Securities Registration: Business Combination (s-4)

Date : 12/12/2019 @ 7:18PM
Source : Edgar (US Regulatory)
Stock : Southern First Bancshares Inc (SFST)
Quote : 42.4003  -0.3197 (-0.75%) @ 8:16PM

Securities Registration: Business Combination (s-4)


As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 12, 2019
Registration No. 333-

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
_______________________

FORM S-4
REGISTRATION STATEMENT
UNDER
THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
_______________________

SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

South Carolina 6022 58-2459561
(State or other (Primary Standard (IRS Employer
jurisdiction of Industrial Identification
incorporation or Classification Code Number)
organization) Number)

100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100
Greenville, South Carolina 29606
(864) 679-9000
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive
offices)
_______________________

R. Arthur Seaver, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100
Greenville, South Carolina 29607
(864) 679-9000
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)
_______________________

With copies to:
Neil E. Grayson
Benjamin A. Barnhill
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
104 South Main Street, Suite 900
Greenville, South Carolina 29601
(864) 250-2235
_______________________

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale of the securities to the public: As soon as practicable after this registration statement becomes effective.

If the securities being registered on this Form are being offered in connection with the formation of a holding company and there is compliance with General Instruction G, check the following box.

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.


Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer Accelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer Smaller Reporting Company
Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.

If applicable, place an X in the box to designate the appropriate rule provision relied upon in conducting this transaction:

Exchange Act Rule 13e-4(i) (Cross-Border Issuer Tender Offer)
Exchange Act Rule 14d-1(d) (Cross-Border Third Party Tender Offer)

_______________________

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

Proposed Proposed
maximum maximum
offering price aggregate Amount of
Title of each class of securities Amount to be per offering registration
to be registered       registered       unit(1)       price(1)       fee(2)
4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate
     Subordinated Notes due 2029 $23,000,000 100% $23,000,000 $2,985.40
(1)

Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(f) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

(2)

Calculated pursuant to Rule 457(f) under the Securities Act.

The registrant hereby amends this registration statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this registration statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act or until the registration statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.



 

THE INFORMATION IN THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT COMPLETE AND MAY BE CHANGED. A REGISTRATION STATEMENT RELATING TO THESE SECURITIES HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. WE MAY NOT COMPLETE THE EXCHANGE OFFER AND ISSUE THESE SECURITIES UNTIL THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT IS EFFECTIVE. THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THESE SECURITIES AND IT IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THESE SECURITIES, NOR SHALL THERE BE ANY SALE OF THESE SECURITIES IN ANY JURISDICTION IN WHICH SUCH OFFER, SOLICITATION OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED OR WOULD BE UNLAWFUL PRIOR TO REGISTRATION OR QUALIFICATION UNDER THE SECURITIES LAWS OF ANY SUCH JURISDICTION.

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION,
DATED DECEMBER 12, 2019

PROSPECTUS

OFFER TO EXCHANGE
______________________

$23,000,000 aggregate principal amount of
4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029
that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933
for any and all outstanding unregistered
4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029
______________________

The exchange offer will expire at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on [], 2019, unless extended.

We are offering to exchange 4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029 that have been registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), which we refer to in this prospectus as the “New Notes,” for any and all of our outstanding unregistered 4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029 that we issued in a private placement on September 30, 2019, which we refer to in this prospectus as the “Old Notes.” We are making this offer to exchange the New Notes for the Old Notes to satisfy our obligations under a registration rights agreement that we entered into with the purchasers of the Old Notes in connection with our issuance of the Old Notes to those purchasers.

We will not receive any cash proceeds from this exchange offer. The issuance of the New Notes in exchange for the Old Notes will not result in any increase in our outstanding indebtedness. Old Notes that are not exchanged for New Notes in this exchange offer will remain outstanding. The exchange offer is not subject to any minimum tender condition but is subject to certain customary conditions.

Upon expiration of the exchange offer, all Old Notes that have been validly tendered and not withdrawn will be exchanged for an equal principal amount of New Notes. The terms of the New Notes are identical in all material respects to the terms of the Old Notes, except that the New Notes are registered under the Securities Act and are generally not subject to transfer restrictions, are not entitled to registration rights under the registration rights agreement that we entered into with the initial purchasers of the Old Notes and do not have the right to additional interest under the circumstances described in that registration rights agreement relating to our fulfillment of our registration obligations. The New Notes evidence the same debt as the Old Notes and are governed by the same indenture under which the Old Notes were issued.

There is no existing public market for the Old Notes or the New Notes and we do not expect any public market to develop in the future for either the Old Notes or the New Notes. The Old Notes are not listed on any national securities exchange or quotation system and we do not intend to list the New Notes on any national securities exchange or quotation system.


You may withdraw your tender of Old Notes at any time prior to the expiration of the exchange offer. We will exchange all of the outstanding Old Notes that are validly tendered and not validly withdrawn prior to the expiration of the exchange offer for an equal principal amount of New Notes.

Each broker-dealer that receives New Notes for its own account pursuant to the exchange offer must acknowledge that it will deliver a prospectus meeting the requirements of the Securities Act in connection with any resale of such New Notes. A broker-dealer that acquired Old Notes because of market-making or other trading activities may use this prospectus, as supplemented or amended from time to time, in connection with resales of the New Notes for a period of 180 days after the completion of the exchange offer. See “Plan of Distribution.”

________________________

Investing in our securities involves certain risks. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 6, as well as the risk factors contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, and in the other reports filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission and incorporated by reference into this prospectus.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission or regulatory body has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of the disclosure in this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

The securities to be exchanged are not savings accounts, deposits or obligations of any bank and are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency.

________________________

The date of this prospectus is [], 2019.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

      Page
ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS i
WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION ii
INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE ii
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS iii
SUMMARY 1
RISK FACTORS 6
USE OF PROCEEDS 14
THE EXCHANGE OFFER 14
DESCRIPTION OF THE NOTES 22
CERTAIN UNITED STATES FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS 39
PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION 39
LEGAL MATTERS 40
EXPERTS 40

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

This prospectus is a part of a registration statement that we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) under the Securities Act. This prospectus does not contain all the information set forth in the registration statement, certain parts of which are omitted in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEC. For further information with respect to us, the exchange offer and the securities offered by this prospectus, reference is made to the registration statement, including the exhibits to the registration statement and the documents incorporated by reference.

We are providing this prospectus to holders of Old Notes in connection with our offer to exchange Old Notes for New Notes. We are not making this exchange offer in any jurisdiction where the exchange offer is not permitted.

You should rely only on the information contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus and in the accompanying exchange offer transmittal documents filed by us with the SEC. We have not authorized any other person to provide you with any other information. We take no responsibility for, and provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. You should not assume that the information contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus is accurate as of any date other than the date of the applicable document that contains that information. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.

You should not consider any information in this prospectus to be investment, legal or tax advice. You should consult your own counsel, accountant and other advisors for legal, tax, business, financial and related advice regarding the exchange offer and ownership of these securities.

Each broker-dealer that receives New Notes for its own account in exchange for Old Notes acquired by the broker-dealer as a result of market-making or other trading activities must acknowledge that it will deliver a prospectus meeting the requirements of the Securities Act in connection with any resale of such New Notes. This prospectus, as it may be amended or supplemented from time to time, may be used by a participating broker-dealer in connection with resales of New Notes received in exchange for Old Notes. We have agreed in the letter of transmittal to make this prospectus, as amended or supplemented, available to any such broker-dealer that requests copies of this prospectus for use in connection with any such resale. See “Plan of Distribution.”

References in this prospectus to “we,” “us,” “our,” “Southern First” or the “Company” refer to Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and its subsidiaries, unless the context otherwise requires. References in this prospectus to the “Bank” refer to Southern First Bank, a South Carolina commercial bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company.

i


WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

We are subject to the informational requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and therefore we file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements, and other documents with the SEC. The SEC maintains a website at https://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxies, information statements, and other information regarding registrants, including us, that file electronically with the SEC. We also maintain a website at https://www.southernfirst.com; however, the information contained on our website does not constitute part of this prospectus.

We have filed with the SEC a registration statement on Form S-4 relating to the New Notes and the exchange offer. This prospectus is a part of the registration statement and, as permitted by SEC rules, does not contain all of the information in the registration statement. The registration statement, including the exhibits thereto, contains additional relevant information about us, the New Notes and the exchange offer.

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference in this prospectus the information in other documents that we file with it, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. The information incorporated by reference is considered to be part of this prospectus, and information that we file later with the SEC that is incorporated by reference in this prospectus will automatically update and supersede information contained in documents filed earlier with the SEC or contained in this prospectus. We incorporate by reference the following documents we have filed with the SEC and the future filings we make with the SEC under Section 13(a), 13(c), 14, or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, after the date of this prospectus until the date we complete the exchange offer (in each case excluding any information furnished and not filed according to SEC rules, such as information furnished pursuant to Item 2.02 or Item 7.01 on any Current Report on Form 8-K):

our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018;
 
our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2019, June 30, 2019, and September 30, 2019;
 
our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed on February 6, 2019, May 22, 2019, July 30, 2019, August 6, 2019, and September 30, 2019;
 
the portions of our Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A, filed April 8, 2019, that are incorporated by reference into our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

Holders of the Old Notes may request a copy of these filings, at no cost, by contacting us at the following address or telephone number:

Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
Attention: Corporate Secretary
100 Verdae Blvd., Suite 100
Greenville, South Carolina 29607
Telephone: (864) 679-9000

To ensure timely delivery of any requested information, holders of the Old Notes must make any request no later than [], 2019, which is five business days before the expiration date of the exchange offer, or, if we decide to extend the expiration date of the exchange offer, no later than five business days before such extended expiration date.

ii


CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus, including the documents that we incorporate by reference herein, contains forward-looking statements about the Company that are intended to be subject to the safe harbors created under U.S. federal securities laws. The use of words such as “may”, “will”, “anticipate”, “assume”, “should”, “indicate”, “would”, “believe”, “contemplate”, “expect”, “estimate”, “continue”, “plan”, “point to”, “project”, “could”, “can”, “might”, “intend”, “target”, and other similar words and expressions, generally identify forward-looking statements; however, these words are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts.

By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks, and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual conditions, events, or results to differ significantly from those described in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, those contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, which is incorporated by reference in this prospectus, including those discussed under “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” as well as those discussed in any subsequent filings of the Company that are incorporated in this prospectus by reference. See “Where You Can Find More Information” and “Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference” for information about how to obtain copies of our filings with the SEC. For a discussion of significant risk factors that apply to the exchange offer and the notes, see “Risk Factors” beginning on page 6 of this prospectus.

Potential risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those described below:

Restrictions or conditions imposed by our regulators on our operations;
Increases in competitive pressure in the banking and financial services industries;
Changes in access to funding or increased regulatory requirements with regard to funding;
Changes in deposit flows;
Credit losses as a result of declining real estate values, increasing interest rates, increasing unemployment, changes in payment behavior or other factors;
Credit losses due to loan concentration;
Changes in the amount of our loan portfolio collateralized by real estate and weaknesses in the real estate market;
Our ability to successfully execute our business strategy;
Our ability to attract and retain key personnel;
The success and costs of our expansion into the Greensboro, North Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia markets;
Changes in the interest rate environment which could reduce anticipated or actual margins;
Changes in political conditions or the legislative or regulatory environment, including governmental initiatives affecting the financial services industry;
Changes in economic conditions resulting in, among other things, a deterioration in credit quality;
Changes occurring in business conditions and inflation;
Increased cybersecurity risk, including potential business disruptions or financial losses;
Changes in technology;
The adequacy of the level of our allowance for loan losses and the amount of loan loss provisions required in future periods;
Examinations by our regulatory authorities, including the possibility that the regulatory authorities may, among other things, require us to increase our allowance for loan losses or write-down assets;
Changes in monetary and tax policies;
The rate of delinquencies and amounts of loans charged-off;
The rate of loan growth in recent years and the lack of seasoning of a portion of our loan portfolio;
Our ability to maintain appropriate levels of capital and to comply with our capital ratio requirements;
Adverse changes in asset quality and resulting credit risk-related losses and expenses;
Changes in accounting policies and practices; and
Other risks and uncertainties detailed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and, from time to time, in our other filings with the SEC.

iii


If any of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if any of the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements proves to be incorrect, our results could differ materially from those expressed in, implied or projected by, such forward-looking statements. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates they are made. Except to the extent required by applicable law or regulation, we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this prospectus or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

iv



SUMMARY

This summary highlights selected information appearing elsewhere, or incorporated by reference, in this prospectus and is, therefore, qualified in its entirety by the more detailed information appearing elsewhere, or incorporated by reference, in this prospectus. It may not contain all of the information that may be important to you in deciding to exchange your Old Notes for New Notes. We urge you to read carefully this entire prospectus and the other documents to which it refers to understand fully the terms of the New Notes and the exchange offer. You should pay special attention to the “Risk Factors” and the “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”

Southern First Bancshares, Inc.

We are a bank holding company organized in 1999 and headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina. We serve as the bank holding company for Southern First Bank, which began operations in 2000. Through our bank, we offer a wide range of traditional banking products and services to individuals and small to mid-size businesses throughout our primary market areas of Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston, South Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, and Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina including commercial and consumer loan and deposit services, as well as mortgage services. We serve these markets with a client-focused structure called relationship teams, which provides each client with a specific banker contact and support team responsible for all of the client’s banking needs. The purpose of this structure is to provide a consistent and superior level of professional service, and we believe it provides us with a distinct competitive advantage. Our principal executive offices are located at 100 Verdae Boulevard, Suite 100, Greenville, South Carolina 29607. Our telephone number is (864) 679-9000. We maintain a website at https://www.southernfirst.com; however, the information contained on our website does not constitute part of this prospectus. As of September 30, 2019, the Company had total assets of approximately $2.2 billion, total loans of approximately $1.8 billion, total deposits of approximately $1.9 billion, and total shareholders’ equity of $198.5 million.

Summary of the Exchange Offer

The following provides a summary of certain terms of the exchange offer. Please refer to the section “The Exchange Offer” appearing elsewhere in this prospectus for a more complete description of the exchange offer and the section “Description of the Notes” for a more complete description of the terms of the Old Notes and New Notes.

Old Notes         $23,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of 4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029.
     
New Notes Up to $23,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of 4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029 which have terms that are identical in all material respects to the terms of the Old Notes, except that the New Notes are registered under the Securities Act and are generally not subject to transfer restrictions, are not entitled to registration rights under the registration rights agreement and do not have the right to additional interest under the circumstances described in the registration rights agreement relating to our fulfillment of our registration obligations.
     
Exchange Offer We are offering to exchange the New Notes for a like principal amount of Old Notes. Subject to the terms of this exchange offer, promptly following the termination of the exchange offer, we will exchange New Notes for all Old Notes that have been validly tendered and not validly withdrawn prior to the expiration of the exchange offer.
     
Expiration Date The exchange offer will expire at 11:59 p.m., New York City time, on [], 2019, unless extended.

1





Withdrawal Rights         You may withdraw the tender of your Old Notes at any time before the expiration date.
     
Conditions to Exchange Offer This exchange offer is subject to customary conditions, which we may waive. See “The Exchange Offer—Conditions.”
     
Procedures for Tendering Old
Notes
Since the Old Notes are each represented by a physical note that is registered in the initial purchaser’s name, each beneficial holder of an Old Note must transmit a properly completed and duly executed letter of transmittal, the physical note, and all other documents required by the letter of transmittal to UMB Bank, National Association, the exchange agent, at its address listed under “The Exchange Offer—Exchange Agent.”

