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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ______ to ______
Commission File Number 001-35095
UNITED COMMUNITY BANKS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Georgia
 
58-1807304
(State of incorporation)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
125 Highway 515 East
 
 
Blairsville
,
Georgia
 
30512
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (706) 781-2265
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
 
 
Title of Each Class
Trading Symbol(s)
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common stock, par value $1 per share
UCBI
Nasdaq Global Select 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 Act.  Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
 
Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
 
Smaller reporting company
 
 
 
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No
State the aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter: $2,247,034,684 (based on shares held by non-affiliates at $28.56 per share, the closing stock price on the Nasdaq stock market on June 28, 2019).
As of January 31, 2020, there were 78,942,146 shares of United Community Banks, Inc.’s common stock issued and outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 16, 2020 (the “2020 Proxy Statement”) are incorporated herein into Part III by reference.
 
 
 
 
 




INDEX
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



2



Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Report”) contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In particular, information appearing under “Business,” “Risk Factors,” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” includes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are neither statements of historical fact nor assurance of future performance and generally can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “believes”, “expects”, “may”, “will”, “could”, “should”, “projects”, “plans”, “goal”, “targets”, “potential”, “estimates”, “pro forma”, “seeks”, “intends”, or “anticipates”, or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements include discussions of strategy, financial projections, guidance and estimates (including their underlying assumptions), statements regarding plans, objectives, expectations or consequences of various transactions or events, and statements about our future performance, operations, products and services, and should be viewed with caution.

Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances, many of which are out of our control, and that are difficult to predict as to timing, extent, likelihood and degree of occurrence, and that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results implied or anticipated by the statements. Except as required by law, we expressly disclaim any obligations to publicly update any forward-looking statements whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. Important factors that could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements, in addition to those described in detail under Items 1A of this Report - “Risk Factors” - include, but are not limited to the following:

the condition of the general business, political, and economic environment, banking system and financial markets and corresponding changes in loan underwriting, credit review or loss policies associated with changes in these and other conditions, such as the regulatory environment;
strategic, market, operational, liquidity and interest rate risks associated with our business;
continuation of historically low interest rates coupled with other potential fluctuations or unanticipated changes in the interest rate environment, including interest rate changes made by the Federal Reserve, the discontinuation of London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) as an interest rate benchmark, as well as cash flow reassessments may reduce net interest margin and/or the volumes and values of loans made or held as well as the value of other financial assets;
our lack of geographic diversification and any unanticipated or greater than anticipated adverse conditions in the national or local economies in which we operate;
the risks of expansion into new geographic or product markets;
risks with respect to future mergers or acquisitions, including our ability to successfully expand and complete acquisitions and integrate businesses and operations that we acquire;
our ability to attract and retain key employees;
competition from financial institutions and other financial service providers including financial technology providers and our ability to attract customers from other financial institutions;
losses due to fraudulent and negligent conduct of our customers, third party service providers or employees;
cybersecurity risks and the vulnerability of our network and online banking portals, and the systems or parties with whom we contract, to unauthorized access, computer viruses, phishing schemes, spam attacks, human error, natural disasters, power loss and other security breaches that could adversely affect our business and financial performance or reputation;
our reliance on third parties to provide key components of our business infrastructure and services required to operate our business;
the risk that we may be required to make substantial expenditures to keep pace with regulatory initiatives and the rapid technological changes in the financial services market;
the availability of and access to capital;
legislative, regulatory or accounting changes that may adversely affect us;
changes in the allowance for loan losses resulting from the adoption and implementation of the new Current Expected Credit Loss (“CECL”) methodology;
adverse results (including judgments, costs, fines, reputational harm, inability to obtain necessary approvals and/or other negative effects) from current or future litigation, regulatory proceedings, examinations, investigations, or similar matters, or developments related thereto;
deterioration in the financial condition of borrowers resulting in significant increases in loan losses and provisions for those losses that exceed our current allowance for loan losses;
limitations on our ability to receive dividends from our subsidiaries which would affect our liquidity, including our ability to pay dividends or take other capital actions;
other risks and uncertainties disclosed in documents filed or furnished by us with or to the SEC, any of which could cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed, implied or otherwise anticipated by such forward-looking statements.


3



PART I
Unless the context otherwise requires, the terms “we,” “our,” “us” or “United” refer to United Community Banks, Inc. and its direct and indirect subsidiaries, including United Community Bank, which we sometimes refer to as “the Bank,” “our bank subsidiary” or “our bank.” References to the “Holding Company” refer to United Community Banks, Inc. on an unconsolidated basis. References herein to the fiscal years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 mean our fiscal years ended December 31, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

ITEM 1.    BUSINESS.

Overview

We are a bank holding company with approximately $12.9 billion in assets as of December 31, 2019. We were incorporated in 1987 and began operations in 1988 in the state of Georgia by acquiring the capital stock of the Bank, a Georgia state-chartered bank that opened in 1950. We have since grown through a combination of acquisitions and strategic growth throughout the Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee markets, as well as nationally through our United States Small Business Administration / United States Department of Agriculture (“SBA/USDA”) lending and equipment finance businesses. As of January 31, 2020, we had 2,309 full-time equivalent employees.

We provide a wide array of commercial and consumer banking services, including checking, savings and time deposit accounts, secured and unsecured loans, mortgage loans, payment services, wire transfers, brokerage, investment advisory services and other related financial services to our customers. Our business model combines the commitment to exceptional customer service of a local bank with the products and expertise of a larger institution. We believe that this combination of service and expertise sets us apart and is instrumental in our strategy to build long-term relationships. We operate as a locally-focused community bank, supplemented by experienced, centralized support to deliver products and services to our larger, more sophisticated, customers. Our organizational structure reflects these strengths, with local leaders for each market and market advisory boards operating in partnership with the product experts of our Commercial Banking Solutions unit.

