Every national bank is required to make to the Comptroller of the Currency at least five reports a year showing in detail its resources and liabilities. No regular dates are set for these reports; they are subject to the call of the Comptroller at his discretion. He may also call for additional special reports at any time if he deems it advisable. Blank forms are furnished to the banks by the Comptroller and these must be filled out properly and returned to his office within five days after notice, subject to a penalty of $100 for every day's delay. This report of condition must be sworn to by the president or cashier and attested by three directors.
A condensed form of the report must be published in a local newspaper, and a copy of this, cut from the paper and pasted upon the particular form furnished for the purpose, accompanied by the affidavit of the publisher, must be sent to the Comptroller. By means of these reports both the Comptroller's office and the public are kept informed of the condition of the national banks. The making of any false statement or report is a criminal offence.
National banks are also required to make a semi-annual report on dividends and earnings. This report must be made within ten days after the declaration of a dividend, and must state the amount of the dividend and the net earnings above this dividend. The banks also make a semi-annual report of the amount of circulating notes outstanding on January 1 and July 1. These reports made to the Treasurer of the United States provide the basis for levying the tax upon the note issues of the banks. The tax on bank notes issued against 2 per cent government bonds is 1/4 of 1 per cent each half-year, and on notes issued against other bonds 1/2 of 1 per cent.
Most of the states now have a banking department and the banks, trust companies and savings banks organized under state law are required to make periodic reports of condition to the state superintendent of banking or other official. In a large number of states, reports are required four times a year, and statements must be published in the papers in much the same way as with national banks.
In most of the large cities the banks are required to make weekly statements of condition to the local clearing house association. In New York City the Clearing House requires all banks clearing through it, non-members as well as member banks, to send to the Clearing House before eleven o 'clock on Saturday a statement of the bank's condition for the six preceding business days, giving the daily average of specie, legal tenders, deposits, circulation, and loans and discounts. From these statements the officials of the Clearing House make up the weekly bank statement. As stated elsewhere, this report is always looked for with interest as it indicates the scarcity or abundance of loanable funds. If the reserves are close to the legal limit or below it, it indicates a scarcity of loanable funds and a probable rise in money rates; if, on the other hand, there is a good surplus of reserve the rates for money are likely to be easy.