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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 25A. Banking Corporations Authorized to Do Foreign Banking Business*

1. Organization

Corporations to be organized for the purpose of engaging in international or foreign banking or other international or foreign financial operations, or in banking or other financial operations in a dependency or insular possession of the United States, either directly or through the agency, ownership, or control of local institutions in foreign countries, or in such dependencies or insular possessions as provided by this section, and to act when required by the Secretary of the Treasury as fiscal agents of the United States, may be formed by any number of natural persons, not less in any case than five: Provided, That nothing in this section shall be construed to deny the right of the Secretary of the Treasury to use any corporation organized under this section as depositaries in Panama and the Panama Canal Zone, or in the Philippine Islands and other insular possessions and dependencies of the United States.

[12 USC 611. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 378); and amended by act of Feb. 27, 1921 (41 Stat. 1145) and Sept. 17, 1978 (92 Stat. 609). Presidential Proclamation No. 2695 of July 4, 1946 (60 Stat. 1352; 12 USC 1394 note) recognizes the independence of the Philippine Islands. Therefore, the words "in the Philippine Islands and" have been omitted from the U.S. Code.]

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2. Purpose

The Congress hereby declares that it is the purpose of this section to provide for the establishment of international banking and financial corporations operating under Federal supervision with powers sufficiently broad to enable them to compete effectively with similar foreign-owned institutions in the United States and abroad; to afford to the United States exporter and importer in particular, and to United States commerce, industry, and agriculture in general, at all times a means of financing international trade, especially United States exports; to foster the participation by regional and smaller banks throughout the United States in the provision of international banking and financing services to all segments of United States agriculture, commerce, and industry, and, in particular small business and farming concerns; to stimulate competition in the provision of international banking and financing services, throughout the United States; and, in conjunction with each of the preceding purposes, to facilitate and stimulate the export of United States goods, wares, merchandise, commodities, and services to achieve a sound United States international trade position. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall issue rules and regulations under this section consistent with and in furtherance of the purposes described in the preceding sentence, and, in accordance therewith, shall review and revise any such rules and regulations at least once every five years, the first such period commencing with the effective date of rules and regulations issued pursuant to section 3(a) of the International Banking Act of 1978, in order to ensure that such purposes are being served in light of prevailing economic conditions and banking practices.

[12 USC 611a. As added by act of Sept. 17, 1978 (92 Stat. 608).]

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3. Articles of association

Such persons shall enter into articles of association which shall specify in general terms the objects for which the association is formed and may contain any other provisions not inconsistent with law which the association may see fit to adopt for the regulation of its business and the conduct of its affairs.

[12 USC 612. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 378).]

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4. Execution of articles of association; contents of organization certificate

Such articles of association shall be signed by all of the persons intending to participate in the organization of the corporation and, thereafter, shall be forwarded to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and shall be filed and preserved in its office. The persons signing the said articles of association shall, under their hands, make an organization certificate which shall specifically state:

First. The name assumed by such corporation, which shall be subject to the approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Second. The place or places where its operations are to be carried on.

Third. The place in the United States where its home office is to be located.

Fourth. The amount of its capital stock and the number of shares into which the same shall be divided.

Fifth. The names and places of business or residence of the persons executing the certificate and the number of shares to which each has subscribed.

Sixth. The fact that the certificate is made to enable the persons subscribing the same, and all other persons, firms, companies, and corporations, who or which may thereafter subscribe to or purchase shares of the capital stock of such corporation, to avail themselves of the advantages of this section.

[12 USC 613. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 379).]

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5. Filing organization certificate; issuance of permit

The persons signing the organization certificate shall duly acknowledge the execution thereof before a judge of some court of record or notary public, who shall certify thereto under the seal of such court or notary, and thereafter the certificate shall be forwarded to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to be filed and preserved in its office. Upon duly making and filing articles of association and an organization certificate, and after the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has approved the same and issued a permit to begin business, the association shall become and be a body corporate, and as such and in the name designated therein shall have power to adopt and use a corporate seal, which may be changed at the pleasure of its board of directors; to have succession for a period of twenty years unless sooner dissolved by the act of the shareholders owning two-thirds of the stock or by an Act of Congress or unless its franchises become forfeited by some violation of law; to make contracts; to sue and be sued, complain, and defend in any court of law or equity; to elect or appoint directors; and, by its board of directors, to appoint such officers and employees as may be deemed proper, define their authority and duties, require bonds of them, and fix the penalty thereof, dismiss such officers or employees, or any thereof, at pleasure and appoint others to fill their places; to prescribe, by its board of directors, by-laws not inconsistent with law or with the regulations of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System regulating the manner in which its stock shall be transferred, its directors elected or appointed, its officers and employees appointed, its property transferred, and the privileges granted to it by law exercised and enjoyed.

