This excerpt taken from the C 10-K filed Feb 28, 2005.
Bank Holding Company Regulation
The Company is a bank holding company within the meaning of the U.S. Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHC Act) registered with, and subject to examination by, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB). The subsidiary depository institutions of the Company (the banking subsidiaries), including its principal bank subsidiary, Citibank, N.A. (Citibank), are subject to supervision and examination by their respective federal and state banking authorities. The nationally chartered subsidiary banks, including Citibank, are supervised and examined by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC); federal savings association subsidiaries are regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS); and state-chartered depository institutions are supervised by the banking departments within their respective states (California, Delaware, and Utah), as well as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The FDIC also has back-up enforcement authority with respect to each of the banking subsidiaries, the deposits of which are insured by the FDIC, up to applicable limits. The Company also controls (either directly or indirectly) overseas banks, branches, and agencies. In general, the Company's overseas activities are regulated by the FRB and OCC, and are also regulated by supervisory authorities of the host countries.
The Company's banking subsidiaries are also subject to requirements and restrictions under federal, state, and foreign law, including requirements to maintain reserves against deposits, restrictions on the types and amounts of loans that may be made and the interest that may be charged thereon, and limitations on the types of investments that may be made and the types of services that may be offered. Various consumer laws and regulations also affect the operations of the Company's banking subsidiaries.
The activities of U.S. bank holding companies are generally limited to the business of banking, managing or controlling banks, and other activities that the FRB determines to be so closely related to banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto. In addition, under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (the GLB Act), bank holding companies, such as the Company, all of whose controlled depository institutions are "well capitalized" and "well managed," as defined in Federal Reserve Regulation Y, and which obtain satisfactory Community Reinvestment Act ratings, have the ability to declare themselves to be "financial holding companies" and engage in a broader spectrum of activities, including insurance underwriting and brokerage (including annuities), and underwriting and dealing securities. The Company has declared itself to be a financial holding company. Financial holding companies that do not continue to meet all of the requirements for such status will, depending on which requirement they fail to meet, face not being able to undertake new activities or acquisitions that are financial in nature, or losing their ability to continue those activities that are not generally permissible for bank holding companies.
Under the GLB Act, financial holding companies are able to make acquisitions of companies that engage in activities that are financial in nature, both in the United States and outside of the United States. No prior approval of the FRB is generally required for such acquisitions except for the acquisition of U.S. depository institutions and, in some cases, foreign banks. In addition, under merchant banking authority added by the GLB Act, financial holding companies are authorized to invest in companies that engage in activities that are not financial in nature, as long as the financial holding company makes its investment with the intention of limiting the investment in duration, does not manage the company on a day-to-day basis, and the investee company does not cross-market with any of the financial holding company's controlled depository institutions. This authority applies to investments both in the United States and outside the United States. Regulations interpreting and conditioning this authority have been promulgated. Bank holding companies also retain their authority, subject to prior specific or general FRB consent, to acquire less than 20% of the voting securities of a company that does not do business in the United States, and 20% or more of the voting securities of any such company if the FRB finds by regulation or order that its activities are usual in connection with banking or finance outside the United States. In general, bank holding companies that are not financial holding companies may engage in a broader range of activities outside the United States than they may engage in inside the United States, including sponsoring, distributing, and advising open-end mutual funds, and underwriting and dealing in debt and, to a limited extent, equity securities, subject to local country laws.
Subject to certain limitations and restrictions, a U.S. bank holding company, with the prior approval of the FRB, may acquire an out-of-state bank. Banks in states that do not prohibit out-of-state mergers may merge with the approval of the appropriate federal bank regulatory agency. A national or state bank may establish a de novo branch out of state if such branching is expressly permitted by the other state. A federal savings association is generally permitted to open a de novo branch in any state.
Outside the U.S., subject to certain requirements for prior FRB consent or notice, the Company may acquire banks and Citibank may establish branches subject to local laws and to U.S. laws prohibiting companies from doing business in certain countries.
The Company's earnings and activities are affected by legislation, by actions of its regulators, and by local legislative and administrative bodies and decisions of courts in the foreign and domestic jurisdictions in which the Company and its subsidiaries conduct business. For example, these include limitations on the ability of certain subsidiaries to pay dividends to their intermediate holding companies and on the abilities of those holding companies to pay dividends to the Company (see Note 19 to the Consolidated Financial Statements). It is the policy of the FRB that bank holding companies should pay cash dividends on common stock only out of income available over the past year and only if prospective earnings retention is consistent with the organization's expected future needs and financial condition. The policy provides that bank holding companies should not maintain a level of cash dividends that undermines the bank holding company's ability to serve as a source of strength to its banking subsidiaries.
