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National Bank Act

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Federal Corporate Law And The Business Of Banking, Morgan Ricks, Lev Menand Jan 2021

Federal Corporate Law And The Business Of Banking, Morgan Ricks, Lev Menand

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The only profit-seeking business enterprises chartered by a federal government agency are banks. Yet there is barely any scholarship justifying this exception to state primacy in U.S. corporate law.

This Article addresses that gap. It reinterprets the National Bank Act (NBA) the organic statute governing national banks, the heavyweights of the financial sec- tor-as a corporation law and recovers the reasons why Congress wrote this law: not to catalyze private wealth creation or to regulate an existing industry, but to solve an economic governance problem. National banks are federal instrumentalities charged with augmenting the money supply-- a delegated sovereign privilege. …