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Bank on Justice helps civil legal aid

Last year was the first year in a decade that Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) rose. Rising interest rates translate to more resources to help low-income Minnesotans meet their basic needs because IOLTA revenue funds civil legal aid programs in our state.

The MSBA has launched the Bank on Justice recognition program to provide our attorney members with a list of banks that pay higher interest rates on IOLTA accounts and do not charge fees, therefore maximizing revenue for access to justice. The program’s benchmark interest rate will be reassessed annually.

For the year that runs from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, the minimum rate will be 1.0 percent paid on some or all of a bank’s IOLTA accounts. The MSBA requests public IOLTA interest rate information from the Minnesota IOLTA Program to determine which banks meet this criteria.  

Bank on Justice replaces the Prime Partners program previously administered by the MSBA. The MSBA Access to Justice Committee recommended the move in response to changes in market interest rates and their impact on IOLTA accounts. Members can check the MSBA website at www.mnbar.org/BankOnJustice to keep abreast of the banks that qualify for recognition. Currently these six banks are being recognized, because each bank is paying at least 1.0 percent on some or all IOLTA accounts: Bank of America, BMO Harris, Minnesota Bank and Trust, Unity Bank North, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.