54C-23. Branch offices.

(a) A State savings bank may apply to the Commissioner of Banks for permission to establish a branch office. The application shall be in the form prescribed by the Commissioner of Banks and shall be accompanied by the proper branch application fee. The Commissioner of Banks shall approve or deny branch applications within 120 days of filing.

(b) The Commissioner of Banks shall approve a branch application when all of the following criteria are met:

(1) The applicant has gross assets of at least ten million dollars ($10,000,000).

(2) The applicant has evidenced financial responsibility.

(3) The applicant has a net worth equal to or exceeding the amount required by the insurer of deposit accounts.

(4) The applicant has an acceptable internal control system that includes certain basic internal control requirements essential to the protection of assets and the promotion of operational efficiency regardless of the size of the applicant.

(c) Upon receipt of a branch application, the Commissioner of Banks shall examine or cause to be examined all the relevant facts connected with the establishment of the proposed branch office. If it appears to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Banks that the applicant has complied with all the requirements set forth in this section and the regulations for the establishment of a branch office and that the savings bank is otherwise lawfully entitled to establish the branch office, then the Commissioner of Banks shall approve the branch application.

(d) Not more than 10 days following the filing of the branch application with the Commissioner of Banks, the applicant shall cause a notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the area to be served by the proposed branch office. The notice shall contain:

(1) A statement that the branch application has been filed with the Commissioner of Banks;

(2) The proposed address of the branch office, including city or town and street; and

(3) A statement that any interested or affected party may file a written statement with the Commissioner of Banks, within 30 days of the date of the publication of the notice, protesting the establishment of the proposed branch office and requesting a hearing before the Commissioner of Banks on the application.

(e) Any interested or affected party may file a written statement with the Commissioner of Banks within 30 days of the date of initial publication of the branch application notice, protesting the establishment of the proposed branch office and requesting a hearing before the Commissioner of Banks on the application. If a hearing is held on the branch application, the Commissioner of Banks shall receive information and hear testimony only from the applicant and from any interested or affected party that is relevant to the branch application and the operation of the proposed branch office. The Commissioner of Banks shall issue the final decision on the branch application within 30 days following the hearing. The final decision shall be in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.

(f) If a hearing is not held on the branch application, the Commissioner of Banks shall issue the final decision within 120 days of the filing of the application. The final decision shall be in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.

(g) A party to a branch application may appeal the final decision of the Commissioner of Banks to the Commission at any time after the final decision, but not later than 30 days after a written copy of the final decision is served upon the party and the party's attorney of record by personal service or by certified mail. Failure to file an appeal within the time stated shall operate as a waiver of the right of the party to review by the Commission and by a court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, relating to judicial review. (1991, c. 680, s. 1; 2001-193, s. 16.)