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October 1956 Volume X X X V III Number 10 Structure of Banking in the Eighth District: Chains, Qroups and Interindustry Competition HE PRESENT ARTICLE continues an analysis of banking structure begun earlier. At the end of 1954 controlled banks in groups contained about 6 per cent of the banking offices of the country and 8 per cent of the deposits, but in the Eighth District group banking has not involved as large a portion of banking resources as it has nationally. Neither have bank chains presented a structural problem in the Eighth District. Typically, district towns and cities contain few banks, but competition among banks in different localities has been increasing. Of greater significance, commercial banks encounter vigorous competition from other financial in stitutions for loans, particularly in the fields of mortgage and consumer credit, and for time deposits. In summary, in the Eighth Federal Reserve District there has been little increase in bank concentration, and banks have recently been faced with more intense interindustry rivalry. V F ed eral ftesjejpV* B a n k A ofjSt. Lo u is The Structure of Banking in the Eighth District: Chains, Qroups and Interindustry Competition The present article continues an analysis of banking structure begun earlier. J n an earlier issue of the Monthly Review banking structure in the Eighth Federal Reserve District was examined largely in terms of branches and mergers. It is the purpose of the present article to push the analysis of structure somewhat further. The earlier inquiry led to the conclusion that in the Eighth Dis trict such branch formations and combinations as have occurred over the past decade have had litde influence on district banking structure as measured by number of institutions involved or shares of total resources controlled by large banks in particular areas. This study examines group banking and chain banking to see whether these forms have been substituted for branch systems or whether they have taken the place of mergers, consolidations, and absorptions. It also analyzes changes in the relative importance of com peting institutions, particularly savings intermediaries, to see if interindustry rivalry has influenced district banking structure. At the end of 1954 controlled banks in groups contained about 6 per cent of the banking offices of the country and 8 per cent of the deposits, . . . A “group” of banks consists of two or more banks under the control of a holding company which itself may or may not be a bank. A group of banks may operate in several states, though some large groups are intrastate and are substitutes for branch systems in states which prohibit branch banking. As meas Page 114 ured by the amount of banking resources controlled a group may be large or small, and the question of what constitutes effective "control” is a difficult one.1 But the essence of the group relationship is that die corporate device be used to acquire control of banks either by direct purchase of stock (funds coming from the sale of company stock to the public) or by exchanging the stock of the company for that of individual banks. At the end of 1954, 18 groups in the country were subject to limited regulation under Federal law, and a somewhat smaller number of groups not subject to Federal regulation were considered of comparable importance. However, if all the known cases were included in which corporations, business trusts, or associations owned or controlled 25 per cent of the stock of one or more banks, member or nonmember, there were 163 groups in 41 states, Alaska, and the District of Columbia at the end of 1954. In these groups were 1,440 banking offices with deposits of nearly $26 billion; the ratio of banking offices in the 163 groups to all commercial banks in the United States was 7.21 and the percentage of deposits was i The Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 defines a "bank holding com pany” as "any company— (1) which directly or indirectly owns, controls, or holds with power to vote either (i) 25 per centum or more of the voting shares of each of two or more banks, or (ii) 25 per centum or more of the voting shares of any other com pany which is or becomes a bank holding company; or (2) which controls in any manner the election of a majority of the direc tors of each of two or more banks; or (3) for the benefit of whose shareholders or members 25 per centum or more of the voting shares of each of two or more banks or of a bank holding company is held by trustees; or (4) which is a successor to any company that falls within (1). (2) or (3) above, aad any such successor shall be deemed to be a bank boldine company from the date as of which its predecessor company became a bank holding company/* K irksville-3 •Qurncy Hannibal \ •Columbia-3 •Sedalia-3 ST. LOUIS -9 9 •Waterloo-3 • New A lb an y-4 ^ Q y | S V ^ _ L E * * 2 I Carmi -3 m | EVAN S V IL L I @ Metropolis *3 • •Paducah-3 W Shelbyvib-4 " Owensboro - 3 • Perryvi lie -3 • •Salem -3 Lebanon-3 „ /■‘s i 1 -3, ♦Washington-4 JF ® | •Clinton-3 . Bedford - % Litchfield-3 Springfield * 3 • Lebanon-3 _ .. _ . Bowling Green - 4 • •Mayfield *3 • FORT SMITH-6 • ®M EM PHIS-9 © » Jackson-3 Covington-3 LIT T LE RO CK-8 ® Metropolitan Areas Trenton-3 Paragould - 3 Jonesboro-4 * Holly Sprtngs-3 3,4, etc. shows number of banks in areo mm &J m | Helena-3 • * Tupelo - 3 * •Arkadelphia -3 Columbus -3 •Greenwood-3 §reenvil le*3 *El Dorado- 3 14.02. If from these data were excluded 50 banks which exerted control, the banks controlled num bered 1,156 banking offices with deposits of $14 billion, and the ratios of banking offices and deposits to the United States total were 5.79 and 7.75 respectively.2 Groups vary greatly in importance from region to region in the United States. In the Eighth Federal Reserve District not much development of this form of multi-unit banking has taken place. As measured by the total of banking resources involved, there is no particular indication of a marked amount of con centration in district group banking. 