These Words Aren’t Allowed in Your Business Name


You already understand the importance of your business name. It’s the cornerstone of your brand and shapes your customer’s first impressions. But did you also know that each state has its own specific rules for what’s allowed and not allowed when it comes to business names?

You can’t use the word “bank” in your business name in most states. New Hampshire prohibits the use of “farmers’ market” and Kentucky says no to “Cooperative.” Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of what words aren’t allowed in business names:

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Alabama

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banc, Engineer, Engineering, Olympic

Alaska

Prohibited Words: Imply a governmental unit, e.g. a city, village or borough. Anything that misleads about the business’ purpose is not allowed. Vulgar names are not allowed.

Arizona

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Banc, Banco, Deposit, Trust or Trust Company

Arkansas

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Savings, Safe Deposit, Trust, Trustee, Insurance and Credit Union

California

Prohibited Words: Bank, Trust, Trustee, Olympic

Colorado

Prohibited Words: Bank, Trust, Trustee, Olympic

Connecticut

Prohibited Words: Bank, Insurance Company, Trust Company

District of Columbia

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banc, Insurance 

Delaware

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banc

Florida

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banc, Insurance

Georgia

Prohibited Words: Insurance, Assurance, or Surety. Bank, Credit Union or Trust require approval from the Department of Banking & Finance. College or University are also prohibited.

Hawai’i

Prohibited Words: Financial Institution, Bank, Banker, Banking, Banc, Savings Bank, Savings and Loan, Savings Association, Financial Services Loan Company, Credit Union, Trust Company, Intrapacific Bank, International Banking Corporation, or Trust, Olympic, Olympiad, Citius Altius Fortius, Insurance

Idaho

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banc, Banking, Engineering, Engineer

Illinois

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Insurance

Indiana

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Savings, Safe Deposit, Trust, Trustee, Insurance and Credit Union

Iowa

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Savings, Safe Deposit, Trust, Trustee, Insurance and Credit Union

Kansas

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banks, Banking, Banc

Kentucky

Prohibited Words: Cooperative

Louisiana

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Savings, Safe Deposit, Trust, Trustee, Building and/or Loan, Homestead, Insurance, Casualty, Redevelopment Corporation, Electric Cooperative and Credit Union

Maine

Prohibited Words: Savings, Savings Bank, Bank, Banker, Banking, Trust, Trust Company, Trust and Banking Company, Credit Union, the plural of any of these words or any derivatives of these terms.

Maryland

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Savings, Safe Deposit, Trust, Trustee, Insurance and Credit Union

Massachusetts

Prohibited Words: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Government, PX, GI, Fire, Police, State or Federal

Michigan

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banc, and Insurance

Minnesota

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Savings, Safe Deposit, Trust, Trustee, Insurance and Credit Union

Mississippi

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking, Savings, Safe Deposit, Trust, Trustee, Insurance and Credit Union

Missouri

Prohibited Words: Cooperative, Bank, Insurance Company and Redevelopment

Montana

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking

Nebraska

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking

Nevada

Prohibited Words: Insurance, Bank or Trust, Engineer, Engineered, Engineering, Professional Engineer, Registered Engineer or Licensed Engineer

New Hampshire

Prohibited Words: Farmers’ Market

New Jersey

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking

New Mexico

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking

New York

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banker, Banking

North Carolina

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Trust, Farmering, Farm, Farmer, Insurance

North Dakota

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Trust, Farmering, Farm, Farmer, Insurance

Ohio

Prohibited Words: Bank, Trust

Oklahoma

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Trust, Farmering, Farm, Farmer, Insurance

Oregon

Prohibited Words: Bank, Trust

Pennsylvania

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Trust, Engineering, School, Insurance

Rhode Island

Prohibited Words: Bank, Trust

South Carolina

Prohibited Words: Bank

South Dakota

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banker

Tennessee

Prohibited Words: Mortgage, Bank, Banks, Credit Union or Trust

Texas

Prohibited Words: Check with the state as there are numerous rules and restrictions

Utah

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Trust, Trustee, Credit Union, Savings, Loan, Education, Institution, Institute, University, College, Building

Vermont

Prohibited Words: Bank, Insurance: must register with appropriate department

Virginia

Prohibited Words: Trust

Washington

Prohibited Words: Bank, Banking, Banker, Trust, Cooperative, or any combination of the words Industrial and Loan, or any combination of any two or more of the words: Building, Savings, Loan, Home, Association and Society

West Virginia

Prohibited Words: Engineering, Doctor

Wisconsin

Prohibited Words: Insurance, Trust, Bank

Wyoming

Prohibited Words: Education, School, College, Banking


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8 Comments ▼

Nellie Akalp


Nellie Akalp Nellie Akalp is CEO of CorpNet, her second incorporation filing service based on her strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting their business. Free guides, advice and videos on small business legal topics are available at her Small Biz Corner.

8 Reactions

  1. Some of these are just weird. And how about Texas? So many different rules you can’t list them.

  2. Very interesting info and lists. But due to the internet, etc, I imagine states are having an increasingly difficult time enforcing their business name rules.

    Perhaps more importantly, is how few words are not “prohibited” in business names because someone already registered it as a federal trademark. Most entrepreneurs are shocked to find out that they risk being sued for trademark infringement if they use the generic word “entrepreneur” in their business name. This is because Entrepreneur Media, Inc., publisher of Entrepreneur magazine, claims to own the word entrepreneur for all goods and services. Don’t believe it? Just search: entrepreneur magazine trademark bully.

  3. Aira Bongco

    It’s interesting. I did not know that there are some banned words per location. Interesting how they came up with the fact that these are not allowed – I don’t know what their basis is.

  4. Hi Nellie,

    I can understand words like Bank, Banking and Credit Union but what is the problem with Engineer, Farmers Market, Building, Association and Society??

    • Nellie Akalp

      Hi Naomi,

      Different states have restrictions on specific words. This can usually be worked around by obtaining consent from a particular agency. If you have questions about what words can or cannot be used in a particular state, please feel free to call our office for a free business consultation at 888.449.2638.

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