APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR
L. DUNNE and the Hon. RICHARD L. CURRY, Judges, presiding.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This is a consolidated appeal by Second Federal Savings and Loan Association (Second Federal) and Prospect Federal Savings and Loan Association (Prospect Federal) (collectively referred to as "plaintiffs") from trial court orders dismissing their individual complaints for administrative review of four decisions of the Commissioner of Savings and Loan Associations (Commissioner) and the Illinois Savings and Loan Board (Illinois Board).
Appeals Nos. 77-575 and 77-737 involve an application by Home Savings and Loan Association of Waukegan (Home) to relocate its business office to Fox Lake, Illinois. Appeals Nos. 77-576 and 77-738 involve an application by Unity Savings Association of Schaumburg (Unity) to relocate its business office to Lombard, Illinois.
On or before June 30, 1976, Home filed with the Commissioner an application requesting permission to relocate its principal office from Waukegan to Fox Lake, Illinois, while retaining a facility at its present location in Waukegan. Second Federal was then operating an office in Fox Lake. On June 30, 1976, notice of Home's application was published in the Chicago Daily News, a newspaper of general circulation in Illinois, pursuant to the Illinois Savings and Loan Act (Act) and the Rules and Regulations of the Commissioner. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 32, par. 744(h)(4), and Rules and Regulations of the Commissioner, art. XI, § 2.) In addition to announcing the planned relocation, the notice stated, "Any persons objecting to the Application as hereinabove set forth may in person or by Attorney submit notice of objection to the application within ten (10) days following the date of publication of this notice. Objecting parties will be notified of the procedure for perfecting said objections." This additional information was supplied in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Commissioner, article XI, section 3.
According to Second Federal's brief, it first learned of Home's application on August 3, 1976. On August 4, 1976, Second Federal wrote two letters to the Commissioner. The first requested a copy of the Home application be made available so that Second Federal might prepare its formal objections. The second letter set forth the initial objections to the application and requested the matter be set for hearing. The principal objection advanced by Second Federal was that the publication of notice in the Chicago Daily News did not meet the requirements of article XI, section 2 of the Rules and Regulations of the Commissioner, which provides:
"Upon receipt of the application, the Commissioner shall review the file and, if complete to his satisfaction, shall authorize the applicant to publish in newspapers of general circulation in the State of Illinois, notice of filing of its applications. Publication in the manner and on forms prescribed by the Commissioner in both the community of the new office and the community of the present office shall be made within 15 days of the date of authorization."
Specifically, Second Federal contended that publication in the Daily News was not publication in either the community of the new office or the community of the present office since the Daily News was not published in those areas.
On August 9, 1976, the Commissioner responded that the publication of notice met the requirements of article XI, sections 2 and 3 of his rules and regulations as further defined by a "letter of general circulation" dated April 7, 1976. Article XI, section 3 provides in part:
"Any association or person wishing to object to any application filed pursuant to Section 1 hereof and within the time requirements set forth in the applicant's authorized published notice shall:
(a) File in triplicate on form or forms prescribed by the Commissioner its verified objections at the Springfield Office of the Commissioner."
The April 7, 1976, letter further commented on article XI, sections 2 and 3 as follows:
"It should also be noted that the time period in which objectors may file their notice of intent to object has been shortened from 30 days to 10 days from the date of publication. On the same subject, it has been determined by this Office that notice published in any of the three (3) Chicago daily newspapers (Tribune, Sun Times or Daily News) is appropriate for relocation or facility sites located in the Chicago SMSA." *fn1
The Commissioner went on to state that Second Federal's correspondence notifying the Commissioner of its objection was received 34 days after publication and, therefore, its "request to review the file and ...