The Quarterly
OVLY Q3 2015 10-Q

Oak Valley Bancorp (OVLY) SEC Annual Report (10-K) for 2015

OVLY Q1 2016 10-Q
OVLY Q3 2015 10-Q OVLY Q1 2016 10-Q


Washington, D.C. 20549




For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015





(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)



(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

125 North Third Avenue
Oakdale, California


(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

(209) 848-2265

(Registrant's telephone number including area code)

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

Title of each class

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock

The NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC

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


(Title of class)

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes  ☐

No  ☒

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.

Yes  ☐

No  ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file

such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.           Yes  ☒                                          No  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate 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  ☒                                          No  ☐

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K 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, or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," and "smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

Large accelerated filer ☐

Accelerated filer ☐

Non-accelerated filer ☐

(Do not check if a

smaller reporting company)

Smaller reporting company ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes  ☐

No  ☒

As of December 31, 2015, the aggregate market value of the registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the closing price per share of the registrant's common stock as reported by the NASDAQ, was approximately $69 million. As of March 17, 2016, there were 8,088,155 shares of common stock outstanding.


Portions of the registrant's Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on June 21, 2016 are incorporated by reference into Part III. 



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Overview of the Business

Oak Valley Bancorp. Oak Valley Bancorp (the "Company") was incorporated on April 1, 2008 in California for the purpose of becoming Oak Valley Community Bank's parent bank holding company. Effective July 3, 2008, Oak Valley Bancorp acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of Oak Valley Community Bank (the "Bank") (from time to time, the Bank and the Company may be generally referred to as "we", "us" or "our"). The principal office of Oak Valley Bancorp is located at 125 North Third Avenue, Oakdale, California 95361 and its principal telephone is (209) 848-2265.

The Company is authorized to issue 50,000,000 shares of common stock, without par value, of which 8,078,155 are issued and outstanding at December 31, 2015, and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, without par value, of which no shares are issued and outstanding.

The Company is the holding company of the Bank, and its only assets are the outstanding capital stock of the Bank, which the Company wholly owns, cash and income tax benefits receivable classified as other assets.

Oak Valley Community Bank. The Bank commenced operations in May 1991.  The Bank is an insured bank under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and is a member of the Federal Reserve.  The Bank is subject to regulation, supervision and regular examination by the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO), the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) and the Federal Reserve Board (FRB). Since its formation, the Bank has provided basic banking services to individuals and business enterprises in Oakdale, California and the surrounding areas. The focus of the Bank is to offer a range of commercial banking services designed for both individuals and small to medium-sized businesses in the two main areas of service of the Bank: the Central Valley and the Eastern Sierras.

The Bank offers a complement of business checking and savings accounts for its business customers.  The Bank also offers commercial and real estate loans, as well as lines of credit.  Real estate loans are generally of a short-term nature for both residential and commercial lending purposes.  Longer-term real estate loans are generally made with adjustable interest rates and contain customary provisions for acceleration.  Traditional residential mortgages are available to Bank customers through a third party.

The Bank offers other services for both individuals and businesses including online banking, remote deposit capture, mobile banking, merchant services, night depository, extended hours, wire transfer of funds, note collection, and automated teller machines in a national network.  The Bank does not currently offer international banking or trust services although the Bank may make such services available to the Bank's customers through financial institutions with which the Bank has correspondent banking relationships.  The Bank does not offer stock transfer services nor does it directly issue credit cards.

On December 23, 2015, the Company completed its acquisition of Mother Lode Bank ("MLB"), a California state-chartered bank headquartered in Sonora, California, in a transaction in which Mother Lode Bank was merged with and into the Bank, with the Bank as the surviving company in the transaction. The purchase price for Mother Lode Bank was approximately $7.3 million. As of the acquisition date, Mother Lode Bank's total assets were $78.7 million and total deposits were $71.1 million.