[12 USC 614. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 379) and Sept. 17, 1978 (92 Stat. 609).]

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6. Powers; regulations of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Each corporation so organized shall have power, under such rules and regulations as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may prescribe:

[12 USC 615. As added by acts of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 379); and amended by act of Sept. 17, 1978 (92 Stat. 609).]

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Banking powers

(a) To purchase, sell, discount, and negotiate, with or without its indorsement or guaranty, notes, drafts, checks, bills of exchange, acceptances, including bankers' acceptances, cable transfers, and other evidences of indebtedness; to purchase and sell, with or without its indorsement or guaranty, securities, including the obligations of the United States or of any State thereof but not including shares of stock in any corporation except as herein provided; to accept bills or drafts drawn upon it subject to such limitations and restrictions as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may impose; to issue letters of credit; to purchase and sell coin, bullion, and exchange; to borrow and to lend money; to issue debentures, bonds, and promissory notes under such general conditions as to security and such limitations as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may prescribe; to receive deposits outside of the United States and to receive only such deposits within the United States as may be incidental to or for the purpose of carrying out transactions in foreign countries or dependencies or insular possessions of the United States; and generally to exercise such powers as are incidental to the powers conferred by this Act or as may be usual, in the determination of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, in connection with the transaction of the business of banking or other financial operations in the countries, colonies, dependencies, or possessions in which it shall transact business and not inconsistent with the powers specifically granted herein. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, under its power to prescribe rules and regulations, from limiting the aggregate amount of liabilities of any or all classes incurred by the corporation and outstanding at any one time. Whenever a corporation organized under this section receives deposits in the United States authorized by this section it shall carry reserves in such amounts as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may prescribe for member banks of the Federal Reserve System.

[12 USC 615(a). As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 379); and amended by act of Sept. 17, 1978 (92 Stat. 609).]

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Branches

(b) To establish and maintain for the transaction of its business branches or agencies in foreign countries, their dependencies or colonies, and in the dependencies or insular possessions of the United States, at such places as may be approved by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and under such rules and regulations as it may prescribe, including countries or dependencies not specified in the original organization certificate.

[12 USC 615(b). As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 379).]

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Ownership of stock in other corporations

(c) With the consent of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to purchase and hold stock or other certificates of ownership in any other corporation organized under the provisions of this section, or under the laws of any foreign country or a colony or dependency thereof, or under the laws of any State, dependency, or insular possession of the United States but not engaged in the general business of buying or selling goods, wares, merchandise or commodities in the United States, and not transacting any business in the United States except such as in the judgment of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may be incidental to its international or foreign business: Provided, however, That, except with the approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, no corporation organized hereunder shall invest in any one corporation an amount in excess of 10 per centum of its own capital and surplus, except in a corporation engaged in the business of banking, when 15 per centum of its capital and surplus may be so invested: Provided further, That no corporation organized hereunder shall purchase, own, or hold stock or certificates of ownership in any other corporation organized hereunder or under the laws of any State which is in substantial competition therewith, or which holds stock or certificates of ownership in corporations which are in substantial competition with the purchasing corporation.

[12 USC 615(c). As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 380).]

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7. Purchase of stock to prevent loss on debt previously contracted

Nothing contained herein shall prevent corporations organized hereunder from purchasing and holding stock in any corporation where such purchase shall be necessary to prevent a loss upon a debt previously contracted in good faith; and stock so purchased or acquired in corporations organized under this section shall within six months from such purchase be sold or disposed of at public or private sale unless the time to so dispose of same is extended by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

[12 USC 615(c). As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 380).]

