The United States after the World War

By James C. Malin | Go to book overview

arising out of the question of recharter added its quota of dissatisfaction. There developed a rivalry between the national and state banking systems. Many national institutions surrendered their charters for state charters. For the year ending October 1, 1926, 87 banks left the national system and only 29 state banks entered, making a net loss of 58. This decrease in the membership began in 1922 and had continued steadily. Bankers were allured by large profits, broader scope of business, and less stringent regulation. Continued losses would endanger the whole Federal Reserve system.

The Agricultural Credits Act of 1923 had lowered the immediate capital requirements for state banks, to induce them to join the Federal Reserve system, but with little or no result. This act also directed an investigation into the reasons why state banks did not join. In 1924 the membership of the Federal Reserve system (including national and state banks) embraced 33 per cent of all banks and 70 per cent of all banking resources of the country. Only about 10 per cent of the state banks were members.

The McFadden banking bill was introduced into Congress February 11, 1924, but it was delayed for three years. One of the most serious causes of difficulty was the Hull amendment eliminating branch banking. The amendment was indorsed by the American Bankers' Association in 1924, but they reversed their action in 1926. The recharter provisions were not in the original bill, but were inserted during the session of 1925-1926. In February, 1927, the bill came to a deadlock in the Senate. At the same time the McNary- Haugen agricultural bill was also blocked. Vice President Dawes was interested in both bills; in fact, his brother, Henry M. Dawes, one-time Comptroller of the Currency, was credited with the genesis of the bill. An agreement was worked out by which the Eastern supporters of the bank bill would assist in bringing the agricultural bill to a vote in return for the support of their bill. Cloture was voted on both bills February 3. In this manner the bank bill was

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