But such an employment of the resources of a bank is opposed to all regular rules of business and of banking tradition, which abstains from making fixed investments of any large part of the resources of a bank. On the other hand, Dr Koch observes that the risks of the one "reserve system" mentioned by Bagehot are not to be feared in Germany. Depitre and Dr Riesser, who give particulars of the business done by these banks, which does not correspond with banking as practised in the United Kingdom, being more of an industrial character.
There are also many private banking firms in Germany which do a considerable amount of business. The Reichsbank, by far the most powerful banking institution in Germany, is managed by the bank directory appointed by the chancellor of the empire. The shareholders join in the management through a committee, of which each member must be qualified by holding not less than three shares.
The government exercises complete powers of control through the chancellor of the empire. The influence of the Imperial Bank now permeates, by means of its branches, all the separate kingdoms of the empire—the uniformity of coinage introduced through the laws of rendering this possible. The Imperial Bank assists business principally in two ways—first, through the clearing system Giro-Verkehr , which it has greatly developed, and secondly, through the facilities given to business by its note circulation.
The Imperial Bank also receives deposits, and cheques are drawn against these, but in Germany notes are principally used in payments for ordinary business. Before the Reichsbank was established, Hamburg was the first, and for a long time the only, example of a clearing in Germany. This was taken up by the Reichsbank when it established its office in Hamburg in the time-honoured building which had belonged to the Hamburg Clearing House.
Similar business had long been undertaken by the Bank of Prussia.
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This was absorbed and developed by the Reichsbank in Through the "clearing system" money can be remitted from any of the places in which there is an office of the Reichsbank, to any of these places, without charge either to the sender or the receiver. It is sufficient that the person to whom the money is to be remitted should have an account at the bank.
Any person owing him money in the remotest parts of the empire may go to the office of the bank which is most convenient to him and pay in the amount of his debt, which is credited on the following day at the office of the bank, without charge, to the account of his creditor wherever he may reside. The person who makes the payment need not have any account with the bank.
Articles by Thomas Gazis
The impetus given to business by this arrangement has been very considerable. It practically amounts to a money-order system without charge or risk of loss in transmission. From Hamburg and Bremen to the frontiers of Russia, from the shores of the Baltic to the frontiers of Switzerland, the whole of the empire of Germany has thus become for monetary purposes one country only. The note circulation is also a powerful factor of the business of the Reichsbank. It is governed by the law of and the amending law of , corresponding in some degree to Peel's act of , which regulates the note circulation of the Bank of England.
Against the notes thus issued which are not represented by specie, treasury notes Reichskassenscheine , the legal tender notes of the [v. The Reichsbank is bound by law to redeem its notes in current German money. In practice, however, facilities have not always been given by the Reichsbank for the payment of its obligations in gold, though the importance of this is admitted. In this respect the German act differs from the English act, which allows no such automatic statutory power of overpassing the limit of issue.
Some good authorities consider that this arrangement is an advantage for the German bank, and the fact that it has been made use of annually since appears to show that it is needed by the business requirements of the country. The increase of the uncovered limit untaxed limit of issue called in Germany the "note reserve" has not been sufficient to obviate the need for an excess of issue beyond the limit.
The amendment of the banking law of Germany, passed in , not only affects the position of the Reichsbank, but that of the four other note-issuing banks.
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The amending act further diminishes the dividend receivable by the stockholders of the Reichsbank and increases the share which the government will obtain. The arrangement with the four note-issuing banks is designed to cause them to work in harmony with the Reichsbank when the Reichsbank has to raise its bank-rate in order to protect its gold reserves. If the Reichsbank discounts below the official rate, it is to announce that fact in the Gazette. Juni , Artikel 7, S. The private note-issuing banks are bound by Artikel 7, S. It remains to be seen whether the note-issuing banks will find these conditions too onerous, and rather than be bound by them will give up their right of issuing notes.
The object of the enactment is apparently to protect the specie reserve of the Reichsbank, but it may be doubted whether, considering the importance of the other banks of Germany—none of which is bound by similar conditions—relatively to the note-issuing banks, the restrictions put on the note-issuing banks will have any practical effect.
Since banking has made immense progress in Germany, but it may be some time before the habit of making payments by cheque instead of specie or notes becomes general. Inglis Palgrave, London, printed for private circulation. General Information. Foyot and A. Lanjalley ; Dictionnaire du commerce, de l'industrie et de la banque , edited by A. Raffalovich and Yves Guyot; Bankers' Magazine , commenced , to present time; Journal of the Institute of Bankers , commenced , to present time; Bankers' Magazine New York ; Economist newspaper, commenced , to present time; Banking Almanac , commenced , to present time; Reports of the Comptroller of the Currency Washington.
