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Title 12Chapter IISubchapter APart 211 → Subpart D


Title 12: Banks and Banking
PART 211—INTERNATIONAL BANKING OPERATIONS (REGULATION K)


Subpart D—International Lending Supervision


Contents
§211.41   Authority, purpose, and scope.
§211.42   Definitions.
§211.43   Allocated transfer risk reserve.
§211.44   Reporting and disclosure of international assets.
§211.45   Accounting for fees on international loans.

Interpretations

§211.601   Status of certain offices for purposes of the International Banking Act restrictions on interstate banking operations.
§211.602   Investments by United States Banking Organizations in foreign companies that transact business in the United States.
§211.603   Commodity swap transactions.
§211.604   Data processing activities.
§211.605   Permissible underwriting activities of foreign banks.

Source: 49 FR 5592, Feb. 13, 1984, unless otherwise noted.

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§211.41   Authority, purpose, and scope.

(a) Authority. This subpart is issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board) under the authority of the International Lending Supervision Act of 1983 (Pub. L. 98-181, title IX, 97 Stat. 1153) (International Lending Supervision Act); the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 221 et seq.) (FRA), and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.) (BHC Act).

(b) Purpose and scope. This subpart is issued in furtherance of the purposes of the International Lending Supervision Act. It applies to State banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System (State member banks); corporations organized under section 25A of the FRA (12 U.S.C. 611 through 631) (Edge Corporations); corporations operating subject to an agreement with the Board under section 25 of the FRA (12 U.S.C. 601 through 604a) (Agreement Corporations); and bank holding companies (as defined in section 2 of the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1841(a)) but not including a bank holding company that is a foreign banking organization as defined in §211.21(o).

[Reg. K, 68 FR 1159, Jan. 9, 2003]

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§211.42   Definitions.

For the purposes of this subpart:

(a) Administrative cost means those costs which are specifically identified with negotiating, processing and consummating the loan. These costs include, but are not necessarily limited to: legal fees; costs of preparing and processing loan documents; and an allocable portion of salaries and related benefits of employees engaged in the international lending function. No portion of supervisory and administrative expenses or other indirect expenses such as occupancy and other similar overhead costs shall be included.

(b) Banking institution means a State member bank; bank holding company; Edge Corporation and Agreement Corporation engaged in banking. Banking institution does not include a foreign banking organization as defined in §211.21(o).

(c) Federal banking agencies means the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

(d) International assets means those assets required to be included in banking institutions' Country Exposure Report forms (FFIEC No. 009).

(e) International loan means a loan as defined in the instructions to the Report of Condition and Income for the respective banking institution (FFIEC Nos. 031 and 041) and made to a foreign government, or to an individual, a corporation, or other entity not a citizen of, resident in, or organized or incorporated in the United States.

(f) Restructured international loan means a loan that meets the following criteria:

(1) The borrower is unable to service the existing loan according to its terms and is a resident of a foreign country in which there is a generalized inability of public and private sector obligors to meet their external debt obligations on a timely basis because of a lack of, or restraints on the availability of, needed foreign exchange in the country; and

(2) The terms of the existing loan are amended to reduce stated interest or extend the schedule of payments; or

(3) A new loan is made to, or for the benefit of, the borrower, enabling the borrower to service or refinance the existing debt.

(g) Transfer risk means the possibility that an asset cannot be serviced in the currency of payment because of a lack of, or restraints on the availability of, needed foreign exchange in the country of the obligor.

[Reg. K, 68 FR 1159, Jan. 9, 2003]

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§211.43   Allocated transfer risk reserve.

(a) Establishment of Allocated Transfer Risk Reserve. A banking institution shall establish an allocated transfer risk reserve (ATRR) for specified international assets when required by the Board in accordance with this section.

(b) Procedures and standards—(1) Joint agency determination. At least annually, the Federal banking agencies shall determine jointly, based on the standards set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the following:

(i) Which international assets subject to transfer risk warrant establishment of an ATRR;

(ii) The amount of the ATRR for the specified assets; and

(iii) Whether an ATRR established for specified assets may be reduced.

