Document


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, 2017
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
____________________________________________________
http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=12134341&doc=15
Investar Holding Corporation
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
____________________________________________________
Louisiana
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
27-1560715
(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
Common Stock; $1.00 par value per share
Name of each exchange on which registered
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.  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer
¨
Accelerated filer
þ
Non-accelerated filer
¨ (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Smaller reporting company
¨
 
 
Emerging growth company
þ
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. þ




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, 2017, was approximately $201,866,225.
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, 9,514,193 shares outstanding as of March 16, 2018.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Definitive Proxy Statement relating to the 2018 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, 2017.
 




TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
Page
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2




PART 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 nineteen additional full service branches located throughout our market areas. We have experienced significant growth since the Bank was chartered, completing acquisitions in 2011, 2013, and 2017, as described below in more detail, and establishing additional branches in our market areas. As of December 31, 2017, on a consolidated basis, the Company had total assets of $1.6 billion, net loans of $1.3 billion, total deposits of $1.2 billion, and stockholders’ equity of $172.7 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.
The information set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is as of March 16, 2018, 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, and lines of credit. For business customers, we target small to medium-sized businesses and 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 for the last three years, and total assets for the last two 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, 2017, 2016 and 2015, income from our lending activities comprised 84%, 81% and 77%, respectively, of our total revenue.
Lending to Businesses. Our lending to small to medium-sized businesses falls into three general categories:
Commercial real estate loans. Approximately 49% of our total loans at December 31, 2017 were commercial real estate loans, which include multifamily, farmland and commercial real estate loans, with owner-occupied loans comprising approximately 44% 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.

3




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 13% of our total loans at December 31, 2017. 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 18 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 70% 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. Commercial and industrial loans accounted for approximately 11% of our total loans at December 31, 2017.
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.
Lending to Individuals. We make the following types of loans to our individual customers:
Consumer loans. Consumer loans represented 6% of our total loans at December 31, 2017. We make these loans (which are normally fixed-rate loans) to individuals for a variety of personal, family and household purposes, 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 credit analysts 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 73% of our total consumer loans and 4% of our total loans as of December 31, 2017. 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.

4




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 22% of our total loans at December 31, 2017. 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. 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. We offer merchant card services through a third-party vendor and a business 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.
Acquisition of Citizens Bancshares, Inc. On July 1, 2017, the Company completed its acquisition of Citizens Bancshares, Inc. (“Citizens”) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Citizens Bank, headquartered in Ville Platte, Louisiana, with two additional branch locations in Mamou and Pine Prairie, Louisiana. The Company acquired all of the outstanding common stock of the former Citizens shareholders for a total cash consideration of $45.8 million. The Company acquired assets with a fair value of approximately $251 million, including $129 million in loans, assumed $212 million in deposits, and recognized $9.0 million in goodwill.
Acquisition of BOJ Bancshares, Inc. On December 1, 2017, the Company completed its acquisition of BOJ Bancshares, Inc. (“BOJ”) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Highlands Bank, headquartered in Jackson, Louisiana, with four additional branch locations in Baton Rouge, Slaughter, St. Francisville, and Zachary, Louisiana. The Company acquired all of the outstanding common stock of the former BOJ shareholders for a total consideration of $22.7 million, $3.95 million of which was cash with the remaining in the form of 799,559 shares of the Company’s common stock. The Company acquired assets with a fair value of approximately $152 million, including $103 million in loans, assumed $126 million in deposits, and recognized $5.4 million in goodwill.
Segments
While our chief decision makers monitor the revenue streams of the various banking products and services, operations are managed and financial performance is evaluated on a Company-wide basis. Accordingly, all of the Company’s banking operations are considered by management to be aggregated in one reportable operating segment. Because the overall banking operations comprise substantially all of the consolidated operations, no separate segment disclosures are presented in the accompanying consolidated financial statements.

5




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. 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 and is shown proforma, including the total deposits for Citizens Bank and The Highlands Bank, as of June 30, 2017, which is the latest date for which such information is available.
Market (MSA)
 
Investar Total Deposits
 
Investar Market Share
 
 
(in millions)
 
 
Baton Rouge
 
$
731

 
3.6
%
New Orleans
 
118

 
0.3

Hammond
 
56

 
3.0

Lafayette
 
117

 
1.1

Evangeline Parish(1)
 
212

 
34.0

(1) 
Evangeline Parish is not included in a Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area but is included in this table to reflect the deposit balances of Citizens Bank, which was acquired by the Company on July 1, 2017.
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.

6




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 has required and will continue to 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 disallowed 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.
Some of these 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 legislative 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 rule making and will 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 and results of operations.

7




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.
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 undercapitalized 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 branches 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, 2017, Investar Bank met the requirements to be categorized as well capitalized under the prompt corrective action framework as currently in effect.

8




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.
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, includes 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, 2017, and management believes that at December 31, 2017, 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.

9




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,” and its subsidiary banks controlled by it have at least a “satisfactory” Community Reinvestment Act rating. 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.
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.

10




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 the types of transactions that 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.
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 above would limit discretionary bonus payments to bank executives if the institution’s regulatory capital ratios fail to exceed certain thresholds.

11




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, 2017, 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.

12




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 current 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.

13




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, 2017, we had 258 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.

14




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.
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


15




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.
Our financial performance generally, and in particular the ability of borrowers to pay interest on and repay principal of outstanding loans and the value of collateral securing those loans, as well as demand for loans and other products and services we offer, is highly dependent upon the business environment in the primary markets where we operate and in the U.S. as a whole. Unfavorable or uncertain economic and market conditions can be caused by declines in economic growth, business activity or investor or business confidence, limitations on the availability or increases in the cost of credit and capital, increases in inflation or interest rates, high unemployment, natural disasters, or a combination of these or other factors. While economic conditions in our primary markets of south Louisiana have improved since the end of the economic recession, economic growth has been slow and uneven, and concerns still exist over the federal deficit, government spending, and economic risks. A return of recessionary conditions and/or negative developments in the domestic and international credit markets may significantly affect the markets in which we do business, the value of our loans and investments, and our ongoing operations, costs and profitability. Declines in real estate value and sales volumes and high unemployment levels may result in higher than expected loan delinquencies and a decline in demand for our products and services. These negative events may cause us to incur losses and may adversely affect our capital, liquidity and financial condition.
Furthermore, the Federal Reserve, in an attempt to help the overall economy, has among other things, kept interest rates low through its targeted federal funds rate and the purchase of U.S. Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. The Federal Reserve increased the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points in December 2016 and by a total of 75 basis points during 2017 and has indicated the potential for further gradual increases in the target rate depending on the economic outlook. As the federal funds rate increases, market interest rates will likely rise, which may negatively impact the housing markets and the U.S. economic recovery.
In addition, geopolitical matters, including international political unrest and slow growth in the global economy, as well as acts of terrorism, war and other violence could result in further disruptions in the financial markets. These negative events could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition, including our liquidity position, and may affect our ability to access capital.
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 primarily through de novo branching and through the acquisition of other financial institutions. Since June 14, 2006, we have opened nine de novo branches and acquired South Louisiana Business Bank (“SLBB”) in 2011, First Community Bank (“FCB”) in 2013, and Citizens Bancshares, Inc. (“Citizens”) and BOJ Bancshares, Inc. (“BOJ”) in 2017. 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:
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.
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.

16




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.
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 actions 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 customers, 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, 2017, approximately 96% of the secured loans in our total loan portfolio were secured by properties and other collateral located in Louisiana, while approximately 68% 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.

