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S Corp Workshop

S Corp Workshop

May 2, 2018

Authored by: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

On Monday, May 14, 2018, we will be hosting, with our friends at Porter Keadle Moore, LLC and FIG Partners, an S Corp Workshop exploring issues affecting S Corp banks following adoption of the Jobs and Tax Cuts Act.

Operating as an S Corp has historically been an appealing choice for many financial institutions that have the flexibility to be taxed in a variety of ways. In light of the recent tax reform, however, an S Corp structure may not be as beneficial as it has traditionally been in the past. Whether you’re an existing S Corp considering converting, or just want to learn more about key decision points, join us as we take a deeper dive into the mechanics and calculations as well as discuss case studies on how using this election can help you thrive in today’s dynamic business environment.

Monday, May 14
7:30 am – 5:30 pm
Office of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
One Atlantic Center, 14th Floor
1201 W. Peachtree St., N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30309

Click here for Agenda.

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Employee Stock Ownership Plans: Another Tool for Family-Owned Banks

Today’s economy presents numerous challenges to community bank profitability—compressed net interest margins, increased regulation, and management teams fatigued by the crisis. In response to these obstacles, many boards of directors are exploring new ways to reduce expenses, retain qualified management teams, and offer opportunities for liquidity to current shareholders short of a sale or merger of the institution.

For many family-owned banks, their deep roots in the community and a desire to see their banks thrive under continued family ownership into future generations can cause these challenges to be felt even more acutely. In particular, recruiting and retaining the “next generation” of management can be difficult. Cash compensation is often not competitive with the compensatory packages offered by publicly-traded institutions, and equity awards for management officials are unattractive given the limited liquidity of the underlying stock. All the while, these institutions should ensure that their owners have reasonable assurances of liquidity as needs arise or as investment preferences change. In combination, these challenges can often overwhelm a family-owned bank’s desire to remain independent.

Depending on the condition of the institution, implementing an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, may help a board address many of these challenges. While the ESOP is first a means of extending stock ownership to the institution’s employees, an ESOP can have other applications for family-owned banks.

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New Basel III Capital Rules Contain Pitfalls for S Corporation Banking Organizations

As the industry gains a greater understanding of the proposed Basel III capital rules, some management teams are identifying potential problems for their organizations in the rules. One such problem is the broad-based dividend restrictions and the consideration of how those restrictions may impact S Corporations.

Many states recognize in their banking laws and regulations that a different set of standards should apply in determining dividend restrictions for S Corporation banking institutions and their holding companies. Because the taxable income of these entities is passed through to the shareholders of the organization, it is expected that these entities will pay distributions that allow their shareholders to fund their personal tax liabilities attributable to the taxable income of the organization.

The proposed Basel III capital rules have a number of dividend restrictions. Most bankers are familiar with the dividend restrictions imposed under Prompt Corrective Action, but the new capital rules also contain dividend restrictions if the organization is not in full compliance with the requirement to maintain the required capital conservation buffer: a requirement for banking organizations to maintain common equity Tier 1 capital equal of 2.5% of total risk-weighted assets in addition to the minimum risk-based capital requirements.

If a banking organization does not maintain the full capital conservation buffer, it becomes subject to restrictions on the payment of dividends and on payments of discretionary bonuses to executive officers. These restrictions increase as the organization’s capital conservation buffer decreases, and if the organization does not maintain a capital conservation buffer of at least 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, it will be able to pay dividends of no more than 20% of its eligible retained income in dividends, subject to receiving a waiver of these restrictions from its regulators. Eligible retained income is defined as the organization’s net income for the previous four quarters, net of dividends and discretionary bonus payments to executive officers during that period.

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