Wildcat Banking

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Wildcat Banking

A period in the United States between 1816 and 1863 in which there was no federal regulation of banks. Currency was issued by private banks, which were only regulated by the individual states. These currencies were often backed by the debt the banks held and were often unstable, which frequently caused the currencies to become worthless. See also: National Bank Act of 1863.
References in periodicals archive ?
Economists usually point to wildcat banks to assess the stability of the free banking system.
Wildcat banks became so rampant that "no man is safe sleeping over night with one dollar of Illinois currency in his pocket.
He concluded that only one bank had all the three characteristics of wildcat banks defined by Rockoff; that is, Illinois free banks were quite sound.
It concludes that the great failures of free banks in 1861 were not simply induced by factors outside the banking system; wildcat banks played a crucial role in those events.
Simultaneously, reports about wildcat banks emerged in Illinois.
In contrast, the performance of banks formed in 1857 was not that satisfactory: more banks were located in remote places, and thus they were easy to be treated as wildcat banks.
The majority of them had no characteristics of wildcat banks at all.
Located in remote places and exiting from the banking industry in a short time, those free banks are easy to associate with wildcat banks.
There seems to be only one answer: most banks were not formed for regular banking purposes from 1859 to 1860; they were wildcat banks.
Therefore, in the convention held in December 8, 1860, a Chicago business man viewed such banks as wildcat banks and complained that "seventy-five of our banks have no location or a name.