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U.S. Supreme Court

American Bank & Trust Co. v. federal reserve bank, 256 U.S. 350 (1921)

American Bank & Trust Company v. federal reserve bank

No. 679

Argued April 13, 14, 1921

Decided May 16, 1921

256 U.S. 350


1. A suit against a federal reserve bank and its officers held a suit arising under a law of the United States within the meaning of § 24, cl. 1, of the Judicial Code, such banks being creatures of the Federal Reserve Act. P. 256 U. S. 356.

2. A federal reserve bank is not a national banking association within § 24, cl. 16, of the Judicial Code, which declares that such associations, for the purposes of suing and being sued, shall (except in certain cases) be deemed citizens of the states where they are located. P. 256 U. S. 357.

3. Several country banks of Georgia alleged that they derived an important part of their income from charges on payment of checks drawn by their depositors when sent in, usually through other banks, from a distance; that banks of the Federal Reserve System were

Page 256 U. S. 351

forbidden to make such charge, and that the defendant federal reserve bank and its officer, in pursuance of a policy of the Federal Reserve Board, for the purpose of compelling the plaintiffs and like bank to become members of the system, or to open clearing accounts with the defendant (which would deprive them of the aforesaid charges, reduce their lending power, and drive some of them out of business), intended to accumulate such checks in large amount and then require cash payment at par by presentation over the counter or otherwise, so as to compel plaintiffs to maintain so much cash in their vaults that they must either give up business or submit, if able, to the defendant's scheme. Held that the bill stated a cause for an injunction. P. 256 U. S. 357.

269 F. 4 reversed.

Appeal from a decree of the circuit court of appeals affirming a decree of the district court dismissing, for want of equity a bill brought by divers state banks against a federal reserve bank and its officers for an injunction. The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 256 U. S. 355

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