2 See "C o n tr o l o f Bank H o ld in g C om panies,” Senate H earings, 84th C o n gress, First Session, on S .880, S .2350, and H .R .62 27, pp. 51-52, 60. Records indicate that there are only seven cases in the district which involve corporate control of a mem ber bank. In three cases one bank effectively con trols another through stock ownership, but the re lationship in each case is akin to that of parent bank and branch. In three other cases a nonbank corpo ration controls only one bank. A true group exists only in the case of a nonbank corporation which holds 20 per cent or more of the voting shares of six banks. Total resources involved amount to $995 million of a total of nearly $7 billion of member bank resources in the Eighth District as of December 1, 1955. When, however, the resources of three controlling banks (two of them quite large) are excluded from the fig ures, the remaining banking resources of $111 million are small relative to district totals. Data for groups involving only nonmember banks are not available in customary published sources. So far as can be determined, one large group involving Page 115 only nonmember banks does business in the Eighth District. According to an unofficial source, this group, controlled by a bank holding company, consists of eight banks operating in three states, with resources in excess of $256 million. Neither have bank chains presented a structural problem tn the Eighth District. Bank chains, under which a number of individual ly incorporated banks are controlled by the sam< individual or group of individuals, may, of course achieve results similar to those of a group. Througl stock ownership by individuals or through commoi directors it is possible for several banks to be broughl under single control as effectively as though a cor poration controlled them. However, the expansion oi chains is limited by the financial means of an in dividual or a small group of individuals, and control usually ceases upon the death of individuals or is diffused among heirs.3 Recent data are not presently available on eithei the number of bank chains operating in the United States or the total amount of resources involved. In the Eighth Federal Reserve District there are twelve chains which involve at least one member bank each, and the amount of banking resources included in the twelve chains totals nearly $158 million. Nine of the chains are two-bank chains, one is a three-bank chain, and two are four-bank chains. In addition, there may be instances in which control of an Eighth Dis trict member bank is held by individuals with majoi banking interests outside the district. There are probably a few bank chains involving only nonmember banks for which data are not avail able, but these chains are small. In at least one in stance two nonmember banks in the Eighth Federal Reserve District are known to be units in a large chain operating chiefly outside the district. In gen eral, however, chain banking in the Eighth District does not involve a large proportion of total resources. Typically, district towns and cities contain few banks, . . . It seems clear, then, that no marked structura change has occurred in Eighth District banking as £ consequence of growth in multiple-unit banking. Ir brief, district bank structure has remained in th< 3 See ''Bank Holding Legislation," Senate Hearings, 83rd Congress, Firs Session, on S.76 and S.1118, p. 35. Page 116 tradition of commercial banking in the United States. The number and distribution of district banks, most of them under unit operation, are shown in Tables 1 and 2. Most of the cities in the Eighth District having banks are either one-bank or two-bank cities. Seventyseven per cent of the cities having banks have only one, and another 18.5 per cent have only two. Put another way, 58 per cent of Eighth District banks are in one-bank cities, and 86 per cent of the banks are in one-bank or two-bank cities. Table 2 arranges number of banks by population of the place where banks are located. More than half the banks of the districts are located in cities of 2,500 or less, and in towns in the smallest category one bank, for understandable reasons, is typical. Two banks are typical in towns of 2,500-9,999 population, though a large proportion of cities in this category have only one bank. In cities of 10,000-24,999 two banks are again the typical number, but a high pro portion have three banks. All cities having five banks or more are in the over-25,000 population category. Quincy, Illinois, and Springfield, Missouri, each have five banks, Evansville and Little Rock each have six, Memphis has seven, Louisville nine, and St. Louis twenty-seven. , . but competition among banks in different localities has been increasing. A strict counting of the number of banks within city limits does not, of course, indicate the degree of competition which those banks