« AnteriorContinuar »
Mr. PECORA. I offer it in evidence.
(Intra-Group memorandum dated Sept. 28, 1931, from F. M. Brandon, President City National Bank & Trust Co., Niles, Mich., to A. A. F. Maxwell, secretary Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc., was received in evidence and marked “ Committee Exhibit No. 26 of Dec. 20, 1933.")
Mr. PECORA. Committee's Exhibit No. 26 of this date, on the letterhead of Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc., reads as follows: To Mr. A, A, F. MAXWELL,
Secretary Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc. From Mr. F. M. BRANDON,
President City National Bank & Trust Co., Niles, Mich. DEAR MR. MAXWELL: Your memorandum of September 24 with reference to quarterly dividends at this bank is received, and wish to advise that the writer explained the reason for our failure to pay September dividends to Mr. Patterson while in his office on September 26. Yours very truly,
(Signed) F. M. BRANDON, President. Mr. PECORA. Have you any knowledge or recollection of the explanation given by Mr. Brandon to Mr. Patterson in Mr. Patterson's office on September 26, 1931, which is referred to in this letter?
Mr. LORD. No; I have not.
Mr. PECORA. Í now show you another document purporting to be photostatic copy of a letter or memorandum addressed to Mr. Frank M. Brandon by Mr. Maxwell, secretary of the Group, under date of September 29, 1931. Will you look at it and tell me if you recognize it to be a true and correct copy of such memorandum as contained among the files of the Group? [Handing same to Mr. Lord.] Mr. LORD (after examining same). I assume that is a correct copy. Mr. PECORA. I offer that in evidence. The CHAIRMAN. Let it be admitted and placed in the record.
[Photostatic copy of Intra-Group Memorandum dated September 29, 1931, to Mr. Frank M. Brandon, President City National Bank & Trust Co., Niles, from Mr. A. A. F. Maxwell, Secretary Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc., was received in evidence and marked " Committee Exhibit No. 27 of December 20, 1933."]
Mr. PECORA. The letter marked " Committee Exhibit No. 27" of this date, which is on the letterhead of the Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc., reads as follows:
SEPTEMBER 29, 1931. Mr. FBANK M. BRANDON, President City National Bank & Trust Co.,
Niles, Michigan. DEAR SIR: Your memorandum of September 28 is received, from which we note that you have discussed the dividend matter with Mr. Patterson. We assume, however, that you are calling a special meeting of your board for the purpose of declaring the regular dividend as originally requested.
A. A. F. MAXWELL, Secretary. And on this letter is an inscription, in handwriting, reading: No dividend paid this quarter. Do you know in whose handwriting that inscription is? Mr. LORD. May I look at it again? Mr. PECORA. Certainly.
Mr. LORD (after looking at the letter). No; I do not recognize it. They did not pay a dividend that quarter, did they?
Mr. PECORA. Apparently not. In fact I know they did not. But doesn't it appear that despite the representations that were being made currently by Mr. Brandon to the Group, the Group through its officers and directors, was insisting currently that this dividend be declared in accordance with the original suggestions or requirements of the Group as set forth in its letter to Mr. Brandon of July 1931 ?
Mr. LORD. Mr. Pecora, I think it would appear from that correspondence that the matter of dividends is left to the discretion of the separate boards. There was a suggestion made for the payment of a dividend, and the board used its own judgment and did not declare it.
Mr. PECORA. After the officers of the bank had indicated to the Group that it should not declare the dividend requested by the Group, or suggested by the Group, because of the position taken by the Comptroller of the Currency, doesn't it appear from this correspondence that the Group was persisting in the making of the suggestion that the dividend be declared ?
Mr. LORD. Yes; but it does show that the board acted on its own discretion, regardless of any suggestions made by the Group or its officers.
Mr. PECORA. And it does also show that after the officers of the bank had indicated their original judgment, which was against the declaration of a dividend, as had been suggested by the Group, that the Group persisted in asking the bank's board to call, then, a special meeting of its board in order to declare the dividend suggested by the Group. Isn't that clear from this correspondence?
Mr. LORD. It would seem to me so; yes.
