Investar Holding Corporation
Investar Holding Corp (Form: 10-K, Received: 03/11/2016 10:42:21)

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

þ

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015

or

¨

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

For the transition period from                       to                     

Commission File Number: 001-36522

 

 

Investar Holding Corporation

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Louisiana

 

27-1560715

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

7244 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

(225) 227-2222

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

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

 

Title of each class

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $1.00 par value per share

The NASDAQ Global Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes   ¨     No   þ

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes   ¨     No   þ

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   þ     No   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes   þ     No   ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.   þ

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,” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer

 

¨

  

Accelerated filer

 

þ

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

¨ (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

  

Smaller reporting company

 

¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes   ¨     No   þ

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of the common stock as of June 30, 2015, was approximately $110,856,777.  

The number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date, is as follows: Common stock, $1.00 par value, 7,304,103 shares outstanding as of March 11, 2016.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the Proxy Statement relating to the 2016 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Investar Holding Corporation are incorporated by reference into Part III of the Form 10-K.  Such Definitive Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

Page

 

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

 

Business

 

3

 

 

 

 

Item 1A.

 

Risk Factors

 

15

 

 

 

 

Item 1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

28

 

 

 

 

Item 2.

 

Properties

 

29

 

 

 

 

Item 3.

 

Legal Proceedings

 

29

 

 

 

 

Item 4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

29

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

30

 

 

 

 

Item 6.

 

Selected Financial Data

 

32

 

 

 

 

Item 7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

35

 

 

 

 

Item 7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

 

62

 

 

 

 

Item 8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

63

 

 

 

 

Item 9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

115

 

 

 

 

Item 9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

115

 

 

 

 

Item 9B.

 

Other Information

 

115

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

116

 

 

 

 

Item 11.

 

Executive Compensation

 

116

 

 

 

 

Item 12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

116

 

 

 

 

Item 13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Directors Independence

 

116

 

 

 

 

Item 14.

 

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

116

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

 

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

 

117

 

 

 

2


 

P ART I

 

 

Item 1. Business

 

General

Investar Holding Corporation (the “Company”), a Louisiana corporation incorporated in 2009, is a financial holding company headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that conducts its operations primarily through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Investar Bank (the “Bank”), a Louisiana commercial bank, chartered in 2006. Through the Bank, the Company offers a wide range of commercial banking products tailored to meet the needs of individuals and small to medium-sized businesses. The primary markets served are Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Hammond and Lafayette, Louisiana, and their surrounding metropolitan areas. These markets are served from our main office located in Baton Rouge and from ten additional full service branches located throughout our market areas. As of December 31, 2015, on a consolidated basis, the Company had total assets of $1.0 billion, net loans, excluding loans held for sale, of $739.3 million, total deposits of $737.4 million, and stockholders’ equity of $109.4 million.

Management believes that the current markets present a significant opportunity for growth and franchise expansion, both organically and through strategic acquisitions. Although the financial services industry is rapidly changing and intensely competitive, and likely to remain so, we believe that the Bank competes effectively as a local community bank and possesses the consistency of local leadership, the availability of local access and responsive customer service, coupled with competitively-priced products and services, necessary to successfully compete with other financial institutions for individual and small to medium-sized business customers.

We have experienced significant growth since the Bank was chartered, completing acquisitions in 2011 and 2013, as described below in more detail, and establishing additional branches in our market areas. In 2012, we entered the New Orleans market through de novo branching by purchasing two closed branch locations of another financial institution in suburban New Orleans, Louisiana. In 2013, we entered the Lafayette market by opening a de novo branch. In addition, we opened our sixth Baton Rouge market area branch location in August 2014.

We have completed construction of our seventh Baton Rouge market area branch location in Gonzales, Louisiana, which we expect to open in the second quarter of 2016, subject to regulatory approval. In September 2015, we acquired land and a building for an additional branch location in the New Orleans market area.

In November 2013, the Company and the Bank completed a share exchange with the Bank’s shareholders, resulting in the Bank becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. In July 2014, the Company completed the issuance and sale of 3,285,300 shares of its common stock in its initial public offering, which amount includes 410,300 shares sold pursuant to the underwriters’ exercise of their option to purchase additional shares from the Company, at a public offering price of $14.00 per share. After deducting underwriting commissions and offering expenses, the Company received net proceeds of $41.7 million from the sale of such shares.

The information set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is as of March 11, 2016, unless otherwise indicated herein.

 

Operations

General . We offer a full range of commercial and retail lending products throughout our market areas, including business loans to small to medium-sized businesses as well as loans to individuals. Our business lending products include owner-occupied commercial real estate loans, construction loans and commercial and industrial loans, such as term loans, equipment financing and lines of credit, while our loans to individuals include first and second mortgage loans, installment loans, auto loans and lines of credit. For business customers, we target businesses with $10 million in annual revenue or less but do not focus on any particular industry. We also target professional organizations such as law firms, accounting firms and medical practices.

Management considers all of our operations to be aggregated in one reportable operating segment, and accordingly no separate segment disclosures are presented in this report. Please refer to our audited consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data , for information with respect to our revenues from external customers, profit or loss and total assets for the last three years. Neither we nor the Bank have any foreign operations.

Lending Activities . Income generated by our lending activities represents a substantial portion of our total revenue. For the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, income from our lending activities comprised 77%, 80% and 78%, respectively, of our total revenue.

3


 

Lending to Businesses . Our lending to small to medium-sized businesses falls into three gene ral categories:

 

·

Commercial real estate loans . Approximately 43% of our total loans at December 31, 2015 were commercial real estate loans, which include multifamily, farmland and commercial real estate loans, with owner-occupied loans comprising approximately 43% of the commercial real estate loan portfolio. Commercial real estate loan terms generally are ten years or less, although payments may be structured on a longer amortization basis. Interest rates may be fixed or adjustable, although rates typically will not be fixed for a period exceeding 120 months, and we generally charge an origination fee. We do not offer non-recourse loans. Risks associated with commercial real estate loans include, among other things, fluctuations in the value of real estate, new job creation trends, tenant vacancy rates and the quality of the borrower’s management. We attempt to limit risk by analyzing a borrower’s cash flow and collateral value on an ongoing basis. Also, we typically require personal guarantees from the principal owners of the property, supported by a review of their personal financial statements, as an additional means of mitigating our risk.

 

 

·

Construction and development loans . Construction and development loans, which consist of loans for the construction of commercial projects, single family residential properties and multifamily properties, accounted for approximately 11% of our total loans at December 31, 2015. Our construction and development loans are made on both a “pre-sold” basis and on a “speculative” basis. Construction and development loans are generally made with a term of 6 to 12 months, with interest accruing at either a fixed or floating rate and paid monthly. These loans are secured by the underlying project being built. For construction loans, loan to value ratios range from 75% to 80% of the developed/completed value, while for development loans our loan to value ratios typically will not exceed 70% to 75% of such value. Speculative loans are based on the borrower’s financial strength and cash flow position, and we disburse funds in installments based on the percentage of completion and only after the project has been inspected by an experienced construction lender or third-party inspector.

 

Construction lending entails significant additional risks compared to commercial real estate or residential real estate lending. One such risk is that loan funds are advanced upon the security of the property under construction, which is of uncertain value prior to the completion of construction. Thus, it is more difficult to evaluate accurately the total loan funds required to complete a project and to calculate related loan-to-value ratios. We attempt to minimize the risks associated with construction lending by limiting loan-to-value ratios as described above. In addition, as to speculative development loans, we generally make such loans only to borrowers that have a positive pre-existing relationship with us.

 

·

Commercial and industrial loans . Commercial and industrial loans primarily consist of working capital lines of credit and equipment loans. We often make commercial loans to borrowers with whom we have previously made a commercial real estate loan. The terms of these loans vary by purpose and by type of underlying collateral. We make equipment loans for a term of five years or less at fixed or variable rates, with the loan fully amortized over the term and secured by the relevant piece of equipment. Loans to support working capital typically have terms not exceeding one year, and such loans are secured by accounts receivable or inventory. Fixed rate loans are priced based on collateral, term and amortization. The interest rate for floating rate loans is typically tied to the prime rate published in The Wall Street Journal with a floor of 4.5%. Commercial and industrial loans accounted for approximately 9% of our total loans at December 31, 2015.

Commercial lending generally involves different risks from those associated with commercial real estate lending or construction lending. Although commercial loans may be collateralized by equipment or other business assets (including real estate, if available as collateral), the repayment of these types of loans depends primarily on the creditworthiness and projected cash flow of the borrower (and any guarantors). Thus, the general business conditions of the local economy and the borrower’s ability to sell its products and services, thereby generating sufficient operating revenue to repay us under the agreed upon terms and conditions, are the chief considerations when assessing the risk of a commercial loan. The liquidation of collateral is considered a secondary source of repayment because equipment and other business assets may, among other things, be obsolete or of limited resale value. We actively monitor certain financial measures of the borrower, including advance rate, cash flow, collateral value and other appropriate credit factors. We use commercial loan credit scoring models for smaller level commercial loans.

4


 

Lending to Individuals . We make the following types of loans to our individual customers:

 

·

Consumer loans . Consumer loans represented 16% of our total loans at December 31, 2015. We make these loans (which are normally fixed-rate loans) to individuals for a variety of personal, family and household purposes, including auto loans, secured and unsecured installment and term loans, second mortgages, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. Because many consumer loans are secured by depreciable assets such as cars, boats and trailers, the loans are amortized over the useful life of the asset. The amortization of second mortgages generally does not exceed 15 years and the rates generally are not fixed for more than 60 months. As a general matter, in underwriting these loans, our loan officers review a borrower’s past credit history, past income level, debt history and, when applicable, cash flow, and determine the impact of all these factors on the ability of the borrower to make future payments as agreed. A comparison of the value of the collateral, if any, to the proposed loan amount, is also a consideration in the underwriting process. Repayment of consumer loans depends upon the borrower’s financial stability and is more likely to be adversely affected by divorce, job loss, illness and personal hardships than repayment of other loans. A shortfall in the value of any collateral also may pose a risk of loss to us for these types of loans.

Auto loans comprised the largest component of our consumer loans and third largest component of our overall loan portfolio, representing 80% of our total consumer loans and 12% of our total loans as of December 31, 2015. We have been an indirect lender for our auto loans, meaning that the loans have been originated by automobile dealerships and then assigned to us. These dealerships were selected based on our review of their operating history and the dealership’s reputation in the marketplace, which we believe helps to mitigate the risks of fraud or negligence by the dealership. At all times, the decision whether or not to provide financing resided with us.

 

In November 2015, the Bank announced that it was exiting the indirect auto loan origination business. The Bank discontinued accepting indirect auto loan applications December 31, 2015, but continued to process and fund applications that were accepted on or before that date. The Bank will continue to service the current auto loan portfolio for its duration but expects this portfolio to decrease over time.

 

·

Residential real estate . One-to-four family residential real estate loans, including second mortgage loans, comprised approximately 21% of our total loans at December 31, 2015. Second mortgage loans in this category include only loans we make to cover the gap between the purchase price of a residence and the amount of the first mortgage; all other second mortgage loans are considered consumer loans. Long-term fixed rate mortgages are underwritten for resale to the secondary market; however, we generally hold jumbo mortgage loans (i.e., loan amounts above $417,000) in our portfolio and sell virtually all of our remaining mortgage loans on the secondary market. Unless the borrower has private mortgage insurance, loan to value ratios do not typically exceed 80%, although some of the mortgage loans that we retain in our portfolio may have higher loan to value ratios. We use an independent appraiser to establish collateral values. We generate residential real estate mortgage loans through Bank referrals and contacts with real estate agents in our markets. We do not originate subprime residential real estate loans.

 

Deposits. We offer a broad base of deposit products and services to our individual and business clients, including savings, checking, money market and NOW accounts, debit cards and mobile banking with smartphone deposit capability, as well as a variety of certificates of deposit and individual retirement accounts. For our business clients, we offer a competitive suite of cash management products which include, but are not limited to, remote deposit capture, electronic statements, positive pay, ACH origination and wire transfer, investment sweep accounts and enhanced business internet banking.  

 

Other Banking Services. Investar Bank’s other banking services include cashiers’ checks, direct deposit of payroll and Social Security checks, night depository, bank-by-mail, automated teller machines with deposit automation and debit cards. We have also associated with nationwide networks of automated teller machines, enabling the Bank’s customers to use ATMs throughout Louisiana and other regions. Currently, we reimburse our customers up to $12.50 per month for any foreign ATM fees they may incur. We offer merchant card services through a third-party vendor, and, during 2015, launched our own credit card product. The Bank does not offer trust services or insurance products.

 

Acquisition Activity

General . To complement our organic growth strategy, from time to time, we evaluate potential acquisition opportunities. We believe there are many banking institutions that continue to face credit challenges, capital constraints and liquidity issues and that lack the scale and management expertise to manage the increasing regulatory burden. Our management team has a long history of identifying targets, assessing and pricing risk and executing acquisitions in a creative, yet disciplined, manner. We seek acquisitions that provide meaningful financial benefits, long-term organic growth opportunities and expense reductions, without compromising our risk profile. Additionally, we seek banking markets with favorable competitive dynamics and potential consolidation opportunities. All of our acquisition activity is evaluated and overseen by a standing Merger and Acquisition Committee of our board of directors.

5


 

Acquisition of South Loui siana Business Bank . On October 1, 2011, the Bank completed its acquisition of South Louisiana Business Bank (“SLBB”), a Louisiana-chartered commercial bank with one location in Prairieville, Louisiana. The Bank acquired all of the outstanding common stock of the former SLBB shareholders for a total consideration of approximately $14.7 million in the form of 1,069,065 shares of Bank common stock. Including the effect of purchase accounting adjustments, the Bank acquired assets with a fair value of $50.9 mil lion, including loans with a fair value of $31.5 million, and assumed $38.6 million in deposits. The fair value of net assets acquired including identifiable intangible assets was approximately $12.0 million. Goodwill of approximately $2.7 million was reco gnized on the acquisition date.