Please note that by signing, or agreeing to be bound by, the letter of transmittal, you will be making a number of important representations to us. See “The Exchange Offer—Eligibility; Transferability.”

     
Certain United States Federal
Income Tax Considerations
The exchange of Old Notes for New Notes in the exchange offer generally should not constitute a taxable event for U.S. federal income tax purposes. See “Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.” You should consult your own tax advisor as to the tax consequences of exchanging your Old Notes for New Notes.
     
Registration Rights Under the terms of the registration rights agreement that we entered into with the initial purchasers of the Old Notes at the time we issued the Old Notes, we agreed to register the New Notes and undertake this exchange offer. This exchange offer is intended to satisfy the rights of holders of Old Notes under that registration rights agreement. After the exchange offer is completed, we will have no further obligations, except under certain limited circumstances, to provide for any exchange or undertake any further registration with respect to the Old Notes.
     
Transferability Based upon existing interpretations of the Securities Act by the staff of the SEC contained in several no-action letters issued to third parties, we believe that the New Notes may be offered for resale, resold or otherwise transferred by you without compliance with the registration and prospectus delivery requirements of the Securities Act, provided that:
     
you are acquiring the New Notes in the ordinary course of your business;
you are not participating or engaged in, do not intend to participate or engage in, and have no arrangement or understanding with any person to participate in, the distribution of the New Notes issued to you;
you are not an “affiliate” of ours within the meaning of Rule 405 under the Securities Act; and
you are not acting on behalf of any person who could not truthfully make these statements.
     
Our belief that transfers of New Notes would be permitted without registration or prospectus delivery under the conditions described above is based on interpretations by the staff of the SEC given to other, unrelated issuers in similar exchange offers. The staff of the SEC has not considered this exchange offer in the context of a no-action letter, and we cannot assure you that the staff of the SEC would make a similar interpretation with respect to our exchange offer.

2





       

If our belief is not accurate and you transfer a New Note without delivering a prospectus meeting the requirements of the Securities Act or without an exemption from such requirements, you may incur liability under the Securities Act. We do not and will not assume, or indemnify you against, such liability.

Each broker-dealer that receives New Notes for its own account under the exchange offer in exchange for Old Notes that were acquired by the broker-dealer as a result of market-making or other trading activity must acknowledge that it will deliver a prospectus meeting the requirements of the Securities Act in connection with any resale of the New Notes.

See “The Exchange Offer—Eligibility; Transferability” and “Plan of Distribution.”

     
Consequences of Failing to
Exchange Old Notes
Any Old Notes that are not exchanged in the exchange offer will continue to be governed by the indenture relating to the Old Notes and the terms of the Old Notes. Old Notes that are not exchanged will remain subject to the restrictions on transfer described in the Old Notes, and you will not be able to offer or sell the Old Notes except under an exemption from the requirements of the Securities Act or unless the Old Notes are registered under the Securities Act. Upon the completion of the exchange offer, we will have no further obligations, except under limited circumstances, to provide for registration of the Old Notes under the U.S. federal securities laws. If you do not participate in the exchange offer, the liquidity of your Old Notes could be adversely affected. See “The Exchange Offer—Consequences of Failure to Exchange.”
     
Use of Proceeds We will not receive any cash proceeds from the exchange of Old Notes for New Notes as a result of the exchange offer.
     
Cancellation of Exchanged Old
Notes
Old Notes that are surrendered in exchange for New Notes will be retired and cancelled by us upon receipt and will not be reissued. Accordingly, the issuance of the New Notes under this exchange offer will not result in any increase in our outstanding indebtedness.
     
Exchange Agent UMB Bank, National Association is serving as the exchange agent for this exchange offer. See “The Exchange Offer—Exchange Agent” for the address and telephone number of the exchange agent.

Summary of the New Notes

The following provides a summary of certain terms of the New Notes. The New Notes have terms that are identical in all material respects to the terms of the Old Notes, except that the New Notes are registered under the Securities Act and are generally not subject to transfer restrictions, are not entitled to registration rights under the registration rights agreement and do not have the right to additional interest under the circumstances described in the registration rights agreement relating to our fulfillment of our registration obligations. The New Notes will evidence the same debt as the Old Notes and will be governed by the same indenture under which the Old Notes were issued. Please refer to the section “Description of the Notes” for a more complete description of the terms of the New Notes. References in this prospectus to the “notes” include both the Old Notes and the New Notes unless otherwise specified or the context otherwise requires.

3





Issuer         Southern First Bancshares, Inc.
     
Securities Offered 4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029.
     
Aggregate Principal Amount Up to $23,000,000.
     
Maturity Date September 30, 2029, unless previously redeemed.
     
Form and Denomination The New Notes will be issued only in fully registered form without interest coupons, in minimum denominations of $1,000 and any integral multiple of $1,000 in excess thereof. Unless otherwise required for institutional accredited investors, the New Notes will be evidenced by a  global note deposited with the trustee for the New Notes, as custodian for The Depository Trust Company, or DTC, and transfers of beneficial interests will be facilitated only through records maintained by DTC and its participants.
     
Interest Rate and Interest Rate Payment Dates During Fixed-Rate Period From and including September 30, 2019 to but excluding September 30, 2024 or any earlier redemption date, the New Notes will bear interest at a fixed rate equal to 4.75% per year, payable semi-annually in arrears on March 30 and September 30 of each year, beginning on March 30, 2020.
     
Interest Rate and Interest Rate Payment Dates During Floating-Rate Period

From and including September 30, 2024 to but excluding the maturity date or earlier redemption date, the New Notes will bear interest at an annual floating rate, reset quarterly, equal to a benchmark rate (which is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR) plus 340.8 basis points, payable quarterly in arrears on March 30, June 30, September 30 and December 30 of each year commencing on September 30, 2024.

See “Description of the Notes—Principal, Maturity and Interest” for the definition of Three-Month Term SOFR, a description of the method of its determination, and the alternative methods for determining the applicable floating interest rate for the notes to the extent that Three-Month Term SOFR is discontinued, is no longer quoted, or is found by the regulatory supervisor of the administrator of the rate to be no longer representative.

     
Day Count Convention 30-day month/360-day year to but excluding September 30, 2024, and thereafter, a 360-day year and the number of days actually elapsed.
     
Record Dates Each interest payment will be made to the holders of record who held the New Notes at the close of business on the fifteenth calendar day prior to the applicable interest payment date.
     
Subordination; Ranking The New Notes will be our general unsecured, subordinated obligations and:
     
will rank junior in right of payment to all of our existing and future senior indebtedness (as defined herein);
will rank equally in right of payment with all of our existing and future unsecured subordinated indebtedness; and
will be effectively subordinated to all of the existing and future indebtedness, liabilities and other obligations of the Bank and our other current and future subsidiaries, including without limitation the Bank’s deposit liabilities and claims of other creditors of the Bank.

4





Optional Redemption      
We may, at our option, redeem the New Notes (i) in whole or in part, beginning with the interest payment date of September 30, 2024 and on any interest payment date thereafter and (ii) in whole but not in part, at any time upon the occurrence of a Tier 2 Capital Event, Tax Event or an Investment Company Event (each as described in “Description of the Notes—Redemption”).

Any redemption of the New Notes will be subject to prior approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, to the extent such approval is then required. Any redemption of the New Notes will be at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the New Notes being redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the date of redemption.

The New Notes are not subject to repayment at the option of the holders and there is no sinking fund for the New Notes.

   
No Limitations on Indebtedness The terms of the New Notes do not limit the amount of additional indebtedness the Company, the Bank or any of our respective subsidiaries may incur or the amount of other obligations ranking senior or equal to the New Notes that we may incur.
 
Limited Indenture Covenants
The indenture governing the New Notes contains no financial covenants requiring us to achieve or maintain any minimum financial results relating to our financial position or results of operations or meet or exceed any financial ratios as a general matter or in order to incur additional indebtedness or obligations or to maintain any reserves.

Moreover, neither the indenture nor the New Notes contain any covenants prohibiting us from, or limiting our right to, grant liens on our assets to secure our indebtedness or other obligations that are senior in right of payment to the New Notes, to repurchase our stock or other securities, including any of the New Notes, or to pay dividends or make other distributions to our shareholders (except, in the case of dividends or other distributions on junior securities, upon our failure to timely pay the principal of or interest on the New Notes, when the same becomes due and payable).

 
Listing; No Public Market The New Notes are a new issue of securities with no established trading market and we do not expect any public market to develop in the future for the New Notes. We do not intend to list the New Notes on any national securities exchange or quotation system.
 
Risk Factors
See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 6 of this prospectus, as well as in our reports filed with the SEC, and other information included or incorporated by reference in this prospectus for a discussion of factors you should consider carefully before deciding to participate in the exchange offer.
 
Trustee UMB Bank, National Association, or successor if replaced in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Indenture.
 
Governing Law
The indenture and the New Notes will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York.

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RISK FACTORS

In consultation with your own advisors, you should carefully consider, among other matters, the factors set forth below as well as the other information included or incorporated by reference in this prospectus before deciding whether to participate in the exchange offer. In particular, you should carefully consider, among other things, the factors described under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, which is incorporated herein by reference, as updated by our subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. If any of the risks contained in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus develop into actual events, our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected, the value of the New Notes could decline, our ability to repay the New Notes may be impaired, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Some statements in this prospectus, including statements in the following risk factors, constitute forward-looking statements. See the “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” section in this prospectus.

Risks Related to our Business

For a discussion of certain risks applicable to our business and operations, please refer to the section entitled “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

Risks Related to the Exchange Offer

If you do not properly tender your Old Notes, you will continue to hold unregistered Old Notes and your ability to transfer Old Notes will be adversely affected.

We will only issue New Notes in exchange for Old Notes that you timely and properly tender. Therefore, you should allow sufficient time to ensure timely delivery of the Old Notes and you should carefully follow the instructions on how to tender your Old Notes. Neither we nor the exchange agent are required to tell you of any defects or irregularities with respect to your tender of Old Notes. See “The Exchange Offer—Procedures for Tendering Old Notes.”

If you do not exchange your Old Notes for New Notes in the exchange offer, you will continue to be subject to the restrictions on transfer of your Old Notes described in the legend on the certificates for your Old Notes. In general, you may only offer or sell the Old Notes if they are registered under the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws, or you offer and sell under an exemption from these requirements. We do not plan to register any sale of the Old Notes under the Securities Act.

The tender of Old Notes under the exchange offer will reduce the principal amount of the Old Notes outstanding, which may have an adverse effect upon, and increase the volatility of, the market price of the Old Notes due to reduction in liquidity.

You may not receive New Notes in the exchange offer if you do not properly follow the exchange offer procedures.

We will issue New Notes in exchange for your Old Notes only if you properly tender the Old Notes before expiration of the exchange offer. Neither we nor the exchange agent are required to tell you of any defects or irregularities with respect to your tender of Old Notes. If you are the beneficial holder of Old Notes that are held through your broker, dealer, commercial bank, trust company or other nominee, and you wish to tender such Old Notes in the exchange offer, you should promptly contact the person through whom your Old Notes are held and instruct that person to tender on your behalf in accordance with the procedures described in this prospectus and the accompanying transmittal letter.

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Some holders who exchange their Old Notes may be deemed to be underwriters.

Based on interpretations of the staff of the SEC contained in certain no action letters addressed to other parties, we believe that you may offer for resale, resell or otherwise transfer the New Notes without compliance with the registration and prospectus delivery requirements of the Securities Act. However, in some instances described in this prospectus under “Plan of Distribution,” certain holders of New Notes will remain obligated to comply with the registration and prospectus delivery requirements of the Securities Act to transfer the New Notes. If such a holder transfers any New Notes without delivering a prospectus meeting the requirements of the Securities Act or without an applicable exemption from registration under the Securities Act, such a holder may incur liability under the Securities Act. We do not and will not assume, or indemnify such a holder against, such liability.

Risks Related to the Notes

The notes are unsecured and subordinated to our existing and future senior indebtedness.

Although the New Notes will rank on par with the Old Notes, the notes will be unsecured, subordinated obligations of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and, consequently, will rank junior in right of payment to all of our secured and unsecured “senior indebtedness” now existing or that we incur in the future, as described under “Description of the Notes—Subordination.” As a result, upon any payment or distribution of assets to creditors in the case of liquidation, dissolution, winding up, reorganization, assignment for the benefit of creditors or any bankruptcy, insolvency or similar proceeding, the holders of the senior indebtedness will be entitled to have the senior indebtedness paid in full prior to the holders of the notes receiving any payment of principal of, or interest on, the notes.

As of September 30, 2019, the Company and our consolidated subsidiaries had outstanding indebtedness, total liabilities of $2.0 billion, all but $13.4 million of which would rank structurally senior to the notes. As of September 30, 2019, the Bank had $2.0 billion in aggregate principal amount of senior indebtedness outstanding on a consolidated basis, which consisted entirely of the outstanding indebtedness, total deposits and other liabilities of the Bank and its subsidiaries. The notes do not limit the amount of additional indebtedness or senior indebtedness that we or any of our subsidiaries, including the Bank, may incur. Accordingly, in the future, we and our subsidiaries may incur other indebtedness, which may be substantial in amount, including senior indebtedness, indebtedness ranking equally with the notes and indebtedness ranking effectively senior to the notes, as applicable. Any additional indebtedness and liabilities that we and our subsidiaries incur may adversely affect our ability to pay our obligations on the notes.

As a consequence of the subordination of the notes to our existing and future senior indebtedness, an investor in the notes may lose all or some of its investment upon our liquidation, dissolution, winding up, reorganization, assignment for the benefit of creditors or any bankruptcy, insolvency or similar proceeding. In such an event, our assets would be available to pay the principal of, and any accrued and unpaid interest on, the notes only after all of our senior indebtedness had been paid in full. In such an event, any of our other general, unsecured obligations that do not constitute senior indebtedness, depending upon their respective preferences, will share pro rata in our remaining assets after we have paid all of our senior indebtedness in full.

The notes are obligations only of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and not obligations of the Bank or any of our other subsidiaries and will be effectively subordinated to the existing and future indebtedness, deposits of the Bank, and other liabilities of the Bank and our other subsidiaries.

The notes are obligations solely of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and are not obligations of the Bank or any of our other subsidiaries. The Bank and our other subsidiaries are separate and distinct legal entities from Southern First Bancshares, Inc. The rights of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and the rights of its creditors, including the holders of the notes, to participate in any distribution of the assets of the Bank or any other subsidiary (either as a shareholder or as a creditor) upon an insolvency, bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution, winding up or similar proceeding of the Bank or such other subsidiary (and the consequent right of the holders of the notes to participate in those assets after repayment of our existing or future senior indebtedness), will be subject to the claims of the creditors of the Bank, including depositors of the Bank, or such other subsidiary. Accordingly, the notes are effectively subordinated to all of the existing and future indebtedness, deposits and other liabilities and preferred equity of the Bank and our other subsidiaries, to the extent that those liabilities, including deposit liabilities, equal or exceed their respective assets.

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The notes do not limit the amount of indebtedness or other liabilities that the Bank or any of our other subsidiaries may incur, all of which would rank structurally senior to the notes. Any additional indebtedness and liabilities that our subsidiaries incur may adversely affect our ability to pay our obligations on the notes.

The notes include limited covenants and do not restrict our ability to incur additional debt.

The notes do not contain any financial covenants that would require us to achieve or maintain any minimum financial results relating to our financial condition, liquidity or results of operations or meet or exceed certain financial ratios as a general matter or to incur additional indebtedness or obligations or to maintain any reserves. Moreover, the notes do not contain any covenants prohibiting us or our subsidiaries from, or limiting our or our subsidiaries’ right to, grant liens on assets to secure indebtedness or other obligations, to repurchase our stock or other securities, including any of the notes, or to pay dividends or make other distributions to our shareholders. The notes do not contain any provision that would provide protection to the holders of the notes against a material decline in our credit quality.

