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Lyn Schroeder Featured in Deal Watch

Lyn Schroeder’s legal advice to a South Carolina bank seeking to go private was featured yesterday in the Fulton County Daily Report’s Deal Watch blog.

We believe that Powell Goldstein has assisted more financial institutions deregister from the SEC than any other law firm in the last four years.  We have prepared a comprehensive presentation on how and why community banks are electing to go or stay private.

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Executive Compensation Rules for TARP Capital

Under the Treasury Rules, new executive compensation rules will govern all financial institutions that participate in the TARP Capital program.  The provisions generally apply as long as the Treasury holds an equity or debt position, including warrants and the common stock underlying the warrants, in the institution.  To be eligible to participate in TARP Capital, financial institutions must meet the following standards:

  • certify that incentive compensation for senior executive officers (“SEO”) does not encourage unnecessary and excessive risks that would threaten the value of the institution;
  • require that SEO bonus and incentive compensation be subject to “clawback” if the payment was based on materially inaccurate financial statements or performance metrics;
  • prohibit any golden parachute payment to an SEO; and
  • agree to deduct no more than $500,000 for an SEO’s compensation.

Powell Goldstein’s preliminary analysis of these standards are included in our Client Alert, titled “Treasury Issues Executive Compensation Rules for the TARP Capital Purchase Program.”

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Commentary: Does Accepting TARP Capital Mean Additional Regulation?

We have heard a number of bankers state that they are concerned with accepting the TARP Capital, fearing potential future regulation imposed on those that accept government money.  While each bank’s situation is unique, we generally consider this concern to be overstated for the following reasons:

  1. Once the TARP Capital is in place and the preferred stock and warrants are issued, the terms of those instruments are defined by contract.  The government should not be able to modify the terms to give itself a better deal.  For example, the government cannot require that the institution pay the 9% dividend before the expiration of five years.
  2. We believe that if the government decides to impose additional regulatory restrictions (which in this economic environment seems likely), it is more likely to do so with regard to the whole industry rather than distinguish between banks that accepted the TARP Capital and those that did not.  From a policy perspective, Congress and the regulators may view “the whole industry” as having been helped and therefore that “the whole industry” should bear the burden of any additional regulations.
  3. The government already has broad powers to regulate financial institutions; it seems unlikely that the government would use its relatively weak power as a preferred shareholder to impose change when it has stronger regulatory powers to impose change.
  4. The government may impose one or more of the restrictions that are currently associated with the TARP Capital program on all companies – for example, it is possible that the executive compensation changes may be expanded to all companies, whether or not they have accepted (or were even eligible for) TARP Capital.

That’s our belief.  We’d love to hear yours in the comments.

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TARP Capital Application Process

TARP Capital Application Process

October 28, 2008

Authored by: Robert Klingler

We have been speaking with all of the regional Southeastern federal banking regulators, and we have received significant input on the TARP Capital Application Process.   (Institutions in other areas of the country should confirm the advice with their corresponding federal regulators; we have no reason to believe the advice will be different, but have only talked with the regulators located in the Southeast.)

Submission of Application

  • Bank holding companies should submit their application to the Federal Reserve, with a copy to the primary federal regulator for their lead (i.e. largest) subsidiary bank.  The Federal Reserve intends to defer decisions on any shell holding companies to the primary federal regulator of the lead subsidiary bank.
  • The Federal Reserve (at least Atlanta) requests that applications be emailed to them, with a signed hard copy to follow.  Processing will begin upon receipt of the emailed application.
  • Applications to the Atlanta Federal Reserve should be emailed to Ms. Nicky Hennings (nicky.hennings@atl.frb.org) with a copy to Ms. Kate Gaboardi (kate.gaboardi@atl.frb.org).  The hard copy should be sent in accordance with standard Atlanta Federal Reserve rules.
  • Applications to the FDIC should also be emailed, based on the state of the institution’s primary office:
  • State banks should also carbon copy their state banking Commissioner.   The Commissioners are taking an active and helpful role in supporting the Capital Process and Regional FDIC and Fed (for member banks) have indicated an intent to communicate with State Commissioners before making a recommendation to the Treasury.
  • Applications for all national banks should be emailed to HQ.Licensing@occ.treas.gov, with questions directed to Fred Finke at fred.finke@occ.treas.gov.
  • Applications for federal thrifts and their holding companies must be submitted to OTS through secure e-mail.  The Atlanta contact person is Yashica Pope at yashica.pope@ots.treas.gov, with copies to the Review Examiner or AD for the institution.

