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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Regulation AB
Item 1111

April 19, 2018

Response of the Office of Structured Finance
Division of Corporation Finance

John Harris
Senior Vice President, Head of Asset Sales & Securitization
Bank of the West
180 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California 94104


Re:

Bank of the West
Request for Interpretation under Items 1111(h) and 1125 of Regulation AB


Dear Mr. Harris:

We are responding to your request for interpretation dated April 3, 2018. To avoid having to recite or summarize the facts set forth in your request, we attach the enclosed copy of your letter. Unless otherwise noted, capitalized terms in this response letter have the same meaning as in your request.

Based on the facts and representations in your request, we concur with your interpretation that the asset-level information requirements under Items 1111(h) and 1125 of Regulation AB, in effect as of the date of this letter, do not apply to loans secured by recreational vehicles.

The foregoing interpretation is based solely on the representations and the facts presented in your request. Any different facts, representations or conditions might require the Commission or the Division of Corporation Finance to reach a different conclusion.


Sincerely,

/s/ Katherine Hsu

Katherine Hsu
Chief, Office of Structured Finance
Division of Corporation Finance


Incoming Letter:    https://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/2018/bank-of-the-west-041918-1111-incoming.pdf

The Incoming Letter is in Acrobat format.

 
Modified: 04/19/2018

https://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/2018/bank-of-the-west-041918-1111.htm

April 3, 2018
Katherine Hsu Chief, Office of Structured Finance Division of Corporation Finance Securities and Exchange Commission 100 F Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20549
Re: Release Nos. 33-9638; 34-72982; File No. S7-08-10
Application of Items 1111(h) and 1125 of Regulation AB to Recreational
Vehicle Loans
Dear Ms. Hsu:
On behalf of Bank of the West, the undersigned hereby requests confirmation that, in the view of the Staff (“Staff”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”), the asset-level information requirements under Items 1111(h) and 1125 of Regulation AB do not currently apply to loans secured by recreational vehicles (“RVs”). As more fully discussed below, the nature of RVs, the characteristics of RV loans and commentary in the Commission’s releases lead us to the conclusions that (a) RV loans do not fit into any of the asset classes for which asset-level information requirements have been adopted to date and (b) the Commission would likely group RV loans with other loans backed by “leisure craft,” which is an asset class for which the Commission has not adopted asset-level information requirements.

Bank of the West is a California banking corporation whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), and provides, among other banking products and services, RV financing to consumers directly and indirectly through RV dealers. Bank of the West has not filed, nor does it currently intend to file, a registration statement with the Commission related to the issuance of asset-backed securities (“ABS”) related to RV loans. Therefore, the interpretive guidance sought by this letter cannot be accomplished through the Commission’s registration statement comment process.

Bank of the West may in the future sponsor securitization transactions involving the issuance of ABS collateralized by RV loans in offerings (“Exempt Offerings”) that are exempt from the registration requirements of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). As an FDIC insured depository institution, Bank of the West could become subject to the FDIC’s conservator or receiver powers should the bank become insolvent. As receiver or conservator, the FDIC would have various powers under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, which may include the ability of the FDIC to repudiate the transfer of securitized assets by an insured depository institution (an “IDI”) to its related securitization vehicle. To provide investors
180 Montgomery Street, NC-MON-24-C, San Francisco, CA 94104 Tel: (415) 765-4997
with protection from this risk in appropriately structured securitizations, the FDIC in 2010 adopted a rule (the “FDIC Rule”)1 that contains several safe harbors for securitization transactions, each of which limits the power the FDIC can exercise in the insolvency of an IDI. One of the preconditions to satisfaction of an applicable safe harbor is that the securitization transaction documents require that information be made available to investors that “at a minimum, shall comply with the requirements of Regulation AB, 17 CFR 229.1100 through 1123 (to the extent then in effect) or any successor disclosure requirements for public issuances, even if the obligations are issued in a private placement or are not otherwise required to be registered.”2 Consequently, the FDIC Rule would require asset-level information disclosures for an Exempt Offering of ABS, if the ABS is backed by those asset classes specified in Items 1111(b) and 1125 of Regulation AB.

