The most notable bank failure that occurred during Mr. Tren-holm's administration was that of the Fidelity National Bank of Cincinnati, Ohio, which closed its doors June 21, 1887, and was placed in the hands of David Armstrong as receiver, June 27.
The life of this bank was spectacular and of short duration. It was organized February 27, 1886, by E. L. Harper, with Briggs Swift as president, Harper as vice-president and manager, and Ammi Baldwin as cashier. It had a capital stock of $1,000,000 and during the brief period of its existence of less than two years had built up a line of deposits amounting to nearly five millions of dollars. The success of this institution in accumulating such a large amount of deposits in such a short time was due to the payment by the bank of four per cent. interest, which had the effect of attracting funds which would not otherwise have been received. Additional inducements were offered in that no charge was to be made for collections.
While this bank was under suspicion by the Comptroller's office for several weeks before its failure, the Comptroller had no reason to believe that it was otherwise than in a solvent condition, until June 20, 1887, when he received notice of the protest in New York of $200,000 of its drafts. The examiner was then instructed to make an immediate examination of the institution, and upon reporting it to be insolvent, was directed to close its doors and take possession. Comptroller Trenholm went at once to Cincinnati and personally directed the operations of the examiner and the receiver. The failure of the bank was due to the reckless management of its directors, and the criminal use of the funds of the association by Harper in wheat speculations in Chicago.
The claims proved under the receivership of this association amounted to $4,344,281. The receiver collected from its assets $2,876,819. The stockholders were assessed one hundred per cent., or $1,000,000, and there was realized from this source $319,170. The total dividends paid creditors amounted to $2,-610,351, or 59.95 per cent.
While this trust was practically closed long before the payment of the supplemental dividend of 55/100 of one per cent. on January 13, 1909, it was not finally closed on the books of the Comptroller's office until October 30, 1909. The delay in payment of the supplemental or final dividend was due to the fact that a judgment for $7,000,000 was obtained against E. L.
Harper by the receiver of the Fidelity Trust Company of Cincinnati, and the remaining funds in the hands of the receiver were held awaiting the satisfaction of this judgment. After a thorough investigation, however, no attachable property belonging to Harper could be found, and the judgment was finally offered for sale by Stanage & Company of Cincinnati for the sum of $1000.