Many amendments to the banking laws were recommended by Mr. Eckels in his five annual reports to Congress, some of which have since been adopted. Such as have not been enacted into law are the following:
1. That the Comptroller, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, be empowered to remove officers and directors of a bank for violations of law, after due hearing.
2. For the appointment of two supervisory examiners at Government expense, to assist and supervise the examiners in the field and secure uniformity and greater efficiency in their work.
3. That upon one day in each year, to be designated by the Comptroller, the directors of every national bank be required to make a special examination of its affairs and submit to the Comptroller a report of such examination upon blanks furnished by him for that purpose.
In support of this last recommendation, Mr. Eckels expressed the belief that such an examination would lead to better banking methods, greater carefulness in making loans, and less liability of concealment of long-continued dishonesty on the part of officers and employees.
In order to guarantee the note-holder against loss on circulation of an insolvent bank, he suggested the creation of a safety fund to be provided by a graduated tax of not less than five per cent. of the total outstanding circulation.
In his annual report for 1894, Mr. Eckels presents his views at length in regard to the necessity for a change from a bond to a safety fund security as a basis for national bank circulation, as the only means of injecting elasticity into such issues.
He did not in his reports undertake to outline the details of any plan for effecting a change in the basis of security for banknote issues and redemptions, but suggested the appointment of a non-partisan commission, composed of men of eminent ability to carefully investigate and study the whole subject and devise a currency system which would commend itself to every business interest of the country.
In later years, by authority of Congress, the National Monetary Commission was appointed, which collected and collated information and statistics relating to banking and currency from every quarter of the globe, regardless of time, labor or expense. This feature of Mr. Eckels' recommendation was fully and exhaustively carried out, but the activities of the commission did not result in the fulfillment of his dream, as expressed in his recommendation, that such a commission could unquestionably "devise a currency system sound in every part and one which would commend itself to every business interest of the country." The vast amount of valuable information collected and prepared by the National Monetary Commission was of great aid and value to the framers of the Federal Reserve Act and was largely used by them as the basis of that legislation.
CHARLES G. DAWES Comptroller of the Currency, 1898-1901.