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I am writing a demand letter to a bank, in a small claims action. I need to know to whom I should send the demand letter.

Berkeley, CA |

The parent bank is located in Pennsylvania. Important: I am suing a subsidiary of the bank. There appears to be no Process of Service agent for this bank (it's a large bank) or its subsidiary - either in CA or PA.

Question: Should I send my demand letter to the subsidiary's corporate address, or the parent's corporate address? They are in the same city, at different addresses. I want to get this right so that the bank (or, it's subsidiary) can't claim they never received the demand letter, in order to frustrate my small claim. (I will send the letter certified mail).

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

You don't indicate if the subsidiary is located in California. If your dispute is with the subsidiary of the bank and the subsidiary conducts business within the State of California, it will have an agent for service of process. You can look this up at:

In many instances, the agent for service of process for a large corporation will be CT Corporation.

If you are truly unable to ascertain to whom to send the demand letter, then use just the subsidiary's corporate address (not the parent corporation's address).

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.



Thanks! The bank subsidiary has corporate offices located in Pennsylvania. My further question would be how to formally serve Small Claims Court papers if there is no Process of Service agent for this bank in California. I went to the PA Department of State, whose FAQ says the following about service: Q: Does Pennsylvania utilize registered agents? A: No. Our records indicate a registered office address. Service of Process may be sent to the registered address of the entity that appears on our records. The Secretary of the Commonwealth may accept service as ordered by a Pennsylvania judge. The court order accompanied by the complaint should be sent certified mail to the Department of State; return receipt requested. The statutory fee is $70 for each defendant to be served. My follow up question is: Would I have to serve through the PA Dept. of State, or is that just for actions filed by a PA judge. If the Small Claims Court action is located in California, would I simply serve the same corporate office that I sent the demand letter to, via a Pennsylvania General Service Processor? Thanks in advance for any time you spend with this! Happy 4th of July!

Adam Jay Jaffe

Adam Jay Jaffe


It is NEARLY impossible to get a foreign defendant into CA Small Claims. If you COULD, you would have the sheriff in Berkely serve the Sheriff in Sacramento, serve the CA Secretary of State Serve the PA Secretary of State, serve the paperwork from there. However, under your facts, suing in CA Small Claims is not permitted. I suggest you contact a lawyer in CA for further assistance.


The FDIC has a website and there's a page with a 'bank finder' function. Here's the link:

If the link doesn't come through, use your favorite search engine to locate the FDIC website, then enter bank finder in the search.

Good luck.

More about my practice:

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.


Is there a reason you don't sent the letter to both addresses?

If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.