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Bank OZK (OZK) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Bank OZK (NASDAQ: OZK)
Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call
Jan. 18, 2019, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Bank OZK Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn conference over to Tim Hicks. You may begin.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Good morning. I am Tim Hicks, Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations for Bank OZK. Thank you for joining our call this morning and participating in our question-and-answer session. In today's Q&A discussion, we're going to make forward-looking statements about our expectations, estimates and outlook for the future.

Please refer to our earnings release, management comments and other public filings for more information on the various factors and risks that may cause actual results or outcomes that vary from those projected in or implied by such forward-looking statements. Joining us on the call from another line is George Gleason, Chairman and CEO; joining me here in our office is Greg McKinney, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer; and Tyler Vance, Chief Operating Officer.

We are very pleased to report our excellent fourth quarter results and we'll begin by opening up the lines for your questions. Let me ask our operator Sonia to remind our listeners, how to queue in for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Ken Zerbe of Morgan Stanley. Your line is now open.

Ken Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Great, thanks. Good morning, everyone.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, Ken.

Ken Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

I was kind of wondering if you can just at least start off with the concept of the repayments or prepays on some of obviously your larger loans. It sounded like in the prepared remarks that those -- that there was a few of the repayments that was, I guess technically supposed to be in fourth quarter they got pushed off to 2019. It did seemed that you were a little more cautious on the repays or that they were going to be higher in '19 than in '18. But can you just elaborate on that a little bit more like, how can we -- if -- how can we be comfortable with, I think, it was like the low to mid single or double-digits loan growth combined with a high level of repayments. Any clarity would be helpful. Thanks.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tim, you want me to take that one?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Yes.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

All right. Ken, first on the timing of those prepays, earlier in the year, when we were giving guidance on our loan growth for the year and through the middle of the year, the expectation was that most of those loans that slid into '19 would have been in '19. As we got through the third quarter the likelihood appeared that some of those loans might move into December as prepayments and accordingly we gave fairly cautious guidance on our Q4 growth in the October call in anticipation that those prepays might occur in December. Some moved back into '19. So these are complex transactions with multiple parties involved and if it's a purchase situation sometimes in the capital stock and equity raises and their complex transaction. So they'll move around a few months to and fro. So we were pleased that some of those prepayments slid into 2019 because like I was obviously another month or two or three of earnings on those loans which we're very, very glad to have.

None of the prepayments that slid are a result of any quality issues or concerns. So it's all upside and that it gives us an opportunity to earn more income. The guidance that we gave on loan growth in the management comments documents for next year, which was non-purchased loan growth in the low to mid teens takes into account what we described in the management comments as a likelihood of a higher level of prepayments in 2019 than 2018. So those, those for -- both those comments were considered and evaluated in connection with each other.

Ken Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Got you. Okay, all right. That helps. And then can you give us any update in terms of your deposit strategies? So you just hired someone there, but I&A (ph) and certainly the deposit costs have been going up less, I guess last quarter than they did in the prior couple of quarters. But what are you doing differently? How should we think about or how do you guys think about deposit costs going forward to help fund that mid-teen loan growth?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Tyler, you want to take that?

Tyler Vance -- Chief Operating Officer

Yeah. I can. Hey Ken, Tyler Vance here. Obviously, we're pleased with our 14 basis point of increased deposit costs in Q4 which you noted was down from Q2 and Q3. And as our management commentary stated, we had been focused on improving our deposit betas. Over the last couple of quarters we've been enhancing our data and analytical capabilities around deposit and those additional deposit analytics have given us improved visibility in various markets and market segments in terms of geography, product and various competitors.

We do have some other analytical and modeling enhancements under way and planned for 2019. And that we had some good success also in Q4 in lowering our beta on certain large commercial and public fund customers and for competitive reasons, I won't go a lot further there. But as we said in our management commentary, while our results may vary from quarter-to-quarter, we believe that our increase in cost of interest bearing deposit for the full year of 2019 will be less in 2018. Although we believe those improvements will likely be more evident in the second half of the year and obviously that level of improvement depends on a number of factors including any Fed actions that may or may not take place. Competitor activity and then certainly the volume of deposit growth required to fund our balance sheet growth in 2019. So we feel good about where we are, there is still more work to be done. And as you noted, probably in our recent press release, we did add a new position of Chief Deposit Officer Ottie Kerley, another good evolution in our senior management team.

He has over a decade of experience in deposit pricing most recently at SunTrust Bank where he led deposit pricing for around $110 billion consumer deposit portfolio. As you saw in the press release he is going to be reporting to Cindy Wolfe, our Chief Banking Officer. He is really doing an outstanding job in our branch banking area. So, our strong balance sheet growth requires us to focus on optimizing our funding profile further and one of the primary ways that we do that is deposit strategy. So we feel like Ottie's expertise will just continue to enhance our existing deposit acquisition capability.

Ken Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Okay, perfect. And then just last question I had for you. And in terms of expenses, it looks like the expenses in the fourth quarter were probably a little bit higher than what we were looking for. Certainly, I guess, the highest of the year I guess technically, is that sustainable, I mean, is there something unusual in there, there wasn't a lot of commentary in the management commentary around expenses like how should we -- like something, yes, should we expect that to continue into 2019?

