Bank Holding Company Act
The original law (subsequently amended), specified that the Federal Reserve Board of Governors must approve the establishment of a bank holding company, and prohibited bank holding companies headquartered in one state from acquiring a bank in another state. The law was implemented in part to regulate and control banks that had formed bank holding companies in order to own both banking and non-banking businesses. The law generally prohibited a bank holding company from engaging in most non-banking activities or acquiring voting securities of certain companies that are not banks.
The interstate restrictions of the Bank Holding Company act were repealed by the Riegle-Neal Interstate Banking and Branching Efficiency Act of 1994 (IBBEA). The IBBEA allowed interstate mergers between "adequately capitalized and managed banks, subject to concentration limits, state laws and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) evaluations." Other restrictions which prohibited bank holding companies from owning other financial institutions were repealed in 1999 by Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. In the United States, financial holding companies continue to be prohibited from owning non-financial corporations in contrast to Japan and continental Europe where this arrangement is common. Instead, private equity firms, which solicit funds and, in essence, provide commercial banking services, have taken advantage of the workaround available to acquire large ownership positions in a number of non-financial corporations, enabling the enterprise to obtain financing.
- Public Law 511, 85th Congress, Chapter 240, 2d Session, H.R. 6227: An Act to Define Bank Holding Companies, Control their Future Expansion, and Require Divestment of their Nonbanking Interests [Bank Holding Company Act of 1956]
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