In 2010 the Commission initially proposed to apply asset-level information requirements to all securitized assets (other than credit cards, for which “grouped data” was proposed), with additional specialized data points for nine specified categories of assets: residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, automobile loans, automobile leases, equipment loans, equipment leases, student loans, floorplan financings and resecuritizations.3 This “all inclusive” regime, requiring disclosure for every type of securitized asset, was not ultimately adopted. Instead, the final rules limited asset-level information disclosure to only six asset classes,4 and they specified a tailored set of data points for each asset class.5
In departing from the proposed “all-inclusive” approach and instead limiting the asset-level information requirement to specific asset classes, the Commission noted in its adopting release that each asset class “presents its own unique considerations” and that “the mix of information needed for analysis varies from asset class to asset class.”6 Optimizing the usefulness and comparability of data points across an asset class was a point of emphasis by the Commission. One of the Commission’s justifications in adopting a standardized approach to asset-level information disclosure was to facilitate investors’ ability to compare the asset-level information of a particular pool to other ABS offerings involving similar assets, along with assessing the expected performance of a new pool based on the performance of past offerings involving similar assets. 7

Inasmuch as asset-level information is required only if the asset pool includes assets from any of the specified six asset classes, the question is whether RV loans should be considered to fit within one of those six asset classes. The only asset class that would even remotely seem to merit consideration is the one for automobile loans. While we believe that the Commission did not
1 “Treatment by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as Conservator or Receiver of Financial Assets
Transferred by an Insured Depository Institution in Connection With a Securitization or Participation,” 75 Fed.
Reg. 62087 (2010) (codified at 12 C.F.R. 360.6).
2 12 C.F.R. 360.6(b)(2)(i)(A).
3 See Asset-Backed Securities, Release No. 33-9117 (Apr. 7, 2010) [75 FR 23328].
4 Item 1111(h) (17 C.F.R. §229.1111(h)) requires asset-level information “if the asset pool includes residential
mortgages, commercial mortgages, automobile loans, automobile leases, debt securities and resecuritizations of
asset-backed securities…”
5 See Item 1125 and the Appendix to Item 1125-Schedule AL (17 C.F.R. §229.1125).
6 79 FR 57183, 57198 (Sept. 24, 2014).
7 79 FR 57183, 57202 (Sept. 24, 2014).

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intend RV loans to be grouped into the automobile loan asset class, the lack of a detailed discussion in the adopting release as to the Commission’s intended scope of the term “automobile” creates uncertainty, leading us to request interpretive guidance.8

An “automobile loan” in the ABS market is commonly understood to be a loan backed by a passenger vehicle such as a car, a light-duty truck or a sport utility vehicle. If the Commission’s intent was to encompass a broader range of vehicle types as collateral, it could have used the term “motor vehicle” (which the Commission used at an earlier point in the process, as discussed below) or another more descriptive term. The Commission’s use of the term “automobile” seems intentional and used to encompass only cars, light-duty trucks and SUVs, with one exception. That one exception is motorcycles. Although the adopting release included no substantive discussion of motorcycles,9 the array of “code descriptors” that can be selected for “vehicle type” does include “motorcycle” as a choice.10 It seems reasonable to conclude that, if the Commission intended for the automobile loan asset class to encompass more types of collateral, it would have specified those vehicle types, as it did by expressly including motorcycles.

Moreover, in the original Regulation AB adopting release, the Commission defined “motor vehicle” leases in the context of defining what constitutes an ABS, and as part of that definition, provided examples of “automobiles” when stating that automobiles are a subset of “motor vehicles.” The Commission stated that:
Motor vehicle leases for this purpose includes leases for automobiles (which includes light duty trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans), motorcycles, trucks and buses. As proposed, motor vehicle lease would not include leases for leisure craft such as watercraft or snowmobiles. 11

8 We note that the adopting release referenced RV loans, but not in the context of applying the Commission’s asset-level information disclosure regime to RV loans. The adopting release contained the following text in a footnote that was describing the basis of computation of data in a chart that showed the issuance volume in various categories of registered ABS transactions from 2004 through 2013:
“Auto loan ABS [issuance data from Asset-Backed Alert] include[s] ABS backed by auto loans, both prime and subprime, motorcycle loans, truck loans, and RV loans.”

This footnote does not, in our view, in any way support a view that the Commission intended to include RV loans in the automobile loan asset class. First, it is not a statement by the Commission of its views; rather, it is just an explanation of the types of ABS included in the table. Second, we think this sentence actually supports the view that the “Auto loan ABS” category in the chart is a combination of four different classes of ABS: auto, motorcycle, truck and RV. The “truck” category that is referenced, for example, is heavy duty trucks and trailers, which are conventionally considered to be equipment ABS, not auto loan ABS.