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8. Restrictions on business in United States

No corporation organized under this section shall carry on any part of its business in the United States except such as, in the judgment of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, shall be incidental to its international or foreign business: And provided further, That except such as is incidental and preliminary to its organization no such corporation shall exercise any of the powers conferred by this section until it has been duly authorized by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to commence business as a corporation organized under the provisions of this section.

[12 USC 616. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 381).]

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9. Corporation trading in commodities or attempting to control prices

No corporation organized under this section shall engage in commerce or trade in commodities except as specifically provided in this section, nor shall it either directly or indirectly control or fix or attempt to control or fix the price of an such commodities. The charter of any corporation violating this provision shall be subject to forfeiture in the manner hereinafter provided in this section. It shall be unlawful for any director, officer, agent, or employee of any such corporation to use or to conspire to use the credit; the funds, or the power of the corporation to fix or control the price of any such commodities, and any such person violating this provision shall be liable to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment not less than one year and not exceeding five years, or both, in the discretion of the court.

[12 USC 617. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 81).]

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10. Capital stock

No corporation shall be organized under the provisions of this section with a capital stock of less than $2,000,000, one-quarter of which must be paid in before the corporation may be authorized to begin business, and the remainder of the capital stock of such corporation shall be paid in installments of at least 10 per centum on the whole amount to which the corporation shall be limited as frequently as one installment at the end of each succeeding two months from the time of the commencement of its business operations until the whole of the capital stock shall be paid in: Provided, however, That whenever $2,000,000 of the capital stock of any corporation is paid in the remainder of the corporation's capital stock or any unpaid part of such remainder may, with the consent of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and subject to such regulations and conditions as it may prescribe, be paid in upon call from the board of directors; such unpaid subscriptions, however, to be included in the maximum of 10 per centum of the national bank's capital and surplus which a national bank is permitted under the provisions of this Act to hold in stock of corporations engaged in business of the kind described in this section and in section 25 of the Federal Reserve Act as amended. The capital stock of any such corporation may be increased at any time, with the approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, by a vote of two-thirds of its shareholders or by unanimous consent in writing of the shareholders without a meeting and without a formal vote, but any such increase of capital shall be fully paid in within ninety days after such approval; and may be reduced in like manner, provided that in no event shall it be less than $2,000,000. No corporation, except as herein provided, shall during the time it shall continue its operations, withdraw or permit to be withdrawn, either in the form of dividends or otherwise, any portion of its capital. Any national bank may invest in the stock of any corporation organized under this section. The aggregate amount of stock held by any national bank in all corporations engaged in business of the kind described in this section or section 25 shall not exceed an amount equal to 10 percent of the capital and surplus of such bank unless the Board determines that the investment of an additional amount by the bank would not be unsafe or unsound and, in any case, shall not exceed an amount equal to 20 percent of the capital and surplus of such bank.

[12 USC 618. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 381); and amended by acts of June 14, 1921 (42 Stat. 28) and Sept. 30, 1996 (110 Stat. 3009-426).]

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11. Citizenship of stockholders

Except as otherwise provided in this section, a majority of the shares of the capital stock of any such corporation shall at all times be held and owned by citizens of the United States, by corporations the controlling interest in which is owned by citizens of the United States, chartered under the laws of the United States or of a State of the United States, or by firms or companies, the controlling interest in which is owned by citizens of the United States. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, one or more foreign banks, institutions organized under the laws of foreign countries which own or control foreign banks, or banks organized under the laws of the United States, the States of the United States, or the District of Columbia, the controlling interests in which are owned by any such foreign banks or institutions, may, with the prior approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and upon such terms and conditions and subject to such rules and regulations as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may prescribe, own and hold 50 per centum or more of the shares of the capital stock of any corporation organized under this section, and any such corporation shall be subject to the same provisions of law as any other corporation organized under this section, and the terms "controls" and "controlling interest" shall be construed consistently with the definition of "control" in section 2 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. For the purposes of the preceding sentence of this paragraph the term "foreign bank" shall have the meaning assigned to it in the International Banking Act of 1978. Any company, other than a bank as defined in section 2 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, that after March 5, 1987, directly or indirectly acquires control of a corporation organized or operating under the provisions of this section or section 25 shall be subject to the provisions of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 in the same manner and to the same extent that bank holding companies are subject thereto, except that such company shall not by reason of this paragraph be deemed a bank holding company for the purpose of section 3 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956.