Acquisition of First Community Bank . On May 1, 2013, the Bank completed its acquisition of First Community Bank (“FCB”), a Louisiana-chartered commercial bank headquartered in Hammond, Louisiana with one branch in Mandeville, Louisiana. The Bank acquired all of the outstanding common stock of the former FCB shareholders for a total consideration of approximately $4.5 million in the form of 320,774 shares of Bank common stock. Including the effect of purchase accounting adjustments, the Bank acquired assets with a fair value of $99.2 million, including loans with a fair value of $77.5 million, assumed $86.5 million in deposits and recognized a $0.9 million bargain purchase gain.

 

 

Competition

We face competition in all major product and geographic areas in which we conduct our operations. Through the Bank, we compete for available loans and deposits with state, regional and national banks, as well as savings and loan associations, credit unions, finance companies, mortgage companies, insurance companies, brokerage firms and investment companies. All of these institutions compete in the delivery of services and products through availability, quality and pricing, both with respect to interest rates on loans and deposits and fees charged for banking services. Many of our competitors are larger and have substantially greater resources than we do, including higher total assets and capitalization, greater access to capital markets and a broader offering of financial services. As larger institutions, many of our competitors can offer more attractive pricing than we can offer and have more extensive branch networks from which they can offer their financial services products.

While we continually strive to offer competitive pricing for our banking products, we believe that our community bank approach to customers, focusing on quality customer service and maintaining strong customer relationships affords us the best opportunity to successfully compete with other institutions. In addition, as a smaller institution, we think we can be flexible in developing and implementing new products and services, especially in the online banking area. Further, in recent years there has been consolidation activity involving banks with a presence in our markets. In our view, mergers and other business combinations within our markets provide us with growth opportunities. Many acquisitions, especially when local institutions are acquired by institutions based outside our markets, result not only in customer disruption but also in a loss of market knowledge and relationships that we believe provide us the opportunity to acquire customers seeking a personalized approach to banking. Furthermore, acquisition activity typically creates opportunities to hire talented personnel from the combining institutions.

The following table sets forth certain information about our total deposits and our market share. The amount of total deposits in our markets is as of June 30, 2015, which is the latest date for which such information is available.

 

Market (MSA)

 

Investar Total Deposits

 

 

Investar Market Share

 

 

 

(in millions)

 

 

 

 

 

Baton Rouge

 

$

472

 

 

 

2.5

%

New Orleans

 

 

91

 

 

 

0.3

%

Hammond

 

 

52

 

 

 

3.0

%

Lafayette

 

 

93

 

 

 

0.8

%

6


 

Supervision and Regulation

General. Banking is highly regulated under federal and state law. We are a financial holding company registered under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, and are subject to supervision, regulation and examination by the Federal Reserve. Investar Bank is a commercial bank chartered under the laws of the State of Louisiana. The Bank is not a member of the Federal Reserve system and is subject to supervision, regulation and examination by the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, or OFI, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. This system of supervision and regulation establishes a comprehensive framework for our operations and, consequently, can have a material impact on our growth and earnings performance.

The primary goals of the bank regulatory scheme are to maintain a safe and sound banking system and to facilitate the conduct of sound monetary policy. This system is intended primarily for the protection of the FDIC’s deposit insurance funds, bank depositors and the public, rather than our shareholders and creditors. The banking agencies have broad enforcement power over bank holding companies and banks, including the authority, among other things, to enjoin “unsafe or unsound” practices, require affirmative action to correct any violation or practice, issue administrative orders that can be judicially enforced, direct increases in capital, direct the sale of subsidiaries or other assets, limit dividends and distributions, restrict growth, assess civil monetary penalties, remove officers and directors, and, with respect to banks, terminate deposit insurance or place the bank into conservatorship or receivership. In general, these enforcement actions may be initiated for violations of laws and regulations or unsafe or unsound practices.

The Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act, enacted on July 21, 2010, aims to restore responsibility and accountability to the financial system by significantly altering the regulation of financial institutions and the financial services industry. Full implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act will require many new rules to be issued by federal regulatory agencies over the next several years, which will profoundly affect how financial institutions will be regulated in the future. The ultimate effect of the Dodd-Frank Act and its implementing regulations on the financial services industry in general, and on us in particular, is uncertain at this time.

The Dodd-Frank Act, among other things:

 

·

established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent organization within the Federal Reserve with centralized responsibility for promulgating and enforcing federal consumer protection laws applicable to all entities offering consumer financial products or services;

 

·

established the Financial Stability Oversight Council, tasked with the authority to identify and monitor institutions and systems that pose a systemic risk to the financial system;

 

·

changed the assessment base for federal deposit insurance from the amount of insured deposits held by the depository institution to the institution’s average total consolidated assets less tangible equity;

 

·

increased the minimum reserve ratio for the Deposit Insurance Fund from 1.15% to 1.35%;

 

·

permanently increased the deposit insurance coverage amount from $100,000 to $250,000;

 

·

required the FDIC to make its capital requirements for insured depository institutions countercyclical, so that capital requirements increase in times of economic expansion and decrease in times of economic contraction;

 

·

required bank holding companies and banks to be “well capitalized” and “well managed” in order to acquire banks located outside of their home state and requires any bank holding company electing to be treated as a financial holding company to be “well capitalized” and “well managed”;

 

·

directed the Federal Reserve to establish interchange fees for debit cards under a restrictive “reasonable and proportional cost” per transaction standard;

 

·

limited the ability of banking organizations to sponsor or invest in private equity and hedge funds and to engage in proprietary trading;

 

·

increased regulation of consumer protections regarding mortgage originations, including originator compensation, minimum repayment standards and prepayment consideration;

 

·

restricted the preemption of select state laws by federal banking law applicable to national banks and disallow subsidiaries and affiliates of national banks from availing themselves of such preemption;

 

·

authorized national and state banks to establish de novo branches in any state that would permit a bank chartered in that state to open a branch at that location; and

 

·

repealed the federal prohibition on the payment of interest on demand deposits, thereby permitting depository institutions to pay interest on business transaction and other accounts.

7


 

Some of the se provisions may have the consequence of increasing our expenses, decreasing our revenues, and changing the activities in which we choose to engage. The environment in which banking organizations will operate after the financial crisis, including legislat ive and regulatory changes affecting capital, liquidity, supervision, permissible activities, corporate governance and compensation, changes in fiscal policy and steps to eliminate government support for banking organizations, may have long-term effects on the business model and profitability of banking organizations that cannot currently be foreseen. The specific impact on our current activities or new financial activities we may consider in the future, our financial performance and the markets in which we operate will depend on the manner in which the relevant agencies develop and implement the required rules and the reaction of market participants to these regulatory developments. Many aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act are subject to further rulemaking and wi ll take effect over several years. While we cannot predict what effect any presently contemplated or future changes in the laws or regulations or their interpretations would have on us, these changes could be materially adverse to our financial condition a nd results of operations.

 

The Volcker Rule . On December 10, 2013, the Federal Reserve and the other federal banking regulators as well as the SEC each adopted a final rule implementing Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act, commonly referred to as the “Volcker Rule.” Generally speaking, the final rule prohibits a bank and its affiliates from engaging in proprietary trading and from sponsoring certain “covered funds” or from acquiring or retaining any ownership interest in such covered funds. Most private equity, venture capital and hedge funds are considered “covered funds” as are bank trust preferred collateralized debt obligations. The final rule requires banking entities to divest disallowed securities by July 21, 2015, subject to extension upon application. The Volcker Rule does not impact any of our current activities nor do we hold any securities that we would be required to sell under the rule, but it does limit the scope of permissible activities in which we might engage in the future.

 

Regulatory Capital Requirements

Capital Adequacy . The Federal Reserve Board monitors the capital adequacy of the Company, on a consolidated basis, and the FDIC and the OFI monitor the capital adequacy of the Bank. The regulatory agencies use a combination of risk-based guidelines and a leverage ratio to evaluate capital adequacy and consider these capital levels when taking action on various types of applications and when conducting supervisory activities related to safety and soundness. The risk-based capital standards are designed to make regulatory capital requirements more sensitive to differences in risk profiles among financial institutions and their holding companies, to account for off-balance sheet exposure, and to minimize disincentives for holding liquid assets. A financial institution’s assets and off-balance sheet items, such as letters of credit and unfunded loan commitments, are assigned to broad risk categories, each with appropriate risk weights. Regulatory capital, in turn, is classified in one of two tiers. “Tier 1” capital includes two components: (1) common equity Tier 1 capital and (2) additional Tier 1 capital. Common equity Tier 1 capital consists solely of common stock (plus related surplus), retained earnings, accumulated other comprehensive income, and limited amounts of minority interests that are in the form of common stock. Additional Tier 1 capital includes other perpetual instruments historically included in Tier 1 capital, such as non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock. “Tier 2” capital includes, among other things, qualifying subordinated debt and allowances for loan and lease losses, subject to limitations. The resulting capital ratios represent capital as a percentage of total risk-weighted assets and off-balance sheet items.

Effective January 1, 2015, the minimum capital standards under Basel III, as well as the prompt corrective action standards discussed below, increased from previous requirements as a result of changes adopted by the federal banking agencies, which are described in greater detail below under “Basel III.”

Prompt Corrective Action Regulations . Under the prompt corrective action regulations, the FDIC is required and authorized to take supervisory actions against undercapitalized financial institutions. For this purpose, a bank is placed in one of the following five categories based on its capital: well capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized, and critically undercapitalized. Under the prompt corrective action regulations, as currently in effect, to be well capitalized, a bank must have a leverage capital ratio of at least 5%, a common equity Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 6.5%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 8% and a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 10% and must not be subject to any order or written agreement or directive by a federal banking agency to meet and maintain a specific capital level for any capital measure. As discussed below under “Basel III,” the federal banking agencies have adopted changes to the capital thresholds applicable to each of the five categories under the prompt corrective action regulations.

8


 

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. 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 undercapitali zed is required to submit an acceptable capital restoration plan to its appropriate federal banking agency. An undercapitalized institution also is generally prohibited from increasing its average total assets, making acquisitions, establishing any branche s or engaging in any new line of business, except under an accepted capital restoration plan or with FDIC approval. The regulations also establish procedures for downgrading an institution to a lower capital category based on supervisory factors other than capital.

Furthermore, a bank holding company must guarantee that a subsidiary depository institution meets its capital restoration plan, subject to various limitations. The controlling holding company’s obligation to fund a capital restoration plan is limited to the lesser of 5% of an undercapitalized subsidiary’s assets at the time it became undercapitalized or the amount required to meet regulatory capital requirements.

The capital classification of a bank affects the frequency of regulatory examinations, the bank’s ability to engage in certain activities and the deposit insurance premiums paid by the bank. As of December 31, 2015, Investar Bank met the requirements to be categorized as well capitalized under the prompt corrective action framework as currently in effect.

Basel III . On July 2, 2013, the federal banking agencies adopted a final rule revising the regulatory capital framework applicable to all top tier bank holding companies with consolidated assets of $500 million or more and all banks, regardless of size. The Basel III framework became effective on January 1, 2015, although the capital conservation buffer, which is discussed in greater detail below, will be phased in over a three year period, beginning January 1, 2016.

Under the Basel III framework, we are required to maintain the following minimum regulatory capital ratios:

 

·

A new ratio of common equity Tier 1 capital to total risk-weighted assets of not less than 4.5%;

 

·

A Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 6.0% (an increase from 4.0%);

 

·

A total risk-based capital ratio of 8.0%; and

 

·

A leverage ratio of 4.0%.

The Basel III framework also changes the regulatory capital requirements for purposes of the prompt corrective action regulations. Accordingly, as of January 1, 2015, to be categorized as well capitalized, the Bank must have a minimum common equity Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 6.5%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 8.0%, a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 10.0%, and a leverage capital ratio of at least 5.0%.

Under the Basel III framework, Tier 1 capital is redefined to include two components: (1) common equity Tier 1 capital and (2) additional Tier 1 capital. Common equity Tier 1 capital consists solely of common stock (plus related surplus), retained earnings, accumulated other comprehensive income, and limited amounts of minority interests that are in the form of common stock. Additional Tier 1 capital includes other perpetual instruments historically included in Tier 1 capital, such as non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock. With limited exceptions, trust preferred securities and cumulative perpetual preferred stock will no longer qualify as Tier 1 capital. Tier 2 capital consists of instruments that currently qualify as Tier 2 capital plus instruments that the rule has disqualified from Tier 1 capital treatment. In addition, the Basel III framework establishes certain deductions from and adjustments to the regulatory capital ratios.

The Basel III framework also implements a requirement for all banking organizations to maintain a capital conservation buffer above the minimum capital requirements to avoid certain restrictions on capital distributions and discretionary bonus payments to executive officers. The capital conservation buffer must be composed of common equity Tier 1 capital. The capital conservation buffer requirement, when fully phased in, will effectively require banking organizations to maintain regulatory capital ratios at least 50 basis points higher than well capitalized levels under prompt corrective action standards to avoid the restrictions on capital distributions and discretionary bonus payments to executive officers.

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The Basel III framework alters the method under which banking organizations must calculate risk-weighted assets in an effort to make the calculation of risk-weighted assets more risk sensitive, to better account for risk mitigation techniques, and to create substitutes for credit ratings (in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act). The standardized approach, which will apply to us, include s additional exposure categories as compared with current standards including a new high volatility commercial real estate category that is risk-weighted at 150%. Although a number of asset classes will be risk-weighted differently, the Basel III framework does not change standardized risk weightings for certain assets, including residential mortgages.

Although management is continuing to evaluate the impact the Basel III framework will have on the Company and the Bank, we were in compliance with all applicable minimum regulatory capital requirements as of December 31, 2015, and management believes that at December 31, 2015, the Company and the Bank would have met all new capital adequacy requirements under the new Basel III framework on a fully phased-in basis if such requirements were then effective.

