Bank Commissioner.Prior to 1891 no attempt had been made in Kansas for state regulation of the business of banking, and as a result a number of institutions that were organized as real estate and loan companies, as well as individuals and firms, whose principal business was entirely foreign to legitimate banking, were engaged in receiving deposits. Many of these concerns had not only their entire capital, but also much of the deposits invested in unprofitable and unsalable real estate. Under these conditions the necessity for a uniform banking law became imperative and in 1891 the legislature passed a law, "providing for the organization and regulation of banks." A bank commissioner was also provided for by the act, section 21 of which reads as follows: "The governor shall appoint, by and with the advise and consent of the senate, a bank commissioner for the State of Kansas, whose term of office shall be four years." A deputy bank commissioner was also provided for, but any officer, employee, owner, stockholder or person interested in a bank, was made ineligible for the office of bank commissioner or deputy. The commissioner and the deputy are required to furnish bonds for the sums of $20,000 and $10,000 respectively. Every bank doing business in the state, except national banks, must be visited by the commissioner or his deputy at least once a year, or oftener if necessary, for an investigation into the financial standing of the institution.
By the provisions of the law, the commissioner and his deputy are empowered to investigate all persons connected with banks when making an investigation, and report the same in writing. A graduated fee was to be charged for these examinations ranging from $5 for banks of $5,000 capital stock to $20 for banks of $50,000 capital stock and over. It was also provided that the bank commissioner could call on all banks, except national banks, at any time for a report of their condition, and four such reports were to be made each year. When a bank became insolvent, it was the duty of the bank commissioner to take charge of it until a receiver was appointed. By the law creating the office of commissioner he was required in each even numbered year, to report to the governor the "names of owners or principal officer, the paid-up capital of each, the number of banks in the state, the name and location of each and the number and date of examinations and reports of and by each." As fixed by this act, the bank commissioner received a salary of $2,500 and his deputy a salary of $1,200 and all traveling expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Charles F. Johnson was the first bank commissioner. He was succeeded by John W. Breidenthal, who made a special report upon the banks of Kansas on Dec. 19, 1893, which showed the condition of all national, state and private banks doing business in the state.
A second banking law was passed in 1897 by which banks were required to secure a charter of incorporation from the state and when a banking institution had complied with all the requirements of the law, a certificate is issued by the bank commissioner authorizing the bank to transact business. Each bank in the state, by this law, is required to make four reports annually to the commissioner, or oftener if he calls for them, and the commissioner is given power to enforce the banking law. By this law two deputies, a clerk and stenographer were provided to assist in the work done by the commissioner, since which time the force has been increased according to the amount of work to be done. At an early date the bank commissioner advocated a state bank guarantee law and it is due to the efforts of the commissioner that this excellent law was placed upon the statute books of Kansas. (See Banking.)Pages 133-135 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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