In addition, the notes do not limit the amount of additional indebtedness the Company, the Bank or any of our other subsidiaries may incur or the amount of other obligations that the Company or the Bank may incur ranking senior or equal to the indebtedness evidenced by the notes. The issuance or guarantee of any such securities or the incurrence of any such other liabilities may reduce the amount, if any, recoverable by holders of the notes in the event of our insolvency, bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution, winding up or similar proceeding, and may limit our ability to meet our obligations under the notes.

To service our debt, we will require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate cash depends on many factors.

Our ability to make payments on or to refinance our indebtedness, including our ability to meet our obligations under the notes, and to fund our operations depends on our ability to generate cash and our access to the capital markets in the future. These will depend on our financial and operating performance, which, to a certain extent, are subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory, capital market conditions and other factors that are beyond our control. If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we may be unable to obtain new financing or to fund our obligations to our customers and business partners, implement our business plans, sell assets, seek additional capital or restructure or refinance our indebtedness, including the notes. As a result, we may be unable to meet our obligations under the notes. In the absence of sufficient capital resources, we could face substantial liquidity problems and might be required to dispose of material assets or operations to meet debt service and other obligations. We may not be able to consummate those dispositions of assets or to obtain the proceeds that they could realize from them and these proceeds may not be adequate to meet any debt service obligations then due, including obligations under the notes. Additionally, the Company’s ability to service its debt is dependent, in part, on the receipt of dividends, fees, and interest paid to it by the Bank. While these payments are expected to continue in the future, there are statutory limits under South Carolina law on the amount of dividends that the Bank can pay to its parent company without regulatory approval. Unless otherwise instructed by the South Carolina Board of Financial Institutions (“SCBFI”), the Bank is generally permitted under South Carolina state banking regulations to pay cash dividends of up to 100% of net income in any calendar year without obtaining the prior approval of the SCBFI. The FDIC also has the authority under federal law to enjoin a bank from engaging in what in its opinion constitutes an unsafe or unsound practice in conducting its business, including the payment of a dividend under certain circumstances. At September 30, 2019, the Bank was eligible for payment of dividends under the exemptive criteria established by SCBFI and could have declared and paid to the holding company $21.2 million of its net income without approval by the SCBFI.

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The notes are subject to limited rights of acceleration.

Payment of principal of the notes may be accelerated only in the case of certain bankruptcy-related events with respect to us. As a result, you have no right to accelerate the payment of principal of the notes if we fail to pay principal of or interest on the notes or if we fail in the performance of any of our other obligations under the notes.

The amount of interest payable on the notes will vary beginning September 30, 2024, and interest after that date may be less than the initial fixed annual rate of 4.75% in effect until September 30, 2024.

From and including September 30, 2024 to but excluding the maturity date or early redemption date, the interest rate on the notes shall reset quarterly to an interest rate per annum equal to a benchmark rate (which is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR) plus 340.8 basis points, payable quarterly in arrears. Because the expected benchmark rate, Three-Month Term SOFR, is a floating rate, the interest rate on the notes will vary beginning September 30, 2024. The floating rate may be volatile over time and could be substantially less than the fixed rate. This could result in holders of the notes experiencing a decline in their receipt of interest. We have no control over a number of factors that may affect market interest rates, including geopolitical conditions and economic, financial, political, regulatory, judicial or other events that affect the markets generally and that are important in determining the existence, magnitude and longevity of market rate risk.

The Secured Overnight Financing Rate, otherwise referred to as SOFR, is a relatively new market index and the Three-Month Term SOFR is currently being developed.

Under the terms of the notes, the interest on the notes during the floating-rate interest period is expected to be based on Three-Month Term SOFR, a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months that will be based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, otherwise referred to as SOFR. Three-Month Term SOFR does not currently exist and is being developed under the sponsorship of the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (the “ARRC”) convened by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve”) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the “FRBNY”). There is no assurance that the development of Three-Month Term SOFR will be completed and selected or recommended by the ARRC.

Investors should not rely on indicative or historical data concerning the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, otherwise referred to as SOFR.

The Secured Overnight Financing Rate is intended to be a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities. FRBNY reports that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate includes all trades in the Broad General Collateral Rate, plus bilateral U.S. Treasury repurchase agreement (“repo”) transactions cleared through the delivery-versus-payment service offered by the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (the “FICC”), a subsidiary of The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (“DTCC”). The Secured Overnight Financing Rate is filtered by FRBNY to remove a portion of the foregoing transactions considered to be “specials”. According to FRBNY, “specials” are repos for specific-issue collateral which take place at cash-lending rates below those for general collateral repos because cash providers are willing to accept a lesser return on their cash in order to obtain a particular security.

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FRBNY reports that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is calculated as a volume-weighted median of transaction-level tri-party repo data collected from The Bank of New York Mellon, which currently acts as the clearing bank for the tri-party repo market, as well as General Collateral Finance Repo transaction data and data on bilateral U.S. Treasury repo transactions cleared through the FICC’s delivery-versus-payment service. FRBNY states that it obtains information from DTCC Solutions LLC, an affiliate of DTCC.

FRBNY currently publishes the Secured Overnight Financing Rate daily on its website at https://apps.newyorkfed.org/markets/autorates/sofr. FRBNY states on its publication page for the Secured Overnight Financing Rate that use of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is subject to important disclaimers, limitations and indemnification obligations, including that FRBNY may alter the methods of calculation, publication schedule, rate revision practices or availability of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate at any time without notice.

FRBNY started publishing the Secured Overnight Financing Rate in April 2018. FRBNY has also started publishing historical indicative Secured Overnight Financing Rates dating back to 2014, although such historical indicative data inherently involves assumptions, estimates and approximations. Investors should not rely on such historical indicative data or on any historical changes or trends in the Secured Overnight Financing Rate as an indicator of the future performance of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate. Since the initial publication of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, daily changes in the rate have, on occasion, been more volatile than daily changes in comparable benchmark or market rates, and the Secured Overnight Financing Rate over time may bear little or no relation to the historical actual or historical indicative data.

Changes in the Secured Overnight Financing Rate could adversely affect holders of the notes.

Because the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is published by FRBNY based on data received from other sources, we have no control over its determination, calculation or publication. There can be no assurance that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate will not be discontinued or fundamentally altered in a manner that is materially adverse to the interests of investors in the notes. If the manner in which the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is calculated is changed, it could adversely affect the return on, value of and market for the notes.

The Secured Overnight Financing Rate differs fundamentally from, and may not be a comparable substitute for, U.S. dollar LIBOR.

In June 2017, the ARCC convened by the Federal Reserve and FRBNY announced the Secured Overnight Financing Rate as its recommended alternative to the London interbank offered rate for U.S. dollar obligations (“U.S. dollar LIBOR”). However, because the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is a broad U.S. Treasury repo financing rate that represents overnight secured funding transactions, it differs fundamentally from U.S. dollar LIBOR. For example, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is a secured overnight rate, while U.S. dollar LIBOR is an unsecured rate that represents interbank funding over different maturities. In addition, because the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is a transaction-based rate, it is backward-looking, whereas U.S. dollar LIBOR is forward-looking. Because of these and other differences, there can be no assurance that the Secured Overnight Financing Rate will perform in the same way as U.S. dollar LIBOR would have done at any time, and there is no guarantee that it is a comparable substitute for U.S. dollar LIBOR.

Any failure of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate to gain market acceptance could adversely affect holders of the notes.

The Secured Overnight Financing Rate may fail to gain market acceptance. The Secured Overnight Financing Rate was developed for use in certain U.S. dollar derivatives and other financial contracts as an alternative to U.S. dollar LIBOR in part because it is considered to be a good representation of general funding conditions in the overnight U.S. Treasury repo market. However, as a rate based on transactions secured by U.S. Treasury securities, it does not measure bank-specific credit risk and, as a result, is less likely to correlate with the unsecured short-term funding costs of banks. This may mean that market participants would not consider the Secured Overnight Financing Rate to be a suitable substitute or successor for all of the purposes for which U.S. dollar LIBOR historically has been used (including, without limitation, as a representation of the unsecured short-term funding costs of banks), which may, in turn, lessen its market acceptance. Any failure of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate to gain market acceptance could adversely affect the return on, value of and market for the notes.

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The interest on the notes during the floating-rate interest period may be determined based on a rate other than Three-Month Term SOFR.

Under the terms of the notes, the interest on the notes during the floating-rate interest period is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR, a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months that will be based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate. Three-Month Term SOFR does not currently exist and is currently being developed under the sponsorship of the ARRC. There is no assurance that the development of Three-Month Term SOFR, or any other forward-looking term rate based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, will be completed. Uncertainty surrounding the development of forward-looking term rates based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate could have a material adverse effect on the interest on the notes during the floating-rate interest period, If, at the commencement of the floating rate period for the notes, the Relevant Governmental Body (as defined below) has not selected or recommended a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, the development of a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate that has been recommended or selected by the Relevant Governmental Body is not complete or we determine that the use of a forward-looking rate for a tenor of three months based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate is not administratively feasible, then the next-available Benchmark Replacement under the benchmark transition provisions will be used to determine the interest on the notes during the floating-rate interest period (unless a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date occur with respect to that next-available Benchmark Replacement).

Under the terms of the notes, we are expressly authorized to make determinations, decisions or elections with respect to technical, administrative or operational matters that we decide are appropriate to reflect the use of Three-Month Term SOFR as the interest on notes during the floating-rate interest period, which are defined in the terms of the notes as “Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions”. For example, assuming that a form of Three-Month Term SOFR is developed, it is not currently known how or by whom rates for Three-Month Term SOFR will be published. Accordingly, we will need to determine and to instruct the calculation agent concerning the manner and timing for its determination of the applicable Three-Month Term SOFR during the floating rate period. Our determination and implementation of any Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions could result in adverse consequences to the interest on notes during the floating-rate interest period.

Any Benchmark Replacement may not be the economic equivalent of Three-Month Term SOFR.

Under the benchmark transition provisions of the notes, if the calculation agent determines that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR, then the interest on notes during the floating-rate interest period will be determined using the next-available Benchmark Replacement (which may include a related Benchmark Replacement Adjustment). However, the Benchmark Replacement may not be the economic equivalent of Three-Month Term SOFR. For example, Compounded SOFR, the first-available Benchmark Replacement, is the compounded average of the daily Secured Overnight Financing Rates calculated in arrears, while Three-Month Term SOFR is intended to be a forward-looking rate with a tenor of three months. In addition, very limited market precedent exists for securities that use Compounded SOFR as the rate basis, and the method for calculating Compounded SOFR in those precedents varies. Further, the ISDA Fallback Rate, which is another Benchmark Replacement, has not yet been established and may change over time.

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The implementation of Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes could adversely affect holders of the notes.

Under the benchmark transition provisions of the notes, if a particular Benchmark Replacement or Benchmark Replacement Adjustment cannot be determined, then the next-available Benchmark Replacement or Benchmark Replacement Adjustment will apply. These replacement rates and adjustments may be selected or formulated by (i) the Relevant Governmental Body (such as the ARRC), (ii) the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc., otherwise referred to herein as ISDA, or (iii) in certain circumstances, us. In addition, the benchmark transition provisions expressly authorize us to make certain changes, which are defined in the terms of the notes as “Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes,” with respect to the determination of interest on notes during the floating-rate interest period. The application of a Benchmark Replacement and Benchmark Replacement Adjustment, and any implementation of Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes, could result in adverse consequences to interest on notes during the floating-rate interest period. Further, there is no assurance that the characteristics of any Benchmark Replacement will be similar to the then-current Benchmark that it is replacing, or that any Benchmark Replacement will produce the economic equivalent of the then-current Benchmark that it is replacing.

Beginning on September 30, 2024, or at any time in the case of a regulatory capital treatment event, the notes may be redeemed at our option, which limits the ability of holders of the notes to accrue interest over the full stated term of the notes.

We may, at our option, redeem the notes (i) in whole or in part, beginning with the interest payment date of September 30, 2024 and on any interest payment date thereafter and (ii) in whole but not in part, at any time upon the occurrence of a Tier 2 Capital Event, Tax Event or an Investment Company Event, in each case at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the notes to be redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but not including, the date of redemption. Any redemption of the notes will be subject to prior approval of the Federal Reserve System, to the extent such approval is then required. There can be no assurance that the Federal Reserve will approve any redemption of the notes that we may propose. Furthermore, you should not expect us to redeem any notes when they first become redeemable or on any particular date thereafter. If we redeem the notes for any reason, you will not have the opportunity to continue to accrue and be paid interest to the stated maturity date and you may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds you receive in a similar security or in securities bearing similar interest rates or yields.

There may be no active trading market for the notes.

The notes are a new issue of securities with no established trading market. We are not obligated to and do not intend to apply for listing of the notes on any national securities exchange or quotation system. A liquid or active trading market for the notes may not develop. If an active trading market for the notes does not develop, the market price and liquidity of the notes may be adversely affected. If the notes are traded, they may trade at a discount from their initial offering price, depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our performance and other factors. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that you will be able to sell any notes or the prices, if any, at which holders may be able to sell their notes.

Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial results and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under the notes.

In addition to our currently outstanding indebtedness, we may be able to borrow substantial additional indebtedness in the future. If new indebtedness is incurred in addition to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could increase. Our indebtedness, including the indebtedness we may incur in the future, could have important consequences for the holders of the notes, including:

limiting our ability to satisfy our obligations with respect to the notes;

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increasing our vulnerability to general adverse economic industry conditions;
 
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing to fund future working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate requirements;
 
requiring a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations for the payment of principal of and interest on our indebtedness and thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures and general corporate requirements;
 
limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry; and
 
putting us at a disadvantage compared to competitors with less indebtedness.

Changes in our credit ratings may adversely affect your investment in the notes.

The credit ratings on the notes are an assessment by rating agencies of our ability to pay our debts when due. These ratings are not recommendations to purchase, hold or sell the notes, inasmuch as the ratings do not comment as to market price or suitability for a particular investor, are limited in scope, and do not address all material risks relating to an investment in the notes, but rather reflect only the view of each rating agency at the time the rating is issued. The ratings are based on current information furnished to the ratings agencies by us and information obtained by the ratings agencies from other sources. An explanation of the significance of such rating may be obtained from such rating agency. There can be no assurance that such credit ratings will remain in effect for any given period of time or that such ratings will not be lowered, suspended or withdrawn entirely by the rating agencies, if, in each rating agency’s judgment, circumstances so warrant.

Any ratings of our long-term debt are based on a number of factors, including our financial strength as well as factors not entirely within our control, including conditions affecting the financial services industry generally. There can be no assurance that we will not receive adverse changes in our ratings in the future, which could adversely affect the cost and other terms upon which we are able to obtain funding and the way in which we are perceived in the capital markets. Actual or anticipated changes or downgrades in our credit ratings, including any announcement that our ratings are under review for a downgrade, could affect the market value and liquidity of the notes and increase our borrowing costs.

An investment in the notes is not an FDIC insured deposit.

The notes are not savings accounts, deposits or other obligations of any of our bank or non-bank subsidiaries and are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other governmental agency or instrumentality. Your investment will be subject to investment risk and you may experience loss with respect to your investment.

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We will not receive any cash proceeds from the exchange offer. In consideration for issuing the New Notes as contemplated by this prospectus, we will receive in exchange Old Notes in like principal amount. We intend to cancel all Old Notes received in exchange for New Notes in the exchange offer.

