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U.S. Supreme Court

Hopkins Federal Savings & Loan Assn. v. Cleary, 296 U.S. 315 (1935)

Hopkins Federal Savings & Loan Assn. v. Cleary

No. 55

Argued November 1, 19, 1935

Decided December 9, 1935*

296 U.S. 315


1. The Federal Home Owners' Loan Act of 1933, § 5(i), as amended, must be construed as providing that any state building and loan association which has become a member of a Federal Home Loan Bank by subscribing to its shares may convert itself into a Federal Savings and Loan Association upon the vote of a bare majority of its members, and without the consent of the State that created it. P. 296 U. S. 332.

This construction is corroborated by a comparison of the Act in its present form with its form before amendment, and with other analogous legislation. P. 296 U. S. 333.

2. Courts cannot ignore the plain meaning of a statute in order to avoid a decision upon its validity. P. 296 U. S. 334.

3. The Home Owners' Loan Act, to the extent that it permits the conversion of state associations into federal ones in contravention

Page 296 U. S. 316

of the laws of the place of their creation, is an unconstitutional encroachment upon the reserved powers of the States. United States Constitution, Amendment X. Casey v. Galli, 94 U. S. 673, explained and distinguished. P. 296 U. S. 335.

4. Building and Loan Associations in Wisconsin and other States are not merely business corporations, they are quasi-public instruments, created and fostered by the State for the common good. P. 296 U. S. 336.

5. The destruction of such associations, established by a State, is not an exercise of power reasonably necessary for the maintenance by the central government of other associations created by itself in furtherance of kindred ends. P. 296 U. S. 338.

6. The State of Wisconsin, in vindication of her public policy and also as parens patriae acting on behalf of nonconsenting shareholders and creditors, has a standing as litigant to prevent the conversion of local building and loan association into a federal corporation, contrary to her statutes and without her consent. Massachusetts v. Mellon, 262 U. S. 447, distinguished. P. 296 U. S. 339.

217 Wis. 179; 257 N.W. 684, affirmed.

Certiorari, 295 U.S. 721, to review judgments of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin in three actions. In No. 55, the suit originated in that court and was brought by the State Banking Commission against a local building and loan association for the purpose of annulling proceedings whereby the association sought to convert itself into a federal corporation and compelling the directors and officers to continue the business in accordance with Wisconsin law, or else to wind it up. The state court granted the decree. The other two cases were suits by two other such associations against the Commission to restrain it from interfering with similar conversions of their status. Decrees in their favor were reversed by by the court below.

Page 296 U. S. 327

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