9 The sole reference in the adopting release to motorcycles was in footnote 66, which is discussed above. In our view, that reference also serves to separate motorcycle ABS from auto loan ABS in the common parlance.
10 See EDGAR ABS XML Technical Specifications, Version 1.7 (July 2017), Section 4.1.6. The other vehicle types specified are Car, Truck, SUV, Other and Unknown. We note that there is a code descriptor that can be selected for vehicle type of “Other.” We do not believe that this descriptor is intended to capture leisure craft such as RVs. Rather, we believe this descriptor is intended to be a catch-all descriptor for passenger vehicles types commonly understood to be automobiles (such as station wagons, mini-vans and passenger vans) that are not captured by the other enumerated descriptors.
11 See Asset-Backed Securities, Release No. 33-8518 (Dec. 22, 2004), footnote 109.

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RVs were not included as an example of an “automobile” or even a “motor vehicle” in this discussion. As discussed more fully below, RVs are not always motorized and are primarily used in leisure activities. The preceding passage seems to be a clear expression that leisure craft were not the same as, or a subset of, automobiles or motor vehicles. If RV loans are to be put into a category that is not strictly limited to RVs, we think that the “leisure craft” grouping suggested by the Commission in the foregoing passage would be an appropriate spot.

The physical characteristics of RVs and their intended use and subsequent loan performance differ from those of automobiles.

There are various sizes and types of RVs, some with motors and others of which are trailers (known in the industry as “towable RVs”) that have no motors.

Motorized RVs include the following types:
 Class A RVs are the largest RVs and can be built on bus or heavy duty truck chassis or can be purpose built models.
 Class B RVs are typically built on a standardized van chassis with a raised roof to facilitate standing or walking.
 Class C RVs (which are larger than Class B RVs) are midsize RVs typically built on heavy or medium duty truck chassis.

Towable RVs include the following types:

 Travel trailers are large portable containers constructed atop a trailer frame.
 Fifth wheels are similar to travel trailers, but feature a “gooseneck” connector that extends over the towing truck and connects from the bottom of an overhang.
 Folding and tent trailers are typically the smallest towable trailers, and feature collapsible compartments that reduce their size when towing.
 Haulers are used to store and transport small craft and equipment, such as ATVs, motorcycles and snowmobiles.
A securitized pool of RV loans could include some or all of these types of RVs, and the concentration of these types of RVs could vary from pool to pool. Approximately half of Bank of the West’s current outstanding portfolio of RV loans (based on principal balance) is comprised of towable RVs. It would be especially anomalous to seek to classify trailers as “automobiles.”

RVs are typically used for leisure activities, such as travelling or camping. While automobiles are sometimes used for leisure activities, their predominant use is to provide transportation for daily tasks, such as getting to and from work, taking children to school and running errands. Also, although ownership of, and perfection of a security in, an RV is effected via a certificate of title, similar to automobiles, there are other assets (such as farm and construction equipment, medium and heavy duty trucks, buses and manufactured homes) that are similarly

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subject to state certificate of title laws. But the Commission has not to date adopted asset-level information requirements for loans backed by such assets (other than manufactured home loans, which are considered residential mortgages).

Because of this difference in use, RV loan characteristics and performance differ from those of automobiles. For example, an RV is a luxury good rather than a necessity. So RV loan obligors are on average older and typically have more discretionary income and higher credit scores than auto loan obligors. As a result of this difference in obligor profile, a typical RV loan may be less likely to default as compared to a typical auto loan. On the other hand, if an obligor only has the ability to make a scheduled payment on his or her automobile or RV, that obligor is most likely going to keep its automobile loan current (since as discussed, above, the automobile is likely needed for life’s daily tasks and the RV is used for leisure). Also, the term of an RV loan is often 15-20 years, which is substantially longer than the term of an automobile loan (generally no more than 7 years). In addition, RVs often are more customized than automobiles and the average loan balance and loan-to-value ratio for RV loans are typically higher than for automobile loans, in part reflecting the luxury nature of the collateral and the frequent customization. If part of the Commission’s rationale for requiring standardized asset-level information disclosures is to give investors the ability to compare characteristics and forecasted performance of individual assets and pools across various deals within an asset class, then RV loans should rightfully be considered as separate from automobile loans.

