
 
For the years leading up to 2020, the economy, as evidenced by the California, Central Valley, and Greater Sacrament Region unemployment rates, and housing prices, were showing moderate and steady improvement.
During 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 has adversely impacted a broad range of industries in which the Company’s customers operate and could impair their ability to fulfill their financial obligations to the Company. The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic indicating that almost all public commerce and related business activities must be, to varying degrees, curtailed with the goal of decreasing the rate of new infections. The pandemic has resulted in temporary closures of many businesses and the institution of social distancing and sheltering in place requirements in California, including our primary market area. As a result, the demand for our products and services has been and may continue to be significantly impacted. The spread of the outbreak has caused significant disruptions in the U.S. economy and has disrupted banking and other financial activity in the areas in which the Company operates.
    The Company’s business is dependent upon the willingness and ability of its employees and customers to conduct banking and other financial transactions. While there has been no material impact to the Company’s employees to date, COVID-19 could also potentially create widespread business continuity issues for the Company. If the global response to contain COVID-19 escalates further or is unsuccessful, the Company could experience an adverse effect on its business, financial condition and results of operations.
Agriculture and agricultural-related businesses remain a critical part of the Central Valley’s economy.  The Valley’s agricultural production is widely diversified, producing nuts, vegetables, fruit, cattle, dairy products, and cotton.  The continued future success of agriculture related businesses is highly dependent on the availability of water and is subject to fluctuation in worldwide commodity prices, currency exchanges, and demand. From time to time, California experiences severe droughts or adverse weather issues, which could significantly harm the business of our customers and the credit quality of the loans to those customers. We closely monitor the water resources and the related issues affecting our customers, and will remain vigilant for signs of deterioration within the loan portfolio in an effort to manage credit quality and work with borrowers where possible to mitigate any losses.

OVERVIEW
 
Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $1.62 compared to $1.59 and $1.54 for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.  Net income for 2020 was $20,347,000 compared to $21,443,000 and $21,289,000 for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.  The decrease in net income for 2020
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compared to 2019 was primarily due to an increase in provision for credit losses, a decrease in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, a decrease in service charge income, and an increase in non-interest expense, partially offset by an increase in net interest income, an increase in loan placement fees, and a decrease in the provision for income taxes. Total assets at December 31, 2020 were $2,004,096,000 compared to $1,596,755,000 at December 31, 2019.
Return on average equity (“ROE”) for 2020 was 8.85% compared to 9.39% and 10.07% for 2019 and 2018, respectively.  Return on average assets (“ROA”) for 2020 was 1.11% compared to 1.36% and 1.35% for 2019 and 2018, respectively.  Total equity was $245,021,000 at December 31, 2020 compared to $228,128,000 at December 31, 2019.  The increase in shareholders’ equity is the result of an increase in retained earnings from our net income of $20,347,000, the exercise of stock options in the amount of $279,000, the effect of share-based compensation expense of $470,000, stock issued under our employee stock purchase plan of $199,000, and an increase in accumulated other comprehensive income (AOCI) of $12,039,000, partially offset by the payment of common stock cash dividends of $5,530,000 and the repurchase and retirement of common stock of $11,052,000.
Average total loans increased $124,829,000 or 13.41% to $1,055,712,000 in 2020 compared to $930,883,000 in 2019.  In 2020, we recorded a provision for credit losses of $3,275,000 compared to a provision of $1,025,000 in 2019 and a provision of $50,000 in 2018.  The Company had nonperforming assets consisting of $3,278,000 in nonaccrual loans at December 31, 2020.  At December 31, 2019, nonperforming assets totaled $1,693,000.  Net loan loss recoveries for 2020 were $510,000 compared to net loan loss charge-offs in the amount of $999,000 for 2019 and net loan loss recoveries of $276,000 for 2018.  Refer to “Asset Quality” below for further information.

Dividend Declared

    The Company declared a $0.11 per common share cash dividend, payable on February 26, 2021 to shareholders of record on February 12, 2021.
  
Key Factors in Evaluating Financial Condition and Operating Performance
 
In evaluating our financial condition and operating performance, we focus on several key factors including:

Return to our shareholders;
Return on average assets;
Development of revenue streams, including net interest income and non-interest income;
Asset quality;
Asset growth;
Capital adequacy;
Operating efficiency; and
Liquidity.
 
