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General Laws

Section 37. No domestic or foreign corporation or individual, partnership or association shall conduct the business of a savings bank, co-operative bank, savings and loan association, credit union, trust company or banking company unless authorized to do so under the laws of this commonwealth nor shall any such corporation, individual, partnership or association, unless so authorized under said laws, make use of any sign at the place where its business is transacted having thereon any name or other words indicating that such place or office is the place or office of a savings bank, co-operative bank, savings and loan association, credit union, trust company or banking company or make use of or circulate any written or printed or partly written or partly printed paper whatever, having thereon any name or other words indicating that such business is that of a savings bank, co-operative bank, savings and loan association, credit union, trust company or banking company; nor shall any such corporation, individual partnership or association or any agent of any of these not having a charter to do business as a savings bank, co-operative bank, savings and loan association, credit union, trust company or banking company, unless authorized to do so under the laws of the commonwealth, solicit or receive deposits or transact any business whatsoever in the manner described in chapter one hundred and sixty-seven, chapters one hundred and sixty-seven C to one hundred and sixty-seven G, inclusive, and chapters one hundred and sixty-eight to one hundred and seventy-two A, inclusive, in any manner so as to lead the public to believe or, in the opinion of the commissioner, might lead the public to believe that its business is that of a bank. No domestic or foreign corporation or individual, partnership or association other than corporations excepted from the prohibitions contained in the first sentence of this section and corporations qualifying as bank holding companies under chapter one hundred and sixty-seven A and other than foreign banking associations authorized under section thirty-seven to transact business in this commonwealth and national banking associations shall hereafter transact business under any name or title which contain the words “bank”, “banking”, “bankers”, or any word in a foreign language having the same or similar meaning, as descriptive of said business or, if he or it does a banking business or makes a business of receiving money on deposit, under any name or title containing the word “trust”, or any word in a foreign language having the same or similar meaning as descriptive of said business. The provisions of this section which prohibit the transacting of business under a name or title which contains the word “bankers” shall not apply to domestic corporations incorporated prior to January first, nineteen hundred and sixty-five, whose corporate name or title contained the word “bankers” prior to such date.

Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, a person, domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, association, limited liability company or similar entity shall not use the name, trade name or trademark of any bank, federal bank, federal branch, foreign bank, out-of-state bank or out-of-state branch or out-of-state federal bank, as defined in section 1, or any federal credit union as defined in section 1 of chapter 171, or any subsidiary thereof, in any written or oral advertisement or solicitation for products or services, without the express written consent of the financial institution. For the purposes of this section, the word “advertisement” or “solicitation” shall mean an email, direct mail solicitation, or oral solicitation to a specifically identified consumer or which contains specific information on the account or loan of a specifically identified consumer.

A person, domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, association, limited liability company or similar entity shall not make reference to an existing bank, federal bank, federal branch, foreign bank, out-of-state bank, out-of-state branch, out-of-state federal bank as defined in section 1 of this chapter, or federal credit union as defined in section 1 of chapter 171, or any subsidiary thereof, without the express written consent of the bank, federal bank, federal branch, foreign bank, out-of-state bank, out-of-state branch, out-of-state federal bank or federal credit union, or any subsidiary thereof, or make reference to a loan number, loan amount or other specific loan information on the outside of an envelope, visible through the envelope window, or on a postcard in connection with any written solicitation or an email for products or services to a specifically identified consumer.

A person, domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, association, limited liability company, or similar entity shall not include a loan number, loan amount or other specific loan information relative to a specifically identified consumer that is publicly available in a written or oral solicitation for the purchase of products or services unless the solicitation clearly and conspicuously states in bold-face type on the front page of the correspondence that the person, domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, association, limited liability company or similar entity is not sponsored by or affiliated with and that the solicitation is not authorized by the bank, federal bank, federal branch, foreign bank, out-of-state bank, out-of-state branch, out-of-state federal bank as defined in section 1, or federal credit union as defined in section 1 of chapter 171, or any subsidiary thereof. The statement shall include the name, address and the telephone number of the person making the solicitation and that any loan information referenced was not provided by the bank, federal bank, federal branch, foreign bank, out-of-state bank, out-of-state branch, out-of-state federal bank or federal credit union, or any subsidiary thereof. The statements required in this paragraph shall also be given at the time of any oral solicitation to a specifically identified consumer.

A person, domestic or foreign corporation, partnership, association, limited liability company, association or similar entity, which is considered to have violated this section, shall be considered to have engaged in an unfair and deceptive practice and shall be a violation of chapter 93A.

A bank, federal bank, federal branch, foreign bank, out-of-state bank or out-of-state branch, or out-of-state federal bank, as defined in section 1, and any federal credit union as defined in section 1 of chapter 171, or any subsidiary thereof, that has had its name, trade name, or trademark used in violation of this section may in addition to any other remedy provided by law, bring an action in the superior court in which venue the financial institution has an office to enjoin an act in violation of this section and recover damages. The court shall award damages in the amount of actual damages or $10,000 per violation, whichever is greater. In any successful action for injunctive relief or for damages, the court shall award the financial institution or its subsidiary, attorney’s fees and costs, including court costs.

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