Branch Expansion.     Since opening our doors of the main Oakdale branch in 1991, our network of branches and loan production offices have been expanded geographically. As of December 31, 2015, we maintained eighteen full-service branch offices (in addition to our corporate headquarters). Beginning in October 1995, we started our geographic expansion outside of Oakdale, by opening a Loan Production Office in Sonora, California. We subsequently opened a branch in Sonora and two branches in Modesto.  In September 2000, we expanded into the Eastern Sierra, opening a branch in Bridgeport, California under the name Eastern Sierra Community Bank.  Since that time we have added branches in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop. During 2005 and 2006, we aggressively increased our presence in the Central Valley, by opening branches in Turlock, Stockton, Patterson, Ripon and Escalon.  In March 2007, our corporate headquarters expanded by adding an adjacent historical building located in downtown Oakdale to its complex.  In 2011, we opened a third branch in Modesto and a branch in Manteca. In 2014, we opened a new branch in Tracy. In 2015, we added a second branch in Sonora. Later in 2015, Mother Lode Bank was merged with and into the Bank, which temporarily added two more branches in Sonora until they were eventually closed in January 2016 decreasing our total number of branches to sixteen, after management determined that our two existing branches would be able to support our new customers. We intend to continue our growth strategy in future years through the opening of additional branches and loan production offices as our needs and resources permit.


Bank Holding Company Reorganization.   Effective July 3, 2008, we entered into a bank holding company reorganization, whereby each outstanding share of common stock of the Bank was exchanged into a share of common stock of the Company. Operating our banking business within a holding company structure provides, among other things, greater operating flexibility; facilitates the potential acquisition of related businesses as opportunities may arise from time to time; improves our ability to diversify as needed; enhances our ability to remain competitive in the future with other companies in the financial services industry that are organized in a holding company structure; and improves our ability to raise capital to support growth.  

Business Segments

The Bank operates in two primary lines of business: Retail Banking and Commercial Banking, as described in additional detail below.  These business lines do not meet the quantitative thresholds for reporting as separate segments and are therefore considered one segment for financial reporting purposes.

Retail Banking.   We offer a range of checking and savings accounts, including NOW accounts, money market accounts, overdraft protection, health savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and Individual Retirement Accounts ("IRA").  To satisfy the lending needs of individuals in its service area, we offer real estate and home equity financing, as well as consumer, automobile, and home improvement loans.

Commercial Banking .  We offer a range of deposit and lending services to business customers.  More specifically, we offer a variety of commercial loans for virtually any business, professional, or agricultural need. These include loans for short-term working capital, operating lines of credit, equipment purchases, leasehold improvements, construction, commercial real estate acquisitions or refinancing.  Currently, virtually all of our business relationships are with customers located in the San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Inyo and Mono Counties, of California.

Primary Market Area

We conduct business from our main office in Oakdale, a city of approximately 21,500 residents located in Stanislaus County, California. Oakdale is approximately 15 miles from Modesto and sits at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, at the edge of the California Central Valley agricultural area.  Through our branches, we serve customers in the Central Valley, from Fresno to Sacramento, and in foothill locations. We also reach into the Highway 395 corridor in the Eastern Sierras and in the towns of Bishop, Mammoth and Bridgeport.  Approximately 87% of our loans and 87% of our deposits are generated from the Central Valley. The Central Valley area includes Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Tuolumne counties and has a total population of over 3 million.

Lending Activities

General.     Our loan policies set forth the basic guidelines and procedures by which we conduct our lending operations. These policies address the types of loans available, underwriting and collateral requirements, loan terms, interest rate and yield considerations, compliance with laws and regulations and our internal lending limits. Our Board of Directors reviews and approves our loan policies on an annual basis. We supplement our own supervision of the loan underwriting and approval process with periodic loan audits by experienced external loan specialists who review credit quality, loan documentation and compliance with laws and regulations. We engage in a full complement of lending activities, including:

● commercial real estate loans,

● commercial business lending and trade finance,

● Small Business Administration lending, and

● consumer loans, including automobile loans, home mortgages, credit lines and other personal loans.

