Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Petition Filed Seeking to Halt Advertising by Albright Title

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Petition Filed Seeking to Halt Advertising by Albright Title

Article excerpt

Alleged abuse of the words "bank" and "Federal Deposit Insurance Corp." in advertising by Albright Title and Trust Co. o f Newkirk has incurred the wrath of the Oklahoma Banking Commissioner, the Attorney General, and the Oklahoma Bankers Association.

In a petition filed Monday in Kay County District Court in Ponca City, the officials have asked that defendant Albright Title and Trust be found guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced to one year inprison, and that the company be fined $2,000.

In addition, the petition seeks a court order temporarily restraining the trust company from representing itself to be a bank; a hearing to be scheduled on a temporary and permanent injunction; andthat Albright be permanently restrained from using banking terms in its advertisements.

An advertisement which appeared in a newsletter during late October or early November sparked the controversy, said Mary Beth Guard, general counsel for the state banking department.

The advertisement refers to "our bank" and "our bank's membership in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp." throughout its text. It concludes with "Stop at the bank or phone for details on our different savings plans."

"Albright is chartered under state law as a trust company," Guard said, "but it appears to be holding itself out to the public as a bank. There is one extremely important difference between Albright and a bank - banks have FDIC insurance, and Albright has nothing to protect its customers in the event of failure."

Saying the advertisement "posed a danger to the citizens of Oklahoma," Guard added "its misleading nature could prove catastrophic to those people who become customers of the trust company in the belief that it is a bank."

State law, according to the petition, prohibits the use of the words "bank, banker, bankers, investment banker," or any other terms which would convey the belief that a non-bank firm is a bank.

Demanding that the lawsuit be dismissed, Albright president Edward T. Johnson met Tuesday for over an hour with representatives from the Oklahoma Bankers Association, the state banking department and the attorney general's office, according to Laura Pringle, vice president and general counsel for the Oklahoma Bankers Association.

"They allege they have run a retraction," she said, "but they didn't bring a copy."

Discussion centered upon what basis the officials would consider dismissing the suit, Pringle said. Possibilities include a fine and an agreement to submit any future advertising to the banking department for approval before publication, she added. …

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