face. For one thing, modern transportation and communication facilities TABLE I HUMBER AND DISTRIBUTION OF BANKS IN THE EIGHTH FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT SEPTEMBER 1956 Cities with banks, by classes of city Number of cities in each class Number of banks in cities of each class 853 205 38 6 2 2 1 853 410 114 24 10 12 7 One-bank cities. . . Two-bank cities... . Three-bank cities. Four-bank cities.. Five-bank cities. .. Six-bank cities. . . . Seven-bank cities. Eight-bank cities. . Nine-bank cities.. Ten-bank cities. .. Cities with more than ten banks. . Totals......... Percentage Percentage of total of total cities in banks in Citie: each class of each class 76.9 18.5 3.4 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.1 ___ ___ ___ 1 9 0.1 ___ ___ ___ 58.2 28.0 7.8 1.6 0.7 0.8 0.5 ___ 0.6 ___ 1 27 0.1 1.8 1,109 1,466 100.0 100.0 have brought the services of more than one commer cial bank within reach of potential customers who, because of physical barriers of space, formerly had access to only a single institution. This fact is readily observable in the larger centers if the place of loca tion is considered not a city but a standard metro politan area. Moreover, a total of 207 branches, not included in the count of Tables 1 and 2, add to bank competition in many places, particularly in certain metropolitan areas of the district.4 Of greater significance, commercial banks encounter vigorous competition from other financial institutions . .« Although, as demonstrated in this and a previous article, multiple-unit banking and mergers have not influenced district banking structure, the fact remains that commercial banks are ordinarily few in number relative to the area which they serve. The question then arises whether commercial banks are in close competition with other financial institutions. In one respect, of course, commercial banks are unique among financial institutions. They alone hold on their books much the greater part of the country's money supply and participate exclusively in the transfer of funds by check; and they alone create liabilities against themselves in the form of money so that they are the only financial institutions aside from the cen tral bank which participate in the money-creating process. But, as both lenders of funds 'and as savings TABLE II NUMBER OF BANKS BY POPULATION OF CITY OR TOWN WHERE LOCATED, EIGHTH FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT, 1956 Number of places with banks, by population Less than 2,500 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 27 Bank . Banks. . . Banks. . . Banks. . . Banks. . Banks. . . Banks. . . Banks. . . Banks. . . . 751 58 3 2,5009,999 10,00024,999 94 115 16 1 6 27 12 3 _ _ — _ _ .... — Total number of places with banks 25,000 and over 2* 5 7 2 2 2 1 1 1 853 205 38 6 2 2 1 1 1 Total number of places having banks. . 812 226 43 23 1,109 Total number of banks 876 376 108 106 1,466 Population figures are from the 1950 Census. * These two cities are University City, Missouri, and North Little Rock, Arkansas, which lie within standard metropolitan areas. The number of banks in the largest metropolitan areas of the district is as follows: Evansville, 10; Little Rock, 8; Memphis, 9; Louisville, 21; and St. Louis, 99. 4 See the discussion of branch systems in the Monthly Review, Federal Re serve Bank of St. Louis, April, 1956. intermediaries, commercial banks find themselves in keen competition with other institutions. ,. for loans, particularly in the fields of mortgage and cmisnmm credit f . * . The changing structure of commercial bank assets and the relative importance of different types of loans has been examined elsewhere.5 Briefly, after World War I loans of commercial banks declined relative to investments until the end of W orld War II, but in the postwar period they have risen sharply. Until the onset of the Great Depression, however, the decline of loans relative to total assets was not pronounced, and the character of lending was largely as it had always been for commercial banks— namely, short term loans to business and agriculture. However, with the sharp decline in demand for short-term commercial loans which accompanied the economic stagnation of the 1930's bankers were com pelled to seek new types of earning assets. In part, they followed a course of least resistance by buying substantial amounts of Government securities, then being created as a result of current Treasury deficits. The more enterprising, encouraged by the success of a few pioneers of the 1920's, began to make loans for the purchase of consumer goods, and their lead was quickly followed as the experience with this type of loan, even in depression years, proved favorable. At the same time, doubtless heartened by the Federally' underwritten mortgage, commercial banks began to make a significant number of amortized, long-term loans on urban residences. And as recovery set in, more and more banks came to make term loans to business ranging in maturities from one to five years and even longer, repayable on an instalment basis. By the end of the 1930's loans in these three categories constituted perhaps one-half of the loan portfolios of member banks, and loans of this type were to remain an important part of bank lending into the present. Thus, in the decade or so preceding World War II commercial banks pressed into new fields of lending activity, becoming serious competitors of sales finance companies, savings and loan associations, mutual