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November 2021

Shareholder Double Liability and Depositor Losses in Failed National Banks: 1865–1935

This publication is part of:

Collection: Moments in History


From 1865 to 1937, the owners of shares of national banks were subject to double liability, which meant an insolvency would not only extinguish the value of a shareholder's investment in the bank's capital, but would also subject that shareholder to an additional assessment levied by the bank's receiver of an amount equal to that investment (i.e., double the original shareholder liability). The available historical data on OCC receiverships from 1865 to 1937 indicate that the $95 million in double liability assessments helped mitigate the losses borne by depositors and in the voluntary liquidations of still-solvent banks.


Roger Tufts and Graham Tufts