17




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, comprising approximately 1% of total loans as of December 31, 2017, 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, 2017, approximately 83% 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. 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, 2017, our nonowner-occupied commercial real estate loans totaled $264.9 million, or 21% of our total loan portfolio.
Commercial real estate loans typically depend on cash flows from the property 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 secured 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-four 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. Accordingly, 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.

18




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, 2017, our allowance for loan losses as percentages of total loans and nonperforming loans was 0.63% and 214%, 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.
Inaccurate management assumptions, including with respect to the fair value 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 increase 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 different 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 result 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.

19




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 assets and liabilities are monetary in nature and, as a result, we are subject to significant risk from changes in interest rates. Changes in interest rates may affect our net interest income as well as the valuation of our assets and liabilities. Our earnings depend significantly on our net interest income, which is the difference between interest income on interest-earning assets, such as loans and securities, and interest expense on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings. We expect to 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 move contrary to our position, this “gap” may work against us, and our earnings may be adversely affected.
When interest-bearing liabilities mature or reprice more quickly, or to a greater degree than interest-earning assets in a period, an increase in interest rates could reduce net interest income. Similarly, when interest-earning assets mature or reprice more quickly, or to a greater degree than interest-bearing liabilities, falling interest rates could reduce net interest income. Additionally, an increase in the general level of interest rates may also, among other things, adversely affect our current borrowers’ ability to repay variable rate loans, the demand for loans and our ability to originate loans and decrease loan prepayment rates. Conversely, a decrease in the general level of interest rates, among other things, may lead to prepayments on our loan and mortgage-backed securities portfolios and increased competition for deposits. Accordingly, changes in the general level of market interest rates may adversely affect our net yield on interest-earning assets, loan origination volume and our overall results.
Although our asset-liability management strategy is designed to control and mitigate exposure to the risks related to changes in the general level of market interest rates, those rates are affected by many factors outside of our control, including inflation, recession, unemployment, money supply, international disorder, instability in domestic and foreign financial markets and policies of various governmental and regulatory agencies, particularly the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Adverse changes in the U.S. monetary policy or in economic conditions could materially and adversely affect us. We may not be able to accurately predict the likelihood, nature and magnitude of those changes or how and to what extent they may affect our business. We also may not be able to adequately prepare for or compensate for the consequences of such changes. Any failure to predict and prepare for changes in interest rates or adjust for the consequences of these changes may adversely affect our earnings and capital levels and overall results.
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.

20




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. In addition, Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and the historic flooding of Baton Rouge and surrounding areas in August 2016 had significant impacts in several markets in which we conduct business. 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.
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.

21




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.
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

22




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.
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, 2017, our goodwill totaled $17.1 million, $14.4 million of which was recognized in 2017 in connection with two acquisitions. 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.
Factors outside our control could result in impairment of or losses with respect to our investment securities.
Under applicable accounting standards, we are required to review our securities portfolio periodically for the presence of other-than-temporary impairment, taking into consideration current market conditions, the extent and nature of changes in fair value, issuer rating changes and trends, volatility of earnings, current analysts’ evaluations, our ability and intent to hold securities until a recovery of fair value, as well as other factors. Adverse developments with respect to one or more of the foregoing factors may require us to deem particular securities to be other-than-temporarily impaired, with the credit related portion of the reduction in the value recognized as a charge to the results of operations in the period in which the impairment occurs. Market volatility may make it difficult to value certain securities. Subsequent valuations, in light of factors prevailing at that time, may result in significant changes in the values of these securities in future periods.
Any of these factors could require us to recognize further impairments in the value of our securities portfolio, which may have an adverse effect on our results of operations in future periods.
A lack of liquidity could 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.

23




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 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.
Cyber-attacks or other security breaches could adversely affect our operations, net income or reputation.
As part of our banking business, we collect, use and hold sensitive data concerning individuals and businesses with whom we have a banking relationship. Threats to data security, including unauthorized access and cyber-attacks, rapidly emerge and change, exposing us to additional costs for protection or remediation and competing time constraints to secure our data in accordance with customer expectations and statutory and regulatory requirements. The increasing sophistication of cyber-criminals makes it extremely difficult to keep up with new threats and could result in a breach of our data security. Patching and other measures to protect existing systems and servers could be inadequate, especially on systems that are being retired. Controls employed by our information technology department and third-party vendors could prove inadequate. We could also experience a breach by intentional or negligent conduct on the part of our employees or other internal sources or by merchants using our customers’ debit and credit cards, software bugs or other technical malfunctions, or other causes. As a result of any of these threats, our customer accounts could become vulnerable to account takeover schemes or cyber-fraud. Our systems and those of our third-party vendors may become vulnerable to damage or disruption due to circumstances beyond our or their control, such as from catastrophic events, power anomalies or outages, natural disasters, network failures, and viruses and malware.
A breach of our security that results in unauthorized access to our data could expose us to a disruption or challenges relating to our daily operations as well as to data loss, litigation, damages, fines and penalties, customer notification requirements, significant increases in compliance and insurance costs, and reputational damage, any of which could individually or in the aggregate have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, prospects, and shareholder value.
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.

24




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.
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 “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.

25




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.
Federal and state regulators periodically examine our business, and we may be required to remediate adverse examination findings.
The Federal Reserve, the FDIC and 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. 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.

26




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 Changes in Accounting Standards and Tax Laws
Changes in accounting standards are difficult to predict and can materially impact our financial statements.
Our accounting policies and methods are fundamental to how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. From time to time, the Financial Accounting Standards Board or regulatory authorities change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our financial statements. Such changes are expected to continue and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, resulting in our restating prior period financial statements. Additionally, significant changes to GAAP may require costly technology changes, additional training and personnel, and other expenses that will negatively impact our results of operations.
Changes in tax laws and regulations and differences in interpretation of tax laws and regulations may adversely impact our financial statements.
From time to time, local, state or federal tax authorities change tax laws and regulations, which may result in a decrease or increase to our net deferred tax assets. Additionally, our net deferred tax assets are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the year in which the temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) was enacted by Congress. The enactment of the TCJA required us to revalue and reassess our net deferred tax assets reflecting the new federal income tax rate. As a result, in December 2017 we recognized a write-down of $0.3 million in our net deferred tax assets, with a corresponding increase to income tax expense. The majority of the provisions of the TCJA will take effect on January 1, 2018. The provisions that impact the Company include the reduction of the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%, changes to the deductibility of certain meals and entertainment expenses, and changes to the deductibility of executive compensation. The TCJA also accelerates expensing of certain depreciable property for assets placed in service after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2023.
Local, state or federal tax authorities may interpret tax laws and regulations differently than we do and challenge tax positions that we have taken on tax returns. This may result in differences in the treatment of revenues, deductions, credits and/or differences in the timing of these items. The differences in treatment may result in payment of additional taxes, interest, penalties, or litigation costs that could have a material adverse effect on our results.

27




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.
The stock market and, in particular, the market for financial institution stocks have experienced significant fluctuations in recent years. 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. Increased 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.

28




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, 2017, we had 9,514,926 shares outstanding, 322,917 shares subject to options granted under our incentive plan, and warrants outstanding to purchase 64,425 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 8% of shares outstanding as of December 31, 2017) and 112,688 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.
Our Restated Articles of Incorporation and By-laws, and certain banking laws applicable to us, could have an anti-takeover effect 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.

