If you’re looking to effectuate service upon a bank or other financial institution, following the established procedure for service of process is incredibly important. Failure to do so could result in service that won’t hold up in court.
Easier said than done though. The process for serving financial institutions is complex and varies depending on applicable state (or international) law. As such, it’s highly advisable to work with an experienced process server who can navigate the relevant local laws to effectuate service.
Serving a bank in the U.S.
The proper method for service of process will depend on the state in which you are trying to effectuate service as well as the bank in question.
Different states have different laws governing acceptable methods of service, but generally speaking, the most surefire way to serve a U.S. bank is to serve them through their agent for service of process. However, some banks may not necessarily have a registered agent in every state—in this case, the process server will need to follow the relevant laws for serving an out-of-state corporation.
There may also be other ways to effectuate service, but this will depend on the applicable laws of the state in which you are serving—and as the following example demonstrates, these laws aren’t always perfectly clear.
An example from Texas
Section 17.028 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code specifies that financial institutions within the state may be served either by “serving the registered agent of the financial institution” or (if the institution doesn’t have a registered agent) by “serving the president or a branch manager at any office” in the state.
However, there’s some conflict in current court precedent as to whether these are the only methods of service that can be used. Currently, the Texas Supreme Court is set to weigh in on a case that could decide if all process service on financial institutions must move through the routes specified in 17.028.
In this case, bank customer Dennis Moss attempted to effectuate service on U.S. bank through the secretary of state and was granted a no-answer default judgment in his favor.
Moss argues that this judgment was correct and that U.S. Bank can be served through the secretary of state under Texas Estates Code Section 505. However, U.S. Bank has contested the ruling, arguing that service must be effectuated through their registered agent since the Estates Code Section 505 hadn’t been passed when they first registered with the state.
As you can see, the laws surrounding process of service for financial institutions can be complex to navigate—and taking the wrong approach could be the difference between a favorable ruling and your case being dismissed. Working with an experienced process server can help you ensure that service is effectuated in accordance with relevant state laws.
Serving a bank internationally
Serving a bank in another country comes with its own set of challenges. Successful international process of service depends upon careful compliance with the laws of the country in which service is being effectuated—and each country has its own laws and guidelines that must be followed.
For example, while many countries allow for process of service through the Hague Convention, others may require service through Letters Rogatory—and some countries may have additional laws regarding which forms of service are acceptable. In addition, the necessary documents may need to be translated in order to function as an acceptable method of service.
As such, it’s strongly recommended that you work with a process server who has experience effectuating service abroad if you need to serve a bank or other financial institution in another country.
DGR can help you get the job done
Whether you’re serving a bank domestically or abroad, the experienced team at DGR Legal can make sure your documents are served in accordance with all applicable laws. Contact us today and let us help you get the job done right.