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BANKING

years, to render services to large and small businesses and to agricultural industry. In 1877 the offices of the Bank of France were 78 in number; in 1900 they were 392, including the towns “ connected with the branches,” —an arrangement which, without causing the bank the expense of opening a branch, gives the place connected many of the advantages which a branch confers. The commercial paper discounted has largely increased, and in 1900 amounted to £489,902,000. The advances on securities were in the same year £66,000,000. The rate of discount in Paris is, as a rule, lower than in London, and the number of alterations in it fewer. Bills as low as 4s. 2d. are admitted to discount, and since 27th March 1890, loans of as small an amount as £10 are granted. In most cases three “ names ” must be furnished for each bill, or suitable guarantees or security given, but these necessary safeguards have not to be furnished in such a manner as to hamper applicants for loans unduly. In this manner the Bank of France is of great service to the industry of the country. It has never succeeded, however, in attracting deposits on anything like the scale of the Bank of England or the banks of the English-speaking peoples, but it holds about £25,000,000 in deposits, and operates through its enormous note circulation (averaging in 1900 £161,400,000), by means of which most business transactions in France are carried on. The limits of the circulation of the Bank of France and the dates when it has been extended are as follows :— Millions of Converting the Dates. Francs. Franc as 25 = £1. 350 £14,000,000 15th March 1848 . 452 18,000,000 27th April, 2nd May 1848 525 21,000,000 2nd December 1849 1.800 32,000,000 12th August 1870 . 2,400 96,000,000 14th August 1870 . 2.800 112,000,000 29th December 1871 3,200 128,000,000 15th July 1872 3,500 140,000,000 30th January 1884 4,000 160,000,000 25th January 1893 The extension of the circulation of the Bank of France, now ten times as large as half-a-century since, is a sufficient proof of the assistance afforded by that institution to the business of the country. Most business transactions in France are liquidated in notes of the Bank of France. These, owing to their convenience, are preferred to specie. This is accumulated in the vaults of the Bank of France, which in 1900 held £93,372,000 gold, and £44,000,000 silver. The gold held by the Bank of France is generally considerably larger in amount than that held by the Bank of England, which in the autumn of 1890 had to borrow £3,000,000 in gold from the Bank of France at the time of the Baring crisis. The large specie reserve of the bank has given stability to the trade of France, and has enabled the bank to manage its business without the numerous fluctuations in the rate of discount which are constantly occurring in England. The mass of the reserve in France is so great that the movements of the precious metals, when they are the result only of natural causes, are allowed to go on without corresponding movements in the discount rate. But it must be remembered that this large reserve is held in part against a gigantic note issue, and also that the trade activity and enterprise of the French people are less intense than in the United Kingdom or Germany, so that it is much easier for the Bank of France to maintain a steady rate of discount. Besides the Bank of France, several great credit institutions carry on business, as the Credit Lyonnais, the Comptoir National d’Escompte de Paris, the Societe Generale pour favoriser le developpement du Commerce et de ITndustrie en France, and the Societe Generale de Credit Industriel et Commercial. Their principal figures are as follows :—

Capital I Lidbrnuea, E«S?v,. I

Branches.

Comptoir National d’Escompte £4,000,000 £21,000,000 / 122 offices. I 80 in France. de Paris / 173 Credit Lyonnais .... 10,400,000 46,000,000 Societe Generale pour favoriser) le developpement du Commerce v 2,950,000 22,000,400 /I 55 in 282 France. et de 1’Industrie en France . ) Societe Generale de Credit In-} 18 4,600,000 880,000 dustriel et Commercial . . / There is also the Credit Foncier de France with a capital of nearly £13,500,000, but the business done is so largely that of mortgages that it can hardly be included among banks, though it carries on in some measure the business of banking. Besides the four large joint stock banks mentioned above, there exist in France a very large number of country banks carrying on a very considerable business. Little is known as to their deposits, but their business appears to be conducted with great prudence and discretion. One hundred and eighty-two of these were members of the French Country Bankers’ Association in 1898. They carry on business in 66 out of the 86 Departments. More than one of these banks has several offices — one possessing 18, including the head office. These branches are situated in the small towns in the vicinity. In this the business follows more the English method of small branches. The French Country Bankers’ Association holds its meetings in Paris, where matters of interest to bankers are discussed. (See Bankers' Magazine, July 1898.) The business of banking in France is carried on with great regularity and vigour. Little, comparatively, is heard of it in a general way beyond the boundaries of the country, but within those limits it exerts a very useful influence on the development of industrial progress and of agriculture. Germany. There are, together with the Reichsbank, to which reference will be made more particularly later, about 140 banks doing business in the states which form the German empire. These credit and industrial banks with their large resources have had an immense influence in bringing about the astonishing industrial development of the country. Six of these banks possess the right of uncovered note issue ; these are— Bank of Frankfort, with right of issue . . £500,000 Bank of Saxony, ,, . . 838,550 Bank of Bavaria, ,, . . 1,600,000 Bank of Wurtemberg, ,, . . 500,000 Bank of Baden, ,, . 500,000 Bank of South Germany, ,, . 500,000 £4,438,550 Besides these there are (to name only some of the more important of the credit and industrial banks) the following :— Deutsche Bank (capital and reserve, deposits and acceptances) £32,000,000 Disconto-Gesellschaft (capital and reserve, deposits and acceptances) . . . • • • 20,000,000 Dresdner Bank (capital and reserve, deposits and acceptances) . . . • • • _ • 23,000,000 Bayerische Handelsbank (capital and reserve, deposits and acceptances) .... nearly 9,000,000 Bergisch Markische Bank (capital and reserve, deposits and acceptances) . . more than 6,000,000 Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft (capital and reserve, deposits and acceptances) . . more than 11,000,000 National Bank fur Deutschland (capital and reserve, deposits and acceptances) . . . about 8,000,000 The capital and reserves of all these larger German banks, including those of the Bank of Germany, are fully