sav ings banks, and life insurance companies. During W orld War II loans to consumers fell off as a pro portion of the total, and urban real estate loans main tained nearly a constant proportion. In the postwar decade institutions which had felt the competition of banks made vigorous efforts to recapture their share of the rapidly expanding market 5 See, for example, "Commercial Banking in a Dynamic Economy,” Busi ness Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, June, 1956, pp. 2-11 and "Economic Expansion: How Will Commercial Banks Participate?” Monthly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, September, 1956, pp. 3-10. Page 117 * Per Cent 100 PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF 4-FAMILY NONFARM MORTGAGE CREDIT BY MAJOR HOLDERS 0 1940 Source: 1943 1946 Federal Reserve Bulletin. for consumer and real estate loans. It is true that bank loans expanded $55 billion or 217 per cent in the ten years ending December 31, 1955, mortgage loans meantime increasing 340 per cent and loans to consumers 800 per cent.0 But though these gains were considerable, competing financial institutions managed to hold or increase their shares of these types of loans. Commercial bank holdings of resi dential mortgage loans were about 18 per cent of urban mortgage credit at the end of 1945; but after rising to more than 25 per cent of the total and hover ing just below that mark in the late forties, the figure gradually declined to 18 per cent again. Some banks, of course, have simply preferred other types of lend ing, and some have reached statutory upper limits on real estate mortgage loans. In part, however, the reduction in the portion of such loans held by banks must be attributed to the vigorous competition of savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, and life insurance companies. At the end of 1945 commercial banks held 30 per cent of instalment paper outstanding and increased this proportion to about 40 per cent in the early 1950’s. During the past two years, however, sales finance companies have increased their share of the market by a few percentage points, largely at the expense of bank holdings, with the result that banks held 37 per cent of this type of paper and sales finance companies 32 per cent at the end of 1955.7 f 6 Term loans of member banks a little more than doubled in about the same >eriod to $10.4 billion but simply maintained a steady proportion of business oans. 7 Sales finance companies have recently improved their position largely be cause of the great increase in automobile financing in recent years. It should be remembered, too, that banks lend to sales finance companies through their commercial loan departments and thus help to finance their competitors in the consumer credit field. Page 118 During the past decade member banks in the Eighth Federal Reserve District showed a smaller percentage gain in total loans (188 per cent) than did all commercial banks in the country. They like wise experienced somewhat smaller, though still sub stantial, gains in mortgage loans and consumer loans, the figures being 283 per cent and 520 per cent, re spectively. But during this period mortgage loans increased from 17 per cent to 24 per cent of total loans and consumer loans increased from 12 per cent to 23 per cent of total loans, changes which indicate strong efforts on the part of Eighth District banks to secure this kind of business. During the same period, however, term loans, while growing in volume, were about the same proportion of business loans that they had been a decade earlier. P e rc e n t 100 PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF CONSUMER INSTALMENT CREDIT BY MAJOR HOLDERS 80 60 40 20 0 '9 3 9 Source: 1943 Federal Reserve Bulletin. 1947 1951 1955 . . . and for time deposits. Commercial bankers are today perhaps more keenly aware of interindustry competition in securing time deposits than in obtaining loan business. The basic reason for this awareness is not hard to find. Dur ing the first three decades of the twentieth century time deposits increased much more rapidly relative to the growth of the national income than they have during the past 25 years. Within the past two decades savers have been effectively persuaded to select from a wide choice of financial claims, including savings bonds, deposits in commercial banks and mutual sav ings banks, cash values in life insurance policies, and shares in savings and loan associations (see chart). SAVINGS IN SELECTED TYPES OF MEDIA IN THE UNITED STATES (In billions of dollars, at year-end) SCALE FDR COMPONENTS BILLION DOLLARS Sources:: Note: SCALE FOR TOTAL BILLION DOLLARS Federal Reserve Bulletin and Savings and Loan Fact Book. On this semi-logarithmic chart, comparison of the slopes of lines gives a comparison of rates of change. Page 119 In the years just preceding World War II as well as during the war, holdings of savings bonds grew at an extremely rapid rate as the Treasury asked citizens to aid in financing the military effort and to assist in abating inflationary pressures. During the postwar decade the other savings intermediaries have shown a rather remarkable growth, but the rate of increase of shares in savings and loan associations has been greater than those of other savings institutions by a considerable margin. Reasons for the spectacular recent performance of savings and loan associations can only be surmised. Favorable interest differentials, the convenience of saving for downpayment equities at institutions specializing in residence financing, and aggressive ad vertising campaigns have been strong positive in fluences. Whatever the reasons for savings and loan association growth, many commercial banks have felt the competition in terms of a diminished rate of increase of time deposits. £0M ?