Regulating Financial Services, Protecting Montanans

Restricted Trade Names

When registering the name of a business with the Secretary of State (SOS), there are certain words and word combinations that are restricted from use without a consent letter from the Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions (Division).  These restrictions are in place to protect citizens from being misled into thinking a business is a financial institution when it is not and to prevent confusion between similar names. 

What are the restricted words? 

Pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. §§ 32-1-402(4) and 32-3-103(2), the restricted words are: 

  • "bank" 
  • "banker" 
  • "banking" 
  • "savings bank" 
  • "saving" 
  • "trust company" 
  • "investment company" 
  • "credit union" 

The restriction includes the plural of these words. Mont. Code Ann. § 1-2-105(3). 

How will I know if I need a consent letter from the Division? 

If the SOS receives a registration for a business name containing restricted words, a message will appear stating that a consent letter from the Division must be uploaded before the registration can be completed. 

How do I request a consent letter from the Division? 

Send an email to the Division office at and provide the following: 

  • The name of the business, 
  • a brief description of business activities the business intends to perform in Montana, and 
  • if the business a non-profit or for-profit. 
Why does it matter if my business if a non-profit? 

The Division may grant a waiver to a nonprofit organization if: 

  • the organization is not acting as a financial institution; and 
  • the name used is not likely to mislead a reasonable individual into thinking that the organization is acting as a financial institution. 
Can an out-of-state state-chartered bank register  the word "bank" in Montana? 

Yes.  The 2023 Montana Legislature amended Mont. Code Ann. § 32-1-402 to allow the Division to grant a waiver to out-of-state state-chartered banks that seek to do business in Montana.  The effective date of this amendment was February 28, 2023.