THE EXCHANGE OFFER

General

In connection with the issuance of the Old Notes on September 30, 2019, we entered into a registration rights agreement with the initial purchasers of the Old Notes, which provides for the exchange offer we are making pursuant to this prospectus. The exchange offer will permit eligible holders of Old Notes to exchange their Old Notes for New Notes that are identical in all material respects with the Old Notes, except that:

the New Notes have been registered with the SEC under the Securities Act and, as a result, will not bear any legend restricting their transfer;
 
the New Notes bear different CUSIP numbers from the Old Notes;
 
the New Notes generally will not be subject to transfer restrictions;
 
the New Notes will not be entitled to registration rights under the registration rights agreement or otherwise; and
 
because the New Notes will not be entitled to registration rights, holders of the New Notes will not have the right to additional interest under the circumstances described in the registration rights agreement relating to our fulfillment of our registration obligations.

The New Notes will evidence the same debt as the Old Notes. Holders of the New Notes will be entitled to the benefits of the indenture. Accordingly, the New Notes and the Old Notes will be treated as a single series of subordinated debt securities under the indenture. Old Notes that are not tendered for exchange in the exchange offer will remain outstanding and interest on those Old Notes will continue to accrue at the applicable interest rate and be subject to the terms of the indenture.

The exchange offer does not depend on any minimum aggregate principal amount of Old Notes being tendered for exchange.

We intend to conduct the exchange offer in accordance with the provisions of the registration rights agreement and the applicable requirements of the Exchange Act, and the related rules and regulations of the SEC applicable to transactions of this type.

We will be deemed to have accepted validly tendered Old Notes when and if we have given oral or written notice to the exchange agent of our acceptance of such Old Notes. Subject to the terms and conditions of this exchange offer, delivery of New Notes will be made by the exchange agent promptly after receipt of our notice of acceptance. The exchange agent will act as agent for the holders of Old Notes tendering their Old Notes for the purpose of receiving New Notes from us in exchange for such tendered and accepted Old Notes. If any tendered Old Notes are not accepted for exchange because of an invalid tender, the occurrence of other events described in this prospectus or otherwise, we will return or cause to be returned the certificates for any unaccepted Old Notes, at our expense, to the tendering holder promptly after the expiration of the exchange offer.

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If a holder of Old Notes validly tenders Old Notes in the exchange offer, the tendering holder will not be required to pay us brokerage commissions or fees. In addition, subject to the instructions in the letter of transmittal and certain limited exceptions described in this prospectus, the tendering holder will not have to pay transfer taxes for the exchange of Old Notes. Subject to certain exceptions described in this prospectus, we will pay all of the expenses in connection with the exchange offer, other than certain applicable taxes. See “—Fees and Expenses.”

Holders of outstanding Old Notes do not have any appraisal, dissenters’ or similar rights in connection with the exchange offer. Outstanding Old Notes which are not tendered, or are tendered but not accepted, in connection with the exchange offer will remain outstanding. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Exchange Offer—If you do not properly tender your Old Notes, you will continue to hold unregistered Old Notes and your ability to transfer Old Notes will be adversely affected.”

NEITHER WE NOR THE EXCHANGE AGENT ARE MAKING ANY RECOMMENDATION TO THE HOLDERS OF THE OUTSTANDING OLD NOTES AS TO WHETHER TO TENDER OR REFRAIN FROM TENDERING ALL OR ANY PORTION OF THEIR OUTSTANDING OLD NOTES IN THE EXCHANGE OFFER. IN ADDITION, NEITHER WE NOR THE EXCHANGE AGENT HAVE AUTHORIZED ANYONE TO MAKE ANY SUCH RECOMMENDATION. HOLDERS OF THE OUTSTANDING OLD NOTES MUST MAKE THEIR OWN DECISION WHETHER TO TENDER PURSUANT TO THE EXCHANGE OFFER, AND, IF SO, THE AGGREGATE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT OF OUTSTANDING OLD NOTES TO TENDER AFTER READING THIS PROSPECTUS AND THE LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL AND CONSULTING WITH THEIR ADVISERS, IF ANY, BASED ON THEIR FINANCIAL POSITION AND INDIVIDUAL REQUIREMENTS.

Registration Rights Agreement

The following provides a summary of certain terms of the registration rights agreement. This summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the complete version of the registration rights agreement, which is incorporated by reference as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part.

Under the terms of the registration rights agreement that we entered into with the purchasers of the Old Notes at the time we issued the Old Notes, we agreed to register the New Notes and undertake this exchange offer. This exchange offer is intended to satisfy the rights of holders of Old Notes under that registration rights agreement. After the exchange offer is completed, we will have no further obligations, except under the limited circumstances described below, to provide for any exchange or undertake any further registration with respect to the Old Notes.

Under the terms of the registration rights agreement, we agreed, among other things, to:

file a registration statement with the SEC under the Securities Act with respect to a registered offer to exchange the Old Notes for substantially identical notes that do not contain transfer restrictions and will be registered under the Securities Act; and
 
use our commercially reasonable efforts to cause that registration statement to become effective no later than 120 days after September 30, 2019.

The registration rights agreement also requires us to commence the exchange offer promptly after the effectiveness of the registration statement and to keep the exchange offer open for not less than 20 business days, or longer if required by applicable law, after the date on which notice of the exchange offer is mailed to the holders of the Old Notes.

We also agreed to issue and exchange New Notes for all Old Notes validly tendered and not validly withdrawn before the expiration of the exchange offer. We are sending this prospectus, together with a letter of transmittal, to all the holders of the Old Notes known to us. For each Old Note validly tendered to us in the exchange offer and not validly withdrawn, the holder will receive a New Note having a principal amount equal to the principal amount of the tendered Old Note. Old Notes may be exchanged, and New Notes will be issued, only in minimum denominations of $1,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 in excess thereof.

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We further agreed that under certain circumstances we would either file a shelf registration statement with the SEC or designate an existing effective shelf registration statement of ours that would allow resales by certain holders of the Old Notes in lieu of such holders participating in the exchange offer.

Eligibility; Transferability

We are making this exchange offer in reliance on interpretations of the staff of the SEC set forth in several no-action letters provided to other parties. We have not sought our own no-action letter from the staff of the SEC with respect to this particular exchange offer. However, based on these existing SEC staff interpretations, we believe that you, or any other person receiving New Notes, may offer for resale, resell or otherwise transfer the New Notes without complying with the registration and prospectus delivery requirements of the U.S. federal securities laws, if:

you are, or the person receiving the New Notes is, acquiring the New Notes in the ordinary course of business;
 
you do not, nor does any such person, have an arrangement or understanding with any person to participate in any distribution (within the meaning of the Securities Act) of the New Notes;
 
you are not, nor is any such person, our affiliate as such term is defined under Rule 405 under the Securities Act;
 
you are not, or any such person is not, a broker-dealer registered under the Exchange Act, and you are not engaged in or such person is not engaged in, and do not intend to engage in, any distribution (within the meaning of the Securities Act) of the New Notes; and
 
you are not acting on behalf of any person who could not truthfully make these statements.

To participate in the exchange offer, you must represent as a holder of Old Notes that each of these statements is true.

In addition, in order for broker-dealers registered under the Exchange Act to participate in the exchange offer, each such broker-dealer must also (i) represent that it is participating in the exchange offer for its own account and is exchanging Old Notes acquired as a result of market-making activities or other trading activities; (ii) confirm that it has not entered into any arrangement or understanding with us or any of our affiliates to distribute the New Notes; and (iii) acknowledge that it will deliver a prospectus meeting the requirements of the Securities Act in connection with any resale of the New Notes. The letter of transmittal to be delivered in connection with a tender of the Old Notes states that by acknowledging that it will deliver, and by delivering, a prospectus, a broker-dealer will not be deemed to admit that it is an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act. This prospectus, as it may be amended or supplemented from time to time, may be used by a broker-dealer in connection with resale of the New Notes received in exchange for the Old Notes where such Old Notes were acquired by such broker-dealer as a result of market-making activities or other trading activities. We have agreed that, for a period of 180 days following the expiration date, we will amend or supplement this prospectus to expedite or facilitate the disposition of any New Notes by such broker-dealers.

Any holder of Old Notes (i) who is our affiliate, (ii) who does not acquire the New Notes in the ordinary course of business, (iii) who intends to participate in the exchange offer for the purpose of distributing the New Notes, or (iv) who is a broker-dealer who purchased the Old Notes directly from us:

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will not be able to rely on the interpretation of the staff of the SEC set forth in the no-action letters described above;
   
will not be able to tender Old Notes in the exchange offer; and
   
must comply with the registration and prospectus delivery requirements of the Securities Act in connection with any sale or transfer of the New Notes, unless the sale or transfer is made pursuant to an exemption from those requirements.

The exchange offer is not being made to, nor will we accept tenders for exchange from, holders of Old Notes in any jurisdiction in which the exchange offer or the acceptance of the exchange offer would not be in compliance with the securities or blue sky laws of such jurisdiction.

Expiration of the Exchange Offer; Extensions; Amendments

The exchange offer will expire at 11:59 p.m., New York City time on [], 2019, which we refer to as the expiration date, unless we extend the exchange offer. If we extend the exchange offer, the expiration date will be the latest date and time to which the exchange offer is extended. To extend the exchange offer, we will notify the exchange agent and each registered holder of the Old Notes of any extension before 9:00 a.m., New York City time on the next business day after the previously scheduled expiration date. During any such extension, all Old Notes previously tendered will remain subject to the exchange offer and may be accepted for exchange by us.

We reserve the right to extend the exchange offer, delay accepting any tendered Old Notes or, if any of the conditions described below under the heading “—Conditions” have not been satisfied, to terminate the exchange offer. We also reserve the right to amend the terms of the exchange offer in any manner. We will give oral or written notice of any delay, extension, termination or amendment to the exchange agent. We will keep the exchange offer open for not less than 20 business days, or longer if required by applicable law, after the date on which notice of the exchange offer is mailed to holders of the Old Notes.

If we amend the exchange offer in a manner that we consider material, we will disclose that amendment by means of a prospectus supplement, and we will extend the exchange offer so that at least five business days remain in the exchange offer following notice of the material change.

If we determine to make a public announcement of any delay, extension, amendment or termination of the exchange offer, we will do so by making a timely release through an appropriate news agency.

If we terminate or withdraw the exchange offer, we will promptly return any Old Notes deposited, under the exchange offer as required by Rule 14e-1(c) under the Exchange Act.

Conditions

The exchange offer is not conditioned on any minimum aggregate principal amount of Old Notes being tendered or accepted for exchange. Notwithstanding any other term of the exchange offer, we will not be required to accept for exchange, or issue any New Notes for, any Old Notes, and may terminate or amend the exchange offer before the acceptance of the Old Notes, if:

such Old Notes are tendered to us other than in accordance with the terms and conditions of the exchange offer;
   
we determine that the exchange offer violates any law, statute, rule, regulation or interpretation by the staff of the SEC; or
   
any action or proceeding is instituted or threatened in any court or by or before any governmental agency relating to the exchange offer which, in our judgment, could reasonably be expected to impair our ability to proceed with the exchange offer.

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The conditions listed above are for our sole benefit and may be asserted by us regardless of the circumstances giving rise to any of these conditions. We may waive these conditions in our absolute discretion in whole or in part at any time and from time to time prior to the expiration date. Our failure at any time to exercise any of the above rights will not be considered a waiver of that right, and that right will be considered an ongoing right which we may assert at any time and from time to time.

In addition, we will not accept for exchange any Old Notes tendered, and no New Notes will be issued in exchange for those Old Notes, if at any time any stop order is threatened or issued by the SEC with respect to the registration statement for the exchange offer and the New Notes or the qualification of the indenture under the Trust Indenture Act of 1939. In any such event, we must use our commercially reasonable efforts to obtain the withdrawal of any stop order as soon as practicable.

Further, we will not be obligated to accept for exchange the Old Notes of any holder that has not made to us the representations described under “—Eligibility; Transferability” and “Plan of Distribution.”

Procedures for Tendering Old Notes

In order to participate in the exchange offer, you must validly tender your Old Notes to the exchange agent, as described below, by the expiration date. It is your responsibility to validly tender your Old Notes. We have the right to waive any defects. However, we are not required to waive defects and are not required to notify you of defects in your tender.

If you have any questions or need help in exchanging your Old Notes, please call the exchange agent, whose address and phone number are set forth in “—Exchange Agent.”

All of the Old Notes were issued in physical form to each initial purchaser. Accordingly, each holder of Old Notes must physically tender your Old Notes for New Notes. Therefore, to tender Old Notes subject to the exchange offer and to obtain New Notes you must transmit to UMB Bank, National Association, the exchange agent, at its address listed under “The Exchange Offer—Exchange Agent:

the physical Old Note;
   
a properly completed and duly executed letter of transmittal, and
   
all other documents required by the letter of transmittal.

If you cannot tender your original physical notes by the expiration date, you must comply with the guaranteed delivery procedures described under “—Guaranteed Delivery Procedures.”

The method of delivery of original notes, letters of transmittal and all other required documents is at the holder’s election and risk. Holders should not send letters of transmittal or other required documents to us. If we do not accept any tendered Old Notes for exchange or if Old Notes are submitted for a greater principal amount than the holder desires to exchange, the unaccepted or non-exchanged Old Notes will be returned, without expense, to their tendering holder. Such non-exchanged Old Notes will be credited to an account maintained with DTC. These actions will occur promptly after the expiration or termination of the exchange offer.

The tender by a holder of Old Notes that is not validly withdrawn prior to the expiration date of the exchange offer and that is accepted by us will constitute a binding agreement between us and the holder in accordance with the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in this prospectus and in the accompanying letter of transmittal. You will be required to deliver the physical note and a letter of transmittal to the exchange agent and will be bound by the letter of transmittal terms.

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We will determine all questions as to the validity, form, eligibility (including time of receipt) and acceptance and withdrawal of tendered Old Notes in our sole discretion. We reserve the absolute right to reject any and all Old Notes not properly tendered or any Old Notes whose acceptance by us would, in the opinion of our counsel, be unlawful. We also reserve the right to waive any defects, irregularities or conditions of tender as to any particular Old Notes either before or after the expiration date. Our interpretation of the terms and conditions of the exchange offer (including the instructions in the accompanying letter of transmittal) will be final and binding on all parties. Unless waived, any defects or irregularities in connection with tenders of Old Notes must be cured within a time period we will reasonably determine. Although we intend to request the exchange agent to notify holders of defects or irregularities relating to tenders of Old Notes, neither we, the exchange agent nor any other person will have any duty or incur any liability for failure to give such notification. Tenders of Old Notes will not be considered to have been made until such defects or irregularities have been cured or waived. If we waive any terms or conditions with respect to a noteholder, we will extend the same waiver to all noteholders with respect to that term or condition. Any Old Notes received by the exchange agent that are not validly tendered and as to which the defects or irregularities have not been cured or waived will be returned by the exchange agent, without expense, to the tendering holders, unless otherwise provided in the accompanying letter of transmittal, promptly following the expiration date of the exchange offer.

Representations

By tendering Old Notes, each holder is deemed to have represented to us that:

any New Notes that you receive will be acquired in the ordinary course of business;
   
you have no arrangement or understanding with any person to participate in the distribution (within the meaning of the Securities Act) of the New Notes in violation of the provisions of the Securities Act;
   
you are not an “affiliate” (within the meaning of Rule 405 under the Securities Act); and
   
if you are a broker-dealer that will receive New Notes for your own account in exchange for Old Notes, you acquired those New Notes as a result of market-making or other trading activities and you will deliver a prospectus (or to the extent permitted by law, make available a prospectus to purchasers) in connection with any resale of such New Notes.

