New Service of Process Law for California Bank Levies

Bank buildingNew California Law Streamlines Procedures for Judgment Creditors to Serve Bank Levies

The California Legislature has made it easier for those who have won judgments in lawsuit –  “judgment-creditors” – to collect damages from losing parties’ assets in bank deposit accounts or safe deposit boxes.

In order to collect these assets, judgment-creditors must ordinarily serve levies, attachments, or garnishments on the financial institutions holding these assets of the judgment-debtors.

A new law, California Assembly Bill 2364, effective January 1, 2013, streamlines this process. Before this change, a judgment-creditor had to determine which specific bank location held a judgment-debtor’s account, and then perhaps travel long distances to serve a notice of levy on the financial institution. This process was tedious, expensive, time-consuming, and often resulted in multiple failed services of process on wrong branch locations.

The new legislation is welcome news for people trying to collect judgments. Now, each financial institution with more than 9 branch offices in California must designate one or more central locations for service of process of legal documents like levies, attachments, and garnishments – and file that designation with the California Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

Under this new law, the DFI is required to create a procedure for banks to designate these central locations. The agency must also establish a website where judgment-creditors can obtain this information about service of process on large financial institutions.

The DFI has already collected this information from large financial institutions and posted it on the agency website in the section titled “Central Locations for Service of Legal Process.”

If you are a judgment-creditor, you must determine and follow exactly the new service of process guidelines outlined by the California Department of Financial Institutions. If there is any deviation from the correct procedures, any attempted service of process will fail.

If you have questions about how this new law will affect you, Direct Legal Support, Inc. can help. Although the new law is mandatory for large financial institutions, it also authorizes and allows smaller banks to establish the same new, centralized location-designation.

As a certified process server with a trained and knowledgeable staff, Kern can help you follow the correct procedures and effect a valid and proper service of a levy or other similar document on a financial institution. In particular, Kern can help if you live or work far from the centralized location of your judgment-debtor’s bank.

Of course, Direct Legal Support, Inc. is happy to assist you with any type of service of process anywhere in the United States.