The Basel III framework also requires banks and bank holding companies to measure their liquidity against specific liquidity tests. However, the final rules adopted by the federal banking agencies in September 2014 implementing the Basel III liquidity framework apply only to banking organizations with $250 billion or more in consolidated assets or $10 billion or more in foreign exposures. As a result, unless modified, the Basel III liquidity framework does not apply to us.

Acquisitions by Bank Holding Companies

Federal and state laws, including the Bank Holding Company Act and the Change in Bank Control Act, impose additional prior notice or approval requirements and ongoing regulatory requirements on any investor that seeks to acquire direct or indirect “control” of an FDIC-insured depository institution or bank holding company. We must obtain the prior approval of the Federal Reserve before (1) acquiring more than 5% of the voting stock of any bank or other bank holding company, (2) acquiring all or substantially all of the assets of any bank or bank holding company, or (3) merging or consolidating with any other bank holding company. The Federal Reserve may determine not to approve any of these transactions if it would result in or tend to create a monopoly or substantially lessen competition or otherwise function as a restraint of trade, unless the anti-competitive effects of the proposed transaction are clearly outweighed by the public interest in meeting the convenience and needs of the community to be served. The Federal Reserve is also required to consider the financial and managerial resources and future prospects of the bank holding companies and banks concerned, the convenience and needs of the community to be served, and the record of a bank holding company and its subsidiary bank(s) in combating money laundering activities. In addition, a failure to implement and maintain adequate compliance programs could cause the Federal Reserve or other banking regulators not to approve an acquisition when regulatory approval is required or to prohibit an acquisition even if approval is not required.

Scope of Permissible Bank Holding Company Activities

In general, the Bank Holding Company Act limits the activities permissible for bank holding companies to the business of banking, managing or controlling banks and such other activities as the Federal Reserve has determined to be so closely related to banking as to be properly incident thereto.

A bank holding company may elect to be treated as a financial holding company and receive expanded powers if it and its depository institution subsidiaries are “well capitalized” and “well managed.” We have elected for the Company to be treated as a financial holding company. As a financial holding company, we may engage in a range of activities that are (1) financial in nature or incidental to such financial activity or (2) complementary to a financial activity and which do not pose a substantial risk to the safety and soundness of a depository institution or to the financial system generally. These activities include securities dealing, underwriting and market making, insurance underwriting and agency activities, merchant banking and insurance company portfolio investments. Expanded financial activities of financial holding companies generally will be regulated according to the type of such financial activity: banking activities by banking regulators; securities activities by securities regulators; and insurance activities by insurance regulators.

The Bank Holding Company Act does not place territorial limitations on permissible non-banking activities of bank holding companies. The Federal Reserve has the power to order any bank holding company or its subsidiaries to terminate any activity or to terminate its ownership or control of any subsidiary when the Federal Reserve has reasonable grounds to believe that continuation of such activity or such ownership or control constitutes a serious risk to the financial soundness, safety or stability of any bank subsidiary of the bank holding company.

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Source of Strength Doctrine for Bank Holding Companies

Under longstanding Federal Reserve policy which has been codified by the Dodd-Frank Act, we are expected to act as a source of financial strength to, and to commit resources to support, Investar Bank. This support may be required at times when we may not be inclined to provide it. In addition, any capital loans that we make to Investar Bank are subordinate in right of payment to deposits and to certain other indebtedness of the Bank. In the event of our bankruptcy, any commitment by us to a federal bank regulatory agency to maintain the capital of the Bank will be assumed by the bankruptcy trustee and entitled to a priority of payment.

Dividends

As a bank holding company, we are subject to certain restrictions on dividends under applicable banking laws and regulations. The Federal Reserve has issued a policy statement that provides that a bank holding company should not pay dividends unless: (1) its net income over the last four quarters (net of dividends paid) has been sufficient to fully fund the dividends; (2) the prospective rate of earnings retention appears to be consistent with the capital needs, asset quality and overall financial condition of the bank holding company and its subsidiaries; and (3) the bank holding company will continue to meet minimum required capital adequacy ratios. Accordingly, a bank holding company should not pay cash dividends that exceed its net income or that can only be funded in ways that weaken the bank holding company’s financial health, such as by borrowing. The Dodd-Frank Act imposes, and Basel III effected, additional restrictions on the ability of banking institutions to pay dividends. In addition, in the current financial and economic environment, the Federal Reserve Board 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.

The Bank is also subject to certain restrictions on dividends under federal and state laws, regulations and policies. In general, under Louisiana law, the Bank may pay dividends to us without the approval of the OFI only so long as the amount of the dividend does not exceed the Bank’s net profits earned during the current year combined with its retained net profits of the immediately preceding year. The Bank must obtain the approval of the OFI for any amount in excess of this threshold. In addition, under federal law, the Bank may not pay any dividend to us if it is undercapitalized or the payment of the dividend would cause it to become undercapitalized. The FDIC may further restrict the payment of dividends by requiring the Bank to maintain a higher level of capital than would otherwise be required to be adequately capitalized for regulatory purposes. Moreover, if, in the opinion of the FDIC, the Bank is engaged in an unsound practice (which could include the payment of dividends even within the legal requirements noted above), the FDIC may require, generally after notice and hearing, the Bank to cease such practice. The FDIC has indicated that paying dividends that deplete a depository institution’s capital base to an inadequate level would be an unsafe banking practice. The FDIC has also issued policy statements providing that insured depository institutions generally should pay dividends only out of current operating earnings.

Restrictions on Transactions with Affiliates and Loans to Insiders

Federal law strictly limits the ability of banks to engage in transactions with their affiliates, including their bank holding companies. Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act, and Federal Reserve Regulation W, impose quantitative limits, qualitative standards, and collateral requirements on certain transactions by a bank with, or for the benefit of, its affiliates, and generally require those transactions to be on terms at least as favorable to the bank as transactions with non-affiliates and to be consistent with safe and sound practices. The Dodd-Frank Act significantly expands the coverage and scope of the limitations on affiliate transactions within a banking organization, including an expansion of what types of transactions are covered transactions to include credit exposures related to derivatives, repurchase agreements and securities lending arrangements and an increase in the amount of time for which collateral requirements regarding covered transactions must be satisfied.

Federal law also limits a bank’s authority to extend credit to its directors, executive officers and 10% shareholders, as well as to entities controlled by such persons. Among other things, extensions of credit to insiders are required to be made on terms that are substantially the same as, and follow credit underwriting procedures that are not less stringent than, those prevailing for comparable transactions with unaffiliated persons. Also, the terms of such extensions of credit may not involve more than the normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features and may not exceed certain limitations on the amount of credit extended to such persons, individually and in the aggregate, which limits are based, in part, on the amount of the bank’s capital.

Incentive Compensation Guidance

The federal banking agencies have issued comprehensive guidance on incentive compensation policies. This guidance is designed to ensure that a financial institution’s incentive compensation structure does not encourage imprudent risk taking, which may undermine the safety and soundness of the institution. The guidance, which applies to all employees that have the ability to materially affect an institution’s risk profile, either individually or as part of a group, is based upon three primary principles: (1) balanced risk taking incentives; (2) compatibility with effective controls and risk management; and (3) strong corporate governance.

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An institution’s supervisory ratings will incorporate any identified deficiencies in an institution’s compensation practices, and it may be subject to an enforcement action if the incentive compensation arrangements pose a risk to the safety and soundness of the institution. Further, a provision of the Basel III proposals described abo ve would limit discretionary bonus payments to bank executives if the institution’s regulatory capital ratios fail to exceed certain thresholds.

Deposit Insurance Assessments

FDIC insured banks are required to pay deposit insurance assessments to the FDIC. The amount of the assessment is based on the size of the bank’s assessment base, which is equal to its average consolidated total assets less its average tangible equity, and its risk classification under an FDIC risk-based assessment system. Institutions assigned to higher risk classifications (that is, institutions that pose a higher risk of loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund) pay assessments at higher rates than institutions that pose a lower risk. An institution’s risk classification is assigned based on its capital levels and the level of supervisory concern that the institution poses to the regulators. In addition, the FDIC can impose special assessments in certain instances. As noted above, the Dodd-Frank Act changed the way that deposit insurance premiums are calculated. Continued action by the FDIC to replenish the Deposit Insurance Fund, as well as the changes contained in the Dodd-Frank Act, may result in higher assessment rates, which could reduce our profitability or otherwise negatively impact our operations.

Branching and Interstate Banking

Under Louisiana law, Investar Bank is permitted to establish additional branch offices within Louisiana, subject to the approval of the OFI. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Bank may also establish additional branch offices outside of Louisiana, subject to prior regulatory approval, so long as the laws of the state where the branch is to be located would permit a state bank chartered in that state to establish a branch. We currently do not have any branches outside the state of Louisiana. The Bank may also establish offices in other states by merging with banks or by purchasing branches of other banks in other states, subject to certain restrictions.

Community Reinvestment Act

Investar Bank is required under the Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA, and related FDIC regulations to help meet the credit needs of its communities, including low and moderate-income borrowers. In connection with its examination of the Bank, the FDIC assesses our record of compliance with the CRA. The Bank’s failure to comply with the provisions of the CRA could, at a minimum, result in denial of certain corporate applications, such as branches or mergers, or in restrictions on its or the Company’s activities. The Bank received a “satisfactory” CRA rating on its most recent CRA examination. The CRA requires all FDIC insured institutions to publicly disclose their rating.

Concentrated Commercial Real Estate Lending Regulations

The federal banking regulatory agencies have promulgated guidance governing financial institutions with concentrations in commercial real estate lending. The guidance provides that a bank has a concentration in commercial real estate lending if (i) total reported loans for construction, land development, and other land represent 100% or more of total capital or (ii) total reported loans secured by multifamily and nonfarm residential properties and loans for construction, land development, and other land represent 300% or more of total capital and the bank’s commercial real estate loan portfolio has increased 50% or more during the prior 36 months. Owner occupied loans are excluded from this second category. If a concentration is present, management must employ heightened risk management practices that address, among other things, board and management oversight and strategic planning, portfolio management, development of underwriting standards, risk assessment and monitoring through market analysis and stress testing, and maintenance of increased capital levels as needed to support the level of commercial real estate lending. At December 31, 2015, the Company did not have a concentration in commercial real estate as defined by the regulatory guidance.

 

Financial Privacy Requirements

Federal law and regulations limit a financial institution’s ability to share consumer financial information with unaffiliated third parties. Specifically, these provisions require all financial institutions offering financial products or services to retail customers to provide such customers with the financial institution’s privacy policy and provide such customers the opportunity to “opt out” of the sharing of personal financial information with unaffiliated third parties. The sharing of information for marketing purposes is also subject to limitations. The Bank currently has a privacy protection policy in place.

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Consumer Laws and Regulations

The Bank is subject to numerous laws and regulations intended to protect consumers in transactions with the Bank, including, among others, laws regarding unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices, usury laws, and other federal consumer protection statutes. These federal laws include the ECOA, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Real Estate Procedures Act of 1974, the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, the Truth in Lending Act and the Truth in Savings Act, among others. Many states and local jurisdictions have consumer protection laws analogous, and in addition, to those enacted under federal law. These laws and regulations mandate certain disclosure requirements and regulate the manner in which financial institutions must deal with customers when taking deposits, making loans and conducting other types of transactions. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations could give rise to regulatory sanctions, customer rescission rights, action by state and local attorneys general and civil or criminal liability.

In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that has broad authority to regulate and supervise retail financial services activities of banks and various non-bank providers. The Bureau has authority to promulgate regulations, issue orders, guidance and policy statements, conduct examinations and bring enforcement actions with regard to consumer financial products and services. In general, however, banks with assets of $10 billion or less, such as Investar Bank, will continue to be examined for consumer compliance by their primary federal bank regulator.

Mortgage Lending Rules

The Dodd-Frank Act authorized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to establish certain minimum standards for the origination of residential mortgages, including a determination of the borrower’s ability to repay. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, financial institutions may not make a residential mortgage loan unless they make a “reasonable and good faith determination” that the consumer has a “reasonable ability” to repay the loan. The Dodd-Frank Act allows borrowers to raise certain defenses to foreclosure but provides a full or partial safe harbor from such defenses for loans that are “qualified mortgages.” On January 10, 2013, the Bureau published final rules to, among other things, specify the types of income and assets that may be considered in the ability-to-repay determination, the permissible sources for verification, and the required methods of calculating the loan’s monthly payments. Since then, the Bureau has made certain modifications to these rules. The rules extend the requirement that creditors verify and document a borrower’s income and assets to include all information that creditors rely on in determining repayment ability. The rules also provide further examples of third-party documents that may be relied on for such verification, such as government records and check cashing or funds transfer service receipts. The new rules became effective on January 10, 2014. The rules also define “qualified mortgages,” imposing both underwriting standards, for example, a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio may not exceed 43%, and limits on the terms of their loans. Points and fees are subject to a relatively stringent cap, and the terms include a wide array of payments that may be made in the course of closing a loan. Certain loans, including interest-only loans and negative amortization loans, cannot be qualified mortgages.

Anti-Money Laundering and OFAC

Under federal law, financial institutions must maintain anti-money laundering programs that include: established internal policies, procedures and controls; a designated compliance officer; an ongoing employee training program; and testing of the program by an independent audit function. Financial institutions are also prohibited from entering into specified financial transactions and account relationships and must meet enhanced standards for due diligence and customer identification in their dealings with foreign financial institutions and foreign customers. Financial institutions must take reasonable steps to conduct enhanced scrutiny of account relationships to guard against money laundering and to report any suspicious transactions, and law enforcement authorities have been granted increased access to financial information maintained by financial institutions.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, is responsible for helping to insure that U.S. entities do not engage in transactions with certain prohibited parties, as defined by various Executive Orders and Acts of Congress. OFAC publishes lists of persons and organizations suspected of aiding, harboring or engaging in terrorist acts, known as Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Generally, if the Bank identifies a transaction, account or wire transfer relating to a person or entity on an OFAC list, it must freeze the account or block the transaction, file a suspicious activity report and notify the appropriate authorities.