Mr. PECORA. All right. Now, Mr. Lord, I want to show you what purports to be a photostatic copy of another memorandum, addressed to Mr. B. K. Patterson, executive vice president of the Detroit Union Group, by Mr. F. M. Brandon, president of the City National Bank & Trust Co. of Niles, Mich., under date of October 8, 1931. Will you look at it and tell me if you recognize it to be a true and correct copy of such memorandum in the files of the Group?
Mr. LORD (after looking at the letter). That is Mr. Brandon's sig. nature.
Mr. PECORA. Mr. Chairman, I offer it in evidence and ask that it may be made a part of the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Let it be admitted, and the committee reporter will make it a part of the record.
(A letter dated October 8, 1931, from F. M. Brandon, President of the City National Bank & Trust Co., of Niles, Mich., to B. K. Patterson, Executive Vice President the Detroit Union Group, was marked " Committee Exhibit No. 28, Dec. 20, 1933", and will be found immediately following where read by Mr. Pecora.)
Mr. PECORA. The letter received in evidence as Committee Exhibit No. 28 of this date being on the letterhead of the Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc., and indicated as an inter-Group memorandum, reads as follows:
10 Mr. B. K. Patterson, executive vice president, Guardian Detroit Union
OCTOBER 8, 1931.
I am assured by a majority of the Board of Directors that if this is done the dividend will be promptly declared, and I hope to hear from you tomorrow. Yours very trul;',
F. M. BRANDON, President Now, Mr. Lord, do you know what happened after the receipt of this letter or memorandum from Mr. Brandon?
Mr. LORD. I do not.
Mr. PECORA. Do you know whether or not the Group acted upon the suggestion of Mr. Brandon?
Mr. LORD. In what manner!
M. PECORA. Yes; about requesting the declaration of a dividend
Mr. PECORA. And furthermore stating in its request for the decla ration of such dividends that it, the Group, will take care of any requirements of the Comptroller of the Currency, without in any manner changing the capital and surplus account of the bank?
Mr. LORD. I do not recall it.
Mr. PECORA. Well, let me shown you by way, possibly, of refreshing your recollection on that subject, this paper which purports to be a photostatic copy of a memorandum addressed to Mr. Brandon by Mr. B. K. Patterson, under date of October 12, 1931. Will you look at it and tell me if it is a true and correct copy of such memorandum sent to Mr. Brandon by Mr. Patterson?
Mr. LORD (after reading the memorandum). I assume it is.
Mr. PECORA. Mr. Chairman, I offer it in evidence, and ask that is may be made a part of the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Let it be admitted, and the committee reporter will make it a part of the record.
(The memorandum addressed to Mr. Brandon by B. K. Patterson. under date of October 12, 1931, was marked “ Committee Exhibit No. 29, December 20, 1933", and will be found immediately following where read by Mr. Pecora.)
Mr. PECORA. The memorandum which has been received in evidence and marked " Committee Exhibit No. 29" as of this date, and being on the letterhead of the Guardian Detroit Union Group, Inc., and an intragroup memorandum, reads as follows: To Mr. F. M. BRANDON,
President City National Bank & Trust Co., Niles, Mich.
OCTOBER 12, 1931. Answering your letter of October 8th in regard to the matter of quarterly dividend : After giving further consideration to this matter it is believed inadvisable to ask that the City National Bank & Trust Co. of Niles pay to the Guardian Group the dividend which was requested for the third quarter.
Does that letter, or memorandum, serve to refresh your recollection as to the action taken by the Group in this matter after the receipt of Mr. Brandon's letter of October 8, 1931 ?
Mr. LORD. Mr. Pecora, I do not believe that I attended a meeting with Mr. Quinn. I do not recall that I ever knew him, or ever saw him. Without knowing the details of that conference between Mr. Brandon, Mr. Patterson, and Mr. Quinn it is pretty difficult for me to comment on your question, or to answer your question. I suppose that when Mr. Patterson wrote that letter he had been convinced by Mr. Brandon or by Mr. Quinn that the dividend should not be paid. and he therefore acquiesced in it.