£fH K »N OF RATES O F OIOWTH OF TIME DEPOSITS IN tNSiJ#£D COMMggCiM EANtCS AND SAVINGS CAPITAL OF SAVINGS AND LOAN. ASSOCIATIONS, .EIGHTH DiSTHICT STATES. 1$35 195$ MILLION D OLLARS Sources: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and U. S. Savings and Loan League. Note: Shares in savings and loan associations in district states are in part estimated. On this semi-logarithmic chart, comparison of the slopes of lines gives a comparison of rates of change. Page 120 The resource growth of the commercial banking system is not, however, necessarily retarded by com^ petition of this nature. Money left in a savings and loan association does not remain in the till of the asso ciation. As funds are received by individual associa tions, they are almost at once transferred in the form of demand deposits to commercial banks. They re main as demand deposits of commercial banks until they are withdrawn in the form of real estate loans to borrowers; the proceeds of these loans are in turn re-deposited in banks as builders and other sellers of houses receive payment from buyers. To be sure, an individual bank may not receive in demand de posits what it loses in time deposits, but viewed broadly the banking system as a whole does.8 And recent experience indicates that demand deposits can in general be put to more profitable use than can time deposits, for net profits as a percentage of capital accounts appear to decline as the ratio of time deposits to total deposits increases.9 In summary, in the Eighth Federal Reserve District there has been little increase in bank concentration<. t . At the beginning of this series of two articles it was suggested that final answers to the broad questions of changing bank structure in the United States must await detailed investigation of many regional groups. In the Eighth Federal Reserve District, however, cer tain conclusions clearly emerge. Although district banks have accumulated branches in the jurisdictions where they are permitted at about the same rate as banks in the country as a whole, branches have been characteristically small and few in number. Since 1950 the District has fallen behind the country in number of mergers, and such combinations as have occurred have involved only a handful of large in stitutions. As has just been observed, group banking and chain banking have gained footholds only in cer tain parts of the district. It can only be concluded that multiple-unit banking and mergers have not substantially changed either the number of banking establishments or the larger banks’ share of total resources. s Against the demand deposits the banks will, of course, have to keep a higher percentage of reserves than they would against time deposits. 0 See, for example, member bank operating ratios in the Federal Reserve Bulletin. June 1956, p. 650. It scarcely needs to be added that an individual bank, through careful management of the investment of time deposits, may find them as profitable as demand deposits. The generalization for all banks holds nevertheless. . . . and banks have recently been faced with more intense interindustry rivalry. In short, banking in the Eighth Federal Reserve District maintains its characteristic structure, with a large number of independent units under separate managements. Towns and cities ordinarily have relatively few commercial banks, but the growth of competing financial institutions has led to a vigorous rivalry which can become more intense as time goes on. The chief areas of contest have been examined, but others may be developing as financial institutions grow to meet the ever more selective demands of the rapidly expanding economy. The fact remains that in recent years resources of banks in the Eighth District, like those of banks countrywide, have grown at about the same rate as the economy has grown. Banks have shown a re markable ability to furnish new services and to make new types of loans, and the rise of competing savings intermediaries has chiefly had the effect of changing liabilities from time to demand obligations. Within the traditional structure of American banking both Eighth District bankers and their customers seem to be competing satisfactorily in a changing institutional environment. Ross M. SUBSCRIPTIONS to the Monthly Review are available to the public without charge* For information concerning bulk mailings to banks, business organizations and educational institutions, write: Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, St. Louis 2, Missouri. Articles or excerpts may be reprinted. A credit line would be ap preciated. R obertson OF CURRENT CONDITIONS Released for publication October 1 B u sin e ss ACTIVITY in the Eighth Federal Reserve District during September continued at a high level after allowance for seasonal factors. Model changeovers at automobile plants caused the usual temporary slowdowns in industrial activity and in crease in unemployment. But other plants were gen erally busy. Department store sales continued larger than a year earlier. Increases in average wholesale prices persisted through September 25. And the har vest was well underway, with larger corn and soy bean