Guaranteed Delivery Procedures

Holders who wish to tender their original Old Notes and (1) whose original Old Notes are not immediately available or (2) who cannot deliver the letter of transmittal or any other required documents to the exchange agent prior to the expiration date:

the tender is made through an eligible institution;
   
before the expiration date, the exchange agent receives from the eligible institution a properly completed and duly executed notice of guaranteed delivery, by facsimile transmission, mail or hand delivery, listing the principal amount of Old Notes tendered, stating that the tender is being made thereby and guaranteeing that, within three Nasdaq Stock Market trading days after the expiration date, a properly completed and executed letter of transmittal and the physical notes, in the case of notes in certificated form, and all other documents required by the letter of transmittal; and
   
within three Nasdaq Stock Market trading days after the expiration date, the exchange agent receives a properly completed and executed letter of transmittal and the physical notes, in the case of notes in certificated form, and all other documents required by the letter of transmittal.

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Upon request to the exchange agent, a notice of guaranteed delivery will be sent to holders who wish to tender their original notes according to the guaranteed delivery procedures described above.

Withdrawal of Tenders

Except as otherwise provided in this prospectus, you may validly withdraw your tender of Old Notes at any time prior to 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on the expiration date of the exchange offer. For a withdrawal to be effective you must provide a written notice of withdrawal to the exchange agent prior to 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on the expiration date of the exchange offer. Any such notice of withdrawal must:

specify the name of the tendering holder of Old Notes;
   
the principal amount of the Old Notes delivered for exchange; and
   
a statement that such holder is withdrawing its election to have such Old Notes exchanged.

We will determine all questions as to the validity, form and eligibility (including time of receipt) of such withdrawal notices. Any Old Notes so withdrawn will be considered not to have been validly tendered for purposes of the applicable exchange offer, and no New Notes will be issued in exchange for such Old Notes unless the Old Notes withdrawn are validly re-tendered. Any Old Notes which have been tendered but which are not accepted for exchange or which are withdrawn will be returned to the holder, without expense to such holder, promptly after withdrawal, rejection of tender or termination of the applicable exchange offer. Validly withdrawn Old Notes may be re-tendered by following one of the procedures described above under “—Procedures for Tendering” at any time prior to the expiration date of the exchange offer.

Exchange Agent

UMB Bank, National Association, the trustee under the indenture, has been appointed the exchange agent for this exchange offer. The physical Old Notes, the letters of transmittal and all correspondence in connection with this exchange offer should be sent or delivered by each holder of Old Notes, or a beneficial owner’s commercial bank, broker, dealer, trust company or other nominee, to the exchange agent as follows:

By Mail or Hand Delivery:         UMB Bank, National Association
Attn: Corporate Trust Officer
5555 San Felipe, Suite 870
Houston, Texas 77056
Telephone: (713) 300-0587
Facsimile: (214) 389-5949
Email: mauri.cowen@umb.com

We will pay the exchange agent reasonable and customary fees for its services (including attorney’s fees) and will reimburse it for its reasonable, out-of-pocket expenses in connection with this exchange offer.

Fees and Expenses

We will bear the expenses of soliciting tenders of the Old Notes and issuance of the New Notes. The principal solicitation is being made by mail. However, we may make additional solicitations by email, telephone or in person by our officers and employees and those of our affiliates.

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We have not retained any dealer-manager in connection with the exchange offer and will not make any payments to broker-dealers or others soliciting acceptances of the exchange offer. As indicated above, we will, however, pay the exchange agent reasonable and customary fees for its services and reimburse it for its related reasonable out-of-pocket expenses. We will also pay any other cash expenses that we incur in connection with the exchange offer.

Except as described below, we will pay all transfer taxes, if any, applicable to the exchange of Old Notes under the exchange offer. The tendering holder will be required to pay any transfer taxes, whether imposed on the registered holder or any other person, if:

New Notes and/or substitute Old Notes not exchanged are to be delivered to, or registered or issued in the name of, any person other than the registered holder of the Old Notes so exchanged;
   
tendered Old Notes are registered in the name of any person other than the person signing the letter of transmittal; or
   
a transfer tax is imposed for any reason other than the exchange of Old Notes under the exchange offer.

If satisfactory evidence of payment of transfer taxes is not submitted with the letter of transmittal, the amount of any transfer taxes will be billed to the tendering holder.

Accounting Treatment

We will record the New Notes at the same carrying value as the Old Notes reflected in our accounting records on the date of the exchange. Accordingly, we will not recognize any gain or loss for accounting purposes upon completion of the exchange offer.

Consequences of Failure to Exchange

Old Notes that are not exchanged will remain “restricted securities” within the meaning of Rule 144(a)(3) under the Securities Act.

Accordingly, they may not be offered, sold, pledged or otherwise transferred except:

to us or to any of our subsidiaries;
   
under a registration statement which has been declared effective under the Securities Act;
   
for so long as the Old Notes are eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act, to a person the holder of the Old Notes and any person acting on its behalf reasonably believes is a “qualified institutional buyer” as defined in Rule 144A, that purchases for its own account or for the account of another qualified institutional buyer, in each case to whom notice is given that the transfer is being made in reliance on Rule 144A; or
   
under any other available exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act (in which case we and the trustee shall have the right to require the delivery of an opinion of counsel (at the holder’s sole cost), certifications and/or other information satisfactory to us and the trustee);

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in each case subject to compliance with any applicable foreign, state or other securities laws.

Upon completion of the exchange offer, due to the restrictions on transfer of the Old Notes and the absence of such restrictions applicable to the New Notes, it is likely that the market, if any, for Old Notes will be relatively less liquid than the market for New Notes. Consequently, holders of Old Notes who do not participate in the exchange offer could experience significant diminution in the value of their Old Notes, compared to the value of the New Notes. The holders of Old Notes not tendered will have no further registration rights, except that, under limited circumstances specified in the registration rights agreement, we may be required to file a shelf registration statement for a continuous offer of Old Notes.

Additional Information Regarding the Registration Rights Agreement

As noted above, we are effecting the exchange offer to comply with the registration rights agreement. The registration rights agreement requires us to cause an exchange offer registration statement to be filed with the SEC under the Securities Act, use our commercially reasonable efforts to cause the registration statement to become effective, and satisfy certain other obligations, within certain time periods.

In the event that:

the registration statement is not filed with the SEC on or prior to the 90th day after September 30, 2019;
   
the registration statement has not been declared effective by the SEC on or prior to the 120th day after September 30, 2019; or
   
the exchange offer is not completed on or prior to the 45th day following the effective date of the registration statement;

the interest rate on the Old Notes will be increased by a rate of 0.25% per annum immediately following such registration default and will increase by 0.25% per annum immediately following each 90-day period during which additional interest accrues, but in no event will such increase exceed 0.50% per annum. Following the cure of all such registration defaults, the accrual of additional interest will cease and the interest rate will be immediately reduced to the original interest rate borne by the Old Notes.

Our obligation to register the New Notes will terminate upon completion of the exchange offer. However, under certain limited circumstances specified in the registration rights agreement, we may be required to file a shelf registration statement for a continuous offer in connection with the Old Notes.

DESCRIPTION OF THE NOTES

On September 30, 2019, we issued $23,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of our 4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029, which we have referred to in this prospectus as the Old Notes. The Old Notes were issued in a private placement transaction to certain qualified institutional buyers and accredited investors, and as such, were not registered under the Securities Act. The Old Notes were issued under an indenture dated September 30, 2019, between Southern First Bancshares, Inc., as issuer, and UMB Bank, National Association, as trustee, which we have referred to in this prospectus as the “indenture.” The term “notes” refers collectively to the Old Notes and the New Notes.

The New Notes will be issued under the indenture and will evidence the same debt as the Old Notes. The terms of the New Notes are identical in all material respects to those of the Old Notes, except that:

the New Notes have been registered with the SEC under the Securities Act and, as a result, will not bear any legend restricting their transfer;

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the New Notes bear different CUSIP numbers from the Old Notes;
 
the New Notes generally will not be subject to transfer restrictions;
 
the New Notes will not be entitled to registration rights under the registration rights agreement or otherwise; and
 
because the New Notes will not be entitled to registration rights, holders of the New Notes will not have the right to additional interest under the circumstances described in the registration rights agreement relating to our fulfillment of our registration obligations.

The New Notes will be issued only in fully registered form without interest coupons, in minimum denominations of $1,000 and any integral multiple of $1,000 in excess thereof. Unless otherwise required for institutional accredited investors, the New Notes will be evidenced by a global note deposited with the trustee for the New Notes, as custodian for The Depository Trust Company, or DTC, and transfers of beneficial interests will be facilitated only through records maintained by DTC and its participants.

The terms of the New Notes include those stated in the indenture and those made part of the indenture by reference to the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended (the “Trust Indenture Act”).

The following provides a summary of certain terms of the indenture and the New Notes. This summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the complete version of the indenture, which is incorporated by reference as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part and to the form of New Notes, which is included as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part. We urge you to read the indenture and the form of New Notes because those documents, not this summary description, define your rights as holders of the New Notes. Whenever we refer to the defined terms of the indenture in this prospectus without defining them, the terms have the meanings given to them in the indenture. You must look to the indenture for the most complete description of the information summarized in this prospectus.

General

The exchange offer for the New Notes will be for up to $23,000,000 in aggregate principal amount of the Old Notes. The New Notes, together with any Old Notes that remain outstanding after the exchange offer, will be treated as a single class for all purposes of the indenture, including, without limitation, waivers, consents, amendments, redemptions and offers to purchase.

Principal, Maturity and Interest

The New Notes have materially identical interest terms as the Old Notes except with respect to additional interest that may be earned on the Old Notes under circumstances relating to our registration obligations under the registration rights agreement. Interest on the notes will accrue from and including September 30, 2019. The notes will mature and become payable, unless earlier redeemed, on September 30, 2029.

From and including September 30, 2019 to but excluding September 30, 2024 or any earlier redemption date, the New Notes will bear interest at a fixed rate equal to 4.75% per year, payable semi-annually in arrears on March 30 and September 30 of each year, beginning on March 30, 2020. During this period, interest will be computed on the basis of a 360-day year consisting of twelve 30-day months.

From and including September 30, 2024 to but excluding the maturity date or earlier redemption date, the New Notes will bear interest at an annual floating rate, reset quarterly, equal to a benchmark rate (which is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR) plus 340.8 basis points, payable quarterly in arrears on March 30, June 30, September 30 and December 30 of each year commencing on September 30, 2024.

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During this period, interest will be computed on the basis of a 360-day year and the actual number of days elapsed.

With regard to Three-Month Term SOFR:

“SOFR” means the daily Secured Overnight Financing Rate provided by the FRBNY, as the administrator of the benchmark (or a successor administrator), on the FRBNY’s Website.
 
“Term SOFR” means the forward-looking term rate based on SOFR that has been selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body.
 
“Term SOFR Administrator” means any entity designated by the Relevant Governmental Body as the administrator of Term SOFR (or a successor administrator).
 
“Three-Month Term SOFR” means the rate for Term SOFR for a tenor of three months that is published by the Term SOFR Administrator at the Reference Time for any Floating Interest Period, as determined by the Calculation Agent after giving effect to the Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions.
 
“Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions” means any determination, decision or election with respect to any technical, administrative or operational matter (including with respect to the manner and timing of the publication of Three-Month Term SOFR, or changes to the definition of “Floating Interest Period”, timing and frequency of determining Three-Month Term SOFR with respect to each Floating Interest Period and making payments of interest, rounding of amounts or tenors, and other administrative matters) that the Company decides may be appropriate to reflect the use of Three-Month Term SOFR as the Benchmark in a manner substantially consistent with market practice (or, if the Company decides that adoption of any portion of such market practice is not administratively feasible or if the Company determines that no market practice for the use of Three-Month Term SOFR exists, in such other manner as the Company determines is reasonably necessary).

If, at the commencement of the floating rate period for the notes, the Relevant Governmental Body (as defined below) has not selected or recommended a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR, the development of a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR that has been recommended or selected by the Relevant Governmental Body is not complete or we determine that the use of a forward-looking rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR is not administratively feasible, then the next-available Benchmark Replacement under the benchmark transition provisions will be used to determine the interest on the notes during the floating-rate interest period (unless a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date occur with respect to that next-available Benchmark Replacement).

For purposes of determining a Benchmark Replacement, if necessary, under the terms of the notes:

“Benchmark” means, initially, Three-Month Term SOFR; provided that if a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR or the then-current Benchmark, then “Benchmark” means the applicable Benchmark Replacement.

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“Benchmark Replacement” means the Interpolated Benchmark with respect to the then-current Benchmark, plus the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment for such Benchmark; provided that if (a) the Calculation Agent cannot determine the Interpolated Benchmark as of the Benchmark Replacement Date or (b) the then-current Benchmark is Three-Month Term SOFR and a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR (in which event no Interpolated Benchmark with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR shall be determined), then “Benchmark Replacement” means the first alternative set forth in the order below that can be determined by the Calculation Agent, as of the Benchmark Replacement Date:

a.

Compounded SOFR;
 

b.

the sum of: (i) the alternate rate of interest that has been selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body as the replacement for the then-current Benchmark for the applicable Corresponding Tenor and (ii) the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment;
 

c.

the sum of: (i) the ISDA Fallback Rate and (ii) the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment;
 

d.

the sum of: (i) the alternate rate of interest that has been selected by the Company as the replacement for the then-current Benchmark for the applicable Corresponding Tenor giving due consideration to any industry-accepted rate of interest as a replacement for the then-current Benchmark for U.S. dollar denominated floating rate notes at such time and (ii) the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment.


“Benchmark Replacement Adjustment” means the first alternative set forth in the order below that can be determined by the Calculation Agent, as of the Benchmark Replacement Date:

a.

the spread adjustment, or method for calculating or determining such spread adjustment, (which may be a positive or negative value or zero) that has been selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body for the applicable Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement;
 

b.

if the applicable Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement is equivalent to the ISDA Fallback Rate, then the ISDA Fallback Adjustment;
 

c.

the spread adjustment (which may be a positive or negative value or zero) that has been selected by the Company giving due consideration to any industry-accepted spread adjustment, or method for calculating or determining such spread adjustment, for the replacement of the then-current Benchmark with the applicable Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement for U.S. dollar denominated floating rate notes at such time.


“Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes” means, with respect to any Benchmark Replacement, any technical, administrative or operational changes (including changes to the definition of “Floating Interest Period,” timing and frequency of determining rates with respect to each Floating Interest Period and making payments of interest, rounding of amounts or tenors and other administrative matters) that the Company decides may be appropriate to reflect the adoption of such Benchmark Replacement in a manner substantially consistent with market practice (or, if the Company decides that adoption of any portion of such market practice is not administratively feasible or if the Company determines that no market practice for use of the Benchmark Replacement exists, in such other manner as the Company determines is reasonably necessary).
 
“Benchmark Replacement Date” means the earliest to occur of the following events with respect to the then-current Benchmark:

a.

in the case of clause (a) of the definition of “Benchmark Transition Event,” the relevant Reference Time in respect of any determination;


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b.

in the case of clause (b) or (c) of the definition of “Benchmark Transition Event,” the later of (i) the date of the public statement or publication of information referenced therein and (ii) the date on which the administrator of the Benchmark permanently or indefinitely ceases to provide the Benchmark; or
 

c.

in the case of clause (d) of the definition of “Benchmark Transition Event,” the date of such public statement or publication of information referenced therein.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, if the event giving rise to the Benchmark Replacement Date occurs on the same day as, but earlier than, the Reference Time in respect of any determination, the Benchmark Replacement Date will be deemed to have occurred prior to the Reference Time for purposes of such determination.


