Balance Sheets of National Banks: 1867 through 1904

This data set contains more than 110,000 annual national bank balance sheets for more than 7,000 unique national banks, covering the years 1867 to 1904.
The data are compiled by combining optical character recognition (OCR) techniques with modern layout separation techniques to identify the elements of a table using the techniques provided by Correia and Luck (2023) and have been used in previous research by Carlson, Correia, and Luck (2022).

The original source is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which published national bank balance sheets in the appendix of its Annual Report to Congress. Although not as detailed as contemporary regulatory filings such as FFIEC 031 or FR Y-9C, the OCC’s Call Reports were surprisingly granular throughout this period.

For instance, on the asset side the OCC asked banks to report their amount of outstanding loans and discounts, their holdings of cash and government bonds, and how much credit is provided to other banks via the interbank market.

On the liability side, the OCC’s Call Reports included the different types of equity held by shareholders, outstanding deposits, and the amount of national bank notes issued by the bank. They also documented each bank’s location, the identity of its president and cashier, and assigned unique identifiers to each bank, known as charter numbers, which can be used to construct a panel data set.

Image: Report of the Comptroller of the Currency

Additional banking research data

How to cite this data
When using the data for research purposes, please cite the following two papers:

Carlson, Mark, Sergio Correia, and Stephan Luck. 2022. “The Effects of Banking Competition on Financial Stability and Growth: Evidence from the National Banking Era,”Journal of Political Economy, 130, no. 2 (February): 462-520.

Correia, Sergio and Stephan Luck. 2023. “Digitizing Historical Balance Sheet Data: A Practitioner’s Guide,” Explorations in Economic History, 87 (January): 101475.

Each of the data sets provided here are covered by the standard terms-of-use policy. While we have done our best to eliminate the presence of mistakes, we make no guarantees about the accuracy.
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