BankUnited Financial Corp. said Monday that the Office of Thrift Supervision has told the Florida bank to curb its mortgage lending business and beef up its capital.
The bank had said in June that it planned to raise $400 million in capital through a secondary common-stock offering, but in its quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday said the OTS demanded that it "submit an alternative capital plan" if BankUnited is unable to raise the capital.
BankUnited disclosed that three weeks ago its board indefinitely suspended the quarterly dividend on the common stock.
If BankUnited fails to raise "significant capital," which analysts said could be as much as $600 million, it would lose its regulatory status as "well capitalized," because of the risk and credit quality deterioration of its sizable portfolio of exotic mortgages. That change would limit BankUnited's ability to raise and hold onto brokered deposits.
"BankUnited has also agreed to maintain capital ratios substantially in excess of the minimum required ratios to be deemed well-capitalized upon raising the requisite capital," the bank said.
The OTS further issued a comprehensive to-do list that analysts described as harsh. The regulator demands that BankUnited end its option adjustable-mortgage and alternative-A mortgage businesses, shrink its negative amortization mortgage portfolio, and enhance "its policies and procedures regarding the bank's allowance for loan losses."
BankUnited must "notify it prior to: adding directors or senior executive officers; making certain kinds of severance and other forms of payments; entering into, renewing, extending, or revising any compensatory or benefits arrangements with any director or officer; entering into any third-party contracts out of the normal course of business; and issuing any capital distribution, such as dividends."
Meanwhile, the bank said $736 million of loans might no longer qualify as collateral for funding by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Florida.
Wall Street "is very concerned about this institution," said Mark Muth, an analyst with First Horizon National Corp.'s FTN Midwest Securities Corp. BankUnited's loan losses so far haven't been an issue, but its very high ratio of non-performing assets leaves investors with fears that losses will jump eventually, he said.
"Nobody knows what's in that portfolio for sure, which makes raising capital more difficult," he said.
Another analyst, who declined to speak on the record, said if BankUnited fails to raise capital, its days as an independent company might be numbered, though finding a buyer might be just as difficult as raising capital.
On June 30, nonperforming loans made up 8% of total loans.
BankUnited said it is more active in helping customers stay current with their payments through loan modification programs. A spokeswoman wasn't immediately able to comment beyond the filing.
BankUnited's shares have fallen almost 80% this year, and on Monday declined 1.24%, to $1.59.