“Benchmark Transition Event” means the occurrence of one or more of the following events with respect to the then-current Benchmark:

a.

if the Benchmark is Three-Month Term SOFR, (i) the Relevant Governmental Body has not selected or recommended a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR, (ii) the development of a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR that has been recommended or selected by the Relevant Governmental Body is not complete or (iii) the Company determines that the use of a forward-looking rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR is not administratively feasible;
 

b.

a public statement or publication of information by or on behalf of the administrator of the Benchmark announcing that such administrator has ceased or will cease to provide the Benchmark, permanently or indefinitely, provided that, at the time of such statement or publication, there is no successor administrator that will continue to provide the Benchmark;
 

c.

a public statement or publication of information by the regulatory supervisor for the administrator of the Benchmark, the central bank for the currency of the Benchmark, an insolvency official with jurisdiction over the administrator for the Benchmark, a resolution authority with jurisdiction over the administrator for the Benchmark or a court or an entity with similar insolvency or resolution authority over the administrator for the Benchmark, which states that the administrator of the Benchmark has ceased or will cease to provide the Benchmark permanently or indefinitely, provided that, at the time of such statement or publication, there is no successor administrator that will continue to provide the Benchmark; or
 

d.

a public statement or publication of information by the regulatory supervisor for the administrator of the Benchmark announcing that the Benchmark is no longer representative.


“Calculation Agent” means such bank or other entity (which may be the Company or an affiliate of the Company) as may be appointed by the Company to act as Calculation Agent for the Subordinated Notes during the Floating Rate Period.
 
“Compounded SOFR” means the compounded average of SOFRs for the applicable Corresponding Tenor, with the rate, or methodology for this rate, and conventions for this rate being established by the Company in accordance with:

a.

the rate, or methodology for this rate, and conventions for this rate selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body for determining compounded SOFR; provided that:

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b.

if, and to the extent that, the Company or its designee determines that Compounded SOFR cannot be determined in accordance with clause (a) above, then the rate, or methodology for this rate, and conventions for this rate that have been selected by the Company or its designee giving due consideration to any industry-accepted market practice for U.S. dollar denominated floating rate notes at such time.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, the calculation of Compounded SOFR will exclude the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment and the spread specified on the face hereof.


“Corresponding Tenor” with respect to a Benchmark Replacement means a tenor (including overnight) having approximately the same length (disregarding Business Day adjustment) as the applicable tenor for the then-current Benchmark.
 
“Interpolated Benchmark” with respect to the Benchmark means the rate determined for the Corresponding Tenor by interpolating on a linear basis between: (1) the Benchmark for the longest period (for which the Benchmark is available) that is shorter than the Corresponding Tenor and (2) the Benchmark for the shortest period (for which the Benchmark is available) that is longer than the Corresponding Tenor.
 
“ISDA Definitions” means the 2006 ISDA Definitions published by the ISDA or any successor thereto, as amended or supplemented from time to time, or any successor definitional booklet for interest rate derivatives published from time to time.
 
“ISDA Fallback Adjustment” means the spread adjustment (which may be a positive or negative value or zero) that would apply for derivatives transactions referencing the ISDA Definitions to be determined upon the occurrence of an index cessation event with respect to the Benchmark for the applicable tenor.
 
“ISDA Fallback Rate” means the rate that would apply for derivatives transactions referencing the ISDA Definitions to be effective upon the occurrence of an index cessation date with respect to the Benchmark for the applicable tenor excluding the applicable ISDA Fallback Adjustment.
 
“Reference Time” with respect to any determination of a Benchmark means (1) if the Benchmark is Three-Month Term SOFR, the time determined by the Calculation Agent after giving effect to the Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions, and (2) if the Benchmark is not Three-Month Term SOFR, the time determined by the Calculation Agent after giving effect to the Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes.
 
“Relevant Governmental Body” means the Federal Reserve and/or the FRBNY, or a committee officially endorsed or convened by the Federal Reserve and/or the FRBNY or any successor thereto.
 
“Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement” means the Benchmark Replacement excluding the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment.

Interest Payments

We will make each interest payment to the holders of record of the notes at the close of business on the fifteenth calendar day prior to the applicable interest payment date. Principal of and interest on the notes will be payable, and the notes will be exchangeable and transferable, at the office or agency that we have designated and maintain for such purposes, which, initially, will be the corporate trust office of the trustee located at UMB Bank, National Association, 5555 San Felipe, Suite 870, Houston, Texas 77056, Attention: Corporate Trust Officer; except that payment of interest may be made at our option by check mailed or to the person entitled thereto as shown on the security register or by wire transfer to an account appropriately designated by the person entitled thereto.

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Subordination

Our obligation to make any payment on account of the principal of, or interest on, the notes will be subordinate and junior in right of payment to the prior payment in full of all of our senior indebtedness. As of September 30, 2019, we and our consolidated subsidiaries had outstanding indebtedness, total deposits and other liabilities of $2.0 billion, $13.4 million of which would rank structurally senior to the notes. The notes and the indenture do not contain any limitation on the amount of senior indebtedness that we may incur in the future.

The term “senior indebtedness” means the principal of, and premium, if any, and interest, including interest accruing after the commencement of any bankruptcy proceeding relating to us, on, or substantially similar payments we will make in respect of the following categories of debt, whether that debt was outstanding on the date of execution of the indenture or thereafter incurred, created or assumed:

our indebtedness for borrowed money, whether or not evidenced by notes, debentures, bonds, securities or other similar instruments issued under the provisions of any indenture, fiscal agency agreement, debenture or note purchase agreement or other agreement, including any senior debt securities that we may offer;
 
our indebtedness for money borrowed or represented by purchase money obligations, as defined below;
 
our obligations as lessee under leases of property whether made as part of a sale and leaseback transaction to which we are a party or otherwise;
 
our reimbursement and other obligations relating to letters of credit, bankers’ acceptances and similar obligations;
 
our obligations in respect of interest rate swap, cap or other agreements, interest rate future or option contracts, currency swap agreements, currency future or option contracts, commodity contracts and other similar arrangements;
 
all of our obligations issued or assumed as the deferred purchase price of property or services, but excluding trade accounts payable and accrued liabilities arising in the ordinary course of business;
 
any obligation of ours to our general creditors;
 
all obligations of the types referred to in the bullets above of other persons for the payment as to which we are liable contingently or otherwise to pay or advance money as obligor, guarantor, endorser or otherwise;
 
all obligations of the types referred to in the bullets above of other persons secured by a lien on any property or asset of ours; and
 
deferrals, renewals or extensions of any of the indebtedness or obligations described in the bullets above.

However, “senior indebtedness” excludes:

any indebtedness, obligation or liability referred to in the bullets above that is subordinated to indebtedness, obligations or liabilities of ours to substantially the same extent as or to a greater extent than the notes are subordinated; and

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the notes and, unless expressly provided in the terms thereof, any of our indebtedness to our subsidiaries.

As used above, the term “purchase money obligations” means indebtedness, obligations evidenced by a note, debenture, bond or other instrument, whether or not secured by a lien or other security interest, issued to evidence the obligation to pay or a guarantee of the payment of, and any deferred obligation for the payment of, the purchase price of property but excluding indebtedness or obligations for which recourse is limited to the property purchased, issued or assumed as all or a part of the consideration for the acquisition of property or services, whether by purchase, merger, consolidation or otherwise, but does not include any trade accounts payable.

In accordance with the subordination provisions of the indenture and the notes, we are permitted to make payments of accrued and unpaid interest on the notes on the interest payment dates and at maturity and to pay the principal of the notes at maturity unless:

we are subject to any termination, winding up, liquidation or reorganization, whether in bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganization or receivership proceedings or upon an assignment for the benefit of our creditors or any other marshalling of our assets and liabilities; or
 

a default in the payment of principal of, or premium, if any, or interest on, any senior indebtedness, has occurred and is continuing beyond any applicable grace period or an event of default has occurred and is continuing with respect to any senior indebtedness, or would occur as a result of a payment of principal of, or interest on, the notes being made and that event of default would permit the holders of any senior indebtedness to accelerate the maturity of that senior indebtedness and such default or event of default has not been cured, waived or otherwise have ceased to exist.

Upon our termination, winding up, liquidation or reorganization, whether in bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganization or receivership proceedings or upon an assignment for the benefit of our creditors or any other marshalling of our assets and liabilities or otherwise, we must pay to the holders of all of our senior indebtedness the full amounts of principal of, and premium, if any, and interest on, that senior indebtedness before any payment is made on the notes. If, after we have paid the senior indebtedness in full, there are any amounts available for payment of the notes and any of our other indebtedness and obligations ranking equally in right of payment with the notes, then we will use such remaining assets to pay the amounts of principal of, premium, if any, and accrued and unpaid interest on, the notes and such other of our indebtedness and obligations that rank equally in right of payment with the notes. If those assets are insufficient to pay in full the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on the notes and such other indebtedness and obligations, those assets will be applicable ratably to the payment of such amounts owing with respect to the notes and such other indebtedness and obligations.

In the event that we are subject to any termination, winding up, liquidation or reorganization, whether in bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganization or receivership proceedings or upon an assignment for the benefit of our creditors or any other marshalling of our assets and liabilities or otherwise, if the holders of the notes receive for any reason any payment on the notes or other distributions of our assets with respect to the notes before all of our senior indebtedness is paid in full, the holders of the notes will be required to return that payment or distribution to the bankruptcy trustee, receiver, liquidating trustee, custodian, assignee, agent or other person making payment of our assets for all our senior indebtedness remaining unpaid until all that senior indebtedness has been paid in full, after giving effect to any other concurrent payment or distribution to the holders of such senior indebtedness.

As a result of the subordination of the notes in favor of the holders of our senior indebtedness, in the event of our bankruptcy or insolvency, holders of our senior indebtedness may receive more, ratably, and holders of the notes may receive less, ratably, than our other creditors.

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All liabilities of the Bank, including deposits and liabilities to general creditors arising during its ordinary course of business or otherwise, will be effectively senior in right of payment to the notes to the extent of the assets of the subsidiary because, as a shareholder of the subsidiary, we do not have any rights to the assets of the subsidiary except if the subsidiary declares a dividend payable to us or if there are assets of the subsidiary remaining after it has discharged its liabilities to its creditors in connection with its liquidation. As of September 30, 2019, the Bank had total outstanding liabilities of $2.0 billion on a consolidated basis. Over the term of the notes, we will need to rely primarily on dividends paid to us by the Bank, which is a regulated and supervised depository institution, for the funds necessary to pay the interest on our outstanding debt obligations and to make dividends and other payments on our other securities outstanding now or in the future. With respect to the payment of the principal of the notes at their maturity, we may rely on the funds we receive from dividends paid to us by the Bank but may have to rely on the proceeds of borrowings and/or the sale of other securities to pay the principal amount of the notes. Regulatory rules may restrict the Bank’s ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us or provide funds to us by other means. As a result, with respect to the assets of the Bank, our creditors (including the holders of the notes) are structurally subordinated to the prior claims of creditors of the Bank, including its depositors, except to the extent that we may be a creditor with recognized claims against the Bank.

Redemption

We may, at our option, redeem the notes, in whole or in part, beginning with the interest payment date of September 30, 2024 and on any interest payment date thereafter. In addition, at our option, we may redeem the notes in whole but not in part, at any time upon the occurrence of:

a “Tier 2 Capital Event,” which is defined in the indenture to mean receipt by us of a legal opinion of counsel experienced in such matters to the effect that the notes do not constitute, or within 90 days of the date of such legal opinion, will not constitute, Tier 2 capital for purposes of capital adequacy guidelines of the Federal Reserve, as then in effect and applicable to us;
 
a “Tax Event,” which is defined in the indenture to mean the receipt by us of a legal opinion of counsel experienced in such matters to the effect that there is more than an insubstantial risk that interest paid by us on the notes is not, or within 90 days of the date of such legal opinion, will not be, deductible by us, in whole or in part, for U.S. federal income tax purposes; or
 
an “Investment Company Event,” which is defined in the indenture to mean receipt by us of a legal opinion from counsel experienced in such matters to the effect that there is more than an insubstantial risk that we are, or within 90 days of the date of such legal opinion, will be considered an “investment company” that is required to be registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

Any redemption of the New Notes will be subject to prior approval of the Federal Reserve, to the extent such approval is then required. Any redemption of the notes will be at a redemption price equal to the principal amount of the notes, or portion thereof, to be redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the date of redemption. Any redemption of the notes will be subject to any required regulatory approvals.

If less than all of the notes are to be redeemed, the notes will be redeemed on a pro rata basis.

Notices of redemption will be mailed by first class mail at least 30 but no more than 60 days before the redemption date to each holder of notes to be redeemed at its registered address. If any note is to be redeemed in part only, the notice of redemption that relates to that note will state the portion of the principal amount thereof to be redeemed. A new note in principal amount equal to the unredeemed portion of the original note, if any, will be issued in the name of the holder thereof upon cancellation of the original note. Notes called for redemption become due on the date fixed for redemption. On and after the redemption date, interest ceases to accrue on notes or portions of them called for redemption.

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Repurchases

We may purchase notes at any time on the open market or otherwise. If we purchase notes in this manner, we have the discretion to hold, resell or surrender the notes to the trustee under the indenture for cancellation.

No Sinking Fund; Non-Convertible

The notes will not be entitled to the benefit of any sinking fund. This means that we will not deposit money on a regular basis into any separate custodial account to repay the notes. The notes are not convertible into, or exchangeable for, any of our equity securities.

Form, Denomination, Transfer, Exchange and Book-Entry Procedures

The notes will be issued only in fully registered form, without interest coupons, and in denominations of $1,000 and integral multiples of $1,000.

Unless otherwise required for institutional accredited investors, the notes will be evidenced by a global note which will be deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC, or any successor thereto, and registered in the name of Cede & Co., or Cede, as nominee of DTC. Except as set forth below, record ownership of the global note may be transferred, in whole or in part, only to another nominee of DTC or to a successor of DTC or its nominee. If New Notes are issued to institutional accredited investors in certificated form, the New Notes will be transferable only on the records of the trustee and may not be exchanged for a beneficial interest in the global note unless the exchange occurs in connection with a transfer where the transferor and transferee provide evidence satisfactory to the trustee and DTC that the transferee is eligible to hold a beneficial interest in the global note.

The global note will not be registered in the name of any person, or exchanged for notes that are registered in the name of any person, other than DTC or its nominee, unless one of the following occurs:

DTC notifies us that it is unwilling or unable to continue acting as the depositary for the global note, or DTC has ceased to be a clearing agency registered under the Exchange Act, and in either case we fail to appoint a successor depositary; or

 
an event of default with respect to the notes represented by the global note has occurred and is continuing.

In those circumstances, DTC will determine in whose names any securities issued in exchange for the global note will be registered. Any such notes in certificated form will be issued in minimum denominations of $1,000 and multiples of $1,000 in excess thereof and may be transferred or exchanged only in such minimum denominations.

DTC or its nominee will be considered the sole owner and holder of the global note for all purposes, and as a result:

you cannot get notes registered in your name if they are represented by the global note;
 
you cannot receive certificated (physical) notes in exchange for your beneficial interest in the global note;

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you will not be considered to be the owner or holder of the global note or any note it represents for any purpose; and

 
all payments on the global note will be made to DTC or its nominee.

The laws of some jurisdictions require that certain kinds of purchasers (for example, certain insurance companies) can only own securities in definitive (certificated) form. These laws may limit your ability to transfer your beneficial interests in the global note to these types of purchasers.

