YARDLEY V. PHILLER, 167 U. S. 344 (1897)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Yardley v. Philler, 167 U.S. 344 (1897)

Yardley v. Philler

No. 296

Argued April 28, 1897

Decided May 24, 1897

167 U.S. 344


The national banks in Philadelphia organized, for their convenience, a Clearing House Association, with rules for its business set forth in detail in the statement in the opinion below. Among these rules, one provided for the deposit of securities in fixed amounts by each bank as collateral for their daily settlements, and another for the hours in the day in which settlements were to be made, and the mode of making the exchanges. The Keystone Bank made its deposit in conformity with the rule, but, having become indebted to the clearing house by reason of the receipt of clearing house certificates to a large amount, the securities deposited by it were surrendered, and were redeposited by it as security for the payment of the certificates. In the clearing of March 19, 1891, the Keystone Bank presented charges against other banks to the amount of $155,136.41, and the other banks presented charges against it for $240,549, making the Keystone Bank a debtor in the clearing for $75,359.08. In accordance with the rule, the Keystone Bank between the hours of eleven and twelve paid the $75,000 in cash or its equivalent, and gave its due bill to the manager of the clearing house for the fractional sum of $359.08, which was deposited by the manager and checked against by him as cash. In the runners' exchange of that day, the Keystone Bank owed a balance of $23,021.34, which balance it settled by giving its due bill to the manager for deposit in accordance with the system above stated. In operating the clearing on the morning of March 20, the Keystone Bank, through its runner, delivered to the respective clerks of the various banks packages containing claims held by the Keystone Bank amounting to $70,005.46, and the settling clerk of the Keystone Bank received from the runners of the other banks packages containing $117,035.21, leaving the Keystone Bank debtor in the clearing for $47,029.75. The packages containing the demands which the Keystone Bank held against other banks, and which had been delivered to the agent of each of those banks, were by them taken away at the termination of the clearing. The packages containing the charges presented against the Keystone Bank, which in the aggregate amounted to $117,035.21, instead of being taken away by its settling clerk, were, under the arrangement which we have stated, turned over by him to the

Page 167 U. S. 345

manager of the clearing house, to be retained until at the hour named the Keystone Bank paid the balance due by it. Before the hour for making the payment, however, the Keystone Bank, by order of the Comptroller of the Currency, was closed, and subsequently was placed in the hands of a receiver. On the failure of the Keystone to make the payment of $47,029.75, the committee of the association instructed the manager to call on the banks by whom claims had been presented against the Keystone "to redeem the packages against the Keystone Bank." The manager thereupon gave the proper notification, and the various banks notified sent their checks and redeemed the packages in question. Among the obligations for $117,035.21, however, were due bills amounting to $41,197.36. These due bills came from the fractional amounts arising by the settlement made on the morning of the 19th, to-wit, $359.08; for the due bill given at the runners' settlement on the morning of the 19th, $23,031.44, and for due bills given to various banks during the course of business on the 19th, amounting to $17,806.84. Thereupon, and as part of the same transaction, the manager paid from the $70,005.36, which by his settlement sheet appeared to the credit of the Keystone as owing from other banks to the Keystone Bank for the checks surrendered by that bank, the amount of the due bills referred to, viz., $41,197.36. This left to the credit of the Keystone the sum of $28,808.10, and this amount was by the manager, acting under direction of the committee of the association, credited on the loan certificate account of the Keystone Bank with the association. In a suit by the receiver of the bank to determine the rights of the parties, Held (1) that the claim of the receiver that the Keystone Bank was entitled to be paid $70,005.36 of credit irrespective of the outstanding due bills which it had been expressly agreed between the parties were to be paid by way of set-off in the clearing, was without foundation; (2) that the Clearing House Association, having been in possession of the $28,808.10 as the fiduciary agent of the Keystone Bank without a lien or right upon it, its appropriation of the same after the insolvency of the Keystone Bank to the debt owing for loan certificates was obviously a preference within the inhibition of the statute against preferences in the cases of insolvent banks, Rev.Stat. § 5242.

The case is stated in the opinion.

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