July 6. 1867. N. 1245.

The Economist, 6. Juli 1867. S. 750–752.
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The National Bank System of the United States.

The notes of the States State Banks were purely a local issue, and were, therefore, constantly and rigidly controlled in quantity by the frequent exchanges and clearings. Notes issued by a small National Bank in Maine may, and do, float away 1000ds of miles from their point of starting.  Wahrscheinlich Kommentar von Marx.
⦗Dieß könnte einfach geheilt werden durch ein Gesetz wöchentlicher Interchanges, Clearings, zwischen allen Branchen⦘
It is hence a common occurrence for National Banks to have to provide for the redemption of a very small fraction indeed of the Notes they have originally paid away. The wide action of the Notes of National Banks has already reduced a large part of them to a discount; and to remedy this discredit, the Comptroller urges that all National Banks shall be compelled to redeem their Notes at par at New York, by means of funds maintained there in the hands of correspondents – that is, of some one or more of the New York National Banks. Aber, says the Comptroller: „If all the provincial National Banks are to redeem their Notes in New York, they must constantly maintain there large funds – the New York Banks will compete for the custody of these funds, and the more adventurous of them will bid for accounts by offering high rates of interest on country deposits. But if the New York Banks give high rates of interest for money left with them, they can only make a profit by advances more or less hazardous, and subject, therefore, to onerous terms. In order, then, to avert the catastrophe of a Banking collapse, Congress must pass a stringent law prohibiting Banks from allowing interest on any sort of deposits.“ Such legislation would be futile and mischievous. The Comptroller proposes other checks for the supervision of the 1600 banks. Z.B. Prevent Persons from setting up National Bks. who find the means of borrowing the largest part of the available means, and applying them to most objectionable speculations. Also clauses for monthly instead of quarterly Bank Returns: the quarterly Returns enable Banks „to prepare for a good exhibit on these particular days“.  Zusatz von Marx.
(Weekly public Reports!)
Schon cry in different parts of the Union about the dangers and abuses arising from the patronage des Secretary of the Treasury in regard to the selection of National Banks to be depositories of public money and financial agents of the Federal Gvt. It is a paramount object with a National Bk. to obtain the custody of the Gvt. money. Selection for such a trust is used as an |149 advertisement to attract private deposits and private business, and largely succeed. The First National Bank at New Orleans, holding Gvt. Deposits, has just failed, under disgraceful circumstance – about 300,000l. has been made away with in a clandestine manner, and a leading authority in New York writes: „The machinery of the National Bks. has proclivities to weakness et danger which cause wellfounded apprehension. Disclosures at New Orleans, and disgraceful previous failures of Natl. Bank Banks in various parts of the country, leave no room for further doubt. The best way for a shrewd manager of a Nl. Bk. to obtain private deposits, is to get up an appointment for his institution as a depository of Gvt. fund.“ Sagt ferner: the increasing number of Banks which even on the face of their quarterly returns do not hold the amount of cash reserved reserve required by law. The returns of October 1866 showed that 55 Banks then held reserves considerably below the prescribed limit. It is now complained in New York, „that the Comptroller has not announced publicly how many of the Banks are defaulters in their reserves since Oct. 1866, nor what measures have been taken to correct this serious defect“.

Up to March, 1865, or just at the close of the War, the circulation of the Nl. Bks. no more than about 25 mill. l. St. The expansion to the present limit of 50 millions l. is the work of the 2 last years. Their paid up capital only 30 mill. l. in March 1865, has risen to 84 mill. l. since that time. The advantage and strength of the State Banks arose from 1) Rigid enforcement of cash payments; und 2) perfect freetrade, subject to a few reasonable preliminaries, in banking business. The danger and weakness of the National Banks arises: 1) They have been called into existence, and been distributed over the country by the arbitrary discretion of a public officer, acting in most cases in perfect ignorance or misapprehension of circumstances, exceedingly prone to be influenced by motives of party patronage, and chiefly intent not on supplying the fittest banking institutions to the several parts of the Union, but on finding active and wealthy sympathisers with the Republican party, who, through the medium of the Nl. Banks, would support, first, Northern measures, and next, the views of the majority of Congress. 2) Under conditions like these, Nl. Banks have been set up by persons having no adequate knowledge of the business. They have started a Bank either chiefly as a party measure, or as a convenient mode of getting nearly double rates of interest for their money, or with a view of attracting deposits and employing them in private speculation of their own, or with the object of commanding a deposit of public money, and becoming Gvt. financial agents. 3) As the Circulation of the National Banks is essentially general and not local, the check of constant liability to its return through the exchanges does not operate. 4) The supervision of the Comptroller at Washington over 1600 Banks, of necessity, almost worthless for any purposes of practical control, ausserdem nicht desirable that all the Banking institutions of a country subject to the regulations of a party political officer.

The imperfections of the Nl. Bk. System became already practically manifest: 1) in the admitted imperfection of the returns made by the Banks; 2) admitted abuses prevailing in the administration of many of them; 3) admitted exercise of unjustifiable patronage in the selection of particular banks to be depositories of public money, and to be financial agents; 4) admitted necessity of further stringent legislation (f.i. the prohibition of interest on deposits)

If no modifications speedily introduced: The large number of incompetent, inexperienced, careless, scheming and speculating people, who have forced themselves or been attracted into the control of the Nl. Banks, will grossly mismanage the business; dissipate the deposits in foolish or disreputable advances, and the Banks will fail. Under the law of prior lien, the Gvt. will, out of any available assets, as far as possible, pay itself first, and in full, and the ordinary creditors, as in the recent case of New Orleans, will be left without a farthing. The Notes of the failed Bank will be at least to some extent covered by the lodgement of Federal Gvt. securities, but there will be a wide field for ingenious financing in the realisation, sudden or gradual, of these securities, and in the cancelling, sudden or partial gradual, of the particular Nl. Bk. tainted by default. A series of failures of Nl. Bks. may create a panic and bring down a large part of the organisation at once, or the distrust and dissatisfaction may operate more gradually. During the last 2 years, the Nl. Banks have had all in their favour. They have run up their Circulation from 25 to 60 Mill. St., and prices have all been rising. They have now reached the limit of their Note Issue. Process of reaction has set in which, by the by, will render cash payments again possible. This kind of reaction wird Masse dieser hastily set up concern ruiniren.


  • London. 1868.
  • 1866 „The Economist“ (Jahrgang 1866) vol. XXIV.
  • The Social Economist, 1. Oktober 1868
  • „The Economist“ (Jahrgang 1866) (Fortsetzung)
  • Jahrgang 1867.
  • Register der obigen Auszüge aus dem Economist für 1866 und 1867.
  • The „Money Market Review“. Jahrgang 1866.
  • The Money Market Review. Jahrgang 1867.
  • Register Money Market Review Jahrgänge 1866 und 1867