Greg McKinney -- Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer

Hey Ken, this Greg McKinney. Let me take that if I can. There is a lot of moving parts that hit those non-interest expenses. We had, we had some, what I would probably call some unusual debit and unusual credit coming through in the fourth quarter. You got to think those kind of -- for the most part generally, generally offset each other on the impact of the fourth quarter. So, I think that the fourth quarter results are at least in the aggregate, and fairly kind of clean run rate start thinking about 2019. I think that when we move into 2019, some of the results, we might see some, some movement between categories of non-interest expense. But I think that's at least in an aggregate standpoint and a pretty good starting point to base your 2019 models also.

Ken Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

All right, perfect. All right, thank you very much.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Jennifer Demba of SunTrust. Your line is now open.

Jennifer Demba -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Thank you, good morning. Glad to see the asset quality normalize more in the fourth quarter. A quick question, as you've seen more (inaudible) in the equity markets and what have you seen in terms of sales trends for your higher price point commercial real estate projects or -- your commercial real estate projects in aggregate?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Jennifer. Let me take that one, Tim. Jennifer, in general, I would tell you, we've not seen any significant erosion in price, or sales velocity on any projects that's caused us any concern at all. So we've been watching for that because obviously it's been a very turbulent market environment with a lot of geopolitical and economic and domestic political themes and things going on. But that as it seem to adversely impact our sales or leasing or anything else at this point. So we continue to be pretty positive about projects that we've got.

Jennifer Demba -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Great. And can you just talk about your net interest margin outlook for 2019 with or without rate hikes?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tim, you want to take that one?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Yes, I'll do that. Jennifer, it's Tim. we haven't given any specific margin guidance because of those various factors of how many rate hikes if any that will get competitive dynamics between loan and deposit pricing. Tyler gave you some good information on our deposit -- deposit pricing. I will note that our non-purchased loans, 76% of those are variable, a large percentage of those actually 77% of those loans are variable off of one month LIBOR. So they have a high correlation of rising, and we saw the benefit of that in the fourth quarter as one month LIBOR rose throughout the -- throughout the quarter. We'll get the full benefit in the first quarter of one month LIBOR being at a elevated level for the full quarter. And that will obviously depend how non-purchased loan yields will depend on various factors like Fed funds move and LIBOR move throughout the year.

We've talked about our purchased loans, our purchased loans and non-purchased loans are getting close to converging in their rates. I think non-purchased loans was at 6.34% yield for the fourth quarter and purchased loans was at 6.48% for the quarter. So those are really close, while purchased loans is a higher yielding portfolio and is declining on a quarter-over-quarter basis and the fact that those two are getting closer and closer and yield makes that impact of that run-off less significant really in 2019 than it was in 2018.

So, I'll give you those comments around the margin, and we've not given specific guidance on margin like I said, just given the various factors that really are outside of our control that impact margin.

Jennifer Demba -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Stephen Scouten at Sandler O'Neill. Your line is now open.

Stephen Scouten -- Sandler O'Neill and Partners -- Analyst

Hey guys, good morning.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Hi Stephen.

Stephen Scouten -- Sandler O'Neill and Partners -- Analyst

Curious for your -- I know, the first question kind of was around some of the paydowns, but obviously payoffs in RESG were slightly higher than originations for the year, but growth kind of came as the unfunded book, funded throughout the year. Is that a similar dynamic that we should expect to see here in '19. Would you estimate that net loan growth largely comes from the shrinking at unfunded book, but paydowns may still exceed actual new originations?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tim, you want to jump or I'll take that? Go ahead Tim.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

As you pointed out Stephen, we had in 2018 at RESG, we had as you can see on figure six in the management comments, we had $5.7 billion of fundings and that does come out of the unfunded balance. And then we had $4.8 million of repayments as well we've talked about our repayments being elevated in 2019 as well, but we've also given you the guidance of low to mid teens non-purchased loan growth. So based on our projections, we feel good about where we are from that. On the unfunded balance you did see that go down to $1.8 billion for the -- for 2018 and you can see that on figure 10 in the management comments at $4.7 billion of originations we've given you comments that we think we'll be either at that number or exceed that number in 2019 on originations at RESG and then the fundings comes down, reduces that unfunded balance.

So there's a lot of moving parts in both the funded and unfunded balance, all of that was considered in the context of the guidance we gave in non-purchased loan growth.

Stephen Scouten -- Sandler O'Neill and Partners -- Analyst

Okay. And maybe on the move up that you saw in loan yields specifically, obviously up 27 basis points this quarter down one basis point last quarter. I know you guys mentioned in the release, it helped by four basis points on the fees, but I'm still having a hard time seeing why such a big differential in the magnitude even given some of the movement within the timing of the LIBOR increases. Is there anything else there besides the timing of LIBOR in those fee differentials that drove such a big delta quarter-over-quarter there?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Well, Stephen, this is Tim. I'll remind you we listed about five or six bullet points in Q3 of things that moved against us. Each of those were worth 1 basis points to 30 basis points and so we had a lot of things moving against us including minimum interest and the level of minimum interest and prepayment penalties. A lot of those moved in our favor as you mentioned, we had four basis points of yield on non-purchase loans that was in excess of our average from repayments and minimum interest. LIBOR didn't move much at all during Q3, started moving really after the Labor Day, but really that started moving throughout September and really started strong in October and continued throughout the quarter. So we got the benefit of that as well. And you may mention that we talked about a third of the loans that RESG actually have a monthly reset as opposed to a daily reset, the other two thirds of the RESG loans reset daily.

