In New York, Franklin Roosevelt was busy gathering together his new administration. Negotiations were underway regarding cabinet appointments. The problems of the depression were under consideration by the "Brain Trust." The president-elect, fresh from his southern vacation, was enigmatic about his plans to cope with the deteriorating banking situation. In reply to the president's letter he wrote:
I am equally concerned with you in regard to the gravity of the present bank situation--but my thought is that it is so very deep- seated that the fire is bound to spread in spite of anything that is done by mere statement. The real trouble is that on present values very few financial institutions anywhere in the country are actually able to pay off their deposits in full, and the knowledge of this fact is widely held. 40
No statement was issued. In New York, Detroit, Chicago, and other financial centers around the country, bankers and government officials gathered to cope with the disastrous situation. Moratoria spread. In Indiana on February 23, in Maryland on February 25, in Arkansas on February 27, and in Ohio on February 28, bank holidays were declared. 41 The economic heartbeat of the nation was slowing to a standstill. The outgoing administration was reluctant to act independently, and the incoming administration felt it could not act cooperatively. All studies, investigations, commissions, as well as bankers and Congress had failed; in the Senate and the House of Representatives remedial banking legislation lay buried in committee.