« PreviousContinue »
As by cash credits the banks render themselves liable to be called upon at a moment's notice for the amount of the credit granted, it is natural to suppose that they contemplate some advantage in return. The advantage contemplated is the circulation of their notes. It is not intended that the cash credit shall be a dead loan of capital. It is expected that there shall be a perpetual paying in and drawing out of money; and the smaller the denomination of the notes drawn out, the more advantageous is the account to the bank. Manufacturers who pay away large sums every week in wages, linen buyers and cattle dealers, millers and provision merchants, who make their purchases in small sums, and generally all those who have quick returns of money passing through their hands, have the means of making a cash credit profitable to the bank. On this subject I again quote the evidence :
“ To secure to the bank the advantages of circulation, which is to make it worth while to afford these facilities at so little expense to a customer, he, on his part, is towlose no opportunity of bringing to the bank, and thus withdrawing from circulation, the notes of every rival bank which comes into his hands in the course of his transac. tions; or of paying away, and thus introducing into circulation, as many of the notes of the bank as his transactions admit of, always £1 notes if possible. The payments and receipts must be frequent, for in this consists the banker's profit, inasmuch as the payments are uniformly made by him in his own notes, and the receipts are generally, in a very great degree, in the notes of other banks. Thus, supposing a shopkeeper to have a credit for £50 or £100, if his receipts and payments average £5 per day, he may, in six months, or 150 days, have placed 750 of his banker's £1 notes in circulation.
“ It is quite necessary, in order to render a cash account
beneficial, that there should be repeated and continued operations upon it; that the transactions should be numerous; that there should be a continual drawing out and paying in of money; and that, by these means, a circulation of the bank notes may be promoted; otherwise the account is withdrawn, and the great reason of this is, that these accounts are not intended to form dead loans, but to be productive of circulation to the bank.
“The explanation of the cash credit system is this:-The bank who first opened a cash credit opened it with an individual shopkeeper. He received payment of his goods in the currency of the country. Previous to that system, he used to put his currency into his drawer, £8 or £10, or whatever it was. If people brought him larger money to pay for his goods, he returned those people change; or if he did not, he kept it until he wanted to purchase for himself. But after the banker had explained to him what he wished him to do, when the shopkeeper received the currency of the country, instead of putting it into his till, he looked to the banker's shop as his till, and handed it over to the banker, and left his own till with only the change which he could not do without. Then, when he required sums to pay away, instead of taking them from his till, he sent to the bank, and took from it what he required, the banker giving him his own notes. So much of the previous currency was thus removed, and the banker's notes taken in its place. That was the effect of the first operation, when the thing was only in so simple a state that there was only the notes of one bank and a metallic circulation. If you apply the same principle where there are thirty banks, the result would be the same. The amount of the circulation of the country continues the same, but the proportions between its parts vary.”
Deposits.-A sum of money deposited or placed in a
bank is called a deposit. Most banks grant interest on these deposits, but some do not. The Scotch banks have carried this practice to the greatest extent, and the deposit system forms a very important branch of the banking system in Scotland.
Those regulations which the banks have established as the rule of the transactions between themselves and the depositors are the following:
The depositor may place in the bank any amount of money he pleases above £10.
The whole or any part of the deposit may be withdrawn at the pleasure of the depositor without previous notice.
Interest is allowed on the deposit from the day it is lodged in the bank until the day it is drawn out. Provided, that is, it has been allowed to lie a month, no interest being paid upon a sum deposited for a shorter period.
The balance of a current account is allowed interest at the rate of į per cent. less than if it were a permanent deposit, when calculated on the minimum for the month, or one per cent. less when calculated on the daily balance.
The following are the advantages ascribed to the deposit system:
1. The system of deposits is advantageous to the lower classes in providing a place of safety for their depositsin granting them interest on their savings-in encouraging habits of frugality-and thus often enabling them to advance in society.
“The deposit branch divides itself into two parts : There is, first, what is called a running account, where the party pays in from day to day the whole surplus funds in his hands, and on which he receives interest. These de positors are, in general, shopkeepers, and merchants, and
traders, more particularly in large towns; and in these deposit accounts there is found at their credit, at the close of every day, the whole amount of the money for which they have not immediate employment in their trade. The second branch of deposits consists of small sums placed in the hands of the bank at interest, which have been in general the savings of their industry, and which are put into the hands of the bank to accumulate, and on which they may operate not in the way of a running account. They may receive a partial payment whenever they please ; but in general these deposits are very seldom removed, excepting when an individual has occasion to build a house or begin business. This class of deposits is distinguished from running accounts by the name of deposit receipts.” 1
“Wbat class of the community is it that makes the smaller deposits ? — They are generally the labouring classes in towns like Glasgow. In country places, like Perth and Aberdeen, it is from servants and fishermen, and just that class of the community who save from their earnings in mere trifles small sums till they come to be a bank deposit. There is now a facility for their placing money in the provident banks, who receive money till the deposit amounts to £10. When it amounts to £10 it is equal to the minimum of a bank deposit. The system of banking in Scotland is just an extension of the provident bank system. Half-yearly or yearly these depositors come to the bank, and add the savings of their labour, with the interest that has accrued from the previous half-year or year, to the principal. And in this way it goes on, without being at all reduced, accumulating, till the depositor is able either to buy or build a house, when it comes to be one, two, or three hundred pounds, or till he is able to com
"Lords' Report, p. 80.
mence business as a master in the line in which he has hitherto been a servant. A great part of the depositors of the bank are of that description; and a great part of the most thriving of our farmers and manufacturers have arisen from such beginnings. And in regard to the deposit receipts, I may just mention what is generally the way in which they are granted. To-day a person from the country appears at the bank, it may be with £20 or £30 or £50. We probably never see him again till that day twelvemonth, but we are sure of seeing him about that very day. If he has £20 in the bank, he may come and say, 'There are four guineas; you will give me a receipt for £25. He knows well that the £20 has earned 168. interest; and I do consider that the four guineas are just the savings of the year. He goes away with his new receipt, and returns on that day twelvemonth; then again it is added to, and thus accumulated—and so in many instances throughout the
2. The system of deposits is advantageous to capitalists in furnishing them with a secure mode of employment of capital, either for a longer or a shorter period, at their pleasure.
“ What class of persons form the large and steady depositors in the Scotch banks ?—The middling and the lower order of society, industrious poor people, who are saying their money, and small capitalists who have raised a moderate sum of money, upon the interest of which they live.
“Do many persons live upon the interest of their deposits, as far as you know ?-Yes, a great many.” ?
“Do you know whether it is the practice of persons who have small capitals in Scotland, to invest them in the public securities in London, or to deposit them with the i Commons' Report, p. 159.
» Lords' Report, p. 165.