Bank regulators routinely examine institutions for compliance with these obligations and they must consider an institution’s compliance in connection with the regulatory review of applications, including applications for banking mergers and acquisitions. Failure of a financial institution to maintain and implement adequate programs to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and comply with OFAC sanctions, or to comply with relevant laws and regulations, could have serious legal, reputational and financial consequences for the institution.

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Safety and Soundness Standards

Federal bank regulatory agencies have adopted guidelines that establish general standards relating to internal controls and information systems, internal audit systems, loan documentation, credit underwriting, interest rate exposure, asset growth and compensation, fees and benefits. Additionally, the agencies have adopted regulations that provide the authority to order an institution that has been given notice by an agency that it is not satisfying any of these safety and soundness standards to submit a compliance plan. If, after being so notified, an institution fails to submit an acceptable compliance plan or fails in any material respect to implement an acceptable compliance plan, the agency must issue an order directing action to correct the deficiency and may issue an order directing other actions of the types to which an undercapitalized institution is subject under the “prompt corrective action” provisions of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. If an institution fails to comply with such an order, the agency may seek to enforce such order in judicial proceedings and to impose civil money penalties.

Bank holding companies are also not permitted to engage in unsound banking practices. For example, the Federal Reserve’s Regulation Y requires a holding company to give the Federal Reserve prior notice of any redemption or repurchase of its own equity securities, if the consideration to be paid, together with the consideration paid for any repurchases in the preceding year, is equal to 10% or more of the company’s consolidated net worth. The Federal Reserve may oppose the transaction if it believes that the transaction would constitute an unsafe or unsound practice or would violate any law or regulation. As another example, a holding company could not impair its subsidiary bank’s soundness by causing it to make funds available to non-banking subsidiaries or their customers if the Federal Reserve believed it not prudent to do so. The Federal Reserve has broad authority to prohibit activities of bank holding companies and their nonbanking subsidiaries that represent unsafe and unsound banking practices or that constitute violations of laws or regulations.

Effect of Governmental Monetary Policies

The commercial banking business is affected not only by general economic conditions but also by U.S. fiscal policy and the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve. Some of the instruments of monetary policy available to the Federal Reserve include changes in the discount rate on member bank borrowings, the fluctuating availability of borrowings at the “discount window,” open market operations, the imposition of and changes in reserve requirements against member banks’ deposits and assets of foreign branches, and the imposition of and changes in reserve requirements against certain borrowings by banks and their affiliates. These policies influence to a significant extent the overall growth of bank loans, investments, and deposits and the interest rates charged on loans or paid on deposits. We cannot predict the nature of future fiscal and monetary policies and the effect of these policies on our future business and earnings.

 

Future Legislation and Regulatory Reform

As a result of the recent economic downturn and its effect on financial institutions, regulators have increased their focus on the regulation of financial institutions. New laws, regulations and policies are regularly proposed that contain wide-ranging proposals for altering the structures, regulations and competitive relationships of financial institutions operating in the United States. In addition, existing laws, regulations and policies are continually subject to modification or changes in interpretation. We cannot predict whether or in what form any law, regulation or policy will be adopted or modified or the extent to which our operations and activities, financial condition, results of operations, growth plans or future prospects may be affected by its adoption or modification.

The cumulative effect of these laws and regulations add significantly to the cost of our operations and thus have a negative impact on profitability. There has also been a tremendous expansion in recent years of financial service providers that are not subject to the same level of regulation, examination and oversight as we are. Those providers, because they are not so highly regulated, may have a competitive advantage over us and may continue to draw large amounts of funds away from traditional banking institutions, with a continuing adverse effect on the banking industry in general.

 

Employees

As of December 31, 2015, we had 168 full-time equivalent employees. None of our employees are represented by any collective bargaining unit or are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. We believe that our relations with our employees are good.

 

Dependence upon a Single Customer

No material portion of our loans has been made to, nor have our deposits been obtained from, a single or small group of customers; the loss of any single customer or small group of customers would not have a materially adverse effect on our business. A discussion of concentrations of credit in our loan portfolio is set forth under the heading Loan Concentrations in “Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition—Loans” in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations .

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Available Information

Our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments thereto, are available on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after the reports are filed with or furnished to the SEC. Copies can be obtained free of charge in the “Investor Relations” section of our website at www.investarbank.com. Our SEC filings are also available through the SEC’s website www.sec.gov. Copies of these filings are also available by writing to us at the following address:

Investar Holding Corporation

P.O. Box 84207

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70884-4207

 

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

Our business is subject to risk. In addition to the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations and our financial statements and the notes thereto, investors should consider the following risks when evaluating whether to invest in our common stock. If any of the following risks occur, whether alone or in combination, our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and growth prospects could be materially and adversely affected. Additional risks that we do not presently know of or currently deem immaterial may also adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations cash flows and growth prospects.

Risks Related to our Business

As a business operating in the financial services industry, our business and operations may be adversely affected by current economic conditions.

General business and economic conditions in the United States and abroad can materially affect our business and operations. A weak U.S. economy is likely to cause uncertainty about the federal fiscal policymaking process, the medium and long-term fiscal outlook of the federal government and future tax rates. In addition, economic conditions in foreign countries, including uncertainty over the stability of the euro currency, could affect the stability of global financial markets, which could hinder U.S. economic growth.

Weak economic conditions are characterized by deflation, fluctuations in debt and equity capital markets, a lack of liquidity and/or depressed prices in the secondary market for mortgage loans, increased delinquencies on mortgage, consumer and commercial loans, residential and commercial real estate price declines and lower home sales and commercial activity. The current economic environment in the United States is also characterized by interest rates at historically low levels, which impacts our ability to attract deposits and to generate attractive earnings through our investment portfolio. All of these factors are detrimental to our business, and the interplay between these factors can be complex and unpredictable. Our business is also significantly affected by monetary and related policies of the U.S. federal government and its agencies. Changes in any of these policies are influenced by macroeconomic conditions and other factors that are beyond our control. Adverse economic conditions and government policy responses to such conditions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

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Our business strategy includes the continuation of growth plans, and our financial condition and results of operations could be negatively affected if we fail to grow or fail to manage our growth effectively.

We have grown our business largely through the acquisition of other financial institutions and through de novo branching. Since June 14, 2006, we have opened eight de novo branches and acquired South Louisiana Business Bank (“SLBB”) in 2011 and First Community Bank (“FCB”) in 2013 by merger. We intend to continue pursuing a growth strategy for our business through de novo branching and to evaluate attractive acquisition opportunities that are presented to us. Our growth prospects must be considered in light of the risks, expenses and difficulties frequently encountered by companies when expanding their franchise, including the following:

 

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Management of Growth . We may be unable to successfully maintain loan quality in the context of significant loan growth or maintain adequate management personnel and systems to oversee such growth, including internal audit, loan review and compliance personnel. Our growth may require that we implement additional policies, procedures and operating systems, and we may encounter difficulties in doing so at all or in a timely manner.

 

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Operating Results . There is no assurance that existing offices or future offices will maintain or achieve deposit levels, loan balances or other operating results necessary to avoid losses or produce profits. Our growth and de novo branching strategy necessarily entails growth in overhead expenses as we routinely add new offices and staff. Our historical results may not be indicative of future results or results that may be achieved as we continue to increase the number and concentration of our branch offices. Should any new location be unprofitable or marginally profitable, or should any existing location experience a decline in profitability or incur losses, the adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition could be more significant than would be the case for a larger company.

 

·

De Novo Branching . There are considerable costs involved in opening branches, and new branches generally do not generate sufficient revenues to offset their costs until they have been in operation for at least a year or more. Accordingly, our de novo branches can be expected to negatively impact our earnings for some period of time until the branches reach certain economies of scale. Our expenses could be further increased if we encounter delays in opening any of our de novo branches. We may be unable to accomplish future branch expansion plans due to a lack of available satisfactory sites, difficulties in acquiring such sites, increased expenses or loss of potential sites due to complexities associated with zoning and permitting processes, higher than anticipated merger and acquisition costs or other factors. Finally, we have no assurance our de novo branches or branches that we may acquire will be successful even after they have been established or acquired, as the case may be.

 

·

Expansion into New Markets . As we grow into new markets in Louisiana and in other states, we are likely to encounter customer demographics and financial services offerings unlike those found in our current markets. In these markets we are likely to face competition from a wide array of financial institutions, including much larger, better-established financial institutions.

Failure to successfully address these issues could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations, and could adversely affect our ability to successfully implement our business strategy. Also, if our growth occurs more slowly than anticipated or declines, our operating results could be materially adversely affected.

Our success depends significantly on our management team, and the loss of our senior executive officers or other key employees and our inability to recruit or retain suitable replacements could adversely affect our business, results of operations and growth prospects.

Our success depends significantly on the continued service and skills of our existing executive management team. The implementation of our business and growth strategies also depends significantly on our ability to retain employees with experience and business relationships within their respective market areas, as well as on our ability to attract, motivate and retain highly qualified senior and middle management. We do not have employment agreements with any of our executive officers, and our officers may terminate their employment with us at any time. Competition for employees is intense, and we could have difficulty replacing such officers with personnel with the combination of skills and attributes required to execute our business and growth strategies and who have ties to the communities within our market areas. The loss of any of our key personnel could therefore have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

As a community bank, our ability to maintain our reputation is critical to the growth of our business.

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We are a community bank and our reputation is one of the most valuable components of our business. Much of our growth over the past several years has depended on attracting new customers from competing financial institutions and increasing our market share, primarily through the involvement of our employees in the communities that we serve. Also, our ability to attract and retain highly-skilled management and employees is impacted by our reputation. A negative public opinion of our business can result from any number of activities, including our lending practices, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance, acquisitions, and a ctions taken by our regulators or by community organizations in response to these activities. Significant harm to our reputation could also arise as a result of regulatory or governmental actions, litigation, employee misconduct, or the activities of our c ustomers, other participants in the financial services industry or our contractual counterparties, such as our service providers and vendors. Damage to our reputation could also adversely affect our credit ratings and access to capital markets.

Our business is concentrated in southern Louisiana, and a regional or local economic downturn affecting southern Louisiana may magnify the adverse effects and consequences to us.

We conduct our operations almost exclusively in southern Louisiana, and more specifically, in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and Hammond metropolitan areas. At December 31, 2015, approximately 97% of the secured loans in our total loan portfolio, including loans held for sale, are secured by properties and other collateral located in Louisiana, while approximately 72% of the loans in our loan portfolio (measured by dollar amount) were made to borrowers who live or work in either the Baton Rouge or New Orleans metropolitan area. This geographic concentration imposes a greater risk to us than to our competitors in the area who maintain significant operations outside of southern Louisiana. Accordingly, any regional or local economic downturn, or natural or man-made disaster, that affects southern Louisiana or existing or prospective property or borrowers in such area may affect us and our profitability more significantly and more adversely than our more geographically diversified competitors.

More particularly, much of our business development and marketing strategy is directed toward fulfilling the banking and financial services needs of small to medium-sized businesses. Such businesses generally have fewer financial resources in terms of capital or borrowing capacity than larger entities. If general economic conditions negatively impact our markets or the Louisiana market generally and these businesses are adversely affected, our financial condition and results of operations may be negatively affected.

Adverse economic factors affecting particular industries could have a negative effect on our customers and their ability to make payments to us.

In addition to the geographic concentration of our markets, certain industry-specific economic factors also affect us. For example, a downturn in segments of the commercial and residential real estate industries in our markets due to adverse economic factors affecting particular industries could have an adverse effect on our customers. In addition, the energy sector, which is historically cyclical, has recently experienced significant volatility and a decline in oil and gas prices. While we consider our exposure to the energy sector to not be significant, less than 1% of total loans as of December 31, 2015, should the price of oil and gas decline further and/or remain at the current low price for an extended period, the general economic conditions in our south Louisiana markets could be negatively affected, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We have a significant number of loans secured by real estate, and a downturn in the real estate market could result in losses and negatively impact our profitability.

At December 31, 2015, approximately 68% of our total loan portfolio had real estate as a primary or secondary component of the collateral securing the loan. The real estate provides an alternate source of repayment in the event of a default by the borrower and may deteriorate in value during the time the credit is extended. Real estate values in southern Louisiana declined in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. These values started to improve in 2006 and 2007. However, in connection with the national recession, real estate values nationally declined severely in 2008 and 2009, including in our markets. Recently, real estate values both nationally and in our markets have shown improvement. Future declines in real estate values in our southern Louisiana markets could significantly impair the value of the particular collateral securing our loans and our ability to sell the collateral upon foreclosure for an amount necessary to satisfy the borrower’s obligations to us. Furthermore, in a declining real estate market, we often will need to further increase our allowance for loan losses to address the deterioration in the value of the real estate securing our loans. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and growth prospects.

Commercial real estate loans may expose us to greater risks than our other real estate loans.

Our loan portfolio includes nonowner-occupied commercial real estate loans for individuals and businesses for various purposes, which are secured by commercial properties, as well as real estate construction and development loans. As of December 31, 2015, our nonowner-occupied commercial real estate loans totaled $150.8 million, or 20% of our total loan portfolio.

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Commercial real estate loans typically depend on cash flows from the pro perty to service the debt. Cash flows, either in the form of rental income or the proceeds from sales of commercial real estate, may be affected significantly by general economic conditions. These loans expose a lender to greater credit risk than loans sec ured by residential real estate because the collateral securing these loans typically cannot be liquidated as easily as residential real estate. If we foreclose on these loans, our holding period for the collateral typically is longer than for a one - to - fou r family residential property because there are fewer potential purchasers of the collateral. Additionally, nonowner-occupied commercial real estate loans generally involve relatively large balances to single borrowers or related groups of borrowers. Accor dingly, charge-offs on nonowner-occupied commercial real estate loans may be larger on a per loan basis than those incurred with our residential or consumer loan portfolios. Unexpected deterioration in the credit quality of our commercial real estate loan portfolio would require us to increase our provision for loan losses, which would reduce our profitability and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and growth prospects.