Various federal and state statutory provisions limit the amount of dividends that subsidiary banks and savings associations can pay to their holding companies without regulatory approval. In addition to these explicit limitations, the federal regulatory agencies are authorized to prohibit a banking subsidiary or bank holding company from engaging in an unsafe or unsound banking practice. Depending upon the circumstances, the agencies could take the position that paying a dividend would constitute an unsafe or unsound banking practice.
Numerous other federal and state laws also affect the Company's earnings and activities, including federal and state consumer protection laws. Legislation may be enacted or regulation imposed in the U.S. or its political subdivisions, or in any other jurisdiction in which the Company does business, to further regulate banking and financial services or to limit finance charges or other fees or charges earned in such activities. There can be no assurance whether any such legislation or regulation will place additional limitations on the Company's operations or adversely affect its earnings. The preceding statement is a forward-looking statement within the meaning of the Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act. See "Forward-Looking Statements" on page 73.
There are various legal restrictions on the extent to which a bank holding company and certain of its nonbank subsidiaries can borrow or otherwise obtain credit from banking subsidiaries or engage in certain other transactions with or involving those banking subsidiaries. In general, these restrictions require that any such transactions must be on terms that would ordinarily be offered to unaffiliated entities and secured by designated amounts of specified collateral. Transactions between a banking subsidiary and the holding company or any nonbank subsidiary are limited to 10% of the banking subsidiary's capital stock and surplus and, as to the holding company and all such nonbank subsidiaries in the aggregate, to 20% of the bank's capital stock and surplus.
The Company's right to participate in the distribution of assets of any subsidiary upon the subsidiary's liquidation or reorganization will be subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary's creditors. In the event of a liquidation or other resolution of an insured depository institution, the claims of depositors and other general or subordinated creditors are entitled to a priority of payment over the claims of holders of any obligation of the institution to its stockholders, including any depository institution holding company (such as the Company) or any stockholder or creditor thereof.
In the liquidation or other resolution of a failed U.S. insured depository institution, deposits in U.S. offices and certain claims for administrative expenses and employee compensation are afforded a priority over other general unsecured claims, including deposits in offices outside the U.S., non-deposit claims in all offices, and claims of a parent such as the Company. Such priority creditors would include the FDIC, which succeeds to the position of insured depositors.
A financial institution insured by the FDIC that is under common control with a failed or failing FDIC-insured institution can be required to indemnify the FDIC for losses resulting from the insolvency of the failed institution, even if this causes the affiliated institution also to become insolvent. Any obligations or liability owed by a subsidiary depository institution to its parent company is subordinate to the subsidiary's cross-guarantee liability with respect to commonly controlled insured depository institutions and to the rights of depositors.
Under FRB policy, a bank holding company is expected to act as a source of financial strength to each of its banking subsidiaries and commit resources to their support. As a result of that policy, the Company may be required to commit resources to its subsidiary banks in certain circumstances. However, under the GLB Act, the FRB is not able to compel a bank holding company to remove capital from its regulated securities or insurance subsidiaries in order to commit such resources to its subsidiary banks.
The Company and its U.S. insured depository institution subsidiaries are subject to risk-based capital and leverage guidelines issued by U.S. regulators for banks, savings associations, and bank holding companies. The regulatory agencies are required by law to take specific prompt actions with respect to institutions that do not meet minimum capital standards and have defined five capital tiers, the highest of which is "well capitalized." As of December 31, 2004, the Company's bank and thrift subsidiaries, including Citibank, were "well-capitalized." See "Management's Discussion and Analysis" and Note 19 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for capital analysis.
A bank is not required to repay a deposit at a branch outside the U.S. if the branch cannot repay the deposit due to an act of war, civil strife, or action taken by the government in the host country, unless the bank has expressly agreed to do so in writing.
The earnings of the Company, Citibank, and their subsidiaries and affiliates are affected by general economic conditions and the conduct of monetary and fiscal policy by the U.S. government and by governments in other countries in which they do business.
Legislation is from time to time introduced in Congress or in the States that may change banking statutes and the operating environment of the Company and its banking subsidiaries in substantial and unpredictable ways. The Company cannot determine whether any such proposed legislation will be enacted and, if enacted, the ultimate effect that any such potential legislation or implementing regulations would have upon the financial condition or results of operations of the Company or its subsidiaries.