What was a Bank Note Reporter?
At first only banks that had been granted a charter by their state's legislature were allowed to issue notes, but a booming economy caused the number of banks seeking charters to grow faster than state legislatures could handle. The result was that many states adopted "free banking" laws.
Free banking allowed any bank to issue notes as long as they had deposited with a state authority a designated amount of government bonds that covered the amount of notes that they issued. The idea was that if a bank should fail, the state would sell the bonds to cover the notes that were issued.
In addition, counterfeit notes were very common so that Bank Note Reporters also described known counterfeit notes to help merchants avoid accepting bad notes.