Our revenue is primarily derived from interest on and fees received in connection with the loans we make and from interest and dividends from our investment securities and short-term investments. The principal sources of funds for our lending activities are customer deposits, repayment of loans, and the sale and maturity of investment securities. Our principal expenses are interest paid on deposits and other borrowings and operating and general administrative expenses.
Lending Activities

We offer a full range of lending services, including real estate, consumer and commercial loans, to individuals, small businesses, mid-sized commercial businesses and non-profit organizations. We also originate loans partially guaranteed by the SBA and to a lesser extent by the USDA loan programs. Our consolidated loans at December 31, 2019 were $8.81 billion, or 68% of total consolidated assets. The interest rates that we charge on loans varies with the degree of risk, maturity and amount of the loan, and are further subject to competitive pressures, deposit costs, availability of funds and government regulations.

The most significant categories of our loans are those to finance owner occupied real estate, commercial income property, commercial and industrial equipment and operating loans, and consumer loans secured by personal residences. A majority of our loans are made on a secured basis.

The majority of our loans are to customers located in the immediate market areas of our banking locations in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, including customers who have a seasonal residence in our market areas. We originate a significant portion of our SBA/USDA and equipment finance loans on a national basis, to customers outside of our immediate market areas.

Our full-service retail mortgage lending division, United Community Mortgage Services (“UCMS”), is approved as a seller/servicer for the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) and provides fixed and adjustable-rate home mortgages. During 2019, the Bank originated $1.10 billion in residential mortgage loans for the purchase of homes and to refinance existing mortgage debt. The majority of these mortgages were sold into the secondary market without recourse to us, other than for breaches of warranties. We retain the servicing on most of our mortgage loans originated and sold since 2016. At December 31, 2019, our servicing portfolio included $1.60 billion of loans that we no longer own but service for others.


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Our credit organization provides each lending officer with written guidelines for lending activities, and limited lending authority is delegated to lending officers. Loans in excess of individual officer credit authority must be approved by a senior officer with sufficient approval authority delegated by our credit organization or by our Senior Credit Committee.

Our Regional Credit Officers, Senior Credit Officers, and Senior Risk Officers provide credit approval and portfolio administration support for our commercial lending operations as needed. Our Regional Credit Officers have lending authority set by our Chief Commercial Credit Officer based on characteristics of the markets they serve. For commercial loan relationships less than $500,000, we use a centralized small business lending/underwriting department.

We have a centralized consumer credit center that provides underwriting, regulatory disclosure and document preparation for all consumer loan requests originated by our lenders. Applications are processed through an automated loan origination software platform and approved by credit center underwriters.

Our Loan Review Department reviews, or engages an independent third party to review, our loan portfolio on an ongoing basis to identify any weaknesses in the portfolio and to assess the general quality of credit underwriting. The results of such reviews are presented to our executive management.
For additional information regarding our lending activity, see the section captioned “Loans” in the “Balance Sheet Review” section of Part II, Item 7 of this Report - “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Deposit Activities

Deposits are the major source of our funds for lending and other investment activities. We offer our customers a variety of deposit products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and other deposit accounts, through multiple channels, including our network of full-service branches and our online, mobile and telephone banking platforms. We consider the majority of our regular savings, demand, negotiable order of withdrawal (“NOW”) and money market deposit accounts to be core deposits. Generally, we attempt to maintain the rates paid on our deposits at a competitive level. We generate the majority of our deposits from customers in our local markets. For additional information regarding our deposit accounts, see the section captioned “Deposits” in Part II, Item 7 of this Report - “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Investments

We use our investment portfolio to provide for the investment of excess funds at acceptable risks levels while providing liquidity to fund loan demand or to offset fluctuations in deposits. Our portfolio consists primarily of residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities and U.S. Department of the Treasury (“U. S. Treasury”) and agency and municipal obligations. Most of the securities are classified by us as available-for-sale and recorded on our balance sheet at market value at each balance sheet date. Any change in market value on available-for-sale securities is recorded directly in our shareholders’ equity account and is not recognized in our income statement unless the security is sold or unless it is impaired and the impairment is other than temporary.

Insurance, Merchant Services and Wealth Management

We own a captive insurance subsidiary, NLFC Reinsurance Corp., which provides reinsurance on a property insurance contract covering equipment financed by our equipment financing division and risk management services for us and our subsidiaries.

We provide payment processing services for our commercial and small business customers through United Community Payment Systems, LLC (“UCPS”). UCPS is a joint venture between the Bank and Security Card Services, LLC, a merchant services provider.

We generate fee revenue through the sale of non-deposit investment products and insurance products, including life insurance, long-term care insurance and tax-deferred annuities, to our customers. Those products are sold by employees who are licensed financial advisors doing business as United Community Advisory Services. We have an affiliation with a third party broker/dealer, LPL Financial, to facilitate this line of business.

Competition

We compete in the highly competitive banking and financial services industry. Our profitability depends principally on our ability to effectively compete in the markets in which we conduct business.

We experience strong competition from both bank and non-bank competitors. Broadly speaking, we compete with national banks, super-regional banks, smaller community banks, credit unions, non-traditional internet-based banks and insurance companies. We

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also compete with other financial intermediaries and investment alternatives such as mortgage companies, credit card issuers, leasing companies, finance companies, money market mutual funds, brokerage firms, governmental and corporate bond issuers, and other securities firms. Many of these non-bank competitors are not subject to the same regulatory oversight, which can provide them a competitive advantage in some instances. In many cases, our competitors have substantially greater resources and offer certain services that we are unable to provide to our customers.

We encounter strong pricing competition in providing our services, particularly in making loans and attracting deposits. Additionally, other banks offer different products or services from those that we provide. The larger national and super-regional banks may have significantly greater lending limits and may offer additional products. We attempt to compete successfully with our competitors, regardless of their size, by emphasizing customer service while continuing to provide a wide variety of services.

