In the United States, the term "national bank" originally referred to the revolutionary era Bank of North America, its successor First Bank of the United States, or its successor the Second Bank of the United States. All are now defunct.
In the modern U.S. the term "national bank" has a precise meaning: a banking institution chartered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency ("OCC"), an agency in the U.S. Treasury Department, pursuant to the National Bank Act. The inclusion of the word "National" in the bank's name or the designation "National Association" or its abbreviation "N.A." is a required part of the distinguishing legal title of a national bank, as in "Bank of America, N.A." Many "state banks," by contrast, are chartered by the applicable State Government (usually the State's Department of Banking), although the banks are still typically regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), who insures their deposits.
Notwithstanding the name, not all "national banks" have nationwide operations. Some "national banks" have operations in only one state. Further, some state-chartered banks have nationwide operations, but are not properly called "national banks." "National banks" should also be distinguished from federal savings associations (which include federal savings & loans and federal savings banks), which are financial institutions chartered by the Office of Thrift Supervision, another agency in the U.S. Treasury Department.
· 1 decade ago