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NATIONAL BANKS



NATIONAL BANKS
Wachovia Bank v. Schmidt, et al.
Docket No. 04-1186
Reversed: The Fourth Circuit

Argued: November 28, 2005
Decided: January 17, 2006
For Case Analysis: See ABA Preview 159

For purposes of federal diversity jurisdiction, is a national banking association "located" in, and a citizen of, every state in which the association maintains a branch?

No. A national bank, for § 1348 purposes, is a citizen of the state in which its main office, as set forth in its articles of association, is located.

From the opinion by by Justice Ginsburg (joined by all other members of the Court, except Justice Thomas):

The question presented turns on the meaning, in [28 U.S.C. § 1348's] context, of the word "located." Does it signal … that the bank's citizenship is determined by the place designated in the bank's articles of association as the location of its main office? Or does it mean, in addition … that a national bank is a citizen of every State in which it maintains a branch? … [W]e hold that a national bank, for § 1348 purposes, is a citizen of the State in which its main office, as set forth in its articles of association, is located. Were we to hold, as the Court of Appeals did, that a national bank is additionally a citizen of every State in which it has established a branch, the access of a federally chartered bank to a federal forum would be drastically curtailed in comparison to the access afforded state banks and other state-incorporated entities.

Taking no part in the consideration or decision of the case: Justice Thomas

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