The organization of the various clearing houses depends upon local conditions, but generally they are voluntary, unincorporated associations acting under rules and by-laws drawn up for their own regulation. The larger clearing houses elect annually a full set of officers, including a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, and a number of committees. The most important committee is the Clearing House Committee which has the general direction of the affairs of the association. The expenses involved in maintaining the associations are apportioned among the members according to the average amount of their clearings. The organization of the association in small towns is usually very simple, being confined sometimes to a mere working agreement among the banks concerned and involving little or no expense.
In most of the larger cities a number of banking institutions which are not members of the clearing house associations have their exchanges cleared through some member bank under prescribed conditions. Generally these non-member banks are required to pay a fixed annual fee, and to submit to examination by the clearing house committee. In view of the fact that the clearing house association is an organization for mutual support and that the weakness or financial distress of a single member may embarrass all, the associations in the larger cities have in recent years established a system of clearing house examinations under which all the member banks are periodically examined. The examiner is paid by the association and such examination is entirely separate and distinct from that made by state or national officials. Some bankers believe that these clearing house examinations will not be permitted under the terms of the following clause of the Federal Reserve Act: "No bank shall be subject to any visitatorial powers other than such as are provided by law, or vested in the courts of justice, or such as shall be or shall have been exercised or directed by Congress, or by either House thereof or by any committee of Congress or of either House duly authorized."