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2000 - Rules and Regulations


PART 359—GOLDEN PARACHUTE AND INDEMNIFICATION PAYMENTS

Sec.

359.0 Scope.
359.1 Definitions.
359.2 Golden parachute payments prohibited.
359.3 Prohibited indemnification payments.
359.4 Permissible golden parachute payments.
359.5 Permissible indemnification payments.
359.6 Filing instructions.
359.7 Applicability in the event of receivership.

Authority:12 U.S.C. 1828(k).

SOURCE:  The provisions of this part 359 appear at 61 Fed. Reg. 5930, February 5, 1996, except as otherwise noted.

§ 359.0  Scope.

(a)  This part limits and/or prohibits, in certain circumstances, the ability of insured depository institutions, their subsidiaries and affiliated depository institution holding companies to enter into contracts to pay and to make golden parachute and indemnification payments to institution-affiliated parties (IAPs).

(b)  The limitations on golden parachute payments apply to troubled insured depository institutions which seek to enter into contracts to pay or to make golden parachute payments to their IAPs. The limitations also apply to depository institution holding companies which are troubled and seek to enter into contracts to pay or to make golden parachute payments to their IAPs as well as healthy holding companies which seek to enter into contracts to pay or to make golden parachute payments to IAPs of a troubled insured depository institution subsidiary. A "golden parachute payment" is generally considered to be any payment to an IAP which is contingent on the termination of that person's employment and is received when the insured depository institution making the payment is troubled or, if the payment is being made by an affiliated holding company, either the holding company itself or the insured depository institution employing the IAP, is troubled. The definition of golden parachute payment does not include payments pursuant to qualified retirement plans, nonqualified bona fide deferred compensation plans, nondiscriminatory severance pay plans, other types of common benefits plans, state statutes and death benefits. Certain limited exceptions to the golden parachute payment prohibition are provided for in cases involving the hiring of a white knight and unassisted changes in control. A procedure is also set forth whereby an institution or IAP can request permission to make what would otherwise be a prohibited golden parachute payment.

(c)  The limitations on indemnification payments apply to all insured depository institutions, their subsidiaries and affiliated depository institution holding companies regardless of their financial health. Generally, this part prohibits insured depository institutions, their subsidiaries and affiliated holding companies from indemnifying an IAP for that portion of the costs sustained with regard to an administrative or civil enforcement action commenced by any federal banking agency which results in a final order or settlement pursuant to which the IAP is assessed a civil money penalty, removed from office, prohibited from participating in the affairs of an insured depository institution or required to cease and desist from or take an affirmative action described in section 8(b) (12 U.S.C. 1818(b)) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDI Act). However, there are exceptions to this general prohibition. First, an institution or holding company may purchase commercial insurance to cover such expenses, except judgments and penalties. Second, the institution or holding company may advance legal and other professional expenses to an IAP directly (except for judgments and penalties) if its board of directors makes certain specific findings and the IAP agrees in writing to reimburse the institution if it is ultimately determined that the IAP violated a law, regulation or other fiduciary duty.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.0]

§ 359.1  Definitions.

(a)  Act means the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, as amended (12 U.S.C. 1811, et seq.).

(b)  Appropriate federal banking agency, bank holding company, depository institution holding company and savings and loan holding company have the meanings given to such terms in section 3 of the Act.

(c)  Benefit plan means any plan, contract, agreement or other arrangement which is an "employee welfare benefit plan" as that term is defined in section 3(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (29 U.S.C. 1002(1)), or other usual and customary plans such as dependent care, tuition reimbursement, group legal services or cafeteria plans; provided however, that such term shall not include any plan intended to be subject to paragraphs (f)(2) (iii) and (v) of this section.

(d)  Bona fide deferred compensation plan or arrangement means any plan, contract, agreement or other arrangement whereby:

(1)  An IAP voluntarily elects to defer all or a portion of the reasonable compensation, wages or fees paid for services rendered which otherwise would have been paid to such party at the time the services were rendered (including a plan that provides for the crediting of a reasonable investment return on such elective deferrals) and the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company either:

(i)  Recognizes compensation expense and accrues a liability for the benefit payments according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP); or

(ii)  Segregates or otherwise sets aside assets in a trust which may only be used to pay plan and other benefits, except that the assets of such trust may be available to satisfy claims of the institution's or holding company's creditors in the case of insolvency; or