crops in prospect. On the other hand, some indicators were less encouraging. Total employment in August in three of the five largest areas in the district was less than a year earlier in contrast to a 3 per cent gain for the nation. Loan volume declined slightly compared with an increase usual at this time of year. Industry After a rapid recovery in August from the impact of the steel strike, district industrial activity appears to have leveled off in September, allowing for sea sonal influences. Steel ingots were poured out at 91 per cent of capacity in the St. Louis area in Septem ber, reflecting a slow recovery from the Labor Day vacation period. Automobiles were assembled at a very low rate as the shift was made to the new models. Lumber output, instead of rising further in early September, held about the same as in August. Live stock slaughter was affected by a strike near month’s end and a further cutback in farm machinery output was scheduled. Mineral output, however, was on the strong side. Crude oil production increased from its already high level and coal production continued to show a strong seasonal upturn. Labor Markets In August employment in the nation’s nonagricultural establishments, on a seasonally adjusted basis, returned to the peak June level, as activity in manu facturing, mining and railroad industries generally Page 122 recovered from the effects of the steel strike. Em ployment was 1.3 million or nearly 3 per cent greater than a year earlier and unemployment at 2.2 million was about the same as a year ago. In contrast to the national picture, employment in the district’s larger metropolitan areas in August was less than a year earlier. Higher employment in Mem phis and Little Rock was more than offset by lower employment in St. Louis, Louisville and Evansville. EMPLOYMENT IN NONAGRICULTURAL ESTABLISHMENTS (in thousands) August 1956 St. Louis.................................... Louisville................................. Memphis................................... Evansville......... .................. Little R ock ......... ........... Total District Areas............... United States...................... .. 719.9 245.9 186.0 67,6 70.0 1,289.4 51,789 August 1955 725.5 247.3 180.6 74.8 69.4 1,297.6 50,484 Per Cent Change - - 0 .8 — 0.6 + 3 .0 — 9.6 + 0.9 — 0.6 + 2 .6 Source: State Employment Security Divisions and U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In September a number of developments, most of them temporary in nature, caused unemployment to rise. The number of insured unemployed in the nation increased in the week ended September 8, largely reflecting temporary layoffs at automobile plants. In St. Louis and Evansville the number of insured unemployed increased in the four weeks ended September 22, while in Louisville and Mem phis there were slight decreases. While most auto mobile assembly plants began recalling workers in September, layoffs were scheduled for October at two farm equipment plants in Louisville and Memphis. Trade Consumers bought a record amount of merchandise from the nation’s stores in August. Preliminary esti mates indicated that retail sales on a seasonally ad justed basis increased 1 per cent from July to August and continued about 4 per cent above a year ago. The strength was primarily in the sales of nondurable goods stores, which were 10 per cent greater than a year earlier compared with a drop of 5 per cent for durable goods stores. Automobile sales continued to run below year earlier levels; however, on a daily average basis, they declined only 6 per cent from July, about the usual change expected at that time of the year. At district department stores nondurable lines were also stronger than durables; apparel sales in August were 10 per cent larger than a year earlier compared with a 6 per cent gain for home furnishings. In the first three weeks of September department store sales, both nationally and in the district, con tinued larger than a year ago. Automobile sales in the first 10 days of September in the nation were reported to have slowed further as the model year drew to a close. With sales of nondurable goods stores rising, inven tories have been built up. At the end of July stocks at nondurable goods stores were 7 per cent larger than a year earlier. At the end of August, depart ment store stocks were 8 per cent ahead of August 1955. Inventories of durable goods stocks were about 2 per cent less than a year earlier, reflecting largely a drop in stocks at automotive, lumber, build ing materials and hardware stores. Prices in the primary markets continued to rise in September. The index of spot prices of 22 sensitive commodities rose about 1 per cent from the end of August through September. The more compre hensive index of average wholesale prices also in creased from mid-August to September 25. Prices of farm products and processed foods rose about 1 per cent while the average of industrial materials gained only slightly in the period. Wholesale prices of meats jumped 9 per cent in the period. In August the consumer price index declined slightly from July largely reflecting a drop in food and apparel prices. The decrease in food prices was primarily seasonal in nature. Other components of the cost of living, however, continued to rise slowly. The total index was 2 per cent greater than a year ago. Total loans at district banks showed a moderate decline during the four weeks ended September 19 compared with the usual rise of about 3 per cent