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HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL BANKS.
DIGEST OF THE LAW, ETC.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be established in the Treasury Department a separate Bureau, the chief officer of which shall be denominated the Comptroller of the Currency, who shall be under the general direction of the Secretary of the Treasury.
SEC. 5. That associations for carrying on the business of banking may be formed by any number of persons, not less in any case than five, who shall enter into articles of association, which shall specify in general terms the object for which the association is formed, and may contain any other provisions, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, which the association may see fit to adopt for the regulation of the business of the association and the conduct of its affairs, which said articles shall be signed by the persons uniting to form the association, and a copy of them forwarded to the Comptroller of the Currency, to be filed and preserved in his office.
SEC. 6. That the persons uniting to form such an association shall, under their hands, make an organization certificate, which shall specify
First. The name assumed by such association, which name shall be subject to the approval of the Comptroller.
Second. The place where its operations of discount and deposit are to be carried on, designating the State, Territory, or District, and also the particular county and city, town or village.
Third. The amount of its capital stock, and the number of shares into which the same shall be divided.
Fourth. The names and places of residence of the shareholders, and the number of shares held by each of them.
Fifth. A declaration that said certificate is made to enable such persons to avail, themselves of the advantages of this act.
The said certificate shall be acknowledged before a judge of ourt of record or a notary public, and such certificate, with the acknowledgment thereof authenticated by the seal of such court or notary, shall be transmitted to the Comptroller of the Currency, who shall record and carefully preserve the same in his office. Copies of such certificate, duly certified by the Comptroller
and authenticated by his seal of office, shall be legal and sufficient evidence in all courts and places within the United States, or the jurisdiction of the Government thereof, of the existence of such association, and of every other matter or thing which could be proved by the production of the original certificate.
SEC. 7. That no association shall be organized under this act, with a less capital than one hundred thousand dollars, nor in a city whose population exceeds fifty thousand persons, with a less capital than two hundred thousand dollars: Provided, That banks with a capital of not less than fifty thousand dollars may, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, be organized in any place, the population of which does not exceed six thousand inhabitants.
SEC. 8. That every association formed, pursuant to the provisions of this act, shall, from the date of the execution of its organization certificate, be a body-corporate, but shall transact no business except such as may be incidental to its organization and necessarily preliminary, until authorized by the Comptroller of the Currency to commence the business of banking. Such association shall have power to adopt a corporate seal, and shall have succession by the name designated in its organization certificate, for the period of twenty years from its organization, unless sooner dissolved according to the provisions of its articles of association, or by the act of its shareholders owning two-thirds of its stock, or unless the franchise shall be forfeited by a violation of this act; by such name it may make contracts, sue and be sued, complain and defend, in any court of law and equity as fully as natural persons; it may elect or appoint directors, and by its board of directors appoint a president, vice-president, cashier, and other officers, define their duties, require bonds of them, and fix the penalty thereof, dismiss said officers or any of them at pleasure, and appoint others to fill their places, and exercise under this act all such incidental powers as shall be necessary to carry on the business of banking by discounting and negotiating promissory notes, drafts, bills of exchange, and other evidences of debt; by receiving deposits; by buying and selling exchange, coin, and bullion; by loaning money on personal security; by obtaining, issuing, and circulating notes according to the provisions of this act; and its board of directors shall also have power to define and regulate by by-laws, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, the manner in which its stock shall be transferred, its directors elected or appointed, its officers appointed, its property transferred, its general business conducted, and all the privileges granted by this act to associations organized under it shall be exercised and enjoyed; and its usual business shall be transacted at an office or banking-house located in the place specified in its organization certificate.
SEC. 9. That the affairs of every association shall be managed by not less than five directors, one of whom shall be the presi
dent. Every director shall, during his whole term of service, be a citizen of the United States; and at least three-fourths of the directors shall have resided in the State, Territory, or District in which such association is located one year next preceding their election as directors, and be residents of the same during their continuance in office. Each director shall own, in his own right, at least ten shares of the capital stock of the association of which he is a director.
SEC. 11. That in all elections of directors, and in deciding all questions at meetings of shareholders, each shareholder shall be entitled to one vote on each share of stock held by him. Shareholders may vote by proxies duly authorized in writing; but no officer, clerk, teller, or book-keeper of such association shall act as proxy; and no shareholders, whose liability is past due and unpaid, shall be allowed to vote.
SEC. 12. That the capital stock of any association formed under this act shall be divided into shares of one hundred dollars each, and be deemed personal property and transferable on the books of the association; and every person becoming a shareholder by such transfer shall, in proportion to his shares, succeed to all the rights and liabilities of the prior holder of such shares, and no change shall be made in the articles of association by which the rights, remedies, or security of the existing creditors of the association shall be impaired. The shareholders of each association formed under the provisions of this act, and of each existing bank or banking association that may accept the provisions of this act, shall be held individually responsible, equally and ratably, and not one for another, for all contracts, debts, and engagements of such association to the extent of amount of their stock therein at the par value thereof, in addition to the amount invested in such shares; except that shareholders of any banking association now existing under State laws, having not less than five millions of dollars of capital actually paid in, and a surplus of twenty per centum on hand, both to be determined by the Comptroller of the Currency, shall be liable only to the amount invested in their shares; and such surplus of twenty per centum shall be kept undiminished, and be in addition to the surplus provided for in this act; and if at any time there shall be a deficiency in said surplus of twenty per centum, the said banking association shall not pay any dividends to its shareholders until such deficiency shall be made good; and in case of such deficiency, the Comptroller of the Currency may compel said banking association to close up its business and wind up its affairs under the provisions of this act. And the Comptroller shall have authority to withhold from an association his certificate authorizing the commencement of business, whenever he shall have reason to suppose that the shareholders thereof have formed the same for any other than the legitimate objects contemplated by this act.