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Banking Law: An Overview of Federal Preemption in the Dual Banking System

CRS report via FAS: Banking Law: An Overview of Federal Preemption in the Dual Banking System, Jay B. Sykes, Legislative Attorney. January 23, 2018. “Banks play a critical role in the United States economy, channeling funds from savers to borrowers and thereby facilitating economic activity. To address the risks of bank failures and excessive risk-taking, and the problem that consumers at times lack the information or expertise to make sound choices concerning financial products and services, both federal and state lawmakers have imposed a host of regulations on commercial banks. The United States has what is referred to as a “dual banking system,” in which banks can choose to apply for a charter from a state banking authority or a federal charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a bureau within the Department of the Treasury. A bank’s choice of chartering authority is also a choice of primary regulator, as state regulatory agencies serve as the primary regulators of state-chartered banks, and the OCC serves as the primary regulator of national banks. Despite receiving their authorities from state law, state banks are subject to many federal laws. Among other federal laws, state banks are subject to certain federal tax, consumer protection, and antidiscriminationlaws. Similarly, although they receive their powers from federal law, national banks are not wholly immune from state law. Rather, national banks are often subject to generally applicable state laws concerning contracts, torts, property rights, and debt collection when those laws do not conflict with or frustrate the purpose of federal law.”

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