Banking & Finance Law Report

Archives: Regulation and Compliance

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Community Banks Raise Capital, Face SEC Reporting Requirements

Many community banks under pressure to raise capital are considering selling new shares of stock to investors; however, doing so may cause some banks to be required to register under Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Act provides that even if a company has never made a public offering of stock, it must register its stock with the SEC if has more than $10 million in assets and 500 shareholders of record. Once registered, the company must comply with the SEC’s costly periodic reporting requirements.

Even the smallest of banking organizations typically have more than $10 million in assets so the important requirement to avoid registration is to remain below 500 shareholders of record. As banks seek new investors, remaining below the threshold becomes difficult.

The American Bankers Association has long argued that the 500 shareholders threshold should be raised to somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000.  The ABA argues that when the 500 shareholders threshold was set in 1964, the number of investors in the marketplace and the market presence of 500 shareholders were 3-6 times smaller than they are now. Thus, the 500 shareholders threshold should be increased 3-6 times. The ABA laments that many …

What Border Officials Can Do With Your Laptop And Cellular Phone

Having your laptop or smartphone searched or detained by Customs on your way back from a business trip would be a nightmare for most travelers, including bankers and other finance professionals. However, this scenario is quite possible under new governmental policies. In 2009, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) both issued their respective new policies on border searches of electronic devices. It was a coordinated effort of CBP and ICE to update and harmonize their border policies to detect an array of illegal activities, including terrorism, cash smuggling, contraband, child pornography, copyright, and export control violations.

With all the technology innovations that allow business travelers to carry massive amounts of information in small electronic devices, CBP and ICE are facing an enormous challenge. On the one hand, travelers have a legitimate right to carry information on electronic devices. In that respect, there are serious concerns regarding the traveler’s expectation of privacy. On the other hand, the government has a duty to combat illegal activities and to enforce U.S. law at the border. The difficulty is finding the right balance between the government’s duty to enforce the law and the rights of travelers.

The legal basis