The Fireside Chats of FDR
time to extend the holiday and lift the ban of that holiday
gradually. This law also gave authority to develop a program of
rehabilitation of our banking facilities. I want to tell our
citizens in every part of the nation that the national Congress–
Republicans and Democrats alike–showed by this action a devotion
to public welfare and a realization of the emergency and the
necessity for speed that it is di?cult to match in our history.
The third stage has been the series of regulations permitting the
banks to continue their functions to take care of the distribution
of food and household necessities and the payment of payrolls.
This bank holiday, while resulting in many cases in great
inconvenience, is a.ording us the opport unity to supply the
currency necessary to meet the situation. No sound bank is a dollar
wors e o. than it was when it closed its doors last Monday. Neither
is any bank which may turn out not to be in a position for
immediat e opening. The new law allows the twelve Federal Reserve
Banks to issue additional currency on good assets and thus the
banks which reopen will be able to meet every legitimate call. The
new currency is being sent out by the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing in large volume to every part of the country. It is sound
currency because it is backed by actual, good assets.
A question you will ask is this: why are all the banks not to be
reopened at the same time? The ans wer is simple. Your government
does not intend that the history of the past few years shall be
repeated. We do not want and will not have another epidemic of bank
As a result, we start tomorrow, Monday, with the opening of banks
in the twelve Federal Reserve Bank cities–those banks which on
?rst examination by the treasury have already been found to be all
right. This will be followed on Tuesday by the resumption of all
their functions by banks already found to be sound in cities where
there are recognized clearing houses. That means about 250 cities
of the United states.
On Wednesday and succeeding days banks in smaller places all
through the country will resume business, sub ject, of course, to
the government’s physical ability to complete its survey. It is
necessary that the reopeni ng of banks be extended over a period in
order to permit the banks to make applications for nec essary loans,
to obtain currency needed to meet their requirements and to enable
the government to make common sense checkups.
Let me make it clear to you that if your bank does not open the
?rst day you are by no means justi?ed in believing that it will
not open. A bank that opens on one of the subsequent days is in
exactly the same status as the bank that opens tomorrow.
I know that many people are worrying about state banks not members
of the Federal Reserve System. These banks can and will receive
assistance from members banks and from the Reconstruction Finance
Corporation. These state banks are following the same course as the
national banks except that they get their licenses to resume
business from the state aut horities, and these authorities have
been asked by the Secretary of the Treasury to permit their good
banks to open up on the same schedule as the national banks. I am
con?dent that the state banking departments will be as careful as
the national government in the policy relating to the opening of
banks and will follow the same broad policy.