Supplemental Information with Application

  • The Atlanta office of the FDIC advised that they are following up with each applicant when additional information (beyond the application) is necessary.  Whether additional information is necessary, and the contents of such information, may vary by applicant.  The FDIC advises banks to file the application without supplemental information, and the FDIC will subsequently contact the institution regarding what additional information is needed.  Update 10/29/08: See the supplemental spreadsheet requested by the FDIC.
  • If you have supplemental information ready to submit with your application, we do not believe there is any harm in doing so, but it is not required as part of the application.  Should the supplemental information be lengthy, it may be better to state that such information is available upon request.
  • The regulators are divided as to whether the application should be submitted in draft and/or with a confidential treatment request, and whether the application is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Until concrete guidance is given, and potentially even then, we recommend that applications be submitted in draft form (especially for private companies that do not anticipate participating under the terms of the public term sheet) and with a confidential treatment request for any confidential information.  See more information about requesting confidential treatment.
  • We do recommend that counsel review the application before submission to include suggested improvements that may be available.

CAMELS Ratings and TARP Capital

  • The federal regulators unanimously told us that institutions should not forego an application regardless of their CAMELS ratings.
  • The Atlanta FDIC gave us the following framework that it would use for analyzing TARP applications:
    • CAMELS rating 1 or 2 – Submit the application saying that you hope to make prudent loans and are available to consider problem banks, if appropriate.
    • CAMELS rating 3 – Justify the long-term viability of the institution.  Viability means the ability to earn money operationally (pre-tax and pre-provision, a.k.a. “Pre-Pre” earnings) and be able to survive.
    • CAMELS rating 4 – Justify the long-term viability of the institution, with viability including new capital and a new business plan.
    • CAMELS rating 5 – Justify the long-term viability of the institution, which includes all of the above plus new management.
  • The FDIC stated that this breakdown was designed to be an example of the kind of analysis that the FDIC will perform.
  • We believe that 3’s will generally be eligible and treated closer to 1’s and 2’s, while 4’s and 5’s may also be eligible given the right circumstances.
  • In an acquisition, both the acquirer and acquiree can receive TARP Capital up to 3% of their respective risk weighted assets.
  • The regulators all said that CRE concentrations are not a bar to receiving TARP Capital, assuming the institution has long-term viability, as discussed above.  They specifically mentioned an institution which had 600% of capital in CRE, which had reduced its CRE concentration to 400% and had plans to reduce CRE to 200% over time, and suggested that the institution would be eligible for TARP Capital.

Private Company Term Sheet

  • We have heard rumors of drafts of private company term sheets floating around, but can confirm that nothing has been finalized.  The Conference of State Bank Supervisors is meeting daily with the Treasury and told us today that they had not seen a term sheet.
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FIG Partners' Analysis of TARP Capital

On October 24, 2008, FIG Partners published an alert analyzing the opportunities for community banks under the TARP Capital plan.

We view the TARP Capital Purchase Program as an excellent opportunity for the banking industry to secure some much needed capital at relatively inexpensive and mildly dilutive terms. The opportunity is particularly attractive at a time when outside capital is extremely difficult to find. As such, we at FIG would like to urge any and all banks and thrifts to seriously consider participating in the program. Some of the immediate benefits of the initiative are:

  • Improves capitalization ratios
  • Provides capital for future growth, organic and M&A
  • Solidifies the institution’s balance sheet and puts it in a position to take advantage of failed institutions/assisted transactions
  • Implies that the institution received the “blessing” of Treasury/regulators – investors are likely to perceive the companies taking advantage of the TARP Capital Program as survivors

Again, we believe that all banks and thrifts should utilize the TARP Capital Purchase program, and since the November 14th deadline is fast approaching, we urge you to explore the program and familiarize yourself with all the details sooner rather than later.

Read FIG Partners’ full alert on the TARP Capital program.  To see all Investment Banker reports on this site, please see all posts tagged Investment Banker.

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Where Can I Find the Investment Agreements?

As you may know, the TARP Capital Application (Word Version) asks whether the “Institution Has Reviewed The Investment Agreements And Related Documentation On Treasury’s Website (Yes/No).”

