Chase Manhattan's plans to open four so-called "non-bank banks" this month in California, including one in Newport Beach, have been delayed indefinitely by a federal court in Florida.
The court issued a restraining order Friday that prohibits the U.S. comptroller of the currency from chartering any such limited-service banks, pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the Independent Bankers Assn. and the Community Bankers of Florida, according to Rich Ladd, president of Chase's western regional office in San Diego.
Ladd said Florida's independent banks are fighting to keep major banks from crossing state lines and stepping up competition. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year opened the way for banks to skirt a longtime prohibition against interstate banking by seeking to establish out-of-state branches that are technically not banks because they offer commercial loans or checking accounts, but not both.
In the wake of that ruling, Ladd said, Chase Manhattan and other major banks and financial institutions, including savings and loan associations and insurance companies, applied to the comptroller of the currency to set up the non-bank banks.