29




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 acquisitions of FCB and BOJ, we assumed junior subordinated debentures issued by FCB and BOJ and the obligations of related trust preferred securities issued by trusts established by FCB and BOJ. At December 31, 2017, we had trust preferred securities and accompanying junior subordinated debentures with a carrying value of $5.8 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.


30




Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Not applicable.


31




Item 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 19 branch offices located in Ascension (2), East Baton Rouge (4), Jefferson (2), Lafayette (1), Livingston (1), St. Tammany (1), Tangipahoa (1) West Baton Rouge (1), East Feliciana (2), West Feliciana (1) and Evangeline (3) Parishes, Louisiana, as well as a separate executive and operations center and a loan production office in Baton Rouge. We also have five stand-alone automated teller machines in Baton Rouge.
We own our main office, all of our branch offices, and our executive and operations center, and we lease our loan production office. 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 also own one tract of land in St. Mary Parish, one in Calcasieu Parish, one in Lafayette Parish, and one in East Baton Rouge Parish, each of which has been designated as a future branch location, although the timing of the development of these tracts is uncertain.

32




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 operations, cash flows, growth prospects or capital levels, nor were any such proceedings terminated during the fourth quarter of 2017.


33




Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.


34




PART 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 Market (the “Nasdaq”) under the symbol “ISTR.” As of March 13, 2018, there were approximately 875 holders of record of our common stock, and the closing sales price of our common stock on that date was $25.35.
The following tables set forth the reported high and low intra-day sales prices for the Company’s common stock as reported by Nasdaq for the periods indicated.
2017
 
High
 
Low
4th quarter
 
$
24.60

 
$
20.35

3rd quarter
 
24.15

 
20.25

2nd quarter
 
23.75

 
21.28

1st quarter
 
22.50

 
18.31

2016
 
 
 
 
4th quarter
 
$
19.70

 
$
15.40

3rd quarter
 
16.47

 
15.00

2nd quarter
 
16.48

 
14.61

1st quarter
 
17.63

 
13.63

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, 2017 and 2016.
2017
 
Amount Per Share
4th quarter
 
$
0.0315

3rd quarter
 
0.0300

2nd quarter
 
0.0220

1st quarter
 
0.0200

2016
 
 
4th quarter
 
$
0.0121

3rd quarter
 
0.0110

2nd quarter
 
0.0100

1st quarter
 
0.0090

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 and BOJ acquisitions. We must make payments on the junior subordinated debentures before any dividends can be paid on our common stock.

35




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.
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 $1 billion and $5 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.
http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=12134341&doc=14
Index
 
7/3/2014

 
12/31/2014

 
6/30/2015

 
12/31/2015

Investar Holding Corporation
 
$
100.00

 
$
98.68

 
$
108.40

 
$
125.64

Russell 3000
 
100.00

 
103.97

 
105.99

 
104.47

SNL U.S. Bank $1B-$5B
 
100.00

 
104.25

 
110.32

 
116.70

 
 
6/30/2016

 
12/31/2016

 
6/30/2017

 
12/31/2017

Investar Holding Corporation
 
$
109.93

 
$
133.49

 
$
164.21

 
$
173.03

Russell 3000
 
108.25

 
117.77

 
128.29

 
142.66

SNL U.S. Bank $1B-$5B
 
115.19

 
167.89

 
168.23

 
178.99

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, 2017 to October 31, 2017
 
96

 
$
24.10

 

 
229,187

November 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017
 
10,463

 
23.08

 
10,463

 
218,724

December 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017
 
21

 
23.55

 

 
218,724

 
 
10,580

 
$
23.09

 
10,463

 
218,724

 


36




(1) 
Includes 117 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. In addition, on October 19, 2016, the Company announced that its board of directors authorized the repurchase of an additional 250,000 shares of the Company’s common stock under its stock repurchase plan.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities
None.
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.

37




Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The following table sets forth selected historical financial information and other data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. The selected financial data is derived from our audited historical consolidated financial statements. The 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,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Financial Condition Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total assets
 
$
1,622,734

 
$
1,158,960

 
$
1,031,555

 
$
879,354

 
$
634,946

Total gross loans, net of allowance for loan losses
 
1,250,888

 
886,375

 
819,822

 
721,556

 
505,744

Allowance for loan losses
 
7,891

 
7,051

 
6,128

 
4,630

 
3,380

Investment securities
 
235,561

 
183,142

 
139,779

 
92,818

 
62,752

Goodwill and other intangible assets
 
19,926

 
3,234

 
3,175

 
3,216

 
3,257

Noninterest-bearing deposits
 
216,599

 
108,404

 
90,447

 
70,217

 
72,795

Interest-bearing deposits
 
1,008,638

 
799,383

 
646,959

 
557,901

 
459,811

Total deposits
 
1,225,237

 
907,787

 
737,406

 
628,118

 
532,606

Total borrowings
 
212,553

 
126,499

 
170,205

 
141,687

 
44,630

Long-term borrowings
 
64,018

 
12,809

 
11,969

 
25,055

 
34,427

Total stockholders’ equity
 
172,729

 
112,757

 
109,350

 
103,384

 
55,483

 
 
As of and for the year ended December 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Income Statement Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest income
 
$
53,346

 
$
43,152

 
$
37,340

 
$
31,369

 
$
22,472

Interest expense
 
10,829

 
8,413

 
5,882

 
4,675

 
3,460

Net interest income
 
42,517

 
34,739

 
31,458

 
26,694

 
19,012

Provision for loan losses
 
1,540

 
2,079

 
1,865

 
1,628

 
1,026

Net interest income after provision
 
40,977

 
32,660

 
29,593

 
25,066

 
17,986

Noninterest income
 
3,815

 
5,468

 
8,344

 
5,860

 
5,354

Noninterest expense
 
32,342

 
26,639

 
27,353

 
24,384

 
19,024

Income before income taxes
 
12,450

 
11,489

 
10,584

 
6,542

 
4,316

Income tax expense
 
4,248

 
3,609

 
3,511

 
1,145

 
1,148

Net income
 
8,202

 
7,880

 
7,073

 
5,397

 
3,168


38




 
 
As of and for the year ended December 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Per Common Share Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic earnings per share
 
$
0.96

 
$
1.11

 
$
0.98

 
$
0.98

 
$
0.86

Diluted earnings per share
 
0.96

 
1.10

 
0.97

 
0.93

 
0.81

Dividends per share
 
0.10

 
0.04

 
0.03

 
0.04

 
0.05

Book value per share
 
18.15

 
15.88

 
15.05

 
14.24

 
14.06

Tangible book value per share(2)
 
16.06

 
15.42

 
14.62

 
13.79

 
13.24

Period end common shares outstanding
 
9,514,926

 
7,101,851

 
7,264,282

 
7,262,085

 
3,945,114

Basic weighted average common shares outstanding
 
8,399,584

 
7,107,187

 
7,214,045

 
5,533,514

 
3,667,929

Diluted weighted average common shares outstanding
 
8,456,928

 
7,149,834

 
7,258,008

 
5,777,302

 
3,923,375

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Performance Ratios
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Return on average assets
 
0.62
%
 
0.71
%
 
0.77
%
 
0.73
%
 
0.64
%
Return on average equity
 
5.65

 
6.99

 
6.60

 
6.80

 
6.10

Net interest margin
 
3.39

 
3.32

 
3.61

 
3.85

 
4.10

Efficiency ratio(3)
 
