Cary v. Savings Union/Opinion of the Court
A distinction is expressly recognized in the act of Congress between interest and dividends, and the Circuit Court decided that the payments to the depositors were for dividends. The question is whether this decision was correct.
We think it was. The depositors contracted not for a rate of interest to be paid upon their deposits, but for a share of the profits of the business in which their money was, by agreement, to be employed. It is true that the profits of the company were principally to be derived from interest upon loans made, but they were none the less on that account profits. The interest received for the loan of each deposit was not kept by itself, and paid to the depositors after deducting a charge to cover expenses, but all was placed in a common fund, and when the net result of the business was ascertained, that was divided among the several contributors according to the value of their contributions. Such a division clearly produces a dividend according to the common understanding of that term. The parties themselves so understood it, for they gave it that name in the contracts, executed when the depositors made their deposits. They stipulated for the payment of dividends and not interest.