By the Division of Banks


  1. APPLICABILITY AND SCOPE

    This bulletin clarifies the procedure which all banks, credit unions, licensees, and their representatives, as well as members of the public, must follow in order to request an advisory opinion or approval from the Division of Banks (Division).

  2. POLICY
    1. Form

      All requests for opinions and applications for approvals must be written and addressed directly to the Division. The Division’s current address is 1000 Washington Street, 10th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02118-6400. Such requests and applications must contain the full name of the person filing the request or application, address, telephone number and signature, and if applicable the full name of the financial institution represented by such person. Misdirected requests and applications addressed to Division personnel other than the Commissioner of Banks will cause significant and unnecessary delays in processing.

    2. Opinions

      Requests for opinions must concisely present all known issues, facts, and citations to applicable statutes, regulations, regulatory bulletins or other advisory opinions within the Division’s jurisdiction. A complete analysis of the facts and law in support of the requestor’s position must be provided. Requests lacking material information shall be considered incomplete until the Division receives such information. Opinions issued by the Division reflect the specificity provided in opinion requests. Such opinions are binding only to fact patterns which do not vary from those presented in the request. However, such opinions shall have precedential value in regard to subsequent opinion requests on related issues.

    3. Approvals

      Requests or applications for approvals from the Division must concisely state the nature of the approval sought and must cite the statute or regulation requiring such approval. Each element required by statute, regulation, administrative bulletin or advisory opinion must be addressed. Requests which fail to provide any material information shall be considered incomplete until the Division receives such information. This section does not govern formal applications for regulatory approval reported in the Division’s Monthly Activity Report.

    4. Materiality

      The Division retains complete discretion in determining what information may or may not be material to a specific opinion or approval request or application.

    5. Processing

      Every effort shall be made by the Division to respond to completed requests for opinions and approval applications within a timely manner. However, requests involving complex issues of law or public policy may require an extended review period.

    6. Selected Opinions

      The Division publishes Selected Opinions in the Legal Resources Section of the Division’s website at www.mass.gov/dob. The publication of Selected Opinions is part of the Division's ongoing effort to continue to improve its communication with all those who have a vested interest in the financial services industry. Through these Selected Opinions, the Division offers its perspective on current issues and questions in the financial services industry.

  3. HISTORICAL NOTES

    This bulletin was issued on January 15, 1998 and recited existing internal Division policies. The bulletin was revised on May 8, 2012.

  4. AUTHORITY

    G.L. c. 26, ss. 2 and 4; and G.L. c. 30A.