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Services Performed By Banking Institutions
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The Origin And Functions Of Money
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Legal Tender
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International Bimetallism
The Silver Question In The United States
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Services Performed By Banking Institutions

From the point of view of their customers these services may be
grouped under the following heads: The safekeeping of money and other
valuables; the making of payments; the making of loans; and the making
of investments. It is a common practice everywhere, and in some
countries, notably the United States, almost a universal practice for
people to intrust their money to banks for safekeeping. To a degree,
hoarding, in the sense of locking up money in private vaults and other
receptacles and keeping it under the eye and in the personal care of
the owner, is still practiced, but it is doubtless on the wane in all
civilized countries. The practice of intrusting to banks the
safekeeping of other valuables, such as important documents, jewelry,
plate, etc., is also widespread and growing.

The service of the safekeeping of money naturally leads to the second,
the making of payments. When we intrust our means of payment to a
bank, it is natural that we should also make it our treasurer and
disbursing agent, and so we do. If we have payments to make to people
at home, in other cities of our own country, or in other countries, we
usually order our bank to perform the service for us.

Loans of almost all kinds are made by banks, and certain kinds,
namely, those to business men for the everyday conduct of commerce and
industry, are made almost exclusively by them. For the most part these
are short-term loans. For long-term loans banks are also one of the
chief resorts, but in some countries these are not to so great a
degree monopolized by them as the short-term variety.

For the investment of the surplus funds of people banks are the chief
agencies. This function takes the form mainly of the sale of stocks,
bonds, and mortgages, and sometimes of the promotion of new

None of these services are performed by banks exclusively. For the
safekeeping of valuables, and sometimes of money, there are in some
places safe deposit companies to which the term "banks" is not
applied. In the making of payments the post office departments of
governments and express companies participate, and in the making of
loans and investments brokers, loan companies, lawyers, etc.,
participate. The peculiarity of banking institutions consists not in
the performance of any one of these services, but in the fact that
they specialize in them all, or in a combination of them. Merely to
keep money and valuables on deposit, or to act as paymaster, or to
make loans, or to sell bonds, stocks, and mortgages would not make an
institution a bank or an individual a banker; but to make a business
of performing most or all of these services for the public involves
the use of certain machinery and certain methods of procedure, and the
assumption of a role in the nation's economy which is distinctive and
peculiar, and which has set these institutions apart in every country
as objects of legislation and of scientific treatment, as well as in
the thought and regard of the people.

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