Skip Header
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Historical Timeline

The 1950's

The 1950s
1950s woman sitting by television

The U.S. is absorbed with its apprehension of Soviet power, represented by a fear of its atomic power, space program, and espionage. The Korean War and the Cold War are intertwined. The build-up of the military industrial complex helps the U.S. economy. By the 1980s, 7 percent of the U.S. GNP is devoted to defense spending.

  • The FDIC deposit insurance coverage level increases from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • The FDIC's insurance fund has a balance of $1.2 billion.
"No pardner, this isn't where I work... It's where my money works for me. I know my savings are safe here, because wherever you see that insurance emblem displayed you know your savings are protected by an agency of the U.S. Government."

Ad from the 1950s featuring Gary Cooper
The Federal Deposit Insurance Act of 1950

This act:

  • Revises and consolidates earlier FDIC legislation into one act
  • Increases the insurance limit from $5,000 to $10,000
  • Gives the FDIC the authority to lend to any insured bank in danger of closing, if the operation of the bank is essential to the local community
  • Authorizes the FDIC to examine national and state-member banks to determine their insurance risk.

Bank Holding Company Act of 1956

U.S. Presidents
during the 1950s

Dwight D. Eisenhower  Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)

This act:

  • Prohibits bank holding companies headquartered in one state from acquiring a bank in another state unless that other state's laws authorize the acquisition—thus leaving control of bank holding companies to the states. In 1975, Maine is the first state to allow entry of out-of-state bank holding companies
  • Prohibits the expansion of bank holding companies into "non-banking" activities through affiliates.

  • Bank of America launches a credit card in California.In 1966, the bank licenses BankAmericard, and in 1976, it changes its name to Visa.
  • American Express launches a national credit card.
  • Chase Manhattan Bank issues a credit card but withdraws from the industry in 1962.