(2) Standards for requiring ATRR—(i) Evaluation of assets. The Federal banking agencies shall apply the following criteria in determining whether an ATRR is required for particular international assets:

(A) Whether the quality of a banking institution's assets has been impaired by a protracted inability of public or private obligors in a foreign country to make payments on their external indebtedness as indicated by such factors, among others, as whether:

(1) Such obligors have failed to make full interest payments on external indebtedness; or

(2) Such obligors have failed to comply with the terms of any restructured indebtedness; or

(3) A foreign country has failed to comply with any International Monetary Fund or other suitable adjustment program; or

(B) Whether no definite prospects exist for the orderly restoration of debt service.

(ii) Determination of amount of ATRR. (A) In determining the amount of the ATRR, the Federal banking agencies shall consider:

(1) The length of time the quality of the asset has been impaired;

(2) Recent actions taken to restore debt service capability;

(3) Prospects for restored asset quality; and

(4) Such other factors as the Federal banking agencies may consider relevant to the quality of the asset.

(B) The initial year's provision for the ATRR shall be ten percent of the principal amount of each specified international asset, or such greater or lesser percentage determined by the Federal banking agencies. Additional provision, if any, for the ATRR in subsequent years shall be fifteen percent of the principal amount of each specified international asset, or such greater or lesser percentage determined by the Federal banking agencies.

(3) Board notification. Based on the joint agency determinations under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the Board shall notify each banking institution holding assets subject to an ATRR:

(i) Of the amount of the ATRR to be established by the institution for specified international assets; and

(ii) That an ATRR established for specified assets may be reduced.

(c) Accounting treatment of ATRR—(1) Charge to current income. A banking institution shall establish an ATRR by a charge to current income and the amounts so charged shall not be included in the banking institution's capital or surplus.

(2) Separate accounting. A banking institution shall account for an ATRR separately from the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses, and shall deduct the ATRR from “gross loans and leases” to arrive at “net loans and leases.” The ATRR must be established for each asset subject to the ATRR in the percentage amount specified.

(3) Consolidation. A banking institution shall establish an ATRR, as required, on a consolidated basis. For banks, consolidation should be in accordance with the procedures and tests of significance set forth in the instructions for preparation of Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income (FFIEC 031 and 041). For bank holding companies, the consolidation shall be in accordance with the principles set forth in the “Instructions to Consolidated Financial Statements for Bank Holding Companies” (Form F.R. Y-9C). Edge and Agreement corporations engaged in banking shall report in accordance with instructions for preparation of the Report of Condition for Edge and Agreement Corporations (Form F.R. 2886b).

(4) Alternative accounting treatment. A banking institution is not required to establish an ATRR if it writes down in the period in which the ATRR is required, or has written down in prior periods, the value of the specified international assets in the requisite amount for each such asset. For purposes of this paragraph, international assets may be written down by a charge to the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses or the allowance for credit losses, as applicable, to the extent permitted under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or a reduction in the principal amount of the asset by application of interest payments or other collections on the asset. However, the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses or allowance for credit losses, as applicable, must be replenished in such amount necessary to restore it to a level which adequately provides for the estimated losses inherent in the banking institution's loan portfolio.

(5) Reduction of ATRR. A banking institution may reduce an ATRR when notified by the Board or, at any time, by writing down such amount of the international asset for which the ATRR was established.

[Reg. K, 68 FR 1159, Jan. 9, 2003, as amended at 84 FR 4241, Feb. 14, 2019]

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§211.44   Reporting and disclosure of international assets.

(a) Requirements. (1) Pursuant to section 907(a) of the International Lending Supervision Act of 1983 (Title IX, Pub. L. 98-181, 97 Stat. 1153) (ILSA), a banking institution shall submit to the Board, at least quarterly, information regarding the amounts and composition of its holdings of international assets.

(2) Pursuant to section 907(b) of ILSA, a banking institution shall submit to the Board information regarding concentrations in its holdings of international assets that are material in relation to total assets and to capital of the institution, such information to be made publicly available by the Board on request.