69.80

 
66.25

 
68.72

 
74.90

 
78.07

Net interest income to average assets
 
3.19

 
3.14

 
3.42

 
3.63

 
3.83

Dividend payout ratio
 
10.78

 
3.80

 
3.26

 
3.93

 
5.44

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Asset Quality Ratios
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nonperforming assets to total assets
 
0.46
%
 
0.52
%
 
0.30
%
 
0.69
%
 
0.79
%
Nonperforming loans to total loans
 
0.29

 
0.22

 
0.32

 
0.54

 
0.30

Allowance for loan losses to total loans
 
0.63

 
0.79

 
0.82

 
0.74

 
0.67

Allowance for loan losses to nonperforming loans
 
214

 
356

 
254

 
139

 
227

Net charge-offs to average loans
 
0.07

 
0.14

 
0.05

 
0.07

 
0.09

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Capital Ratios(4)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total equity to total assets
 
10.64
%
 
9.73
%
 
10.60
%
 
11.76
%
 
8.74
%
Tangible common equity to tangible assets(5)
 
9.53

 
9.48

 
10.32

 
11.43

 
8.27

Tier 1 capital to average assets
 
10.66

 
10.10

 
11.39

 
12.61

 
9.53

Common equity tier 1 capital ratio
 
11.75

 
11.40

 
11.67

 
NA

 
NA

Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets
 
12.24

 
11.75

 
12.05

 
13.79

 
10.85

Total capital to risk-weighted assets
 
14.22

 
12.47

 
12.72

 
14.41

 
11.51

(1) 
Selected consolidated financial data includes the effect of mergers from the date of each merger. On May 1, 2013, the Bank acquired FCB, a Louisiana state bank, by merger of FCB with and into the Bank. On July 1, 2017, the Company acquired Citizens Bancshares, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Citizens Bank, by merger with and into the Company and Bank, respectively. On December 1, 2017, the Company acquired BOJ Bancshares, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Highlands Bank, by merger with and into the Company and Bank, respectively. References in this document to assets purchased and liabilities assumed in acquisition transactions reflect the fair value of such assets and liabilities on the date of acquisition, unless the context indicates otherwise.
(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.
(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. Please refer to the 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.

39




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. Certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those set forth under Item 1A, Risk Factors in Part I, and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected results discussed in the forward-looking statement appearing in this discussion and analysis.
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;
the impact of litigation and other legal proceedings to which we become subject;
data processing system failures and errors;
cyber attacks and other security breaches;

40




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, floods, 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 20 full service branches. We completed acquisitions in 2011, 2013, and 2017 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.
During the first quarter of 2017, we completed both a common stock offering and a subordinated debt issuance. The common stock offering generated net proceeds of $32.5 million through the issuance of 1.6 million common shares at a price of $21.25 per share. The proceeds from the common stock offering were raised for general corporate purposes and potential strategic acquisitions. We also issued and sold $18.6 million in fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes due in 2027. We used the net proceeds from the debt issuance to fund a portion of the acquisition of Citizens, discussed below in Acquisitions.
On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) was signed into law. The TCJA makes broad and complex changes to the U.S. tax code that affected the Company’s income tax rate in 2017, including requiring the revaluation of the Company’s deferred tax assets and liabilities as of December 31, 2017 as a result of the lower corporate tax rates to be realized beginning January 1, 2018. The TCJA reduces the U.S. federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% and establishes new tax laws that will affect 2018.

41




ASC 740, Income Taxes, requires a company to record the effects of a tax law change in the period of enactment; however, shortly after the enactment of the TCJA, the SEC staff issued SAB 118, which allows a company to record a provisional amount when it does not have the necessary information available, prepared, or analyzed in reasonable detail to complete its accounting for the change in the tax law. The measurement period ends when the company has obtained, prepared and analyzed the information necessary to finalize its accounting, but cannot extend beyond one year. The Company has recorded a revaluation of its deferred tax assets and liabilities based on the information currently available to management, resulting in a $0.3 million charge to income tax expense in the year ended December 31, 2017. The Company’s final analysis and write-down will be based on a number of factors, including completion of the Company’s 2017 consolidated tax return.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Our accounting and reporting policies conform to accounting principles generally accepted in the United States, or GAAP, and the prevailing practices in the banking industry. However, we also evaluate our performance based on certain additional metrics. The efficiency ratio, tangible book value per share and the ratio of tangible equity to tangible assets are not financial measures recognized under GAAP and, therefore, are considered non-GAAP financial measures.
Our management, banking regulators, many financial analysts and other investors use these non-GAAP financial measures to compare the capital adequacy of banking organizations with significant amounts of preferred equity and/or goodwill or other intangible assets, which typically stem from the use of the purchase accounting method of accounting for mergers and acquisitions. Tangible equity, tangible assets, tangible book value per share or related measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for total stockholders’ equity, total assets, book value per share or any other measure calculated in accordance with GAAP. Moreover, the manner in which we calculate tangible equity, tangible assets, tangible book value per share and any other related measures may differ from that of other companies reporting measures with similar names. The following table reconciles, as of the dates set forth below, stockholders’ equity (on a GAAP basis) to tangible equity and total assets (on a GAAP basis) to tangible assets and calculates both our tangible book value per share and efficiency ratio (dollars in thousands).

42




 
 
As of and for the year ended December 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Total stockholders’ equity - GAAP
 
$
172,729

 
$
112,757

 
$
109,350

 
$
103,384

 
$
55,483

Adjustments:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Goodwill
 
17,086

 
2,684

 
2,684

 
2,684

 
2,684

Core deposit intangible
 
2,740

 
450

 
491

 
532

 
573

Trademark intangible
 
100

 
100

 

 

 

Tangible equity
 
$
152,803

 
$
109,523

 
$
106,175

 
$
100,168

 
$
52,226

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total assets - GAAP
 
$
1,622,734

 
$
1,158,960

 
$
1,031,555

 
$
879,354

 
$
634,946

Adjustments:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Goodwill
 
17,086

 
2,684

 
2,684

 
2,684

 
2,684

Core deposit intangible
 
2,740

 
450

 
491

 
532

 
573

Trademark intangible
 
100

 
100

 

 

 

Tangible assets
 
$
1,602,808

 
$
1,155,726

 
$
1,028,380

 
$
876,138

 
$
631,689

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total shares outstanding
 
9,514,926

 
7,101,851

 
7,264,282

 
7,262,085

 
3,945,114

Book value per share
 
$
18.15

 
$
15.88

 
$
15.05

 
$
14.24

 
$
14.06

Effect of adjustment
 
(2.09
)
 
(0.46
)
 
(0.43
)
 
(0.45
)
 
(0.82
)
Tangible book value per share
 
$
16.06

 
$
15.42

 
$
14.62

 
$
13.79

 
$
13.24

Total equity to total assets
 
10.64
 %
 
9.73
%
 
10.60
%
 
11.76
%
 
8.74
%
Effect of adjustment
 
(1.11
)
 
(0.25
)
 
(0.28
)
 
(0.33
)
 
(0.47
)
Tangible equity to tangible assets
 
9.53
 %
 
9.48
%
 
10.32
%
 
11.43
%
 
8.27
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Efficiency ratio(1)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Noninterest expense
 
$
32,342

 
$
26,639

 
$
27,353

 
$
24,384

 
$
19,024

Net interest income
 
42,517

 
34,739

 
31,458

 
26,694

 
19,012

Noninterest income
 
3,815

 
5,468

 
8,344

 
5,860

 
5,354

Efficiency ratio
 
69.80
 %
 
66.25
%
 
68.72
%
 
74.90
%
 
78.07
%
(1) 
Calculated as noninterest expense divided by the sum of net interest income (before provision for loan losses) and noninterest income.
Critical Accounting Policies
The preparation of our consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect our reported amounts of assets, liabilities, income and expenses and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. Wherever feasible, we utilize third-party information to provide management with these estimates. Although independent third parties are engaged to assist us in the estimation process, management evaluates the results, challenges assumptions used and considers other factors which could impact these estimates. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
For more detailed information about our accounting policies, please refer to Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements contained in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data. The following discussion presents an overview of some of our accounting policies and estimates that require us to make difficult, subjective or complex judgments about inherently uncertain matters when preparing our financial statements. We believe that the judgments, estimates and assumptions that we use in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements are appropriate.

