12 CFR § 337.2 - Standby letters of credit.
(a) Definition. As used in this section, the term standby letter of credit means any letter of credit, or similar arrangement however named or described, which represents an obligation to the beneficiary on the part of the issuer: (1) To repay money borrowed by or advanced to or for the account of the account party, or (2) to make payment on account of any indebtedness undertaken by the account party, or (3) to make payment on account of any default (including any statement of default) by the account party in the performance of an obligation. 1 The term similar arrangement includes the creation of an acceptance or similar undertaking.
1 As defined in this paragraph (a), the term standby letter of credit would not include commercial letters of credit and similar instruments where the issuing bank expects the beneficiary to draw upon the issuer, which do not “guaranty” payment of a money obligation of the account party and which do not provide that payment is occasioned by default on the part of the account party.
(b) Restriction. A standby letter of credit issued by an insured State nonmember bank shall be combined with all other standby letters of credit and all loans for purposes of applying any legal limitation on loans of the bank (including limitations on loans to any one borrower, on loans to affiliates of the bank, or on aggregate loans); Provided, however, That if such standby letter of credit is subject to separate limitation under applicable State or federal law, then the separate limitation shall apply in lieu of the loan limitation. 2
2 Where the standby letter of credit is subject to a non-recourse participation agreement with another bank or other banks, this section shall apply to the issuer and each participant in the same manner as in the case of a participated loan.
(c) Exceptions. All standby letters of credit shall be subject to the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section except where:
(1) Prior to or at the time of issuance, the issuing bank is paid an amount equal to the bank's maximum liability under the standby letter of credit; or,
(2) Prior to or at the time of issuance, the issuing bank has set aside sufficient funds in a segregated deposit account, clearly earmarked for that purpose, to cover the bank's maximum liability under the standby letter of credit.
(d) Disclosure. Each insured State nonmember bank must maintain adequate control and subsidiary records of its standby letters of credit comparable to the records maintained in connection with the bank's direct loans so that at all times the bank's potential liability thereunder and the bank's compliance with this section may be readily determined. In addition, all such standby letters of credit must be adequately reflected on the bank's published financial statements.