Description of SmartFinancial Capital Stock
DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK
The material terms and provisions of the capital stock of SmartFinancial, Inc. (the “Company” or “SMBK”) are summarized as set forth below. The following summary is not intended to be relied upon as an exhaustive list or a detailed description of the provisions discussed and is qualified in its entirety by the Tennessee Business Corporation Act (the “TBCA”) and by the Second Amended and Restated Charter (the “Charter”) and Second Amended and Restated Bylaws (as amended, the “Bylaws”) of the Company.
We are authorized to issue 42,000,000 shares of capital stock of which 40,000,000 are shares of common stock, par value $1.00 per share, and 2,000,000 are shares of preferred stock, par value $1.00 per share. As of March 9, 2022, there were 16,888,848 shares of common stock outstanding and no shares of preferred stock issued and outstanding.
General. Each share of SMBK common stock has the same relative rights as, and is identical in all respects to, each other share of SMBK common stock. SMBK’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “SMBK.”
Voting Rights; Cumulative Voting. The outstanding shares of SMBK common stock are fully paid and nonassessable. Holders of SMBK common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of the shareholders. Holders of SMBK common stock do not have preemptive rights and are not entitled to cumulative voting rights with respect to the election of directors. SMBK’s common stock is neither redeemable nor convertible into other securities, and there are no sinking fund provisions with respect to the common stock.
Subject to the preferences applicable to any shares of SMBK preferred stock outstanding at the time, holders of common stock are entitled to, in the event of liquidation, share pro rata in all assets remaining after payment of liabilities.
Board of Directors. The business of SMBK is controlled by a board of directors, which is elected by a non-cumulative vote of the common shareholders. SMBK’s bylaws provide that the power to increase or decrease the number of directors and to fill vacancies is vested in SMBK’s board of directors. The overall effect of this provision may be to prevent a person or entity from seeking to acquire control of SMBK through an increase in the number of directors on the board of directors and the election of designated nominees to fill newly created vacancies.
Dividends. Holders of SMBK common stock are entitled to receive dividends when, as and if declared by SMBK’s board of directors out of funds legally available for dividends. In order to pay any dividends, SMBK generally must receive dividends from SmartBank. Under the Tennessee Banking Act, SmartBank is subject to restrictions on the payment of dividends to SMBK. Pursuant to these laws, SmartBank may only make a dividend from the surplus profits arising from the business of the bank, and may not declare dividends in any calendar year that exceeds the total of its retained net income of that year combined with its retained net income of the preceding two years without the prior approval of the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Financial institutions (the “TDFI”). Moreover, Tennessee laws regulating SmartBank requires certain charges against and transfers from SmartBank’s undivided profit account before undivided profits can be made available for the payment of dividends. Furthermore, the TDFI also has the authority to prohibit the payment of dividends by SmartBank if it determines such payment to be an unsafe and unsound banking practice. SMBK’s ability to pay dividends to shareholders in the future will depend on its earnings and financial condition, liquidity and capital requirements, the general economic and regulatory climate, SMBK’s ability to service any equity or debt obligations senior to SMBK’s common stock and other factors deemed relevant by SMBK’s board of directors.
The principal source of funds from which SMBK pays cash dividends are the dividends received from its bank subsidiary, SmartBank. Consequently, dividends are dependent upon SmartBank’s earnings, capital needs, and regulatory policies, as well as statutory and regulatory limitations. Federal and state banking laws and regulations restrict the amount of dividends and loans a bank may make to its parent company. Approval by SMBK’s regulators
is required if the total of all dividends declared in any calendar year exceeds the total of its net income for that year combined with its retained net income of the preceding two years.
Under certain conditions, dividends paid to SMBK by SmartBank are subject to approval by the TDFI. In addition, under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act, banks may not pay a dividend if, after paying the dividend, the bank would be undercapitalized.
Preemptive Rights; Liquidation; Redemption. SMBK common stock does not carry any preemptive rights enabling a holder to subscribe for or receive shares of SMBK common stock. In the event of liquidation, holders of SMBK common stock are entitled to share in the distribution of assets remaining after payment of debts and expenses and after required payments to holders of SMBK preferred stock, if any such shares are outstanding. There are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to SMBK common stock.