[12 USC 619. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 378); and amended by acts of Aug. 23, 1935 (49 Stat. 717); Sept. 17, 1978 (92 Stat. 609); and Aug. 10, 1987 (101 Stat. 566).]

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12. Members of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as directors, officers, or stockholders

No member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System shall be an officer or director of any corporation organized under the provisions of this section, or of any corporation engaged in similar business organized under the laws of any State, nor hold stock in any such corporation, and before entering upon his duties as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System he shall certify under oath to the Secretary of the Treasury that he has complied with this requirement.

[12 USC 620. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 382).]

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13. Shareholders' liability; corporation not to become member of Federal Reserve bank

Shareholders in any corporation organized under the provision of this section shall be liable for the amount of their unpaid stock subscriptions. No such corporation shall become a member of any Federal reserve bank.

[12 USC 621. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 382).]

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14. Forfeiture of charter for violation of law

Should any corporation organized hereunder violate or fail to comply with any of the provisions of this section, all of its rights, privileges, and franchises derived herefrom may thereby be forfeited. Before any such corporation shall be declared dissolved, or its rights, privileges, and franchises forfeited, any noncompliance with, or violation of such laws shall, however, be determined and adjudged by a court of the United States of competent jurisdiction, in a suit brought for that purpose in the district or territory in which the home office of such corporation is located, which suit shall be brought by the United States at the insistence of the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System or the Attorney General. Upon adjudication of such noncompliance or violation, each director and officer who participated in, or assented to, the illegal act or acts, shall be liable in his personal or individual capacity for all damages which the said corporation shall have sustained in consequence thereof. No dissolution shall take away or impair any remedy against the corporation, its stockholders, or officers for any liability or penalty previously incurred.

[12 USC 622. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 382).]

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15. Voluntary liquidation

Any such corporation may go into voluntary liquidation and be closed by a vote of its shareholders owning two-thirds of its stock.

[12 USC 623. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 382.)]

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16. Appointment of receiver or conservator

  1. In General. The Board may appoint a conservator or receiver for a corporation organized under the provisions of this section to the same extent and in the same manner as the Comptroller of the Currency may appoint a conservator or receiver for a national bank, and the conservator or receiver for such corporation shall exercise the same powers, functions, and duties, subject to the same limitations, as a conservator or receiver for a national bank.
  2. Equivalent Authority. The Board shall have the same authority with respect to any conservator or receiver appointed for a corporation organized under the provisions of this section under this paragraph and any such corporation as the Comptroller of the Currency has with respect to a conservator or receiver of a national bank and the national bank for which a conservator or receiver has been appointed.
  3. Title 11 Petitions. The Board may direct the conservator or receiver of a corporation organized under the provisions of this section to file a petition pursuant to title 11, United States Code, in which case, title 11, United States Code, shall apply to the corporation in lieu of otherwise applicable Federal or State insolvency law.

[12 USC 624. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 382); and amended by act of Dec. 12, 2000 (114 Stat. 2763A-396).]

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17. Stockholders' meetings; records; reports; examinations

Every corporation organized under the provisions of this section shall hold a meeting of its stockholders annually upon a date fixed in its bylaws, such meeting to be held at its home office in the United States. Every such corporation shall keep at its home office books containing the names of all stockholders thereof, and the names and addresses of the members of its board of directors, together with copies of all reports made by it to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Every such corporation shall make reports to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System at such times and in such form as it may require; and shall be subject to examination once a year and at such other times as may be deemed necessary by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System by examiners appointed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the cost of such examinations, including the compensation of the examiners, to be fixed by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and to be paid by the corporation examined.

[12 USC 625. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 382).]

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18. Dividends and surplus fund

The directors of any corporation organized under the provisions of this section may, semiannually, declare a dividend of so much of the net profits of the corporation as they shall judge expedient; but each corporation shall, before the declaration of a dividend, carry one-tenth of its net profits of the preceding half year to its surplus fund until the same shall amount to 20 per centum of its capital stock.

[12 USC 626. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 383).]

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19. Taxation

Any corporation organized under the provisions of this section shall be subject to tax by the State within which its home office is located in the same manner and to the same extent as other corporations organized under the laws of that State which are transacting a similar character of business. The shares of stock in such corporation shall also be subject to tax as the personal property of the owners or holders thereof in the same manner and to the same extent as the shares of stock in similar State corporations.

