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e-CFR data is current as of September 29, 2020

Title 12Chapter IISubchapter APart 217Subpart I → §217.501


Title 12: Banks and Banking
PART 217—CAPITAL ADEQUACY OF BANK HOLDING COMPANIES, SAVINGS AND LOAN HOLDING COMPANIES, AND STATE MEMBER BANKS (REGULATION Q)
Subpart I—Application of Capital Rules


§217.501   The Board's Regulatory Capital Framework for Depository Institution Holding Companies Organized as Non-Stock Companies.

(a) Applicability. (1) This section applies to all depository institution holding companies that are organized as legal entities other than stock corporations and that are subject to this part (Regulation Q, 12 CFR part 217).1

1See 12 CFR 217.1(c)(1) through (3).

(2) Notwithstanding §§217.2 and 217.10, a bank holding company or covered savings and loan holding company that is organized as a legal entity other than a stock corporation and has issued capital instruments that do not qualify as common equity tier 1 capital under §217.20 by virtue of the requirements set forth in this section may treat those capital instruments as common equity tier 1 capital until July 1, 2016.

(b) Common equity tier 1 capital criteria applied to capital instruments issued by non-stock companies. (1) Subpart C of this part provides criteria for capital instruments to qualify as common equity tier 1 capital. This section describes how certain criteria apply to capital instruments issued by bank holding companies and covered savings and loan holding companies that are organized as legal entities other than stock corporations, such as limited liability companies (LLCs) and partnerships.

(2) Holding companies are organized using a variety of legal structures, including corporate forms, LLCs, partnerships, and similar structures.2 In the Board's experience, some depository institution holding companies that are organized in non-stock form issue multiple classes of capital instruments that allocate profit and loss from a distribution differently among classes, which may affect the ability of those classes to qualify as common equity tier 1 capital.3

2A stock corporation's common stock should satisfy the CET1 criteria so long as the common stock does not have unusual features, such as a limited duration.

3Notably, voting powers or other means of exercising control are not relevant for purposes of satisfying the CET1 eligibility criteria. Thus, the fact that a particular partner or member controls a holding company, for instance, due to serving as general partner or managing member, is not material to qualification of particular interests as CET1.

(3) Common equity tier 1 capital is defined in §217.20(b). To qualify as common equity tier 1 capital, capital instruments must satisfy a number of criteria. This section provides examples of the application of certain common equity tier 1 capital criteria that relate to the economic interests in the company represented by particular capital instruments.

(c) Examples. The following examples show how the criteria for common equity tier 1 capital apply to particular partnership or LLC structures.4

4Although the examples refer to specific types of legal entities for purposes of illustration, the substance of the Regulation Q criteria reflected in the examples applies to all types of legal entities.

(1) LLC with one class of membership interests. (i) An LLC issues one class of membership interests that provides that all holders of the interests bear losses and receive dividends proportionate to their levels of ownership.

(ii) Provided that the other criteria in §217.20(b) are met, the membership interests would qualify as common equity tier 1 capital.

(2) Partnership with limited and general partners. (i) A partnership has two classes of interests: General partnership interests and limited partnership interests. The general partners and the limited partners bear losses and receive distributions allocated proportionately to their capital contributions. In addition, the general partner has unlimited liability for the debts of the partnership.

(ii) Provided that the other criteria in §217.20(b) are met, the general and limited partnership interests would qualify as common equity tier 1 capital. The fact of unlimited liability of the general partner is not relevant in the context of the eligibility criteria of common equity tier 1 capital instruments, provided that the general partner and limited partners share losses equally to the extent of the assets of the partnership, and the general partner is liable after the assets of the partnership are exhausted. In this regard, the general partner's unlimited liability is similar to a guarantee provided by the general partner, rather than a feature of the general partnership interest.

(3) Senior and junior classes of capital instruments. (i) An LLC issues two types of membership interests, Class A and Class B. Holders of Class A and Class B interests participate equally in operating distributions and have equal voting rights. However, in liquidation, holders of Class B interests must receive the entire amount of their contributed capital in order for any distributions to be made to holders of Class A interests.

(ii) Class B interests have a preference over Class A interests in liquidation and, therefore, would not qualify as common equity tier 1 capital as the Class B interests are not the most subordinated claim (criterion (i)) and do not share losses proportionately (criterion (viii) (§217.20(b)(1)(i) and (viii), respectively).

