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PHILADELPHIA SAVING FUND SOCIETY v. MYERS. (03/20/62)

March 20, 1962

PHILADELPHIA SAVING FUND SOCIETY, APPELLANT,
v.
MYERS.



Appeal, No. 29, May T., 1962, from order of Banking Board of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in case of The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society v. Robert L. Myers, Jr., Secretary of Banking, and Banking Board of Pennsylvania. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Charles J. Biddle, with him Robert S. Ryan, John G. Williams, and Drinker, Biddle & Reath, for appellant.

Frederic G. Antoun, Deputy Attorney General, with him Richard M. Woodcock, Assistant Attorney General, and David Stahl, Attorney General, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 406 Pa. Page 439]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BELL

The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society (hereinafter referred to as "PSFS") has taken this appeal in the nature of a certiorari from the Adjudication and Order of the Banking Board of Pennsylvania. The Banking Board disapproved the application of PSFS for the establishment of a branch bank in the Borough of Media, Delaware County, and directed the Department of Banking to disapprove the application which it had originally approved. The certiorari in the instant case

[ 406 Pa. Page 440]

    is broad and upon review of such an appeal the Court considers the entire record, including all of the testimony: Dauphin Deposit Trust Company v. Myers, 401 Pa. 230, 235-236, 164 A.2d 86; Cumberland Valley Savings & Loan Association v. Myers, 396 Pa. 331, 340, 153 A.2d 466; Philadelphia Saving Fund Society v. Banking Board, 383 Pa. 253, 256, 118 A.2d 561; Delaware County National Bank v. Campbell, 378 Pa. 311, 316, 317, 106 A.2d 416.

Section 204.1B of the Banking Code of May 15, 1933*fn* as added to and amended by the Act of December 30, 1955*fn** pertinently provides that "Any institution ... may establish and maintain branches ... with the approval of the department and the Banking Board ... in a county contiguous to the county in which the principal place of business of the institution proposing to take such action is located."

"Should the department find, after ... investigation ... that there is not**fn** a need for banking services or ciliates such as are contemplated by the establishment of such branch, it shall disapprove the application ....

"... the department, if it finds upon investigation that there is a need for banking services or facilities such as are contemplated by the establishment of such branch ... shall approve such application and forward it to the Banking Board for review. ... The Banking Board, after such additional investigation or hearing as it may deem advisable, shall either approve or disapprove the action of the department. ... The Decision of the Banking Board shall be binding upon the department."

In construing the Banking Code, "[the] test or standard for the grant or refusal of a branch bank is whether ... there is a need for banking services or facilities

[ 406 Pa. Page 441]

    such as are contemplated by the establishment of such branch: Dauphin Deposit Trust Company v. Myers, 401 Pa. [230] supra." Ritter Finance Company, Inc. v. Myers, 401 Pa. 467, 165 A.2d 246 (1960). See also Cumberland Valley Savings and Loan Asociation v. Myers, 396 Pa., supra.

"A decision of the Department of Banking or of the Banking Board will be sustained unless it is based upon facts or conclusions which are not adequately supported by the evidence, or it committed a clear abuse of discretion, or exceeded its power, or based its decision, conclusion or Order on an erroneous interpretation of the law: Delaware County National Bank v. Campbell, 378 Pa. 311, 106 A.2d 416; Cumberland Valley Savings and Loan Association v. Myers, 396 Pa. 331, 153 A.2d 466; Dauphin Deposit Trust Company v. Myers, 388 Pa. 444, 130 A.2d 686; Philadelphia Saving Fund Society v. Banking Board of Pennsylvania, 383 Pa. 253, 118 A.2d 561." Dauphin Deposit Trust Company v. Myers, 401 Pa. 230, 236, 164 A.2d 86.

PSFS vigorously contends that (1) the facts do not support the findings and conclusions or Order of the Banking Board, and (2) the Board abused its discretion, and (3) the Board misconstrued the law. We shall therefore analyze, review and evaluate both the facts and the law, and quote extensively from the exhaustive and exceptionally able adjudication of the Board per Robert L. Myers, Jr., Chairman.

The Evidence and the Banking Board's Findings

"... PSFS, filed with the Department of Banking on June 29, 1960 its application for a Letter of Authority for the establishment of a branch office in the Borough of Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The application was approved by the Department on August 19, 1960 and referred to the Banking Board for

[ 406 Pa. Page 442]

    review in accordance with the provisions of Section 204.1 of the Banking Code. The application was reviewed and considered by the Board at its meetings held September 7, 1960, February 15, 1961, May 9, 1961 and August 1, 1961.

"No objections to the application have been received by the Department or by the Banking Board.

"The hearing on the application was held before the Board in the offices of the Department on May 9, 1961." At the hearing Robert L. Myers, Jr., Secretary of Banking and Ex Officio Chairman of the Board and all members of the Board with one exception were present.

The Board, after reviewing and considering all the testimony and documentary evidence and the entire record, made 41 specific findings of fact together with additional findings of fact. We quote with approval the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

"1. The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society is a mutual savings bank having its principal office and place of business in the City of Philadelphia ....

"27. PSFS was created under a Special Act of Assembly and conducts its business and operations subject to said Act and the appropriate provisions of the Banking Code.

"2. PSFS applied to the Department of Banking on June 29, 1960 for a Letter of Authority for the establishment of a branch at the Northeast Corner of Baltimore Pike and Providence Road in the Borough of Media, Delaware County, ....

"3. Philadelphia County and Delaware County are contiguous Counties.

"4. The area that would be served by the proposed branch includes the Borough of Media and portions of Upper Providence, Middletown, Nether Providence and Springfield Townships of Delaware County. The branch would be located near the Southeasterly Corner of the Borough of Media and the service area includes the

[ 406 Pa. Page 443]

    area around the Borough extending 4 1/2 miles East and West and 6 miles North and South. ... The area to be served by the proposed branch is primarily residential and rural. The Borough of Media is the County seat of Delaware County and is the base of employment for a substantial number of Government employees. It is also the business and commercial ...


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