United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: May 24, 2024

§ 36.
Branch banks
The conditions upon which a national banking association may retain or establish and operate a branch or branches are the following:
(a)
Lawful and continuous operation

A national banking association may retain and operate such branch or branches as it may have had in lawful operation on February 25, 1927, and any national banking association which continuously maintained and operated not more than one branch for a period of more than twenty-five years immediately preceding February 25, 1927, may continue to maintain and operate such branch.

(b)
Converted State banks
(1)
A national bank resulting from the conversion of a State bank may retain and operate as a branch any office which was a branch of the State bank immediately prior to conversion if such office—
(A)
might be established under subsection (c) of this section as a new branch of the resulting national bank, and is approved by the Comptroller of the Currency for continued operation as a branch of the resulting national bank;
(B)
was a branch of any bank on February 25, 1927; or
(C)
is approved by the Comptroller of the Currency for continued operation as a branch of the resulting national bank.
The Comptroller of the Currency may not grant approval under clause (C) of this paragraph if a State bank (in a situation identical to that of the national bank) resulting from the conversion of a national bank would be prohibited by the law of such State from retaining and operating as a branch an identically situated office which was a branch of the national bank immediately prior to conversion.
(2)
A national bank (referred to in this paragraph as the “resulting bank”), resulting from the consolidation of a national bank (referred to in this paragraph as the “national bank”) under whose charter the consolidation is effected with another bank or banks, may retain and operate as a branch any office which, immediately prior to such consolidation, was in operation as—
(A)
a main office or branch office of any bank (other than the national bank) participating in the consolidation if, under subsection (c) of this section, it might be established as a new branch of the resulting bank, and if the Comptroller of the Currency approves of its continued operation after the consolidation;
(B)
a branch of any bank participating in the consolidation, and which, on February 25, 1927, was in operation as a branch of any bank; or
(C)
a branch of the national bank and which, on February 25, 1927, was not in operation as a branch of any bank, if the Comptroller of the Currency approves of its continued operation after the consolidation.
The Comptroller of the Currency may not grant approval under clause (C) of this paragraph if a State bank (in a situation identical to that of the resulting national bank) resulting from the consolidation into a State bank of another bank or banks would be prohibited by the law of such State from retaining and operating as a branch an identically situated office which was a branch of the State bank immediately prior to consolidation.
(3)
As used in this subsection, the term “consolidation” includes a merger.
(c)
New branches

A national banking association may, with the approval of the Comptroller of the Currency, establish and operate new branches: (1) Within the limits of the city, town or village in which said association is situated, if such establishment and operation are at the time expressly authorized to State banks by the law of the State in question; and (2) at any point within the State in which said association is situated, if such establishment and operation are at the time authorized to State banks by the statute law of the State in question by language specifically granting such authority affirmatively and not merely by implication or recognition, and subject to the restrictions as to location imposed by the law of the State on State banks. In any State in which State banks are permitted by statute law to maintain branches within county or greater limits, if no bank is located and doing business in the place where the proposed agency is to be located, any national banking association situated in such State may, with the approval of the Comptroller of the Currency, establish and operate, without regard to the capital requirements of this section, a seasonal agency in any resort community within the limits of the county in which the main office of such association is located, for the purpose of receiving and paying out deposits, issuing and cashing checks and drafts, and doing business incident thereto: Provided, That any permit issued under this sentence shall be revoked upon the opening of a State or national bank in such community. Except as provided in the immediately preceding sentence, no such association shall establish a branch outside of the city, town, or village in which it is situated unless it has a combined capital stock and surplus equal to the combined amount of capital stock and surplus, if any, required by the law of the State in which such association is situated for the establishment of such branches by State banks, or, if the law of such State requires only a minimum capital stock for the establishment of such branches by State banks, unless such association has not less than an equal amount of capital stock.

(d)
Branches resulting from interstate merger transactions

A national bank resulting from an interstate merger transaction (as defined in section 1831u(f)(6) 1

1
 See References in Text note below.
of this title) may maintain and operate a branch in a State other than the home State (as defined in subsection (g)(3)(B)) of such bank in accordance with section 1831u of this title.

(e)
Exclusive authority for additional branches
(1)
In general

Effective June 1, 1997, a national bank may not acquire, establish, or operate a branch in any State other than the bank’s home State (as defined in subsection (g)(3)(B)) or a State in which the bank already has a branch unless the acquisition, establishment, or operation of such branch in such State by such national bank is authorized under this section or section 1823(f), 1823(k), or 1831u of this title.

(2)
Retention of branches
In the case of a national bank which relocates the main office of such bank from 1 State to another State after May 31, 1997, the bank may retain and operate branches within the State which was the bank’s home State (as defined in subsection (g)(3)(B)) before the relocation of such office only to the extent the bank would be authorized, under this section or any other provision of law referred to in paragraph (1), to acquire, establish, or commence to operate a branch in such State if—
(A)
the bank had no branches in such State; or
(B)
the branch resulted from—
(i)
an interstate merger transaction approved pursuant to section 1831u of this title; or
(ii)
a transaction after May 31, 1997, pursuant to which the bank received assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation under section 1823(c) of this title.
(f)
Law applicable to interstate branching operations
(1)
Law applicable to national bank branches
(A)
In general
The laws of the host State regarding community reinvestment, consumer protection, fair lending, and establishment of intrastate branches shall apply to any branch in the host State of an out-of-State national bank to the same extent as such State laws apply to a branch of a bank chartered by that State, except—
(i)
when Federal law preempts the application of such State laws to a national bank; or
(ii)
when the Comptroller of the Currency determines that the application of such State laws would have a discriminatory effect on the branch in comparison with the effect the application of such State laws would have with respect to branches of a bank chartered by the host State.
(B)
Enforcement of applicable State laws

The provisions of any State law to which a branch of a national bank is subject under this paragraph shall be enforced, with respect to such branch, by the Comptroller of the Currency.