Return to Our Shareholders
 
One measure of our return to our shareholders is the return on average equity (ROE), which is a ratio that measures net income divided by average shareholders’ equity. Our ROE was 8.85% for the year ended 2020 compared to 9.39% and 10.07% for the years ended 2019 and 2018, respectively. 
Our net income for the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased $1,096,000 compared to 2019 and increased $154,000 in 2019 compared to 2018.  Contributing to the decrease during 2020 compared to 2019 was an increase in provision for credit losses, a decrease in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, a decrease in service charge income, and an increase in non-interest expense, partially offset by an increase in net interest income, an increase in loan placement fees, and a decrease in the provision for income taxes. During 2019, net income compared to 2018 was positively impacted by an increase in net interest income and an increase in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities.  During 2018 net income was positively impacted by the decrease in tax expense.
Net interest income increased primarily because of increases in loan and fee income, decreases in interest expense, partially offset by decreases in interest income on investments. The impact to interest income from the accretion of the loan marks on acquired loans was an increase of $1,321,000 and $989,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. For 2020, our net interest margin (NIM) decreased 64 basis points to 3.87% compared to 2019 as a result of yield changes and asset mix changes. The decrease in net interest margin in the period-to-period comparison resulted primarily from the decrease in the effective yield on interest-earning deposits in other banks and Federal Funds sold, the decrease in the effective yield on average investment securities, and the decrease in the yield on the Company’s loan portfolio. The decrease in the loan yield was impacted by the Company’s issuance of low-interest PPP loans. Net interest income during 2020 was positively impacted by from the accretion of the loan marks on acquired loans in the amount of $1,321,000 and $989,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. In addition, net interest income before the provision for credit losses
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for the year ended December 31, 2020 benefited by approximately $805,000 in nonrecurring income from prepayment penalties and payoff of loans, as compared to $619,000 in nonrecurring income for the year ended December 31, 2019. Excluding these reversals and benefits, net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2020 decreased by $133,000 compared to the year ended December 31, 2019.
Non-interest income increased 3.70% in 2020 compared to 2019 primarily due to an increase in loan placement fees of $1,313,000, an increase of $1,059,000 in other income, partially offset by a $947,000 decrease in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, a decrease in service charge income of $685,000, and a $132,000 decrease in Federal Home Loan Bank dividends. The increase in other income resulted from a $1,167,000 gain related to the collection of tax-exempt life insurance proceeds.
Non-interest expenses increased $1,584,000 or 3.44% to $47,684,000 in 2020 compared to $46,100,000 in 2019. The net increase year over year resulted from increases in salaries and employee benefits of $1,949,000, professional services of $1,093,000, data processing of $489,000, regulatory assessments of $239,000, and operating losses of $40,000, offset by decreases in occupancy and equipment expenses of $813,000, information technology of $220,000, amortization of software of $227,000, internet banking of $166,000, credit card expenses of $114,000, and directors’ expenses of $95,000, in 2020 compared to 2019. The Company recorded an income tax provision of $6,914,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to $8,509,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019, and $6,620,000 for the year ended December 31, 2018. Basic EPS was $1.62 for 2020 compared to $1.60 and $1.55 for 2019 and 2018, respectively.  Diluted EPS was $1.62 for 2020 compared to $1.59 and $1.54 for 2019 and 2018, respectively. 

Return on Average Assets
 
Our ROA is a ratio that measures our performance compared with other banks and bank holding companies.  Our ROA for the year ended 2020 was 1.11% compared to 1.36% and 1.35% for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.  The 2020 decrease in ROA is primarily due to the decrease in net income and an increase in average assets.  Annualized ROA for our peer group was 1.06% at December 31, 2020.  Peer group information from S&P Global Market Intelligence data includes bank holding companies in central California with assets from $1 billion to $3.5 billion.
 
Development of Revenue Streams
 
Over the past several years, we have focused on not only our net income, but improving the consistency of our revenue streams in order to create more predictable future earnings and reduce the effect of changes in our operating environment on our net income.  Specifically, we have focused on net interest income through a variety of strategies, including increases in average interest earning assets, and minimizing the effects of the recent interest rate changes on our net interest margin by focusing on core deposits and managing our cost of funds.  Our net interest margin (fully tax equivalent basis) was 3.87% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 4.51% and 4.44% for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.  The decrease in 2020 net interest margin compared to 2019, resulted from the decrease in the effective yield on interest earning deposits in other banks and Federal Funds sold, the decrease in the effective yield on average investment securities, and the decrease in the yield on the Company’s loan portfolio.  The effective tax equivalent yield on total earning assets decreased 72 basis points, while the cost of total interest-bearing liabilities decrease 15 basis points to 0.19% for the year ended December 31, 2020. Our cost of total deposits in 2020 and 2019 was 0.09% and 0.15%, respectively, compared to 0.09% for the same period in 2018. Our net interest income before provision for credit losses increased $651,000 or 1.02% to $64,423,000 for the year ended 2020 compared to $63,772,000 and $62,703,000 for the years ended 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Our non-interest income is generally made up of service charges and fees on deposit accounts, fee income from loan placements, appreciation in cash surrender value of bank-owned life insurance, and net gains from sales and calls of investment securities.  Non-interest income in 2020 increased $492,000 or 3.70% to $13,797,000 compared to $13,305,000 in 2019 and $10,324,000 in 2018.  The increase resulted primarily from an increase in loan placement fees, and an increase in other income, partially offset by a decrease in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, a decrease in service charge income, and a decrease in FHLB dividends compared to 2019.  Further detail on non-interest income is provided below.
 
Asset Quality
 
For all banks and bank holding companies, asset quality has a significant impact on the overall financial condition and results of operations.  Asset quality is measured in terms of classified and nonperforming loans, and is a key element in estimating the future earnings of a company.  Total nonperforming assets were $3,278,000 and $1,693,000 at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.  Nonperforming assets totaled 0.30% of gross loans as of December 31, 2020 and 0.18% of gross loans as of December 31, 2019. Nonperforming loans were $3,278,000 and $1,693,000 at December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.  The Company had no other real estate owned at December 31, 2020, or December 31, 2019. No foreclosed
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assets were recorded at December 31, 2020 or December 31, 2019. Management maintains certain loans that have been brought current by the borrower (less than 30 days delinquent) on nonaccrual status until such time as management has determined that the loans are likely to remain current in future periods.
The ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans was 0.30% as of December 31, 2020 and 0.18% as of December 31, 2019. The allowance for credit losses as a percentage of outstanding loan balance was 1.17% as of December 31, 2020 and 0.97% as of December 31, 2019. The ratio of net recoveries (charge-offs) to average loans was 0.05% as of December 31, 2020 and (0.11)% as of December 31, 2019.
 
