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Sec. 225.103 Bank holding company acquiring stock by dividends, stock splits or exercise of rights.

(a) The Board of Governors has been asked whether a bank holding company may receive bank stock dividends or participate in bank stock splits without the Board's prior approval, and whether such a company may exercise, without the Board's prior approval, rights to subscribe to new stock issued by banks in which the holding company already owns stock.

(b) Neither a stock dividend nor a stock split results in any change in a stockholder's proportional interest in the issuing company or any increase in the assets of that company. Such a transaction would have no effect upon the extent of a holding company's control of the bank involved; and none of the five factors required by the Bank Holding Company Act to be considered by the Board in approving a stock acquisition would seem to have any application. In view of the objectives and purposes of the act, the word ``acquire'' would not seem reasonably to include transactions of this kind.

(c) On the other hand, the exercise by a bank holding company of the right to subscribe to an issue of additional stock of a bank could result in an increase in the holding company's proportional interest in the bank. The holding company would voluntarily pay additional funds for the extra shares and would ``acquire'' the additional stock even under a narrow meaning of that term. Moreover, the exercise of such rights would cause the assets of the issuing company to be increased and in a sense, therefore, the ``size or extent'' of the bank holding company system would be expanded.

(d) In the circumstances, it is the Board's opinion that receipt of bank stock by means of a stock dividend or stock split, assuming no change in the class of stock, does not require the Board's prior approval under the act, but that purchase of bank stock by a bank holding company through the exercise of rights does require the Board's prior approval, unless one of the exceptions set forth in section 3(a) is applicable.

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