(1) An existing state-chartered bank shall file with the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions an application for approval to establish and operate a new branch bank.
(2) Applications shall be submitted on a form acceptable to the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions. Information on the application format shall be obtained from the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions, Department of Administration, 301 South Park, P.O. Box 200546, Helena, MT 59620-0546, (406) 841-2920.
(3) The applicant shall publish its notice of intent to establish a new branch bank using the following procedure:
(a) if the application for a new branch bank also requires the approval of either the federal reserve system or the federal deposit insurance corporation, the notice shall be published at the times and in the format required by the federal agency, except that the notice shall include the following phrase: "Comments regarding this application should be forwarded in writing to the Commissioner of Banking and Financial Institutions, Department of Administration, 301 South Park, P.O. Box 200546, Helena, MT 59620-0546. The application may be reviewed, during the comment period, at the above address by calling the commissioner's office at (406) 841-2920 and requesting an appointment";
(b) if the applicant does not fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of either the federal reserve system or the federal deposit insurance corporation, or if the publication requirement of the federal regulator has been eliminated, the publication requirement shall be as follows:
(i) The notice shall be published, following a format obtained from the division, in a newspaper of general circulation in the community or communities where the main office of the bank and proposed branch bank are located. If there is no such newspaper in the community, then the notice shall be published in the newspaper of general circulation published nearest thereto. Publication shall be made at least once a week on the same day for two consecutive weeks.
(4) All written comments concerning the application must be received by the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions no later than 15 calendar days following the date of the last publication of the notice of intent. Comments received more than 15 calendar days after the date of the last publication will not be considered in the decision to approve or deny the application. Oral comments will not be considered, except for oral testimony that may be offered in the event of a public hearing.
(5) The application shall be mailed or delivered to the Division of Banking and Financial Institutions not more than ten days subsequent to the first publication of notice.
(6) Applications for new branch banks must be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of $600 for each new branch bank application.