Gilbart, edited and revised by A. Attfield, English and Foreign Banks refers to management of banks ; T.
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Moxon, English Practical Banking , 10th ed. Duncan, Notes on the Rate of Discount in London , 3 vols. Hardcastle, Banks and Bankers ; W. Lawson, The History of Banking ; R. Baxter, The Panic of ; F. Dunbar, Economic Essays , edited by O. Sprague , containing many articles on banking, particularly in the United States.
Bank of England. Turner, Chronicles of the Bank of England ; T. Stephens, Bibliography of the Bank of England ; A. Schuster, The Bank of England and the State History of Banking Houses. Grindon, Manchester Banks and Bankers ; J. Hughes, Liverpool Banks and Bankers, Kerr, History of Scotch Banking ; A. British Colonies.
Boissevain, Duitsche en Engelsche Deposito-Banken Wolff, People's Banks The early history of the American colonies is strewn, like that of most new countries, with many crude experiments in banking and currency issues. Most of these colonial enterprises, however, were projects for the issue of paper money rather than the creation of commercial banks.
Speculative banking was checked to a large extent in the colonies by the Bubble Act 6 Geo. This act, which forbade the formation of banking companies without a special charter, was in extended to the colonies. The serious history of banking in the United States may be said to have begun with the foundation of the Bank of Pennsylvania. This bank originated in the project of a number of the citizens of Philadelphia to supply the continental army with rations.
The first bills, issued in , were nothing more than interest-bearing notes payable at a future time. A further outgrowth of the needs of the continental government was the Bank of North America, which was authorized by congress on May 26, Morris arranged with the Bank of Pennsylvania to take over its holdings of foreign bills and paid in cash its claims against the Federation.
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The Bank of North America did not begin business until the 7th of January , and there was so much doubt of the power of the continental congress to charter a bank that it was thought advisable to obtain a charter from the state of Pennsylvania. Under this charter the bank continued to operate until it was absorbed in the national banking system in , and it may be considered the oldest organized banking institution in the United States.
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The bank did much, during the first eight years after its organization, to restore order to the chaos of Federation finances. The Bank of the United States. This bank issued circulating notes, discounted commercial paper and aided the government in its financial operations. The government subscribed one-fifth of the capital, but paid for it by a roundabout process which actually resulted in the loan of the amount by the bank to the treasury. The expiration of the charter of the bank in was the occasion of a party contest, which prevented renewal and added greatly to the financial difficulties of the government in the war with Great Britain which began in the next year.
Although foreign shareholders were not permitted to vote by proxy, and the twenty-five directors were required to be citizens of the United States, the bank was attacked on the ground of foreign ownership as well as on the constitutional ground that congress had no power to create such an institution. The government was compelled in the war of to rely on the state banks. Their suspension of specie payments, in , made it very difficult for the treasury to transfer funds from one part of the Union to the other, because the notes of one section did not circulate readily in another.
Gallatin left on record the opinion that the suspension of specie payments "might have been prevented at the time when it took place, had the former Bank of the United States been still in existence. The financial condition of the government became so bad during the war that the second Bank of the United States was authorized in April The general project was that of Alexander J. Dallas, who in October had become secretary of the treasury. The president of the United States was authorized to appoint five of the twenty-five directors and public funds were to be deposited in the bank, "unless the secretary of the treasury shall at any time otherwise order and direct.
Chief Justice Marshall rendered the decision that the right to create the bank was within the implied powers granted by the Federal constitution, and that it was not competent for the states to levy taxes upon the circulating notes of the bank or upon its property except in common with other property. The second Bank of the United States was not well managed in the early part of its career, but was upon a firmer foundation under the presidency of Langdon Cheves in Its policy greatly benefited commerce, but invited bitter complaints from the private dealers in exchange, who had been enabled to make excessive profits while the currency was below par, because of its different values in different states and the constant fluctuations in these values.
The Bank, in the language of the report of Senator Samuel Smith of Maryland in , furnished "a currency as safe as silver, more convenient, and more valuable [v. The institution was ultimately destroyed by the open enmity of President Jackson, who in had suspended the deposit of public money in its custody. This policy known as the "removal of the deposits," excited a bitter political controversy in which Clay and Webster led the opposition, but Jackson was supported by the public see Jackson, Andrew.
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