43




Allowance for Loan Losses. One of the accounting policies most important to the presentation of our financial statements relates to the allowance for loan losses and the related provision for loan losses. The allowance for loan losses is established as losses are estimated through a provision for loan losses charged to earnings. The allowance for loan losses is based on the amount that management believes will be adequate to absorb probable losses inherent in the loan portfolio based on, among other things, evaluations of the collectability of loans and prior loan loss experience. The evaluations take into consideration such factors as changes in the nature and volume of the loan portfolio, overall portfolio quality, review of specific problem loans and current economic conditions that may affect borrowers’ ability to pay. Another component of the allowance is losses on loans assessed as impaired under Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 310, Receivables (“ASC 310”). The balance of the loans determined to be impaired under ASC 310 and the related allowance is included in management’s estimation and analysis of the allowance for loan losses. Allowances for impaired loans are generally determined based on collateral values or the present value of estimated cash flows.
The determination of the appropriate level of the allowance is inherently subjective as it requires estimates that are susceptible to significant revision as more information becomes available. We have an established methodology to determine the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses that assesses the risks and losses inherent in our portfolio and portfolio segments. We have an internally developed model that requires significant judgment to determine the estimation method that fits the credit risk characteristics of the loans in our portfolio and portfolio segments. Qualitative and environmental factors that may not be directly reflected in quantitative estimates include: asset quality trends, changes in loan concentrations, new products and process changes, changes and pressures from competition, changes in lending policies and underwriting practices, trends in the nature and volume of the loan portfolio, and national and regional economic trends. Changes in these factors are considered in determining changes in the allowance for loan losses. The impact of these factors on our qualitative assessment of the allowance for loan losses can change from period to period based on management’s assessment of the extent to which these factors are already reflected in historic loss rates. The uncertainty inherent in the estimation process is also considered in evaluating the allowance for loan losses.
Acquisition Accounting. We account for our acquisitions under ASC Topic 805, Business Combinations (“ASC 805”), which requires the use of the purchase method of accounting. All identifiable assets acquired, including loans, are recorded at fair value (which is discussed below). The excess purchase price over the fair value of net assets acquired is recorded as goodwill. If the fair value of the net assets acquired exceeds the purchase price, a bargain purchase gain is recognized.
Because the fair value measurements incorporate assumptions regarding credit risk, no allowance for loan losses related to the acquired loans is recorded on the acquisition date. The fair value measurements of acquired loans are based on estimates related to expected prepayments and the amount and timing of undiscounted expected principal, interest and other cash flows. The fair value adjustment is amortized over the life of the loan using the effective interest method.
The Company accounts for acquired impaired loans under ASC Topic 310-30, Loans and Debt Securities Acquired with Deteriorated Credit Quality (“ASC 310-30”). An acquired loan is considered impaired when there is evidence of credit deterioration since origination and it is probable at the date of acquisition that we will be unable to collect all contractually required payments. ASC 310-30 prohibits the carryover of an allowance for loan losses for acquired impaired loans. Over the life of the acquired loans, we continually estimate the cash flows expected to be collected on individual loans or on pools of loans sharing common risk characteristics. As of the end of each fiscal quarter, we evaluate the present value of the acquired loans using the effective interest rates. For any increases in cash flows expected to be collected, we adjust the amount of accretable yield recognized on a prospective basis over the loan’s or pool’s remaining life, while we recognize a provision for loan loss in the consolidated statement of operations if the cash flows expected to be collected have decreased.
Intangible Assets. Our intangible assets consist of goodwill, core deposit intangibles, and a trademark intangible. Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the net identifiable assets acquired in a business combination. Goodwill and other intangible assets deemed to have an indefinite useful life are not amortized but instead are subject to review for impairment annually, or more frequently if deemed necessary, in accordance with ASC Topic 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other. Intangible assets with estimable useful lives are amortized over their respective estimated useful lives and reviewed for impairment in accordance with ASC Topic 360, Property, Plant, and Equipment. If impaired, the asset is written down to its estimated fair value. Core deposit intangibles representing the value of the acquired core deposit base are generally recorded in connection with business combinations involving banks and branch locations. Our policy is to amortize core deposit intangibles over the estimated useful life of the deposit base, either on a straight line basis not exceeding 15 years or an accelerated basis over 10 years. The remaining useful lives of core deposit intangibles are evaluated periodically to determine whether events and circumstances warrant revision of the remaining period of amortization.

44




Fair Value Measurement. Fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date, using assumptions market participants would use when pricing an asset or liability. Fair value is best determined based upon quoted market prices. In cases where quoted market prices are not available, fair values are based on estimates using present value or other valuation techniques. Those techniques are significantly affected by the assumptions used, including the discount rate and estimates of future cash flows, and the fair value estimates may not be realized in an immediate settlement of the instruments. Accordingly, the aggregate fair value amounts presented do not necessarily represent our underlying value.
The definition of fair value focuses on exit price in an orderly transaction (that is, not a forced liquidation or distressed sale) between market participants at the measurement date under current market conditions. If there has been a significant decrease in the volume and level of activity for the asset or liability, a change in valuation technique or the use of multiple valuation techniques may be appropriate. In such instances, determining the price at which willing market participants would transact at the measurement date under current market conditions depends on the facts and circumstances and requires use of significant judgment. The fair value is a reasonable point within the range that is most representative of fair value under current market conditions.
In accordance with fair value guidance, we group our financial assets and financial liabilities measured at fair value in three levels, based on the markets in which the assets and liabilities are traded and the reliability of the assumptions used to determine fair value.
Level 1 – Valuation is based on quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the reporting entity has the ability to access at the measurement date. Level 1 assets and liabilities generally include debt and equity securities that are traded in an active exchange market. Valuations are obtained from readily available pricing sources for market transactions involving identical assets or liabilities.
Level 2—Valuation is based on inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly. The valuation may be based on quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities; quoted prices in markets that are not active; or other inputs that are observable or can be corroborated by observable market data for substantially the full term of the asset or liability.
Level 3—Valuation is based on unobservable inputs that are supported by little or no market activity and that are significant to the fair value of the assets or liabilities. Level 3 assets and liabilities include financial instruments whose value is determined using pricing models, discounted cash flow methodologies, or similar techniques, as well as instruments for which determination of fair value requires significant management judgment or estimation.
A financial instrument’s categorization within the valuation hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement.
Other-Than-Temporary-Impairment on Investment Securities. On a quarterly basis, we evaluate our investment portfolio for other-than-temporary-impairment (“OTTI”) in accordance with ASC Topic 320, Investments – Debt and Equity Securities. An investment security is considered impaired if the fair value of the security is less than its cost or amortized cost basis. When impairment of an equity security is considered to be other-than-temporary, the security is written down to its fair value and an impairment loss is recorded in earnings. When impairment of a debt security is considered to be other-than-temporary, the security is written down to its fair value. The amount of OTTI recorded as a loss in earnings depends on whether we intend to sell the debt security and whether it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before recovery of its amortized cost basis. If we intend to sell the debt security or more likely than not will be required to sell the security before recovery of its amortized cost basis, the entire difference between the security’s amortized cost basis and its fair value is recorded as an impairment loss in earnings. If we do not intend to sell the debt security and it is not more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before recovery of its amortized cost basis, OTTI is separated into the amount representing credit loss and the amount related to all other market factors. The amount related to credit loss is recognized in earnings. The amount related to other market factors is recognized in other comprehensive income, net of applicable taxes.
Stock-Based Compensation. We recognize compensation expense for all stock-based payments to employees in accordance with ASC Topic 718, Compensation – Stock Compensation. Under this accounting guidance, such payments are measured at fair value. Determining the fair value of, and ultimately the expense we recognize related to, our stock-based payments, particularly stock options, requires us to make assumptions regarding dividend yields, expected stock price volatility, and the expected life of the option. Changes in these assumptions and estimates can materially affect the calculated fair value of stock-based compensation and the related expense to be recognized.

