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Opinion

Opinion Summary of Selected Opinions 98-124 (-077)

Date: 04/01/1998
Organization: Division of Banks
Docket Number: 98-124

This opinion was issued in the second quarter of 1998.

Foreign corporation's use of "bank" as part of name when doing business in Massachusetts

As provided by Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 167, section 37, a foreign corporation shall not solicit or receive deposits or transact any business whatsoever in the manner described in chapters 167, 167C through 167G, and 168 through 172A, unless authorized to do so under the laws of the Commonwealth. Said section 37 also provides that such a corporation may not make use of any sign at the place where its business is transacted or use any written or printed materials having thereon any name or other words indicating that such place or office is a bank. Additionally, the statute prohibits a foreign corporation from transacting business under any name or title that contains the word "bank." The purpose of this statute is to prohibit the practice of unauthorized banking in the Commonwealth and to prevent an entity from creating the impression that might lead the public to believe that its business is that of a bank. Nevertheless, it has been the consistent position of the Division that lending alone does not constitute a banking business.

A bank organized under the laws of any other state is exempted from the mortgage lender licensing requirement when making loans secured by one-to-four family residential property in Massachusetts pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 255E. It is the position of the Division of Banks that a bank, organized under the laws of another jurisdiction, may conduct mortgage lending business, using a corporate name containing the word "Bank," at a loan production office in Massachusetts without first obtaining a mortgage lender's license or the Division's approval. To the extent that the bank does engage in consumer lending, other provisions of Mass. Gen. Laws and regulations, including but not limited to chapters 140D, 183, and 184, must be met.

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