We expect competition in the industry to continue to increase mainly as a result of the improvement in financial technology used by both existing and new banking and financial services firms. Competition may further intensify as additional companies enter the markets where we conduct business, competitors combine to present more formidable challengers and we enter mature markets in accordance with our expansion strategy.

Acquisitions and Expansion

We look for opportunities to expand into attractive markets in which we believe our operating model will be successful. We have entered new markets and expanded our product offerings both by establishing new branches and service locations and selective acquisitions of existing market participants. We have developed a number of commercial lending businesses organically, which provide local commercial real estate, middle market, senior living, renewable energy, builder finance and asset-based lending services. We generally seek merger or acquisition partners that share a similar culture and commitment to customer service. Acquisitions typically involve the payment of a premium over book and market values and, therefore, some dilution to our book value and net income per share may occur with any future transactions. Our goal is to maintain a reasonable earn-back period of any dilution, using realistic assumptions as to growth and expense reductions, as well as to achieve a return on investment superior to that achieved through de novo expansion. Our ability to engage in any merger or acquisition will depend upon approval from various bank regulatory authorities, which will be subject to a variety of factors and considerations.

Supervision and Regulation
 
General

Like all banks and bank holding companies, we are regulated extensively under state and federal banking laws. The regulatory framework is intended primarily for the protection of the depositors, the federal deposit insurance fund and the banking system as a whole and not for the protection of our shareholders and creditors. Certain provisions of laws and regulations affecting financial services firms are subject to further rulemaking, guidance and interpretation by the applicable federal regulators. The Holding Company is subject to the examination and reporting requirements of the Federal Reserve and the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance (the “DBF”) and also is subject to regulation by the SEC by virtue of its status as a public company and due to the nature of some of its businesses. The Bank is subject to examination and reporting requirements of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), the DBF and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The financial statements and information contained herein have not been reviewed, or confirmed for accuracy or relevance, by the FDIC or any other regulator.

The following is a general summary of the material aspects of certain statutes and regulations applicable to us. These summary descriptions are not complete, and you should refer to the full text of the statutes, regulations, and corresponding guidance for more information. These statutes and regulations are subject to change, and additional statutes, regulations, and corresponding guidance may be adopted. We are unable to predict these future changes or the effects, if any, that these changes could have on our business, revenues, and results of operations.

Bank Holding Company Regulation

The Holding Company is a registered bank holding company subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (“BHC Act”) and is required to file annual and quarterly financial information with, and is subject to periodic examination by, the Federal Reserve. The BHC Act requires every bank holding company to obtain the Federal Reserve’s prior approval before (1) acquiring direct or indirect ownership or control of more than 5% of the voting shares of any bank that it does not already control; (2) acquiring all or substantially all of the assets of a bank; and (3) subject to certain exceptions, merging or consolidating with any other bank holding company. In addition, a bank holding company is generally prohibited from engaging in, or acquiring a direct or indirect interest in or control of more than 5% of the voting shares of any company engaged in non-banking

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activities. This prohibition does not apply to activities listed in the BHC Act or found by the Federal Reserve, by order or regulation, to be closely related to banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto.
 
Some of the activities that the Federal Reserve has determined by regulation or order to be closely related to banking are:
 
making or servicing loans and certain types of leases;
performing certain data processing services;
acting as fiduciary or investment or financial advisor;
providing brokerage services;
underwriting bank eligible securities;
underwriting debt and equity securities on a limited basis through separately capitalized subsidiaries; and
making investments in corporations or projects designed primarily to promote community welfare.

Although the activities of bank holding companies have traditionally been limited to the business of banking and activities closely related or incidental to banking (as discussed above), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (the “GLB Act”) relaxed the previous limitations and permitted bank holding companies to engage in a broader range of financial activities. Specifically, bank holding companies may elect to become financial holding companies which may affiliate with securities firms and insurance companies and engage in other activities that are financial in nature. We have not sought financial holding company status, but we may elect that status in the future. If we were to elect in writing for financial holding company status, we would be required to be well capitalized and well managed, and each insured depository institution we control would also have to be well capitalized, well managed and have at least a satisfactory rating under the Community Reinvestment Act (discussed below).
 
The Holding Company also must register with the DBF and file periodic information with the DBF. As part of such registration, the DBF requires information with respect to our financial condition, operations, management and intercompany relationship and related matters. The DBF may also require such other information as is necessary to keep itself informed concerning compliance with Georgia law and the regulations and orders issued thereunder by the DBF, and the DBF may examine both the Holding Company and the Bank. Although the Bank operates branches in North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina, none of the North Carolina Banking Commission, the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, or the South Carolina Commissioner of Banking examines or directly regulates out-of-state holding companies.
 
The Holding Company is an “affiliate” of the Bank under the Federal Reserve Act, which imposes certain restrictions on (1) loans by the Bank to the Holding Company, (2) investments in the stock or securities of the Holding Company by the Bank, (3) the Bank taking the stock or securities of an “affiliate” as collateral for loans by the Bank to a borrower and (4) the purchase of assets from the Holding Company by the Bank. Further, a bank holding company and its subsidiaries are prohibited from engaging in certain tie-in arrangements in connection with any extension of credit, lease or sale of property or furnishing of services. 

Payment of Dividends

The Holding Company is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Bank. Most of the revenue of the Holding Company results from dividends paid to it by the Bank. There are statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to the payment of dividends by the Bank, as well as by the Holding Company to its shareholders.
 
Under the regulations of the DBF, a state bank may declare a dividend out of its retained earnings without DBF approval if it meets all the following requirements:
 
(a)
total classified assets as of the most recent examination of the bank do not exceed 80% of equity capital (as defined by regulation);
(b)
the aggregate amount of dividends declared or anticipated to be declared in the calendar year does not exceed 50% of the net profits after taxes but before dividends for the previous calendar year; and
(c)
the ratio of equity capital to adjusted assets is not less than 6%.

