On July 8, 2022, the Federal Reserve Board ("Board") updated "Question 3" of its frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding Regulation O, "Loans to Executive Officers, Directors, and Principal Shareholders of Member Banks." In the update, the Board clarified that a bank's payment of premiums as part of a split-dollar life insurance arrangement is not an improper extension of credit to an insider if certain conditions are met.

The update explains a split-dollar life insurance arrangement as an arrangement under which the bank is entitled to receive a prenegotiated amount from the proceeds of the insurance policy upon the death of the insured or when the insured surrenders the policy. The FAQ notes that the arrangement can take many forms—the insurance policy can be owned by the bank, the employee, or a third party.

Certain conditions must be met in order for the split-dollar life insurance arrangement not to constitute an improper extension of credit. Specifically, the arrangement is not an extension of credit when "(i) the bank is not entitled to payment in an amount greater than the premiums paid by the bank (for example, the bank is not entitled to payment of the premiums plus some assessed interest), and (ii) the insider has no independent obligation to repay the premiums to the bank, other than out of the proceeds of the insurance policy."

Reprinted with permission from the American Bar Association's Business Law Today July Month-In-Brief: Business Regulation & Regulated Industries.

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