As part of our efforts to achieve long-term stable profitability and respond to a changing economic environment in the California Central Valley, we constantly evaluate a variety of options to augment our traditional focus by broadening the services and products we provide. Possible avenues of growth include more branch locations, expanded suite of technology based services and new types of lending.


Loan Procedures.     Loan applications may be approved by the Director Loan Committee of our Board of Directors, or by our management or lending officers, to the extent of their loan authority. Our Board of Directors authorizes our lending limits. Our President and Chief Credit Officer are responsible for evaluating the authority limits for individual credit officers and recommending lending limits for all other officers to the board of directors for approval.

We grant individual lending authority to our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Credit Officer, Credit Administrator and to some department managers and loan officers. Our highest management lending authority is combined administrative lending authority for unsecured and secured lending of $2,500,000, which requires the joint approval of either Chief Executive Officer, Chief Credit Officer, Senior Lending Officer and Credit Administrator.  Loans for which direct and indirect borrower liability exceeds combined administrative lending authority are referred to our Board of Directors Loan Committee.

At December 31, 2015, the Bank's authorized legal lending limits were $12.5 million for unsecured loans plus an additional $8.3 million for specific secured loans. Legal lending limits are calculated in conformance with California law, which prohibits a bank from lending to any one individual or entity or its related interests an aggregate amount which exceeds 15% of primary capital plus the allowance for loan losses on an unsecured basis, plus an additional 10% on a secured basis. The Bank's primary capital plus allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2015 totaled $81.5 million.

We seek to mitigate the risks inherent in our loan portfolio by adhering to certain underwriting practices. The review of each loan application includes analysis of the applicant's prior credit history, income level, cash flow and financial condition, tax returns, cash flow projections, and the value of any collateral to secure the loan, based upon reports of independent appraisers and audits of accounts receivable or inventory pledged as security. In the case of real estate loans over a specified amount, the review of collateral value includes an appraisal report prepared by an independent, Bank-approved, appraiser.

Real Estate Loans.     We offer commercial real estate loans to finance the acquisition of new or the refinancing of existing commercial properties, such as office buildings, industrial buildings, warehouses, hotels, shopping centers, automotive industry facilities and multiple dwellings. At December 31, 2015, real estate loans constituted 84% of our loan portfolio, of which 93% were commercial loans. This includes the real estate loans made by Mother Lode Bank prior to its merger into the Bank in 2015.

Commercial real estate loans typically have 10-year maturities with up to 25-year amortization of principal and interest and loan-to-value ratios of not more than 75% of the appraised value or purchase price, whichever is lower. We usually impose a prepayment penalty during the period within 3 to 5 years of the date of the loan.

Construction loans are comprised of loans on commercial, residential and income producing properties that generally have terms of 1 year, with options to extend for additional periods to complete construction and to accommodate the lease-up period. We usually require 15% equity capital investment by the developer and loan to value ratios of not more than 75% of anticipated completion value.

Miniperm loans finance the purchase and/or ownership of commercial properties, including owner-occupied and income producing properties. We also offer miniperm loans as take-out financing with our construction loans. Miniperm loans are generally made with an amortization schedule ranging from 20 to 25 years, with a lump sum balloon payment due in 3 to 5 years.

Equity lines of credit are revolving lines of credit collateralized by junior deeds of trust on residential real properties. They generally bear a rate of interest that floats with our base rate or the prime rate, and have maturities of 10 years.

We purchase participation interests in loans made by other financial institutions from time to time. These loans are subject to the same underwriting criteria and approval process as loans made directly by us.

Our real estate loans are typically collateralized by first or junior deeds of trust on specific commercial properties and equity lines of credit, and are subject to corporate or individual guarantees from financially capable parties, as available. The properties collateralizing real estate loans are principally located in our primary market areas of the California Central Valley and the Eastern Sierra.  Real estate loans typically bear interest rates that float with an established index.