The payment of dividends by the Holding Company and the Bank may also be affected or limited by other factors, such as the requirement to maintain adequate capital above regulatory guidelines. In addition, if, in the opinion of the applicable regulatory authority, a bank under its jurisdiction is engaged in or is about to engage in an unsafe or unsound practice (which, depending upon the financial condition of the bank, could include the payment of dividends), such authority may require, after notice and hearing, that such bank cease and desist from such practice. The FDIC has issued a policy statement providing that insured banks should generally only pay dividends out of current operating earnings. In addition to the formal statutes and regulations, regulatory authorities consider the adequacy of the Bank’s total capital in relation to its assets, deposits and other such items. Capital adequacy considerations could further limit the availability of dividends from the Bank.
 

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The Federal Reserve has issued a policy statement on the payment of cash dividends by bank holding companies, which expresses the Federal Reserve’s view that a bank holding company generally should pay cash dividends only to the extent that the holding company’s net income for the past year is sufficient to cover both the cash dividends and a rate of earnings retention that is consistent with the holding company’s capital needs, asset quality, and overall financial condition. The Federal Reserve has also indicated that a bank holding company should not maintain a level of cash dividends that places undue pressure on the capital of its bank subsidiaries, or that can be funded only through additional borrowings or other arrangements that undermine the bank holding company’s ability to act as a source of strength. The Holding Company and the Bank must also maintain the CET1 capital conservation buffer of 2.5% to avoid becoming subject to restrictions on capital distributions, including dividends, as described below under “Capital Adequacy-Basel III Capital Standards.”
 
Due to its accumulated deficit in recent years, the Bank was required to receive pre-approval from the DBF and FDIC to pay cash dividends (reduction in capital) to the Holding Company. During 2019, no cash dividends were paid by the Bank to the Holding Company. In 2018 and 2017, the Bank paid cash dividends of $162 million and $103 million, respectively, to the Holding Company after the approval of the DBF and FDIC. The dividends were paid out of capital surplus rather than the accumulated deficit. At both December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, the Bank no longer had an accumulated deficit. The Holding Company declared cash dividends on its common stock in 2019, 2018 and 2017 of $0.68, $0.58 and $0.38 per share, respectively.
 
Capital Adequacy

Banks and bank holding companies are subject to various regulatory capital requirements administered by state and federal banking agencies. Capital adequacy guidelines involve quantitative measures of assets, liabilities and certain off-balance-sheet items calculated under regulatory accounting practices. Capital amounts and classifications are also subject to qualitative judgments by regulators about components, risk weighting and other factors. 

Basel III Capital Standards

Regulatory capital rules adopted in July 2013 and fully-phased in as of January 1, 2019, which we refer to as the Basel III rules, impose minimum capital requirements for bank holding companies and banks. The Basel III rules apply to all national and state banks and savings associations regardless of size and bank holding companies and savings and loan holding companies with more than $3 billion in total consolidated assets. More stringent requirements are imposed on “advanced approaches” banking organizations which are organizations with $250 billion or more in total consolidated assets, $10 billion or more in total foreign exposures, or that have opted into the Basel III capital regime.

Specifically, we are required to maintain the following minimum capital levels:

a common equity Tier 1 (“CET1”), risk-based capital ratio of 4.5%;
a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 6%;
a total risk-based capital ratio of 8%; and
a leverage ratio of 4%.

Under Basel III, Tier 1 capital includes two components: CET1 capital and additional Tier 1 capital. The highest form of capital, CET1 capital, consists solely of common stock (plus related surplus), retained earnings, accumulated other comprehensive income, otherwise referred to as AOCI, and limited amounts of minority interests that are in the form of common stock. Additional Tier 1 capital is primarily comprised of noncumulative perpetual preferred stock, Tier 1 minority interests and grandfathered trust preferred securities (as discussed below). Tier 2 capital generally includes the allowance for loan losses up to 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, qualifying preferred stock, subordinated debt and qualifying tier 2 minority interests, less any deductions in Tier 2 instruments of an unconsolidated financial institution. Cumulative perpetual preferred stock is included only in Tier 2 capital, except that the Basel III rules permit bank holding companies with less than $15 billion in total consolidated assets to continue to include trust preferred securities and cumulative perpetual preferred stock issued before May 19, 2010 in Tier 1 Capital (but not in CET1 capital), subject to certain restrictions. AOCI is presumptively included in CET1 capital and often would operate to reduce this category of capital. When implemented, Basel III provided a one-time opportunity at the end of the first quarter of 2015 for covered banking organizations to opt out of much of this treatment of AOCI. We made this opt-out election and, as a result, retained our pre-existing treatment for AOCI.

In addition, in order to avoid restrictions on capital distributions or discretionary bonus payments to executives, under Basel III, a banking organization must maintain a “capital conservation buffer” on top of its minimum risk-based capital requirements. This buffer must consist solely of Tier 1 Common Equity, but the buffer applies to all three risk-based measurements (CET1, Tier 1 capital and total capital). The 2.5% capital conservation buffer was phased in incrementally over time, and became fully effective for us on January

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1, 2019, resulting in the following effective minimum capital plus capital conservation buffer ratios: (i) a CET1 capital ratio of 7.0%, (ii) a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 8.5%, and (iii) a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.5%.

On December 21, 2018, the federal banking agencies issued a joint final rule to revise their regulatory capital rules to (i) address the upcoming implementation of a new credit impairment model, the Current Expected Credit Loss, or CECL model, an accounting standard under GAAP; (ii) provide an optional three-year phase-in period for the day-one adverse regulatory capital effects that banking organizations are expected to experience upon adopting CECL; and (iii) require the use of CECL in stress tests beginning with the 2020 capital planning and stress testing cycle for certain banking organizations that are subject to stress testing. We expect to recognize a one-time cumulative-effect adjustment of $3.53 million, net of tax, to retained earnings as of the beginning of the first quarter of 2020, the first reporting period in which the new standard is effective.