We are exposed to consumer credit risk.

Historically, we have originated a significant number of consumer installment loans, particularly with respect to automobile finance. We are subject to credit risk resulting from defaults in payment or performance by customers for our loans, as well as loans that we sell to third parties but retain servicing rights. A weak economic environment and high unemployment rates could exert pressure on our auto loan customers resulting in higher delinquencies, repossessions and losses. There can be no assurances that our monitoring of our credit risk as it affects the value of these loans and the underlying collateral will be sufficient to prevent an effect on our profitability and financial condition.

There are also risks with respect to our auto lending in particular. First, as an indirect auto lender, all of our auto loans were originated by dealerships with which we have relationships. As a result, we do not have relationships directly with the borrowers and are dependent on the relationships these dealerships have with their customers to make a determination on whether or not there are factors that would cause an otherwise qualified customer to not repay the loan. In addition, federal and state laws may prohibit, limit or delay our repossession and sale of vehicles on defaulted automobile loan contracts, which will impair our ability to recover losses on these loans. Additional factors that may affect our ability to recoup the full amount due on an indirect auto loan include, among other things, our failure to perfect our security interest in the relevant vehicle, depreciation, obsolescence, damage or loss to the vehicle and the impact of federal and state bankruptcy and insolvency laws. Furthermore, proceeds from the sale of repossessed vehicles can fluctuate significantly based upon market conditions. A deterioration in general economic conditions could result in a greater loss in the sale of repossessed vehicles than we have historically experienced.

In November 2015, the Bank announced that it was exiting the indirect auto loan origination business. The Bank discontinued accepting indirect auto loan applications December 31, 2015, but continued to process and fund applications that were accepted on or before that date. The Bank will continue to service the current auto loan portfolio for its duration, which bears the risks discussed above.

 

Our allowance for loan losses may prove to be insufficient to absorb losses inherent in our loan portfolio, and we may be required to further increase our provision for loan losses.

Although we endeavor to diversify our loan portfolio in order to minimize the effect of economic conditions within a particular industry, management also maintains an allowance for loan losses, which is a reserve established through a provision for loan losses charged to expense, to absorb probable credit losses inherent in the entire loan portfolio. We maintain our allowance for loan losses at a level considered adequate by management to absorb probable loan losses, including collateral impairment, based on our analysis of our portfolio and market environment, using relevant information available to us. Among other considerations in establishing the allowance for loan losses, management considers economic conditions reflected within industry segments, the unemployment rate in our markets, loan segmentation and historical losses that are inherent in the loan portfolio.

As of December 31, 2015, our allowance for loan losses as percentages of total loans and nonperforming loans was 0.82% and 254%, respectively. The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance is inherently subjective and requires us to make significant estimates of current credit risks and future trends, all of which are subject to material changes. In addition, loans acquired in connection with business combination transactions are measured at fair value, based on management’s estimates related to expected prepayments and the amount and timing of undiscounted expected principal, interest and other cash flows. Because fair value measurements incorporate assumptions regarding credit risk, no allowance for loan losses related to the acquired loans is recorded on the acquisition date.

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Inaccurate management assumptions, including with respect to the fair va lue of acquired loans, continuing deterioration of 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 us to in crease our allowance for loan losses. In addition, bank regulatory agencies periodically review the 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 di fferent than those of management. Finally, if actual 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 resul t in a decrease in net income and, possibly, capital and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

Lack of seasoning of our loan portfolio could increase the risk of future credit defaults.

As a result of our growth over the past three years, a large portion of loans in our loan portfolio and of our lending relationships are of relatively recent origin. In general, loans do not begin to show signs of credit deterioration or default until they have been outstanding for some period of time, a process referred to as “seasoning.” As a result, a portfolio of older loans will usually behave more predictably than a newer portfolio. Because a large portion of our portfolio is relatively new, the current level of delinquencies and defaults may not represent the level that may prevail as the portfolio becomes more seasoned. If delinquencies and defaults increase, we may be required to increase our provision for loan losses, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

New lines of business or new products and services may subject the Company to additional risks.

From time to time, the Company may implement or may acquire new lines of business or offer new products and services within existing lines of business. There are substantial risks and uncertainties associated with these efforts, particularly in instances where the markets are not fully developed. In developing and marketing new lines of business and/or new products and services, the Company may invest significant time and resources. Initial timetables for the introduction and development of new lines of business and/or new products or services may not be achieved and price and profitability targets may not prove feasible. External factors, such as compliance with regulations, competitive alternatives and shifting market preferences, may also impact the successful implementation of a new line of business or a new product or service. Furthermore, any new line of business and/or new product or service could have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the Company’s system of internal controls. Failure to successfully manage these risks in the development and implementation of new lines of business or new products or services could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We are subject to interest rate risk.

The majority of our banking assets are monetary in nature and subject to risk from changes in interest rates. Our earnings, like that of most financial institutions, are significantly dependent on our net interest income, which is the difference between our interest income on interest-earning assets, such as loans and investment securities, and our interest expense on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings. We expect that we will periodically experience “gaps” in the interest rate sensitivities of our assets and liabilities, meaning that either our interest-bearing liabilities will be more sensitive to changes in market interest rates than our interest-earning assets, or vice versa. In either event, if market interest rates should move contrary to our position, this “gap” will negatively impact our earnings. At December 31, 2015, our interest sensitivity profile was somewhat liability sensitive, meaning that our net interest expense would increase more from rising interest rates than from falling interest rates.

Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors that are beyond our control, including governmental monetary policies, inflation, recession, changes in unemployment, the money supply, international disorder and instability in domestic and foreign financial markets. Changes in monetary policy, including changes in interest rates, could influence not only the interest we receive on loans and securities and the interest we pay on deposits and borrowings, but such changes could also affect our ability to originate loans and obtain deposits, the fair value of our financial assets and liabilities and the average duration of our assets. Any substantial, unexpected, prolonged change in market interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

In addition, as interest rates increase, the ability of borrowers to repay their current loan obligations could be negatively impacted, which would adversely affect our results of operations. These circumstances could not only result in increased loan defaults, foreclosures and charge-offs but also necessitate further increases to the allowance for loan losses. At the same time, the marketability of the property securing a loan may be adversely affected by any reduced demand resulting from higher interest rates. Further, when we place a loan on nonaccrual status, we reverse any accrued but unpaid interest receivable, which decreases interest income, but we continue to have a cost to fund the loan, which is reflected as interest expense, without any interest income to offset the associated funding expense. Thus, an increase in the amount of nonperforming assets would have an adverse impact on net interest income. On the other hand, in a declining interest rate environment, there may be an increase in prepayments on loans as borrowers refinance their loans at lower rates.

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If short-term interest rates remain at their historically low levels for a prolonged period, and assuming longer term interest rates fall further, we could experience net interest margin compression as our interest-earning assets would continue to reprice downward while our interest-bearing liability rates could fail to decline in tandem. Such an occurrence would have a material adverse effect on our net interest income and our results of operations.

By engaging in derivative transactions, we are exposed to credit and market risk, which could adversely affect our profitability and financial condition.

We manage interest rate risk by utilizing derivative instruments to minimize significant unplanned fluctuations in earnings that are caused by interest rate volatility. Hedging interest rate risk is a complex process, requiring sophisticated models and constant monitoring. The effect of this unrealized appreciation or depreciation will generally be offset by income or loss on the derivative instruments that are linked to the hedged assets and liabilities. By engaging in derivative transactions, we are exposed to credit and market risk. If the counterparty fails to perform, credit risk exists to the extent of the fair value gain in the derivative instrument. Market risk exists to the extent that interest rates change in ways that are significantly different from what was expected when we entered into the derivative agreement. The existence of credit and market risk associated with our derivative instruments could adversely affect our profitability and financial condition.

Breakdowns in our internal controls and procedures could have an adverse effect on us.

Management regularly reviews and updates our internal controls over financial reporting, disclosure controls and procedures, and corporate governance policies and procedures. Any system of controls, however well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met. Any failure or circumvention of our controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. See Item 9A, Controls and Procedures for additional information.

Hurricanes or other adverse weather conditions, as well as man-made disasters, could negatively affect our local markets or disrupt our operations, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our business is concentrated in southern Louisiana, and in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, and Hammond metropolitan areas in particular. Southern Louisiana is susceptible to major hurricanes, floods, tropical storms and other natural disasters and adverse weather. These natural disasters can disrupt our operations, cause widespread property damage and severely depress the local economies in which we operate. For example, Hurricane Gustav in 2008 severely impacted our headquarters city of Baton Rouge, with power in many areas of the city not being restored for nearly three weeks after the hurricane. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico illustrated that man-made disasters can also adversely affect economic activity in the markets in which we operate. Any economic decline as a result of a natural disaster, adverse weather, oil spill or other man-made disaster can reduce the demand for loans and our other products and services.

Such events could also affect the stability of our deposit base, impair the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans (resulting in increased delinquencies, foreclosures and loan losses), impair the value of collateral securing such loans, cause significant property damage, result in loss of revenue and/or cause us to incur additional expenses. The occurrence of any such event could, therefore, result in decreased revenue and loan losses that have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

We are subject to a variety of risks in connection with any sale of loans we may conduct.

As discussed elsewhere in this document, we sell certain mortgage loans that we originate as well as pools of our consumer loans. In connection with these sales, we are typically required to make representations and warranties to the purchaser about the loans sold and the procedures under which those loans have been originated. If these representations and warranties are incorrect, we may be required to indemnify the purchaser for its losses or we may be required to repurchase part or all of the affected loans. Borrower fraud may also cause us to have to repurchase loans that we have sold. If we are required to make any indemnity payments or repurchases and do not have a remedy available to us against a solvent counterparty, we may not be able to recover our losses resulting from these indemnity payments and repurchases. Consequently, our results of operations may be adversely affected.

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Factors outside our control could result in impairment of or losses wit h respect to our investment securities.

There are many factors beyond our control that can significantly influence, and adversely change, the fair value of the securities in our portfolio. Factors include, for example, rating agency downgrades of the securities, defaults by the issuer or continued instability in the capital markets. Any of these factors, among others, could cause other-than-temporary impairments and realized and/or unrealized losses in future periods and declines in other comprehensive income, which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects. The process for determining whether impairment of a security is other-than-temporary usually requires difficult, subjective judgments about the future financial performance and liquidity of the issuer and any collateral underlying the security in order to assess the probability of receiving all contractual principal and interest payments on the security.

We may need to raise additional capital in the future to execute our business strategy.

In addition to the liquidity that we require to conduct our day-to-day operations, the Company, on a consolidated basis, and Investar Bank, on a stand-alone basis, must meet certain regulatory capital requirements. With the implementation of certain new regulatory requirements, such as the Basel III accord and the capital requirements enacted under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, or the Dodd-Frank Act, financial institutions will be required to establish higher tangible capital requirements. Also, we may need capital to finance acquisitions.

Our ability to raise additional capital depends on conditions in the capital markets, economic conditions and a number of other factors, including investor perceptions regarding the banking industry, market conditions and governmental activities, and on our financial condition and performance. Accordingly, there can be no assurances that we will be able to raise additional capital if needed or on terms acceptable to us. If we fail to maintain capital to meet regulatory requirements, our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

Competition in our industry is intense, which could adversely affect our growth and profitability.

We face substantial competition in all areas of our operations from a variety of different competitors, many of which are larger and have substantially greater resources than we have, including higher total assets and capitalization, a more extensive and established branch network, greater access to capital markets and a broader offering of financial services. Such competitors primarily include national, regional and community banks within the various markets in which we operate. Because of their scale, many of these competitors can be more aggressive than we can on loan and deposit pricing. We also face competition from many other types of financial institutions, including savings and loans, credit unions, finance companies, brokerage firms, insurance companies, factoring companies and other financial intermediaries. Many of these entities have fewer regulatory constraints and may have lower cost structures than we do.

Our industry could become even more competitive as a result of legislative and regulatory changes as well as continued consolidation. The increased regulatory requirements imposed on financial institutions as well as the economic downturn in the United States in the 2007-2009 time frame, and generally slow recovery thereafter, have already resulted in the consolidation of a number of financial institutions, in addition to acquisitions of failed institutions. We expect additional consolidation to occur. Finally, technology has lowered barriers to entry and made it possible for non-banks to offer products and services traditionally provided by banks, such as automatic transfer and automatic payment systems. If we are unable to successfully compete, our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects will be materially adversely affected.

If the goodwill that we recorded in connection with a business acquisition becomes impaired, it could require charges to earnings, which would have a negative impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

Goodwill represents the amount by which the cost of an acquisition exceeded the fair value of net assets we acquired in connection with the purchase of another financial institution. We review goodwill for impairment at least annually, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the asset might be impaired.

We determine impairment by comparing the implied fair value of the reporting unit goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit goodwill exceeds the implied fair value of that goodwill, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to that excess. Any such adjustments are reflected in our results of operations in the periods in which they become known. As of December 31, 2015, our goodwill totaled $2.7 million. While we have not recorded any such impairment charges since we initially recorded the goodwill, there can be no assurance that our future evaluations of goodwill will not result in findings of impairment and related write-downs, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

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We may face risks with respect to future acquisitions.

When we attempt to expand our business in Louisiana and other states through mergers and acquisitions, we seek targets that are culturally similar to us, have experienced management and possess either significant market presence or have potential for improved profitability through economies of scale or expanded services. In addition to the general risks associated with our growth plans highlighted above, acquiring other banks, businesses or branches involves various risks commonly associated with acquisitions, including, among other things:

 

·

the time and costs associated with identifying and evaluating potential acquisition and merger targets;

 

·

inaccuracies in the estimates and judgments used to evaluate credit, operations, management and market risks with respect to the target institution;

 

·

the time and costs of evaluating new markets, hiring experienced local management and opening new bank locations, and the time lags between these activities and the generation of sufficient assets and deposits to support the costs of the expansion;

 

·

our ability to finance an acquisition and possible dilution to our existing shareholders;

 

·

the diversion of our management’s attention to the negotiation of a transaction;

 

·

the incurrence of an impairment of goodwill associated with an acquisition and adverse effects on our results of operations;

 

·

entry into new markets where we lack experience; and

 

·

risks associated with integrating the operations and personnel of the acquired business in a manner that permits growth opportunities and does not materially disrupt existing customer relationships or result in decreased revenues resulting from any loss of customers.

