National Bank Act (1864)
To help finance the war, in 1861 Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase recommended the establishment of a national banking system. National banks could be chartered by the federal government and authorized to issue bank notes secured by U.S. government bonds. Chase's plan would have ensured a market for federal debt, since the new national banks would be required to buy the bonds.
FEATURES OF THE NBA
Associations for carrying on the business of banking ... may be formed by any number of natural persons, not less in any case than five. They shall enter into articles of association, which shall specify in general terms the object for which the association is formed.... These articles shall be signed by the persons uniting to form the association, and a copy of them shall be forwarded to the Comptroller of the Currency, to be filed and preserved in his office.
FLEXIBLE POWERS OF THE NATIONAL BANKS
Courts have generally treated the comptroller's decisions under the NBA and other statutes as authoritative. In Camp v. Pitts (1973), the Supreme Court held that the comptroller's actions were subject to a very limited standard of judicial review. This means that a party seeking relief in court faces great difficulty, as that party must meet very specific requirements to obtain a favorable ruling. This limited standard, now the basic approach used in judicial review of all federal bank regulators, has no doubt given the comptroller more flexible power to encourage the growth of the national banking system, without much judicial intervention.
The Gold Standard