at this time. Business loans in the aggregate contracted during the period under review reflecting sizable net reductions in outstanding loans to metal producers and sales finance companies. The continuation of net repayments from metal and metal products firms was partly due to a contraction in inventories. Sales finance companies reduced bank loans in district banks largely by borrowing in other markets. Also outstanding indebtedness of commodity dealers (normally heavy borrowers at this time) increased only slightly reflecting both net sales by banks of commodity dealer paper and some net repayments of loans made to these customers during the summer to purchase cotton from the Commodity Credit Corpo ration for export under the new disposal program. Consumer loans (as indicated by changes in the "other” loan category) and real estate loans declined moderately. In addition to the decrease in the volume of loans outstanding, the district weekly reporting banks liqui dated on balance $28 million of investment holdings and received a sizable net inflow of funds. The growth in deposits came from other banks, businesses and individuals. As a result, the banks were able to improve their cash assets and reduce the level of their borrowings. Good crop harvesting conditions prevailed over most of the Eighth Federal Reserve District during the month of September. Generally there was little rainfall, however, and soil preparation and seeding of small grains were retarded. Pasture conditions also deteriorated over most of the district during the month, necessitating the early feeding of hay and silage. Crop production estimates as of September 1 for three major district crops compared with 1955 pro duction indicate greater outturn of corn and soybeans, but less cotton output. CORN Millions of Bushels 1956 1955 18.3 Arkansas............. Illinois............... 586.7 Indiana............... 277.4 Kentucky........... 79.8 Mississippi......... 37.1 Missouri............. 195.1 Tennessee........... 56.6 United States. . . 3,335.7 19.6 524.0 276.1 79.3 48.4 165,2 61.3 3,241.5 SOYBEANS Millions of Bushels 1956 1955 COTTON Thousands of Bales 1956 1955 24.0 128.5 54.3 2.6 10.5 47.2 4.9 461.9 1,475 — — i — . 1,663 1,620 410 575 13,115 2,023 410 623 14,721 21.9 98.3 43.8 2.4 12.0 34.0 4.5 371.1 — — — Prices of most major district commodities declined during the four-week period ending September 21; however, on balance prices received by Eighth Dis trict farmers remained above that of last year. Page 123 VARIOUS INDICATORS OF INDUSTRIAL ACTIVITY Aug. 1956* compared with July 1956 Aug. 1955 Aug. 1956 Industrial Use of Electric Power (Thousands of KWH per working day, selected industrial firms in 6 district cities)............................................................................... Steel Ingot Rate, St. Louis area (Operating rate, per cent of capacity)........................ Coal Production Index— Sth Dist. (Seasonally adjusted, 1 9 4 7 -4 9 = 1 0 0 ).................... Crude Oil Production— 8th Dist. (Daily average in thousands of bbls.)............. Freight Interchanges at St. Louis. (Thousands of cars— 25 railroads— Terminal R. R. A ssn .)........................................................................................................................ Livestock Slaughter— St. Louis area. (Thousands of head— weekly average)......... Lumber Production-—S. Pine (Average weekly production— thousands of bd. ft,). . Lumber Production— S. Hardwoods. (Operating rate, per cent of capacity)........... N.A. 92 97 p 384.6 N.A. + 1 + 13 — 0— N.A. — 8 + 11 - 0- 106.9 103.3 209.9 96 + 10 — 1 + 5 + 20 + 6 + 2 + 4 + 7 * Percentage change is shown in each case. Figures for the steel ingot rate, Southern hardwood rate, and the coal production index, show the relative percentage change in production, not the drop in index points or in percents of capacity. p Preliminary. N.A. Not available. BANK DEBITS1 Aug. 1956 (In millions) Six Largest Centers: East St. Louis— National Stock Yards, 111..................................... $ 142.9 181.2 Evansville, Ind............ 193.4 Little Rock, Ark.......... 925.5 Louisville, Ky............... 789.4 Memphis, Tenn. . St. Louis, Mo............. 2,330.7 Total— Six Largest Centers ............. . $4,563.1 Cape Girardeau, Mo. El Dorado, Ark. Fort Smith, Ark. Greenville, Miss. Hannibal, Mo. Helena, Ark............... Jackson, Tenn. Jefferson City, Mo. Owensboro, Ky.......... Paducah, Ky. ........... Pine Bluff, Ark. . . . . Quincy, 111................. Sedalia, Mo. ........... Springfield, Mo.......... Texarkana, Ark. s: ■$ 41.1 18.2 29.1 55.7 27.3 10.6 8.3 27.3 77.4 45.1 26.9 35.1 38.1 15.6 92.0 21.9 Total— Other Centers ............... - $ 569.7 + 6 + 10 + 1 + 9? < + 3 + 9 + 6 + 18 + 6 + 3% + + + — — + _ + — — — + + — — — + 10% 5 4 3 6 2 6 1 14 2 3 4 4 1 5 2 + + + + + + + + + + — 2% + 2% 8% 7% 20 7 4 6 2 17 14 12 1 - 0+ 16 —- 3 — 4 + 9 + 7 + + $5,132.8 + 3% — 7 — 3 7% Percentage Change Jan. thru July July 1956 1956 from (In thousands compared with July _ July_jLQ55 1955____ 1954 of dollars) 1956 + 30% + 1 9 % Arkansas. . . $ 23,679 + 1 1 170,482 + 5 — 3 Illinois........ + 8 Indiana. . . . — 13 99,790 — 1 — 8 Kentucky . . — 21 29,295 + 10 — 17 Mississippi . + 31 20,201 + 20 + 17 Missouri . . 85,692 — 14 — 9 — 14 — 5 26,787 + 16 Tennessee. . . + 11 — 6 7 States. . 