Asset Growth
 
As revenues from both net interest income and non-interest income are a function of asset size, the continued growth in assets has a direct impact in increasing net income and therefore ROE and ROA.  The majority of our assets are loans and investment securities, and the majority of our liabilities are deposits, and therefore the ability to generate deposits as a funding source for loans and investments is fundamental to our asset growth.  Total assets increased 25.51% during 2020 to $2,004,096,000 as of December 31, 2020 from $1,596,755,000 as of December 31, 2019.  Total gross loans increased 16.85% to $1,102,347,000 as of December 31, 2020, compared to $943,380,000 at December 31, 2019.  Total investment securities increased 50.08% to $717,726,000 as of December 31, 2020 compared to $478,218,000 as of December 31, 2019.  Total deposits increased 29.21% to $1,722,710,000 as of December 31, 2020 compared to $1,333,285,000 as of December 31, 2019.  Our loan to deposit ratio at December 31, 2020 was 63.99% compared to 70.76% at December 31, 2019.  The loan to deposit ratio of our peers was 80.00% at December 31, 2020. Peer group information from S&P Global Market Intelligence data includes bank holding companies in central California with assets from $1 billion to $3.5 billion.

Capital Adequacy
 
At December 31, 2020, we had a total capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of 15.58%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 14.50%, common equity Tier 1 ratio of 14.10%, and a leverage ratio of 9.28%.  At December 31, 2019, we had a total capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of 15.79%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 14.98%, common equity Tier 1 ratio of 14.55%, and a leverage ratio of 11.38%.  At December 31, 2020, on a stand-alone basis, the Bank had a total risk-based capital ratio of 15.48%, a Tier 1 risk based capital ratio of 14.41%, common equity Tier 1 ratio of 14.41%, and a leverage ratio of 9.23%.  At December 31, 2019, the Bank had a total risk-based capital ratio of 15.66%, Tier 1 risk-based capital of 14.85% and a leverage ratio of 11.27%.  Note 13 of the audited Consolidated Financial Statements provides more detailed information concerning the Company’s capital amounts and ratios. As of January 1, 2015, bank holding companies with consolidated assets of $1 billion or more ($3 Billion or more effective August 30, 2018) and banks like Central Valley Community Bank became subject to new capital requirements, and certain provisions of the new rules were phased in through 2019 under the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III. As of December 31, 2020, the Bank met or exceeded all of their capital requirements inclusive of the capital buffer. The Bank’s capital ratios exceeded the regulatory guidelines for a well-capitalized financial institution under the Basel III regulatory requirements at December 31, 2020.

Operating Efficiency
 
Operating efficiency is the measure of how efficiently earnings before taxes are generated as a percentage of revenue.  A lower ratio represents greater efficiency.  The Company’s efficiency ratio (operating expenses, excluding amortization of intangibles and foreclosed property expense, divided by net interest income plus non-interest income, excluding net gains and losses from sale of securities) was 64.08% for 2020 compared to 62.77% for 2019 and 61.23% for 2018.  The slight increase in the efficiency ratios in 2020 and 2019 was due to the growth in non-interest expense outpacing the growth in non-interest income. The Company’s net interest income before provision for credit losses plus non-interest income increased 1.48% to $78,220,000 in 2020 compared to $77,077,000 in 2019 and $73,027,000 in 2018, while operating expenses increased 3.44% in 2020, 2.29% in 2019, and 1.49% in 2018.
 
Liquidity

Liquidity management involves our ability to meet cash flow requirements arising from fluctuations in deposit levels and demands of daily operations, which include providing for customers’ credit needs, funding of securities purchases, and ongoing repayment of borrowings. Our liquidity is actively managed on a daily basis and reviewed periodically by our management and Directors’ Asset/Liability Committee. This process is intended to ensure the maintenance of sufficient funds to meet our needs, including adequate cash flows for off-balance sheet commitments. Our primary sources of liquidity are derived from financing activities which include the acceptance of customer and, to a lesser extent, broker deposits, Federal funds facilities and advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.  We have available unsecured lines of credit with correspondent banks totaling approximately $110,000,000 and secured borrowing lines of approximately $235,371,000
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with the Federal Home Loan Bank. These funding sources are augmented by collection of principal and interest on loans, the routine maturities and pay downs of securities from our investment securities portfolio, the stability of our core deposits, and the ability to sell investment securities.  Primary uses of funds include origination and purchases of loans, withdrawals of and interest payments on deposits, purchases of investment securities, and payment of operating expenses.
We had liquid assets (cash and due from banks, interest-earning deposits in other banks, Federal funds sold, equity securities, and available-for-sale securities) totaling $788,004,000 or 39.32% of total assets at December 31, 2020 and $530,792,000 or 33.24% of total assets as of December 31, 2019.


RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
Net Income
 
Net income was $20,347,000 in 2020 compared to $21,443,000 and $21,289,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively.  Basic earnings per share was $1.62, $1.60, and $1.55 for 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.  Diluted earnings per share was $1.62, $1.59, and $1.54 for 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.  ROE was 8.85% for 2020 compared to 9.39% for 2019 and 10.07% for 2018.  ROA for 2020 was 1.11% compared to 1.36% for 2019 and 1.35% for 2018.
The decrease in net income for 2020 compared to 2019 was primarily due to an increase in provision for credit losses, a decrease in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, a decrease in service charge income, and an increase in non-interest expense, partially offset by an increase in net interest income, an increase in loan placement fees, and a decrease in the provision for income taxes. The increase in net income for 2019 compared to 2018 was primarily due to an increase in net interest income and an increase in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, partially offset by an increase in non-interest expense, an increase in the provision for credit losses, and an increase in the provision for income taxes.

Interest Income and Expense
 
Net interest income is the most significant component of our income from operations.  Net interest income (the interest rate spread) is the difference between the gross interest and fees earned on the loan and investment portfolios and the interest paid on deposits and other borrowings.  Net interest income depends on the volume of and interest rate earned on interest-earning assets and the volume of and interest rate paid on interest-bearing liabilities.
 
The following table sets forth a summary of average balances with corresponding interest income and interest expense as well as average yield and cost information for the periods presented.  Average balances are derived from daily balances, and nonaccrual loans are not included as interest-earning assets for purposes of this table.

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SCHEDULE OF AVERAGE BALANCES, AVERAGE YIELDS AND RATES
 Year Ended December 31, 2020Year Ended December 31, 2019Year Ended December 31, 2018
(Dollars in thousands)Average
Balance
Interest
Income/
Expense
Average
Interest
Rate
Average
Balance
Interest
Income/
Expense
Average
Interest
Rate
Average
Balance
Interest
Income/
Expense
Average
Interest
Rate
ASSETS      
Interest-earning deposits in other banks
$76,924 $246 0.32 %$17,893 $375 2.10 %$24,095 $460 1.91 %
Securities
Taxable securities479,894 11,740 2.45 %438,042 13,197 3.01 %391,549 10,254 2.62 %
Non-taxable securities (1)66,299 2,489 3.75 %38,520 1,639 4.25 %110,962 4,478 4.04 %
Total investment securities
546,193 14,229 2.61 %476,562 14,836 3.11 %502,511 14,732 2.93 %
Total securities and interest-earning deposits
623,117 14,475 2.32 %494,455 15,211 3.08 %526,606 15,192 2.88 %
Loans (2) (3)1,053,450 52,066 4.94 %928,560 51,464 5.54 %908,419 49,936 5.50 %
Total interest-earning assets
1,676,567 $66,541 3.97 %1,423,015 $66,675 4.69 %1,435,025 $65,128 4.54 %
Allowance for credit losses
(12,242)  (9,337)  (8,924)
Nonaccrual loans
2,262   2,323   3,709 
Cash and due from banks
27,575   25,726   27,199 
Bank premises and equipment
7,476   7,983   9,148 
Other assets
131,349   124,379   111,253 
Total average assets$1,832,987   $1,574,089   $1,577,410 
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY
      
Interest-bearing liabilities:      
Savings and NOW accounts
$433,742 $341 0.08 %$370,378 $566 0.15 %$383,667 $451 0.12 %
Money market accounts
300,603 542 0.18 %270,918 656 0.24 %285,568 419 0.15 %
Time certificates of deposit
89,610 582 0.65 %97,136 706 0.73 %111,214 283 0.25 %
Total interest-bearing deposits
823,955 1,465 0.18 %738,432 1,928 0.26 %780,449 1,153 0.15 %
Other borrowed funds5,155 130 2.52 %21,943 631 2.88 %12,180 331 2.72 %
Total interest-bearing liabilities
829,110 $1,595 0.19 %760,375 $2,559 0.34 %792,629 $1,484 0.19 %
Non-interest bearing demand deposits
744,239   557,348   553,305 
Other liabilities29,831   28,014   20,152 
Shareholders’ equity229,807   228,352   211,324 
Total average liabilities and shareholders’ equity
$1,832,987   $1,574,089   $1,577,410 
Interest income and rate earned on average earning assets
 $66,541 3.97 % $66,675 4.69 %$65,128 4.54 %
Interest expense and interest cost related to average interest-bearing liabilities
 1,595 0.19 % 2,559 0.34 %1,484 0.19 %
Net interest income and net interest margin (4)
 $64,946 3.87 % $64,116 4.51 %$63,644 4.44 %
(1)Interest income is calculated on a fully tax equivalent basis, which includes Federal tax benefits relating to income earned on municipal bonds totaling $523, $344, and $940 in 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.
(2)Loan interest income includes loan fees of $2,234 in 2020, $164 in 2019, and $397 in 2018.
(3)Average loans do not include nonaccrual loans.
(4)Net interest margin is computed by dividing net interest income by total average interest-earning assets.
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The following table sets forth a summary of the changes in interest income and interest expense due to changes in average asset and liability balances (volume) and changes in average interest rates for the periods indicated. The change in interest due to both rate and volume has been allocated to the change in rate.
Changes in Volume/RateFor the Years Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to 2019For the Years Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to 2018
(In thousands)VolumeRateNetVolumeRateNet
Increase (decrease) due to changes in:   
Interest income:   
Interest-earning deposits in other banks$1,237 $(1,366)$(129)$(118)$34 $(84)
Investment securities:
Taxable1,260 (2,717)(1,457)1,218 1,725 2,943 
Non-taxable (1)1,181 (331)850 (2,923)84 (2,839)
Total investment securities2,441 (3,048)(607)(1,705)1,809 104 
Loans6,921 (6,319)602 1,107 421 1,528 
Total earning assets (1)10,599 (10,733)(134)(716)2,264 1,548 
Interest expense:      
Deposits:      
Savings, NOW and MMA167 (506)(339)(36)388 352 
Time certificate of deposits(54)(70)(124)(35)458 423 
Total interest-bearing deposits113 (576)(463)(71)846 775 
Other borrowed funds(483)(18)(501)265 35 300 
Total interest bearing liabilities(370)(594)(964)194 881 1,075 
Net interest income (1)$10,969 $(10,139)$830 $(910)$1,383 $473 
(1) Computed on a tax equivalent basis for securities exempt from federal income taxes.