(2)  An insured depository institution or depository institution holding company establishes a nonqualified deferred compensation or supplemental retirement plan, other than an elective deferral plan described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section:

(i)  Primarily for the purpose of providing benefits for certain IAPS in excess of the limitations on contributions and benefits imposed by sections 415, 401(a)(17), 402(g) or any other applicable provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 415, 401(a)(17), 402(g)); or

(ii)  Primarily for the purpose of providing supplemental retirement benefits or other deferred compensation for a select group of directors, management or highly compensated employees (excluding severance payments described in paragraph (f)(2)(v) of this section and permissible golden parachute payments described in § 359.4); and

(3)  In the case of any nonqualified deferred compensation or supplemental retirement plans as described in paragraphs (d) (1) and (2) of this section, the following requirements shall apply:

(i)  The plan was in effect at least one year prior to any of the events described in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section;

(ii)  Any payment made pursuant to such plan is made in accordance with the terms of the plan as in effect no later than one year prior to any of the events described in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section and in accordance with any amendments to such plan during such one year period that do not increase the benefits payable thereunder;

(iii)  The IAP has a vested right, as defined under the applicable plan document, at the time of termination of employment to payments under such plan;

(iv)  Benefits under such plan are accrued each period only for current or prior service rendered to the employer (except that an allowance may be made for service with a predecessor employer);

(v)  Any payment made pursuant to such plan is not based on any discretionary acceleration of vesting or accrual of benefits which occurs at any time later than one year prior to any of the events described in paragraph (f)(i)(ii) of this section;

(vi)  The insured depository institution or depository institution holding company has previously recognized compensation expense and accrued a liability for the benefit payments according to GAAP or segregated or otherwise set aside assets in a trust which may only be used to pay plan benefits, except that the assets of such trust may be available to satisfy claims of the institution's or holding company's creditors in the case of insolvency; and

(vii)  Payments pursuant to such plans shall not be in excess of the accrued liability computed in accordance with GAAP.

(e)  Corporation means the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, in its corporate capacity.

(f)  Golden parachute payment. (1) The term golden parachute payment means any payment (or any agreement to make any payment) in the nature of compensation by any insured depository institution or an affiliated depository institution holding company for the benefit of any current or former IAP pursuant to an obligation of such institution or holding company that:

(i)  Is contingent on, or by its terms is payable on or after, the termination of such party's primary employment or affiliation with the institution or holding company; and

(ii)  Is received on or after, or is made in contemplation of, any of the following events:

(A)  The insolvency (or similar event) of the insured depository institution which is making the payment or bankruptcy or insolvency (or similar event) of the depository institution holding company which is making the payment; or

(B)  The appointment of any conservator or receiver for such insured depository institution; or

(C)  A determination by the insured depository institution's or depository institution holding company's appropriate federal banking agency, respectively, that the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company is in a troubled condition, as defined in the applicable regulations of the appropriate federal banking agency (§ 303.101(c) of this chapter); or

(D)  The insured depository institution is assigned a composite rating of 4 or 5 by the appropriate federal banking agency or informed in writing by the Corporation that it is rated a 4 or 5 under the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, or the depository institution holding company is assigned a composite rating of 4 or 5 or unsatisfactory by its appropriate federal banking agency; or

(E)  The insured depository institution is subject to a proceeding to terminate or suspend deposit insurance for such institution; and

(iii)(A)  Is payable to an IAP whose employment by or affiliation with an insured depository institution is terminated at a time when the insured depository institution by which the IAP is employed or with which the IAP is affiliated satisfies any of the conditions enumerated in paragraphs (f)(i)(ii) (A) through (E) of this section, or in contemplation of any of these conditions; or

(B)  Is payable to an IAP whose employment by or affiliation with an insured depository institution holding company is terminated at a time when the insured depository institution holding company by which the IAP is affiliated satisfies any of the conditions enumerated in paragraphs (f)(1)(ii)(A),(C) or (D) of this section, or in contemplation of any of these conditions.

