Information for Banks

To offer IOLTA accounts, a bank must be approved as a depository by the DC Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility. As a part of this process, the DC Bar Foundation must approve the rate a bank intends to offer. Please see the relevant portions of the DC Bar RulesBank FAQs, and our Guidelines for Financial Institutions for more information.

To become an approved depository:

Step 1:
Obtain approval of your rate by submitting the Financial Institution Compliance Statement to the DC Bar Foundation.

Under the IOLTA rules, financial institutions must provide comparable interest rates on the DC IOLTA accounts they hold. This means IOLTA accounts may not receive an interest rate less than that available to a similarly situated non-IOLTA account. Banks can receive automatic approval of their DC IOLTA interest rate by electing the “Benchmark Rate” set by the Foundation or by becoming a DC IOLTA Prime Partner. Alternatively, banks can propose a comparable rate and provide substantiating documentation. Proposed comparable rates are subject to review and approval by the Foundation. For more information about rates, please see our Rate FAQs.

Step 2:
Complete the “Trust Account Notification Undertaking” form created by the DC Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility. It must be notarized. Send the original, completed form to the Board on Professional Responsibility:

Board on Professional Responsibility
430 E Street NW
Suite 138
Washington, DC 20001

A copy may also be sent to the DC Bar Foundation.

Step 3:
Send your remittance to the DC Bar Foundation via ACH using the DC IOLTA Remittance Report Form (hyperlink).

Most financial institutions remit interest to the Bar Foundation on a monthly basis. Banks are required to remit interest at least quarterly. A single remittance payment may be made for multiple IOLTA accounts. The accompanying interest remittance report must include an itemization of interest and charges (if any) for each account. Electronic remittance and reporting is required. The Remittance Report template is located here.

Please note, only allowable reasonable fees/service charges can be assessed on IOLTA accounts. Allowable reasonable fees for IOLTA accounts are per check charges, per deposit charges, a fee in lieu of a minimum balance, federal deposit insurance fees, sweep fees, and a reasonable IOLTA account administrative or maintenance fee. These fees and charges cannot exceed the bank’s customary practices for non-IOLTA accounts. No fees or service charges other than the allowable reasonable fees defined above may be assessed against the interest or dividends on a DC IOLTA account. Any fees and service charges other than allowable reasonable fees shall be the sole responsibility of, and may only be charged to, the lawyer or law firm maintaining the IOLTA account. Allowable reasonable fees in excess of the interest or dividends earned on one DC IOLTA account for any period shall not be taken from interest or dividends earned on any other IOLTA account or accounts or from the principal of any IOLTA account.

Most institutions waive all fees on IOLTA accounts to maximize the benefit of the interest income for the funded programs.