Full text: Referendum on the report of the Special Federal Reserve Committee

Reserves of 
Member Banks 
Effects of 
ment of reserve provisions. While the discussion of this phase in- 
volves highly technical banking arrangements, it should be evident 
that no inflationary effect is produced by permitting the circulation 
of reserve notes against the full collateral of gold. 
The Committee has already stated that changes should not be 
made in the provisions of the Federal Reserve Act relating to the 
issuance of federal reserve notes solely for the purpose of restricting 
the lending powers of the reserve banks. It has observed that it is im- 
possible to gauge in advance the exact amount of lending power the 
reserve banks may require at any one time; that it is not a matter 
of great consequence if the credit powers and resources of the 
reserve banks are at times even materially in excess of immediate 
requirements. It has taken the position that reserve banks should 
possess powers of currency and credit expansion sufficient to insure 
the largest measure of serviceability in any periods of strain. It has 
also concluded that the precise adaptation of the volume of reserve 
credit in all its phases, including note issues, to the requirements of 
trade should be regarded as a problem of administrative instead of 
legislative control. 
In the light of the foregoing the Committee recommends that 
the powers of issuance of currency against gold. bankers’ acceptances 
and eligible pader be continued. 
The Federal Reserve Act specifies the reserves which member 
banks must maintain against deposits. These reserves must be carried 
with the regional reserve banks. Because they are so concentrated, 
it has been possible to reduce materially the reserve requirements 
from those which were usual before the establishment of the system. 
Changes in the legal reserve requirements would affect either 
the total volume of credit the member banks can extend or the rela- 
tive credit granting powers of the different classes of member banks. 
The desirability of encouraging an expansion in the aggregate 
volume of member bank credit by means of a general reduction in 
reserve requirements depends upon the need of business for more 
abundant supplies of credit. The reserve banks are in a position to 
meet any demands of the immediate future. The increase of lending 
powers of member banks that would result from a lowering of their 
reserve requirements would not coincide, save by accident, with any 
need of business for more credit. Once the country has become ad- 
justed to certain reserve requirements it is undesirable to subject 
them to serious and sudden alteration. The extent to which such 
reduction would benefit the average bank may also be questioned. 
The increased lending power thereby acquired by any one bank 
would be offset to some extent, at least, by the intensified competition 
{Continued on page 34)

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