Only institutions (such as a securities broker or dealer) that have accounts with the DTC or its nominee (called “participants”) and persons that may hold beneficial interests through participants (including through Euroclear Bank SA/NV or Clearstream Banking, société anonyme, as DTC participants) can own a beneficial interest in the global note. The only place where the ownership of beneficial interests in the global note will appear and the only way the transfer of those interests can be made will be on the records kept by DTC (for their participants’ interests) and the records kept by those participants (for interests of persons held by participants on their behalf).

Secondary trading in bonds and notes of corporate issuers is generally settled in clearing-house (that is, next-day) funds. In contrast, beneficial interests in a global note usually trade in DTC’s same-day funds settlement system, and settle in immediately available funds. We make no representations as to the effect that settlement in immediately available funds will have on trading activity in those beneficial interests.

Cash payments of interest on and principal of the global note will be made to Cede, the nominee for DTC, as the registered owner of the global note. These payments will be made by wire transfer of immediately available funds on each payment date.

You may exchange or transfer the notes at the corporate trust office of the trustee for the notes or at any other office or agency maintained by us for those purposes. We will not require payment of a service charge for any transfer or exchange of the notes, but we may require payment of a sum sufficient to cover any applicable tax or other governmental charge.

We have been informed that, with respect to any cash payment of interest on or principal of the global note, DTC’s practice is to credit participants’ accounts on the payment date with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in the notes represented by the global note as shown on DTC’s records, unless DTC has reason to believe that it will not receive payment on that payment date. Payments by participants to owners of beneficial interests in notes represented by the global note held through participants will be the responsibility of those participants, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers registered in “street name.”

We also understand that neither DTC nor Cede will consent or vote with respect to the notes. We have been advised that under its usual procedures, DTC will mail an “omnibus proxy” to us as soon as possible after the record date. The omnibus proxy assigns Cede’s consenting or voting rights to those participants to whose accounts the notes are credited on the record date identified in a listing attached to the omnibus proxy.

Because DTC can only act on behalf of participants, who in turn act on behalf of indirect participants, the ability of a person having a beneficial interest in the principal amount represented by the global note to pledge the interest to persons or entities that do not participate in the DTC book-entry system, or otherwise take actions in respect of that interest, may be affected by the lack of a physical certificate evidencing its interest.

DTC has advised that it will take any action permitted to be taken by a holder of notes (including the presentation of notes for exchange) only at the direction of one or more participants to whose account with DTC interests in the global note are credited and only in respect of such portion of the principal amount of the notes represented by the global note as to which such participant has, or participants have, given such direction.

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DTC has also advised as follows: DTC is a limited purpose trust company organized under the laws of the State of New York, a “banking organization” within the meaning of the New York Banking Law, a member of the Federal Reserve, a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the Uniform Commercial Code, as amended, and a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the Exchange Act. DTC was created to hold securities for its participants and facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions between participants through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of its participants. Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies and clearing corporations and may include certain other organizations. Certain of such participants (or their representatives), together with other entities, own DTC. Indirect access to the DTC system is available to other entities such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a participant, either directly or indirectly. The rules applicable to DTC and its direct and indirect participants are on file with the SEC.

The policies and procedures of DTC, which may change periodically, will apply to payments, transfers, exchanges and other matters relating to beneficial interests in the global note. We and the trustee have no responsibility or liability for any aspect of DTC’s or any participants’ records relating to beneficial interests in the global note, including for payments made on the global note, and we and the trustee are not responsible for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any of those records.

Indenture Covenants

The indenture contains no covenants or restrictions restricting the incurrence of indebtedness or other obligations by us or by a subsidiary of ours, including the Bank. The indenture contains no financial covenants requiring us to achieve or maintain any minimum financial results relating to our financial position or results of operations or meet or exceed any financial ratios as a general matter or in order to incur additional indebtedness or obligations or to maintain any reserves. Moreover, neither the indenture nor the notes contain any covenants limiting our right to incur additional indebtedness or obligations, grant liens on our assets to secure our indebtedness or other obligations that are senior in right of payment to the notes, repurchase our stock or other securities, including any of the notes, or pay dividends or make other distributions to our shareholders (except, subject to certain limited exceptions, in the case of dividends or other distributions; redemptions, purchases, acquisitions or liquidation payments with respect to our capital stock; and repayments, repurchases or redemptions of any debt securities that rank equal with or junior to the notes, in each case, upon our failure to timely pay the principal of or interest on the notes, when the same becomes due and payable). In addition, neither the indenture nor the notes contain any provision that would provide protection to the holders of the notes against a sudden and dramatic decline in our credit quality resulting from a merger, takeover, recapitalization or similar restructuring or any other event involving us or our subsidiaries that may adversely affect our credit quality.

Events of Default; Right of Acceleration; Failure to Pay Principal or Interest

The following are events of default under the indenture:

the entry of a court decree or order for relief in respect of us in an involuntary case or proceeding under any applicable bankruptcy, insolvency, or reorganization law, now or hereafter in effect, and such decree or order will have continued unstayed and in effect for a period of 30 consecutive days;

 
the commencement by us of a voluntary case under any applicable bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization law, now or hereafter in effect, or the consent by us to the entry of a decree or order for relief in an involuntary case or proceeding under any such law;

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our failure to make payment of any interest on the notes when due, which continues for 15 days;

 
our failure to make payment of any principal of the notes when due;
 
our failure to perform any other obligation of ours under the notes or the indenture, which continues for 30 days after written notice as provided for in the indenture; and
 

our default under any of our other indebtedness having an aggregate principal amount of at least $23,000,000, whether such indebtedness now exists or is created or incurred in the future, which default (i) constitutes failure in payment of principal of such indebtedness when due after the expiration of any applicable grace period without such indebtedness having been discharged or (ii) results in such indebtedness becoming due or being declared due and payable prior to the date on which it otherwise would have become due or payable without such indebtedness having been discharged or such acceleration having been rescinded or annulled.

If an event of default with respect to the notes occurs due to a bankruptcy event, the principal of the notes and all accrued and unpaid interest thereon, if any, will be immediately due and payable without any declaration or other act on the part of the trustee or any holder of the notes. If an event of default with respect to the notes occurs due to any reason other than a bankruptcy event, neither the trustee nor any holder may accelerate the maturity of the notes.

The indenture provides for the acceleration of the unpaid principal and interest on the notes only in limited circumstances related to our involuntary or voluntary bankruptcy under bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization laws of the U.S. or any political subdivision thereof. Accordingly, if an event of default occurs and is continuing related to our bankruptcy, the principal amount of all notes, and accrued and unpaid interest, if any, will be due and payable immediately.

Under the indenture, if we fail to make any payment of interest on any note when such interest becomes due and payable and such default continues for a period of 35 days, or if we fail to make any payment of the principal of any note when such principal becomes due and payable, the trustee may, subject to certain limitations and conditions, seek to enforce its rights and the rights of the holders of notes to regularly scheduled payments of interest and of principal at the scheduled maturity of the notes. Any such rights to receive payment of such amounts under the notes remain subject to the subordination provisions of the notes as discussed above under “—Subordination.” Neither the trustee nor the holders of the notes will have the right to accelerate the maturity of the notes in the case of our failure to pay the principal of, or interest on, the notes or our non-performance of any other covenant or warranty under the notes or the indenture.

Amendment, Supplement and Waiver

Without the consent of any holder of notes, we and the trustee, at any time and from time to time, may enter into one or more indentures supplemental to the indenture for any of the following purposes:

to evidence a successor to our organization, and the assumption by any such successor of our covenants contained in the indenture and the notes;
 
to add to our covenants for the benefit of the holders, or to surrender any right or power conferred upon us with respect to the notes;
 
to permit or facilitate the issuance of notes in uncertificated or global form, as long as any such action will not adversely affect the interests of the holders;

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to include additional events of default;

 
to evidence and provide for the acceptance of appointment under the indenture by a successor trustee and to add to or change any provisions of the indenture to provide for or facilitate the administration of the trusts hereunder by more than one trustee;
 
to cure any ambiguity, defect, omission, mistake or inconsistency;
 
to make any other provisions with respect to matters or questions arising under the indenture that will not adversely affect the interests of the holders of the notes;
 
to supplement any of the provisions of the indenture as necessary to permit or facilitate legal or covenant defeasance, or satisfaction and discharge of the notes, as long as any such action will not adversely affect the interests of any holder;
 
to conform any provision of the indenture to the requirements of the Trust Indenture Act;
 
to provide for the issuance of the New Notes in connection with this exchange offer; or
 
to make any change that does not adversely affect the legal rights under the indenture of any holder.

With the consent of the holders of not less than a majority in principal amount of the outstanding notes, we and the trustee may enter into an indenture or indentures supplemental to the indenture for the purpose of adding any provisions to or changing in any manner or eliminating any of the provisions of the indenture or the notes or of modifying in any manner the rights of the holders of the notes under the indenture, except that no such supplemental indenture will, without the consent of the holder of each outstanding note affected thereby:

reduce the rate of, or change the time for payment of, interest on any note;
 
reduce the principal of or change the stated maturity of any note, change the date on which any note may be subject to redemption, or reduce the price at which any note subject to redemption may be redeemed;
 
make any note payable in money other than dollars;
 
modify any provision of the indenture protecting the right of a holder to receive payment of principal of and interest on such note on or after the due date thereof or to bring suit to enforce payment;
 
reduce the threshold of holders the consent of whom is required for any such supplemental indenture or required to waive certain defaults and covenants under the indenture; or
 
modify any of the provisions of the section of the indenture governing supplemental indentures with the consent of holders, or those provisions relating to waiver of defaults or certain covenants, except to increase any such percentage required for such actions or to provide that certain other provisions of the indenture cannot be modified or waived without the consent of the holder of each outstanding note affected thereby.

The holders of not less than a majority in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding notes may on behalf of the holders of all notes waive any past default under the indenture and its consequences, except a default in any payment in respect of the principal of or interest on any note, or in respect of a covenant or provision of the indenture under which the indenture cannot be modified or amended without the consent of the holder of each outstanding note.

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Satisfaction and Discharge of the Indenture; Defeasance

We may terminate our obligations under the indenture when:

either: (1) all notes that have been authenticated and delivered have been delivered to the trustee for cancellation, or (2) all notes that have not been delivered to the trustee for cancellation (i) have become due and payable or (ii) will become due and payable at their stated maturity within one year or are to be called for redemption within one year under arrangements satisfactory to the trustee for the giving of notice of redemption by the trustee, and in the case of the foregoing clause 2(i) or 2(ii), we have deposited or caused to be deposited with the trustee immediately available funds in an amount sufficient to pay and discharge the entire indebtedness on the outstanding notes;

 
we have paid or caused to be paid all other sums then due and payable by us under the indenture with respect to the notes; and
 
we have delivered to the trustee an officer’s certificate and an opinion of counsel, each stating that all conditions precedent under the indenture relating to the satisfaction and discharge of the indenture have been satisfied.

We may elect, at our option and at any time, to have our obligations discharged with respect to the outstanding notes, which we refer to as legal defeasance. Legal defeasance means that we will be deemed to have paid and discharged the entire indebtedness represented by the outstanding notes, except for:

the rights of the holders of such notes to receive payments in respect of the principal of and interest on such notes when payments are due;
 
our obligations with respect to such notes concerning registration of notes, mutilated, destroyed, lost or stolen notes and the maintenance of an office or agency for payment and money for payments on the notes to be held in trust;
 
the rights, powers, trusts, duties and immunities of the trustee under the indenture; and
 
the defeasance provisions of the indenture.

In addition, we may elect, at our option, to have our obligations released with respect to certain covenants contained in the indenture, which is also called covenant defeasance. In the event covenant defeasance occurs, certain events (not including non-payment, bankruptcy and insolvency events) will no longer constitute an event of default with respect to the notes.

In order to exercise either legal defeasance or covenant defeasance with respect to outstanding notes:

we must irrevocably have deposited or caused to be deposited with the trustee as trust funds in trust for the purpose of making the following payments, specifically pledged as security for, and dedicated solely to the benefits of the holders of such notes, (1) an amount in dollars, (2) U.S. government obligations that through the scheduled payment of principal and interest in respect thereof in accordance with their terms will provide, not later than one day before the due date of any payment on the notes, money in an amount, or (3) a combination thereof, in each case sufficient to pay and discharge, and which will be applied by the trustee to pay and discharge, the entire indebtedness in respect of the principal of and interest on the notes on the stated maturity thereof or, with respect to notes called for redemption, on the redemption date thereof;

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in the case of legal defeasance, we will have delivered to the trustee an opinion of counsel stating that we have received from, or there has been published by, the Internal Revenue Service a ruling or since the date of the indenture there has been a change in the applicable U.S. federal income tax law, in either case to the effect that, and based thereon such opinion will confirm that, the holders of the notes will not recognize income, gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a result of such legal defeasance to be effected with respect to such notes and will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the same amount, in the same manner and at the same times as would be the case if such legal defeasance had not occurred;

 

in the case of covenant defeasance, we will have delivered to the trustee an opinion of counsel to the effect that the holders of the outstanding notes will not recognize income, gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a result of such covenant defeasance to be effected with respect to the notes and will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the same amount, in the same manner and at the same times as would be the case if such covenant defeasance had not occurred;

 

no event of default, or event which with notice or lapse of time or both would become an event of default with respect to the outstanding notes will have occurred and be continuing at the time of such deposit referred to in the first bullet point above (and in the case of legal defeasance will have occurred and be continuing at any time during the period ending on and including the 91st day after the date of such deposit);

 
such legal defeasance or covenant defeasance will not result in a breach or violation of, or constitute a default under, the indenture or any other material agreement or material instrument to which we or our subsidiaries are a party or by which we or our subsidiaries are bound; and
 
we will have delivered to the trustee an officer’s certificate and an opinion of counsel, each stating that all conditions precedent with respect to such legal defeasance or covenant defeasance have been satisfied.

In connection with a discharge or defeasance, in the event the trustee is unable to apply the moneys deposited as contemplated under the satisfaction and discharge provisions of the indenture for any reason, our obligations under the indenture and the notes will be revived as if the deposit had never occurred.

Regarding the Trustee

UMB Bank, National Association is acting as the trustee under the indenture and the initial paying agent and registrar for the notes. From time to time, we and some of our subsidiaries may maintain deposit accounts and conduct other banking transactions, including lending transactions, with the trustee in the ordinary course of business.

Except during the continuance of an event of default under the indenture, the trustee will perform only such duties as are specifically set forth in the indenture. During the continuance of an event of default that has not been cured or waived, the trustee will exercise such of the rights and powers vested in it by the indenture, and use the same degree of care and skill in their exercise, as a prudent person would exercise or use under the circumstances.

The indenture and the Trust Indenture Act contain certain limitations on the rights of the trustee, should it become a creditor of our organization, to obtain payment of claims in certain cases or to realize on certain property received in respect of any such claim as security or otherwise. The trustee will be permitted to engage in other transactions; however, if it acquires any “conflicting interest” (as defined in the Trust Indenture Act) it must eliminate such conflict within 90 days, apply to the SEC for permission to continue or resign.

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The holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding notes will have the right to direct the time, method and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the trustee or exercising any trust or power conferred on the trustee, subject to certain exceptions. The indenture provides that in case an event of default has occurred and is continuing, the trustee will exercise such of the rights and powers vested in it by the indenture, and use the same degree of care and skill in their exercise, as a prudent person would exercise or use under the circumstances. Subject to such provisions, the trustee will be under no obligation to exercise any of the rights or powers vested in it by the indenture at the request or direction of any of the holders under the indenture, unless such holders will have provided to the trustee security or indemnity satisfactory to the trustee against the losses, liabilities and expenses which might be incurred by it in compliance with such request or direction.