Our real estate portfolio is subject to certain risks, including (i) downturns in the California economy, (ii) significant interest rate fluctuations, (iii) reduction in real estate values in the California Central Valley, (iv) increased competition in pricing and loan structure, and (v) environmental risks, including natural disasters.  As a result of the high concentration of the real estate loan in our loan portfolio, potential difficulties in the real estate markets c ould cause significant increases in nonperforming loans, which would reduce our profits.  A decline in real estate values could cause some of our mortgage loans to become inadequately collateralized, which would expose us to a greater risk of loss.  Additionally, a decline in real estate values could adversely affect our portfolio of commercial real estate loans and could result in a decline in the origination of such loans.  However, we strive to reduce the exposure to such risks and seek to continue to maintain high quality in our real estate loans by (a) reviewing each loan request and each loan renewal individually, (b) using a dual signature approval system for the approval of each loan request for loans over a certain dollar amount, (c) adhering to written loan policies, including, among other factors, minimum collateral requirements, maximum loan-to-value ratio requirements, cash flow requirements and personal guarantees, (d) performing secondary appraisals from time to time, (e) conducting external independent credit review, and (f) conducting environmental reviews, where appropriate. We review each loan request on the basis of our ability to recover both principal and interest in view of the inherent risks.   We monitor and stress test our entire portfolio, evaluating debt coverage ratios and loan-to-value ratios, on a quarterly basis.  We monitor trends and evaluate exposure derived from simulated stressed market conditions.  The portfolio is stratified by owner classification (either owner occupied or non-owner occupied), product type, geography and size.


As of December 31, 2015, the aggregate loan-to-value of the entire commercial real estate portfolio was 50.8%. Historical data suggests that the Company continues to maintain strong LTV, which has served as a cushion against precipitous reductions in real estate values. Non-owner occupied real estate comprises 40.8% of the Company's total commitments, as of December 31, 2015. The loan-to-value on the non-owner occupied segment was 46.6%, as of December 31, 2015. The highest concentration by product type is office buildings, which comprised 27.1% of total CRE loan commitments outstanding, as of December 31, 2015.

Our portfolio diversity in terms of both product types and geographic distribution, combined with strong debt coverage ratios, a low aggregate loan-to-value and a high percentage of owner-occupied properties, significantly mitigate the risks associated with excessive commercial real estate concentration. These elements contribute strength to our overall real estate portfolio despite the current weakness in the real estate market.

         Commercial Business Lending.     We offer commercial loans to sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations, with an emphasis on the real estate related industry. These commercial loans include business lines of credit and commercial term loans to finance operations, to provide working capital or for specific purposes, such as to finance the purchase of assets, equipment or inventory. Since a borrower's cash flow from operations is generally the primary source of repayment, our policies provide specific guidelines regarding required debt coverage and other important financial ratios.

Lines of credit are extended to businesses or individuals based on the financial strength and integrity of the borrower and are secured primarily by real estate, accounts receivable and inventory, and have a maturity of one year or less. Such lines of credit bear an interest rate that floats with the prime rate, LIBOR or another established index.

Commercial term loans are typically made to finance the acquisition of fixed assets, refinance short-term debts or to finance the purchase of businesses. Commercial term loans generally have terms from one to five years. They may be collateralized by the asset being acquired or other available assets and bear interest rates, which either floats with the prime rate, LIBOR or another established index or is fixed for the term of the loan.

Our portfolio of commercial loans is also subject to certain risks, including (i) downturns in the California economy, (ii) significant interest rate fluctuations; and (iii) the deterioration of a borrower's or guarantor's financial capabilities. We attempt to reduce the exposure to such risks through (a) reviewing each loan request and renewal individually, (b) requiring a dual signature approval system, (c) mandating strict adherence to written loan policies, and (d) performing external independent credit review. In addition, we monitor loans based on short-term asset values on a monthly or quarterly basis. In general, during the term of the relationship, we receive and review the financial statements of our borrowing customers on an ongoing basis, and we promptly respond to any deterioration that we note.