45




Income Taxes. Accrued taxes represent the estimated amount payable to or receivable from taxing jurisdictions, either currently or in the future, and are reported in our consolidated statement of operations after exclusion of non-taxable income such as interest on state and municipal securities. Also, certain items of income and expenses are recognized in different time periods for financial statement purposes than for income tax purposes. Thus, provisions for deferred taxes are recorded in recognition of such temporary differences. The calculation of our income tax expense is complex and requires the use of many estimates and judgments in its determination.
Deferred taxes are determined utilizing a liability method whereby we recognize deferred tax assets for deductible temporary differences and deferred tax liabilities for taxable temporary differences. Temporary differences are the differences between the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and their tax bases. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when, in the opinion of management, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. We adjust deferred tax assets and liabilities for the effects of changes in tax laws and rates on the date of enactment.
The Company has adopted accounting guidance related to accounting for uncertainty in income taxes, which sets out a consistent framework to determine the appropriate level of tax reserves to maintain for uncertain tax positions. We recognize deferred tax assets if it is more likely than not, based on the technical merits, that the tax position will be realized or sustained upon examination. The term “more likely than not” means a likelihood of more than 50%. A tax position that meets the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold is initially and subsequently measured as the largest amount of tax benefit that has a greater than 50% likelihood of being realized upon settlement with a taxing authority that has full knowledge of all relevant information. The determination of whether or not a tax position has met the more-likely-than-not recognition threshold considers the facts, circumstances, and information available at the reporting date and is subject to management’s judgment. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when, if based on the weight of evidence available, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of deferred tax asset will not be realized.
We recognize interest and penalties on income taxes as a component of income tax expense.
Implications of and Elections under the JOBS Act.  Pursuant to the JOBS Act, an emerging growth company such as the Company can choose to not adopt new or revised accounting standards that may be issued by the FASB until they would apply to private companies. We have elected not to opt in to such extended transition period, which election is irrevocable. As a result of this election, our financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of emerging growth companies that have opted in to this extended transition period, but they will be comparable to those of other public companies that are neither emerging growth companies nor emerging growth companies that have opted in to using the extended transition period. In addition, we have elected to take advantage of the reduced disclosure requirements relating to executive compensation arrangements that is available to us so long as we remain an emerging growth company.
Overview of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Net income for the year ended December 31, 2017 totaled $8.2 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, compared to $7.9 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2016. This represents a $0.3 million, or a 4%, increase in net income. The increase can mainly be attributed to the Company’s year over year interest-earning asset growth, both organically and through acquisition.
Key components of the Company’s performance during the year ended December 31, 2017 are summarized below.
Total assets grew to $1.6 billion at December 31, 2017, an increase of 40% from $1.2 billion at December 31, 2016.
Total loans, excluding loans held for sale, net of allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2017 were $1.3 billion, an increase of $364.5 million, or 41% compared to $886.4 million at December 31, 3016.
Total deposits were $1.2 billion at December 31, 2017, an increase of $317.5 million, or 35%, compared to deposits of $907.8 million at December 31, 2016. Noninterest-bearing deposits increased $108.2 million, or 100%, to $216.6 million compared to $108.4 million at December 31, 2016.
Net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2017 was $42.5 million, an increase of $7.8 million, or 22%, compared to $34.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This increase was mainly driven by growth in interest-earning assets with an increase in interest income of $8.2 million and $2.0 million due to an increase in volume and rate, respectively, compared to the year ended December 31, 2016. The increase in interest income was partially offset by an increase in interest-bearing liabilities resulting in an increase in interest expense of $1.2 million and $1.2 million due to an increase in volume and rate, respectively, compared to the year ended December 31, 2016.
Two de novo branches, one in each of the Baton Rouge and New Orleans markets, opened at the end of the second quarter of 2017, creating additional banking opportunities for our existing and potential customers.

46




The Company completed both a common stock offering and a subordinated debt issuance during the year ended December 31, 2017. The common stock offering generated net proceeds of $32.5 million through the issuance of approximately 1.6 million common shares at a price of $21.25 per share. The Company issued $18.6 million in fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes due in 2027.
The Company completed two acquisitions during the year ended December 31, 2017. The Company’s balance sheet and statement of income as of and for the year ended December 31, 2017 include the impact of the Company’s acquisition of BOJ Bancshares, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Highlands Bank (together “BOJ”), which was completed on December 1, 2017, and the acquisition of Citizens Bancshares, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Citizens Bank (together “Citizens”), which was completed on July 1, 2017.
Acquisitions
Citizens Bancshares, Inc.
On July 1, 2017, the Company completed the acquisition of Citizens Bancshares, Inc. (“Citizens”) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Citizens Bank, located in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana. The Company acquired 100% of Citizens’ outstanding common shares for an aggregate amount of cash consideration equal to $45.8 million, or approximately $419.20 per share. The acquisition of Citizens expands the Company’s branch footprint in Louisiana and increases the core deposit base to help position the Company to continue to grow. On the date of acquisition, Citizens had total assets with a fair value of $251 million, $129 million in loans, $212 million in deposits, and $36 million in stockholders’ equity, and served the residents of Evangeline Parish through its three branch locations. The Company recorded a core deposit intangible and goodwill of $1.5 million and $9.0 million, respectively, related to the acquisition of Citizens.
BOJ Bancshares, Inc.
On December 1, 2017, the Company completed the acquisition of BOJ Bancshares, Inc. (“BOJ”) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Highlands Bank, located in Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. The Company acquired 100% of BOJ’s outstanding common shares for an aggregate merger consideration consisting of $3.95 million in cash, and an aggregate of 799,559 shares of Investar common stock. Like Citizens, the acquisition of BOJ expands the Company’s branch footprint in Louisiana, allowing us to serve more customers in our surrounding market areas. On the date of acquisition, BOJ had total assets with a fair value of $152 million, $103 million in loans, $126 million in deposits, and $16 million in stockholders’ equity, and served the residents of East Baton Rouge and East and West Feliciana Parishes through its five branch locations. The Company recorded a core deposit intangible and goodwill of $1.0 million and $5.4 million, respectively, related to the acquisition of BOJ.
Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition
Total assets were $1.6 billion at December 31, 2017, an increase of 40% from total assets of $1.2 billion at December 31, 2016. Our total assets of $1.2 billion at December 31, 2016 represents a 12% increase from total assets of $1.0 billion at December 31, 2015. The growth experienced since December 31, 2015 can be attributed to organic growth of the Company through the hiring of a number of key bankers, including experienced commercial lenders, two de novo branch openings, as well as two acquisitions completed in 2017 which added assets with a fair value of $403 million.
Loans
General. Loans, excluding loans held for sale, constitute our most significant asset, comprising 78%, 77%, and 72% of our total assets at December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. Loans, excluding loans held for sale, increased $365.4 million, or 41%, to $1.3 billion at December 31, 2017 from $893.4 million at December 31, 2016. Loans, excluding loans held for sale, increased $148.0 million, or 20%, to $893.4 million at December 31, 2016 from $745.4 million at December 31, 2015.
The table below sets forth the balance of loans, excluding loans held for sale, outstanding by loan type as of the dates presented, and the percentage of each loan type to total loans (dollars in thousands).