And so that having that starting in October and then again in November, all of those things worked in our favor. So the things that really worked against us in Q3 kind of turned around and work in our favor in Q4.

Stephen Scouten -- Sandler O'Neill and Partners -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. Maybe one last thing from me. With 2019 outlook on your core spread, you guys do a really good job of focusing us in on that core spread. And obviously it was down about, I think nine basis points for the full year in 2018. So if we were to get no additional rate hikes as the forward curve is suggesting today, would that nine basis points of core spread compression theoretically increase in 2019 or the deposit initiatives kind of minimize that?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Stephen, this is George. I think there are too many moving parts for us to give guidance on that. Our core spread was up two quarters in 2018 and was down two quarters in 2018. We were disappointed that the net number for the year was down and that was a little more adverse than what we would have expected at the beginning of the year. And that's just really a result of all the moving parts there. So we've given cautionary guidance on that, that we could have quarters in 2019 where the core spread is down. And I think there are too many moving parts for us to try to give a definitive range or guidance on that. I will tell you it's a keen focus of ours and we're going to work hard to minimize deposit costs to maximize the loan yields. But there are a lot of variables going into 2019 including whether the Fed moves zero times or four times then in between. So, it's hard to know.

Stephen Scouten -- Sandler O'Neill and Partners -- Analyst

But I guess not comfortable with kind of given a range on what your current modeling says in respect to that for the year?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think there are too many variables.

Stephen Scouten -- Sandler O'Neill and Partners -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks guys. I appreciate the time.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Arren Cyganovich of Citi. Your line is now open.

Arren Cyganovich -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Thanks. Could you just talk about the competitive environment for RESG. Are you seeing any intensifying or lessening of the competition there, originations then on the lower end from the past few years, but it's kind of consistent with what you've been saying. Has there been any change as credit spreads have widened out in the broader markets in your construction lending or CRE business?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We would hope to see that, we haven't seen that yet. And I think there is a lot of money in the coffers of a lot of debt funds that are real estate centric. And they're focused that are still maintaining fairly aggressive standards on credit and pricing. Clearly, I think the important thing for our shareholders is to know that we're very committed first and foremost to maintaining credit quality and second, we're willing to be competitive, but not to the point it impairs our ability to achieve our minimum target return on equity on transactions. And growth is going to be affected by that positively or negatively as it was negatively last year, our non-purchased loan growth or RESG loan originations last year, RESG loan originations were $4.74 billion, down about 4.0 -- almost $4.4 billion from the previous year.

And that was just because we held to our credit discipline, we held to our return on equity discipline and we let the growth be the variable that moved and we're optimistic, we'll do somewhat better on the origination side in 2019. But we're going to hold to the same principles and standards as we did in 2018.

Arren Cyganovich -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Okay, thanks. And I guess back to the comment in the prepared remarks about the core spread, potential decreases in a couple of quarters in 2019 or some quarters. Do you feel that that's coming more so from the loan yields as you are adding on new loans in the book or is that coming more from pressure from deposits or how do you think about that?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, of course, it's a combination since the spread is the difference between those, but again we're not going to get aggressive enough on loan pricing that it impairs our ability to achieve our ROE. Clearly, we're in a very competitive market for loans, clearly we're in a very competitive market for deposit as we were on both throughout the 2018. So we're going to work on both as hard as we can as I told, Stephen and do the best we can. But it's hard to give particular guidance on that given the uncertainty about Fed action and other variables.

Arren Cyganovich -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Okay, thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Michael Rose of Raymond James. Your line is now open.

Michael Rose -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Hey, good morning guys. Thanks for taking my questions. Just wanted to start off on the non-RESG side, so you guys have done a really good job working to diversify the portfolio. I know in the past and especially in the Marine and RV and some of the other sectors that you've talked about, you've talked about some greater levels of, clearly of credit risk as we move forward. At this point in the cycle based on what you see, how willing are you to continue to grow those other portfolios as strongly as you did this past year? And is there anything on the credit front or just on environmental that would make you want to ratchet that -- that level of growth down? Thanks.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

That's a good question, Michael. Clearly, we continue to feel very good about the Marine and RV business that credit quality has held up really well and we like the profile of what we're putting on there really well and we continue to analyze that pretty keenly because we're doing a lot of that business and we want to make sure of it what we're doing there is meeting our expectations and going to achieve our goals for credit quality and we feel good about that, feel like it will. Likewise, I think we're being very disciplined as we have historically been in recent years in the Community Banking side of things, so we feel pretty good about that. The Corporate Loan Specialties Group that's a SNC portfolio you might have noticed that, that contracted in the fourth quarter. We looked at that very early in the quarter and thought that they continued repricing to lower spreads on a lot of those deals just was reaching a sort of toppy (ph) point from a price perspective.

So we made a decision to shrink that portfolio a little bit in the quarter and we pulled about $130 million, $140 million. Tim has the exact number there of those loans and just sold them. And that was a very good decision in retrospect, obviously it's been alluded to earlier that the debt markets got very turbulent, the markets for those credits dropped a lot as far as the trading prices. So we trim that portfolio down and that was a -- in part primarily a pricing call, we just felt that the values on those things have gotten so high that we ought (inaudible) exposure to it. We don't feel badly about any of the credit we've got in that portfolio. We actually feel pretty good about the credit in that portfolio. But I am glad we lightened it up for pricing.