Interest and fee income from loans increased $602,000 or 1.17% in 2020 compared to 2019.  Interest and fee income from loans increased $1,528,000 or 3.06% in 2019 compared to 2018.  The increase in 2020 is primarily attributable to an increase in average total loans outstanding, offset by a decrease in the yield on loans of 60 basis points. The decrease in the loan yield was impacted by the Company’s issuance of low-interest PPP loans.
Average total loans for 2020 increased $124,829,000 to $1,055,712,000 compared to $930,883,000 for 2019 and $912,128,000 for 2018.  The yield on loans for 2020 was 4.94% compared to 5.54% and 5.50% for 2019 and 2018, respectively. The impact to interest income from the accretion of the loan marks on acquired loans was an increase of $1,321,000 and $989,000 for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Interest income from total investments on a non tax-equivalent basis, (total investments include investment securities, Federal funds sold, interest-bearing deposits in other banks, and other securities), decreased $915,000 or 6.15% in 2020 compared to 2019. The yield on average investments decreased 76 basis points to 2.32% for the year ended December 31, 2020 from 3.08% for the year ended December 31, 2019. Average total investments increased $128,662,000 to $623,117,000 in 2020 compared to $494,455,000 in 2019.  In 2019, total investment income on a non tax-equivalent basis increased $616,000 or 4.32% compared to 2018.
Our investment portfolio consists primarily of securities issued by U.S. Government sponsored entities and agencies collateralized by mortgage backed obligations and obligations of states and political subdivision securities. However, a significant portion of the investment portfolio is mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs).  At December 31, 2020, we held $299,806,000 or 42.22% of the total market value of the investment portfolio in MBS and CMOs with an average yield of 2.15%.  We invest in CMOs and MBS as part of our overall strategy to increase our net interest margin.  CMOs and MBS by their nature are affected by prepayments which are impacted by changes in interest rates.  In a normal declining rate environment, prepayments from MBS and CMOs would be expected to increase and the expected life of the investment would be expected to shorten.  Conversely, if interest rates increase, prepayments normally would be expected to decline and the average life of the MBS and CMOs would be expected to extend.  Premium amortization and discount accretion of these investments affects our net interest income.  Our management monitors the prepayment trends of these investments and adjusts premium amortization and discount accretion based on several factors.  These factors include the type of investment, the investment structure, interest rates, interest rates on new mortgage loans, expectation of interest rate changes, current economic conditions, the level of principal remaining on the bond, the bond coupon rate, the bond origination date, and volume of available bonds in market.  The calculation of premium amortization and discount accretion is by nature inexact, and represents management’s best estimate of principal pay downs inherent in the total investment portfolio.
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The cumulative net-of-tax effect of the change in market value of the available-for-sale investment portfolio as of December 31, 2020 was an unrealized gain of $14,856,000 and is reflected in the Company’s equity.  At December 31, 2020, the effective duration of the investment portfolio was 4.65 years and the market value reflected a pre-tax unrealized gain of $21,091,000.  Management reviews market value declines on individual investment securities to determine whether they represent other-than-temporary impairment (OTTI). For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, no OTTI was recorded. Future deterioration in the market values of our investment securities may require the Company to recognize additional OTTI losses.
A component of the Company’s strategic plan has been to use its investment portfolio to offset, in part, its interest rate risk relating to variable rate loans.  Measured at December 31, 2020, an immediate rate increase of 200 basis points would result in an estimated decrease in the market value of the investment portfolio by approximately $72,000,000.  Conversely, with an immediate rate decrease of 200 basis points, the estimated increase in the market value of the investment portfolio would be $66,000,000.  The modeling environment assumes management would take no action during an immediate shock of 200 basis points.  However, the Company uses those increments to measure its interest rate risk in accordance with regulatory requirements and to measure the possible future risk in the investment portfolio.  For further discussion of the Company’s market risk, refer to Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.
Management’s review of all investments before purchase includes an analysis of how the security will perform under several interest rate scenarios to monitor whether investments are consistent with our investment policy.  The policy addresses issues of average life, duration, and concentration guidelines, prohibited investments, impairment, and prohibited practices.
Total interest income in 2020 decreased $313,000 to $66,018,000 compared to $66,331,000 in 2019 and $64,187,000 in 2018, respectively.  The decrease in 2020 was the result of yield changes, decrease in interest rates, and asset mix changes.  The tax-equivalent yield on interest earning assets decreased to 3.97% for the year ended December 31, 2020 from 4.69% for the year ended December 31, 2019.  Average interest earning assets increased to $1,676,567,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $1,423,015,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019.  Average interest-earning deposits in other banks increased $59,031,000 in 2020 compared to 2019.  Average yield on these deposits was 0.32% compared to 2.10% on December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019 respectively.  Average investments and interest-earning deposits increased $128,662,000 but the tax equivalent yield on those assets decreased 76 basis points.  Average total loans increased $124,829,000 and the yield on average loans decreased 60 basis points.
The increase in total interest income for 2019 was the result of yield changes and asset mix changes. The tax-equivalent yield on interest-earning assets increased to 4.69% for the year ended December 31, 2019 from 4.54% for the year ended December 31, 2018.  Average interest-earning assets decrease to $1,423,015,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $1,435,025,000 for the year ended December 31, 2018.  Average total loans increased and the yield on average loans increased four basis points.
Interest expense on deposits in 2020 decreased $463,000 or 24.01% to $1,465,000 compared to $1,928,000 in 2019 and increased $312,000 as compared to 2018.  The yield on interest-bearing deposits decreased 8 basis points to 0.18% in 2020 from 0.26% in 2019.  The yield on interest-bearing deposits increased 11 basis points to 0.26% in 2019 from 0.15% in 2018.  Average interest-bearing deposits were $823,955,000 for 2020 compared to $738,432,000 and $780,449,000 for 2019 and 2018, respectively. 
Average other borrowings were $5,155,000 with an effective rate of 2.52% for 2020 compared to $21,943,000 with an effective rate of 2.88% for 2019.  In 2018, the average other borrowings were $12,180,000 with an effective rate of 2.72%.  Included in other borrowings are the junior subordinated deferrable interest debentures acquired from Service 1st, advances on lines of credit, advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB), and overnight borrowings.  The debentures carry a floating rate based on the three month LIBOR plus a margin of 1.60%. The rate was 1.84% for 2020, 3.59% for 2019, and 4.04% for 2018.
The cost of all interest-bearing liabilities was 0.19% and 0.34% basis points for 2020 and 2019, respectively, compared to 0.19% for 2018.  The cost of total deposits decreased to 0.09% for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 0.15% and 0.09% for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.  Average demand deposits increased 33.53% to $744,239,000 in 2020 compared to $557,348,000 for 2019 and $553,305,000 for 2018. The ratio of average non-interest demand deposits to average total deposits increased to 47.46% for 2020 compared to 43.01% and 41.48% for 2019 and 2018, respectively.
 