In December 2017, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision published the last version of the Basel III accord, generally referred to as “Basel IV.” The Basel Committee stated that a key objective of the revisions incorporated into the framework is to reduce excessive variability of risk-weighted assets (“RWA”), which will be accomplished by enhancing the robustness and risk sensitivity of the standardized approaches for credit risk and operational risk, which will facilitate the comparability of banks’ capital ratios; constraining the use of internally modeled approaches; and complementing the risk-weighted capital ratio with a finalized leverage ratio and a revised and robust capital floor. Leadership of the federal banking agencies who are tasked with implementing Basel IV supported the revisions. Although it is uncertain at this time, we anticipate some, if not all, of the Basel IV accord may be incorporated into the capital requirements framework applicable to us.

Prompt Corrective Action

In addition to the Basel III rules applicable to both banks and bank holding companies discussed above, the Bank is required to comply with the capital requirements promulgated under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and the prompt corrective action regulations thereunder, which set forth five capital categories, each with specific regulatory consequences. Under these regulations, the categories are: (1) a “well-capitalized” institution has a Total risk-based capital ratio of at least 10%, a Tier 1 risk-based ratio of at least 8%, a CET1 risk-based ratio of 6.5% and a leverage ratio of at least 5%; (2) an “adequately capitalized” institution has a Total risk-based capital ratio of at least 8%, a Tier 1 risk-based ratio of at least 6%, a CET1 risk-based ratio of 4.5% and a leverage ratio of at least 4%; (3) an “undercapitalized” institution has a Total risk-based capital ratio of under 8%, a Tier 1 risk-based ratio of under 6%, a CET1 risk-based ratio of under 4.5% or a leverage ratio of under 4%; (4) a “significantly undercapitalized” institution has a Total risk-based capital ratio of under 6%, a Tier 1 risk-based ratio of under 4%, a CET1 risk-based ratio of under 3% or a leverage ratio of under 3%; and (5) a “critically undercapitalized” institution has a ratio of tangible equity to total assets of 2% or less.

Federal banking regulators are required to take various mandatory supervisory actions and are authorized to take other discretionary actions with respect to institutions in the three undercapitalized categories. The severity of the action depends upon the capital category in which the institution is placed. Institutions in any of the three undercapitalized categories are prohibited from declaring dividends or making capital distributions. The FDIC regulations also allow it to “downgrade” an institution to a lower capital category based on supervisory factors other than capital. Generally, subject to a narrow exception, banking regulators must appoint a receiver or conservator for an institution that is “critically undercapitalized.” The federal banking agencies have specified by regulation the relevant capital level for each category. An institution that is categorized as “undercapitalized,” “significantly undercapitalized,” or “critically undercapitalized” is required to submit an acceptable capital restoration plan to its appropriate federal banking agency, which, for the Bank, is the FDIC. Failure to meet capital guidelines could subject the Bank to a variety of enforcement remedies, including issuance of a capital directive, the termination of deposit insurance by the FDIC, a prohibition on accepting brokered deposits and other restrictions on our business.
 
As of December 31, 2019, the FDIC categorized the Bank as “well-capitalized” under current regulations. 

Consumer Protection Laws

In connection with its lending activities, the Bank is subject to a number of federal and state laws designed to protect borrowers and promote lending to various sectors of the economy and population. These laws include the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act and their respective state law counterparts.

CFPB

The Dodd-Frank Act created the CFPB, which is granted broad rulemaking, supervisory and enforcement powers under various federal consumer financial protection laws, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Truth in Lending Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Consumer Financial Privacy provisions of the

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GBLA and certain other statutes. The CFPB has examination and primary enforcement authority with respect to depository institutions with $10 billion or more in assets, such as the Bank. The CFPB has authority to prevent unfair, deceptive or abusive practices in connection with the offering of consumer financial products.

The CFPB has issued a number of regulations related to the origination of mortgages, foreclosures, and overdrafts as well as many other consumer issues. Additionally, the CFPB has proposed, or may propose, additional regulations or modifying existing regulations that directly relate to our business. Although it is difficult to predict at this time the extent to which the CFPB’s final rules impact the operations and financial condition of the Bank, such rules may have a material impact on our compliance costs, compliance risk and fee income.

FDIC Insurance Assessments

The Bank’s deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per account subject to applicable limitations through the Deposit Insurance Fund. As a result, the Bank must pay deposit insurance assessments to the FDIC. The FDIC imposes a risk-based deposit premium assessment system to determine assessments based on a number of factors to measure the risk each institution poses to the Deposit Insurance Fund. The assessment rate is applied to our total average assets less tangible equity. Under the current system, premiums are assessed quarterly and could increase if, for example, criticized loans and/or other higher risk assets increase or balance sheet liquidity decreases. Because the Bank has exceeded $10 billion in assets for four consecutive quarters, the FDIC uses a “scorecard” system to calculate our assessments that combines regulatory ratings and certain forward‑looking financial measures intended to assess the risk an institution poses to the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund. The FDIC also has the ability to make discretionary adjustments to the total score based upon significant risk factors that are not adequately captured in the calculations.

In addition to ordinary assessments described above, the FDIC has the ability to impose special assessments in certain instances. For example, under the Dodd-Frank Act, the minimum designated reserve ratio for the deposit insurance fund was increased to 1.35% of the estimated total amount of insured deposits, and the FDIC adopted rules to impose a surcharge on the quarterly deposit insurance assessments of insured depository institutions deemed to be “large institutions,” generally defined to include banks with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or more for four consecutive quarters, to reach the designated reserve ratio. On September 30, 2018, the deposit insurance fund reached 1.36%, exceeding the statutorily required minimum reserve ratio of 1.35%. On reaching the minimum reserve ratio of 1.35%, FDIC regulations provided for two changes to deposit insurance assessments: (i) surcharges on insured depository institutions with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or more (large institutions) ceased; and (ii) small banks will receive assessment credits for the portion of their assessments that contributed to the growth in the reserve ratio from between 1.15% and 1.35%, to be applied when the reserve ratio is at or above 1.38%. Assessment rates are expected to decrease if the reserve ratio increases such that it exceeds 2%. In addition, FDIC insured institutions were required to pay a Financing Corporation (“FICO”) assessment to fund the interest on bonds issued to resolve thrift failures in the 1980s, which expired between 2017 and 2019. The final FICO assessment was collected in March 2019.
 
