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Monday, February 14 2011 | 12:10 PM
SNR DENTON US LLP
|On February 8, 2011, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (the “Board”) issued a notice of proposed rule making under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”). The proposed rules establish criteria for determining whether a nonbank entity (1) is nonbank company that is “predominantly engaged in financial activities”, and (2) is a “significant nonbank financial company”. Both of these rules are important, because the Dodd-Frank Act gives the Financial Stability Oversight Council (the “FSOC”) the authority to determine whether a nonbank financial company shall be subject to the Board’s supervision, because it could pose a threat to the financial stability of the United States.
One of the necessary criteria for a company to be a “nonbank financial company” is that it be engaged “predominantly in financial activities”. Under the first proposed rule, a company would be “predominantly engaged in financial activities” if in either of its past two fiscal years, eighty-five percent of its consolidated annual gross revenues or consolidated total assets in that year were derived from or related to, respectively, “activities of a financial nature” or the ownership, control, or activities of an insured depository institution or any of subsidiary thereof. Additionally, the Board would have discretion to determine “based on all the facts and circumstances” that at least eighty-five percent of a nonbank company’s consolidated annual gross revenues or consolidated total assets are derived from or related to the aforesaid activities.
One factor, in determining whether a “nonbank financial company” is to be subject to the Board’s supervision, is the degree and nature of its connections with other significant nonbank financial companies and significant bank holding companies. In this regard, the second proposed rule defines a “significant nonbank financial company” as a nonbank financial company that is already supervised by the Board, or that had at least $50 billion of total consolidated assets as of the end of its most recently ended fiscal year. Furthermore, the FSOC may recommend to the Board that nonbank financial companies supervised by the Board report to the FSOC, the Board, and the FDIC on their credit exposure to other significant nonbank financial companies and significant bank holding companies. (A “significant bank holding company” is a bank holding company or foreign bank treated as a bank holding company that had at least $50 billion of total consolidated assets as of the end of its most recently ended fiscal year.)
These proposed rules are important to several companies in the equipment finance arena, because if any of those companies qualify as nonbank financial companies, then they could be subjected to supervision by the Board, similar to that imposed on bank holding companies, and could be required to report on their credit exposure to other significant nonbank financial companies and significant bank holding companies. It is as yet unclear how burdensome the increased regulatory oversight would be.
The deadline for comment is March 30, 2011.
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