Under the terms of our Charter, the Company has authorized the issuance of up to 2,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $1.00 per share, any part or all of which shares may be established and designated from time to time by the board of directors by filing an amendment to the Charter, which is effective without shareholder action. If we offer preferred stock, we will file the terms of the preferred stock with the SEC, and the prospectus supplement relating to that offering will include a description of the specific terms of the offerings. Our Charter authorizes our board of directors to establish one or more series of preferred stock, and to establish such preferences, limitations and relative rights as may be applicable to each series of preferred stock. The issuance of preferred stock and the determination of the terms of preferred stock by the board of directors, while providing flexibility in connection with possible acquisitions and other corporate purposes, could, among other things, adversely affect the voting power of the holders of our common stock. This summary does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the Amended and Restated Charter and Bylaws of SMBK and the TBCA.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC.
General. Our charter and bylaws, as well as the TBCA, contain certain provisions designed to enhance the ability of our board of directors to deal with attempts to acquire control of us. These provisions may be deemed to have an anti-takeover effect and may discourage takeover attempts which have not been approved by the board of directors (including takeovers which certain shareholders may deem to be in their best interest). To the extent that such takeover attempts are discouraged, temporary fluctuations in the market price of common stock resulting from actual or rumored takeover attempts may be inhibited. These provisions also could discourage or make more difficult a merger, tender offer or proxy contest, even though such transaction may be favorable to the interests of shareholders, and could potentially adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
The following briefly summarizes protective provisions that are contained in our charter and bylaws and which are provided by the TBCA. This summary is necessarily general and is not intended to be a complete description of all the features and consequences of those provisions and is qualified in its entirety by reference to our charter and bylaws and the statutory provisions contained in the TBCA.
Authorized but Unissued Stock. The authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock will be available for future issuance without shareholder approval. These additional shares may be used for a variety of corporate purposes, including future private or public offerings to raise additional capital, corporate acquisitions, and employee benefit plans. The existence of authorized but unissued and unreserved shares of common stock and preferred stock may enable the board of directors to issue shares to persons friendly to current management, which could render more difficult or discourage any attempt to obtain control of us by means such as a proxy contest, tender offer, or merger, and thereby protect the continuity of the company’s management.
Removal of Directors and Filling Vacancies. Our charter and bylaws provide that a director may be removed from office prior to the expiration of such director’s term only for cause at a meeting called for such purpose. Our bylaws provide that all vacancies on our board may be filled by the board of directors for the unexpired term.
Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals. Our bylaws establish advance notice procedures with regard to shareholder proposals. These procedures provide that the shareholder must submit certain information regarding the proposal, together with the proposal itself, to our corporate secretary in advance of the annual meeting. Shareholders submitting proposals for inclusion in our proxy statement must comply with the proxy rules under the Exchange Act. We may reject a shareholder proposal that is not made in accordance with such procedures.
Certain Nomination Requirements. Pursuant to our bylaws, we have established certain nomination requirements for an individual to be elected as a director at any annual or special meeting of the shareholders, including that the nominating party provide us within a specified time prior to the meeting (i) the name and address of the shareholder who intends to make the nomination and of the person or persons to be nominated; (ii) a representation that the shareholder is a holder of record of SMBK stock entitled to vote at such meeting and intends to appear in person or by proxy at the meeting to nominate the person or persons specified in the notice; (iii) a description of all arrangements or understandings between the shareholder and each nominee and any other person or persons (naming such person or persons) pursuant to which the nomination or nominations are to be made by the shareholder; (iv) such other information regarding each nominee proposed by such shareholder as would be required to be included in a proxy statement filed pursuant to the proxy rules of the SEC, had the nominee been nominated, or intended to be nominated, by the board of directors; and (v) the consent of each nominee to serve as a director of the Company if so elected. These provisions could reduce the likelihood that a third party would nominate and elect individuals to serve on our board of directors.