The FDIC may also terminate deposit insurance upon a finding that the institution has engaged in unsafe and unsound practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations, or has violated any applicable law, regulation, rule, order or condition imposed by the FDIC.
 
Durbin Amendment

The Dodd-Frank Act included provisions which restrict interchange fees, which are fees charged by banks to cover the cost of handling and exposure to credit and fraud-related risks inherent in bank credit or debit card transactions, to those which are “reasonable and proportionate” for certain debit card issuers and limits the ability of networks and issuers to restrict debit card transaction routing. This statutory provision is known as the “Durbin Amendment”. In the Federal Reserve’s final rules implementing the Durbin Amendment, interchange fees for debit card transactions were capped at $0.21 plus five basis points in order to be eligible for a safe harbor such that the fee is conclusively determined to be reasonable and proportionate. Another related rule also permits an additional $0.01 per transaction “fraud prevention adjustment” to the interchange fee if certain Federal Reserve standards are implemented, including an annual review of fraud prevention policies and procedures. With respect to network exclusivity and merchant routing restrictions, it is now required that all debit cards participate in at least two unaffiliated networks so that the transactions initiated using those debit cards will have at least two independent routing channels. The interchange fee restrictions contained in the Durbin Amendment, and the rules promulgated thereunder, apply to debit card issuers with $10 billion or more in total consolidated assets. We became subject to the interchange fee restrictions and other requirements contained in the Durbin Amendment on July 1, 2017.
 

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Incentive Compensation

In addition to the potential restrictions on discretionary bonus compensation under the Basel III rules, the federal bank regulatory agencies have issued guidance on incentive compensation policies (the “Incentive Compensation Guidance”) intended to ensure that the incentive compensation policies of financial institutions do not undermine the safety and soundness of such institutions by encouraging excessive risk-taking. The Incentive Compensation Guidance, which covers all employees that have the ability to materially affect the risk profile of an institution, either individually or as part of a group, is based upon the key principles that a financial institution’s incentive compensation arrangements should (i) provide incentives that do not encourage risk-taking beyond the institution’s ability to effectively identify and manage risks, (ii) be compatible with effective internal controls and risk management and (iii) be supported by strong corporate governance, including active and effective oversight by the institution’s board of directors.
 
The Federal Reserve reviews, as part of the regular, risk-focused examination process, the incentive compensation arrangements of financial institutions, such as United, that are not “large, complex banking organizations.” These reviews are tailored to each financial institution based on the scope and complexity of the institution’s activities and the prevalence of incentive compensation arrangements. The findings of the supervisory initiatives are included in reports of examination. Deficiencies are incorporated into the financial institution’s supervisory ratings, which can affect the institution’s ability to make acquisitions and take other actions. Enforcement actions may be taken against a financial institution if its incentive compensation arrangements, or related risk-management control or governance processes, pose a risk to the institution’s safety and soundness and the institution is not taking prompt and effective measures to correct the deficiencies.
 
The scope and content of federal bank regulatory agencies’ policies on executive compensation are continuing to develop and are likely to continue evolving in the near future. It cannot be determined at this time whether compliance with such policies will adversely affect our ability to hire, retain and motivate its key employees.
 
Source of Strength Doctrine

Under long-standing Federal Reserve policy and now codified in Dodd-Frank, a bank holding company is expected to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to each of its subsidiary banks and commit resources to its support. This support may be required at times when the Holding Company may not have the resources to provide it.
 
Real Estate Lending

Inter-agency guidelines adopted by federal bank regulatory agencies mandate that financial institutions establish real estate lending policies with maximum allowable real estate loan-to-value limits, subject to an allowable amount of non-conforming loans as a percentage of capital. In addition, the federal bank regulatory agencies, including the FDIC, restrict concentrations in commercial real estate lending and have noted that increases in banks’ commercial real estate concentrations can create safety and soundness concerns. The regulatory guidance mandates certain minimal risk management practices and categorizes banks with defined levels of such concentrations as banks requiring elevated examiner scrutiny.
 
Transactions with Affiliates

Subsidiaries of bank holding companies, like the Bank, are subject to certain restrictions in their dealings with holding company affiliates. Section 23A of the Federal Reserve Act imposes quantitative and qualitative limits on transactions between a bank and any affiliate, including its holding company, and requires certain levels of collateral for extensions of credit to affiliates and certain other transactions involving affiliates. Section 23B requires that certain transactions between the Bank and its affiliates must be on terms substantially the same, or at least as favorable, as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with or involving other nonaffiliated companies. In the absence of such comparable transactions, any transaction between banks and their affiliates must be on terms and under circumstances, including credit standards, which in good faith would be offered to or would apply to nonaffiliated companies.

The Bank is also subject to certain restrictions on extensions of credit to executive officers, directors, certain principal shareholders, and their related interests. Extensions of credit include derivative transactions, repurchase and reverse repurchase agreements, and securities borrowing and lending transactions to the extent that such transactions cause a bank to have credit exposure to an insider. Any extension of credit to an insider must be made on substantially the same terms, including interest rates and collateral, as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with third parties, and must not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features.


