First National Bank In Plant City, Florida v. Dickinson Camp v. Dickinson, Nos. 19 and 34

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBURGER
Citation90 S.Ct. 337,24 L.Ed.2d 312,396 U.S. 122
Decision Date09 December 1969
Docket NumberNos. 19 and 34
PartiesThe FIRST NATIONAL BANK IN PLANT CITY, FLORIDA, Petitioner, v. Fred O. DICKINSON, Jr., et al. William B. CAMP, Comptroller of the Currency, Petitioner, v. Fred O. DICKINSON, Jr., et al

396 U.S. 122
90 S.Ct. 337
24 L.Ed.2d 312
The FIRST NATIONAL BANK IN PLANT CITY, FLORIDA, Petitioner,

v.

Fred O. DICKINSON, Jr., et al. William B. CAMP, Comptroller of the Currency, Petitioner, v. Fred O. DICKINSON, Jr., et al.

Nos. 19 and 34.
Argued Oct. 16, 1969.
Decided Dec. 9, 1969.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 19, 1970.

See 396 U.S. 1047, 90 S.Ct. 677.

[Syllabus from pages 122-123 intentionally omitted]

Page 123

James van R. Springer, Washington, D.C., and Robert S. Edwards, Plant City, Fla., for petitioners.

William Reece Smith, Jr., Tampa, Fla., and V. Carroll Webb, Tallahassee, Fla., for respondents.

Page 124

James F. Bell, Washington, D.C., for National Association of Supervisors of State Banks, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.

Mr. Chief Justice BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

In this case we are called upon to construe § 7 of the McFadden Act of 1927, 44 Stat. 1228, as amended, 12 U.S.C. § 36, as it relates to the definition of a branch bank for the purpose of determining the scope of branch banking available to a national bank in a State that prohibits branches for state banks.

12 U.S.C. § 36(f) provides in pertinent part:

'(f) The term 'branch' as used in this section shall be held to include 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.'

Florida prohibits all branch banking by state chartered banks; by statute a Florida bank may 'have only one place of doing business,' and all the business of the

Page 125

bank is to be carried on at that place 'and not elsewhere.'1 The issue must be resolved by determining what constitutes a 'branch' or 'additional office'; there is a threshold question of the extent to which this is governed by federal law.

The First National Bank in Plant City, Florida, is a national banking association organized and operated pursuant to the National Bank Act, 12 U.S.C. § 21 et seq.; it sought and received from the United States Comptroller of the Currency permission to operate two services for the convenience of customers; one was an armored car messenger service and the other an off-premises receptacle for the receipt of packages containing

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cash or checks for deposit. The Comptroller's letter authorizing the armored car messenger service relied upon paragraph 7490 of the Comptroller's Manual for National Banks,2 a relatively recent ruling which specifically authorizes such a service. A second letter authorizing construction of an off-premises receptacle authorized such a service 'as an incident to' the bank's ordinary business. Both letters contained explicit instructions to First National designed to insure that deposits so received would not become bank liabilities until actually in the hands of the bank teller at the chartered office or regular 'banking house'; and that checks cashed for customers would be deemed paid at the bank when the cash was handed to the messenger, not when the cash was delivered to the customer by the armored car teller.

Relying on these letters, First National offered an armored car service and a secured receptacle for receipt of monies intended as deposits. The bank advertised 'Full Service Banking at your doorstep * * * ' and a 'mobile drive-in * * * where customers may be served * * *.' A more detailed examination of the services shows that customers having an account with First National could, upon signing a 'Comprehensive

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Dual Control Contract,'3 arrange to have the armored car call at their place of business to pick up cash and checks for deposit, or to bring cash to them in exchange for checks delivered to the armored car teller. The contract provided that in each situation the bank's armored car messenger would be the agent of the customer. Additionally, proffered deposits were accompanied by a transmittal slip upon which the customer itemized the funds being deposited in the same manner as with deposits made at the chartered office of the bank. The transmittal slip contained a 'Contract' which provided that in this off-premises transaction the bank was the agent of the customer, and that 'the transmittal of said currency, coin and checks, shall not be deemed to be a deposit until delivered into the hands of the bank's tellers at the said banking house.'4 Sums

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of cash for transmission to the customer were accompanied by a charge slip indicating that the customer's account had been charged for the amount of the order.