(C)
Review and report on actions by Comptroller

The Comptroller of the Currency shall conduct an annual review of the actions it has taken with regard to the applicability of State law to national banks (or their branches) during the preceding year, and shall include in its annual report required under section 14 of this title the results of the review and the reasons for each such action. The first such review and report after July 3, 1997, shall encompass all such actions taken on or after January 1, 1992.

(2)
Treatment of branch as bank

All laws of a host State, other than the laws regarding community reinvestment, consumer protection, fair lending, establishment of intrastate branches, and the application or administration of any tax or method of taxation, shall apply to a branch (in such State) of an out-of-State national bank to the same extent as such laws would apply if the branch were a national bank the main office of which is in such State.

(3)
Rule of construction

No provision of this subsection may be construed as affecting the legal standards for preemption of the application of State law to national banks.

(g)
State “opt-in” election to permit interstate branching through de novo branches
(1)
In general
Subject to paragraph (2), the Comptroller of the Currency may approve an application by a national bank to establish and operate a de novo branch in a State (other than the bank’s home State) in which the bank does not maintain a branch if—
(A)
the law of the State in which the branch is located, or is to be located, would permit establishment of the branch, if the national bank were a State bank chartered by such State; and
(B)
the conditions established in, or made applicable to this paragraph by, paragraph (2) are met.
(2)
Conditions on establishment and operation of interstate branch
(A)
Establishment

An application by a national bank to establish and operate a de novo branch in a host State shall be subject to the same requirements and conditions to which an application for an interstate merger transaction is subject under paragraphs (1), (3), and (4) of section 1831u(b) of this title.

(B)
Operation

Subsections (c) and (d)(2) of section 1831u of this title shall apply with respect to each branch of a national bank which is established and operated pursuant to an application approved under this subsection in the same manner and to the same extent such provisions of such section 1831u of this title apply to a branch of a national bank which resulted from an interstate merger transaction approved pursuant to such section 1831u of this title.

(3)
Definitions
The following definitions shall apply for purposes of this section:
(A)
De novo branch
The term “de novo branch” means a branch of a national bank which—
(i)
is originally established by the national bank as a branch; and
(ii)
does not become a branch of such bank as a result of—
(I)
the acquisition by the bank of an insured depository institution or a branch of an insured depository institution; or
(II)
the conversion, merger, or consolidation of any such institution or branch.
(B)
Home State

The term “home State” means the State in which the main office of a national bank is located.

(C)
Host State

The term “host State” means, with respect to a bank, a State, other than the home State of the bank, in which the bank maintains, or seeks to establish and maintain, a branch.

(h)
Repealed. Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title II, § 2204, Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–405
(i)
Prior approval of branch locations

No branch of any national banking association shall be established or moved from one location to another without first obtaining the consent and approval of the Comptroller of the Currency.

(j)
“Branch” defined

The term “branch” as used in this section shall be held to include any branch bank, branch office, branch agency, additional office, or any branch place of business located in any State or Territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia at which deposits are received, or checks paid, or money lent. The term “branch”, as used in this section, does not include an automated teller machine or a remote service unit.

(k)
Branches in foreign countries, dependencies, or insular possessions

This section shall not be construed to amend or repeal section 25 of the Federal Reserve Act, as amended [12 U.S.C. 601 et seq.], authorizing the establishment by national banking associations of branches in foreign countries, or dependencies, or insular possessions of the United States.

(l)
“State bank” and “bank” defined

The words “State bank,” “State banks,” “bank,” or “banks,” as used in this section, shall be held to include trust companies, savings banks, or other such corporations or institutions carrying on the banking business under the authority of State laws.

(R.S. § 5155; Feb. 25, 1927, ch. 191, § 7, 44 Stat. 1228; June 16, 1933, ch. 89, § 23, 48 Stat. 189; Aug. 23, 1935, ch. 614, title III, § 305, 49 Stat. 708; July 15, 1952, ch. 753, § 2(b), 66 Stat. 633; Pub. L. 87–721, Sept. 28, 1962, 76 Stat. 667; Pub. L. 103–328, title I, §§ 102(b)(1), 103(a), Sept. 29, 1994, 108 Stat. 2349, 2352; Pub. L. 104–208, div. A, title II, §§ 2204, 2205(a), Sept. 30, 1996, 110 Stat. 3009–405; Pub. L. 105–24, § 2(b), July 3, 1997, 111 Stat. 239; Pub. L. 111–203, title VI, § 613(a), July 21, 2010, 124 Stat. 1614.)
cite as: 12 USC 36