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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Federal Reserve Act


Section 2. Federal Reserve Districts

1. Establishment of reserve cities and districts

As soon as practicable, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Comptroller of the Currency, acting as "The Reserve Bank Organization Committee," shall designate not less than eight nor more than twelve cities to be known as Federal reserve cities, and shall divide the continental United States, excluding Alaska, into districts, each district to contain only one of such Federal reserve cities. The determination of said organization committee shall not be subject to review except by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System when organized: Provided, That the districts shall be apportioned with due regard to the convenience and customary course of business and shall not necessarily be coterminous with any State or States. The districts thus created may be readjusted and new districts may from time to time be created by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, not to exceed twelve in all. Such districts shall be known as Federal reserve districts and may be designated by number. When the State of Alaska or Hawaii is hereafter admitted to the Union the Federal Reserve districts shall be readjusted by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in such manner as to include such State. Every national bank in any State shall, upon commencing business or within ninety days after admission into the Union of the State in which it is located, become a member bank of the Federal Reserve System by subscribing and paying for stock in the Federal Reserve bank of its district in accordance with the provisions of this Act and shall thereupon be an insured bank under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, and failure to do so shall subject such bank to the penalty provided by the sixth paragraph of this section.

[Partly incorporated in 12 USC 222 and 223. As amended by acts of July 7, 1958 (72 Stat. 350) and March 18, 1959 (73 Stat. 12).]

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2. Powers of organization committee

Said organization committee shall be authorized to employ counsel and expert aid, to take testimony, to send for persons and papers, to administer oaths, and to make such investigation as may be deemed necessary by the said committee in determining the reserve districts and in designating the cities within such districts where such Federal reserve banks shall be severally located. The said committee shall supervise the organization in each of the cities designated of a Federal reserve bank, which shall include in its title the name of the city in which it is situated, as "Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago."

[Omitted from U.S. Code except part of last sentence, which is incorporated in 12 USC 225. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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3. Subscription to stock by national banks

Under regulations to be prescribed by the organization committee, every national banking association in the United States is hereby required, and every eligible bank in the United States and every trust company within the District of Columbia, is hereby authorized to signify in writing, within sixty days after the passage of this Act, its acceptance of the terms and provisions hereof. When the organization committee shall have designated the cities in which Federal reserve banks are to be organized, and fixed the geographical limits of the Federal reserve districts, every national banking association within that district shall be required within thirty days after notice from the organization committee, to subscribe to the capital stock of such Federal reserve bank in a sum equal to six per centum of the paid-up capital stock and surplus of such bank, one-sixth of the subscription to be payable on call of the organization committee or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, one-sixth within three months and one-sixth within six months thereafter, and the remainder of the subscription, or any part thereof, shall be subject to call when deemed necessary by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, said payments to be in gold or gold certificates.

[Partly incorporated in 12 USC 282. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended. For provisions concerning stock subscriptions by state banks and trust companies, see section 9.]

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4. Liability of shareholders of reserve banks

The shareholders of every Federal reserve bank shall be held individually responsible, equally and ratably, and not one for another, for all contracts, debts, and engagements of such bank to the extent of the amount of their subscriptions to such stock at the par value thereof in addition to the amount subscribed, whether such subscriptions have been paid up in whole or in part, under the provisions of this Act.

[12 USC 502. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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5. Failure of national bank to accept terms of Act

Any national bank failing to signify its acceptance of the terms of this Act within sixty days aforesaid, shall cease to act as a reserve agent, upon thirty days' notice, to be given within the discretion of the said organization committee or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

[Omitted from U.S. Code. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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6. Penalty for violation of Act by national banks

Should any national banking association in the United States now organized fail within one year after the passage of this Act to become a member bank or fail to comply with any of the provisions of this Act applicable thereto, all of the rights, privileges, and franchises of such association granted to it under the national-bank Act, or under the provisions of this Act, shall be thereby forfeited. Any noncompliance with or violation of this Act shall, however, be determined and adjudged by any court of the United States of competent jurisdiction in a suit brought for that purpose in the district or territory in which such bank is located, under direction of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, by the Comptroller of the Currency in his own name before the association shall be declared dissolved. In cases of such noncompliance or violation, other than the failure to become a member bank under the provisions of this Act, every director who participated in or assented to the same shall be held liable in his personal or individual capacity for all damages which said bank, its shareholders, or any other person shall have sustained in consequence of such violation.

[12 USC 501a. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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7. Effect of dissolution

Such dissolution shall not take away or impair any remedy against such corporation, its stockholders or officers, for any liability or penalty which shall have been previously incurred.

[12 USC 501a. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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8. Stock offered to public

Should the subscriptions by banks to the stock of said Federal reserve banks or any one or more of them be, in the judgment of the organization committee, insufficient to provide the amount of capital required therefor, then and in that event the said organization committee may, under conditions and regulations to be prescribed by it, offer to public subscription at par such an amount of stock in said Federal reserve banks, or any one or more of them, as said committee shall determine, subject to the same conditions as to payment and stock liability as provided for member banks.

[Omitted from U.S. Code. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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9. Limitation on amount to one subscriber

No individual, copartnership, or corporation other than a member bank of its district shall be permitted to subscribe for or to hold at any time more than $25,000 par value of stock in any Federal reserve bank. Such stock shall be known as public stock and may be transferred on the books of the Federal reserve bank by the chairman of the board of directors of such bank.

[12 USC 283. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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10. Stock allotted to United States

Should the total subscriptions by banks and the public to the stock of said Federal reserve banks, or any one or more of them, be, in the judgment of the organization committee, insufficient to provide the amount of capital required therefor, then and in that event the said organization committee shall allot to the United States such an amount of said stock as said committee shall determine. Said United States stock shall be paid for at par out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, and shall be held by the Secretary of the Treasury and disposed of for the benefit of the United States in such manner, at such times, and at such price, not less than par, as the Secretary of the Treasury shall determine.

[Omitted from U.S. Code. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended. In a communication from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System dated March 7, 1941, it was stated, "As originally enacted the Federal Reserve Act provided for a Reserve Bank Organization Committee to have charge of the initial steps in organizing the Federal Reserve System and this Committee was authorized to allot Federal Reserve Bank stock to the United States in the event that subscriptions to such stock by banks and by the public were inadequate. However, subscriptions by member banks were adequate and there was no necessity or authority for the allocation of any stock to the United States. Accordingly, [this paragraph] is now of no practical effect and may be regarded as obsolete."]

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11. Voting rights

Stock not held by member banks shall not be entitled to voting power.

[12 USC 285. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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12. Transfer of stock

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is hereby empowered to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations governing the transfers of said stock.

[12 USC 286. Part of original Federal Reserve Act; not amended.]

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13. Minimum capital; status of reserve cities

No Federal reserve bank shall commence business with a subscribed capital less than $4,000,000. The organization of reserve districts and Federal reserve cities shall not be construed as changing the present status of reserve cities, except in so far as this Act changes the amount of reserves that may be carried with approved reserve agents located therein. The organization committee shall have power to appoint such assistants and incur such expenses in carrying out the provisions of this Act as it shall deem necessary, and such expenses shall be payable by the Treasurer of the United States upon voucher approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, and the sum of $100,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated, out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the payment of such expenses.

[Last sentence of this paragraph is omitted from U.S. Code; rest of paragraph is incorporated in 12 USC 224 and 281. Amended by act of July 28, 1959 (73 Stat. 264).]

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Last update: May 23, 2013