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The progress of 1881 has not been fully sustained during the present year. For the first six months of 1882 the clearings have been £1,578,670,000, against £5,215,417,000 in the corresponding period of last year.
The transactions of the gold clearing from 1872–1879 are included in the amounts quoted in the foregoing table, and are also given separately below:
As I have already stated the other Clearing Houses are twentyeight in number, and by the kindness of their respective managers I have been furnished with some particulars of almost every one of them. It will be unnecessary to give any description of their method of doing business, as the plan of operations is generally similar to that adopted in New York; in some of the larger cities the arrangements are almost identical.
In most cities the exchanges are conducted at a Clearing House; but in Providence, Hartford, Memphis, St. Paul, Lowell, and some others, they are made at the banking house of one or other of the members. The hour for exchange is generally early, at Philadelphia so early as 8.30 a.m., and in but two cities is there a second clearing. In all cases the charges are delivered complete, and with lists of the items, excepting at New Orleans and San Francisco, where the total amount only is given. The drafts are generally placed in sealed envelopes, and these are taken unopened to the various banking offices: at Louisville and Portland only are the charges examined in the Exchange Room. Generally about three hours are allowed for the examination of the drafts, such as are unpaid being returned to the banker presenting them and the amounts claimed in cash. At Louisville alone are they returned through the Clearing House.
Balances are settled for in various ways. At Boston, Philadel. phia and Baltimore, depositories of gold coin have been established, and coin-certificates are used in payment of the balances, together with cash (i.e., gold coin and legal-tender notes); and at Philadelphia due bills are also taken. In most cases, cash, as defined above, only is taken; at San Francisco, gold coin alone; at Chicago, national bank notes are received. In St. Louis, New Orleans, Louisville and some other cities, the balances are not paid at the Clearing House, but by the manager's cheque or certificate on the debtor banks, and in favour of the creditor banks. At Hartford, cheques on New York are given; at Worcester, cheques on Boston ; and drafts on either of these cities form the medium of settlements at Providence, Portland, and Springfield.
The following table gives particulars respecting the chief points of interest in all these institutions. The returns of amounts cleared during 1881, have been reduced by one half in the cases of Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Louisville and Kansas, as the amounts reported from these cities include both sides, that is, the exchanges brought in and those taken away.
A.M. 10.0 10.0
8.30 and 11.30 11.0 10.0
1 10.0 9.0
18 18 20 14 10 17 18 37
+ 10.30 10.15
1865.. Chicago 1868.. St. Louis 1858,. Baltimore 1876. . San Francisco.. 1872.. New Orleans 1866.. Cincinnati 1866.. Pittsburgh 1865.. Providence 1868.. Milwaukee 1876.. Louisville 1871.. Indianapolis 1858.. Cleveland 1871... Hartford 1873.. Kansas City 1867.. New Haven 1865.. Portland 1868.. Columbus 1880.. Peoria .. 1879.. Memphis 1861... Worcester 1877.. St. Joseph 1872.. Springfield 1876.. Lowell .. 1877.. Syracuse 1874.. St. Paul
6 15 8 6 8 4 9 7
1,517 2,339 2,433 4,000
940 1,597 1,993 3,613
700 2,060 1,582
340 953 610 128 210 296 490
54 660 500 266 521 90
9.5 15.2 16.5 20.9
9.9 15.0 20.2 21.0 17.8 16.4 27.0 25.0 28.7 25.0 24.8 44.0 19.8 25.0 22:8 33.6 30.0 30.7 37.5 37.0
+ 11.15 9.0
Corrected amounts. $ April 1881 to April 1882.
No report as to hours.
The aggregate returns for the first six months of 1882 do not compare favourably with the above figures, being only £5,918,771,000; showing, as compared with the same period of 1881, a decrease of over 9 per cent. This must not, however, be taken as a direct indication of the position of the general trade of the country. The greater part of the decrease occurs in the operations of New York and Boston, whilst Chicago, Milwaukee, and Kausas City show considerable percentages of increase. Leaving out the returns from the two first-named cities, those from the remainder exhibit an increase of 7.7 per cent; not, indeed, equal to the considerable advances of recent years, but still affording some reason for congratulation. Perhaps the same may be said of the figures from New York and Boston. Subjoined are details of the comparison :Increase.
Decrease. Philadelphia 1.3 per cent. New York
12-2 per cent. Chicago
14.8 St. Louis
9.4 San Francisco
13.8 Kansas City
47.6 New Haven..
22:4 In the records of their transactions most of these Clearing Houses are very complete, and generally make them up for calendar years, the only exceptions being those of Cincinnati, ending 31st March, and New Orleans, ending on the 1st June. At Peoria, where the clearing was only established in April, 1880, no record of amounts cleared was kept until April, 1881, and the amount now quoted is from that date until April of the present year; it remains to be seen whether future reports will be made up thus or by calendar years. In a few other cases, among which Baltimore and Cleveland are the most conspicuous, the returns do not date from the establishment of the system, but commence some years later. From Portland, and from Providence previous to 1881, estimates only are obtainable, in both cases the clearing being conducted through individual banks.
At Providence, the system, which dates from 1865, is peculiar to itself. Nineteen banks are associated with the Merchants' National Bank there, and eighteen with the National Bank of North America. Each of these two banks receives, at 10.30 a.m., from all the banks clearing through it, packages containing unassorted cheques on all the banks in the city. These packages having been opened and the contents checked against the lists enclosed, the drafts are assorted and made up into other charges against each bank in the city. At 1 p.m. those packages that have been made up by the Merchants’ Bank against the Bank of North America and the banks clearing with it are exchanged for the packages similarly made up by the other bank; and whichever bank proves to be the debtor pays by draft on New York or Boston, afterwards settling with its own clearing banks in the same manner. The compensation paid by each bank to the Clearing House Bank ranges from £20 to £50 per annum.
From St. Paul and from Norfolk no reports have ever been published. The former city is a local money centre and some of the banks act as agents for small banks within a radius of 200 or 300 miles, one member of the Clearing having upwards of 100 such banks upon its books. As, therefore, their clearings do not amount to more than a very small proportion of their transactions, the figures are withheld as being likely to mislead.
In the returns from most of the Clearing Houses the aggregate balances form a conspicuous feature, but I have not deemed it recessary to give them here. Their variations in New York may be observed in the table on page 556, and their different ratios for 1881 in that on page 559 ; and from these figures I think it will
; be apparent that they do not follow any rule or illustrate any principle.
Following are tables giving the transactions of all these Clearing Houses so far as they are obtainable :
* Both sides reported.
Years ending 31st March.
+ Years ending 1st June,