BANKING & FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Regulating Financial Services, Protecting Montanans

BANK BRANCHES & LOAN PRODUCTION OFFICES

Bank Branches

Below is information pertaining to branch applications, loan production office notifications, change of branch hours, and emergency branch closures.

Bank Branches

Below are the requirements for an existing state-chartered bank to establish a new branch using the summary approval (expedited) process.

QUALIFIED INSTITUTIONS

In order for a bank to qualify for summary approval, the bank must:

  • have received its bank charter at least five years prior to making the request;
  • be well-capitalized as defined in 12 CFR Part 324 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, if the bank is a nonmember bank; or as defined in 12 CFR 208.43(b)(1) by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, if the bank is a member bank of the Federal Reserve System;
  • have received a CAMELS composite rating of one or two on its most recent state or federal safety and soundness examination;
  • have received a management rating of one or two on its most recent state or federal regulatory examination; and
  • not be a party to any formal or informal enforcement action initiated by a state or federal regulatory agency.

UNQUALIFIED INSTITUTIONS

Institutions that do not qualify for a summary approval, must submit a branch application as described in ARM 2.59.1101 and ARM 2.59.1103.  See "New Branch - Standard Process" instructions for application information.

APPLICATION AND NOTICE

Submit a Request for Summary Approval of Branch form to the Division by mail or email to banking@mt.gov.

FEE

None

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS

The Division does not require notification to be published in a newspaper.  FDIC publication requirements can be found in 12 C.F.R. § 303.44.  FRB publication requirements can be found in 12 CFR § 262.3.

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-372, MCA: Branch bank

ARM 2.59.904:  Branch banks

Below are the requirements for an existing state-chartered bank to establish a new branch for institutions that do not qualify for a summary approval.

APPLICATION

Submit the Uniform Interstate Application/Notice to the Division by mail or by email (preferred) to banking@mt.gov.  Applications must be received 10 days subsequent to the first publication of the notice.

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR FRB OR FDIC MEMBER BANKS

If the application for a new branch bank also requires the approval of either the FRB or FDIC, the notice shall be published at the times and in the format required by the federal agency, except that the notice shall include the following phrase, which may be rephrased as needed for readability:

Comments regarding this application should be forwarded in writing via email to banking@mt.gov. Comments will also be accepted by mail addressed to the Commissioner of Banking and Financial Institutions, Department of Administration, 301 South Park, P.O. Box 200546, Helena, MT 59620-0546. The application may be reviewed, during the comment period, at the above address by calling the commissioner's office at (406) 841-2920 and requesting an appointment.

All written comments concerning the application must be received by the Division no later than 15 calendar days following the date of the last publication.  FDIC publication requirements can be found in 12 C.F.R. § 303.44. FRB publication requirements can be found in 12 CFR § 262.3.

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-FED MEMBER BANKS

If the applicant does not fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of either the FRB or FDIC, or if the publication requirement of the federal regulator has been eliminated, the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the community or communities where the main office of the bank and proposed branch bank are located. If there is no such newspaper in the community, then the notice shall be published in the newspaper of general circulation published nearest thereto. Publication shall be made at least once a week on the same day for two consecutive weeks.

The notice shall include the following phrase, which may be rephrased as needed for readability:

Comments regarding this application should be forwarded in writing via email to banking@mt.gov. Comments will also be accepted by mail addressed to the Commissioner of Banking and Financial Institutions, Department of Administration, 301 South Park, P.O. Box 200546, Helena, MT 59620-0546. The application may be reviewed, during the comment period, at the above address by calling the commissioner's office at (406) 841-2920 and requesting an appointment.

All written comments concerning the application must be received by the Division no later than 15 calendar days following the date of the last publication.

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-372, MCA: Branch bank

ARM 2.59.1101: Application procedure for approval to establish a new branch bank

ARM 2.59.1102: Review procedure for applications for approval to establish a new branch bank

ARM 2.59.1103: Procedure following approval of an application to establish a new branch bank

The Division considers a deposit-taking ATM as a limited-service branch and must follow the standard or summary approval process listed above.

In order for a bank organized under the laws of a state other than Montana or a national bank to branch into Montana, it must:

  • submit copies of all required regulatory filings or notices required by the home state;
  • submit copies of all required regulatory filings or notices required by any federal agencies; and
  • comply with ARM 2.59.904.

LAWS AND RULES:

32-1-372, MCA: Branch bank

ARM 2.59.904:  Branch banks

ARM 2.59.906:  Banks organized outside of Montana branching into Montana

In order for a bank organized under the laws of this state to request approval for a branch outside of Montana, the bank must:

  • submit copies of all required regulatory filings or notices required by the host state and federal agencies;
  • comply with ARM 2.59.904; and
  • comply with the branching requirements of the state into which it seeks to branch.

