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OCC Briefs

Below are links to recent OCC briefs of interest, and a short description:

Grant Thornton LLP v. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, No. 07-1003 (D.C. Cir.) (PDF 338 KB)
This is the proof brief filed by the OCC in response to Grant Thornton's petition challenging a Comptroller Decision imposing a cease and desist order and assessing a $300,000 civil money penalty against the firm for recklessly engaging in an unsafe or unsound practice in auditing the 1998 financial statements of First National Bank of Keystone, Keystone, West Virginia.

SPGGC LLC v. Blumenthal, No. 05-4711 (2nd Cir) (PDF)
This is a letter brief that the OCC filed in response to the invitation of the Court in this case challenging Connecticut law regulating gift cards. Plaintiff, a shopping mall operator, argued that federal law preempts Connecticut law prohibiting dormancy fees established and collected by the mall operator and a card expiration date imposed by the bank that issued the gift card. The OCC argued in its letter brief as amicus curiae that federal law preempts the state law prohibition on the gift card expiration date, but not the state law regulating the fees charged by the mall operator.

SPGGC LLC v. Ayotte, No. 06-2326 (1st Cir.) (PDF)
This is the amicus brief filed by the OCC in support of U.S. Bank, N.A., in this case challenging New Hampshire law that purports to prohibit the sale of a national bank's stored value cards (gift cards) when marketed and delivered to the bank's customers by employees of a shopping mall. The brief argues that federal law preempts state law prohibitions on dormancy fees and expiration dates for stored value cards of national banks and that federal law also preempts state attempts to enforce those prohibitions by imposing sanctions on third parties used by the bank to perform marketing and delivery services for the bank's stored value card program.

Watters v. Wachovia Bank, N.A., No. 05-1342 (Supreme Court of the United States)
These are the briefs filed in the Supreme Court case of Watters v. Wachovia Bank et al., No. 05-1342: 1) by Respondents Wachovia Bank, N.A. and its operating subsidiary, Wachovia Mortgage Corporation; and 2) by the amicus curiae supporting Wachovia's position in the case, including the Solicitor General's views on behalf of the United States. The petition for certiorari presents questions relating to preemption by federal law of a Michigan registration and enforcement regime as applied to national bank operating subsidiaries.

American Bankers Association v. Bill Lockyer, No. 04-16334 (9th Cir.) (PDF 1.3 MB)
Whether section 625(b)(2) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681t(b)(2) preempts the California Financial Information Privacy Act ("SB1"). The Office of Thrift Supervision, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, National Credit Union Administration and Federal Trade Commission filed a joint amicus brief arguing that SB1 is preempted by FCRA, which establishes uniform national standards for information sharing among affiliated companies and prohibits states from imposing additional requirements or prohibitions on inter-affiliate information sharing. The amicus brief supports the position of Appellants, the American Bankers Association et al., that the district court decision below should be reversed.

Wachovia Bank, N.A. v. Linda A. Watters, in her official capacity as Commissioner of the Michigan Office of Insurance and Financial Services, No. 5:03-CV-0105 (W.D. Mich.) (PDF)
Whether a national bank is required to obtain a state license to engage in a mortgage lending business through an operating subsidiary. OCC filed a brief as amicus curiae supporting national banks' authority to engage in real estate lending through operating subsidiaries pursuant to federal law without obtaining a separate license from the state.

Brannam v. The Huntington Mortgage Co., No.00-40439-CH (Muskegon (MI) County Circuit Court) (PDF)
Whether a national bank operating subsidiary may charge loan documentation fees without being subject to state law restrictions. OCC filed an amicus brief in support of the operating subsidiary's argument that the National Bank Act preempts the state law restrictions. The court issued an order on 2/2/04 granting the operating subsidiary's motion for summary disposition because the plaintiffs' loan is exempt from the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

Arthur v. Citibank, N.A., Civil Action No.6:03-CV-426 Orl-22KRS (M.D. Fla.) (PDF)
Whether a mortgage loan should be nullified because the loan proceeds were in the form of a check instead of legal tender. OCC, as defendant, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6) grounds.

Wachovia Bank, N.A. v. John P. Burke, in his official capacity as Banking Commissioner of the State of Connecticut, No. 3:03CV0738 JCH (D. Conn.) (PDF)
Whether a national bank is required to obtain a state license to engage in a mortgage lending business through an operating subsidiary. OCC filed a brief as amicus curiae supporting national banks' authority to engage in real estate lending through operating subsidiaries pursuant to federal law without obtaining a separate license from the state.

Horton, Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants/Appellants, v. Bank One, N.A., Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs/Appellees No. 03-50865 (5th Cir.) (PDF)
Whether a national bank, for diversity jurisdiction purposes, is a citizen of each state in which it has a branch. OCC filed an amicus brief in support of the bank's position, as upheld by the court below, that the bank was not a citizen of the state of Texas by virtue of having branches there.