The data are compiled by combining optical character recognition (OCR) techniques with modern layout separation techniques to identify the elements of a table using the techniques provided by Correia and Luck (2023) and have been used in previous research by Carlson, Correia, and Luck (2022).
The original source is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which published national bank balance sheets in the appendix of its Annual Report to Congress. Although not as detailed as contemporary regulatory filings such as FFIEC 031 or FR Y-9C, the OCC’s Call Reports were surprisingly granular throughout this period.
For instance, on the asset side the OCC asked banks to report their amount of outstanding loans and discounts, their holdings of cash and government bonds, and how much credit is provided to other banks via the interbank market.
On the liability side, the OCC’s Call Reports included the different types of equity held by shareholders, outstanding deposits, and the amount of national bank notes issued by the bank. They also documented each bank’s location, the identity of its president and cashier, and assigned unique identifiers to each bank, known as charter numbers, which can be used to construct a panel data set.