Small Business Administration Lending Services.     Small Business Administration, or SBA, lending, forms an important part of our business. Our SBA lending service places an emphasis on minority-owned businesses. Our SBA market area includes the geographic areas encompassed by our full-service banking offices in the California Central Valley and in the Eastern Sierra. As an SBA lender, we enable borrowers to obtain SBA loans in order to acquire new businesses, expand existing businesses, and acquire locations in which to do business.

Consumer Loans.     Consumer loans include personal loans, auto loans, home improvement loans, home mortgage loans, revolving lines of credit and other loans typically made by banks to individual borrowers. We provide consumer loan products in an effort to diversify our product line.


Our consumer loan portfolio is subject to certain risks, including:

● amount of credit offered to consumers in the market,

● interest rate increases, and

● consumer bankruptcy laws which allow consumers to discharge certain debts.

We attempt to reduce the exposure to such risks through the direct approval of all consumer loans by:

● reviewing each loan request and renewal individually,

● using a dual signature system of approval,

● strictly adhering to written credit policies and,

● performing external independent credit review.

Deposit Activities and Other Sources of Funds

Our primary sources of funds are deposits and loan repayments. Scheduled loan repayments are a relatively stable source of funds, whereas deposit inflows, outflows and unscheduled loan prepayments (which are influenced significantly by general interest rate levels, interest rates available on other investments, competition, economic conditions and other factors) are not as stable. Customer deposits also remain a primary source of funds, but these balances may be influenced by adverse market changes in the industry. We may resort to other borrowings, on an as needed basis, as follows:

● on a short-term basis to compensate for reductions in deposit inflows at less than projected levels, and

● on a longer-term basis to support expanded lending activities and to match the maturity of repricing intervals of assets.

We offer a variety of accounts for depositors, which are designed to attract both short-term and long-term deposits. These accounts include certificates of deposit, or "CDs", regular savings accounts, money market accounts, checking and negotiable order of withdrawal, or "NOW", accounts, savings accounts, health savings accounts and individual retirement accounts, or "IRAs". These accounts generally earn interest at rates established by management based on competitive market factors and management's desire to increase or decrease certain types or maturities of deposits. As needs arise, we augment these customer deposits with brokered deposits. The more significant deposit accounts offered by us are described below:

Certificates of Deposit.     We offer several types of CDs with a maximum maturity of five years. The substantial majority of our CDs have a maturity of one to twelve months and pay compounded interest typically credited monthly or at maturity.

Regular Savings Accounts.     We offer savings accounts that allow for unlimited ATM and in-branch deposits and withdrawals. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.

Money Market Account.     Money market accounts pay a variable interest rate that is tiered depending on the balance maintained in the account. Minimum opening balances vary. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.

Checking and NOW Accounts.     Checking and NOW accounts are generally non-interest and interest bearing accounts, respectively, and may include service fees based on activity and balances. NOW accounts pay interest, but require a higher minimum balance to avoid service charges.

Federal Home Loan Bank Borrowings.     To supplement our deposits as a source of funds for lending or investment, we borrow funds in the form of advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank. We regularly make use of Federal Home Loan Bank advances as part of our interest rate risk management, primarily to extend the duration of funding to match the longer term fixed rate loans held in the loan portfolio as part of our growth strategy.

As a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank system, we are required to invest in Federal Home Loan Bank stock based on a predetermined formula. Federal Home Loan Bank stock is a restricted investment security that can only be sold to other Federal Home Loan Bank members or redeemed by the Federal Home Loan Bank. As of December 31, 2015, we owned $2,958,000 in FHLB stock.

Advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank are typically secured by our entire real estate loan portfolio, which includes residential and commercial loans.  At December 31, 2015, our borrowing limit with the Federal Home Loan Bank was approximately $198 million.


Internet Banking

Since August 1, 2001, we have offered Internet banking service, which allows our customers to access their deposit accounts through the Internet. Customers are able to obtain transaction history and account information, transfer funds between accounts and make on-line bill payments. We intend to improve and develop our Internet banking products and delivery channels as the need arises and our resources permit.