Business Combinations with Interested Shareholders. The Tennessee business combinations statute provides that a 10% or greater shareholder of a resident domestic corporation cannot engage in a “business combination” (as defined in the statute) with such corporation for a period of two years following the date on which the 10% shareholder became such, unless the business combination or the acquisition of shares is approved by a majority of the disinterested members of such corporation’s board of directors before the 10% shareholder’s share acquisition date. This statute further provides that at no time (even after the two-year period subsequent to such share acquisition date) may the 10% shareholder engage in a business combination with the relevant corporation unless certain approvals of the board of directors or disinterested shareholders are obtained or unless the consideration given in the combination meets certain minimum standards set forth in the statute. The law is very broad in its scope and is designed to inhibit unfriendly acquisitions, but it does not apply to corporations whose charter contains a provision electing not to be covered by the law. Our charter does not contain such a provision. An amendment of our charter to that effect would, however, permit a business combination with an interested shareholder even though that status was obtained prior to the amendment.
Indemnification. The TBCA provides that a corporation may indemnify any of its directors and officers against liability incurred in connection with a proceeding if (i) the director or officer acted in good faith, (ii) in the case of conduct in his or her official capacity with the corporation, the director or officer reasonably believed such conduct was in the corporation’s best interest, (iii) in all other cases, the director or officer reasonably believed that his or her conduct was not opposed to the best interest of the corporation, and (iv) in connection with any criminal proceeding, the director or officer had no reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful. In actions brought by or in the right of the corporation, however, the TBCA provides that no indemnification may be made if the director or officer was adjudged to be liable to the corporation. In cases where the director or officer is wholly successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any proceeding instigated because of his or her status as an officer or director of a corporation, the TBCA mandates that the corporation indemnify the director or officer against reasonable expenses incurred in the proceeding. The TBCA also provides that in connection with any proceeding charging improper personal benefit to an officer or director, no indemnification may be made if such officer or director is adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the TBCA provides that a court of competent jurisdiction, upon application, may order that an officer or director be indemnified for reasonable expenses if, in consideration of all relevant circumstances, the court determines that such individual is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification, notwithstanding the fact that (i) such officer or director was adjudged liable to the corporation in a proceeding by or in right of the corporation, (ii) such officer or director
was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received by him; or (iii) such officer or director breached his duty of care to the corporation.
The TBCA also empowers a corporation to provide insurance for directors and officers against liability arising out of their positions, even though the insurance coverage may be broader than the corporation’s power to indemnify. SMBK maintains directors’ and officers’ liability insurance for the benefit of its directors and officers.
Our bylaws provide that the company will indemnify, to the fullest extent authorized by the TBCA and applicable federal law or regulations, any person who is made a party to or is involved in any proceeding by reason of the fact that he or she is or was a director or officer of SMBK, provided that the basis of such proceeding is alleged action in an official capacity as a director or officer.
Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act may be permitted to directors, officers or persons controlling SMBK pursuant to the provisions discussed above, SMBK has been informed that in the opinion of the SEC, such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act and is, therefore, unenforceable.
Certain rules of the FDIC limit the ability of certain depository institutions, their subsidiaries and their affiliated depository institution holding companies to indemnify affiliated parties, including institution directors. In general, subject to the ability to purchase directors and officers liability insurance and to advance professional expenses under certain circumstances, the rules prohibit such institutions from indemnifying a director for certain costs incurred with regard to an administrative or enforcement action commenced by any federal banking agency that results in a final order or settlement pursuant to which the director is assessed a civil money penalty, removed from office, prohibited from participating in the affairs of an insured depository institution or required to cease and desist from or take an affirmative action described in Section 8(b) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. § 1818(b)).
In addition to certain of the provisions in our charter discussed above, the State of Tennessee has adopted statutes that can have an anti-takeover effect and may delay or prevent a tender offer or takeover attempt that a shareholder might consider in its best interest, including those attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for shares of our common stock.