LAWS AND RULES:

32-1-372, MCA: Branch bank

ARM 2.59.904:  Branch banks

ARM 2.59.905:  Montana banks branching outside Montana

A bank branch relocation is considered a movement of a branch within the same immediate neighborhood that does not substantially affect the nature of the business or customers served. Generally, relocations involve movement over a short distance.

See ARM 2.59.902 for definitions of "short distance", "customer", and "principal city".

APPLICATION

No application but see the Notice of Relocation of Bank Branch form listed below.

FEE

None

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION NOTICE

None

CUSTOMER NOTIFICATION

A bank that desires to relocate a branch temporarily or permanently shall give notice to its customers using the customer Notice of Relocation of Bank Branch form.  A bank may amend the form as needed or include additional information in the form as appropriate.

The relocation form shall be provided to customers of the branch by posting it at the branch at least thirty (30) days before the relocation of the branch. The relocation form shall be provided to the division at the same time. The bank shall also notify its customers at least thirty days before the relocation, by any effective method, such as including the information in customer's monthly statements, posting information on the bank's website, etc.

MAIN BRANCH RELOCATION

If the main branch is to be relocated, the Articles of Incorporation must be amended and sent to the division for filing with the Secretary of State's office.  In addition, the bank's bylaws must also be amended with a copy sent to the division.

LAWS AND RULES

ARM 2.59.902:  Definitions

ARM 2.59.907:  Closing or relocating a branch bank

32-1-372, MCA:  Branch Bank

32-1-301, MCA:  Organizing and incorporation – Articles of Incorporation

32-1-308, MCA:  Bylaws

A bank that wishes to consolidate branches must first determine if it is, in fact, a branch consolidation or branch closure.

As defined in ARM 2.59.902(1), "consolidate" means "a combination of two or more office locations within the same immediate neighborhood that does not substantially affect the nature of the business or customers served."  Thus, for example, a consolidation of two branches on the same block following a merger would be considered a branch consolidation, not a branch closure.  Banks that are in doubt about whether a consolidation or a closing has occurred should consult the division.  

Branch consolidations are considered branch relocations and processed as such.  Refer to "Relocation of Existing Branch" for instructions.

LAWS AND RULES

ARM 2.59.902:  Definitions

ARM 2.59.907:  Closing or relocating a branch bank

32-1-372, MCA:  Branch Bank

Below are the requirements for a Montana state-chartered bank to close an existing branch.

APPLICATION

No application but see the Notice of Closure of Bank Branch form listed below.

FEE

None

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION NOTICE

None

CUSTOMER NOTIFICATION

A bank that desires to close a branch temporarily or permanently shall give notice to its customers using the Notice of Closure of Bank Branch form.  A bank may amend the form as needed or include additional information in the form as appropriate.

The closure form shall be provided to customers of the branch by posting it at the branch at least thirty days before the closure of the branch. The closure form shall be provided to the division at the same time. The bank shall also notify its customers at least thirty days before the closure, by any effective method, such as including the information in customer's monthly statements, posting information on the bank's website, etc.

LAWS AND RULES

ARM 2.59.902:  Definitions

ARM 2.59.907:  Closing or relocating a branch bank

32-1-372, MCA:  Branch Bank

Mont. Code Ann. § 32-1-484 allows for a bank to set its banking hours and days.  When a bank wants to change its established banking hours or days, it must give reasonable notice to the public and provide a copy of the notice to the Division.

What is considered "reasonable notice"?

While the Division doesn't define reasonable notice, typically banks try to provide notice at least 14 days in advance of the change, if possible.

How should a bank provide notice to their customers?

The bank is allowed to use its discretion on the best method to provide notice to their customers.  Banks usually provide notice with a combination of flyers posted in the lobby and drive-through lanes of the affected branch and including the information in the monthly statements of their customers.  They often put notices on their websites as well.

How should the bank provide a copy of the notice to the Division?

A copy of the notice can be provided to the Division via email to banking@mt.gov.

What if the bank only wants to change its hours for one day?

A bank may elect to close a branch for part of a day for reasons other than an emergency as defined in Mont. Code Ann. § 32-1-561(2).  For example, closing early for a holiday or special event such as a parade.  The branch would still need to give reasonable notice to the public and provide a copy of the notice to the Division.

What if the bank needs to close due to an emergency?

If a bank needs to close a branch due to an emergency and reasonable notice cannot be provided to their customers, the bank must submit:

See "Temporary Emergency Branch Closure" and "Emergency Branch Closure" for more information.

Officers of a bank can exercise their discretion in closing a bank branch for up to 48 consecutive hours when they are of an opinion that an emergency exists or is impending. While division approval is not required, banks must notify the Division. Notification must be sent to the Division by submitting a Temporary Emergency Branch Closure Notification form.

