Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mutual bank?

Mutual banks have been serving the nation's consumers since the early 1800's. There are a number of different types of mutual bank charters. They include mutual holding companies with and without minority stockholders, cooperative banks, federal and state savings associations and banks. The most prevalent are savings and loan associations and savings banks. The first mutual savings bank in the U.S was chartered in Boston in 1816. Mutual banks are characterized by the following traits:


  • Community institutions - Mutual banks were created to be perpetual institutions serving the communities in which they are located.


  • No direct ownership - Mutuals and mutual holding companies are not controlled by  stockholders or other direct owners. Rather, the depositors of a mutual bank or MHC, often called "members", have an inchoate interest in the net worth of the institution. This interest cannot be bought or sold.


  • Promotion of thrift and home ownership - Historically, mutuals were created to promote savings among their members. Some, such as savings and loan associations, were chartered to promote home ownership as well. Nevertheless, the range of products and services continue to grow to meet the needs of their communities.


What is a mutual holding company?


A mutual holding company or MHC is a savings or bank holding company controlled by its members in the case of a savings association or Board of Directors in the case of a savings bank.


How many types of MHCs are there?


There are two basic forms of organization. One is distinguished by 100% of the stock ownership of its savings institution subsidiary, a Private Mutual Holding Company (PMHC), with no public shareholders. The other while controlled by its Board of Directors or Trustees has a controlling interest in its savings institution subsidiary but has minority common or preferred stock holders. 


How many mutual banks are there in the United States?


Today, there are 494 mutual banks located in 45 states.   The states with the most mutual banks are Massachusetts (92), Illinois (38), Ohio (41) and Pennsylvania (40).   At March 31, 2018, mutual banks had total assets of $374 billion. The median mutual bank had assets of $259.8 million. The prevalent mutual charter is the Federal mutual savings charter.



How strong are mutual banks?

Mutual banks are among the strongest in the country.


  • The average Tier 1 capital ratio (a barometer of capital strength and safety) for all mutual banks was 14.52% and the average risk based capital ratio was 28.21%. The FDIC considers a bank to be "well capitalized" (the highest ratio for safety and soundness) if a bank's Tier 1 capital ratio is at or above 6% and its risk-based capital ratio is at or above 10%.


  • No mutual institutions received any TARP Funds.


  • Since February 2007, over 525financial institutions with over $800 billion in total assets have failed. Of those failed institutions, only 20 were mutual institutions with total assets of approximately $3 billion.


Did mutual banks cause the last financial crisis?


NO. Mutual banks generally stick to providing the basic banking services required by a community. That is, mutuals provide for the most part retail services and products, checking and savings products and make home loans, other consumer loans and loans for local businesses. Mutuals generally do not engage in those activities recognized as causing the financial crisis that began in the Fall of 2008. Most notably, of the approximately 350 banks that have failed since 2007, only 12 were mutuals.


What is America's Mutual Banks?

's Mutual Banks is composed of persons and banking institutions that are committed to the mutual form as a viable banking business model. America's Mutual Banks operates on the basis of inclusivity and represents the interests of mutuals regardless of charter, location or size.


What is the purpose of America's Mutual Banks?

The goal of America's Mutual Banks is to be the preeminent voice for mutual financial institutions. AMB defines itself in the following ways: 


  • AMB will be an advocate for issues uniquely affecting mutuals
  • AMB will be the voice to promote the mutual agenda among Federal and State legislators, regulators and other policymakers   
  • AMB will educate legislators, regulators and other stakeholders on the unique attributes of the mutual form of ownership 
  • AMB will strive to preserve mutual institutions' freedom of choice with respect to Federal or State charter and form of corporate charter
  • AMB will work with the national and state trade groups to promote mutuality and will assist those trade groups on other issues, if deemed advisable, to the extent not inconsistent with the purposes of AMB
  • AMB will serve to advance mutuality by promoting enhancements to mutual corporate governance

  • AMB will continue to support the right of MHCs with minority stockholders to remain in that form 


  • AMB will support the MHC model as a viable capital raising entity by advocating for elimination of the dividend waiver prohibition.

What kind of group is America's Mutual Banks?


America's Mutual Banks is a unincorporated trade association of like-minded FDIC insured mutual institutions dedicated to the advancement and preservation of mutual savings institutions over the long term.  It is not a single issue, or ad hoc association.  AMB has been steadily growing over the last eight years and has involved itself in all major regulatory and policy actions by the Congress and the federal agencies affecting mutual banks. Unlike other trade groups that have for profit affiliates, or charge tuition for attendance at meetings, we are only focused on bringing mutual banks together to forge a common bond and promoting an agenda that will enable mutuals to thrive, not just survive.  It is contemplated that AMB will work with other trade groups to seek common interests and assure that issues of special concern to mutuals are being addressed.


What are the challenges of the Dodd-Frank Act that are peculiar to mutual savings institutions?


  • Acclimation to the new rules and supervisory policies of the OCC, Federal Reserve Board and FDIC 

  • Failure to assure a regulatory environment that would facilitate the chartering of de novo mutuals

  • Failure to charter or grant FDIC deposit insurance to de novo mutuals 


  • Reduction in the viability of the public mutual holding company as a vehicle to raise capital

  • The adoption of comprehensive rules and guidelines for disclosure and regulation of incentive compensation without recognizing the inability of mutuals to use stock-based forms of compensation

  • Structural limitations on multiple combinations of mutual savings institutions

  • Absence of a mutual national bank charter

  • The difficulties of conforming with the OCC national bank culture

  • The lack of knowledge and experience by the bank regulators with mutual corporate governance


  • Heightened capital requirements without taking into account the limitations on mutuals for raising capital and the significantly reduced risk profile of mutuals

  • The absence of any specific exemption in the Dodd-Frank Act from the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection with respect to the member/depositor relationship

  • The assimilation by the Federal Reserve Board of the Savings and Loan Holding Company Act and the weakening of the provisions prohibiting third party control of mutual savings institutions
  • The decline of the dual system for state- and federally-charted mutual

  • Preventing stockholder and professional depositor pressure to convert to the stock form


  • The peculiar impact of the phasing out of the government-sponsored entities from the secondary mortgage market


  • The absence of development of creative capital instruments for mutuals such as mutual capital certificates, paired options/shares, mutual investment certificates and subordinated debt

  • Restrictive FRB policies prohibiting waiver of dividends by MHCs

  • Restrictive policies discouraging bylaw and charter provisions assuring Board and depositor control


How much will it cost?

The cost of membership in America's Mutual Banks is based on the size of the mutual institution.
(Please note new fee schedule)

Total Assets

Monthly Cost of Membership

Above $1.5 Billion


Between $1 Billion and $1.5 Billion


Between $750 Million and $1 Billion


Between $250 Million and $750 Million


Below $250 Million



Who may join America's Mutual Banks?

Any mutual savings institution, mutual holding company or person associated with them that meets all regulatory capital requirements is eligible. While we envision seeking common ground on issues peculiar to mutual companies with other mutual organizations such as insurance companies and credit unions when it is in the interest of our members to do so, membership consists exclusively of FDIC-insured mutual depository institutions and mutual holding companies.