This section is from the "Practical Banking" book, by Albert S. Bolles.
In addition to the banks which are members of the Association, most of the other New York City banks effect their exchanges through the Clearing-house by the agency of some bank that is a member. The bank for which the clearing is done is required to keep an adequate fund on deposit at the clearing bank, both as a compensation for the service rendered, and as a guarantee against loss. The vouchers to be cleared are sent every morning or oftener to the clearing bank, and are classified and distributed among the exchanges of the latter as if received by it on deposit. The return exchange is also received by the clearing bank with its own exchanges, as if payable by it, and after being charged to the bank for which the clearing is done, is transmitted to it as speedily as possible, usually by messengers dispatched by the latter directly after the clearing. In case of the return of checks for want of funds or other reasons, the matter would naturally be adjusted through the agency of the clearing bank. The regulations of the New York Clearing-house provide, that "whenever any member of the Association shall send through the Clearing-house the exchanges of any bank or banks in the city or vicinity, who are not members, such sending shall, ipso facto, and without other notice, constitute said member the agent for said bank or banks at the Clearing-house; and said member shall be liable in the premises the same as for its own transactions, and its liability in all such, cases shall continue until after the completion of the exchanges of the morning next following the receipt of notice of discontinuance of such agency." A similar regulation is in force at New Orleans.
At Boston the Clearing-house embraced, in January, 1884, the operations of twenty-four banks in the vicinity which were not members; at Pittsburgh forty-six, and at St. Louis four. At Boston, banks outside availing themselves of the privileges of the Clearing-house must pay towards its expenses a sum to be annually determined by the Clearing-house committee. At some of the Clearing-houses, members are not allowed to make the exchanges of any bank outside. This is the case at Indianapolis, Lowell and Worcester.
A plan for clearing gold checks was adopted February 14, 1872, and the exchange of such checks commenced in March following and was continued until the resumption of specie payments, January 1, 1879. This exchange was kept distinct from the exchange of currency checks, but took place at the same time and place and was conducted in the same way. The total of gold clearings during this period of nearly seven years was $ 14,066,282,911.94, and the balances paid in gold or gold certificates amounted to $2,236,317,602.24, or 15.9 per cent, of the clearings.