So I think for us to get any meaningful growth out of that portfolio in the next year the pricing would have to come back even a little more toward us for us to feel good about that from a price perspective. And I don't know whether we'll get that or not, the pricing there has actually improved a little bit the last week or so. But it may be beginning to rebound from that sell-off to some degree, and that will determine whether or not that portfolio grows or shrinks this year.

Michael Rose -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. And then maybe just one question on the securities book, on the prepared comments you talked about being opportunistic there. How should we perhaps think about that, what would drive you to be more opportunistic versus less? And do you have a targeted size for the securities portfolio? Thanks.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We're happy with the size of the securities portfolio. Now if we found a good buying opportunity, we would certainly add to the portfolio. Clearly, now is not a good buying opportunity. It's flat as the yield curve is and it's tight as the spreads are on the high-quality stuff, short duration stuff that we're looking at. There's not a compelling reason to buy right now.

We do want to increase our liquidity position and if we don't buy securities, the way to do that is to pledge less of our existing securities. We use a portion of our existing securities portfolio to pledge for public funds and others, and one of the objectives that we have this year is to just continue to systematically in a very orderly manner work down the portion of that portfolio, but it's pledged so that the portfolio provide more free liquidity to us to improve our liquidity ratios even further than we already did last year. So we will buy securities if it is advantageous to do so and if it's not, we won't and today it's certainly not a good day to buy.

Michael Rose -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Understood. Maybe one more for me, for you George. Just broadly, you've talked about many of the metro markets across the US being much more balanced in terms of supply and demand. So maybe a little bit in your crystal ball, but how do you see the real estate markets and supply and demand dynamics playing out over the next year or two? Just broadly. Thanks.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Michael, my view on the fact that conditions there are relatively solid and benign has not changed at all. We continue to be very cautious about the new product we are doing, but we're still finding a lot of things that make a lot of sense. We had a decent closing quarter of RESG originations in Q4, it wasn't great, but it was decent and we think we'll have a good closing quarter this quarter and in talking with the guys early on, they're continuing to find things that make sense that we're signing up, that would be future quarter closing. So I think there is good business to be done if you're careful and pay close attention.

Michael Rose -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Appreciate all the color. Thanks guys.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Matt Olney of Stephens. Your line is now open.

Matt Olney -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

Hey, thanks. Good morning guys.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, Matt.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Matt Olney -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

I want to go back to the Marine and RV segment, it sounds like you can -- because you like that business a lot. I think you bought that in 2016. You ramped that up pretty nicely in 2017. I think you ramped again in 2018 over $1 billion of growth. Is that business still ramping from here and can we see something above $1 billion growth or will the dollar amount growth slow down in 2019?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Matt, I would expect the dollar growth net-net, in 2019 to be more or less in line with 2018. I think there is a slight bias to the upside there. But I don't think it's going to move in a huge way one way or the other from what we saw as the growth in that portfolio in 2018. Tim want to -- may want to comment on that, but that's my expectation. Tim, do you have any different thoughts on that?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

No, I would agree, George. And obviously, you've said that -- said earlier that we're very positive about the asset quality that those business lines are bringing the RV and Marine space, we said in the management comments and other times that we're focused really on super-prime and high-prime customers or average credit scores 7 -- 790. The guys there do a great job of daily monitoring the lot of different metrics that they're able to look at the asset quality that we're bringing on, on a daily basis and make adjustments as necessary.

That's well-diversified by loan size around $90,000 is the average loan size in that book-of-business. And the delinquency rate the 30-day plus is eight basis points and actually the net charge-offs for 2018 in that unit were roughly around eight basis points. So feel great about that opportunity, feel great about the credit quality of what they're able to bring on the books too.

Matt Olney -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

And Tim as a follow-up, as far as the yield on that book, help me out in terms of kind of what the newer production yields have been in RV and Marine more recently?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

They are fixed rate. However, they are -- that's the pressure point that we continue to put and George and I and John Carter, our Chief Credit Officer, are continuing to have discussions really on a weekly basis with that team to continue to push that rate as much as they can. And so, the new volume, as the prime rate goes up, we're constantly increasing the rates that we bring on and we try to lead that with prime is going to move in late December, then we're going to try to start that process in late November, or early December and with the pricing. So, George, I don't know if you've got any other comments on the pricing that you want to add?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No, it is. It's a competitive business, but we're getting yields in the high fives that over the life of loan should -- with premiums being paid you're, sort of mid fives on new origination type business and maybe a little higher. So we feel like we're getting given the high-prime, super-prime quality of that, we feel like we're getting a good risk adjusted return on those asset.

Matt Olney -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

Okay, thanks for taking my question.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Catherine Mealor of KBW. Your line is now open.

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

Thanks, good morning.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Catherine.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, Catherine

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

Is there -- just back on the loan yields, is there a way for you to dissect within RESG just so we can take out the impact of the Marine business, the average rate of loans that you saw paying off this quarter versus the average rate of loans that you originated. And how that spread has changed or migrated over the course of the year?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Catherine all the loans in the RESG portfolio are variable-rate loans with the exception, I think there's one really small loan and it may have paid off. So they're either all or all but one little one variable-rate loans in that portfolio. As Tim mentioned, the vast majority of them, if not all of them are tied to LIBOR, most of them one month LIBOR, a few to three or six month LIBOR. And the rates, the coupon rates on the loans being paid off are not materially different than the coupon rates we're putting out today, there may be some modest difference in spread 25 or 50 basis points.

