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Alert 2003-4
Description: First Century Financial, Internet Financing

Unauthorized Banking: First Century Financial, Internet Financing

To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel and Examining Personnel

Based on information received by the OCC and a search of records within the United States and Canada, First Century Financial (FCF) is not authorized to conduct the business of banking in the United States. The OCC has been unable to contact FCF at the Sioux Falls address noted on the organization's Web site. In addition, certain companies listed as affiliated with FCF are not affiliated with the organization, nor have those companies granted FCF permission to reference their names on FCF’s Web site.

FCF's Web site states that it "was established in 1929 and is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota," and, "is a member of FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). We serve well over two million accounts today." The FDIC does not provide deposit insurance coverage to FCF, and there is no known business address for the company in Sioux Falls. In a separate listing, FCF indicates that contact with the organization may be made through a post office box in Montreal, Canada, or by a toll-free telephone number.

The FCF Web site contains a list of purportedly affiliated companies, prefaced by the name Banc One. Please be advised that no affiliation exists between Bank One Corporation (f/n/a Banc One Corporation) and FCF.

In addition, various sections of the Web site contain false or misleading information, such as the following:

References to U.S. Bank National Association ND, Fargo, ND are not valid. U. S. Bank, National Association, a national bank chartered by the OCC does not have any affiliation with FCF, or any connection whatsoever to the Web site noted above.

References to First Century Trust Company, N.A. should not be construed as a national bank chartered by the OCC. The OCC has not issued a charter to any company named First Century Trust Company, N.A. (NA and N.A. are standard accepted abbreviations for National Association).

References to First Century, West Virginia, NA should not be confused with First Century Bank, NA, Bluefield, West Virginia, a national bank chartered by the OCC. First Century Bank, NA, Bluefield, WV does not have any affiliation with FCF, or any connection whatsoever to the Web site noted above.

References to First Century Bank of Canada should not be considered a company authorized to engage in the business of banking in the United States or Canada. The OCC has been advised by the Canadian banking authorities that no such institution is registered in Canada.

Any information that you may have concerning this matter should be brought to the attention of:
 

Mail: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Enforcement & Compliance Division,
MS 8-10
250 E Street, SW,
Washington, DC 20219
Fax: (202) 874-5301
Internet: http://www.occ.treas.gov
E-mail: occalertresponses@occ.treas.gov

Brian C. McCormally
Director,
Enforcement & Compliance Division