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Blackfeet National Bank v. Nelson

171 F.3d 1237 (1999)

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Blackfeet National Bank v. Nelson

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

171 F.3d 1237 (1999)

Facts

Blackfeet National Bank (Blackfeet) (defendant) began issuing and marketing a new banking-industry product called the Retirement CD. The Retirement CD was purchased by customers who would make an initial deposit and select a maturity date at which either the customer would begin to receive periodic payments or, if the customer died, the customer’s estate would receive the remainder of the principal. Blackfeet determined the amount of the periodic payments based on actuarial tables. Blackfeet advertised the Retirement CD in The Wall Street Journal. In response to the advertisement, the insurance commissioner of Florida (commissioner) began administrative proceedings against Blackfeet. The commissioner claimed the Retirement CD was, in essence, an insurance product and that marketing an insurance product through the national media constituted participation in the business of insurance in Florida in violation of Florida law. Blackfeet responded by suing the commissioner and sought a declaratory judgment that the sale of the Retirement CD was authorized by the National Bank Act (the Bank Act). Blackfeet claimed that it had the authority to market the Retirement CD after it had notified the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) of its intention to market the product. The OCC responded with a letter that did not object to the marketing and concluded that the Retirement CD was a financial product of the kind normally offered by banking institutions and it was grounded in national banks’ expressly authorized powers, which included the power to incur liabilities and fund operations. The district court concluded that the OCC’s letter did not foreclose state regulation of the Retirement CD as insurance and entered summary judgment for the commissioner.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Tjoflat, J.)

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