[12 USC 627. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 383).]

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20. Extension of corporate existence

Any corporation organized under the provisions of this section may at any time within the two years next previous to the date of the expiration of its corporate existence, by a vote of the shareholders owning two-thirds of its stock, apply to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for its approval to extend the period of its corporate existence for a term of not more than twenty years, and upon certified approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System such corporation shall have its corporate existence for such extended period unless sooner dissolved by the act of the shareholders owning two-thirds of its stock, or by an Act of Congress or unless its franchise becomes forfeited by some violation of law.

[12 USC 628. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 383).]

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21. Conversion of State corporation into Federal corporation

Any bank or banking institution, principally engaged in foreign business, incorporated by special law of any State or of the United States or organized under the general laws of any State or of the United States and having an unimpaired capital sufficient to entitle it to become a corporation under the provisions of this section may, by the vote of the shareholders owning not less than two-thirds of the capital stock of such bank or banking association, with the approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, be converted into a Federal corporation of the kind authorized by this section with any name approved by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System: Provided, however, That said conversion shall not be in contravention of the State law. In such case the articles of association and organization certificate may be executed by a majority of the directors of the bank or banking institution, and the certificate shall declare that the owners of at least two thirds of the capital stock have authorized the directors to make such certificate and to change or convert the bank or banking institution into a Federal corporation. A majority of the directors, after executing the articles of association and the organization certificate, shall have power to execute all other papers and to do whatever may be required to make its organization perfect and complete as a Federal corporation. The shares of any such corporation may continue to be for the same amount each as they were before the conversion, and the directors may continue to be directors of the corporation until others are elected or appointed in accordance with the provisions of this section. When the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System has given to such corporation a certificate that the provisions of this section have been complied with, such corporation and all its stockholders, officers, and employees, shall have the same powers and privileges, and shall be subject to the same duties, liabilities, and regulations, in all respects, as shall have been prescribed by this section for corporations originally organized hereunder.

[12 USC 629. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 383).]

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22. Criminal offenses of directors, officers, and employees

Every officer, director, clerk, employee, or agent of any corporation organized under this section who embezzles, abstracts, or willfully misapplies any of the moneys, funds, credits, securities, evidences of indebtedness or assets of any character of such corporation; or who, without authority from the directors, issues or puts forth any certificate of deposit, draws any order or bill of exchange, makes any acceptance, assigns any note, bond, debenture, draft, bill of exchange, mortgage, judgment, or decree; or who makes any false entry in any book, report, or statement of such corporation with intent, in either case, to injure or defraud such corporation or any other company, body politic or corporate, or any individual person, or to deceive any officer of such corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or any agent or examiner appointed to examine the affairs of any such corporation; and every receiver of any such corporation and every clerk or employee of such receiver who shall embezzle, abstract, or willfully misapply or wrongfully convert to his own use any moneys, funds, credits, or assets of any character which may come into his possession or under his control in the execution of his trust or the performance of the duties of his employment; and every such receiver or clerk or employee of such receiver who shall, with intent to injure or defraud any person, body politic or corporate, or to deceive or mislead the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or any agent or examiner appointed to examine the affairs of such receiver, shall make any false entry in any book, report, or record of any matter connected with the duties of such receiver; and every person who with like intent aids or abets any officer, director, clerk, employee, or agent of any corporation organized under this section, or receiver or clerk or employee of such receiver as aforesaid in any violation of this section, shall upon conviction thereof be imprisoned for not less than two years nor more than ten years, and may also be fined not more than $5,000, in the discretion of the court.

[12 USC 630. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 384).]

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23. Representation that United States is liable for obligations

Whoever being connected in any capacity with any corporation organized under this section represents in any way that the United States is liable for the payment of any bond or other obligation, or the interest thereon, issued or incurred by any corporation organized hereunder, or that the United States incurs any liability in respect of any act or omission of the corporation, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 and by imprisonment for not more than five years.

[12 USC 631. As added by act of Dec. 24, 1919 (41 Stat. 384).]

* Previously section 25(a), this section was redesignated by act of Dec. 19, 1991 (105 Stat. 2281).

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Last update: May 23, 2013