No Personal Liability of Shareholders, Employees, Officers or Directors, or Exchange Agent

No past, present or future director, officer, employee or shareholder of our company or any of our predecessors or successors, as such or in such capacity, nor the Exchange Agent will have any personal liability for any of our obligations under the notes or the indenture by reason of his, her or its status as such director, officer, employee or shareholder. Each holder of notes by accepting a note waives and releases all such liability. The waiver and release are part of the consideration for the issuance of the notes. Such waiver may not be effective to waive liabilities under the federal securities laws, and it is the view of the SEC that such a waiver is against public policy.

Governing Law

The notes and the indenture will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York.

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CERTAIN UNITED STATES FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following is a general summary of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations of the exchange of outstanding Old Notes for New Notes in the exchange offer. It is not a complete analysis of all the potential tax considerations relating to the exchange of outstanding Old Notes for New Notes. This discussion is based upon the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), its legislative history, existing and proposed regulations under the Code, and administrative and judicial interpretations, all as currently in effect. These authorities are subject to change, possibly on a retroactive basis. We cannot assure you that the Internal Revenue Service will not challenge one or more of the tax consequences described in this discussion, and we have not obtained, nor do we intend to obtain, a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service or an opinion of counsel with respect to the U.S. federal income tax consequences described herein.

The tax treatment of a holder of notes may vary depending on the holder’s particular situation. This discussion is limited to the U.S. federal income tax consequences applicable to holders that purchased their Old Notes from us in the initial offering and at the initial offering price for cash and who held the Old Notes, and will hold the New Notes, as capital assets within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code for U.S. federal income tax purposes. This discussion does not address all U.S. federal income tax considerations that may be applicable to holders’ particular circumstances or to holders that may be subject to special tax rules under U.S. federal income tax laws including, but not limited to, banks, insurance companies, or other financial institutions, regulated investment companies, real estate investment trusts, tax-exempt organizations, dealers or traders in securities, commodities or currencies, U.S. expatriates, controlled foreign corporations, passive foreign investment companies, holders subject to the alternative minimum tax, traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings, United States holders whose functional currency is not the United States dollar, persons that will hold the New Notes as a position in a hedging transaction, straddle, conversion transaction or other integrated transactions or risk reduction transaction, persons deemed to sell the New Notes under the constructive sale provisions of the Code, persons that will hold the New Notes in an individual retirement account, 401(k) plan or similar tax-favored account, or entities or arrangements classified as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes or other pass-through entities, or investors in such entities. This discussion does not address the tax considerations arising under the laws of any foreign, state or local jurisdiction, or any non-income tax consequences of the exchange of Old Notes for New Notes.

The exchange of Old Notes for New Notes in the exchange offer should not constitute a taxable exchange for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Consequently, (1) holders of Old Notes should not recognize gain or loss upon the receipt of New Notes in the exchange offer, (2) a holder’s basis in the New Notes received in the exchange offer should be the same as such holder’s basis in the Old Notes surrendered in exchange therefor immediately before the exchange, and (3) a holder’s holding period in the New Notes should include such holder’s holding period in the Old Notes surrendered in exchange therefor.

This discussion of certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations is for general information only and may not be applicable depending upon a holder’s particular situation. Holders of Old Notes considering the exchange offer are urged to consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax consequences to them of exchanging Old Notes for New Notes, including the tax consequences under state, local, estate, foreign and other tax laws and the possible effects of changes in United States or other tax laws.

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

Each broker-dealer that receives New Notes for its own account pursuant to the exchange offer must acknowledge that it may be a statutory underwriter and that it will deliver a prospectus in connection with any resale of such New Notes. This prospectus, as it may be amended or supplemented from time to time, may be used by a broker-dealer in connection with resales of New Notes received in exchange for Old Notes where such Old Notes were acquired as a result of market-making activities or other trading activities provided that such broker-dealer notifies the Company to that effect by so indicating on the letter of transmittal. To the extent that any notifying broker-dealer participates in the exchange offer, we will use our commercially reasonable efforts to maintain the effectiveness of this prospectus.

39


We will not receive any proceeds from any sale of New Notes by broker-dealers or any other persons. New Notes received by broker-dealers for their own account pursuant to the exchange offer may be sold from time to time in one or more transactions in the over-the-counter market, in negotiated transactions, through the writing of options on the New Notes or a combination of such methods of resale, at market prices prevailing at the time of resale, at prices related to such prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices. Any such resale may be made directly to purchasers or to or through brokers or dealers who may receive compensation in the form of commissions or concessions from any such broker-dealer and/or the purchasers of any New Notes. Any broker-dealer that receives New Notes in exchange for Old Notes acquired for its own account as a result of market-making activities or other trading activities, and resells such New Notes, and any broker-dealer that participates in a distribution of such New Notes may be deemed to be an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act and any profit on any such resale of New Notes and any commission or concessions received by any such persons may be deemed to be underwriting compensation under the Securities Act. The letter of transmittal states that, by acknowledging that it will deliver and by delivering a prospectus, a broker-dealer will not be deemed to admit that it is an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act.

We will promptly send additional copies of this prospectus and any amendment or supplement to this prospectus to any broker-dealer that reasonably requests such documents. We have agreed to pay certain expenses in connection with the exchange offer and will indemnify the holders of the Old Notes (including any broker-dealers) against certain liabilities, including certain liabilities under the Securities Act.

LEGAL MATTERS

The validity of the New Notes will be passed upon for us by Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP, Greenville, South Carolina.

EXPERTS

The consolidated financial statements of Southern First as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, and for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2018, and management’s assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018 have been incorporated by reference herein and in the registration statement in reliance upon the reports of Elliott Davis, LLC, an independent registered public accounting firm, incorporated by reference herein, and upon the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing.

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PART II
INFORMATION NOT REQUIRED IN PROSPECTUS

Item 20. Indemnification of Officers and Directors.

Under our bylaws, each of our directors has the right to be indemnified by us to the maximum extent permitted by law against (i) reasonable expenses incurred in connection with any threatened, pending or completed civil, criminal, administrative, investigative or arbitrative action, suit or proceeding seeking to hold the director liable by reason of his or her actions in such capacity and (ii) reasonable payments made by the director in satisfaction of any judgment, money decree, fine, penalty or settlement for which he or she became liable in such action, suit or proceeding. This right to indemnification includes the right to the advancement of reasonable expenses by us, to the maximum extent permitted by law. Under our bylaws, each of our officers who are not directors is entitled to the same indemnification rights, including the right to the advancement of reasonable expenses, which are provided to our directors.

Pursuant to the Business Corporation Act, a South Carolina corporation has the power to indemnify its directors and officers provided that they act in good faith and reasonably believe that their conduct was lawful and in the corporate interest (or not opposed thereto), as set forth in the Business Corporation Act. Under the Business Corporation Act, unless limited by its articles of incorporation, a corporation must indemnify a director or officer who is wholly successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she was a party because he or she is or was a director or officer, against reasonable expenses incurred by the director or officer in connection with the proceeding. Our amended and restated articles of incorporation do not contain any such limitations. The Business Corporation Act permits a corporation to pay for or reimburse reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of an action, suit or proceeding only upon (i) the director’s certification that he or she acted in good faith and in the corporate interest (or not opposed thereto), (ii) the director furnishing a written undertaking to repay the advance if it is ultimately determined that he or she did not meet this standard of conduct, and (iii) a determination is made that the facts then known to those making the determination would not preclude indemnification under the Business Corporation Act.

Under our amended and restated articles of incorporation, no director will be liable to us or our shareholders for monetary damages for breach of his or her fiduciary duty as a director, to the maximum extent permitted by law.

The Business Corporation Act 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. We maintain directors and officers’ liability insurance for the benefit of our directors and officers.

II-1


Item 21. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules.

(a)

Exhibits:

Number       Description
3.1 Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 of the Company’s Registration Statement on Form SB-2 filed on July 27, 1999)
 
3.2 Articles of Amendment to the Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1 of the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on March 3, 2009)
 
3.2 Amended and Restated Bylaws dated March 18, 2008 (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.4 of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 24, 2008)
 
4.1 Indenture, dated as of September 30, 2019, by and between Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and UMB Bank, National Association, as trustee, is incorporated by reference from Exhibit 4.1 of the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 30, 2019.
 
4.2 Form of 4.75% Fixed-to-Floating Subordinated Note due 2029 of Southern First Bancshares, Inc. is incorporated by reference from Exhibit 4.2 of the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 30, 2019.
 
4.3 Form of Subordinated Note Purchase Agreement, dated as of September 30, 2019, by and among Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and the purchasers party thereto is incorporated by reference from Exhibit 10.1 of the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 30, 2019.
 
4.4 Form of Registration Rights Agreement, dated as of September 30, 2019, by and among Southern First Bancshares, Inc. and the purchasers party thereto is incorporated by reference from Exhibit 10.2 of the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed September 30, 2019.
 
5.1 Opinion of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP.
 
23.1 Consent of Elliott Davis, LLC.
 
23.2 Consent of Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP (included in Exhibit 5.1).
 
24.1 Power of Attorney (included with “Signature” pages of this registration statement).
 
25.1 Form T-1 Statement of Eligibility under the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended, of UMB Bank, National Association.
 
99.1 Form of Letter of Transmittal.

(b)

Financial Statement Schedules:

All schedules for which provision is made in the applicable accounting regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission have been omitted because they are not required, amounts which would otherwise be required to be shown with respect to any item are not material, are inapplicable or the required information has already been provided elsewhere or incorporated by reference in the registration statement.

Item 22. Undertakings.

The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes:

(1) To file, during any period in which offers or sales are being made, a post-effective amendment to this registration statement:

(i) to include any prospectus required by Section 10(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933;

II-2


(ii) to reflect in the prospectus any facts or events arising after the effective date of the registration statement (or the most recent post-effective amendment thereof) which, individually or in the aggregate, represent a fundamental change in the information set forth in the registration statement (notwithstanding the foregoing, any increase or decrease in the volume of securities offered (if the total dollar value of securities offered would not exceed that which was registered) and any deviation from the low or high end of the estimated maximum offering range may be reflected in the form of prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) if, in the aggregate, the changes in volume and price represent no more than a 20% change in the maximum aggregate offering price set forth in the “Calculation of Registration Fee” table in the effective registration statement); and

(iii) to include any material information with respect to the plan of distribution not previously disclosed in the registration statement or any material change to such information in the registration statement.

(2) That, for the purpose of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each such post-effective amendment shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

(3) To remove from registration by means of a post-effective amendment any of the securities being registered which remain unsold at the termination of the offering.

The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes that, for the purpose of determining liability under the Securities Act of 1933 to any purchaser, each prospectus filed pursuant to Rule 424(b) as part of a registration statement relating to an offering, other than registration statements relying on Rule 430B or other than prospectuses filed in reliance on Rule 430A, shall be deemed to be part of and included in the registration statement as of the date it is first used after effectiveness; provided, however, that no statement made in a registration statement or prospectus that is part of the registration statement or made in a document incorporated or deemed incorporated by reference into the registration statement or prospectus that is part of the registration statement will, as to a purchaser with a time of contract of sale prior to such first use, supersede or modify any statement that was made in the registration statement or prospectus that was part of the registration statement or made in any such document immediately prior to such date of first use.

For the purpose of determining liability of the registrant under the Securities Act of 1933 to any purchaser in the initial distribution of the securities, the undersigned registrant undertakes that in a primary offering of securities of the undersigned registrant pursuant to this registration statement, regardless of the underwriting method used to sell the securities to the purchaser, if the securities are offered or sold to such purchaser by means of any of the following communications, the undersigned registrant will be a seller to the purchaser and will be considered to offer or sell such securities to such purchaser:

(i) any preliminary prospectus or prospectus of the undersigned registrant relating to the offering required to be filed pursuant to Rule 424;

(ii) any free writing prospectus relating to the offering prepared by or on behalf of the undersigned registrant or used or referred to by the undersigned registrant;

(iii) the portion of any other free writing prospectus relating to the offering containing material information about the undersigned registrant or its securities provided by or on behalf of the undersigned registrant; and

(iv) any other communication that is an offer in the offering made by the undersigned registrant to the purchaser.

II-3


The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes that, for purposes of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each filing of the registrant’s annual report pursuant to Section 13(a) or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (and, where applicable, each filing of an employee benefit plan’s annual report pursuant to section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) that is incorporated by reference in this registration statement shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act of 1933 may be permitted to directors, officers and controlling persons of the registrant pursuant to the foregoing provisions, or otherwise, the registrant has been advised that in the opinion of the Securities and Exchange Commission such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act of 1933 and is, therefore, unenforceable. In the event that a claim for indemnification against such liabilities (other than the payment by the registrant of expenses incurred or paid by a director, officer or controlling person of the registrant in the successful defense of any action, suit or proceeding) is asserted by such director, officer or controlling person in connection with the securities being registered, the registrant will, unless in the opinion of its counsel the matter has been settled by controlling precedent, submit to a court of appropriate jurisdiction the question whether such indemnification by it is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act of 1933 and will be governed by the final adjudication of such issue.

The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes to respond to requests for information that is incorporated by reference into the prospectus pursuant to Items 4, 10(b), 11 or 13 of this Form, within one business day of receipt of such request, and to send the incorporated documents by first class mail or other equally prompt means. This includes information contained in documents filed subsequent to the effective date of the registration statement through the date of responding to the request.

The undersigned registrant hereby undertakes to supply by means of a post-effective amendment all information concerning a transaction, and the company being acquired involved therein, that was not the subject of and included in this registration statement when it became effective.

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SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act, the registrant has duly caused this Registration Statement to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized, in the City of Greenville, State of South Carolina, on December 12, 2019.

SOUTHERN FIRST BANCSHARES, INC.
By:      /s/ R. ARTHUR SEAVER, JR.
R. Arthur Seaver, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer

POWER OF ATTORNEY

Each person whose signature appears below hereby makes, constitutes and appoints R. Arthur Seaver, Jr. and Michael D. Dowling, and each of them, as such person’s true and lawful attorney-in-fact and agent, with full powers of substitution and resubstitution, for such person and in his or her name, place and stead, in any and all capacities, to sign any and all amendments to this Registration Statement (including any post-effective amendments thereto), and to file the same, with all exhibits thereto and other documents in connection therewith, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, granting unto said attorney-in-fact and agent full power and authority to do and perform each and every act and thing requisite or necessary to be done in and about the premises, as fully and to all intents and purposes as he or she might or could do in person, hereby ratifying and confirming all that said attorney-in-fact and agent, or his or their substitute or substitutes, may lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue hereof.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, this Registration Statement has been signed by the following persons in the capacities indicated below in the City of Greenville, State of South Carolina, on December 12, 2019.

Name      Capacity      Signature
R. Arthur Seaver, Jr. Principal Executive Officer; Director /s/ R. ARTHUR SEAVER, JR.
 
Michael D. Dowling Principal Financial and Accounting Officer /s/ MICHAEL D. DOWLING
 
James B. Orders, III Chairman of the Board of Directors /s/ JAMES B. ORDERS, III
 
Andrew B. Cajka, Jr. Director /s/ ANDREW B. CAJKA, JR.
 
Mark A. Cothran Director /s/ MARK A. COTHRAN
 
Leighton M. Cubbage Director /s/ LEIGHTON M. CUBBAGE
 
Anne S. Ellefson Director /s/ ANNE S. ELLEFSON
 
David G. Ellison Director /s/ DAVID G. ELLISON
 
Fred Gilmer, Jr. Director /s/ FRED GILMER, JR.
 
Anna T. Locke Director /s/ ANNA T. LOCKE
 
Tecumseh Hooper, Jr. Director /s/ TECUMSEH HOOPER, JR.
 
Rudolph G. Johnstone, III, M.D. Director /s/ RUDOLPH G. JOHNSTONE, III, M.D.


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