(a) The Board of Governors has been requested by a bank holding company for an interpretation under section 4(c)(1) of the Bank Holding Company Act which, among other things, exempts from the nonbanking divestment requirements of section 4(a) of the Act, shares of a company engaged “solely in the business of furnishing services to or performing services for” its bank holding company or subsidiary banks thereof.
(b) It is understood that a nonbanking subsidiary of the holding company engages in writing comprehensive automobile insurance (fire, theft, and collision) which is sold only to customers of a subsidiarybank of the holding company in connection with the bank's retail installment loans; that when payment is made on a loan secured by a lien on a motor vehicle, renewal policies are not issued by the insurance company; and that the insurance company receives the usual agency commissions on all comprehensive automobile insurance written for customers of the bank.
(c) It is also understood that the insurance company writes credit life insurance for the benefit of the bank and its installment-loan customers; that each insured debtor is covered for an amount equal to the unpaid balance of his note to the bank, not to exceed $5,000; that as the note is reduced by regular monthly payments, the amount of insurance is correspondingly reduced so that at all times the debtor is insured for the unpaid balance of his note; that each insurance contract provides for payment in full of the entire loan balance upon the death or permanent disability of the insured borrower; and that this credit life insurance is written only at the request of, and solely for, the bank's borrowing customers. It is further understood that the insurance company engages in no other activity.
(d) As indicated in § 225.104 (23 FR 2675), the term “services,” while sometimes used in a broad and general sense, appears to be somewhat more limited in its application in section 4(c)(1) of the Bank Holding Company Act. Unlike an early version of the Senate bill (S. 2577, before amendment), the act as finally enacted does not expressly mention any type of servicing activity for exemption. The legislative history of the Act, however, as indicated in the relevant portion of the record of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee on amended S. 2577 (84th Cong., 2d Sess., Senate Report 1095, Part 2, p. 3) makes it evident that Congress had in mind the exemption of services comparable to the types of activities mentioned expressly in the early Senate bill (“auditing, appraising, investment counseling”) and in the Committee Report on the later bill (“advertising, public relations, developing new business, organization, operations, preparing tax returns, personnel, and many others”). Furthermore, this Committee Report expressly stated that the provision of section 4(c)(1) with respect to “furnishing services to or performing services for” was not intended to supplant the exemption contained under section 4 (c)(6) of the Act.
(e) The only activity of the insurance company (writing comprehensive automobile insurance and credit life insurance) appears to involve an insurance relationship between it and a banking subsidiary of the holding company which the legislative history clearly indicates does not come within the meaning of the phrase “furnishing services to or performing services for” a bank holding company or its banking subsidiaries.
(f) Accordingly, it is the Board's view that the insurance company could not be regarded as qualifying as a company engaged “solely in the business of furnishing services to or performing services for” the bank holding company or banks with respect to which the latter is a bank holding company.