12 CFR 7.1016 - Independent undertakings issued by a national bank to pay against documents.
(a)General authority. A national bank may issue and commit to issue letters of credit and other independent undertakings within the scope of the applicable laws or rules of practice recognized by law. 1 Under such letters of credit and other independent undertakings, the bank's obligation to honor depends upon the presentation of specified documents and not upon nondocumentary conditions or resolution of questions of fact or law at issue between the applicant and the beneficiary. A national bank may also confirm or otherwise undertake to honor or purchase specified documents upon their presentation under another person's independent undertaking within the scope of such laws or rules.
1 Examples of such laws or rules of practice include: The applicable version of Article 5 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) (1962, as amended 1990) or revised Article 5 of the UCC (as amended 1995) (available from West Publishing Co., 1/800/ 328-4880); the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Publication No. 600 or any applicable prior version) (available from ICC Publishing, Inc., 212/ 206-1150; http://www.iccwbo.org); the Supplements to UCP 500 & 600 for Electronic Presentation (eUCP v. 1.0 & 1.1) (Supplements to the Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credits for Electronic Presentation) (available from ICC Publishing, Inc., 212/ 206-1150; http://www.iccwbo.org) International Standby Practices (ISP98) (ICC Publication No. 590) (available from the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice, 301/ 869-9840; http://www.iiblp.org); the United Nations Convention on Independent Guarantees and Stand-by Letters of Credit (adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1995 and signed by the U.S. in 1997) (available from the U.N. Commission on International Trade Law, 212/ 963-5353); and the Uniform Rules for Bank-to-Bank Reimbursements Under Documentary Credits (ICC Publication No. 525) (available from ICC Publishing, Inc., 212/ 206-1150; http://www.iccwbo.org); as any of the foregoing may be amended from time to time.
(b)Safety and soundness considerations -
(1)Terms. As a matter of safe and sound banking practice, banks that issue independent undertakings should not be exposed to undue risk. At a minimum, banks should consider the following:
(i) The independent character of the undertaking should be apparent from its terms (such as terms that subject it to laws or rules providing for its independent character);
(ii) The undertaking should be limited in amount;
(iii) The undertaking should:
(A) Be limited in duration; or
(B) Permit the bank to terminate the undertaking either on a periodic basis (consistent with the bank's ability to make any necessary credit assessments) or at will upon either notice or payment to the beneficiary; or
(iv) The bank either should be fully collateralized or have a post-honor right of reimbursement from the applicant or from another issuer of an independent undertaking. Alternatively, if the bank's undertaking is to purchase documents of title, securities, or other valuable documents, the bank should obtain a first priority right to realize on the documents if the bank is not otherwise to be reimbursed.
(2)Additional considerations in special circumstances. Certain undertakings require particular protections against credit, operational, and market risk:
(i) In the event that the undertaking is to honor by delivery of an item of value other than money, the bank should ensure that market fluctuations that affect the value of the item will not cause the bank to assume undue market risk;
(ii) In the event that the undertaking provides for automatic renewal, the terms for renewal should be consistent with the bank's ability to make any necessary credit assessments prior to renewal;
(iii) In the event that a bank issues an undertaking for its own account, the underlying transaction for which it is issued must be within the bank's authority and comply with any safety and soundness requirements applicable to that transaction.
(3)Operational expertise. The bank should possess operational expertise that is commensurate with the sophistication of its independent undertaking activities.
(4)Documentation. The bank must accurately reflect the bank's undertakings in its records, including any acceptance or deferred payment or other absolute obligation arising out of its contingent undertaking.
(c)Coverage. An independent undertaking within the meaning of this section is not subject to the provisions of § 7.1017.