On October 13, 2015, the US Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System issued guidance intended to clarify the criteria and process used by the Federal Reserve Board in determining whether to waive or to conduct pre-membership safety-and-soundness and consumer compliance examinations of insured depository institutions that are looking to either: (i) become state chartered member banks of the Federal Reserve System; or (ii) merge with another institution where a state member bank would be the surviving entity, including those with $10 billion or less in total consolidated assets. Specifically, the Federal Reserve Board stated that a state nonmember bank, national bank, or savings association seeking to convert its status to a state member bank will not generally be required to complete a safety-and-soundness or consumer compliance examination prior to the conversion if the institution seeking membership meets the criteria for “eligible bank,” as set forth in the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation H, together with certain additional safety and soundness criteria set forth in the guidance (collectively, the “eligibility criteria”). Under circumstances where an insured depository institution is looking to merge with another institution where a state member bank would be the surviving entity, a safety-and-soundness or consumer compliance examination of the insured depository institution will not be required so long as the state member bank meets all of the eligibility criteria on an existing and pro-forma basis.

The guidance is available at: http://www.federalreserve.gov/bankinforeg/srletters/SR1511.htm