(2)  Exceptions. The term golden parachute payment shall not include:

(i)  Any payment made pursuant to a pension or retirement plan which is qualified (or is intended within a reasonable period of time to be qualified) under section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 401) or pursuant to a pension or other retirement plan which is governed by the laws of any foreign country; or

(ii)  Any payment made pursuant to a benefit plan as that term is defined in paragraph (c) of this section; or

(iii)  Any payment made pursuant to a bona fide deferred compensation plan or arrangement as defined in paragraph (d) of this section; or

(iv)  Any payment made by reason of death or by reason of termination caused by the disability of an institution-affiliated party; or

(v)  Any payment made pursuant to a nondiscriminatory severance pay plan or arrangement which provides for payment of severance benefits to all eligible employees upon involuntary termination other than for cause, voluntary resignation, or early retirement; provided, however, that no employee shall receive any such payment which exceeds the base compensation paid to such employee during the twelve months (or such longer period or greater benefit as the Corporation shall consent to) immediately preceding termination of employment, resignation or early retirement, and such severance pay plan or arrangement shall not have been adopted or modified to increase the amount or scope of severance benefits at a time when the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company was in a condition specified in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section or in contemplation of such a condition without the prior written consent of the appropriate federal banking agency; or

(vi)  Any severance or similar payment which is required to be made pursuant to a state statute or foreign law which is applicable to all employers within the appropriate jurisdiction (with the exception of employers that may be exempt due to their small number of employees or other similar criteria); or

(vii)  Any other payment which the Corporation determines to be permissible in accordance with § 359.4.

(g)  Insured depository institution means any bank or savings association the deposits of which are insured by the Corporation pursuant to the Act, or any subsidiary thereof.

(h)  Institution-affiliated party (IAP) means:

(1)  Any director, officer, employee, or controlling stockholder (other than a depository institution holding company) of, or agent for, an insured depository institution or depository institution holding company;

(2)  Any other person who has filed or is required to file a change-in- control notice with the appropriate federal banking agency under section 7(j) of the Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j));

(3)  Any shareholder (other than a depository institution holding company), consultant, joint venture partner, and any other person as determined by the appropriate federal banking agency (by regulation or case-by-case) who participates in the conduct of the affairs of an insured depository institution or depository institution holding company; and

(4)  Any independent contractor (including any attorney, appraiser, or accountant) who knowingly or recklessly participates in: Any violation of any law or regulation, any breach of fiduciary duty, or any unsafe or unsound practice, which caused or is likely to cause more than a minimal financial loss to, or a significant adverse effect on, the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company.

(i)  Liability or legal expense means:

(1)  Any legal or other professional fees and expenses incurred in connection with any claim, proceeding, or action;

(2)  The amount of, and any cost incurred in connection with, any settlement of any claim, proceeding, or action; and

(3)  The amount of, and any cost incurred in connection with, any judgment or penalty imposed with respect to any claim, proceeding, or action.

(j)  Nondiscriminatory means that the plan, contract or arrangement in question applies to all employees of an insured depository institution or depository institution holding company who meet reasonable and customary eligibility requirements applicable to all employees, such as minimum length of service requirements. A nondiscriminatory plan, contract or arrangement may provide different benefits based only on objective criteria such as salary, total compensation, length of service, job grade or classification, which are applied on a proportionate basis (with a variance in severance benefits relating to any criterion of plus or minus ten percent) to groups of employees consisting of not less than the lesser of 33 percent of employees or 1,000 employees.

(k)  Payment means:

(1)  Any direct or indirect transfer of any funds or any asset;

(2)  Any forgiveness of any debt or other obligation;

(3)  The conferring of any benefit, including but not limited to stock options and stock appreciation rights; and

(4)  Any segregation of any funds or assets, the establishment or funding of any trust or the purchase of or arrangement for any letter of credit or other instrument, for the purpose of making, or pursuant to any agreement to make, any payment on or after the date on which such funds or assets are segregated, or at the time of or after such trust is established or letter of credit or other instrument is made available, without regard to whether the obligation to make such payment is contingent on:

(i)  The determination, after such date, of the liability for the payment of such amount; or

(ii)  The liquidation, after such date, of the amount of such payment.

(l)  Prohibited indemnification payment. (1) The term prohibited indemnification payment means any payment (or any agreement or arrangement to make any payment) by any insured depository institution or an affiliated depository institution holding company for the benefit of any person who is or was an IAP of such insured depository institution or holding company, to pay or reimburse such person for any civil money penalty or judgment resulting from any administrative or civil action instituted by any federal banking agency, or any other liability or legal expense with regard to any administrative proceeding or civil action instituted by any federal banking agency which results in a final order or settlement pursuant to which such person:

(i)  Is assessed a civil money penalty;

(ii)  Is removed from office or prohibited from participating in the conduct of the affairs of the insured depository institution; or

(iii)  Is required to cease and desist from or take any affirmative action described in section 8(b) of the Act with respect to such institution.