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Net Interest Income before Provision for Credit Losses
 
Net interest income before provision for credit losses for 2020 increased $651,000 or 1.02% to $64,423,000 compared to $63,772,000 for 2019 and $62,703,000 for 2018.  The increase in 2020 was a result of yield changes, asset mix changes, and an increase in average earning assets, offset by an increase in average interest bearing liabilities. Our net interest margin (NIM) decreased 64 basis points. Yield on interest earning assets decreased 72 basis points.  The decrease in net interest margin in the period-to-period comparison resulted primarily from the decrease in the effective yield on interest earning deposits in other banks and Federal Funds sold, the decrease in the effective yield on average investment securities, and the decrease in the yield on the Company’s loan portfolio.  Net interest income before provision for credit losses increased $1,069,000 in 2019 compared to 2018, primarily due to the increase in average earning assets, asset mix changes, and a decrease in average interest bearing liabilities. Average interest-earning assets were $1,676,567,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 with a NIM of 3.87% compared to $1,423,015,000 with a NIM of 4.51% in 2019, and $1,435,025,000 with a NIM of 4.44% in 2018.  For a discussion of the repricing of our assets and liabilities, refer to Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure about Market Risk.

Provision for Credit Losses
 
Credit risk is inherent in the business of making loans. The Company establishes an allowance for credit losses on loans through charges to earnings, which are presented in the statements of income as the provision for credit losses on loans. Specifically identifiable and quantifiable known losses are promptly charged off against the allowance.
The provision for credit losses on loans is determined by conducting a quarterly evaluation of the adequacy of the Company’s allowance for credit losses on loans and charging the shortfall or excess, if any, to the current quarter’s expense. This has the effect of creating variability in the amount and frequency of charges to the Company’s earnings. The provision for credit losses on loans and level of allowance for each period are dependent upon many factors, including loan growth, net charge offs, changes in the composition of the loan portfolio, delinquencies, management’s assessment of the quality of the loan portfolio, the valuation of problem loans and the general economic conditions in the Company’s market area.
The establishment of an adequate credit allowance is based on an allowance model that utilizes qualitative and quantitative factors, historical losses, loan level risk ratings and portfolio management tools.  The Board of Directors has established initial responsibility for the accuracy of credit risk ratings with the individual credit officer and oversight from Credit Administration who ensures the accuracy of the risk ratings. Quarterly, the credit officers must certify the current risk ratings of the loans in their portfolio. Credit Administration reviews the certifications and reports to the Board of Directors Audit Committee. At least annually the loan portfolio, including risk ratings, is reviewed by a third party credit reviewer. Regulatory agencies also review the loan portfolio on a periodic basis. See “Allowance for Credit Losses” for more information on the Company’s Allowance for Loan Loss.
    During the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company recorded a provision for credit losses of $3,275,000 compared to a provision of $1,025,000 and $50,000 for the same periods in 2019 and 2018, respectively. The recorded provisions to the allowance for credit losses are primarily the result of our assessment of the overall adequacy of the allowance for credit losses considering a number of factors as discussed in the “Allowance for Credit Losses” section.
During the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 the Company had net charge-offs (recoveries) totaling $(510,000), $999,000, and $(276,000), respectively. The net charge-off (recovery) ratio, which reflects net charge-offs (recoveries) to average loans, was (0.05)%, 0.11% and (0.03)% for 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.
Economic pressures may negatively impact the financial condition of borrowers to whom the Company has extended credit and as a result when negative economic conditions are anticipated, we may be required to make significant provisions to the allowance for credit losses. The Bank conducts banking operation principally in California’s Central Valley. The Central Valley is largely dependent on agriculture. The agricultural economy in the Central Valley is therefore important to our business, financial performance and results of operations. We are also dependent in a large part upon the business activity, population growth, income levels and real estate activity in this market area. A downturn in agriculture and the agricultural related businesses could have a material adverse effect our business, results of operations and financial condition. The agricultural industry has been affected by declines in prices and the changes in yields on various crops and other agricultural commodities. Similarly, weaker prices could reduce the cash flows generated by farms and the value of agricultural land in our local markets and thereby increase the risk of default by our borrowers or reduce the foreclosure value of agricultural land and equipment that serve as collateral of our loans. Further declines in commodity prices or collateral values may increase the incidence of default by our borrowers. Moreover, weaker prices might threaten farming operations in the Central Valley, reducing market demand for agricultural lending. In particular, farm income has seen recent declines, and in line with the downturn in farm income, farmland prices are coming under pressure.
