Commitments and Contingencies
|3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2021
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]
|Commitments and Contingencies
|Commitments and Contingencies
In the normal course of business, the Corporation enters into a number of off-balance sheet commitments. These commitments expose the Corporation to varying degrees of credit and market risk and are subject to the same credit and market risk limitation reviews as those instruments recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. For more information on commitments and contingencies, see Note 12 – Commitments and Contingencies to the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Corporation’s 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Credit Extension Commitments
The Corporation enters into commitments to extend credit such as loan commitments, standby letters of credit (SBLCs) and commercial letters of credit to meet the financing needs of its customers. The following table includes the notional amount of
unfunded legally binding lending commitments net of amounts distributed (i.e., syndicated or participated) to other financial institutions. The distributed amounts were $10.9 billion and $10.5 billion at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020. The carrying value of these commitments at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, excluding commitments accounted for under the fair value option, was $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion, which primarily related to the reserve for unfunded lending commitments. The carrying value of these commitments is classified in accrued expenses and other liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.
Legally binding commitments to extend credit generally have specified rates and maturities. Certain of these commitments have adverse change clauses that help to protect the Corporation against deterioration in the borrower’s ability to pay.
The following table includes the notional amount of commitments of $4.6 billion and $4.0 billion at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 that are accounted for under the fair value option. However, the table excludes cumulative net fair value of $91 million and $99 million at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 on these commitments, which is classified in accrued expenses and other liabilities. For more information regarding the Corporation’s loan commitments accounted for under the fair value option, see Note 15 – Fair Value Option.
(1) At both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, $4.8 billion of these loan commitments were held in the form of a security.
(2) The notional amounts of SBLCs and financial guarantees classified as investment grade and non-investment grade based on the credit quality of the underlying reference name within the instrument were $25.2 billion and $9.6 billion at March 31, 2021, and $25.0 billion and $10.2 billion at December 31, 2020. Amounts in the table include consumer SBLCs of $481 million and $500 million at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.
(3) At both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, included are letters of credit of $1.8 billion related to certain liquidity commitments of VIEs. For more information, see Note 6 – Securitizations and Other Variable Interest Entities.
(4) Includes business card unused lines of credit.
At March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Corporation had commitments to purchase loans (e.g., residential mortgage and commercial real estate) of $138 million and $93 million, which upon settlement will be included in trading account assets, loans or LHFS, and commitments to purchase commercial loans of $726 million and $645 million, which upon settlement will be included in trading account assets.
At March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Corporation had commitments to purchase commodities, primarily liquefied natural gas, of $430 million and $582 million, which upon settlement will be included in trading account assets.
At March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Corporation had commitments to enter into resale and forward-dated resale and securities borrowing agreements of $119.0 billion and $66.5 billion, and commitments to enter into forward-dated repurchase and securities lending agreements of $60.6 billion and $32.1 billion. These commitments generally expire within the next 12 months.
At both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Corporation had a commitment to originate or purchase up to $3.9 billion on a rolling 12-month basis, of auto loans and leases from a strategic partner. This commitment extends through November 2022 and can be terminated with 12 months prior notice.
Bank-owned Life Insurance Book Value Protection
The Corporation sells products that offer book value protection to insurance carriers who offer group life insurance policies to corporations, primarily banks. At both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the notional amount of these guarantees totaled $7.1 billion. At both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, the Corporation’s maximum exposure related to these
guarantees totaled $1.1 billion, with estimated maturity dates between 2033 and 2039.
The Corporation in its role as merchant acquirer or as a sponsor of other merchant acquirers may be held liable for any reversed charges that cannot be collected from the merchants, due to, among other things, merchant fraud or insolvency. If charges are properly reversed after a purchase and cannot be collected from either the merchants or merchant acquirers, the Corporation may be held liable for these reversed charges. The ability to reverse a charge is primarily governed by the applicable regulatory and card network rules, which include, but are not limited to, the type of charge, type of payment used and time limits. For the three months ended March 31, 2021, the Corporation processed an aggregate purchase volume of $301.1 billion. The Corporation’s risk in this area primarily relates to circumstances where a cardholder has purchased goods or services for future delivery. The Corporation mitigates this risk by requiring cash deposits, guarantees, letters of credit or other types of collateral from certain merchants. The Corporation’s reserves for contingent losses and the losses incurred related to the merchant processing activity were not significant. The Corporation continues to monitor its exposure in this area due to the potential economic impacts of the pandemic.
Representations and Warranties Obligations and Corporate Guarantees
For more information on representations and warranties obligations and corporate guarantees, see Note 12 – Commitments and Contingencies to the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Corporation’s 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The reserve for representations and warranties obligations and corporate guarantees was $1.3 billion at both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 and is included in accrued
expenses and other liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheet and the related provision is included in other income in the Consolidated Statement of Income. The representations and warranties reserve represents the Corporation’s best estimate of probable incurred losses, is based on its experience in previous negotiations, and is subject to judgment, a variety of assumptions, and known or unknown uncertainties. Future representations and warranties losses may occur in excess of the amounts recorded for these exposures; however, the Corporation does not expect such amounts to be material to the Corporation's financial condition and liquidity. See Litigation and Regulatory Matters below for the Corporation's combined range of possible loss in excess of the reserve for representations and warranties and the accrued liability for litigation.