But we've been pretty disciplined about our pricing, we did have a period of time in '16 and we talked about it at the time where we -- in early '17, probably the first half of '17 where the market was not as competitive and we were able to get probably 50, 25, 75 basis points higher spread. Some of those loans are just now funding, some of those loans were shorter duration that are just paying off. So it's the generation of loans, the loans that are paying off from before that '15, '14 time-frame are very much probably in line with margins we're getting today. And some of those loans whom we were getting little higher spreads are paying off, some are just funding. So it's not a material item, if we could extract that information and give it to you, I think it would be pretty hellhole (ph).

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

Okay. That's really helpful. Thank you. And then, we talked a lot about the two credits that you had charge-offs on. I guess one, any change or update on those, but then also we didn't spend a lot of time last quarter talking about the new larger credit. I think it's about $558 million that you show on page 29. Can you talk a little bit about this credit to the extent that you're able, how much is funded, the LTV on the project, just any color on the project and then your appetite for doing other credits this large moving forward? Thanks.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. We continue to do a lot of large credits and obviously if you're going to do a really large credit, you want to make sure that it's an exceptionally good quality credit. And we feel certainly that way about that credit, that credit is done, it's essentially a 50% loan to cost and about a 45% loan to value ratio. And you can see that data in the bar, in that right hand, that far right hand bar on figure 38 in the management comments. It is a Miami condo project, that is top of the line and top level of sponsorship.

We had originally -- there are two towers in this project and we had originally and worked for about 13 months putting together the financing on the first tower, which is actually the third building, they're two existing buildings at the project that are highly successful. But we worked for about 13-months putting together and we're almost to the point of closing the third tower, but the sales velocity on that tower was so good. And the amenities and common areas associated with that tower also served the next phase, which would be the fourth building on the project that we ended up offering and recommending to the customer that we include both buildings in the loan which upsized the loan considerably.

But the reality is first tower is doing so well, that it struck us as eminently clear that the sponsor was going to want to continue selling and go into the second tower. I'm not going to give sales data or price points or sales velocity for the sponsor, that's his business to give. But I would tell you, in the last quarter, the sales velocity has met or exceeded our underwriting and the price points have met or exceeded our underwriting.

So, that project is in our view is going very well. And we're very excited about, it is the largest credit we've ever done. And if we had to do over again today, I'd do it again. And if another one came along, just like it, I would do another one because it's great sponsorship, great location absolutely prime (ph) and a property, low leverage and you've got tremendous market acceptance from a sales velocity and a price point on it. So it's everything we're looking for, so we really like it.

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

Great, thank you for that color. Maybe one last from me. Any updated thoughts on potential buybacks?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tim, I'll let you take that one.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Okay. Catherine you've noticed probably I'm sure that we had comments in our -- our management comments around that. I mean, our Board does discuss it on a quarterly basis, we do monitor the adequacy of our capital position at least quarterly if not more often, and have through discussions with our Board. And obviously they're aware of the competing priorities between having more EPS and more return on equity or having the robust capital position to support our growth and future opportunities. And we've just had a tremendous track record of being able to over our 21 year plus history of a public company, we've not done a buyback and have a tremendous track record of being able to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves.

So, the Board will continue to weigh that at each of their meetings and try to weigh those two competing priorities. And certainly they understand our shareholders view and they understand our strategic planning and management's view as well. So I'll leave it with that and then the comments we have in our management comment document.

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

That's great. Thank you very much.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Catherine I'll circle back. I didn't answer your question, and I didn't mean to skip it, I just forgot it. I apologize about the two loans we had charge-offs on last quarter.

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

Yes. Thank you.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We are actively with the sponsors on each of those we've been operating this last quarter under a series of short-term forbearance agreements on each one wherein we've been working with the sponsors. And looking at other opportunities and strategies to liquidate those in the most cost-effective manner and the most beneficial manner possible.

You may note if you looked at that bubble chart in really fine detail that those two loans both were at 80% loan to value last quarter based on us writing them down to 80% of the updated appraisals. You may know that one of those went down in loan to value on the property in South Carolina, that's an operating, income producing shopping mall. We are sweeping the cash flow on that and that loan was not past due at 930, but it matured in early October and we didn't renew it. So it is in this quarter past due and for those of you that noticed an uptick in our past due numbers of a modest amount, that was that loan that was non-accrual at 930 is, of course, non-accrual at year-end. But was not past due at 930 and went past due because we didn't renew it during Q4. And we're sweeping the cash flow on that since they are not making payments. We had about $450,000 principal pay down on that from free cash flow, part of that was generated in Q4, part of that had been accumulated previously as we had swept surplus cash flow on that project for a long-time. So that did result in a paydown and as long as that's under a forbearance agreement, we would expect it's still generating positive cash flow and while we wouldn't expect $450,000 a quarter, we would expect some paydown on that loan from the accumulated net cash flow each quarter.

We are hopeful that we'll have both these loans out of non-accrual status and back in some other status or fully liquidated this year, but that remains to be seen if we can accomplish that.

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you for the color.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Matthew Breese of Piper Jaffray. Your line is now open.

Matthew Breese -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Good morning, everybody.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Hey, good morning, Matt.