Mr. PECORA. Well, now, let us see about that. The letter of Mr. Quinn
Mr. LORD (interposing). No dividend was paid. Mr. PECORA. The letter of Mr. Quinn suggesting a conference with Mr. Brandon and Mr. Patterson was written on September 19, 1931, as appears from the evidence here. Notwithstanding that fact on September 24, 1931, Mr. Maxwell, secretary of the Group, apparently had written to Mr. Brandon, further suggesting the declaration of a dividend, as appears from Committee Exhibit No. 26. And on October 8, 1931, as appears from Committee Exhibit No. 28, Mr. Brandon wrote to Mr. Patterson, in which he says:
In compliance with your telephone request, a special meeting of our Board of Directors was held last evening to further consider the matter of a quarterly dividend.
Then in this letter Mr. Brandon proceeds to state that the directors were hesitant about declaring the dividend because they had been advised by Examiner Quinn that to do so would be illegal. Mr. Brandon further advised Mr. Patterson in this communication, that if the Group wanted his directors to declare this dividend they probably would do so if the Group would request it in writing, and if in that writing they would further say that the Group would take care of any requirements of the Comptroller of the Currency. So it would appear that even after such conference was held the Group was still insisting upon, and advising and suggesting, that a dividend be declared. Isn't that so?
Mr. Lord. Not having attended the conference, or knowing the gist of it, I cannot answer that question, because I do not know all the facts.
Mr. PECORA. Well, Mr. Lord, isn't your recollection of those facts. refreshed by this correspondence ?
Mr. LORD. No; apparently not. I do know that in that same year, at the end of the year, there was taken out of the Niles Bank, or the first of 1932, a total of $148,491 of assets.
Mr. PECORA. Of doubtful assets of the Niles Bank?
Mr. LORD. Yes, sir. And I assume that was the result of the conference that Mr. Patterson may have had with Mr. Quinn.
Mr. PECORA. And despite the fact that it was considered advisable or necessary in January of 1932 for the Group to take out doubtful assets from this Niles Bank to the amount you have mentioned, in the fall of 1931 the Group was insisting upon a dividend declaration being made, in September of 1931.
Mr. LORD. Until convinced that it was unwise.
Mr. PECORA. Now, 9 days after the sending of Mr. Patterson's memorandum to Mr. Brandon, which has just been read in evidence as Committee Exhibit No. 29, it appears that a communication was sent by Mr. John L. Proctor, Deputy Comptroller, Treasury Department, to the board of directors of the City National Bank & Trust Co. of Niles. Mich., according to a photosatic copy thereof which I have, which reads as follows:
Washington, October 21, 1931. BOARD OF DIRECTORS, City NATIONAL BANK & Trust Co.,
Niles, Mich. GENTLEMEN: A report of the examination of your bank completed September 19, a copy of which was furnished to you, shows that after allowing for the appreciation in United States securities and disregarding the depreciation in bonds coming within the classification of any of the four highest ratings by a disinterested and reliable concern engaged in the business of analyzing bonds and securities, losses of $14,476 on defaulted bonds, and the remaining bond depreciation of $105,927.71, consume the surplus fund, undivided profits, and reserves, excluding $14,819.12, which the examiner states is specifically allotted for taxes and interest, and impair the bank's capital to the extent of $34,638.27.
As the law contemplates that the capital of a national bank shall be kept intact at all times, immediate steps should be taken to restore the bank's capital, which it is recommended be done from voluntary cash contributions on the part of directors and/or other shareholders.
Losses aggregating $68,458.90, summarized on page 11, should be charged off or otherwise removed.
While the present conditions prevail in your bank it is not in a position to pay any dividends.
There is enclosed a form to be executed and returned to this office as soon as the bank's capital has been voluntarily restored.
It is incumbent upon you to recognize the unsatisfactory condition of the slow and doubtful assets. aggregating more than $500,000, or approximately 50 percent of the total loans and discounts, and to be keenly alive to economical conditions as they affect borrowers.
This large aggregate of criticized assets, with the potential losses thereon, demand that matters be taken vigorously in hand and everything possible done to effect their collection, reduction, and adequate securing.
Please advise of the action taken with respect to making good the existing impairment of capital, and whether the losses referred to above have been charged off or otherwise removed, as well as the action taken and the progress made in liquidating or satisfactorily adjusting the criticized assets, forwarding copies of your communication to Chief Examiner A. P. Leyburn, no. 164 West Jackson Boulevard, room 129, Chicago, Ill., and to Examiner Henry F. Quinn. post-office box 78, Grand Rapids, Mich. Yours very truly,
John L. PROCTOR, Deputy Comptroller.