Finally, in proposing the specified asset-level data points for automobile loans and leases, for example, the SEC’s adopting release stated that the data points were derived from the disclosure that had been commonly provided in auto ABS prospectuses. At the time of the 2010 proposing and 2014 adopting releases, RV loan securitizations were not an active asset class12. So it is not surprising that neither the adopting release, nor the itemized asset categories to which asset-level information disclosures apply, mention RVs. As noted in the adopting release, the Commission prioritized development of asset-level information disclosure requirements for asset classes that represented a large portion of the registered ABS market, such as mortgage loans and automobile loans and leases. 13 Since RV loans were not an active asset class at the time the Commission proposed or adopted the asset-level information disclosure requirements, and the Commission established disclosure requirements specifically for the most active asset classes in the final disclosure rules, this suggests that RV loans are not an asset class for which the Commission has established asset-level information disclosure requirements to date.

Although we believe that the disclosure of asset-level information is not currently required for securitized pools comprised of RV loans under Items 1111(h) and 1125 of Regulation AB, and RV loans are instead an asset class for which the Commission is still considering how to apply its disclosure regime (similar to equipment loans and leases, floorplan financings and student loans),
12 Although we are not aware of any securitization transactions involving RV loans since the Commission’s
adoption of the asset-level information disclosure requirements, securitization transactions completed prior to
the financial crisis that included RV loans often included marine loans in the same securitized pool. This
suggests to us that investors did not view RV loans in the same category as automobile loans, but rather viewed
them similarly to other leisure craft.
13 79 FR 57183, 57201 September 24, 2014).
5
https://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/cf-noaction/2018/bank-of-the-west-041918-1111-incoming.pdf


EX-1 3 a89018exv1.htm EXHIBIT 1

Exhibit 1

BANCWEST’S YEAR-END INCOME REVISED UPWARD BY 1%
DUE TO ACCOUNTING CHANGE

(Honolulu, Hawaii, April 1, 2003) – BancWest Corporation announced today that its 2002 net income has been revised upward by $3.7 million, or about 1%, due to a technical accounting change related to the internal financing of last year’s acquisition of United California Bank (UCB).

As a result of the accounting change:


• BancWest’s net income for the fourth quarter of 2002 was $102.3 million, up 61.2% from the same quarter of 2001 due largely to the UCB acquisition. BancWest had originally reported net income of $98.6 million for the fourth quarter.

• Net income for the full year of 2002 was $361.3 million, up 41.8% from 2001. BancWest had originally reported net income of $357.6 million for 2002, up 40.4% from 2001.


BancWest, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, is the parent company of Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank.

BancWest had initiated discussions with staff of the Securities & Exchange Commission regarding the appropriate accounting presentation for an $800 million intercompany financing between BancWest and its parent, BNP Paribas, in connection with the UCB acquisition.

On March 28, 2003, SEC staff advised BancWest that the transaction should be accounted for as debt rather than as minority interest in its subsidiary, Bank of the West, as BancWest and its independent auditors had previously concluded. The effect of this change is to increase net income for 2002 by $3.7 million, or approximately 1%.


Bancwest’s Year-End Income Revised Upward By 1%
Due To Accounting Change
Page 2

The change has caused a delay in filing BancWest’s Form 10-K. BancWest is revising its financial statements and related information accordingly and will file its Form 10-K promptly after completion of these revisions.

* * *

About BancWest: BancWest Corporation (www.bancwestcorp.com) is a bank holding company with assets of $34.7 billion. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Paris-based BNP Paribas. BancWest is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, with an administrative headquarters in San Francisco, California. BancWest serves 2.3 million customers in seven states, Guam and Saipan. Its principal subsidiaries are Bank of the West (297 branches in California, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington state and Idaho) and First Hawaiian Bank (61 branches in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan).

# # #

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/36377/000095015003000405/a89018exv1.htm

BancWest Corporation
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

Delaware
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization) 6022
(Primary Standard Industrial
Classification Code Number) 99-0156159
(IRS Employer
Identification Number)

999 Bishop St.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 525-7000
(Address, Including Zip Code, and Telephone Number, Including Area Code, of Registrant's Principal Executive Offices)

Robert S. Harrison
BancWest Corporation
999 Bishop St.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 525-7000
(Name, Address, Including Zip Code, and Telephone Number, Including Area Code, of Agent for Service)


Copies to:

Mitchell S. Eitel
Catherine M. Clarkin
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
125 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
(212) 558-4000

Lee A. Meyerson
Lesley Peng
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
425 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 455-2000

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public:
As soon as practicable after the effective date of the Registration Statement.
...

