The National Banking System: Empirical Observations

44 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2008

See all articles by Bruce A. Champ

Bruce A. Champ

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Date Written: December 1, 2007


This paper provides a summary of the main features of U.S. financial and banking data during the period of the National Banking System (1863-1914). The purpose of the paper is to provide an overview of the stylized facts associated with the era, with an emphasis on those impinging on national bank behavior. The paper takes a detailed look at key elements of national bank balance sheets over time, over the seasons, and during panic periods. The interesting and puzzling patterns of interest rate movements during the era also are examined. The paper introduces a new set of disaggregated data on the national bank era that has not been examined by prior research. As data are presented in the paper, some of the key puzzles associated with the era are introduced.

Keywords: bank notes, interest rates, National Banking System, national banks

JEL Classification: E42, E43, G21, N21

Suggested Citation

Champ, Bruce A., The National Banking System: Empirical Observations (December 1, 2007). FRB of Cleveland Working Paper No. 07-19, Available at SSRN: or

Bruce A. Champ (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland ( email )

PO Box 6387
Cleveland, OH 44101-1387
United States

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