What I don't get, is why a financial institution would want to pull this maneuver. I can see switching preferred to bond right now due to TCE requirement, but they are doing it the other way around.
I don't know the motivations of the company - you will have to read their annual report and MD&A for that.
However, a quick look shows that they are in the midst of a rather large acquisition.
Their creditors and any other backers of the deal may have insisted that the acquisition not be financed through leveraging, esp. in such times.
Also, the company appears to have an aversion to debt. If you look at their balance sheet, they have not carried any long term debt since 2005.