Finance: Important U.S. Banking Laws

Posted 8 months ago

by shakiez893

In 2019, a survey conducted by the Federal Deposit InsuranceCorporation (FDIC) revealed that 95% of American households have at least one family member with a checking or savings account, a testament to the widespread use of banking services in the United States. The presence of banks, credit unions, and other trusted financial institutions has instilled a sense of security among Americans, as these institutions offer federal protection for their funds. This assurance is made possible by a set of crucial federal laws. Here are five key U.S. banking laws that play a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity of the financial system:

1. National Bank Act of 1864:

The National Bank Act of 1864, despite being the second iteration of the law (a prior version was passed a year earlier), marked a significant milestone in federal oversight of commercial banks. It established the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which was tasked with chartering, examining, and supervising national banks, thus introducing federal supervision into the banking landscape.

2. Federal Reserve Act of 1913:

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 created the Federal Reserve System, commonly referred to as "The Fed." The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States and plays a pivotal role in promoting economic stability. It achieves this through its control over monetary policy, including the regulation of interest rates, to manage economic growth and control inflation.

3. Glass-Steagall Act of 1933:

Although much of the Glass-Steagall Act has been repealed in recent years, its legacy endures. The most enduring feature of this legislation is the creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), an independent federal agency responsible for insuring bank deposits in the event of a bank failure. This measure was a response to the devastating bank runs during the Great Depression and provided insurance to most Americans' bank accounts up to specified limits.

4. Bank Secrecy Act of 1970:

Also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, this law was enacted to combat money laundering. It mandates businesses to maintain records and file reports with high potential usefulness in criminal, tax, and regulatory investigations, as per the Internal Revenue Service. It also places particular emphasis on cash payments exceeding $10,000 and foreign bank and financial accounts as potential indicators of money laundering.

5. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010:

In response to the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the subsequent Great Recession, the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted to address the root causes of the crisis. It introduced new regulations and guidelines for banks, mortgage lenders, and credit rating agencies. Additionally, it established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to oversee consumer protection and enforcement of relevant laws. Over time, Dodd-Frank has seen some regulatory rollbacks, including those introduced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018.


These laws form the backbone of the U.S. banking and financial regulatory framework, ensuring that consumers and businesses are safeguarded, promoting fair competition, and maintaining economic stability. The banking system in the United States is subject to rigorous oversight from federal and state agencies, depending on their charter. This regulatory environment helps build trust and confidence in the financial system, protecting the interests of all stakeholders. Credit unions in the U.S. are also subject to regulatory oversight, which ensures that they adhere to similar standards as banks, offering consumers comparable protections and services. Ultimately, these laws play a vital role in preserving the strength and stability of the American economy by ensuring that banks and financial institutions operate under well-defined rules and regulations.

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