We have been and will continue to be proactive in looking for signs of deterioration within the loan portfolio in an effort to manage credit quality and work with borrowers where possible to mitigate losses. As of December 31, 2020, there were $36.1 million in classified loans of which $1.2 million related to agricultural real estate, $10.4 million to commercial and industrial loans, $7.3 million to real estate owner occupied, $3.3 million to agricultural production, $3.2 million to real estate
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construction, and $9.6 million to commercial real estate. This compares to $33.8 million in classified loans as of December 31, 2019 of which $7.3 million related to agricultural real estate, $1.6 million to real estate construction, $13.2 million to commercial and industrial, $4.3 million to agricultural production, $1.1 million to commercial real estate, and $4.7 million to real estate owner occupied.
As of December 31, 2020, we believe, based on all current and available information, the allowance for credit losses is adequate to absorb probable incurred losses within the loan portfolio; however, no assurance can be given that we may not sustain charge-offs which are in excess of the allowance in any given period.  Refer to “Allowance for Credit Losses” below for further information.
 
Net Interest Income after Provision for Credit Losses
 
Net interest income, after the provision for credit losses was $61,148,000 for 2020 compared to $62,747,000 and $62,653,000 for 2019 and 2018, respectively.
 
Non-Interest Income 

Non-interest income is comprised of customer service charges, gains on sales and calls of investment securities, income from appreciation in cash surrender value of bank owned life insurance, loan placement fees, Federal Home Loan Bank dividends, and other income.  Non-interest income was $13,797,000 in 2020 compared to $13,305,000 and $10,324,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. The $492,000 or 3.70% increase in non-interest income in 2020 primarily driven by an increase in loan placement fees, and an increase in other income, partially offset by a decrease in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, a decrease in service charge income, and a decrease in FHLB dividends. The $2,981,000 or 28.87% increase in non-interest income in 2019 resulted primarily from increases in net realized gains on sales and calls of investment securities, loan placement fees, appreciation in cash surrender value of the bank owned life insurance, partially offset by a decrease in service charge income, net gain on the sale of the Company’s credit card portfolio, interchange fees, and Federal Home Loan bank dividends compared to 2018.
Customer service charges decreased $685,000 to $2,071,000 in 2020 compared to $2,756,000 in 2019 and $2,986,000 in 2018.  The decreases in 2020 and 2019 resulted from decreases in our NSF fees and lower analysis service charge income.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, we realized net gains on sales and calls of investment securities of $4,252,000, compared to $5,199,000 in 2019 and $1,314,000 in 2018. The net gains in 2020, 2019, and 2018 were the results of partial restructuring of the investment portfolio designed to improve the future performance of the portfolio.  See Note 3 to the audited Consolidated Financial Statements for more detail.
Income from the appreciation in cash surrender value of bank owned life insurance (BOLI) totaled $711,000 in 2020 compared to $728,000 and $695,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively.  The Bank’s salary continuation and deferred compensation plans and the related BOLI are used as retention tools for directors and key executives of the Bank.
Interchange fees totaled $1,347,000 in 2020 compared to $1,446,000 and $1,462,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
We earn loan placement fees from the brokerage of single-family residential mortgage loans provided for the convenience of our customers.  Loan placement fees increased $1,313,000 in 2020 to $2,291,000 compared to $978,000 in 2019 and $708,000 in 2018. 
The Bank holds stock from the Federal Home Loan Bank in relationship with its borrowing capacity and generally receives quarterly dividends.  As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, we held FHLB stock totaling $5,595,000 and $6,062,000, respectively.  Dividends in 2020 decreased to $323,000 compared to $455,000 in 2019 and $590,000 in 2018.
Other income increased to $2,802,000 in 2020 compared to $1,743,000 and $2,107,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. The increase in other income during the year ended December 31, 2020 resulted from a $1,167,000 gain related to the collection of tax-exempt life insurance proceeds. A net gain of $462,000 on the sale of the Company’s credit card portfolio was recorded during the year ended December 31, 2018.