Tennessee Control Share Acquisition Act. The Tennessee Control Share Acquisition Act generally provides that, except as stated below, “control shares” will not have any voting rights. Control shares are shares acquired by a person under certain circumstances which, when added to their shares owned, would give such person effective control over one-fifth or more, or a majority of all voting power (to the extent such acquired shares cause such a person to exceed one-fifth or one-third of all voting power) in the election of a Tennessee corporation’s directors. However, voting rights will be restored to control shares by resolutions approved by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the corporation’s voting stock, other than shares held by the owner of the control shares. If voting rights are granted to control shares which give the holder a majority of all voting power in the election of the corporation’s directors, then the corporation’s other shareholders may require the corporation to redeem their shares at fair value.
The Tennessee Control Share Acquisition Act is not applicable to us because our charter does not contain a specific provision “opting in” to the act, as is required.
Tennessee Investor Protection Act. The Tennessee Investor Protection Act provides that unless a Tennessee corporation’s board of directors has recommended a takeover offer to shareholders, no offeror beneficially owning 5% or more of any class of equity securities of the offeree company, any of which was purchased within the preceding year, may make a takeover offer for any class of equity security of the offeree company if after completion the offeror would be a beneficial owner of more than 10% of any class of outstanding equity securities of the company unless the offeror, before making such purchase: (1) makes a public announcement of his or her intention with respect to changing or influencing the management or control of the offeree company; (2) makes a full, fair and effective disclosure of such intention to the person from whom he or she intends to acquire such securities; and (3) files with
the Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance, or Commissioner, and the offeree company a statement signifying such intentions and containing such additional information as may be prescribed by the Commissioner.
The offeror must provide that any equity securities of an offeree company deposited or tendered pursuant to a takeover offer may be withdrawn by an offeree at any time within seven days from the date the offer has become effective following filing with the Commissioner and the offeree company and public announcement of the terms or after 60 days from the date the offer has become effective. If the takeover offer is for less than all the outstanding equity securities of any class, such an offer must also provide for acceptance of securities pro rata if the number of securities tendered is greater than the number the offeror has offered to accept and pay for. If such an offeror varies the terms of the takeover offer before its expiration date by increasing the consideration offered to offerees, the offeror must pay the increased consideration for all equity securities accepted, whether accepted before or after the variation in the terms of the offer.
The Tennessee Investor Protection Act does not apply to us, as it does not apply to bank holding companies subject to regulation by a federal agency and does not apply to any offer involving a vote by holders of equity securities of the offeree company.
TBCA. The Tennessee Business Combination Act generally prohibits a “business combination” by a company or any of our subsidiaries with an “interested shareholder” within five years after the shareholder becomes an interested shareholder. The company or any of its subsidiaries can, however, enter into a business combination within that period if, before the interested shareholder became such, the company’s board of directors approved the business combination or the transaction in which the interested shareholder became an interested shareholder. After that five-year moratorium, the business combination with the interested shareholder can be consummated only if it satisfies certain fair price criteria or is approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the other shareholders.
For purposes of these provisions of the Tennessee Business Combination Act, a “business combination” includes mergers, share exchanges, sales and leases of assets, issuances of securities, and similar transactions. An “interested shareholder” is generally any person or entity that beneficially owns 10% or more of the voting power of any outstanding class or series of our stock.
Tennessee Greenmail Act. The Tennessee Greenmail Act applies to a Tennessee corporation that has a class of voting stock registered or traded on a national securities exchange or registered with the SEC pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act. Under the Tennessee Greenmail Act, a company may not purchase any of its shares at a price above the market value of such shares from any person who holds more than 3% of the class of securities to be purchased if such person has held such shares for less than two years, unless the purchase has been approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding shares of each class of voting stock issued by the company or the company makes an offer, or at least equal value per share, to all shareholders of such class.
Bank Holding Company Act. The Bank Holding Company Act requires any “bank holding company,” as defined in the Bank Holding Company Act, to obtain the approval of the Federal Reserve Board prior to the acquisition of 5% or more of our common stock. Any person, other than a bank holding company, is required to obtain prior approval of the Federal Reserve Board to acquire 10% or more of our common stock under the Change in Bank Control Act. Any holder of 25% or more of our common stock, or a holder of 5% or more if such holder otherwise exercises a “controlling influence” over us, is subject to regulation as a bank holding company under the Bank Holding Company Act.