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The Fireside Chats of FDR


It is possible that when the banks resume a very few people who
have not recovered from their fear may again begin withdrawals. Let
me make it clear that the banks will take care of all needs–and it
is my belief that hoarding during the past week has become an
exceedingly unfashionable pastime. It needs no prophet to tell you
that when the people ?nd that they can get their money–that they
can get it when they want it for all legitimate purposes–the
phantom of fear will soon be laid. People will again be glad to
have their money where it will be safely taken care of and where
they can use it conveniently at any time. I can assure you that it
is safer to keep your money in a reopened bank than under the
mattress.
The success of our whole great national program depends, of course,
upon the cooperation of the public–on its intelligent support and
use of a reliable system.
Remember that the essential accomplishment of the new legislation
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is that it makes it possible for banks more readily to convert
their assets into cash than was the case before. More liberal
provision has been made for b anks to borrow on these assets at the
Reserve Banks and more liberal provision has also been made for
issuing currency on the security of those good assets. This
currency is not ?at currency. It is issued only on adequate
security–and every good bank has an abundance of such security.
One more point before I close. There will be, of course, some banks
unable to reopen wit hout being reorganized. The new law allows the
government to assist in making these reorganizations quickly and
e.ectively and even allows the government to subscribe to at least
a part of new capital which may be required.
I hope you can see from this elemental recital of what your
government is doing that there is nothing complex, or radical, in
the process.
We had a bad banking situation. Some of our bankers had shown
themselves either incompetent or dishonest in their handling of the
people’s funds. They had used the money entrusted to them in
speculations and unwise loans. This was, of course, not true in the
vast ma jority of our banks, but it was true in enough of them to
shock the people for a time into a sense of insecurity and to put
them into a frame of mind where they did not di.erentiate, but
seemed to assume that the acts of a comparative few had tainted
them all. It was the government’s job to straighten out this
situation and do it as quickly as possible–and the job is being
performed.
I do not promise you that every bank will be reopened or that
individual losses will not be su.ered, but there will be no losses
that possibly could be avoided; and there would have been more and
greater losses had we continued to drift. I can even promise you
salvation for some at least of the sorely pressed banks. We shall
be engaged not merely in reopening sound bank s but in the creation
of sound banks through reorganization.
It has been wonderful to me to catch the note of con?dence from
all over the country. I can never be su?ciently grateful to the
people for the loyal support they have given me in their acceptance
of the judgment that has dictated our course, even though all our
processes may not have seemed clear to the m.
After all, there is an element in the readjustment of our ?nancial
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