The Investment Agreements and Related Documents have not yet been made available by the Treasury Department.  When they are made available, we presume they will be made available on the Treasury’s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act page.

Until they are made available, we recommend that applying institutions indicate that they have not read the materials (either with or without a note that the materials were not available at the time of filing).  Due to the FDIC’s guidance to note any structural conditions to acceptance of the Treasury’s public term sheet, we also recommend that applicants refer to our earlier articles describing potential issues for non-public financial institutions.

Update 10/29/08: We understand that the FDIC is now informing applicants that the investment agreement will not be provided to them until they are approved for participation in the TARP Capital program.

Update 10/31/08: The Investment Agreements for publicly traded companies are now available.  Private and Subchapter S institutions may wish to review generally, but the Treasury is working on revised Investment Agreements for non-publicly traded companies.

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Georgia DBF Waives Approval for Blank Check Preferred Articles Amendment

On October 24, 2008, the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance issued a press release waiving approval of a state financial institution seeking to amend its articles to facilitate the issuance of preferred stock to the U.S. government as part of its participation in the Treasury program.  Shareholder approval is still required, but this news provides some regulatory relief for Georgia banks without holding companies that must amend their articles to provide for blank check preferred stock.

De novo Georgia banks would still be required to submit changes to their business plan for Department review and approval, although such review related to participation in the Treasury program will be expedited.

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Regulators Adamant – File Draft Applications ASAP and Now!

In conversations this morning with all of the federal regulators, we have been advised in no uncertain terms that draft applications should be submitted as soon as possible.  More details to follow as we get them…

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Audio Presentation of Troubled Assets Conference

Due to popular demand, we are going to be offering the Economic Stabilization Presentation via conference call for clients, contacts, and PoGo attorneys outside of the Atlanta office.  Please note below whether the link is for the the audio or in-person presentation.  If one registers for the audio version of the presentation, then you will NOT be reserving a space at the in-person presentation.

The conference is scheduled to begin promptly at 8:00 am, Eastern Time, on Friday, October 31, 2008.

Register for Audio Presentation

Register for In-Person Presentation [We are currently at capacity for in-person attendance.  Please consider registering for the Audio Presentation instead.]

Speakers:

  • Walt Moeling – Dealing with Community Bank Distressed Assets – What Is Needed to Grease the Skids
  • Jerry Blanchard – The Shifting Boundaries of the Asset Relief Program (“TARP”)
  • David Minkin – What Happened to the Golden Rule? And What Do We Do Now?
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Should You File an Application Early?

Should You File an Application Early?

October 27, 2008

Authored by: Bryan Cave

(See Update on Later Regulatory Guidance.)

No topic has been discussed more around our offices today then whether an institution interested in receiving TARP Capital should go ahead and file an application now.  For banks that fit squarely within the parameters of the proposed program (i.e., exchange-listed, publicly traded institutions), it’s best to apply now.  For a smaller public, private, or S corp institution with “structural”  difficulties with the program as currently designed, it may also be in the bank’s best interest to go ahead and submit an application now–especially if its regulator has encouraged it to do so.   If it does, however, the bank needs to keep in mind that it will need to identify the participation difficulties now (see TARP Capital Issues) and supplement/amend the application later, with the extent of the required amendment being currently unknown.

If it applies now, even with several “structural” compliance issues noted in its application, the bank might get formal regulatory feedback more quickly, which would help with capital planning.  In other words, “First come, first served” is not the same as “first come, first look.”  For example, a bank may be able to meet its capital needs solely with TARP and prefer to do that, but if it receives definitive word that TARP is not available, it’ll need to move forward with alternative financing and plan accordingly.

In a best case scenario, an amendment to the application would just involve reviewing the investment documents when they’re available and certifying that the bank has no issues with them that haven’t been previously noted in its application. On the other hand, the entire program for private/S corp/smaller public companies could change significantly (for example, from equity to debt), and the bank could need to revise projections, review other potential issues presented (i.e., third party or regulatory restrictions on debt issuance) under the new program and submit a significant amendment to its application.  If we knew that a new program would be unveiled this week, it would make sense to hold off on the application, but if it won’t be developed until a later date (or at all), it’s best to apply for the program in its current form and note any difficulties that the bank will experience in complying with its terms.

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