(b) Procedures. The format, content and reporting and filing dates of the reports required under paragraph (a) of this section shall be determined jointly by the Federal banking agencies. The requirements to be prescribed by the Federal banking agencies may include changes to existing reporting forms (such as the Country Exposure Report, form FFIEC No. 009) or such other requirements as the Federal banking agencies deem appropriate. The Federal banking agencies also may determine to exempt from the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section banking institutions that, in the Federal banking agencies' judgment, have de minimis holdings of international assets.

(c) Reservation of authority. Nothing contained in this rule shall preclude the Board from requiring from a banking institution such additional or more frequent information on the institution's holding of international assets as the Board may consider necessary.

[Reg. K, 68 FR 1159, Jan. 9, 2003]

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§211.45   Accounting for fees on international loans.

(a) Restrictions on fees for restructured international loans. No banking institution shall charge, in connection with the restructuring of an international loan, any fee exceeding the administrative cost of the restructuring unless it amortizes the amount of the fee exceeding the administrative cost over the effective life of the loan.

(b) Accounting treatment. Subject to paragraph (a) of this section, banking institutions shall account for fees on international loans in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

[Reg. K, 68 FR 1159, Jan. 9, 2003]

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Interpretations

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§211.601   Status of certain offices for purposes of the International Banking Act restrictions on interstate banking operations.

The Board has considered the question of whether a foreign bank's California office that may accept deposits from certain foreign sources (e.g., a United States citizen residing abroad) is a branch or an agency for the purposes of the grandfather provisions of section 5 of the International Banking Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3103(b)). The question has arisen as a result of the definitions in the International Banking Act of branch and agency, and the limited deposit-taking capabilities of certain California offices of foreign banks.

The International Banking Act defines agency as “any office *  *  * at which deposits may not be accepted from citizens or residents of the United States,” and defines branch as “any office  *  *  *  of a foreign bank *  *  * at which deposits are received” (12 U.S.C. 3101(1) and (3)). Offices of foreign banks in California prior to the International Banking Act were generally prohibited from accepting deposits by the requirement of State law that such offices obtain Federal deposit insurance (Cal. Fin. Code 1756); until the passage of the International Banking Act an office of a foreign bank could not obtain such insurance. California law, however, permits offices of foreign banks, with the approval of the Banking Department, to accept deposits from any person that resides, is domiciled, and maintains its principal place of business in a foreign country (Cal. Fin. Code 1756.2). Thus, under a literal reading of the definitions of branch and agency contained in the International Banking Act, a foreign bank's California office that accepts deposits from certain foreign sources (e.g., a U.S. citizen residing abroad), is a branch rather than an agency.

Section 5 of the International Banking Act establishes certain limitations on the expansion of the domestic deposit-taking capabilities of a foreign bank outside its home State. It also grandfathers offices established or applied for prior to July 27, 1978, and permits a foreign bank to select its home State from among the States in which it operated branches and agencies on the grandfather date. If a foreign bank's office that was established or applied for prior to June 27, 1978, is a branch as defined in the International Banking Act, then it is grandfathered as a branch. Accordingly, a foreign bank could designate a State other than California as its home State and subsequently convert its California office to a full domestic deposit-taking facility by obtaining Federal deposit insurance. If, however, the office is determined to be an agency, then it is grandfathered as such and the foreign bank may not expand its deposit-taking capabilities in California without declaring California its home State.

In the Board's view, it would be inconsistent with the purposes and the legislative history of the International Banking Act to enable a foreign bank to expand its domestic interstate deposit-taking capabilities by grandfathering these California offices as branches because of their ability to receive certain foreign source deposits. The Board also notes that such deposits are of the same general type that may be received by an Edge Corporation and, hence in accordance with section 5(a) of the International Banking Act, by branches established and operated outside a foreign bank's home State. It would be inconsistent with the structure of the interstate banking provisions of the International Banking Act to grandfather as full deposit-taking offices those facilities whose activities have been determined by Congress to be appropriate for a foreign bank's out-of-home State branches.