455,926 + 1 + 2 __ 4 8th District 183,423 — 1 + 4 Source: State data from US DA preliminary estimates unless otherwise indicated. INDEX OF BANK DEBITS— 22 Centers Seasonally Adjusted (1947-1949= 100) 1956 1955 Aug. Ju\y_ Aug. 169.4 159.0 171.5 1 Debits to demand deposit accounts of individuals, partnerships and corporations and states and political subdivisions. (1 947-1949= 100) July 1956 June 1956 July 1955 Unadjusted T otal........... Residential All Other. . 249.3 p 259.7 p 244.4 p 266.8 297.3 252.6 Seasonally adjusted Total........... 194.0 p Residential. 222.0 p AllOther . .. 181.0 p 208.6 293.8 169.0 224.3 254.1 210.5 165.1 251.1 125.2 * Based on three-month moving average (centered on mid-month) of value of awards, as reported by F. W, Dodge Corporation. P P relim inary Weekly Reporting Banks (In M illion s o f D ollars) Assets Sept 19, 1956 Loans1 .............................................. Business an d A g r i c u l t u r a l ........... Security ................. ..................... R eal Estate ........................................ O ther (larg ely co n su m e r) ........... U. S. Government Securities . . . . O ther Securities .................................. L oans to Banks ..................................... Cash Assets ............................................. O th er Assets .......................................... Total Assets ............................... $1,614 827 61 281 469 857 225 33 922 46 $3,697 Change from Aug. 22, 1956 $— 8 — 6 All Member Banks Aug. 29, 1956 Change from July 25, 1956 $2,586 $ + 11 1,848 484 + 44 — 4 1,356 71 $6,345 — 50 + 1 $+ 2 + 6 — 1 — 6 — 30 + 2 + 14 + 89 - 0$ + 67 L ia b ilities and C a pital D em a n d D eposits o f Banks .......... $ 709 $ + 59 $ 690 $— 4 — 1 O th er D em a n d D e p o sits .................. 2,056 + 19 3,815 T im e D eposits 575 1,255 4 — 1 B orrow ings and O th er L ia b ilitie s 79 -— 13 101 T o ta l C apital A c c o u n ts ..................... - 0484 278 4 T otal L iabilities and C a p ital . , $3,697 $ + 67 $6,345 $+ 2 l F or w e e k ly re p o rtin g banks, >ans are adjusted to exclude loans to banks; the total is reported net; breakd ow n s are r e p o rte d gross, For all member banks, loans are reported net and include loans to banks; b r e a k d o w n o f these lc not available. + 2 DEPARTMENT STORES Percentage of Accounts Stocks- and Notes Receivable Sales Outstanding Aug. 1, ’56, Ratio collected during August Excl. Instal. Instalment Accounts Accounts Stocks on Hand Net Sales Aug., 1956 8 mos. ’56 compared with to same July, ’56 Aug., ’55 period ’55 _ Sth F.R. District Total . . + 2 2 % 46 7% 15 Fort Smith Area, A rk .i. . + 1 7 41 + 3 Monthly stocks and Little Rock Area, Ark.. . . + 2 6 + 12 13 40 stocks-sales ratio data ................. ..... + 3 5 Quincy, 111. + 1 not available in time + 8 Evansville Area, Ind........ ......+ 1 7 for publication in the 18 45 Louisville Area, Ky., Ind. +16 + 5 Monthly Review. Data + 11 Paducah, K y..........................+ 1 2 will be supplied upon 17 55" + 23 St. Louis Area, Mo., 111. + 6 request. Springfield Area, Mo........ +15 + 11 11 31 + 25 + 10 Memphis Area, Tenn. + 16 + 15 All Other Cities2 1 In order to permit publication of figures for this city (or area), a special sample has been con structed which is not confined exclusively to department stores. Figures for any such nondepartment stores, however, are not used in computing the district percentage changes or in computing depart ment store indexes. 2 Fayetteville, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Harrisburg, Mt. Vernon, Illinois; Vincennes, Indiana; Dan ville, Hopkinsville, Mayfield, Owensboro, Kentucky; Chillicothe, Missouri; Greenville, Mississippi; and Jackson, Tennessee. Outstanding orders of reporting stores at the end of August, 1956, were 2 per cent larger than on the corresponding date a year ago. INDEXES OF SALES AND STOCKS— 8TH DISTRICT Aug. 1956 117 129 N.A. N.A. July 1956 104 135 128 139 Sales (daily average), unadjusted3 . . Sales (daily average), seasonally adju, Stocks, unadjusted4 ............................ Stocks, seasonally adjusted4 ............. 3 Daily average 19 47-49= 100 4 End of Month average 1947-49 = 100 N. A. Not available. Trading days; Aug., 1956— 27; July, 1956— 25; Aug., 1955— 27. INDEX OF CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS AWARDED EIGHTH FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT* ASSETS AND LIABILITIES OF EIGHTH DISTRICT MEMBER BANKS 00 Total— 22 Centers CASH FARM INCOME Aug. 1956 compared with Aug. July 1955 1956 June 1956 116 119 127 138 Aug. 1955 109 120 126 126 + + RETAIL FURNITURE STORES Net Sales Inventories Aug., 1956 Aug., ’56 compared with compared with July ’56 Aug.’55 July ’56 Aug.’55 . . -_ 8th Dist. T otali. . + 23% -0-% -0+ 5% 6 St. Louis Area. . . . + 2 4 1 —3 + + 3 Louisville Area. . . + 2 6 + 4 + 9 ★ Memphis Area. . . + 27 + 1 —* -2 —1 Little Rock Area + 11 + 17 4 3 Springfield Area. . + 2 3 8 - ■ — + + * Not shown separately due to insufficient coverage, but included in Eighth District totals. 1 In addition to the following cities, shown separately in the table, the total includes stores in Blytheville, Fort Smith, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Owensboro, Kentucky; Greenwood, Mississippi; Evansville, Indiana; and Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Note: Figures shown are preliminary and subject to revision. PERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION OF FURNITURE SALES Cash Sales ............... Credit Sales ............. Total Sales ........... Aug., ’56 14% 86 100% July, ’56 14% 100 % Aug., ’55 13% 87 100 %