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On December 27, 2019, the federal banking agencies issued an interagency statement explaining that such agencies will provide temporary relief from enforcement action against banks or asset managers, which become principal shareholders of banks, with respect to certain extensions of credit by banks that otherwise would violate Regulation O, provided the asset managers and banks satisfy certain conditions designed to ensure that there is a lack of control by the asset manager over the bank. This temporary relief will apply while the Federal Reserve, in consultation with the other federal banking agencies, considers whether to amend Regulation O.

Community Reinvestment Act

The Bank is subject to certain requirements and reporting obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”), which requires federal banking regulators to evaluate the record of each financial institution in meeting the credit needs of its local community, including low- and moderate- income neighborhoods. The CRA further requires these criteria to be considered in evaluating mergers, acquisitions and applications to open a branch or facility. Failure to adequately meet these criteria could result in the imposition of additional requirements and limitations on the Bank. Additionally, financial institutions must publicly disclose the terms of various CRA‑related agreements. In its most recent CRA examination, the Bank received a “satisfactory” rating.

In December 2019, the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency proposed changes to the regulations implementing the CRA, which, if adopted will result in changes to the current CRA framework. The Federal Reserve Board did not join the proposal.
 
Privacy and Data Security

The Federal Reserve, FDIC and other bank regulatory agencies have adopted guidelines (the “Guidelines”) for safeguarding confidential, personal customer information. The Guidelines require each financial institution, under the supervision and ongoing oversight of its Board of Directors or an appropriate committee thereof, 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. In addition, various U.S. regulators, including the Federal Reserve and the SEC, have increased their focus on cyber-security through guidance, examinations and regulations. The Bank has adopted a customer information security program that has been approved by the Board of Directors.

The GLB Act requires financial institutions to implement policies regarding the disclosure of non-public personal information about consumers to nonaffiliated third parties. These limitations require disclosure of privacy policies to consumers and, in some circumstances, allow consumers to prevent disclosure of certain personal information to a nonaffiliated third party. The privacy provisions of the GLB Act affect how consumer information is transmitted through diversified financial companies and conveyed to outside vendors and, except as otherwise required by law, prohibits disclosing such information except as provided in a banking subsidiary’s policies and procedures. The Bank has implemented a privacy policy.
 
Anti-Money Laundering Initiatives, the USA Patriot Act and the Office of Foreign Asset Control

A major focus of governmental policy on financial institutions in recent years has been aimed at combating terrorist financing, money laundering and other criminal acts. This has generally been accomplished by amending existing anti-money laundering laws and regulations. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 (the “Patriot Act”) amended the Currency Consumer Financial Protection and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970, commonly referred to as the “Bank Secrecy Act”, or “BSA”, to strengthen regulation of money laundering and financing of terrorism. The U.S. Department of the Treasury, in cooperation with the FDIC and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), has issued a number of implementing regulations which apply various requirements of the Patriot Act to the Bank. These regulations impose obligations on financial institutions to maintain appropriate policies, procedures and controls to detect, prevent and report money laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal acts and to verify the identity of their customers. In addition, the Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”), a division of the U.S. Treasury Department charged with administering and enforcing economic and trade sanctions by the U.S. government, publishes lists of persons with which the Bank is prohibited from engaging in business. Over the past several years, federal banking regulators, FinCEN and OFAC have increased supervisory and enforcement attention on U.S. anti-money laundering and sanctions laws, as evidenced by a significant increase in enforcement activity, including several high profile enforcement actions. Several of these actions have addressed violations of the BSA, U.S. sanctions or both, resulting in the imposition of substantial civil monetary penalties. Enforcement actions have increasingly focused on publicly identifying individuals and holding those individuals, including compliance officers, accountable for deficiencies in compliance programs. State attorneys general and the U. S. Department of Justice have also pursued enforcement actions against banking entities alleged to have willfully violated the BSA and U.S. sanctions laws. Failure of a financial institution to maintain and implement adequate programs to combat terrorist financing, or to comply with all of the relevant laws or regulations, can lead to significant monetary penalties and could have other serious legal and reputational consequences for the institution. The Board of Directors has approved policies and procedures that it believes comply with these laws.
 

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Future Legislation and Regulatory Initiatives

Federal and state legislators as well as regulatory agencies may introduce or enact new laws and rules, or amend existing laws and rules that may affect the regulation of United and its subsidiaries in substantial and unpredictable ways, and, if enacted, could increase or decrease the cost of doing business, limit or expand permissible activities or affect the industry’s competitive balance. The nature and extent of future legislative and regulatory changes affecting financial institutions is not known at this time and cannot be predicted. However, any such changes could affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Information About Our Executive Officers
 
Information regarding our current executive officers as of February 1, 2020, is set forth below. Each of our executive officers is elected annually by the Board of Directors and serves at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
 
Name (age)
 
Position with United and Employment History
 
Officer of United Since
 
 
 
 
 
H. Lynn Harton (58)
 
President and Chief Executive Officer (2018 - present); President and Chief Operating Officer and Director (2015 - 2018)
 
2012
 
 
 
 
 
Jefferson L. Harralson (54)
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (2017 - present); prior to joining United was Managing Director at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods (2002 – 2017)
 
2017
 
 
 
 
 
Bradley J. Miller (49)
 
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (2019-present); Chief Risk Officer and General Counsel (2015 - 2019)
 
2007
 
 
 
 
 
Robert A. Edwards (55)
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer (2019 - present); Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer (2015 - 2019)
 
2015
 
 
 
 
 
Richard W. Bradshaw (58)
 
Chief Banking Officer (2019 - present); President, Commercial Banking Solutions (2014 - 2018)
 
2014
 
 
 
 
 
Mark Terry (53)
 
Chief Information Officer (2017 - present); Chief Technology Officer (2016-2017); prior to joining United was Chief Information Officer at Palmetto Bancshares, Inc. (2011-2016)
 
2016
 
There are no familial relationships between any of our directors or executive officers. There also are no arrangements or understandings between any executive officer and any other person pursuant to which any of them was elected as an officer, other than arrangements or understandings with directors or officers of United acting solely in their capacities as such.
 
