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Sec. 211.4 Permissible investments and activities of foreign branches of member banks.

(a) Permissible activities and investments. In addition to its general banking powers, and to the extent consistent with its charter, a foreign branch of a member bank may engage in the following activities and make the following investments, so far as is usual in connection with the business of banking in the country where it transacts business:

(1) Guarantees. Guarantee debts, or otherwise agree to make payments on the occurrence of readily ascertainable events (including, but not limited to, nonpayment of taxes, rentals, customs duties, or costs of transport, and loss or nonconformance of shipping documents) if the guarantee or agreement specifies a maximum monetary liability; however, except to the extent that the member bank is fully secured, it may not have liabilities outstanding for any person on account of such guarantees or agreements which, when aggregated with other unsecured obligations of the same person, exceed the limit contained in section 5200(a)(1) of the Revised Statutes (12 U.S.C. 84) for loans and extensions of credit;

(2) Government obligations.

(i) Underwrite, distribute, buy, sell, and hold obligations of:

(A) The national government of the country where the branch is located and any political subdivision of that country;

(B) An agency or instrumentality of the national government of the country where the branch is located where such obligations are supported by the taxing authority, guarantee, or full faith and credit of that government;

(C) The national government or political subdivision of any country, where such obligations are rated investment grade; and

(D) An agency or instrumentality of any national government where such obligations are rated investment grade and are supported by the taxing authority, guarantee or full faith and credit of that government.

(ii) No member bank, under authority of this paragraph (a)(2), may hold, or be under commitment with respect to, such obligations for its own account in relation to any one country in an amount exceeding the greater of:

(A) 10 percent of its tier 1 capital; or

(B) 10 percent of the total deposits of the bank's branches in that country on the preceding year-end call report date (or the date of acquisition of the branch, in the case of a branch that has not been so reported);

 

(3) Other investments.

(i) Invest in:

(A) The securities of the central bank, clearinghouses, governmental entities other than those authorized under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, and government-sponsored development banks of the country where the foreign branch is located;

(B) Other debt securities eligible to meet local reserve or similar requirements; and

(C) Shares of automated electronic-payments networks, professional societies, schools, and the like necessary to the business of the branch;

(ii) The total investments of a bank's branches in a country under this paragraph (a)(3) (exclusive of securities held as required by the law of that country or as authorized under section 5136 of the Revised Statutes (12 U.S.C. 24, Seventh)) may not exceed 1 percent of the total deposits of the bank's branches in that country on the preceding year-end call report date (or on the date of acquisition of the branch, in the case of a branch that has not been so reported);

(4) Real estate loans. Take liens or other encumbrances on foreign real estate in connection with its extensions of credit, whether or not of first priority and whether or not the real estate has been improved;

(5) Insurance. Act as insurance agent or broker;

(6) Employee benefits program. Pay to an employee of the branch, as part of an employee benefits program, a greater rate of interest than that paid to other depositors of the branch;

(7) Repurchase agreements. Engage in repurchase agreements involving securities and commodities that are the functional equivalents of extensions of credit;

(8) Investment in subsidiaries. With the Board's prior approval, acquire all of the shares of a company (except where local law requires other investors to hold directors' qualifying shares or similar types of instruments) that engages solely in activities:

(i) In which the member bank is permitted to engage; or

(ii) That are incidental to the activities of the foreign branch.

(b) Other activities. With the Board's prior approval, engage in other activities that the Board determines are usual in connection with the transaction of the business of banking in the places where the member bank's branches transact business.

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