Matthew Breese -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

I know you didn't want to go too much into the pre-sale activity of the -- of the loan down in Miami, but maybe we could focus on the Miami construction portfolio, the condo portfolio as a whole and I was hoping for some color on how pre-sale activity down there is going in light of growing luxury condo inventory?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Our pre-sale activity on our projects is going very well and we continue to be very positive about all of our projects in the market and to the point if we add an identical number of projects to the ones that we've got today that came along with all the same metrics and performance track records of the projects we've got today, we would -- we would do that many more. Our performance on that portfolio has just been outstanding and continues to be. If you've got the right product with right sponsorship, in the right location, we're not -- we're not seeing a problem with selling the product down there.

Matthew Breese -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

If we could frame it another way. I think last quarter you said the largest loan pre-sale was about 60% and that was pretty close to getting you if you had to be repaid on the loan. If you had to size up for the remainder of the Miami construction portfolio, how much is pre-sold? And how much is over or under that 60%? How would that look?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I don't have that data in front of me and I don't know that Tim has that data in front of me, but we did a concentration report for our loan committee, four, five months ago and we've originated one loan since then and it's the loan we've talked about at length today, and I've spoken very positively about that loan.

But I think when we originate, when we sent that report to committee, we looked at every loan down here and every project we had, had more than enough sales to fully repay our loan except for one project and that project we had a very strong personal guarantee from a very strong individual that cover the entire gap between sales that were in place and sales that were required to pay project, pay our loan off. So, we are in the money on all but the latest two projects is having enough sales to fully repay the loan and on those two projects, we have very strong guarantees that cover the gap.

So Tim, I don't remember, I think at that time, we had 11 or 12 projects that were still on the books that we had sales fully covered. And I believe I'm speaking from memory here, but I believe our average percentage of units sold on those was approaching 80% on average across that portfolio. And it takes 40% or 50% in most cases to pay our loan off. So I mean, and these are not just sales contracts, they're sales contracts with 30% to 50%, non-refundable deposits up. So they are sales contracts that 99.9% of them, you would expect to close.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

George, yeah, this is Tim. I don't have the report in front of me either, but my recollection is exactly as yours is, and I think one or two of those have actually paid off in the second half of the year as well. So, yeah, I agree with everything you said.

Matthew Breese -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Got it. Okay, that's great color. Maybe switching to the deposit side of the equation. This year, if I look at what funded the balance sheet was really in the CD and time deposit categories, and I know you have some new initiatives under way, but as we think about 2019 and how you're going to fund the loan growth, is it going to be as heavily weighted toward CDs or should we more closely consider what you'll do on the money market in non-interest bearing side of things?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we're very hopeful -- go ahead, Tim.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Okay. I was going to say, obviously deposit specials are continuing part of our deposit acquisition strategy and we expect to continue to offer various CD or other specials from time-to-time. Now, some of those maybe money market as you mentioned in certain pricing regions and offices. But our deposit team's prime focus is on increasing our volume of core deposit customers. So net checking, for instance in the last year was an excellent 26,756 net new accounts. So we're going to continue to focus on core deposits, but there is more yield to be had, and we will use deposits specials to augment growth from time-to-time.

Matthew Breese -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Understood. Okay, that's all I had. I appreciate it. Thank you.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Brian Martin of FIG Partners. Your line is now open.

Brian Martin -- FIG Partners -- Analyst

Hey, guys.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Hi, Brian.

Brian Martin -- FIG Partners -- Analyst

Hey, just one thing back to the margin, I mean, it sounds like you guys have some initiatives on the deposit side. Just kind of talk and you've talked a little bit about this George, the pricing on the loan side, I mean if we don't get rate increases this year and LIBOR is not really moving. Can you just talk about your ability to move up some of the pricing on loans? It sounds like maybe if I understood it right, that there's not that much of a lift that comes from the loan yields today. So I guess just trying to understand the context, the margin if we don't get the rate increases in just successfully, it sounds like maybe it'd be a little bit more pessimistic on the margin, if you're not getting the benefit on the loan side is, am I reading that incorrectly?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Brian, I don't know that, that -- I don't know that, that's incorrect at all. There are various things that help our loan yields. One is a higher percentage of our loans are variable rate. So obviously if Fed raises the Fed funds target rate and if LIBOR moves in tandem, that's not always assured, but you would expect to happen if there's a high correlation there. Then that variable rate loan portfolio is going to go up.

Going against us, you've got the fact that we're getting -- continuing to get paydowns on our purchase loan portfolio. But it is somewhat higher yielding, but as the chart and the management comments shows, it's converging to very close to the non-purchased loan yields. So we're getting to a point where that switching of volume from purchased to non-purchased is less negatively impacting our margin than it has over the last couple of years.

And then you have fixed rate loans that were done a year or two or three years ago, which was four to eight or nine Fed moves back that are rolling off. And those typically, if you renew them or if they pay off and you replace them, we ought to be getting a better yield on that fixed rate roll out of the portfolio.

So even if Fed doesn't move, if it just keeps Fed fund rate where it is, we would hope that, we would have some slight upward bias in loan yields and it would be probably very slight from just the roll off of previous lower rate, fixed rate loans into newer rate loans. And obviously how much lift if any you get there is going to be dependent of how competitive the environment is today.

