(a) In accepting deposits at branches abroad, some depository institutions may enter into agreements from time to time with depositors that in effect guarantee payment of such deposits in the United States if the foreign branch is precluded from making payment. The question has arisen whether such deposits are subject to Regulation D, and this interpretation is intended as clarification.
(b) Section 19 of the Federal Reserve Act which establishes reserve requirements does not apply to deposits of a depository institution “payable only at an office thereof located outside of the States of the United States and the District of Columbia” ( 12 U.S.C. 371a; 12 CFR 204.1(c)(5)). The Board rule in 1918 that the requirements of section 19 as to reserves to be carried by member banks do not apply to foreign branches (1918 Fed. Res. Bull. 1123). The Board has also defined the phrase Any deposit that is payable only at an office located outside the United States, in § 204.2(t) of Regulation D, 12 CFR 204.2(t).
(c) The Board believes that this exemption from reserve requirements should be limited to deposits in foreign branches as to which the depositor is entitled, under his agreement with the depository institution, to demand payment only outside the United States, regardless of special circumstances. The exemption is intended principally to enable foreign branches of U.S. depository institutions to compete on a more nearly equal basis with banks in foreign countries in accordance with the laws and regulations of those countries. A customer who makes a deposit that is payable solely at a foreign branch of the depository institution assumes whatever risk may exist that the foreign country in which a branch is located might impose restrictions on withdrawals. When payment of a deposit in a foreign branch is guaranteed by a promise of payment at an office in the United States if not paid at the foreign office, the depositor no longer assumes this risk but enjoys substantially the same rights as if the deposit had been made in a U.S. office of the depository institution. To assure the effectiveness of Regulation D and to prevent evasions thereof, the Board considers that such guaranteed foreign-branch deposits must be subject to that regulation.
(d) Accordingly, a deposit in a foreign branch of a depository institution that is guaranteed by a domestic office is subject to the reserve requirements of Regulation D the same as if the deposit had been made in the domestic office. This interpretation is not designed in any respect to prevent the head office of a U.S. bank from repaying borrowings from, making advances to, or supplying capital funds to its foreign branches, subject to Eurocurrency liability reserve requirements.