MR. JUSTICE MURPHY delivered the opinion of the Court.
In Rawlings v. Ray, 312 U.S. 96, we decided that state statutes of limitations govern the time within which to enforce the liability imposed upon stockholders of insolvent national banks by assessments levied by the Comptroller of the Currency; that the question as to the time when a complete and present cause of action arises in the receiver to enforce that liability by suit is a federal question; that nothing in the applicable statutes, 12 U.S.C. §§ 63, 64, 191, 192, prevents the Comptroller in making an assessment from fixing a later date for payment; and, that suit cannot be instituted prior to the date fixed for payment and a state statute of limitations does not begin to run until that date. In this case the Comptroller extended the time for payment beyond the date originally set, and we must decide whether time runs from the first or the final date fixed for payment.
Petitioner is the successor to the original receiver for the insolvent First National Bank of Chattanooga. On April 19, 1934, the Comptroller of the Currency levied an assessment against the Bank's stockholders for 100% of the par value of their shares, payable on May 26, 1934.
Respondent, as successor to the original executrix, represents the estate of C.C. Nottingham, which held stock of the Bank, to the extent of $138,000 par value, at the time of the assessment. No steps were taken to enforce against the estate the liability imposed by the assessment until August 2, 1935, when petitioner's predecessor filed an answer and a cross-bill in an action commenced on July 24, 1935, in the Chancery Court for Hamilton County, Tennessee, by the original executrix to require all creditors to appear and establish their claims.
The Chancery Court held that petitioner's assessment claim accrued on the date first fixed for payment, May 23, 1934,
Since the Comptroller has power to extend the time for payment, respondent was not required to pay until April 15, 1935, and prior to that time suit could not be instituted against her. Rawlings v. Ray, supra, p. 98. While the receiver enforces the liability created by the assessment, 12 U.S.C. §§ 191, 192, he does so subject to the direction of the Comptroller, Kennedy v. Gibson, 8 Wall.
Respondent stresses § 8604 of the Code.
Respondent mistakenly relies upon Pufahl v. Estate of Parks, 299 U.S. 217, which has no application, because in that case "we were not considering or deciding the question of the application of a statute of limitations to a suit against a stockholder upon an assessment made by the Comptroller where payment was not required before a specified date, prior to which no suit could be maintained." Rawlins v. Ray, supra, p. 99.
We are not unmindful that it is desirable to close decedents' estate speedily, but there is no warrant in the federal legislation for allowing that consideration to limit the power of the Comptroller to extend the time for payment of an assessment.
The judgment below is reversed and the cause remanded for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.