(2)  Exceptions. (i)The term prohibited indemnification payment shall not include any reasonable payment by an insured depository institution or depository institution holding company which is used to purchase any commercial insurance policy of fidelity bond, provided that such insurance policy or bond shall not be used to pay or reimburse an IAP for the cost of any judgment or civil money penalty assessed against such person in an administrative proceeding or civil action commenced by any federal banking agency, but may pay any legal or professional expenses incurred in connection with such proceeding or action or the amount of any restitution, to the insured depository institution, depository institution holding company or receiver.

(ii)  The term prohibited indemnification payment shall not include any reasonable payment by an insured depository institution or depository institution holding company that represents partial indemnification for legal or professional expenses specifically attributable to particular charges for which there has been a formal and final adjudication or finding in connection with a settlement that the IAP has not violated certain banking laws or regulations or has not engaged in certain unsafe or unsound banking practices or breaches of fiduciary duty, unless the administrative action or civil proceeding has resulted in a final prohibition order against the IAP.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.1]

[Section 359.1 amended at 68 Fed. Reg. 50461, August 21, 2003, effective September 22, 2003]

§ 359.2  Golden parachute payments prohibited.

No insured depository institution or depository institution holding company shall make or agree to make any golden parachute payment, except as provided in this part.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.2]

§ 359.3  Prohibited indemnification payments.

No insured depository institution or depository institution holding company shall make or agree to make any prohibited indemnification payment, except as provided in this part.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.3]

§ 359.4  Permissible golden parachute payments.

(a)  An insured depository institution or depository institution holding company may agree to make or may make a golden parachute payment if and to the extent that:

(1)  The appropriate federal banking agency, with the written concurrence of the Corporation, determines that such a payment or agreement is permissible; or

(2)  Such an agreement is made in order to hire a person to become an IAP either at a time when the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company satisfies or in an effort to prevent it from imminently satisfying any of the criteria set forth in § 359.1(f)(1) (ii), and the institution's appropriate federal banking agency and the Corporation consent in writing to the amount and terms of the golden parachute payment. Such consent by the FDIC and the institution's appropriate federal banking agency shall not improve the IAP's position in the event of the insolvency of the institution since such consent can neither bind a receiver nor affect the provability of receivership claims. In the event that the institution is placed into receivership or conservatorship, the FDIC and/or the institution's appropriate federal banking agency shall not be obligated to pay the promised golden parachute and the IAP shall not be accorded preferential treatment on the basis of such prior approval; or

(3)  Such a payment is made pursuant to an agreement which provides for a reasonable severance payment, not to exceed twelve months salary, to an IAP in the event of a change in control of the insured depository institution; provided, however, that an insured depository institution or depository institution holding company shall obtain the consent of the appropriate federal banking agency prior to making such a payment and this paragraph (a)(3) shall not apply to any change in control of an insured depository institution which results from an assisted transaction as described in section 13 of the Act (12 U.S.C. 1823) or the insured depository institution being placed into conservatorship or receivership; and

(4)  An insured depository institution, depository institution holding company or IAP making a request pursuant to paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section shall demonstrate that it does not possess and is not aware of any information, evidence, documents or other materials which would indicate that there is a reasonable basis to believe, at the time such payment is proposed to be made, that:

(i)  The IAP has committed any fraudulent act or omission, breach of trust or fiduciary duty, or insider abuse with regard to the depository institution or depository institution holding company that has had or is likely to have a material adverse effect on the institution or holding company;

(ii)  The IAP is substantially responsible for the insolvency of, the appointment of a conservator or receiver for, or the troubled condition, as defined by applicable regulations of the appropriate federal banking agency, of the insured depository institution, depository institution holding company or any insured depository institution subsidiary of such holding company;

(iii)  The IAP has materially violated any applicable federal or state banking law or regulation that has had or is likely to have a material effect on the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company; and

(iv)  The IAP has violated or conspired to violate section 215, 656, 657, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1014, 1032, or 1344 of title 18 of the United States Code, or section 1341 or 1343 of such title affecting a federally insured financial institution as defined in title 18 of the United States Code.