The flip side, Tyler has talked about, it's a very aggressive deposit environment out there and we're working hard to control that cost, obviously if the Fed of course raising the Fed funds target rate, we would expect pressure on deposit cost to moderate significantly. And you just have to wait and see how that plays out. So, that's kind of the way we're looking at it and there are a lot of variables. I think our chances of having a better margin or less degradation in our margin are better if the Fed continues to raise rates one or two times this year as opposed to if they don't. But there's still a lot of variables any way you cut it and how that plays out.

Brian Martin -- FIG Partners -- Analyst

Got you. Okay, that's helpful. And just as a follow-up for Tim. Maybe just the pendulum last quarter Tim, as you said, a lot of things went against you with that non-purchased loan dropping and this quarter being up a lot higher. Where would you characterize this quarter as far as kind of where the pendulum was there as far as those handful of items you laid out in last quarter's comments? I mean more average, more helping -- to the help side this quarter?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Well, Brian, you can see what, in the comments that the one variable that we did point out that was a four basis point help for us was that we did have minimum interest and prepayment fees that were in excess of our average. So, we will have quarters you know, we did mention that we're going to have expecting a lot of payoffs in 2019. So, we'll have quarters where we've got some above average help there and we'll -- we may have a quarter where we have below average. So, there is going to be some variability to that component of it. I think the rest of the components were probably more normal and the components in Q3 were more abnormal.

Brian Martin -- FIG Partners -- Analyst

Okay, perfect. And just the last thing I'll jump in was the, one for Greg. On the expenses you talked about this quarter being pretty normal. Are there any expense initiatives, Greg, significantly that will affect the run rate going forward? I know you've done a lot of that heavy lifting recently over the last 12-months, but as far as looking forward, any initiatives that we should be aware of?

Greg McKinney -- Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer

Brian, I would say this, we're going to continue to build our infrastructure, as we continue to grow and grow our business. So we'll have to continue to augment what we've done in the technology side and the compliance side be it the whole host of areas that are critical to making sure that we've got a -- we are very strong, very well managed top performing bank. I do think that, a lot of the ads build a lot (ph) of infrastructure happened in '17 and '18. That's not to say that there won't still be some incremental cost that continue to move in '19, as we look to augment various areas of ad and continue to add staff, as we continue to grow. I think the -- both ads will be a little more muted versus what you would have seen in '17 and '18.

And so, I would not expect any significant continuation in ramp-ups in most of those areas as we move through 2019. Obviously, we're continuing to look at our cost structure, we've given guidance on the fact that you know Q1 is a challenging quarter from a success (ph) standpoint. A lot of our raises across our staff kicking in, increased health insurance, and just other factors have a impact on Q1, that is certainly -- you would likely see some element of that as we move into 2019. But, from our earlier comment, we had some debit -- mostly debit than credits in our non-interest expense in Q4. I do think that the Q4 though in the aggregate is a pretty good run rate on which to start thinking about 2019 expense rate though.

Brian Martin -- FIG Partners -- Analyst

Okay, perfect. And the last one, well, just on the credit quality, it sounds like things are very strong, where they're at today, just any -- should we just be thinking about the reserve kind of being in tandem with growth? Is that kind of the best way to think about it today? There's nothing out there that's overly concerning or you guys are more cautious on today. And that's it. Thanks guys.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, Brian, I would say, as we've done in recent past years where we've had very good credit quality, you've seen the reserve outpace charge-offs to keep pace with the growth in our balance sheet. I think that is a good sort of -- if you look at past years, it's a good sort of continuation of that. We're not seen anything emerging on the credit horizon now that would think we would have significant changes. Of course, we will adopt Cecil a year from now and we're still working on whatever the impact of that will be and we won't know those numbers for a while or how if they will affect us there.

But, apart from the impact of Cecil, when it goes effective, I think the past numbers and kind of pattern is pretty good going forward. I would echo what Tim and Greg said about run rate of expenses and unusual items or not, I would caution you and other analysts who are doing your models, remember that we've got 90 days in Q1 and we had 92 days in Q4. And clearly, it's just working out that we're making about a penny EPS per day. So, having two less days in Q1 starts us out at a $0.02 EPS held compared to Q4 and when you factor in cost increases or staff additions and salary additions increases and health insurance that are all factored into Q1, first quarter is always a challenging quarter to get any lift in net income. And we think that will be the case this year. But we're pretty optimistic for the full year of 2019 with that said.

Brian Martin -- FIG Partners -- Analyst

Okay, thanks for all the color guys.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Thanks, Brian.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Timur Braziler of Wells Fargo Securities. Your line is now open.

Timur Braziler -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Hi, good morning, thanks for the question. First looking at the build-out of RV and Marine dealers, it looked like that kind of stabilized in the back end of the year while balances continued to ramp higher. Two part question, I guess, what's the capacity of the existing dealer footprint and how should we be thinking about dealer growth as we head into 2019?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

The dealer growth would have been more robust and would have continued to be more robust in 2019 had we not set some limits on how much growth that we wanted from that portfolio for a while. Clearly we're growing that significantly and as I mentioned, every metric we're looking at on that portfolio, we're feeling really good about. But we didn't want the $1 billion growth this year to turn into $2 billion growth -- the $1 billion in '18 to turn into $2 billion in '19, we wanted to take a more measured pace to that growth.

So, there's been a little bit of a throttling down of our potential buyer. We think we can capture that potential later, but we just want to continue to do a lot of analytics and careful monitoring of that portfolio before we let it get a growth rate that's significantly more than it is now.

