Commercial banks regularly file Reports of Condition and Income with their regulators. Nowadays, these reports of balance sheet and income statement information are filed quarterly; but originally, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (supervisor of national banks) would issue a “call” for the reports on specific, but irregular, dates, leading to the colloquial term Call Reports. The irregular timing interjected a bit of surprise so that banks wouldn’t “window dress” their reports to regulators. Before 1914, the OCC collected reports five times per year. From the 1910s through the early 1930s, the number of calls varied from three to five per year. The name Call Report stuck even though in modern times (since the 1930s) the reporting dates are always the end-of-quarter dates.

FRASER contains scans of Call Reports for the years 1916-1959, but with 400,000+ PDFs it can be difficult to tell what exactly is available and how to find specific items. This post will discuss some of the frequently asked questions about the Call Reports.

FAQ

What’s available on FRASER, and what’s missing?

These reports were scanned from microfilm held by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The collection held by the Board of Governors, for the years 1916-1959, has been scanned in its entirety, but the collection is itself incomplete. The text of letters included in the Board of Governors’ meeting minutes of March 21, 1946, and July 24, 1946, gives some insight into what is included in the microfilmed collection.

In total, FRASER has 739 reels containing a total of nearly 400,000 individual reports and over 1,000,000 images. Sixteen reels contain reports spanning multiple years.

 

State Member Banks National Banks
Year Reel Numbers Total Reels Year Reel Numbers Total Reels
1916 500 1 1916 507-517 11
1921 500-502 3 1921 517-520, 527-541 19
1926 502-503 2 1926 542-557 16
1927 41, 43 2 0
1928 46-48 3 0
1929 50-54 5 1929 557-566, 570-575, 580-583 20
1930 54-58 5 0
1931 58-62 5 1931 583-597 15
1932 62, 65-66 3 0
1933 67-71 5 1933 385-398 14
1934 71-79 9 1934 356-363, 366-372, 380-381 17
1935 81-84, 84-87 8 1935 430-446 17
1936 87-96 10 1936 446, 466-482 18
1937 96-104 10 1937 655-673 19
1938 104-112 9 1938 820-839 20
1939 112-121 10 1939 1006-1020 15
1940 121-130 10 1940 1277-1292 16
1941 130-141 12 1941 1505-1510, 1514-1523, 1774-1788 31
1942 187-195 9 1942 1789, 1793-1798, 1800-1815 23
1943 198-200, 233-235 6 1943 1908-1923 16
1944 281-283, 328-330 6 1944 2002-2017 16
1945 377-379, 521-523 6 1945 2172-2188 17
1946 567-569, 646-648 6 1946 2353-2369 17
1947 724-727, 865-867 7 1947 2378-2382, 2386-2396 16
1948 962-964, 1122-1125 7 1948 2534-2547 14
1949 1126-1129, 1274-1276 7 1949 2594-2610 17
1950 1325-1328, 1478-1480 7 1950 2699-2713 15
1951 1766-1770 5 1951 2784-2798 15
1952 1771-1773, 1856-1858 6 1952 2841-2854 14
1953 1935-1937, 1960-1962 6 1953 2894-2907 14
1954 1996-1998, 2045-2046 5 1954 2978-2992 15
1955 2129-2131, 2279-2280, 2282 6 1955 3043-3057 15
1956 2287-2290, 2324-2326 7 1956 3106-3121 16
1957 2348-2351, 2507-2508 6 1957 3170-3185 16
1958 2528-2530, 2558-2559, 2571 6 1958 3278-3289 12
1959 2578-2581, 2656-2658 7 1959 3332-3343 12

What’s available from other sources?

 

 

How are the reports described and organized on FRASER?

PDFs have been created for each report, for the images appearing at the beginning and end of each reel, and for any “heading” cards inserted between reports. The PDFs are presented in the same order as the content is on the microfilm.