Other Services

We also offer ATMs located at branch offices as well as seven other ATMs at various off site locations, and customer access to an ATM network.


Our marketing relies principally upon local advertising and promotional activity and upon personal contacts by our directors, officers and shareholders to attract business and to acquaint potential customers with our personalized services. We emphasize a high degree of personalized client service in order to be able to provide for each customer's banking needs. Our marketing approach emphasizes the advantages of dealing with an independent, locally managed and state chartered bank to meet the particular needs of consumers, professionals and business customers in the community. Our management continually evaluates all of our banking services with regard to their profitability and efforts and makes determinations based on these evaluations whether to continue or modify our business plan, where appropriate.

We do not currently have any plans to develop any new lines of business, which would require a material amount of capital investment on our part.


Regional Branch Competition.     We consider our primary service area to be composed of the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Inyo and Mono Counties, of California.  The banking business in California generally, and in our primary service area, specifically, is competitive with respect to both loans and deposits and is dominated by a relatively small number of major banks which have many offices operating over wide geographic areas.  These include Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase Bank and Bank of the West. We compete for deposits and loans principally with these banks, as well as with savings and loan associations, thrift and loan associations, credit unions, mortgage companies, insurance companies, offerors of money market accounts and other lending institutions.

Among the advantages of these institutions are their ability to finance extensive advertising campaigns and to allocate their investment assets to regions of highest yield and demand, their ability to offer certain services, such as international banking and trust services which are not offered directly by the Company and, the ability by virtue of their greater total capitalization, to have substantially higher lending limits than we do.   In addition, as a result of increased consolidation and the passage of interstate banking legislation there is and will continue to be increased competition among banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions for the deposit and loan business of individuals and businesses.

As of June 30, 2015, our primary service areas contained one hundred seventy-four (174) banking offices, with approximately $13.8 billion in total deposits.  As of June 30, 2015, we had total deposits of approximately $684 million, which represented approximately 5.0% of the total deposits in the Bank's primary service area.  There can be no assurance that the Bank will maintain its competitive position against current and potential competitors, especially those with greater resources than the Bank.  The deposits of the four (4) largest competing banks averaged approximately $122 million per office as of June 30, 2015.

In order to compete with major financial institutions in our primary service areas, we use to the fullest extent the flexibility that our independent status permits.  This includes an emphasis on specialized services, local promotional activity, and personal contacts by our officers, directors and employees.  In the event that there are customers whose needs exceed our lending limits, we may arrange for such loans on a participation basis with other financial institutions.  We also assist customers who require other services that we do not offer by obtaining such services from correspondent banks.  However, no assurance can be given that our continued efforts to compete with other financial institutions will be successful.

In addition to other banks, our competitors include savings institutions, credit unions, and numerous non-banking institutions, such as finance companies, leasing companies, insurance companies, brokerage firms, and investment banking firms. In recent years, increased competition has also developed from specialized finance and non-finance companies that offer money market and mutual funds, wholesale finance, credit card, and other consumer finance services, including on-line banking services and personal finance software. Strong competition for deposit and loan products affects the rates of those products as well as the terms on which they are offered to customers.


Other Competitive Factors. The more general competitive trends in the industry include increased consolidation and competition. Strong competitors, other than financial institutions, have entered banking markets with focused products targeted at highly profitable customer segments. Many of these competitors are able to compete across geographic boundaries and provide customers increasing access to meaningful alternatives to banking services in nearly all significant products areas. Mergers between financial institutions have placed additional pressure on banks within the industry to streamline their operations, reduce expenses, and increase revenues to remain competitive. Competition has also intensified due to the federal and state interstate banking laws, which permit banking organizations to expand geographically, and the California market has been particularly attractive to out-of-state institutions. The Financial Modernization Act, which has made it possible for full affiliations to occur between banks and securities firms, insurance companies, and other financial companies, is also expected to intensify competitive conditions.

