McCollum v. Hamilton Nat'l Bank
303 U.S. 245 (1938)

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U.S. Supreme Court

McCollum v. Hamilton Nat'l Bank, 303 U.S. 245 (1937)

McCollum v. Hamilton National Bank

No. 342

Argued January 31, 1938

Decided February 28, 1938

303 U.S. 245

Syllabus

Rev.Stats. § 5197 governs the rates of interest chargeable by national banks, and § 5198 provides that, if a greater rate has been paid, the person paying it, or his legal representative, may recover twice the amount from the bank. Where the person entitled became bankrupt and the action against the bank was by his trustee in bankruptcy, the state court first granted judgment for double the usurious interest, but set off the judgment against the bankrupt's indebtedness to the bank.

Held:

1. Although the form of action prescribed is debt, the cause of action is ex delicto, and the recovery punitive; no setoff is permissible in the proceeding, either before or after judgment. P. 303 U. S. 247.

2. Punishment for usury does not depend upon payment of the borrower's debt. P. 303 U. S. 249.

Reversed.

Certiorari, 302 U.S. 670, to review the affirmance of a decree granting recovery to trustee in bankruptcy in a suit against the bank under Rev.Stats. § 5198, but setting off the judgment against the bankrupt's debts to the bank.

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