An excellent system that is used by several metropolitan banks is described by Charles W. Reihl, the bank expert of Philadelphia. This gives numerous labor-saving uses of cards, particularly as an aid to the paying teller.
The use of the card system for signatures is not new to bankers, although some have not yet done away with the old signature book, that cannot possibly be kept in the way that signatures should be kept. Some books are better than others, but none so good as a proper card system.
Many bankers who have adopted the card system use only two forms, one for banks and the other for firms, corporations and individuals. This will answer to a limited extent, but separate cards for each would answer to an unlimited extent.
Figures I and II
The system here given was prepared after much study and examination of other systems, and it has been very highly commended by those who are qualified to pass judgment on it. It is especially intended for the paying teller's department, because he, by the nature of his duties, is required to refer to the signatures more than anyone else in the bank.
Figure I is for the signatures of officers of banks in the same city where the bank issuing the cards is located. Figure II shows the back of the same card. The information given on the back may be of more use than that given on the face. The names given on all the cards here illustrated are fictitious, for it would not be right to take cards from the cabinet and use them in this way. The names given are simply to show how the cards look when filled up, and the information they give.
Figures III and IV
The card for out-of-town banks is Figure III. The wording of the two printed lines, beginning, "The signatures below," etc., is a little different from that generally used. It is clearer and more to the point, giving special instructions, which become effective when the signature is placed below.
The individual card is shown in Figure IV. No comment about this is necessary, for it explains itself. But on the firm card (Figure V) the arrangement giving place for the name of the person who signs for the firm is very useful. The question sometimes arises as to which member of the firm signed a certain check or note. Reference to this card would tell at once.
Figures V and VI
All these cards, except those for banks, give a place for the address, business - that is, the nature of the business - and by whom the party was introduced to the bank. This information is often wanted, and will be found useful in many ways on many days.
Figure VI is the corporation card; on it is a clause stating that, unless otherwise instructed, only one signature is required. Frequently the treasurer's signature is the only one used, but in the case here given the bank is instructed that two signatures are required on each check or note. Without the special instructions the bank would be authorized to pay on any one of the three signatures given.
The same card (Figure VI) is to be used for trust companies, too, as shown in Figure VII. The nature of the business in this case is understood without making note of it.
Although seven forms are here given, there are only four different kinds of cards. The two for banks are the same on the face, but some had the form printed on the back, for use with banks in the same city.
Figures VII and VIII
There is really only one objection to these cards; it is that they are too wide to be enclosed in an ordinary business envelope. They are four by six inches, and require a special envelope when sent through mail. If they were three and a half by six inches, they could be enclosed in an ordinary business envelope, and would not be so liable to be broken or torn in the mail. They could very easily be so printed.
Another important matter with the paying teller's department is "stop payment" orders. These orders are usually written on a slip of paper or letter form from the party who issued the check or note, and then desired for some reason not to have it paid, and when the item has been returned or the order canceled, the slip is torn up, and that ends the record. Some keep the record by entries, in a book kept for that purpose. But with the card system a card like Figure VIII can be used to great advantage. When the order is given to stop payment, the card is filled out, as here shown, and the card is filed in its place. If the order is canceled for any reason, the two bottom lines are filled up and the card filed back of those still in effect. If the check comes in and is returned, mention of the fact, with date, should be made on the card, and then the card is filed as if the order had been canceled.
For these cards a four-drawer cabinet is used. First drawer for A to K cards, second for L to Z cards, third for local and out-of-town banks, fourth for stop-payment orders and to file cards of accounts that have been closed. When an account is closed, the card should be taken from its place, marked "Account Closed," with date and reason, and then filed away in alphabetic order in the fourth drawer. If the bank has more than two ledgers for individual accounts, more drawers can be provided for the cards. To those who think of adopting the card system for signatures, let me make a suggestion: When you send out the cards, with letter asking for signatures, enclose an introduction card, like Figure IX, and ask them to use it in introducing someone to open an account with the bank. The typographical work might be better than that on this card, but it is the idea that is to be impressed upon you as a good one to use to bring business.