Accordingly, the Board, in administering the interstate banking provisions of the IBA, regards as agencies those offices of foreign banks that do not accept domestic deposits but that may accept deposits from any person that resides, is domiciled, and maintains its principal place of business in a foreign country.

[45 FR 67309, Oct. 10, 1980]

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§211.602   Investments by United States Banking Organizations in foreign companies that transact business in the United States.

Section 25(a) of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 611, the “Edge Act”) provides for the establishment of corporations to engage in international or foreign banking or other international or foreign financial operations (“Edge Corporations”). Congress has declared that Edge Corporations are to serve the purpose of stimulating the provision of international banking and financing services throughout the United States and are to have powers sufficiently broad to enable them to compete effectively with foreign-owned institutions in the United States and abroad. The Board was directed by the International Banking Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3101) to revise its regulations governing Edge Corporations in order to accomplish these and other objectives and was further directed to modify or eliminate any interpretations that impede the attainment of these purposes.

One of the powers of Edge Corporations is that of investing in foreign companies. Under the relevant statutes, however, an Edge Corporation is prohibited from investing in foreign companies that engage in the general business of buying or selling goods, wares, merchandise or commodities in the United States. In addition, an Edge Corporation may not invest in foreign companies that transact any business in the United States that is not, in the Board's judgment, “incidental” to its international or foreign business. The latter limitation also applies to investments by bank holding companies (12 U.S.C. 1843(c)(13)) and member banks (12 U.S.C. 601).

The Board has been asked to determine whether an Edge Corporation's minority investment (involving less than 25 percent of the voting shares) in a foreign company would continue to be permissible after the foreign company establishes or acquires a United States subsidiary that engages in domestic activities that are closely related to banking. The Board has also been asked to determine whether an Edge Corporation's minority investment in a foreign bank would continue to be permissible after the foreign bank establishes a branch in the United States that engages in domestic banking activities. In the latter case, the branch would be located outside the State in which the Edge Corporation and its parent bank are located.

In the past the Board, in exercising its discretionary authority to determine those activities that are permissible in the United States, has followed the policy that an Edge Corporation could not hold even a minority interest in a foreign company that engaged, directly or indirectly, in any purely domestic business in the United States. The United States activities considered permissible were those internationally related activities that Edge Corporations may engage in directly. If this policy were applied to the subject requests, the Edge Corporations would be required to divest their interests in the foreign companies notwithstanding the fact that, in each case, the Edge Corporation, as a minority investor, did not control the decision to undertake activities in the United States, and that even after the United States activities are undertaken the business of the foreign company will remain predominantly outside the United States.

International banking and finance have undergone considerable growth and change in recent years. It is increasingly common, for example, for United States institutions to have direct or indirect offices in foreign countries and to engage in activities at those offices that are domestically as well as internationally oriented. In this climate, United States banking organizations would be placed at a competitive disadvantage if their minority investments in foreign companies were limited to those companies that do no domestic business in the United States. Moreover, continued adherence to the existing policy would be contrary to the declaration in the International Banking Act of 1978 that Edge Corporations' powers are to be sufficiently broad to enable them to compete effectively in the United States and abroad. Furthermore, where the activities to be conducted in the United States by the foreign company are banking or closely related to banking, it does not appear that any regulatory or supervisory purpose would be served by prohibiting a minority investment in the foreign firm by a United States banking organization.

In view of these considerations, the Board has reviewed its policy relating to the activities that may be engaged in the United States by foreign companies (including foreign banks) in which Edge Corporations, member banks, and bank holding companies invest. As a result of that review, the Board has determined that it would be appropriate to interpret sections 25 and 25(a)of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 601, 611) and section 4(c)(13) of the Bank Holding Company Act (12 U.S.C. 1843(c)(13)) generally to allow United States banking organizations, with the prior consent of the Board, to acquire and hold investments in foreign companies that do business in the United States subject to the following conditions:

(1) The foreign company is engaged predominantly in business outside the United States or in internationally related activities in the United States;*

*This condition would ordinarily not be met where a foreign company merely maintains a majority of its business in international activities. Each case will be scrutinized to ensure that the activities in the United States do not alter substantially the international orientation of the foreign company's business.

