Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Escrow Agent Alert #97-1

TO: All Escrow Agents and Escrow Officers

FROM: John L. Bley, Director

DATE: April 28, 1997

SUBJECT: Use of Bank or Trust in Business Name

The use of words indicating bank or trust company was discussed at the last Escrow Commission Meeting. RCW 30.04.020(1) provides no person except:

  1. A national bank;
  2. A bank or trust company authorized by the laws of this state;
  3. A corporation established under RCW 31.30.010;
  4. A foreign corporation authorized by this title so to do, shall:
  1. use as a part of his or her name or other business designation or in any manner as if connected with his or its business or place of business any of the following words or the plural thereof, to wit: "bank," "banking," "banker," "trust."
  2. use any sign at or about his or its place of business or use or circulate any advertisement, letterhead, bill head, note, receipt, certificate, blank, form, or any written or printed or part written and part printed paper, instrument or article whatsoever, directly or indirectly indicating that the business of such person is that of a bank or trust company.

RCW 31.04.020(4) further provides every person who, and every director and officer of every corporation which, to the knowledge of such director or officer violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

This alert is intended to allow sufficient time for any escrow agents currently in violation to take the appropriate action to change their name prior to December 31, 1997. After December 31, 1997, the Division of Consumer Services will not renew an escrow agents license in violation of RCW 31.04.020. The Division of Banks may commence enforcement action against escrow agents or other business in violation after December 31, 1997.