Fixed Income Clearing Corporation Sponsored Member Repo Program
The Corporation acts as a sponsoring member in a repo program whereby the Corporation clears certain eligible resale and repurchase agreements through the Government Securities Division of the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation on behalf of clients that are sponsored members in accordance with the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation’s rules. As part of this program, the Corporation guarantees the payment and performance of its sponsored members to the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation. The Corporation’s guarantee obligation is secured by a security interest in cash or high-quality securities collateral placed by clients with the clearinghouse and therefore, the potential for the Corporation to incur significant losses under this arrangement is remote. The Corporation’s maximum potential exposure, without taking into consideration the related collateral, was $3.4 billion and $22.5 billion at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.
The Corporation has entered into additional guarantee agreements and commitments, including sold risk participation swaps, liquidity facilities, lease-end obligation agreements, partial credit guarantees on certain leases, real estate joint venture guarantees, divested business commitments and sold put options that require gross settlement. The maximum potential future payments under these agreements are approximately $9.2 billion and $8.8 billion at March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020. The estimated maturity dates of these obligations extend up to 2049. The Corporation has made no material payments under these guarantees. For more information on maximum potential future payments under VIE-related liquidity commitments, see Note 6 – Securitizations and Other Variable Interest Entities.
In the normal course of business, the Corporation periodically guarantees the obligations of its affiliates in a variety of transactions including ISDA-related transactions and non-ISDA related transactions such as commodities trading, repurchase agreements, prime brokerage agreements and other transactions.
Guarantees of Certain Long-term Debt
The Corporation, as the parent company, fully and unconditionally guarantees the securities issued by BofA Finance LLC, a consolidated finance subsidiary of the Corporation, and effectively provides for the full and unconditional guarantee of trust securities issued by certain statutory trust companies that are 100 percent owned finance subsidiaries of the Corporation.
Litigation and Regulatory Matters
The following disclosures supplement the disclosure in Note 12 – Commitments and Contingencies to the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Corporation’s 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K (the prior commitments and contingencies disclosure).
In the ordinary course of business, the Corporation and its subsidiaries are routinely defendants in or parties to many pending and threatened legal, regulatory and governmental actions and proceedings. In view of the inherent difficulty of predicting the outcome of such matters, particularly where the claimants seek very large or indeterminate damages or where the matters present novel legal theories or involve a large number of parties, the Corporation generally cannot predict the eventual outcome of the pending matters, timing of the ultimate resolution of these matters, or eventual loss, fines or penalties related to each pending matter.
As a matter develops, the Corporation, in conjunction with any outside counsel handling the matter, evaluates whether such matter presents a loss contingency that is probable and estimable, and, for the matter described below and the matters disclosed in the prior commitments and contingencies disclosure, whether a loss in excess of any accrued liability is reasonably possible in future periods. Once the loss contingency is deemed to be both probable and estimable, the Corporation will establish an accrued liability and record a corresponding amount of litigation-related expense. The Corporation continues to monitor the matter for further developments that could affect the amount of the accrued liability that has been previously established. Excluding expenses of internal and external legal service providers, litigation-related expense of $34 million and $24 million was recognized for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020.
For any matter disclosed in this Note and in the prior commitments and contingencies disclosure, for which a loss in future periods is reasonably possible and estimable (whether in excess of an accrued liability or where there is no accrued liability) and for representations and warranties exposures, the Corporation’s estimated range of possible loss is $0 to $1.3 billion in excess of the accrued liability, if any, as of March 31, 2021.
The accrued liability and estimated range of possible loss are based upon currently available information and subject to significant judgment, a variety of assumptions and known and unknown uncertainties. The matters underlying the accrued liability and estimated range of possible loss are unpredictable and may change from time to time, and actual losses may vary significantly from the current estimate and accrual. The estimated range of possible loss does not represent the Corporation’s maximum loss exposure.
Information is provided below, or in the prior commitments and contingencies disclosure regarding the nature of the litigation and, where specified, associated claimed damages. Based on current knowledge, and taking into account accrued liabilities, management does not believe that loss contingencies arising from pending matters, including the matter described below, and in the prior commitments and contingencies disclosure, will have a material adverse effect on the consolidated financial condition or liquidity of the Corporation. However, in light of the significant judgment, variety of assumptions and uncertainties involved in those matters, some of which are beyond the Corporation’s control, and the very large or indeterminate damages sought in some of those matters, an adverse outcome in one or more of these matters could be
material to the Corporation’s business or results of operations for any particular reporting period, or cause significant reputational harm.
LIBOR, Other Reference Rates, Foreign Exchange and Bond Trading Matters
On April 28, 2021, the European Commission concluded its investigation regarding trading by various financial institutions in sovereign, supranational, and agency bonds by issuing a fine in an amount not material to the Corporation.