Technological innovations have also resulted in increased competition in the financial services industry. Such innovations have, for example, made it possible for non-depository institutions to offer customers automated transfer payment services that were previously considered traditional banking products. In addition, many customers now expect a choice of several delivery systems and channels, including telephone, mail, home computer, mobile devices, ATMs, self-service branches and/or in-store branches.

Business Concentration.     No individual or single group of related accounts is considered material in relation to our total assets or deposits, or in relation to our overall business. However, approximately 84% of our loan portfolio held for investment at December 31, 2015 consisted of real estate-related loans, including construction loans, miniperm loans, real estate mortgage loans and commercial loans secured by real estate. Moreover, our business activities are currently focused primarily in Central California, with the majority of our business concentrated in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Inyo and Mono Counties.  Consequently, our results of operations and financial condition are dependent upon the general trends in the Central California economies and, in particular, the residential and commercial real estate markets. In addition, the concentration of our operations in Central California exposes us to greater risk than other banking companies with a wider geographic base in the event of catastrophes, such as earthquakes, fires and floods in this region.


As of December 31, 2015, we had 167 employees (135 full-time employees and 32 part-time employees). None of our employees are currently represented by a union or covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We added 9 employees as a result of the merger of Mother Lode Bank into the Bank.

Economic Conditions and Legislative and Regulatory Developments

As it is the case with financial institutions with our size and scope, our profitability primarily depends on interest rate differentials. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors that are beyond our control and cannot be predicted, such as inflation, recession and unemployment, and the impact that future changes in domestic and foreign economic conditions might have on the Company.  A more detailed discussion of the Company's interest rate risks and the mitigation of those risks is included in Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Our business is also influenced by the monetary and fiscal policies of the Federal government and the policies of regulatory agencies.  The Federal Reserve Board implements national monetary policies (with objectives such as maintaining price stability, stimulating growth and reducing unemployment) through its open-market operations in U.S. Government securities, by adjusting the required level of reserves for depository institutions subject to its reserve requirements, and by varying the target Federal funds and discount rates applicable to borrowings by depository institutions. The actions of the Federal Reserve Board in these areas influence the growth of bank loans, investments, and deposits and also affect interest earned on interest-earning assets and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities. The nature and impact of any future changes in monetary and fiscal policies on us cannot be predicted.

From time to time, federal and state legislation is enacted that may have the effect of materially increasing the cost of doing business, limiting or expanding permissible activities, or affecting the competitive balance between banks and other financial services providers. In response to the economic downturn and financial industry instability, legislative and regulatory initiatives were, and are expected to continue to be, introduced and implemented, which substantially intensify the regulation of the financial services industry.  Moreover, in light of the economic environment over the last three to five years, bank regulatory agencies have responded to concerns and trends identified in examinations.  While their response resulted in the increased issuance and continuation of enforcement actions against financial institutions towards the end of the last decade and into the beginning of this decade, the level of such actions compared to the peak in 2010 has decreased.


Supervision and Regulation in General

The banking and financial services business in which we engage is highly regulated. Such regulation is intended, among other things, to protect depositors insured by the FDIC and the entire banking system. These regulations affect our lending practices, consumer protections, capital structure, investment practices and dividend policy.

The Company is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Bank.  The Company and the Bank are each subject to supervision and regulation by a number of federal and state agencies and regulatory bodies, as outlined below.

Upon effectiveness of the bank holding company reorganization on July 2, 2008, the Company became subject to regulation under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended ("BHCA"). As a bank holding company, the Company is regulated and is subject to inspection, examination and supervision by the Federal Reserve Board. It is also subject to the California Financial Code, as well as limited oversight by the DBO and the FDIC. Under the Federal Reserve Board's regulations, a bank holding company is required to serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary banks. The BHCA regulates the activities of holding companies including acquisitions, mergers, and consolidations and, together with the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act of 1999, the scope of allowable banking activities.