The paper reports were arranged before they were microfilmed, although there may be some irregularities in arrangement. The microfilm reels are generally organized by date (although reel numbers are not assigned chronologically) and by state member bank vs. national bank. The reports are further organized as follows:

National Bank reels: Alphabetically by state, then by district (if a state is split between multiple districts), then alphabetically by city, and then alphabetically by bank name

State Member Bank reels for 1916, 1921, 1927: By Federal Reserve District, then alphabetically by state and city

State Member Bank reels for 1929 – June 30 1945: Alphabetically by city and state, then alphabetically by bank name

State Member Bank reels for December 30 1945 – 1959: By Federal Reserve District number, then alphabetically by state and city, and then alphabetically by bank name

 

Reports for reserve cities and total or recap reports aggregated by bank, district, etc. appear after all the individual reports by city. Despite this general organization, some reports may occur out of order.

Metadata have been extracted for the type of bank (state member bank or national bank), Federal Reserve District, state, country, and city of the individual bank or branch. Additionally, the type of report, either for an individual bank or a group of banks, is indicated in the item’s metadata. The quality of the handwriting and overall clarity of the text in these reports vary considerably. In many cases, the name of the bank, city, and/or county are difficult to decipher. The sheer number of reports would make extracting all this information extremely time consuming and cost prohibitive. Therefore, only the first letter of the city of the report has been extracted. County names, bank names and charter numbers have not been extracted.

While we strive for accuracy in what we post on FRASER, the size of this project necessitated a different approach to quality assurance than the 100 percent quality control that we apply on most projects. A random sampling method was carried out on the remainder of the collection to ensure that the overall quality was at an acceptable level. Where errors could be flagged by automated methods, we reviewed those flagged items individually and made corrections as necessary. Still, there may be a small error rate resulting in some of the 400,000+ PDFs having been grouped improperly (two separate reports in one PDF, for example) or inaccurate metadata (the wrong city letter applied to an item’s title, for example).

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has not been run on the images to create searchable text, as the OCR accuracy would be extremely poor and users would receive very incomplete results because of the prominence of handwriting, poor clarity of much of the typewritten information, and poor quality of some of the microfilm itself.

 

Example of a handwritten call report.

 

The following metadata is captured at the reel level:

  • Title
    • Reel number (46)
    • State Member Banks or National Banks (State Member Banks)
    • Date (June 30, 1928)
  • Number of scanned items contained in the reel (651 items)

 

Example of reel metadata.

 

The following metadata is captured at the individual item level:

  • Title
    • Reel number and item number on the reel (Reel 1517, Item 109)
    • Type of document (Report of Condition)
    • Country (United States)
    • District (4)
    • State (Ohio)
    • City (typically the first letter only; for group reports, the full city name is given) (M)
  • Date – The date of the report (1941-12-31)
  • Abstract – A brief description of the type and scope of the report (Report of condition of an individual bank.)
  • Subjects – The type of bank and the geographic location of the bank (National banks; Federal Reserve District, 4th; United States – Ohio; United States)
  • Part of – Parent collection and parent reel

 

Example of item metadata.

 

What’s the best way to find the report(s) I’m looking for?

Browse by Section: This section presents information in three columns. The first column is the reel. The reels were not created in chronological order, and the sequence of reel numbers was shared with other collections. As a result, reel numbers may imply more gaps in the collection than actually exist. It is recommended to filter the Reel column by typing in the year of interest at the top of the column. Once a reel is clicked, the second column will provide a list of the contents of that reel, also with a filter bar at the top of the column. Once an item is clicked, a third column will appear with more information about that item and buttons to View or Download the PDF.

 

 

Browse All Records: Use a single list of 400,000+ records (reels and contents), sorted alphabetically, with a filter bar that can be used to filter information in the title of the record. Because of the size of the list, it may be slow to display and respond.

 

 

Search Within this Collection: As noted previously, the PDFs are not full-text searchable, but metadata can be searched.

 

Search results can then be further refined by subject and date and sorted by date or title.

 

How can files be downloaded in bulk?

We do not currently provide functionality to download these files in bulk. If you need to download a large portion of the Call Reports, please feel free to contact us to discuss what we can do to assist you with obtaining the files.

Any other questions?

Contact Us

 

© 2018, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or the Federal Reserve System.

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