(A) If all other criteria are satisfied, Class A interests would qualify as common equity tier 1 capital.

(B) Class B interests may qualify as additional tier 1 capital, or tier 2 capital, if the Class B interests meet the applicable criteria (§217.20(c) and (d)).

(4) LLC with two classes of membership interests. (i) An LLC issues two types of membership interests, Class A and Class B. To the extent that the LLC makes a distribution, holders of Class A and Class B interests share proportionately in any losses and receive proportionate shares of contributed capital. To the extent that a capital distribution includes an allocation of profits, holders of Class A and Class B interests share proportionately up to the point where all holders receive a specific annual rate of return on capital contributions, and, if the distribution exceeds that point, holders of Class B interests receive double their proportional share and holders of Class A interests receive the remainder of the distribution.

(ii) Class A and Class B interests would both qualify as common equity tier 1 capital, provided that under all circumstances they share losses proportionately, as measured with respect to each distribution, and that they satisfy the common equity tier 1 capital criteria. The holders of Class A and Class B interests may receive different allocations of profits with respect to a distribution, provided that the distribution is made simultaneously to all members of Class A and Class B interests. Despite the potential for disproportionate profits, Class A and Class B interests have the same level of seniority with regard to potential losses and therefore they both satisfy all the criteria in §217.20(b), including criterion (ii) (§217.20(b)(1)(ii)).

(5) Alternative LLC with two classes of membership interests. (i) An LLC issues two types of membership interests, Class A and Class B. In the event that the LLC makes a distribution, holders of Class A interests bear a disproportionately low level of any losses, such that the Class B interests bear a disproportionately high level of losses at the distribution. In contrast to the example in paragraph (c)(4) of this section, the different participation rights apply to distributions in situations where losses are allocated, including losses at liquidation.

(ii) Because holders of the Class A interests do not bear a proportional interest in the losses (criterion (ii) (§217.20(b)(1)(ii)), the Class A interests would not qualify as common equity tier 1 capital.

(A) Companies with such structures may revise their capital structures in order to provide for a sufficiently large class of capital instruments that proportionally bear first losses in liquidation (that is, the Class B interests in this example).

(B) Alternatively, companies with such structures could revise their capital structure to ensure that all classes of capital instruments that are intended to qualify as common equity tier 1 capital share equally in losses in liquidation consistent with criteria (i), (ii), (vii), and (viii) in §217.20(b)(1)(i), (ii), (vii), respectively, even if each class of capital instruments has different rights to allocations of profits, as in paragraph (c)(4) of this section.

(6) Mandatory distributions. (i) A partnership agreement contains provisions that require distributions to holders of one or more classes of capital instruments on the occurrence of particular events, such as upon specific dates or following a significant sale of assets, but not including any final distributions in liquidation.

(ii) Any class of capital instruments that provides holders with rights to mandatory distributions would not qualify as common equity tier 1 capital because a holding company must have full discretion at all times to refrain from paying any dividends and making any other distributions on the instrument without triggering an event of default, a requirement to make a payment-in-kind, or an imposition of any other restriction on the holding company (criterion (vi) in §217.20(b)(1)(vi)). Companies must ensure that they have a sufficient amount of capital instruments that do not have such rights and that meet the other criteria of common equity tier 1 capital, in order to meet the requirements of Regulation Q.

(7) Features that Reallocate Prior Distributions. (i) An LLC issues two types of membership interests, Class A and Class B. The terms of the LLC's membership interests provide that, under certain circumstances, holders of Class A interests must return a portion of earlier distributions, which are then distributed to holders of Class B interests (sometimes called a “clawback”).

(ii) If the reallocation of prior distributions described in paragraph (c)(7)(i) of this section could result in holders of the Class B interests bearing fewer losses on an aggregate basis than Class A interests, the Class B interests would not qualify as common equity tier 1 capital. However, where the membership interests provide for disproportionate allocation of profits, such as described in the example in paragraph (c)(4) of this section, and the reallocation of prior distributions would be limited to reversing the disproportionate portions of prior distributions, both the Class A and Class B interests could qualify as common equity tier 1 capital provided that they met all the other criteria in §217.20(b).

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