Available Information

Our internet website address is www.ucbi.com. We file with or furnish to the SEC annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports, proxy statements and annual reports to shareholders and, from time to time, registration statements and other documents. These documents are available free of charge to the public on or through the “Investor Relations” section of our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with or furnish them to the SEC. The SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information that we file electronically with, or furnish to, the SEC. The address of that website is www.sec.gov. The information on any website referenced in this Report is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of this Report. Further, our references to website URLs are intended to be inactive textual references only.


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ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS.
 
An investment in our common stock involves risk. Investors should carefully consider the information contained or incorporated by reference in this Report before deciding to purchase our common stock. The items listed below present risks that could have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations or business. Some of these risks are interrelated and the occurrence of one or more of them may exacerbate the effect of others.

CREDIT RISK

We are subject to credit risk from our lending activities.
 
There are inherent risks associated with our lending activities. When we lend money or commit to lend money, we incur credit risk or the risk of loss if borrowers do not repay their loans or other credit obligations. Credit risk includes, among other things, the quality of our underwriting, the impact of changes in interest rates and changes in the economic conditions in the markets where we operate as well as across the United States. Increases in interest rates and/or weakening economic conditions could adversely affect the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans or the value of the collateral securing these loans. If loan customers with significant loan balances fail to repay their loans, our results of operations, financial condition and capital levels will suffer.

We are exposed to higher credit and concentration risk from our commercial real estate, commercial and industrial and commercial construction lending.

Our credit risk and credit losses can increase if our loans are concentrated to borrowers engaged in the same or similar activities or to borrowers who as a group may be uniquely or disproportionately affected by economic or market conditions. As of December 31, 2019, approximately 76% of our loan portfolio consisted of commercial loans, including commercial and industrial, equipment financing, commercial construction and commercial real estate mortgage loans. Our borrowers under these loans tend to be small to medium-sized businesses. These types of loans are typically larger than residential real estate loans or consumer loans. During periods of lower economic growth or challenging economic periods, small to medium-sized businesses may be impacted more severely and more quickly than larger businesses. Consequently, the ability of such businesses to repay their loans may deteriorate, and in some cases this deterioration may occur quickly, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. An increase in non-performing loans could result in a net loss of earnings from these loans, an increase in the provision for loan losses and an increase in loan charge-offs, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Deterioration in economic conditions, housing conditions and commodity and real estate values and an increase in unemployment in certain states or locations could result in materially higher credit losses if loans are concentrated in those locations. Our loans are heavily concentrated in our primary markets of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. These markets may have different or weaker performance than other areas of the country and our portfolio may be more negatively impacted than a financial services company with wider geographic diversity.

See the section captioned “Loans” in the “Balance Sheet Review” section of “Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” located elsewhere in this Report for further discussion related to commercial and industrial, construction and commercial real estate loans.

If our allowance for loan losses (including the fair value adjustments with respect to loans acquired in acquisitions) is not enough to cover losses inherent in our loan portfolio, our results of operations and financial condition could be negatively affected.

We maintain an allowance for loan losses, which is a reserve established through a provision for loan losses charged to expense, which represents management’s best estimate of inherent losses that have been incurred in our existing loan portfolio. The level of the allowance reflects management’s continuing evaluation of factors including the volume and types of loans; industry concentrations; specific credit risks; internal loan classifications; trends in classifications; volume and trends in delinquencies, non-accruals and charge-offs; present economic, political and regulatory conditions; industry and peer bank loan quality indications; and unidentified losses inherent in the current loan portfolio. The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance for loan losses inherently involves subjectivity in our modeling and requires us to make estimates of current credit risks and future trends, all of which may undergo material changes or vary from our historical experience. Deterioration in economic conditions affecting borrowers, new information regarding existing loans, identification of additional problem loans and other factors, both within and outside of our control, may require an increase in the allowance for loan losses.

The application of the purchase method of accounting in our acquisitions (and any future acquisitions) also will affect our allowance for loan losses. Under the purchase method of accounting, all acquired loans were recorded in our consolidated financial statements at their

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estimated fair value at the time of acquisition and any related allowance for loan loss was eliminated because credit quality, among other factors, was considered in the determination of fair value. To the extent that our estimates of fair value are too high, we will incur losses associated with the acquired loans. The allowance associated with our purchased credit impaired loans reflects deterioration in cash flows after they were acquired resulting from our quarterly re-estimation of cash flows, which involves complex cash flow projections and significant judgment on timing of loan resolution.

In addition, bank regulatory agencies periodically review our allowance for loan losses and may require an increase in the provision for loan losses or the recognition of further loan charge-offs, based on judgments different than those of management. Furthermore, if charge-offs in future periods exceed the allowance for loan losses, we will need additional provisions to increase the allowance for loan losses. Any increases in the allowance for loan losses will result in a decrease in net income and, possibly, capital, and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We implemented CECL on January 1, 2020, which will result in an increase to the allowance for credit losses of $8.75 million, of which $3.59 million will be reclassified from the fair value mark for purchased credit deteriorated loans, and a decrease in capital of $3.53 million, net of tax. In future periods, CECL may result in increased reserves during or in advance of an economic downturn. Because CECL recognizes the expected losses over the life of the loan at the time the loan is made, it is possible that CECL implementation may increase the cost of lending in the industry and result in slower loan growth and lower levels of net income. The adoption of the CECL model may materially affect how we determine our allowance for credit losses and could require us to significantly increase our allowance. Moreover, the CECL model may create more volatility in the level of our allowance for credit losses. If we are required to materially increase our level of allowance for credit losses for any reason, such increase could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

See the section captioned “Allowance for Credit Losses” in Part II, Item 7 of this Report “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for further discussion related to our process for determining the appropriate level of the allowance for loan losses.