Beneficial National Bank v. Anderson, 539 U.S. 1, 10 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

In a series of cases decided shortly after the Act was passed, we endorsed that approach. In Farmers' and Mechanics' Nat. Bank v. Dearing, 91 U. S. 29, 32-33 (1875), we rejected the borrower's attempt to have an entire debt forfeited, as authorized by New York law, stating that the various provisions of 85 and 86 "form a system of regulations . . . [a]ll the parts [of which] are in harmony with each other and cover the entire subject," so that "the State law would have no bearing whatever upon the case." We also observed that "[i]n any view that can be taken of [ 86], the power to supplement it by State legislation is conferred neither expressly nor by implication." Id., at 35. In Evans v. National Bank of Savannah, 251 U. S. 108, 114 (1919), we stated that "federal law . . . completely defines what constitutes the taking of usury by a national bank, referring to the state law only to determine the maximum permitted rate." See also Barnet v. National Bank, 98 U. S. 555, 558 (1879) (The "statutes of Ohio and Indiana upon the subject of usury . . . cannot affect the case" because the Act "creates a new right" that is "exclusive"); Haseltine v. Central Bank of Springfield, 183 U. S. 132, 134 (1901) ("[T]he definition of usury and the penalties affixed thereto must be determined by the National Banking Act and not by the law of the State").

In addition to this Court's longstanding and consistent construction of the National Bank Act as providing an exclusive federal cause of action for usury against national banks, this Court has also recognized the special nature of federally chartered banks. Uniform rules limiting the liability of national banks and prescribing exclusive remedies for their overcharges are an integral part of a banking system that needed protection from "possible unfriendly State legislation." Tiffany v. National Bank of Mo., 18 Wall. 409, 412

of the National Bank Act were passed in 1864, 11 years prior to the passage of the statute authorizing removal, is irrelevant, contrary to respondents' assertions.

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