The business risk of Troubled Asset Relief Program participation

February 19, 2009 by Guest Contributor

By: Tom Hannagan

Part 2

There is one rather interesting clause that appears to represent an open-ended business porfolio risk management decision for the future. It is one small paragraph, named Amendment, in the middle of Article V – Miscellaneous, just ahead of governing law (which is federal law, backed up by the laws of the State of New York).

Amendment begins normally enough, requiring the usual signed agreement of each party, but then states: “provided that the Investor may unilaterally amend any provision of this Agreement to the extent required to comply with any changes after the Signing Date in applicable federal statutes.” Wow. My understanding of this is that if Congress in the future, enacts anything that Treasury finds (or Congress requires Treasury to find) applicable to any aspect of the previously signed TARP Agreement, the bank is bound to adhere. Forget about the non-voting aspect of the preferred shares issued to the Treasury. Once the TARP Agreement is executed by the bank, management is not only bound by what’s in the document to begin with, it is in addition, subject to future federal law as long as the TARP shares are held by the government.

So, this new major owner does have a voice. The Purchase Agreement covers what the new owner wants now and may decide it wants in the future. This a form of strategic business risk that comes with accepting the capital infusion, along with the various financial implications of the funding.