Non-Interest Expenses
 
Salaries and employee benefits, occupancy and equipment, regulatory assessments, acquisition and integration-related expenses, data processing expenses, ATM/Debit card expenses, license and maintenance contract expenses, information technology, and professional services (consisting of audit, accounting, consulting and legal fees) are the major categories of non-interest expenses.  Non-interest expenses increased $1,584,000 or 3.44% to $47,684,000 in 2020 compared to $46,100,000 in 2019, and $45,068,000 in 2018.
Our efficiency ratio, measured as the percentage of non-interest expenses (exclusive of amortization of core deposit intangibles, other real estate owned, and repossessed asset expenses) to net interest income before provision for credit losses plus non-interest income (exclusive of realized gains or losses on sale and calls of investments) was 64.08% for 2020 compared to 62.77% for 2019 and 61.23% for 2018. The increase in the efficiency ratio in 2020 and 2019 was due to the growth in non-interest expense outpacing the growth in non-interest income.
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Salaries and employee benefits increased $1,949,000 or 7.31% to $28,603,000 in 2020 compared to $26,654,000 in 2019 and $26,221,000 in 2018.  Full time equivalents were 273 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 281 for the year ended December 31, 2019. The increase in salaries and employee benefits in 2020 compared to 2019 was the result of an increase of $2,426,000 in salaries and benefits (of which $525,000 related to the payment of employee incentive compensation), as well as an increase of $185,000 for directors’ and officers’ expenses related to the change in the discount rate used to calculate the liability for salary continuation, deferred compensation, and split-dollar plans; offset by higher loan origination costs of approximately $913,000 relating to the PPP loans processed during the second quarter of 2020.
For the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, the compensation cost recognized for equity-based compensation was $470,000, $555,000 and $482,000, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, there was $225,000 of total unrecognized compensation cost related to non-vested equity-based compensation arrangements granted under all plans.  The cost is expected to be recognized over a weighted average period of 0.85 years.  See Notes 1 and 14 to the audited Consolidated Financial Statements for more detail. No options to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock were issued during the years ending December 31, 2020 and 2019. Restricted common stock awards of 21,397 and 25,420 shares were awarded in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Occupancy and equipment expense decreased $813,000 or 14.95% to $4,626,000 in 2020 compared to $5,439,000 in 2019 and $5,972,000 in 2018. The Company made no changes in its depreciation expense methodology. The Company operated 20 full-service offices at December 31,2020 and at December 31, 2019. The Company closed two banking offices, one in Rancho Cordova and one in Fair Oaks, and consolidated both branches into a newly opened banking office in Gold River during the second quarter of 2019.
Regulatory assessments were $490,000 in 2020 compared to $251,000 and $619,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively.  The assessment base for calculating the amount owed is based on the formula of average assets minus average tangible equity. The 2019 lower assessments were the result of the Company receiving its small business bank credit.
Information technology expense decreased $220,000 to $2,391,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $2,611,000 and $1,113,000 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. Data processing expenses were $2,046,000 in 2020 compared to $1,557,000 in 2019 and $1,666,000 in 2018. No acquisition and integration expenses related to the Folsom Lake Bank (“FLB”) and Sierra Vista Bank (“SVB”) mergers were recorded in 2020 or 2019, compared to $217,000 in 2018. Professional services increased $1,093,000 in 2020 compared to 2019 due to higher legal expenses and consulting fees.
Amortization of core deposit intangibles was $695,000 for 2020, $695,000 for 2019, and $455,000 for 2018. During 2020, amortization expense related to FLB core deposit intangibles (“CDI”) was $423,000, amortization expense related to SVB CDI was $135,000, and amortization expense related to Visalia Community Bank (“VCB”) CDI was $137,000. During 2019, amortization expense related to FLB CDI was $423,000, amortization expense related to SVB CDI was $135,000, and amortization expense related to VCB CDI was $137,000. During 2018, amortization expense related to FLB CDI was $247,000, amortization expense related to SVB CDI was $72,000, and amortization expense related to VCB CDI was $136,000.
ATM/Debit card expenses decreased $101,000 to $819,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $920,000 in 2019 and $739,000 in 2018. Other non-interest expenses decreased $698,000 or 15.91% to $3,688,000 in 2020 compared to $4,386,000 in 2019 and $4,636,000 in 2018.
 
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The following table describes significant components of other non-interest expense as a percentage of average assets.
For the years ended December 31,
(Dollars in thousands)
Other
Expense
2020
%
Average
Assets
Other
Expense
2019
%
Average
Assets
Other
Expense
2018
%
Average
Assets
Stationery/supplies$228 0.01 %$240 0.02 %$281 0.02 %
Amortization of software123 0.01 %350 0.02 %303 0.02 %
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