With respect to the risks particularly associated with the integration of an acquired business, we may encounter a number of difficulties, such as:

 

·

customer loss and revenue loss;

 

·

the loss of key employees;

 

·

the disruption of our operations and business;

 

·

our inability to maintain and increase competitive presence;

 

·

possible inconsistencies in standards, control procedures and policies; and/or

 

·

unexpected problems with costs, operations, personnel, technology and credit.

In addition to the risks posed by the integration process itself, the focus of management’s attention and effort on integration may result in a lack of sufficient management attention to other important issues, causing harm to our business. Also, general market and economic conditions or governmental actions affecting the financial industry generally may inhibit our successful integration of an acquired business.

We expect to continue to evaluate merger and acquisition opportunities that are presented to us and conduct due diligence activities related to possible transactions with other financial institutions. As a result, merger or acquisition discussions and, in some cases, negotiations may take place and future mergers or acquisitions involving cash, debt or equity securities may occur at any time. Historically, acquisitions of non-failed financial institutions involve the payment of a premium over book and market values, and, therefore, some dilution of our book value and net income per common share may occur in connection with any future transaction. Failure to realize the expected revenue increases, cost savings, increases in geographic or product presence and/or other projected benefits from an acquisition could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

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A lack of liquidity cou ld adversely affect our ability to fund operations and meet our obligations as they become due.

Liquidity is essential to our business. Liquidity risk is the potential that we will be unable to meet our obligations as they come due because of an inability to liquidate assets or obtain adequate funding. The primary source of the Bank’s funds are customer deposits and loan repayments, while borrowings are a secondary source of liquidity. Our access to deposits and other funding sources in adequate amounts and on acceptable terms is affected by a number of factors, including rates paid by competitors, returns available to customers on alternative investments and general economic conditions. Any decline in available funding could adversely impact our ability to originate loans, invest in securities, meet our expenses, pay dividends to our shareholders, 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, results of operations and growth prospects.

The Company may be materially and adversely affected by the creditworthiness and liquidity of other financial institutions.

Financial services institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty and other relationships. Our Bank has exposure to many different industries and counterparties, and routinely executes transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including commercial banks, brokers and dealers, investment banks, and other institutional clients. Many of these transactions expose our Bank to credit risk in the event of a default by a counterparty or client. In addition, our Bank’s credit risk may be increased when the collateral to which it is entitled cannot be realized upon or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of its credit or derivative exposure. Any such losses could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We rely on information technology and telecommunications systems and third-party vendors, and our failure to effectively implement new technology or a breach, computer virus or disruption of service could adversely affect our operations and financial condition.

Our industry is undergoing rapid technological changes with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services. We believe that improved technology allows us to serve our customers in a more efficient and less costly manner. Our ability to compete successfully to some extent depends on whether we can implement new technologies to provide products and services to our customers while avoiding significant operational challenges that increase our costs or delay full implementation of technology enhancements or new products, especially relative to our peers (many of which have greater resources to devote to technological improvements).

Although new technologies enable us to enhance the products and services we offer our customers, this technology exposes us to certain risks. First, the successful and uninterrupted functioning of our information technology and telecommunications systems is critical to our business. We outsource many of our major systems, such as data processing, loan servicing and deposit processing. If one of these third-party service providers terminates their relationship with us or fails to provide services to us for any reason or provides such services poorly, our business will be negatively affected. In addition, we may be forced to replace such vendor, which could interrupt our operations and result in a higher cost to us.

Another risk associated with our reliance on technology is our potential vulnerability to security breaches, denial of service attacks, viruses, worms and other disruptive problems caused by hackers as well as to damage from physical theft, fire, power loss, telecommunications failure or a similar catastrophic event. We have attempted to address these concerns by backing up our systems as well as retaining qualified third-party vendors to test and audit our network. However, there can be no guarantees that our efforts will be successful in avoiding material problems with our information technology and telecommunications systems. If our efforts are unsuccessful, security breaches, viruses and other technology disruptions could expose us to claims, regulatory scrutiny, litigation and other possible liabilities, in addition to a loss of the confidence of our existing customers in the reliability of our systems.

We are subject to environmental liability risk associated with our lending activities.

A significant portion of our loan portfolio is secured by real property. Also, in the ordinary course of business, we may foreclose on and take title to properties securing certain loans or purchase real estate to expand our facilities. In doing so, there is a risk that hazardous or toxic substances could be found on these properties. If hazardous or toxic substances are found, we may be liable for remediation costs, as well as for personal injury and property damage. Environmental laws may require us to incur substantial expenses and may materially reduce the affected property’s value or limit our ability to use or sell the affected property. The remediation costs and any other financial liabilities associated with an environmental hazard could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects. In addition, future laws or more stringent interpretations or enforcement policies with respect to existing laws may increase our exposure to environmental liability. Although management has policies and procedures to perform an environmental review before the loan is recorded and before initiating any foreclosure action on real property, these reviews may not be sufficient to detect all potential environmental hazards.

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Risks Related to Our Industry

We operate in a highly regulated environment, which could restrain our growth and profitability.

We are subject to extensive regulation and supervision that governs almost all aspects of our operations, including, among other things, our lending practices, capital structure, investment practices, dividend policy, operations and growth. These laws and regulations, and the supervisory framework that oversees the administration of these laws and regulations, are primarily intended to protect consumers, depositors, the Deposit Insurance Fund and the banking system as a whole, and not shareholders and counterparties. Furthermore, new proposals for legislation continue to be introduced in the U.S. Congress that could further substantially increase regulation of the financial services industry, impose restrictions on our operations and our ability to conduct business consistent with historical practices, including in the areas of compensation, interest rates, financial product offerings and disclosures, and have an effect on bankruptcy proceedings with respect to consumer residential real estate mortgages, among other things.

Our efforts to comply with these additional laws, regulations and standards are likely to result in increased expenses and a diversion of management time and attention. The information under the heading “Supervision and Regulation” in Item 1, Business , provides more information regarding the regulatory environment in which we and the Bank operate.

Financial reform legislation enacted by Congress will, among other things, tighten capital standards and result in new laws and regulations that likely will increase our costs of operations.

The Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law on July 21, 2010. This law significantly changed the then-existing bank regulatory structure and affected the lending, deposit, investment, trading and operating activities of financial institutions and their holding companies. The Dodd-Frank Act changes the regulatory structure to which we are subject in numerous ways, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

·

The base for FDIC insurance assessments has been changed to a bank’s average consolidated total assets minus average tangible equity, rather than upon its deposit base, while the FDIC’s authority to raise insurance premiums has been expanded.

 

·

The current standard deposit insurance limit has been permanently raised to $250,000.

 

·

The FDIC must raise the ratio of reserves to deposits from 1.15% to 1.35% for deposit insurance purposes by September 30, 2020 and to “offset the effect” of increased assessments on insured depository institutions with assets of less than $10.0 billion.

 

·

The interchange fees payable on debit card transactions have been limited.

 

·

There are multiple new provisions affecting corporate governance and executive compensation at all publicly traded companies.

 

·

All federal prohibitions on the ability of financial institutions to pay interest on commercial demand deposit accounts have been repealed.

Our management continues to assess the impact on our operations of the Dodd-Frank Act and its regulations, many of which have yet to be proposed or adopted or are to be phased-in over the next several months and years. Because the impact of many of the regulations adopted pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act may not be known for some time, it is difficult to predict at this time the full impact that Dodd-Frank Act will have on us. However, it is expected that at a minimum our operating and compliance costs will increase, and our interest expense could also increase.

In addition to the foregoing, the Dodd-Frank Act established the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the “CFPB”) as an independent entity within the Federal Reserve. The CFPB has broad rulemaking, supervisory and enforcement authority over consumer financial products and services, including deposit products, residential mortgages, home-equity loans and credit cards, as well as with respect to certain mortgage-related matters, such as steering incentives, determinations as to a borrower’s ability to repay and prepayment penalties.

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Federal and state regulators periodically examine our business, and we may b e required to remediate adverse examination findings.

The Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, or the OFI, periodically examine our business, including our compliance with laws and regulations. If, as a result of an examination, a federal banking agency were to determine that our financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity or other aspects of any of our operations had become unsatisfactory, or that we were in violation of any law or regulation, it may take a number of different remedial actions as it deems appropriate. These actions 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 our capital, to restrict our growth, to assess civil monetary penalties against our officers or directors, to remove officers and directors and, if it is concluded that such conditions cannot be corrected or there is an imminent risk of loss to depositors, to terminate our deposit insurance and place us into receivership or conservatorship. If we become subject to any regulatory actions, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.

We may be required to pay significantly higher FDIC deposit insurance premiums in the future.

The deposits of Investar Bank are insured by the FDIC up to legal limits and, accordingly, subject it to the payment of FDIC deposit insurance assessments. A bank’s regular assessments are determined by its risk classification, which is based on its regulatory capital levels and the level of supervisory concern that it poses. In connection with the most recent economic recession, insured depository institution failures, general deterioration in banking and economic conditions, and significantly increased losses of the FDIC, resulted in a decline in the designated reserve ratio of the FDIC to historical lows. To restore this reserve ratio and bolster its funding position, the FDIC imposed a special assessment on depository institutions and also increased deposit insurance assessment rates. Further increases in assessment rates are possible in the future, especially if there are additional bank failures. Any increase in deposit insurance assessment rates, or any future special assessment, could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.

The short-term and long-term impact of the new regulatory capital rules is uncertain.

In July 2013, each of the U.S. federal banking agencies adopted final rules implementing the recommendations of the International Basel Committee on Bank Supervision to strengthen the regulatory capital requirements of all banking organizations in the United States. The new capital framework, referred to as Basel III, replaces the existing regulatory capital rules for all banks, savings associations and U.S. bank holding companies with greater than $500 million in total assets, and all savings and loan holding companies. The final Basel III rules became effective with respect to the Company and the Bank on January 1, 2015, although the rules will not be fully phased in until January 1, 2019.

The new rules establish a new regulatory capital standard based on Tier 1 common equity, increase the minimum Tier 1 capital risk-based capital ratio, and impose a capital conservation buffer of at least 2.5% of common equity Tier 1 capital above the new minimum regulatory capital ratios, when fully phased in during 2019. Failure to meet the capital conservation buffer will result in certain limitations on dividends, capital repurchases, and discretionary bonus payments to executive officers. The rules also change the manner in which a number of our regulatory capital components are calculated and the risk weights applicable to certain asset categories. Although there remains some uncertainty associated with the implementation and regulatory interpretation of the newly adopted standards, we expect that the new rules will generally require us to maintain greater amounts of regulatory capital. The new rules may also limit or restrict how we utilize our capital. A significant increase in our capital requirements could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.

25


 

We are subject to numerous laws designed to protect consumers, including the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws, and failure to comply with these laws could lead to a wide variety of sanctions.

The Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA, the ECOA, the Fair Housing Act and other fair lending laws and regulations impose nondiscriminatory lending requirements on financial institutions. The Department of Justice and other federal agencies enforce these laws and regulations, but private parties may also have the ability to challenge an institution’s performance under fair lending laws in private class action litigation. If an institution’s performance under the Community Reinvestment Act or fair lending laws and regulations is found to be deficient, the institution could be subject to damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, restrictions on mergers and acquisitions activity, restrictions on expansion and restrictions on entering new business lines, among other sanctions. In addition, the FDIC’s assessment of our compliance with CRA provisions is taken into account when evaluating any application we submit for, among other things, approval of the acquisition or establishment of a branch or other deposit facility, an office relocation, a merger or the acquisition of another financial institution. Our failure to satisfy our CRA obligations could, at a minimum, result in the denial of such applications and limit our growth.

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 increased scrutiny of compliance with the rules enforced by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. 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, including our acquisition plans. 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, results of operations and growth prospects.

Risks Related to an Investment in our Common Stock

The market price of our common stock may be volatile, which may make it difficult for investors to sell their shares at the volume, prices and times desired.

The market price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including, without limitation:

 

·

actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly and annual operating results, financial condition or asset quality;

 

·

changes in general economic or business conditions, both domestically and internationally;

 

·

the effects of, and changes in, trade, monetary and fiscal policies, including the interest rate policies of the Federal Reserve, or in laws and regulations affecting us;

 

·

the number of securities analysts covering us;

 

·

publication of research reports about us, our competitors, or the financial services industry generally, or changes in, or failure to meet, securities analysts’ estimates of our financial and operating performance, or lack of research reports by industry analysts or ceasing of coverage;

 

·

changes in market valuations or earnings of companies that investors deemed comparable to us;

 

·

the average daily trading volume of our common stock;

 

·

future issuances of our common stock or other securities;

 

·

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

·

perceptions in the marketplace regarding our competitors and/or us;

 

·

significant acquisitions or business combinations, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments by or involving our competitors or us; and

 

·

other news, announcements or disclosures (whether by us or others) related to us, our competitors, our core market or the financial services industry.

26


 

The stock market and, in particular, the market for financial institution stocks have experienced significant fluctuations in recent y ears. In many cases, these changes have been unrelated to the operating performance and prospects of particular companies. In addition, significant fluctuations in the trading volume in our common stock may cause significant price variations to occur. Incr eased market volatility may materially and adversely affect the market price of our common stock, which may make it difficult for investors to sell their shares at the volume, prices and times desired.

We are an “emerging growth company,” and the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies may make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. While we retain this status, we intend to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and shareholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We will continue to be an emerging growth company until the earliest to occur of the following: (1) December 31, 2019; (2) the last day of the fiscal year in which we have more than $1.0 billion in annual revenues; (3) the date on which we have more than $700 million in market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates; or (4) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt over a three-year period. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions, or if we choose to rely on additional exemptions in the future. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.