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-561(2), MCA: Definition of Emergency

32-1-563, MCA: Powers of officers

32-1-564, MCA: Notice of bank closing

32-1-565, MCA: Effect of closing

If the officers of the bank anticipate the branch closure to exceed 48 consecutive hours, approval from the Division is required. Requests for approval must be sent to the Division by submitting an Emergency Branch Closure form.

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-561(2), MCA: Definition of Emergency

32-1-562, MCA: Power of department

32-1-564, MCA: Notice of bank closing

32-1-565, MCA: Effect of closing

Loan Production Offices

Below are the requirements for a bank to establish a new loan production office (LPO) in Montana.  These requirements apply to banks chartered in Montana or out-of-state.

WRITTEN NOTICE

A bank that desires to establish an LPO in Montana must submit a Notice of Intent to Establish a Loan Production Office form at least 30 days prior to opening the LPO.  While division approval is not required to open an LPO, the division reserves the right to request additional information.

FEE

None

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS

None

SECRETARY OF STATE REGISTRATION - ASSUMED BUSINESS NAME

If an out-of-state state-chartered bank is opening an LPO in Montana, they must register with the Montana Secretary of State's office.  To comply with 32-1-402, MCA, the LPO may not transact business under a name or title that contains the word "bank", "banker", "banking", "savings bank", "saving", "trust company", or "investment company" unless the department has granted a waiver.  Historically, the Division has not granted waivers to banks not supervised by the division.  However, the Division does not object to a bank filing using an assumed business name that excludes these words.

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-109, MCA:  Definitions

32-1-222, MCA:  Loan Production Office – Rulemaking Authority

32-1-402, MCA:  When Advertising As Bank Prohibited -- Trade Names Restricted

ARM 2.59.903:  Loan Production Office

Below are the requirements for a Montana state-chartered bank to establish a new loan production office (LPO) in another state.

WRITTEN NOTICE AND FILINGS

A bank organized under the laws of Montana that intends to open an LPO in another state must submit the following to the division:

While division approval is not required to open an LPO, the division reserves the right to request additional information.

The bank must comply with the branching requirements of the state into which it seeks to branch.

FEE

None

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS

None

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-109, MCA:  Definitions

32-1-222, MCA:  Loan Production Office – Rulemaking Authority

ARM 2.59.903:  Loan Production Office

A loan production office (LPO) relocation is considered a movement of an LPO within the same immediate neighborhood that does not substantially affect the nature of the business or customers served.  Generally, relocations involve movement over a short distance.

See ARM 2.59.902 for definitions of "short distance", "customer", and "principal city".

CUSTOMER NOTIFICATION

A Montana state-chartered bank that desires to relocate an LPO, temporarily or permanently, must give notice to its customers by posting the Notice of Relocation of a Loan Production Office form at the LPO 15 days prior to the relocation.  This applies to LPOs located in Montana and in another state.

DIVISION NOTIFICATION

The bank must submit a copy of the Notice of Relocation of a Loan Production Office form to the division at the same time it is posted at the LPO.

While division approval is not required to relocate an LPO, the division reserves the right to request additional information.

FEE

None

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS

None

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-109, MCA:  Definitions

32-1-222, MCA:  Loan Production Office – Rulemaking Authority

ARM 2.59.902:  Definitions

ARM 2.59.903:  Loan Production Office

A bank that wishes to consolidate loan production offices (LPO) must first determine if it is, in fact, an LPO consolidation or an LPO closure.

As defined in ARM 2.59.902(1), consolidate means "a combination of two or more office locations within the same immediate neighborhood that does not substantially affect the nature of the business or customers served."  Thus, for example, a consolidation of two LPOs on the same block following a bank merger would be considered an LPO consolidation, not an LPO closure.  Banks that are in doubt about whether a consolidation or a closing has occurred should consult the division. 

LPO consolidations are considered LPO relocations and processed as such.  Refer to "Relocation of a Loan Production Office" for instructions.

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-109, MCA:  Definitions

32-1-222, MCA:  Loan Production Office – Rulemaking Authority

ARM 2.59.902:  Definitions

Below are the requirements for a Montana state-chartered bank to close an existing loan production office (LPO). 

CUSTOMER NOTIFICATION

A Montana state-chartered bank that desires to close an LPO, temporarily or permanently, must give notice to its customers by posting the Notice of Closure of a Loan Production Office form at the LPO 15 days prior to the closure.  This applies to LPOs located in Montana or in another state.

DIVISION NOTIFICATION

The bank must submit a copy of the Notice of Closure of a Loan Production Office form to the division at the same time it is posted at the LPO.

While division approval is not required to close an LPO, the division reserves the right to request additional information.

FEE

None

NEWSPAPER PUBLICATION REQUIREMENTS

None

LAWS AND RULES

32-1-109, MCA:  Definitions

32-1-222, MCA:  Loan Production Office – Rulemaking Authority

ARM 2.59.903:  Loan Production Office

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