12 CFR 221.115 - Accepting a purpose statement through the mail without benefit of face-to-face interview.
(a) The Board has been asked whether the acceptance of a purpose statement submitted through the mail by a lender subject to the provisions of this part will meet the good faith requirement of § 221.3(c). Section 221.3(c) states that in connection with any credit secured by collateral which includes any margin stock, a nonbank lender must obtain a purpose statement executed by the borrower and accepted by the lender in good faith. Such acceptance requires that the lender be alert to the circumstances surrounding the credit and if further information suggests inquiry, he must investigate and be satisfied that the statement is truthful.
(b) The lender is a subsidiary of a holding company which also has another subsidiary which serves as underwriter and investment advisor to various mutual funds. The sole business of the lender will be to make “non-purpose” consumer loans to shareholders of the mutual funds, such loans to be collateralized by the fund shares. Most mutual funds shares are margin stock for purposes of this part. Solicitation and acceptance of these consumer loans will be done principally through the mail and the lender wishes to obtain the required purpose statement by mail rather than by a face-to-face interview. Personal interviews are not practicable for the lender because shareholders of the funds are scattered throughout the country. In order to provide the same safeguards inherent in face-to-face interviews, the lender has developed certain procedures designed to satisfy the good faith acceptance requirement of this part.
(c) The purpose statement will be supplemented with several additional questions relevant to the prospective borrower's investment activities such as purchases of any security within the last 6 months, dollar amount, and obligations to purchase or pay for previous purchases; present plans to purchase securities in the near future, participations in securities purchase plans, list of unpaid debts, and present income level. Some questions have been modified to facilitate understanding but no questions have been deleted. If additional inquiry is indicated by the answers on the form, a loan officer of the lender will interview the borrower by telephone to make sure the loan is “non-purpose”. Whenever the loan exceeds the “maximum loan value” of the collateral for a regulated loan, a telephone interview will be done as a matter of course.
(d) One of the stated purposes of Regulation X ( 12 CFR part 224) was to prevent the infusion of unregulated credit into the securities markets by borrowers falsely certifying the purpose of a loan. The Board is of the view that the existence of Regulation X ( 12 CFR part 224), which makes the borrower liable for willful violations of the margin regulations, will allow a lender subject to this part to meet the good faith acceptance requirement of § 221.3(c) without a face-to-face interview if the lender adopts a program, such as the one described in paragraph (c) of this section, which requires additional detailed information from the borrower and proper procedures are instituted to verify the truth of the information received. Lenders intending to embark on a similar program should discuss proposed plans with their district Federal Reserve Bank. Lenders may have existing or future loans with the prospective customers which could complicate the efforts to determine the true purpose of the loan.