(2) The direct or indirect activities of the foreign company in the United States are either banking or closely related to banking; and

(3) The United States banking organization does not own 25 percent or more of the voting stock of, or otherwise control, the foreign company.

In considering whether to grant its consent for such investments, the Board would also review the proposals to ensure that they are consistent with the purposes of the Bank Holding Company Act and the Federal Reserve Act.

[46 FR 8437, Jan. 27, 1981]

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§211.603   Commodity swap transactions.

For text of interpretation relating to this subject, see §208.128 of this chapter.

[56 FR 63408, Dec. 4, 1991]

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§211.604   Data processing activities.

(a) Introduction. As a result of a recent proposal by a bank holding company to engage in data processing activities abroad, the Board has considered the scope of permissible data processing activities under Regulation K (12 CFR part 211). This question has arisen as a result of the fact that §211.5(d)(10) of Regulation K does not specifically indicate the scope of data processing as a permissible activity abroad.

(b) Scope of data processing activities. (1) Prior to 1979, the Board authorized specific banking organizations to engage in data processing activities abroad with the expectation that such activity would be primarily related to financial activities. When Regulation K was issued in 1979, data processing was included as a permissible activity abroad. Although the regulation did not provide specific guidance on the scope of this authority, the Board has considered such authority to be coextensive with the authority granted in specific cases prior to the issuance of Regulation K, which relied on the fact that most of the activity would relate to financial data. Regulation K does not address related activities such as the manufacture of hardware or the provision of software or related or incidental services.

(2) In 1979, when the activity was included in Regulation K for the first time, the data processing authority in Regulation K was somewhat broader than that permissible in the United States under Regulation Y (12 CFR part 225) at that time, as the Regulation K authority permitted limited non-financial data processing. In 1979, Regulation Y authorized only financial data processing activities for third parties, with very limited exceptions. By 1997, however, the scope of data processing activities under Regulation Y was expanded such that bank holding companies are permitted to derive up to 30 percent of their data processing revenues from processing data that is not financial, banking, or economic. Moreover, in other respects, the Regulation Y provision is broader than the data processing provision in Regulation K.

(3) In light of the fact that the permissible scope of data processing activities under Regulation Y is now equal to, and in some respects, broader than the activity originally authorized under Regulation K, the Board believes that §211.5(d)(10) should be read to encompass all of the activities permissible under §225.28(b)(14) of Regulation Y. In addition, the limitations of that section would also apply to §211.5(d)(10).

(c) Applications. If a U.S. banking organization wishes to engage abroad in data processing or data transmission activities beyond those described in Regulation Y, it must apply for the Board's prior consent under §211.5(d)(20) of Regulation K. In addition, if any investor has commenced activities beyond those permitted under §225.28(b)(14) of Regulation Y in reliance on Regulation K, it should consult with staff of the Board to determine whether such activities have been properly authorized under Regulation K.

[Reg. K, 64 FR 58781, Nov. 1, 1999]

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§211.605   Permissible underwriting activities of foreign banks.

(a) Introduction. A number of foreign banks that are subject to the Bank Holding Company Act (“BHC Act”) have participated as co-managers in the underwriting of securities to be distributed in the United States despite the fact that the foreign banks in question do not have authority to engage in underwriting activity in the United States under either the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLB Act”) or section 4(c)(8) of the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1843(c)(8)). This interpretation clarifies the scope of existing restrictions on underwriting by such foreign banks with respect to securities that are distributed in the United States.

(b) Underwriting transactions engaged in by foreign banks. (1) In the transactions in question, a foreign bank typically becomes a member of the underwriting syndicate for securities that are registered and intended to be distributed in the United States. The lead underwriter, usually a registered U.S. broker-dealer not affiliated with the foreign bank, agrees to be responsible for distributing the securities being underwritten. The underwriting obligation is assumed by a foreign office or affiliate of the foreign bank.