As a California-state chartered bank, the Bank is subject to primary supervision, examination and regulation by the DBO and the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board is the primary federal regulator of state member banks. The Bank is also subject to regulation by the FDIC, which insures the Bank's deposits as permitted by law. If, as a result of an examination of a bank, the Federal Reserve Board determines that the financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity or other aspects of its operations are unsatisfactory, or that it or its management is violating or has violated any law or regulation, various remedies are available to the Federal Reserve Board. Such remedies include the power to: enjoin "unsafe or unsound" practices; require affirmative action to correct any conditions resulting from any violation or practice; issue an administrative order that can be judicially enforced; direct an increase in capital; restrict growth; assess civil monetary penalties; remove officers and directors; institute a receivership; and, ultimately terminate the bank's deposit insurance, which would result in a revocation of its charter. The DBO separately holds many of the same remedial powers.

The commercial banking business is also influenced by the monetary and fiscal policies of the federal government and the policies of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, also known as the FRB or the Federal Reserve Board. As a member of the Federal Reserve System, we are subject to certain regulations of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The regulations of these agencies govern most aspects of our business, including the filing of periodic reports, and activities relating to dividends, investments, loans, borrowings, capital requirements, certain check-clearing activities, branching, mergers and acquisitions, reserves against deposits, and numerous other areas. Supervision, legal action and examination of us by the FRB is generally intended to protect depositors and is not intended for the protection of our shareholders. The Federal Reserve Board implements national monetary policies (with objectives such as curbing inflation and combating recession) by its open-market operations in United States Government securities, by adjusting the required level of reserves for financial intermediaries subject to its reserve requirements and by varying the discount rates applicable to borrowings by depository institutions. The actions of the Federal Reserve Board in these areas influence the growth of bank loans, investments and deposits and affects interest rates charged on loans and paid on deposits. Indirectly such actions may also impact the ability of non-bank financial institutions to compete with us. The nature and impact of any future changes in monetary policies cannot be predicted.

The laws, regulations and policies affecting financial services businesses are continuously under review by Congress and state legislatures and federal and state regulatory agencies. From time to time, legislation is enacted which has the effect of increasing the cost of doing business, limiting or expanding permissible activities or affecting the competitive balance between banks and other financial intermediaries. Proposals to change the laws and regulations governing the operations and taxation of banks, bank holding companies and other financial intermediaries are frequently made in Congress, in the California legislature and by various bank regulatory agencies and other professional agencies. Changes in the laws, regulations or policies that impact us cannot necessarily be predicted, but they may have a material effect on our business and earnings.

The federal and state bank regulatory agencies may respond to concerns and trends identified in examinations by issuing enforcement actions to, and entering into cease and desist orders, consent orders and memoranda of understanding with, financial institutions requiring action by management and boards of directors to address credit quality, liquidity, risk management and capital adequacy concerns, as well as other safety and soundness or compliance issues. Banks and bank holding companies are also subject to examination and potential enforcement actions by their state regulatory agencies.


Bank Holding Company and Bank Regulation

Bank holding companies and their subsidiaries are subject to significant regulation and restrictions by Federal and State laws and regulatory agencies.  Federal and State laws, regulations and restrictions, which may affect the cost of doing business, limit permissible activities and expansion or impact the competitive balance between banks and other financial services providers, are intended primarily for the protection of depositors and the FDIC deposit insurance fund ("DIF"), and secondarily for the stability of the U.S. banking system. They are not intended for the benefit of shareholders of financial institutions. The following discussion of key statutes and regulations to which the Company and the Bank are subject is a summary and does not purport to be complete nor does it address all applicable statutes and regulations. This discussion is qualified in its entirety by reference to the statutes and regulations referred to in this discussion.

The wide range of requirements and restrictions contained in both Federal and State banking laws include:


Requirements that bank holding companies serve as a source of strength for their banking subsidiaries. In addition, the regulatory agencies have "prompt corrective action" authority to limit activities and order an assessment of a bank holding company if the capital of a bank subsidiary falls below capital levels required by the regulators.