The armored car was owned and controlled by the bank; the teller and driver-guard in the car were bank employees. The bank paid the cost of armored car operations and assumed complete responsibility for the monies, checks, and deposits during transit by means of an insurance policy bought and paid for by it to protect the customer and the bank. The armored car service operated six days per week in Plant City and the surrounding trade area in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. The armored car had a plate glass window, a sliding drawer, and a counter on one side where customers might be served. The truck bore the name of the bank and had two-way radiophone communication with the bank. All movements and routing of the armored car were directed by the bank. First National handled about $1,000,000 per week through the armored car.

The stationary off-premises receptacle for receipt of monies intended for deposit was located in a shopping center one mile from First National's banking house in a space leased by the bank. The facility consisted of a secured receptacle for monies and night bags, together

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with a writing table supplied with envelopes and transmittal slips identical to those used by the armored car messenger service. The envelopes recited that the funds transported were accepted in accordance with the contract printed on the transmittal slip. A sign at the receptacle recited that the messenger who collected the funds acted as agent for the customer, that funds would not be deemed to have been deposited until delivered at the bank's premises, and that insurance on the funds was provided by the bank. Customers maintaining an account with the bank who had signed the Comprehensive Dual Control Contract were issued a key to open the off-premises depository to drop off the night pouches in the receptacle. The armored car serviced the receptacle daily. The armored car teller, upon making pickups of such night pouches, promptly identified all monies and other items placed in the depository and immediately recorded them by the depositor's number. The driver-guard verified all items collected by the teller and signed the written bank record identifying the monies obtained at the stationary depository.

On September 28, 1966, the Comptroller of the State of Florida, respondent herein, addressed a letter to First National advising it that the proposed depository then under construction and the provision of an armored car messenger service would each violate the prohibition under Florida law against branch banking. The letter requested that First National cease and desist all such operations.

First National then sued in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against respondent. The United States Comptroller intervened as plaintiff on the side of First National; several state banks intervened to support the Florida Comptroller. The District Court granted judgment for petitioners, 274 F.

Page 130

Supp. 449 (D.C.N.D.Fla.1967). The Court of Appeals reversed, 400 F.2d 548 (C.A.5th Cir. 1968). We affirm the Court of Appeals.

Federal Statute and Policy

The conditions under which national banks may establish branches are embodied in § 7 of the McFadden Act, 44 Stat. 1228, as amended, codified in 12 U.S.C. § 36. One such condition is that a 'branch' may be established only when, where, and how state law would authorize a state bank to establish and operate such a branch, 12 U.S.C. § 36(c).5 First National Bank of Logan, Utah v. Walker Bank & Trust Co., 385 U.S. 252, 87 S.Ct. 492, 17 L.Ed.2d 343 (1966).

We have noted that the State of Florida permits no branch banking under a statute providing that banks are to 'have only one place of doing business'; the business of the bank may be transacted at that place 'and not elsewhere.' 6 The parties agree generally that the McFadden Act permits national banks to branch if and only if the host State permit one of its own banks to branch; the Florida Bank Comptroller insists that the State of Florida unequivocally forbids off-premises bank-

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ing of any kind. Thus the lines are clearly drawn; the question presented is whether the activities of First National authorized by the United States Comptroller are branch banking.

At the outset we note that, while Congress has absolute authority over national banks, the federal statute has incorporated by reference the limitations which state law places on branch banking activities by state banks. Congress has deliberately settled upon a policy intended to foster 'competitive equality.' Walker Bank, 385 U.S., at 261, 87 S.Ct., at 497, 17 L.Ed.2d 343. State law has been utilized by Congress to provide certain guidelines to implement its legislative policy.