(2) The foreign banks have used their U.S. offices or affiliates to act as liaison with the U.S. issuer and the lead underwriter in the United States, to prepare documentation and to provide other services in connection with the underwriting. In some cases, the U.S. offices or affiliates that assisted the foreign bank with the underwriting receive a substantial portion of the revenue generated by the foreign bank's participation in the underwriting. In other cases, the U.S. offices receive “credit” from the head office of the foreign bank for their assistance in generating profits arising from the underwriting.

(3) By assuming the underwriting risk and booking the underwriting fees in their foreign offices or affiliates, the foreign banks are able to take advantage of an exemption under U.S. securities laws; a foreign underwriter is not required to register in the United States if the underwriter either does not distribute any of the securities in the United States or distributes them only through a registered broker-dealer.

(c) Permissible scope of underwriting activities. (1) A foreign bank that is subject to the BHC Act may engage in underwriting activities in the United States only if it has been authorized under section 4 of the Act. The foreign banks in question have argued that they are not engaged in underwriting activity in the United States because the underwriting activity takes place only outside the United States where the transaction is booked. The foreign banks refer to Regulation K, which defines “engaged in business” or “engaged in activities” to mean conducting an activity through an office or subsidiary in the United States. Because the underwriting is not booked in a U.S. office or subsidiary, the banks assert that the activity cannot be considered conducted in the United States.

(2) The Board believes that the position taken by the foreign banks is not supported by the Board's regulations or policies. Section 225.124 of the Board's Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.124(d)) states that a foreign bank will not be considered to be engaged in the activity of underwriting in the United States if the shares to be underwritten are distributed outside the United States. In the transactions in question, all of the securities to be underwritten by the foreign banks are distributed in the United States.

(3) Regulation K (12 CFR part 211) was amended in 1985 to provide clarification that a foreign bank may not own or control voting shares of a foreign company that directly underwrites, sells or distributes securities in the United States (emphasis added). 12 CFR 211.23(f)(5)(ii). In proposing this latter provision, the Board clarified that no part of the prohibited underwriting process may take place in the United States and that the prohibition on the activity does not depend on the activity being conducted through an office or subsidiary in the United States. Moreover, in the transactions in question, there was significant participation by U.S. offices and affiliates of the foreign banks in the underwriting process. In some transactions, the foreign office at which the transactions were booked did not have any documentation on the particular transactions; all documentation was maintained in the United States office. In all cases, the U.S. offices or affiliates provided virtually all technical support for participation in the underwriting process and benefitted from profits generated by the activity.

(4) The fact that some technological and regulatory constraints on the delivery of cross-border services into the United States have been eliminated since the Regulation K definition of “engaged in business” was adopted in 1979 creates greater scope for banking organizations to deal with customers outside the U.S. bank regulatory framework. The definition in Regulation K, however, does not authorize foreign banking organizations to evade regulatory restrictions on securities activities in the United States by directly underwriting securities to be distributed in the United States or by using U.S. offices and affiliates to facilitate the prohibited activity. In the GLB Act, Congress established a framework within which both domestic and foreign banking organizations may underwrite and deal in securities in the United States. The GLB Act requires that banking organizations meet certain financial and managerial requirements in order to be able to engage in these activities in the United States. The Board believes the practices described above undermine this legislative framework and constitute an evasion of the requirements of the GLB Act and the Board's Regulation K. Foreign banking organizations that wish to conduct securities underwriting activity in the United States have long had the option of obtaining section 20 authority and now have the option of obtaining financial holding company status.

(d) Conclusion. The Board finds that the underwriting of securities to be distributed in the United States is an activity conducted in the United States, regardless of the location at which the underwriting risk is assumed and the underwriting fees are booked. Consequently, any banking organization that wishes to engage in such activity must either be a financial holding company under the GLB Act or have authority to engage in underwriting activity under section 4(c)(8) of the BHC Act (so-called “section 20 authority”). Revenue generated by underwriting bank-ineligible securities in such transactions should be attributed to the section 20 company for those foreign banks that operate under section 20 authority.

[Reg. K, 68 FR 7899, Feb. 19, 2003]

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