On April 9, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (Board) issued a final rule to expand the applicability of its Small Bank Holding Company Policy Statement and also apply it to certain savings and loan holding companies. According to the Policy Statement’s provisions for bank holding companies, “the Board retains the right to exclude any savings and loan holding company, regardless of size, from the Policy Statement if the Board determines that such action is warranted for supervisory purposes.” The Policy Statement facilitates the transfer of ownership of small community banks and savings associations by allowing their holding companies to operate with higher levels of debt than would normally be permitted. While holding companies that qualify for the Policy Statement are excluded from consolidated capital requirements, their depository institution subsidiaries continue to be subject to minimum capital requirements.

The final rule raises the asset threshold of the Policy Statement from $500 million to $1 billion in total consolidated assets. It also expands the application of the Policy Statement to savings and loan holding companies. All firms must still meet certain qualitative requirements, including those pertaining to nonbanking activities, off-balance sheet activities, and publicly-registered debt and equity.

The final rule implements a law passed by Congress in December 2014, and is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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