New IOLTA Leadership Banks step up to fund justice

Issue June 2005 By Jayne Tyrrell, Esq.

Thirteen banks have raised their IOLTA interest rates to 1.25 percent or more this spring, earning inclusion as IOLTA Leadership Banks. The Massachusetts IOLTA Committee’s list now includes 28 banks, with more expected to earn a place on the list before summer.

In January, the IOLTA Committee kicked off a campaign to increase the number of banks qualifying for Leadership status, urging banks to raise interest rates and drop fees on IOLTA accounts.

Interest from IOLTA accounts is used to fund civil legal services to Massachusetts’ poorest citizens, such as victims of family violence, as well as improvements in the administration of justice. More than 85 percent of financial institutions in Massachusetts have already waived fees on IOLTA accounts, but interest rates had dropped to historically low levels, threatening future revenues.

“The response of these banks has been extraordinary,” said Tony Doniger, IOLTA Committee chair. “They have generously agreed to pay a more competitive rate on these pooled accounts and at the same time they have gone an extra mile to help solve a critical need. They are to be commended.”

The IOLTA Committee encourages attorneys to maximize the benefit of IOLTA accounts by maintaining their accounts at one of the Leadership Banks. The Committee distributes the list broadly, sending copies to every newly admitted lawyer in the state and to any lawyer upon request and posting the list online (
IOLTA Leadership Banks (as of May 1, 2005):
Adams Co-Operative Bank, Adams
Bank of America, Boston
Bank of Canton, Canton
Bank of Fall River, Fall River
BCP Bank, Fall River
Bridgewater Co-Operative Bank, Bridgewater
Cape Cod 5 Cents Savings Bank, Harwichport
Chelsea-Provident Co-Operative Bank, Chelsea
Citizens Bank, Boston
Citizens-Union Savings Bank, Fall River
Commerce Bank & Trust, Worcester
Eastern Bank, Boston
Framingham Co-Operative Bank, Framingham
Greenfield Co-Operative Bank, Greenfield
Greylock Federal Credit Union, Pittsfield
Hampden Savings Bank, Springfield
Institution for Savings, Newburyport
Leominster Credit Union, Leominster
Marlborough Co-Operative Bank, Marlborough
Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank, Newburyport
North Cambridge Co-Operative Bank, Cambridge
Reading Co-Operative Bank, Reading
Sharon Credit Union, Sharon
Slade’s Ferry Trust Company, Somerset
South Adams Savings Bank, Adams
Southbridge Savings Bank, Southbridge
Sovereign Bank, Boston
Ware Co-Operative Bank, Ware

Jayne Tyrrell is the executive director of the Massachusetts IOLTA Committee, Boston.