Shares eligible for future sale could adversely affect market prices of our common stock.

Shares of our common stock eligible for future sale, including those that may be issued in any private or public offering of our common stock, as consideration in acquisition transactions, or as incentives under incentive plans, could adversely affect market prices for our common stock. As of December 31, 2015, we had 7,264,282 shares outstanding, 278,352 shares subject to options granted under our incentive plan, and warrants outstanding to purchase 130,875 shares of our common stock. Because our outstanding shares of common stock either were issued in an offering registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) or have been held for more than one year, such shares are freely tradable, except for shares held by our affiliates (approximately 9% of shares outstanding as of December 31, 2015) and 60,592 shares that represent unvested restricted shares under our incentive plan. Shares issued under our incentive plan will be available for sale into the public market, except for shares held by our affiliates. Shares held by our affiliates may be resold subject to the restrictions in Rule 144 of the Securities Act. In the future, we may issue additional shares of common stock to raise capital for growth or as consideration in acquisition transactions or for other purposes, and such shares may be registered under the Securities Act and freely tradable.

Our dividend policy may change without notice, and our future ability to pay dividends is subject to restrictions.

Holders of our common stock are entitled to receive only such cash dividends as our board of directors may declare out of funds legally available for the payment of dividends. We have no obligation to continue paying dividends, and we may change our dividend policy at any time without notice to our shareholders.

Since the Company’s primary asset is its stock of Investar Bank, we are dependent upon dividends from the Bank to pay our operating expenses, satisfy our obligations and to pay dividends on the Company’s common stock. Accordingly, any declaration and payment of dividends on common stock will substantially depend upon the Bank’s earnings and financial condition, liquidity and capital requirements, the general economic and regulatory climate and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors. Furthermore, consistent with our strategic plans, growth initiatives, capital availability, projected liquidity needs, and other factors, we have made, and will continue to make, capital management decisions and policies that could adversely impact the amount of dividends, if any, paid to our common shareholders.

In addition, there are numerous laws and banking regulations that limit our and Investar Bank’s ability to pay dividends. For Investar Bank, federal and state statutes and regulations require, among other things, that the Bank maintain certain levels of capital in order to pay a dividend. Further, state and federal banking authorities have the ability to restrict the payment of dividends by supervisory action. At the holding company level, the Federal Reserve Board has indicated that bank holding companies should carefully review their dividend policy in relation to the organization’s overall asset quality, level of current and prospective earnings and level, composition and quality of capital. The guidance requires that a company inform and consult with the Federal Reserve Board prior to declaring and paying a dividend that exceeds earnings for the period for which the dividend is being paid or that could result in an adverse change to its capital structure.

27


 

Our Restated Articles of Incorporation and By-laws, and certain banking laws applicable to us, could have an anti-takeover e ffect that decreases our chances of being acquired, even if our acquisition is in our shareholders’ best interests.

Certain provisions of our restated articles of incorporation and our by-laws, as amended, and federal banking laws, including regulatory approval requirements, could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of our organization or conduct a proxy contest, even if those events were perceived by many of our shareholders as beneficial to their interests. These provisions, and the corporate and banking laws and regulations applicable to us:

 

·

enable our board of directors to issue additional shares of authorized, but unissued capital stock. In particular, our board may issue “blank check” preferred stock with such designations, rights and preferences as may be determined from time to time by the board;

 

·

enable our board of directors to increase the size of the board and fill the vacancies created by the increase;

 

·

enable our board of directors to amend our by-laws without shareholder approval;

 

·

require advance notice for director nominations and other shareholder proposals; and

 

·

require prior regulatory application and approval of any transaction involving control of our organization.

These provisions may discourage potential acquisition proposals and could delay or prevent a change in control, including circumstances in which our shareholders might otherwise receive a premium over the market price of our shares.

Our issuance of preferred stock could adversely affect holders of our common stock and discourage a takeover.

Our shareholders authorized our board of directors to issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock without any further action on the part of our shareholders. The board also has the power, without shareholder approval, to set the terms of any series of preferred stock that may be issued, including voting rights, dividend rights, preferences over our common stock with respect to dividends or in the event of a dissolution, liquidation or winding up and other terms. In the event that we issue preferred stock in the future that has preference over our common stock with respect to payment of dividends or upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, or if we issue preferred stock with voting rights that dilute the voting power of our common stock, the rights of the holders of our common stock or the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected. In addition, the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock without any action on the part of our shareholders may impede a takeover of us and prevent a transaction perceived to be favorable to our shareholders.

Holders of the junior subordinated debentures have rights that are senior to those of our common shareholders.

In connection with the FCB merger, we assumed junior subordinated debentures issued by FCB. At December 31, 2015, we had trust preferred securities and accompanying junior subordinated debentures with a carrying value of $3.6 million. Payments of the principal and interest on the trust preferred securities of these trusts are conditionally guaranteed by us. Further, the junior subordinated debentures we issued to the trusts are senior to our shares of common stock. As a result, we must make payments on the junior subordinated debentures before any dividends can be paid on our common stock and, in the event of our bankruptcy, dissolution or liquidation, the holders of the junior subordinated debentures must be satisfied before any distributions can be made on our common stock. We have the right to defer distributions on our junior subordinated debentures (and the related trust preferred securities) for up to five years, during which time no dividends may be paid on our common stock.

An investment in our common stock is not an insured deposit and is subject to risk of loss.

Our common stock is not a bank deposit and, therefore, is not insured against loss by the FDIC, any 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K and is subject to the same market forces that affect the price of common stock in any company. As a result, an investor may lose some or all of his or her investment in our common stock.

 

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

Not applicable.

 

 

28


 

I tem 2. Properties

Our main office is located at 7244 Perkins Road in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in an approximately 4,900 square foot building built in May 2008. In addition to our main office, we operate ten branch offices located in Ascension (1), East Baton Rouge (2), Jefferson (1), Lafayette (1), Livingston (1), St. Tammany (2), Tangipahoa (1) and West Baton Rouge (1) Parishes, Louisiana, as well as a mortgage and loan operations center and a separate executive and operations center, each in Baton Rouge. We also have four stand-alone automated teller machines in Baton Rouge.

We own our main office and all of our branch sites. Each branch facility is a stand-alone building, equipped with an automatic teller machine and on-site parking as well as providing for drive-up access. We believe that our facilities are in good condition and are adequate to meet our operating needs for the foreseeable future.

We have completed construction on a new branch location in Gonzales, Louisiana (in our Baton Rouge market area), which we expect to open in the second quarter of 2016, subject to regulatory approval. We also own two tracts of land in Ascension parish, one in St. Mary parish, one in Jefferson parish, one in Calcasieu parish and one in Lafayette parish, each of which has been designated as a future branch location, although the timing of the development of these tracts is uncertain.

 

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

From time to time we are party to ordinary routine litigation matters incidental to the conduct of our business. We are not presently party to, and none of our property is the subject of, any legal proceedings the resolution of which we believe would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows, growth prospects or capital levels nor were any such proceedings terminated during the fourth quarter of 2015.

 

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

 

 

29


 

P ART II

 

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Common Stock Market Prices

Our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (the “NASDAQ”) under the symbol “ISTR.” As of February 16, 2016, there were approximately 789 holders of record of our common stock, and the closing sales price of our common stock on that date was $14.55.

The following tables set forth the reported high and low intraday sales prices for the Company’s common stock as reported by NASDAQ during each quarter since we completed our initial public offering and began trading on July 3, 2014. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our common stock.

 

2015

 

High

 

 

Low

 

4th quarter

 

$

18.00

 

 

$

15.39

 

3rd quarter

 

$

16.52

 

 

$

14.95

 

2nd quarter

 

$

17.20

 

 

$

14.65

 

1st quarter

 

$

17.42

 

 

$

13.35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th quarter

 

$

15.00

 

 

$

13.00

 

3rd quarter

 

$

19.00

 

 

$

13.06

 

 

Dividends

The following table sets forth the amounts of dividends declared on the Company’s common stock during each quarterly period for the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2015.

 

2015

 

Amount Per Share

 

4th quarter

 

$

0.0086

 

3rd quarter

 

 

0.0082

 

2nd quarter

 

 

0.0078

 

1st quarter

 

 

0.0074

 

2014

 

 

 

 

4th quarter

 

 

0.0070

 

3rd quarter

 

 

0.0068

 

2nd quarter

 

 

0.0123

 

1st quarter

 

 

0.0122

 

 

Dividend Policy

The Company intends to declare dividends on a quarterly basis.  Since we are a holding company with no material business activities, our ability to pay dividends is substantially dependent upon the ability of Investar Bank to transfer funds to us in the form of dividends, loans and advances. The Bank’s ability to pay dividends and make other distributions and payments to us depends upon the Bank’s earnings, financial condition, general economic conditions, compliance with regulatory requirements and other factors. In addition, the Bank’s ability to pay dividends to us is itself subject to various legal, regulatory and other restrictions. See “Supervision and Regulation—Dividends” in Item 1, Business, above for a discussion of the restrictions on dividends under federal banking laws and regulations. In addition, as a Louisiana corporation, we are subject to certain restrictions on dividends under the Louisiana Business Corporation Act. Generally, a Louisiana corporation may pay dividends to its shareholders unless, after giving effect to the dividend, either (1) the corporation would not be able to pay its debts as they come due in the usual course of business or (2) the corporations’ total assets are less than the sum of its total liabilities and the amount that would be needed, if the corporation were to be dissolved at the time of the payment of the dividend, to satisfy the preferential rights of shareholders whose preferential rights are superior to those receiving the dividend. Finally, our ability to pay dividends may be limited on account of the junior subordinated debentures that we assumed in the FCB acquisition. We must make payments on the junior subordinated debentures before any dividends can be paid on our common stock.

These restrictions do not, and are not expected in the future to, materially limit the Company’s ability to pay dividends to its shareholders in an amount consistent with the Company’s history of paying dividends.

30


 

Stock Performance Graph

The following graph compares the cumulative total shareholder return on the Company’s common stock over a measurement period beginning July 3, 2014 with (i) the cumulative total return on the stocks included in the Russell 3000 Index and (ii) the cumulative total return on the stocks included in the SNL Index of Banks with assets between $500 million and $1 billion. The performance graph assumes that the value of the investment in our common stock, the Russell 3000 Index and the SNL Index of Banks was $100 at July 3, 2014, the date our common stock began publicly trading on the NASDAQ, and that all dividends were reinvested.

 

Index

7/3/2014

 

 

9/30/2014

 

 

12/31/2014

 

 

3/31/2015

 

 

6/30/2015

 

 

9/30/2015

 

 

12/31/2015

 

Investar Holding Corporation

 

100.00

 

 

 

94.66

 

 

 

98.58

 

 

 

121.71

 

 

 

108.19

 

 

 

110.25

 

 

 

125.27

 

Russell 3000

 

100.00

 

 

 

98.35

 

 

 

103.01

 

 

 

104.37

 

 

 

104.02

 

 

 

96.00

 

 

 

101.50

 

SNL U.S. Bank $500M-$1B

 

100.00

 

 

 

99.91

 

 

 

103.39

 

 

 

105.33

 

 

 

104.93

 

 

 

108.54

 

 

 

114.05

 

There can be no assurance that our common stock performance will continue in the future with the same or similar trends depicted in the performance graph above. We will not make or endorse any predictions as to future stock performance.

The information provided under the heading “Stock Performance Graph” shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to its proxy regulations or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, other than as provided in Item 201 of Regulation S-K. The information provided in this section shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Period

 

(a) Total Number of

Shares (or Units)

Purchased (1)

 

 

(b) Average Price

Paid per Share   (or

Unit)

 

 

(c ) Total Number

of Shares (or Units)

Purchased as Part

of Publicly

Announced Plans

or Programs

 

 

(d) Maximum Number (or

Approximate Dollar

Value) of Shares (or

Units) That May Be

Purchased Under the

Plans or Programs (2)

 

October 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015

 

 

88

 

 

$

15.83

 

 

 

-

 

 

$

213,144

 

November 1, 2015 to November 30, 2015

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

213,144

 

December 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015

 

 

126

 

 

 

17.33

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

213,144

 

 

 

 

214

 

 

$

16.72

 

 

 

-

 

 

$

213,144

 

 

 

(1)

Represents shares surrendered to cover the payroll taxes due upon the vesting of restricted stock.

 

(2)

On February 19, 2015, the Company announced that its board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to 250,000 shares of the Company’s common stock in open market transactions from time to time or through privately negotiated transactions in accordance with federal securities laws.

 

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities

None.

31


 

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

Please refer to the information under the heading “Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans” in Item 12, Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters, for a discussion of the securities authorized for issuance under the Company’s equity compensation plans.

 

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following table sets forth selected historical financial information and other data as of and for years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011. As discussed in Item 1, Business , Investar Bank did not become a subsidiary of the Company until the completion of the share exchange in November 2013. Accordingly, the selected financial information below as of and for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011 relates only to the operations of the Bank, while the selected financial information below as of and for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 reflects the operations of the Company and the Bank on a consolidated basis. The selected financial information for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 has been derived from the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company as of and for such years, other than the performance ratios, and the selected financial information for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011 has been derived from the audited financial statements of Investar Bank as of and for such years, other than the performance ratios.

The selected financial information below should be read in conjunction with other information contained in this report, including the information contained in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations , and the consolidated financial statements and related notes in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data . Our historical results for any prior period are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected in any future period.