47




 
 
December 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total Loans
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total Loans
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total Loans
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total Loans
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total Loans
Mortgage loans on real estate:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Construction and land development
 
$
157,667

 
12.5
%
 
$
90,737

 
10.2
%
 
$
81,863

 
11.0
%
 
$
71,350

 
11.4
%
 
$
63,170

 
12.5
%
1-4 Family
 
276,922

 
22.0

 
177,205

 
19.8

 
156,300

 
21.0

 
137,519

 
22.1

 
104,685

 
20.8

Multifamily
 
51,283

 
4.1

 
42,759

 
4.8

 
29,694

 
4.0

 
17,458

 
2.8

 
14,286

 
2.8

Farmland
 
23,838

 
1.9

 
8,207

 
0.9

 
2,955

 
0.4

 
2,919

 
0.5

 
830

 
0.2

Commercial real estate
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owner-occupied
 
272,433

 
21.6

 
180,458

 
20.2

 
137,752

 
18.5

 
119,668

 
19.2

 
78,415

 
15.6

Nonowner-occupied
 
264,931

 
21.0

 
200,258

 
22.4

 
150,831

 
20.2

 
105,390

 
16.9

 
78,948

 
15.6

Commercial and industrial
 
135,392

 
10.8

 
85,377

 
9.6

 
69,961

 
9.4

 
54,187

 
8.7

 
32,665

 
6.5

Consumer
 
76,313

 
6.1

 
108,425

 
12.1

 
116,085

 
15.5

 
114,299

 
18.4

 
131,096

 
26.0

Total loans
 
$
1,258,779

 
100
%
 
$
893,426

 
100
%
 
$
745,441

 
100
%
 
$
622,790

 
100
%
 
$
504,095

 
100
%
As the table above indicates, we have experienced significant growth in all loan categories, with the exception of consumer, from 2015 to 2017. Our focus on a relationship-driven banking strategy and the hiring of experienced commercial lenders are the primary reasons for our loan growth from 2015 to 2017. The decrease in the consumer loan portfolio from 2015 to 2017 is primarily a result of pay-downs of portfolio loans. In addition, the Company announced in November 2015 that the Bank would be exiting the indirect auto loan origination business based on the operating performance of the business, in order to focus the Bank’s resources on relationship banking. The Bank discontinued accepting indirect auto loan applications on December 31, 2015, but continued to process and fund applications that were accepted on or before that date. Indirect auto loans represented approximately 73% of our total consumer loans at December 31, 2017. As a result, the Company expects its consumer loan portfolio as a percentage of the total loan portfolio to decrease over time.
At December 31, 2017, the Company’s total business lending portfolio, which consists of loans secured by owner-occupied commercial real estate properties and commercial and industrial loans, was $407.8 million, an increase of $142.0 million, or 53%, compared to the business lending portfolio of $265.8 million at December 31, 2016. The business lending portfolio at December 31, 2016 increased $58.1 million, or 28%, compared to $207.7 million at December 31, 2015.
The following table sets forth loans outstanding at December 31, 2017, which, based on remaining scheduled repayments of principal, are due in the periods indicated, as well as the amount of loans with fixed and variable rates in each maturity range. Loans with balloon payments and longer amortizations are often repriced and extended beyond the initial maturity when credit conditions remain satisfactory. Demand loans, loans having no stated schedule of repayments and no stated maturity, and overdrafts are reported below as due in one year or less.

48




(dollars in thousands)
 
One Year or
Less
 
After One
Year Through
Five Years
 
After Five
Years Through
Ten Years
 
After Ten
Years Through
Fifteen Years
 
After Fifteen
Years
 
Total
Mortgage loans on real estate:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Construction and land development
 
$
133,079

 
$
11,520

 
$
11,077

 
$
1,503

 
$
488

 
$
157,667

1-4 Family
 
45,940

 
110,677

 
40,558

 
28,370

 
51,377

 
276,922

Multifamily
 
8,256

 
25,351

 
16,035

 
107

 
1,534

 
51,283

Farmland
 
12,624

 
6,103

 
3,287

 
1,824

 

 
23,838

Commercial real estate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Owner-occupied
 
25,751

 
118,608

 
82,114

 
36,120

 
9,840

 
272,433

Nonowner-occupied
 
35,854

 
109,804

 
101,278

 
17,995

 

 
264,931

Commercial and industrial
 
70,421

 
41,567

 
14,637

 

 
8,767

 
135,392

Consumer
 
5,769

 
63,549

 
6,128

 
281

 
586

 
76,313

Total loans
 
$
337,694

 
$
487,179

 
$
275,114

 
$
86,200

 
$
72,592

 
$
1,258,779

Amounts with fixed rates
 
$
119,348

 
$
479,327

 
$
265,113

 
$
86,200

 
$
72,592

 
$
1,022,580

Amounts with variable rates
 
218,346

 
7,852

 
10,001

 

 

 
236,199

Total loans
 
$
337,694

 
$
487,179

 
$
275,114

 
$
86,200

 
$
72,592

 
$
1,258,779

Loans Held for Sale. There were no loans held for sale at December 31, 2017. Loans held for sale, consisting of both consumer and mortgage loans, decreased $80.5 million, or 100%, to $0 at December 31, 2016 compared to December 31, 2015. This decrease is mainly attributable to the reclassification of approximately $35.0 million of consumer loans from held for sale to the consumer portfolio during the fourth quarter of 2016. In addition, during the year ended December 31, 2016, the Company sold approximately $26.9 million of the consumer loans and $0.6 million of the mortgage loans that were held for sale at December 31, 2015.
There were no consumer loans originated for sale during the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016. In the year ended December 31, 2015, we originated $303.1 million in consumer loans for sale.
In the year ended December 31, 2017, we did not sell or recognize any gains from the sales of pools of our consumer loans. In the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, the gains from the sales of pools of our consumer loans were $0.4 million and $3.1 million, respectively. The decrease in gains on sales of consumer loans was driven by the Company’s exit from the indirect auto loan origination business as of December 31, 2015, discussed above.
There were no mortgage loans originated for sale during the year ended December 31, 2017. In the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, we originated $0.5 million and $46.6 million, respectively, in mortgage loans for sale, and recognized $13,000 and $1.3 million, respectively, in gain on the sale of mortgage loans. Mortgage loans held for sale decreased $0.6 million, or 100%, to $0 at December 31, 2016 from $0.6 million at December 31, 2015. The decrease is due to our decreased mortgage operations, and we do not anticipate originating mortgage loans for sale in the future.
Loan Concentrations. Loan concentrations are considered to exist when there are amounts loaned to multiple borrowers engaged in similar activities that would cause them to be similarly impacted by economic or other conditions. At December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, we had no concentrations of loans exceeding 10% of total loans other than loans in the categories listed in the table above.
Investment Securities
We purchase investment securities primarily to provide a source for meeting liquidity needs, with return on investment as a secondary consideration. We also use investment securities as collateral for certain deposits and other types of borrowing. Investment securities represented 15% of our total assets at December 31, 2017 and totaled $235.6 million at December 31, 2017, an increase of $52.5 million, or 29%, from $183.1 million at December 31, 2016. The investment securities balance at December 31, 2016 represents a $43.3 million, or 31%, increase from $139.8 million at December 31, 2015. The increase in investment securities at December 31, 2017 compared to December 31, 2016 and 2015 resulted from purchases of multiple investment types in our current portfolio.