(b)  In making a determination under paragraphs (a) (1) through (3) of this section, the appropriate federal banking agency and the Corporation may consider:

(1)  Whether, and to what degree, the IAP was in a position of managerial or fiduciary responsibility;

(2)  The length of time the IAP was affiliated with the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company, and the degree to which the proposed payment represents a reasonable payment for services rendered over the period of employment; and

(3)  Any other factors or circumstances which would indicate that the proposed payment would be contrary to the intent of section 18(k) of the Act or this part.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.4]

§ 359.5  Permissible indemnification payments.

(a)  An insured depository institution or depository institution holding company may make or agree to make reasonable indemnification payments to an IAP with respect to an administrative proceeding or civil action initiated by any federal banking agency if:

(1)  The insured depository institution's or depository institution holding company's board of directors, in good faith, determines in writing after due investigation and consideration that the institution- affiliated party acted in good faith and in a manner he/she believed to be in the best interests of the institution;

(2)  The insured depository institution's or depository institution holding company's board of directors, respectively, in good faith, determines in writing after due investigation and consideration that the payment of such expenses will not materially adversely affect the institution's or holding company's safety and soundness;

(3)  The indemnification payments do not constitute prohibited indemnification payments as that term is defined in § 359.1(1); and

(4)  The IAP agrees in writing to reimburse the insured depository institution or depository institution holding company, to the extent not covered by payments from insurance or bonds purchased pursuant to § 359.1(1)(2), for that portion of the advanced indemnification payments which subsequently become prohibited indemnification payments, as defined in § 359.1(1).

(b)  An IAP requesting indemnification payments shall not participate in any way in the board's discussion and approval of such payments; provided, however, that such IAP may present his/her request to the board and respond to any inquiries from the board concerning his/her involvement in the circumstances giving rise to the administrative proceeding or civil action.

(c)  In the event that a majority of the members of the board of directors are named as respondents in an administrative proceeding or civil action and request indemnification, the remaining members of the board may authorize independent legal counsel to review the indemnification request and provide the remaining members of the board with a written opinion of counsel as to whether the conditions delineated in paragraph (a) of this section have been met. If independent legal counsel opines that said conditions have been met, the remaining members of the board of directors may rely on such opinion in authorizing the requested indemnification.

(d)  In the event that all of the members of the board of directors are named as respondents in an administrative proceeding or civil action and request indemnification, the board shall authorize independent legal counsel to review the indemnification request and provide the board with a written opinion of counsel as to whether the conditions delineated in paragraph (a) of this section have been met. If independent legal counsel opines that said conditions have been met, the board of directors may rely on such opinion in authorizing the requested indemnification.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.5]

§ 359.6  Filing instructions.

Requests to make excess nondiscriminatory severance plan payments pursuant to § 359.1(f)(2)(v) and golden parachute payments permitted by § 359.4 shall be submitted in writing to the appropriate regional director (DOS). For filing requirements, consult 12 CFR 303.244. In the event that the consent of the institution's primary federal regulator is required in addition to that of the FDIC, the requesting party shall submit a copy of its letter to the FDIC to the institution's primary federal regulator. In the case of national banks, such written requests shall be submitted to the OCC. In the case of state member banks and bank holding companies, such written requests shall be submitted to the Federal Reserve district bank where the institution or holding company, respectively, is located. In the case of savings associations and savings association holding companies, such written requests shall be submitted to the OTS regional office where the institution or holding company, respectively, is located. In cases where only the prior consent of the institution's primary federal regulator is required and that agency is not the FDIC, a written request satisfying the requirements of this section shall be submitted to the primary federal regulator as described in this section.

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.6]

[Section 359.6 amended at 63 Fed. Reg. 44751 August 20, 1998, effective October 1, 1998]

§ 359.7  Applicability in the event of receivership.

The provisions of this part, or any consent or approval granted under the provisions of this part by the FDIC (in its corporate capacity), shall not in any way bind any receiver of a failed insured depository institution. Any consent or approval granted under the provisions of this part by the FDIC or any other federal banking agency shall not in any way obligate such agency or receiver to pay any claim or obligation pursuant to any golden parachute, severance indemnification or other agreement. Claims for employee welfare benefits or other benefits which are contingent, even if otherwise vested, when the FDIC is appointed as receiver for any depository institution, including any contingency for termination of employment, are not provable claims or actual, direct compensatory damage claims against such receiver. Nothing in this part may be construed to permit the payment of salary or any liability or legal expense of any IAP contrary to 12 U.S.C. 1828(k)(3).

[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 359.7]


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