Ninth Circuit Holds National Bank Is Resident Only Where Headquartered

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On March 27, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s remand for lack of diversity, holding that a national bank is a citizen only of the state where it is headquartered. Rouse v. Wachovia Mortg., FSB, No. 12-55278, 2014 WL 1243869 (9th Cir. Mar. 27, 2014). In this case, a federal district court in California remanded to state court a suit brought by two California mortgage borrowers alleging state law violations against a national bank, holding that a national bank is a citizen of both the state where its principle place of business is located and where the bank is headquartered—in this case California and South Dakota, respectively—and that because the borrowers are California citizens, the district court lacked jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding that the statutory scheme governing nationally chartered banks, which the court described as sparse and ambiguous, deemed national banks citizens of the state where their main offices are located. Unlike the district court, the Ninth Circuit found no congressional intention to provide for jurisdictional parity between nationally chartered and state-chartered banks. The Ninth Circuit thus reversed the district court, finding perfect diversity between the plaintiffs, citizens of California, and the defendant national bank, a citizen of South Dakota.

Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, General Business Updates, Finance & Banking Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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