49




The table below shows the carrying value of our investment securities portfolio by investment type and the percentage that such investment type comprises of our entire portfolio as of the dates indicated (dollars in thousands).
 
 
December 31,
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
 
Balance
 
Percentage of
Portfolio
 
Balance
 
Percentage of
Portfolio
 
Balance
 
Percentage of
Portfolio
Obligations of U.S. government agencies and corporations
 
$
52,216

 
22.2
%
 
$
29,490

 
16.1
%
 
$
30,460

 
21.8
%
Obligations of state and political subdivisions
 
47,098

 
20.0

 
40,831

 
22.3

 
35,515

 
25.4

Corporate bonds
 
16,210

 
6.9

 
14,968

 
8.2

 
14,824

 
10.6

Residential mortgage-backed securities
 
115,614

 
49.0

 
94,703

 
51.7

 
55,899

 
40.0

Commercial mortgage-backed securities
 
3,581

 
1.5

 
2,444

 
1.3

 
1,989

 
1.4

Equity securities
 
842

 
0.4

 
706

 
0.4

 
1,092

 
0.8

Total investment securities
 
$
235,561

 
100
%
 
$
183,142

 
100
%
 
$
139,779

 
100
%
The investment portfolio consists of available for sale and held to maturity securities. We do not hold any investments classified as trading. We classify debt securities as held to maturity if management has the positive intent and ability to hold the securities to maturity. Held to maturity securities are stated at amortized cost. Securities not classified as held to maturity are classified as available for sale. The carrying values of the Company’s available for sale securities are adjusted for unrealized gains or losses as valuation allowances, and any gains or losses are reported on an after-tax basis as a component of other comprehensive income. Any expected credit loss due to the inability to collect all amounts due according to the security’s contractual terms is recognized as a charge against earnings. Any remaining unrealized loss related to other factors would be recognized in other comprehensive income, net of taxes.
In the year ended December 31, 2017, exclusive of investments acquired in acquisitions, we purchased $104.2 million of investment securities, compared to purchases of $87.3 million and $88.6 million of investment securities during the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively. We increased our purchases of securities in 2017 primarily to increase the amount of liquidity on our balance sheet and also to reposition the portfolio to take advantage of an anticipated rising interest rate environment. Mortgage-backed securities represented 61%, 65%, and 42% of the available for sale securities we purchased in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. Of the remaining securities purchased in 2017, 2016 and 2015, 33%, 20% and 29%, respectively, were U.S. government agency securities, while 3%, 2%, and 16%, respectively, were municipal securities. We only purchase corporate bonds that are investment grade securities issued by seasoned corporations.
Typically, our investment securities are available for sale. There were no purchases of held to maturity securities during the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016. Our purchases of held to maturity securities comprised only 6% of our total investment purchases in the year ended December 31, 2015 and consisted only of mortgage-backed securities.

50




The table below sets forth the stated maturities and weighted average yields of our investment debt securities based on the amortized cost of our investment portfolio as of December 31, 2017 (dollars in thousands).
 
 
One Year or Less
 
After One Year
Through Five Years
 
After Five Years
Through Ten Years
 
After Ten Years
 
 
Amount
 
Yield
 
Amount
 
Yield
 
Amount
 
Yield
 
Amount
 
Yield
Held to maturity:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Obligations of states and political subdivisions
 
$
720

 
7.17
%
 
$
3,245

 
7.17
%
 
$
1,875

 
7.17
%
 
$
6,021

 
4.38
%
Residential mortgage-backed securities
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
6,136

 
2.77

Available for sale:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Obligations of U.S. government agencies and corporations
 

 

 
1,656

 
2.17

 
5,926

 
2.22

 
45,307

 
2.45

Obligations of states and political subdivisions
 
600

 
1.99

 
8,492

 
2.29

 
6,297

 
2.84

 
20,183

 
4.10

Corporate bonds
 
719

 
2.04

 
3,775

 
2.69

 
11,934

 
3.54

 

 

Residential mortgage-backed securities
 

 

 

 

 
1,890

 
2.20

 
108,800

 
2.20

Commercial mortgage-backed securities
 

 

 
1,456

 
1.92

 
2,195

 
2.50

 

 

 
 
$
2,039

 
 
 
$
18,624

 
 
 
$
30,117

 
 
 
$
186,447

 
 
The maturity of mortgage-backed securities reflects scheduled repayments based upon the contractual maturities of the securities. Weighted average yields on tax-exempt obligations have been computed on a fully tax equivalent basis assuming a federal tax rate of 35%.
Premises and Equipment
Bank premises and equipment increased $5.8 million, or 18.3%, to $37.5 million at December 31, 2017 from $31.7 million at December 31, 2016. The increase was primarily due to acquired bank premises and equipment with a fair value of approximately $7.1 million from Citizens and BOJ. Bank premises and equipment increased $1.1 million, or 3.6%, to $31.7 million at December 31, 2016 from $30.6 million at December 31, 2015. In September 2016, the Bank purchased the second floor of the building in which its executive and operations center is located, which is the primary reason for the increase in bank premises and equipment from 2015 to 2016.
Deferred Tax Asset
At December 31, 2017, the net deferred tax asset was $1.3 million, compared to $2.9 million and $1.9 million, respectively, at December 31, 2016 and 2015. The decrease at December 31, 2017 compared to December 31, 2016 is mainly attributable to tax basis differences in acquired assets and the revaluation of deferred tax assets and liabilities as required by the enactment of the TCJA on December 22, 2017. The increase at December 31, 2016 compared to December 31, 2015 is mainly attributable to the $0.8 million increase in the deferred tax asset related to the increase in unrealized loss in the available for sale securities portfolio resulting from an increase in interest rates, and the $0.6 million increase related to the provision for loan losses.
The Bank acquired net operating loss carryforwards as a result of acquisitions. At December 31, 2017, we held approximately $0.7 million in net operating loss carryforwards that expire in 2033. U.S. tax law imposes annual limitations under Internal Revenue Code Section 382 on the amount of net operating loss carryforwards that may be used to offset federal taxable income. Under these laws, we may apply up to approximately $0.1 million to offset our taxable income each year through 2023. In addition to this limitation, our ability to utilize net operating loss carryforwards depends upon the Company generating taxable income. Given the substantial amount of time before our net operating loss carryforwards begin to expire, we currently expect to utilize these net operating loss carryforwards in full before their expiration.

51




Deposits
The following table sets forth the composition of our deposits and the percentage of each deposit type to total deposits at December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 (dollars in thousands).
 
 
December 31, 
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total
Deposits
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total
Deposits
 
Amount
 
Percentage of
Total