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MSRB Encourages Voluntary Disclosure of Bank Loans by State and Local Governments.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board today encouraged state and local governments that issue municipal securities to make information about their bank loan financings publicly available on the MSRB's Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA[R]) website. In doing so, state and local governments would provide timely access for investors and other market participants to key information useful in making informed investment decisions.

The increased use by state and local governments of bank loans to meet funding needs has raised concerns among regulators and market participants about the amount of information available about such loans. Because bank loans generally do not require the same level of disclosure as public offerings for municipal securities, municipal bond investors and potential investors may not become aware of bank loans incurred by a state or local government or the impact of those loans on the municipal government's outstanding debt until the release of its audited financial statements. For example, investors currently do not have easy access to terms and conditions of a bank loan that may require the acceleration of debt repayment if the borrower encounters financial stress, or terms of the bank loan that create a parity or senior position with the issuer's other outstanding debt, which could negatively affect bondholders.

The MSRB believes that the availability of timely information about bank loan financings is important for market transparency and promoting a fair and efficient market. Voluntary submission of information concerning bank loan financings through EMMA would provide timely access for bondholders, potential investors and other market participants to key information useful in assessing their current holdings of municipal securities or in making investment decisions regarding potential transactions in municipal securities.

The MSRB encourages state and local governments that wish to provide disclosure, on a voluntary basis, to the marketplace regarding their bank loan financings to utilize EMMA to do so. The EMMA system is currently set up to collect other disclosures from state and local governments about their outstanding bonds and other securities, and provides a convenient vehicle for making bank loan information available to investors.

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) protects investors, issuers of municipal securities and entities whose credit stands behind municipal securities, and public pension plans by promoting a fair and efficient municipal market. The MSRB fulfills this mission by regulating securities firms, banks and municipal advisors that engage in municipal securities and advisory activities. To further protect market participants, the MSRB promotes disclosure and market transparency through its Electronic Municipal Market Access (EMMA) website, provides education and conducts extensive outreach. The MSRB has operated under Congressional mandate with oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission since 1975.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 3, 2012
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