Service of member bank and real estate investment company.
(a) The Board recently considered two inquiries regarding the question whether proposed real estate investment companies would be subject to the provisions of sections 20 and 32 of the Banking Act of 1933 (12 U.S.C. 377 and 78 ). These sections relate to affiliations between member banks and companies engaged principally in the issue, flotation, underwriting, public sale or distribution of stocks, bonds, or similar securities, and interlocking directorates between member banks and companies primarily so engaged. In both instances the companies, after their organization, would engage only in the business of financing real estate development or investing in real estate interests, and not in the type of business described in the statute. However, each of the companies, in the process of its organization, would issue its own stock. In one instance, it appeared that the stock would be issued over a period of from 30 to 60 days; in the other instance it was stated that the stock would be sold by a firm of underwriters and that distribution was expected to be completed in not more than a few days.
(b) On the basis of the facts stated, the Board concluded that the companies involved would not be subject to sections 20 and 32 of the Banking Act of 1933, since they would not be principally or primarily engaged in the business of issuing or distributing securities but would only be issuing their own stock for a period ordinarily required for corporate organization. The Board stated, however, that if either of the companies should subsequently issue additional shares frequently and in substantial amounts relative to the size of the company's capital structure, it would be necessary for the Board to reconsider the matter.
(c) Apart from the legal question, the Board noted that an arrangement of the kind proposed could involve some dangers to an affiliated bank because the relationship might tend to impair the independent judgment that should be exercised by the bank in appraising its credits and might cause the company to be so identified in the minds of the public with the bank that any financial reverses suffered by the company might affect the confidence of the public in the bank.
(d) Because of the foregoing conclusion that the companies would not be subject to sections 20 and 32, it seems advisable to clarify § 218.102, in which the Board took the position that a closed-end investment company which was in process of organization and was actively engaged in issuing and selling its shares was subject to section 32 as long as this activity continued. That interpretation should be regarded as applicable only where the circumstances are such as to indicate that the issuance of the company's stock is a primary or principal activity of the company. For example, such circumstances might exist where the initial stock of a company is actively issued over a period of time longer than that ordinarily required for corporate organization, or where, subsequent to organization, the company issues its own stock frequently and in substantial amounts relative to the total amount of shares outstanding.