(In thousands, except share data) (1)

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

Financial Condition Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

$

1,031,555

 

 

$

879,354

 

 

$

634,946

 

 

$

375,446

 

 

$

279,330

 

Total gross loans, net of allowance for loan losses

 

 

819,822

 

 

 

721,556

 

 

 

505,744

 

 

 

303,019

 

 

 

226,209

 

Allowance for loan losses

 

 

6,128

 

 

 

4,630

 

 

 

3,380

 

 

 

2,722

 

 

 

1,746

 

Investment securities

 

 

139,779

 

 

 

92,818

 

 

 

62,752

 

 

 

44,326

 

 

 

28,930

 

Goodwill and other intangible assets

 

 

3,175

 

 

 

3,216

 

 

 

3,257

 

 

 

2,828

 

 

 

2,839

 

Noninterest-bearing deposits

 

 

90,447

 

 

 

70,217

 

 

 

72,795

 

 

 

37,489

 

 

 

18,208

 

Interest-bearing deposits

 

 

646,959

 

 

 

557,901

 

 

 

459,811

 

 

 

262,181

 

 

 

209,960

 

Total deposits

 

 

737,406

 

 

 

628,118

 

 

 

532,606

 

 

 

299,670

 

 

 

228,168

 

Long-term borrowings

 

 

11,969

 

 

 

25,055

 

 

 

34,427

 

 

 

26,794

 

 

 

9,575

 

Total stockholders’ equity

 

$

109,350

 

 

$

103,384

 

 

$

55,483

 

 

$

43,553

 

 

$

35,166

 

 

 

 

As of and for the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

Income Statement Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest income

 

$

37,340

 

 

$

31,369

 

 

$

22,472

 

 

$

14,587

 

 

$

11,302

 

Interest expense

 

 

5,882

 

 

 

4,675

 

 

 

3,460

 

 

 

2,542

 

 

 

2,579

 

Net interest income

 

 

31,458

 

 

 

26,694

 

 

 

19,012

 

 

 

12,045

 

 

 

8,723

 

Provision for loan losses

 

 

1,865

 

 

 

1,628

 

 

 

1,026

 

 

 

685

 

 

 

639

 

Net interest income after provision

 

 

29,593

 

 

 

25,066

 

 

 

17,986

 

 

 

11,360

 

 

 

8,084

 

Noninterest income

 

 

8,344

 

 

 

5,860

 

 

 

5,354

 

 

 

3,625

 

 

 

2,032

 

Noninterest expense

 

 

27,353

 

 

 

24,384

 

 

 

19,024

 

 

 

11,645

 

 

 

8,615

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

10,584

 

 

 

6,542

 

 

 

4,316

 

 

 

3,340

 

 

 

1,501

 

Income tax expense

 

 

3,511

 

 

 

1,145

 

 

 

1,148

 

 

 

979

 

 

 

502

 

Net income

 

$

7,073

 

 

$

5,397

 

 

$

3,168

 

 

$

2,361

 

 

$

999

 

32


 

 

 

 

As of and for the year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

Per Common Share Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share

 

$

0.98

 

 

$

0.98

 

 

$

0.86

 

 

$

0.79

 

 

$

0.54

 

Diluted earnings per share

 

 

0.97

 

 

 

0.93

 

 

 

0.81

 

 

 

0.71

 

 

 

0.47

 

Dividends per share

 

 

0.03

 

 

 

0.04

 

 

 

0.05

 

 

 

0.05

 

 

 

0.07

 

Book value per share

 

 

15.05

 

 

 

14.24

 

 

 

14.06

 

 

 

13.56

 

 

 

12.82

 

Tangible book value per share (2)

 

 

14.62

 

 

 

13.79

 

 

 

13.24

 

 

 

12.68

 

 

 

11.79

 

Period end common shares outstanding

 

 

7,264,282

 

 

 

7,262,085

 

 

 

3,945,114

 

 

 

3,210,816

 

 

 

2,742,205

 

Basic weighted average common shares outstanding

 

 

7,214,045

 

 

 

5,533,514

 

 

 

3,667,929

 

 

 

2,998,087

 

 

 

1,843,180

 

Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding

 

 

7,258,008

 

 

 

5,777,302

 

 

 

3,923,375

 

 

 

3,302,661

 

 

 

2,120,471

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance Ratios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return on average assets

 

 

0.77

%

 

 

0.73

%

 

 

0.64

%

 

 

0.74

%

 

 

0.44

%

Return on average equity

 

 

6.60

%

 

 

6.80

%

 

 

6.10

%

 

 

5.90

%

 

 

4.44

%

Net interest margin

 

 

3.61

%

 

 

3.85

%

 

 

4.10

%

 

 

4.04

%

 

 

4.09

%

Efficiency ratio (3)

 

 

68.72

%

 

 

74.90

%

 

 

78.07

%

 

 

74.32

%

 

 

80.10

%

Net interest income to average assets

 

 

3.42

%

 

 

3.63

%

 

 

3.83

%

 

 

3.77

%

 

 

3.86

%

Dividend payout ratio

 

 

3.26

%

 

 

3.93

%

 

 

5.44

%

 

 

5.84

%

 

 

12.91

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asset Quality Ratios

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonperforming assets to total assets

 

 

0.30

%

 

 

0.69

%

 

 

0.79

%

 

 

0.62

%

 

 

0.75

%

Nonperforming loans to total loans

 

 

0.32

%

 

 

0.54

%

 

 

0.30

%

 

 

0.02

%

 

 

0.01

%

Allowance for loan losses to total loans

 

 

0.82

%

 

 

0.74

%

 

 

0.67

%

 

 

0.94

%

 

 

0.79

%

Allowance for loan losses to nonperforming loans

 

 

254.16

%

 

 

138.61

%

 

 

227.00

%

 

 

5136.00

%

 

 

6236.00

%

Net charge-offs to average loans

 

 

0.05

%

 

 

0.07

%

 

 

0.09

%

 

 

-0.12

%

 

 

0.20

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital Ratios (4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total equity to total assets

 

 

10.60

%

 

 

11.76

%

 

 

8.74

%

 

 

11.60

%

 

 

12.59

%

Tangible common equity to tangible assets (5)

 

 

10.32

%

 

 

11.43

%

 

 

8.27

%

 

 

10.93

%

 

 

11.69

%

Tier 1 capital to average assets

 

 

11.39

%

 

 

12.61

%

 

 

9.53

%

 

 

11.55

%

 

 

11.67

%

Common equity tier 1 capital ratio

 

 

11.67

%

 

NA

 

 

NA

 

 

NA

 

 

NA

 

Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets

 

 

12.05

%

 

 

13.79

%

 

 

10.85

%

 

 

13.06

%

 

 

14.36

%

Total capital to risk-weighted assets

 

 

12.72

%

 

 

14.41

%

 

 

11.51

%

 

 

13.95

%

 

 

15.14

%

 

(1)

Selected consolidated financial data includes the effect of mergers from the date of each merger. On May 1, 2013, Investar Bank acquired First Community Bank (“FCB”), a Louisiana state bank headquartered in Hammond, Louisiana, by merger of FCB with and into Investar Bank. On October 1, 2011, Investar Bank acquired South Louisiana Business Bank (“SLBB”), a Louisiana state bank headquartered in Prairieville, Louisiana, by merger of SLBB with and into Investar Bank. References in this document to assets purchased and liabilities assumed in the FCB and SLBB mergers reflect the fair value of such assets and liabilities on the date of acquisition, unless the context otherwise requires. See Note 2, Acquisition Activity, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data , for additional information about the FCB and SLBB transactions.

(2)

Tangible book value per common share is a non-GAAP financial measure. Tangible book value per common share is calculated as total stockholders’ equity less goodwill and other intangible assets, divided by the number of common shares outstanding as of the balance sheet date. We believe that the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is book value per share. For more information regarding our use of non-GAAP financial measures, including a reconciliation of tangible book value per common share to book value per share, please refer to the information under the heading “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations .

(3)

Efficiency ratio represents noninterest expenses divided by the sum of net interest income (before provision for loan losses) and noninterest income. For more information regarding our use of non-GAAP financial measures, including our calculation of the efficiency ratio, please refer to the information under the heading “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations .

33


 

(4)

Beginning January 1, 2015, the capital ratios are calculated using the Basel III framework. Capital ratios for prior periods were calculated using the Basel I framework. The Common Equity Tier 1 capital ratio is a new ratio introduced under the Basel III framework. See discussion of Basel III framework under the heading “Regulatory Capital Requirements” in Item 1, Business .  

(5)

Tangible equity to tangible assets is a non-GAAP financial measure. Tangible equity is calculated as total stockholders’ equity less goodwill and other intangible assets, and tangible assets is calculated as total assets less goodwill and other intangible assets. We believe that the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure is total equity to total assets. For more information regarding our use of non-GAAP financial measures, including a reconciliation of the ratio of tangible equity to tangible assets to the ratio of total equity to total assets, please refer to the information under the heading “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations .

 


34


 

 

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

This section presents management’s perspective on the financial condition and results of operations of Investar Holding Corporation (the “Company,” “we,” “our,” or “us”) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Investar Bank (the “Bank”). The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the Company’s consolidated financial statements and related notes and other supplemental information included herein. As discussed in previous filings, the Company did not become the holding company of the Bank until the completion of the share exchange, whereby all of the Bank’s shareholders received shares of the Company’s common stock in exchange for the Bank’s common stock, in November 2013. Accordingly, references below to financial condition or results of operations or to events or circumstances relating to dates or time periods prior to this share exchange (even if “we,” “our,” or “us” is used) relate to the Bank alone, while references below to financial condition or results of operations or to events or circumstances relating to dates or time periods after the share exchange pertain to the Company and the Bank on a consolidated basis, unless the context explicitly dictates otherwise.

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report on Form 10-K, both in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and elsewhere, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). These forward-looking statements include statements relating to our projected growth, anticipated future financial performance, financial condition, credit quality and performance goals, as well as statements relating to the anticipated effects on our business, financial condition and results of operations from expected developments, our growth and potential acquisitions. These statements can typically be identified through the use of words or phrases such as “may,” “should,” “could,” “predict,” “potential,” “believe,” “think,” “will likely result,” “expect,” “continue,” “will,” “anticipate,” “seek,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “projection,” “would” and “outlook,” or the negative version of those words or other comparable words or phrases of a future or forward-looking nature.

Our forward-looking statements contained herein are based on assumptions and estimates that management believes to be reasonable in light of the information available at this time. However, many of these statements are inherently uncertain and beyond our control and could be affected by many factors. Factors that could have a material effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and future growth prospects can be found in Item 1A, Risk Factors . These factors include, but are not limited to, the following, any one or more of which could materially affect the outcome of future events:

 

·

business and economic conditions generally and in the financial services industry in particular, whether nationally, regionally or in the markets in which we operate;

 

·

our ability to achieve organic loan and deposit growth, and the composition of that growth;

 

·

changes (or the lack of changes) in interest rates, yield curves and interest rate spread relationships that affect our loan and deposit pricing;

 

·

the extent of continuing client demand for the high level of personalized service that is a key element of our banking approach as well as our ability to execute our strategy generally;

 

·

our dependence on our management team, and our ability to attract and retain qualified personnel;

 

·

changes in the quality or composition of our loan or investment portfolios, including adverse developments in borrower industries or in the repayment ability of individual borrowers;

 

·

inaccuracy of the assumptions and estimates we make in establishing reserves for probable loan losses and other estimates;

 

·

the concentration of our business within our geographic areas of operation in Louisiana;

 

·

concentration of credit exposure;

 

·

deteriorating asset quality and higher loan charge-offs, and the time and effort necessary to resolve problem assets;

 

·

a lack of liquidity, including as a result of a reduction in the amount of deposits we hold or other sources of liquidity;

 

·

our potential growth, including our entrance or expansion into new markets, and the need for sufficient capital to support that growth;

 

·

difficulties in identifying attractive acquisition opportunities and strategic partners that will complement our relationship banking approach;

 

·

our ability to efficiently integrate acquisitions into our operations, retain the customers of acquired businesses and grow the acquired operations;

35


 

 

·

the impact of litigation and other legal proceedings to which we become subject;  

 

·

data processing system failures and errors;

 

·

competitive pressures in the consumer finance, commercial finance, retail banking, mortgage lending and auto lending industries, as well as the financial resources of, and products offered by, competitors;

 

·

the impact of changes in laws and regulations applicable to us, including banking, securities and tax laws and regulations and accounting standards, as well as changes in the interpretation of such laws and regulations by our regulators;

 

·

changes in the scope and costs of FDIC insurance and other coverages;

 

·

governmental monetary and fiscal policies;

 

·

hurricanes, other natural disasters and adverse weather; oil spills and other man-made disasters; acts of terrorism, an outbreak of hostilities or other international or domestic calamities, acts of God and other matters beyond our control; and

 

·

other circumstances, many of which are beyond our control.

The foregoing factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read together with the other cautionary statements included herein. If one or more events related to these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual results may differ materially from what we anticipate. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements.

Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and we do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict which will arise. In addition, we cannot assess the impact of each factor on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

Overview

Through our wholly-owned subsidiary Investar Bank, we provide full banking services, excluding trust services, tailored primarily to meet the needs of individuals and small to medium-sized businesses in our primary areas of operation in South Louisiana: Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Hammond and their surrounding metropolitan areas. Our Bank commenced operations in 2006 and we completed our initial public offering in July 2014. Our strategy includes organic growth through high quality loans and growth through acquisitions. We currently operate 11 full service branches, including a branch in Baton Rouge, Louisiana opened in August 2014. We have completed construction of one new branch in Gonzales, Louisiana in our Baton Rouge market area and in September 2015, acquired land and a building for an additional branch in our New Orleans market area. We continue to focus on growing our deposit base in our markets. We completed acquisitions in 2011 and 2013 and regularly review acquisition opportunities.

Our principal business is lending to and accepting deposits from individuals and small to medium-sized businesses in our areas of operation. We generate our income principally from interest on loans and, to a lesser extent, our securities investments, as well as from fees charged in connection with our various loan and deposit services and gains on the sale of loans and securities. Our principal expenses are interest expense on interest-bearing customer deposits and borrowings, salaries, employee benefits, occupancy costs, data processing and operating expenses. We measure our performance through our net interest margin, return on average assets, and return on average equity, among other metrics, while seeking to maintain appropriate regulatory leverage and risk-based capital ratios.

 

Financial Condition and Results of Operations