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY


This summary highlights selected information contained elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary does not contain all of the information that you should consider before deciding to invest in our common stock. You should read this entire prospectus carefully, including the sections titled "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and our audited combined financial statements and the related notes thereto, before making an investment decision.

To allow for the presentation of comparable historical data for periods prior to December 31, 2010, where indicated, we present selected financial information for First Hawaiian Bank only, which may differ in certain respects from the audited combined financial data and other financial information of First Hawaiian. For a discussion of these differences, see "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Reorganization Transactions; Basis of Presentation".

Company Overview

We are a bank holding company incorporated in the state of Delaware and headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii. Our wholly-owned bank subsidiary, First Hawaiian Bank, was founded in 1858 under the name Bishop & Company and was the first successful banking partnership in the Kingdom of Hawaii and the second oldest bank formed west of the Mississippi River. Today, First Hawaiian Bank is the largest full service bank headquartered in Hawaii as measured by assets, loans, deposits and net income. As of December 31, 2015, we had $19.4 billion of assets, $10.7 billion of gross loans, $16.1 billion of deposits and $2.7 billion of stockholder's equity and generated $213.8 million of net income for the year ended December 31, 2015.

We have a highly diversified and balanced loan portfolio that has exhibited steady organic loan growth through various economic cycles. Gross loans have grown at a 6.0% compound annual growth rate since December 31, 2005, and loan balances have increased every year since 2005 despite the Great Recession (which we define as January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009) and strong competition. We believe the strength and credit quality of our loan portfolio reflects our conservative credit-driven underwriting approach. We also have the leading deposit market share position across our branch footprint. As of June 30, 2015, we have a 36.5% deposit market share in Hawaii, a 34.9% deposit market share in Guam and a 38.4% deposit market share in Saipan according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the "FDIC").

Hawaii has been, and will continue to be, our primary market. As of December 31, 2015, 84% of our deposits and 71% of our loans were based in Hawaii and, for the year ended December 31, 2015, 67% of our originated loan commitments were in Hawaii. Hawaii is an attractive market that we believe will continue to provide steady organic growth opportunities. We pride ourselves on our deep rooted and extensive relationships within the Hawaii community. We believe these community ties coupled with the strength of our brand and market share provide an excellent long-term opportunity to continue to deliver steady growth, stable operating efficiency and consistently strong performance.

Through First Hawaiian Bank, we operate a network of 62 branches in Hawaii (57 branches), Guam (3 branches) and Saipan (2 branches). We provide a diversified range of banking services to consumer and commercial customers, including deposit products, lending services and wealth management and trust services. Through our distribution channels, we offer a variety of deposit products to our customers, including checking and savings accounts and other types of deposit accounts. We offer comprehensive commercial banking services to middle market and large Hawaii-based businesses with over $10 million of revenue, strong balance sheets and high quality collateral. We provide commercial and industrial lending, including auto dealer flooring, commercial




EXPLANATORY NOTE


BancWest Corporation, a Delaware corporation and the registrant whose name appears on the cover of this registration statement, intends to change its name to "First Hawaiian, Inc." by amending its certificate of incorporation prior to the closing of this offering. The amendment of BancWest Corporation's certificate of incorporation will occur in connection with the Reorganization Transactions described in this registration statement pursuant to which BancWest Corporation will spin off its subsidiary, Bank of the West, to an affiliate of BNP Paribas, the sole owner of BancWest Corporation. Following the Reorganization Transactions, BancWest Corporation will be renamed First Hawaiian, Inc., and First Hawaiian Bank will remain the sole direct wholly-owned subsidiary of First Hawaiian, Inc. This registration statement gives effect to the Reorganization Transactions as if they occurred on April 1, 2016, on which date we expect to complete them. The combined financial statements presented in this registration statement include the financial position, results of operations and cash flows of First Hawaiian Bank, and the financial operations, assets and liabilities of BancWest Corporation related to First Hawaiian Bank (and not to Bank of the West), all of which are under common ownership and common management, as if First Hawaiian, Inc. were a separate entity for all periods presented. We refer to the registrant as First Hawaiian, Inc. in this registration statement. ...

The underwriters expect to deliver the shares of common stock against payment on or about , 2016.


Global Joint Coordinators

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

BofA Merrill Lynch


Bookrunner

BNP PARIBAS



The date of this prospectus is , 2016.

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/36377/000091205716000518/filename1.htm