Timur Braziler -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. And one final one from me. Just looking at some of the strong growth in unfunded commitments that occurred in '16 and '17, kind of stabilized in '18. I'm assuming that some of that larger growth is now starting to fund up and just wondering if you're expecting funding to continue to accelerate in 2019? And if that is the case, then kind of what's the outlook for unfunded commitments as we go through the year, where can that shake-out?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tim, you want to give that?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Yes, I mean, we -- Timur, we said in our guidance that we -- in our management comments that we would expect 2019 the unfunded balance to decrease again as it did in '18. There's a lot of variabilities on the amount of the decrease that would occur. It depends on originations. So, if our origination volumes are more than '18 and that's going to help drive up that unfunded balance. But that's -- as we said, it's likely to decrease again in '19 and we will -- we are expecting elevated amount of pre-payments, but that means we're also expecting an elevated amount of fundings as well.

Timur Braziler -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And our next question comes from Blair Brantley of Brean Capital. Your line is now open.

Blair Brantley -- Brean Capital -- Analyst

Good morning everyone.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Good morning.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Blair Brantley -- Brean Capital -- Analyst

I had just a quick question, what is kind of the view on incremental operating leverage going off of some of your expense commentary and also kind of where we are with the flatter yield curve and the uncertain view of rate increases?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tim, you want to take or you want me to take it?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Go ahead, George.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

All right. Well, Blair, we've talked a lot about in the past about the fact that we want to continue to increase our efficiency ratio with the big infrastructure build out that we've had over the last couple of years and the cost of that combined with slower balance sheet growth, particularly in '18, we've pretty much been trading more or less on that efficiency ratio.

We still have a longer term goal of improving that ratio. I think that is possible for us to do. So, but we need more growth probably to accomplish that. So that an achievement of a significantly better efficiency ratio may -- may take us to -- may require that we get to a better growth and a better margin environment or at least one of those, before we can meaningfully improve that ratio.

Blair Brantley -- Brean Capital -- Analyst

Okay. And then switching gears on, in terms of the non-purchased growth and we're more in the non-RESG side, George, I'm curious about your view in terms of the contribution of the Community Bank side of it, is it exceeding expectations or how is it kind of shaping up, so what you thought it would be at this point?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think we've got a ton of potential buyer and one of the things that I'm doing to just to emphasize the importance of our Community Bank and to try to rally us to achieve more and more of the potential in it is, I have started a program that I am going to visit and spend time in every one of our 250 plus or minus offices starting December 1 of last year through December 1 of this year. So I have been to 40 of our community banking offices so far on that tour and have spent seven days in that process and it's a process to communicate and coach our community banking team, but more importantly to let our community banking team communicate with me and other senior officers that are traveling with me from the community banking world there to just identify things that we can improve and get better, so that we can deliver better service to our customers and harness more of that potential from our Community Bank.

And it's kind of an exhausting tour, but it is proving to be very profitable and very productive and we're just 40 offices into the 250 office tour. So I'm very positive about the capacity and the potential that exists within our community banking organization. I think over the course of this year, we are going to achieve a lot of enhancements in what we're doing there, that will let us just incrementally hopefully each quarter harness more and more of that potential. So pretty positive about it. That's the key achieving much more significant diversification in our balance sheet going forward and we're really focused on it in 2019.

Blair Brantley -- Brean Capital -- Analyst

So, is the expectation in terms of the mix of the non-purchased growth to be similar to what we saw in '18 or do you think that RESG will be a bigger piece of the net growth for the year?

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I am hopeful that, as I said that in direct RV and Marine will be very similar plus or minus a little bit to what it was last year, I am hopeful that community banking will contribute more to that. And Tim, you want to weigh in on the specific thoughts on RESG?

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Yes, I would agree, George. I think the mix, give or take, should be relatively consistent. I would remind you on community banking, we did -- our leasing portfolio is in that community banking number and we had, we stopped originating loans out of that leasing portfolio. So community banking had about $45 million of headwind from leasing payoffs that occurred in '18 that will be less of a headwind for them. And obviously George is focused on community banking as well as Alan Jessups' and Cindy Wolfes', John Carters' focus, renewed focus on it should help the community banking growth for 2019.

Blair Brantley -- Brean Capital -- Analyst

Okay, great. Thank you.

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And ladies and gentlemen, this does conclude our question-and-answer session. I would now like to turn the call back over to George Gleason for any closing remarks.

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you very much for joining the call today. We greatly appreciate it. We look forward to talking with you in about 90 days more or less to report our first quarter results. That concludes our call. Have a great day.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for participating in today's conference. This concludes today's program. You may all disconnect.

Duration: 70 minutes

Call participants:

Tim Hicks -- Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Director of Investor Relations

Ken Zerbe -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

George Gleason -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Tyler Vance -- Chief Operating Officer

Greg McKinney -- Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer

Jennifer Demba -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Stephen Scouten -- Sandler O'Neill and Partners -- Analyst

Arren Cyganovich -- Citigroup -- Analyst

Michael Rose -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Matt Olney -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

Catherine Mealor -- KBW -- Analyst

Matthew Breese -- Piper Jaffray -- Analyst

Brian Martin -- FIG Partners -- Analyst

Timur Braziler -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Blair Brantley -- Brean Capital -- Analyst

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