The joint-stock land banks are private mortgage bond companies, composed of ten or more natural persons, organized for profit, chartered under federal law by the Federal Farm
Loan Board, and operated under its general supervision. They are capitalized at $250,000 or more, and receive no help from the government by way of capital subscriptions. The federal charter and supervision are presumed to give a higher prestige to these private land banks than they enjoyed under state charter and supervision, and therefore to add to their credit title. They cater to farmers who wish loans in excess of $10,000, the maximum which the federal land banks are allowed to make, and to others than farmers who themselves till the soil. These banks make it possible for a farmer who does not wish to join a national farm loan association, or is not qualified to join, or has no access to such association, to secure loans on real estate. The same provisions about loans, mortgages, security, and amortization govern the operations of the joint-stock land banks as govern those of the federal land banks and farm loan associations, except that their total loans may not exceed 15 times their capital and surplus and that the operations of any one bank are restricted to two adjacent states. The valuations are determined by the appraisers of the Federal Farm Loan Board. Upon the basis of mortgage notes and first mortgages pledged as collateral the joint-stock banks may issue bonds, which have nearly the same qualities as have the bonds issued by the federal land banks. Both classes of bonds have been marketed largely through syndicates of bankers in New York and Boston.
Up to January, 1921, of these joint-stock land banks 30 had been organized, most of them during 1919 and therefore not yet in full and active operation. Nevertheless their total loans amounted to $77,958,642, and this class of loans gives promise of very fast growth later on. The restriction allowing banks to operate in only two adjacent states each, together with the fact that those which have been organized are concentrated about Iowa, restricts their loan area to relatively few states and permits the federal land banks to enjoy a monopoly in a majority of the states.