We need not review the legislative history of the McFadden Act and prior national bank legislation as it relates to this problem; that task was performed by Mr. Justice Clark in Walker Bank, supra, where a unanimous Court noted that the McFadden Act was a response to the competitive tensions inherent in a dual banking structure where state and national banks coexist in the same area. That Act reflects the congressional concern that neither system have advantages over the other in the use of branch banking. A House Report shows that in 1926 there was congressional concern to protect national...

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139 practice notes
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    • United States
    • Federal Register March 21, 2005
    • March 21, 2005
    ...purposes. \15\ See First Nat'l Bank v. Walker Bank & Trust Co., 385 U.S. 252 (1966); First Nat'l Bank in Plant City v. Dickinson, 396 U.S. 122 (1969); FDIC Advisory Letter The principle of fundamental competitive parity has been woven by Congress and the courts into the very fabric of t......
  • Bank of America v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 00-16355.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • October 25, 2002
    ...and zoning ordinances, not directly related to savings and loan practices.") (O'Connor, J., concurring); First Nat'l Bank v. Dickinson, 396 U.S. 122, 90 S.Ct. 337, 24 L.Ed.2d 312 (1969) (allowing application of a Florida branch bank statute to national banks in the state); Franklin Nat. Ban......
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    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • June 19, 1981
    ...the limitations which state law places on branch banking activities by state banks," First National Bank in Plant City v. Dickinson, 396 U.S. 122, 131, 90 S.Ct. 337, 342, 24 L.Ed.2d 312 (1969), the interpretation of those incorporated statutes is a matter of federal law. First National Bank......
  • Independent Bankers Ass'n of America v. Smith
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 23, 1976
    ...association has not less than an equal amount of capital stock. 12 U.S.C. § 36(c) (1970). 7 First Nat'l Bank v. Dickinson (Plant City), 396 U.S. 122, 130, 90 S.Ct. 337, 341, 24 L.Ed.2d 312, 318 (1969); accord, First Nat'l Bank of Logan v. Walker Bank & Trust Co., 385 U.S. 252, 261-62, 87 S.......
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136 cases
  • Bank of America v. City & County of San Francisco, No. 00-16355.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • October 25, 2002
    ...and zoning ordinances, not directly related to savings and loan practices.") (O'Connor, J., concurring); First Nat'l Bank v. Dickinson, 396 U.S. 122, 90 S.Ct. 337, 24 L.Ed.2d 312 (1969) (allowing application of a Florida branch bank statute to national banks in the state); Franklin Nat. Ban......
  • Marshall & Ilsley Corp. v. Heimann, No. 80-2251
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • June 19, 1981
    ...the limitations which state law places on branch banking activities by state banks," First National Bank in Plant City v. Dickinson, 396 U.S. 122, 131, 90 S.Ct. 337, 342, 24 L.Ed.2d 312 (1969), the interpretation of those incorporated statutes is a matter of federal law. First National Bank......
  • Independent Bankers Ass'n of America v. Smith
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • March 23, 1976
    ...association has not less than an equal amount of capital stock. 12 U.S.C. § 36(c) (1970). 7 First Nat'l Bank v. Dickinson (Plant City), 396 U.S. 122, 130, 90 S.Ct. 337, 341, 24 L.Ed.2d 312, 318 (1969); accord, First Nat'l Bank of Logan v. Walker Bank & Trust Co., 385 U.S. 252, 261-62, 87 S.......
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    ...this Court has interpreted those explicit provisions to mean what they say. See, e.g., First Nat. Bank in Plant City v. Dickinson, 396 U.S. 122, 131, 90 S.Ct. 337, 342, 24 L.Ed.2d 312 (1969) (under McFadden Act, state branching restrictions apply to national banks); First Nat. Bank of Logan......
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