First Nat'l Bank in Plant City v. Dickinson,
396 U.S. 122 (1969)

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U.S. Supreme Court

First Nat'l Bank in Plant City v. Dickinson, 396 U.S. 122 (1969)

First National Bank in Plant City v. Dickinson


Argued October 16, 1969

Decided December 9, 1969*

396 U.S. 122


Petitioner in No.19, a national bank in Florida, having been granted permission by the Comptroller of the Currency of the United States, operated two off-premises services. (1) The bank operated an armored car (a "mobile drive-in"), equipped with a glass window and customer's service counter and staffed by a driver-guard and teller (both bank employees). The armored car delivered cash in exchange for checks and received cash and checks at the depositors' premises, the bank insuring the funds during transit. (2) In a shopping center about a mile from the home premises, the bank maintained a secured receptacle, to which customers had keys, equipped with a writing table and bank forms. Monies and night bags were left at this facility, which was serviced daily by the armored car, the teller recording deposits by the customer's number and the driver-guard verifying all items collected by the teller. For these off-premises services, the bank used a "Comprehensive Dual Control Contract" and transmittal slips which specified that, in transporting funds, the bank acted as agent for the customer, and that funds would not be deemed deposited until delivered at the bank. Under § 7 of the McFadden Act, a national bank may establish and operate a "branch" only under such conditions as state law would authorize a state bank to establish and operate such a branch. The Florida Comptroller requested petitioner bank to cease both services as violative of Florida law, which prohibits branch banking altogether. Thereupon, the bank brought suit in the District Court for declaratory and injunctive relief. The United States Comptroller intervened on the bank's side, and several state banks intervened in support of the Florida Comptroller. The District

Page 396 U. S. 123

Court held for petitioners, concluding that the services did not constitute branching within the meaning of § 7(f) of the McFadden Act, which, as set forth in 12 U.S.C. § 36(f), defines a "branch" as including

"any branch bank, branch office, branch agency, additional office, or any branch place of business . . . at which deposits are received, or checks paid, or money lent."

The Court of Appeals reversed.


1. The policy of "competitive equality" between national and state banks is firmly embedded in the statutes governing the national banking system, and, under the McFadden Act, a national bank may establish a "branch" within the meaning of the federal definition in 12 U.S.C. § 36(f) only under the same conditions as state law would authorize a state bank to do so, First National Bank of Logan v. Walker Bank & Trust Co., 385 U. S. 252. Pp. 396 U. S. 130-133.

2. The term "branch bank" in 12 U.S.C. § 36(f) includes any place for receiving deposits apart from the chartered premises. Here (regardless of the formal arrangements between the bank and its contracting customers), at the time a customer delivers money either to the armored car or the stationary receptacle, the bank has received a deposit within the meaning of that provision, and the place of the delivery is an "additional office or . . . branch place of business . . . at which deposits are received" within the federal definition of a branch bank in the statute. Pp. 396 U. S. 134-137.

3. Since Florida does not permit branching privileges to state banks, the congressional policy of competitive equality forecloses the Comptroller of the Currency from modifying that standard. P. 396 U. S. 138.

400 F.2d 548, affirmed.

Page 396 U. S. 124

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