To be sure, bank failures were common in the years before 1929-1933 – and so were bank openings. From 1884 to 1921, the number of banks had sextupled from 5000 to 30,000. Not only were these generally small banks – some capitalized near the minimum $25,000 – but after 1921, the new operations were often branches. The federal Comptroller of the Currency had opened the door to allow city banks to compete in towns and villages. From that point, bank failures increased, as is to be expected from increased competition. In January 1933, it seemed that the summer of 1931 had been the lowest point possible and that a recovery was unfolding.
The next morning, February 14, 1933,