This section is from the "Practical Banking" book, by Albert S. Bolles.
The secretary is supposed to be the accounting officer of the bank. It is his duty to know, from its books and records, the state of the institution in every department, at any time. In practice, he performs a large share of the duties just described as belonging properly to the treasurer, he being constituted by the by-laws, a vice-treasurer; but his duties will be described as they exist in theory, for the secretary alone. His duties may be divided into three branches: as correspondent of the bank, as recorder of the board of trustees, and as accountant of the bank. All letters should be received by him, and answered by him, either immediately, or upon reference to the appropriate department. It is the rule of the bank that every letter received, however unimportant, be filed in its alphabetical place, and that every letter sent, however apparently unimportant, be copied in the impression book. This refers to all correspondence not of a personal character, or all which is signed officially. There can be no such thing as an unimportant letter, because the fact of every letter being copied enables us to say positively, "I did'nt write a letter to so and so on such a day, because if I had, it would appear in the copying book." This being able to swear to a negative, which can only be done by the aid of a rule without exceptions, is, of itself, worth all the labor attending the copying of letters. Official letters of the bank are written upon its letter sheet, the heading of which, printed in copying ink, contains the clauses, "referring to your letter of --------," and " subject--------," which enables a correspondence on a given subject to be traced through the letter book. Special forms of letters often required, are printed, as letter of transmission to attorneys, with check for the mortgage; letter to depositor, with remittance on his account; request to depositor to present pass book (for the tracing of errors, &c.) ; circular, explaining to persons at a distance how to deposit without coming in person, called the "remittance circular." Circular with rules as to interest on mortgage, &c. This is used to "stir up" delinquents by underscoring the part against which they have transgressed. Notices of meeting of board of trustees.
Second.—As recording officer of the board of trustees, the secretary-performs the ordinary duties of keeping the journal or minutes, and filing and preserving documents. He submits to the board at each meeting a report which is confined to the dealings of the bank with its depositors, giving all the statistics as to number and amount of receipts and payments and averages.
Third.—The chief duties of the secretary, or those which occupy the most of his time, are those which he performs as accountant to the bank. Strictly, he has no custody of any values whatever, but all records of transfers of values are directly or indirectly made by him. Thus, he is an auditor of every department of the bank, all of which contribute to him through reports. He keeps personally, or through assistance, all the general books of the bank, that is to say, all the books of the bank except those containing the accounts with depositors. His daily cash book classifies transactions in two ways: 1st, as they affect the general standing of the bank in its relation with the outside world; and, 2d, as they affect merely the increase and diminution of some one of the departments of its cash. These departments are :—
1st. Money in the hands of tellers.
2d. Funds in the vault in the direct custody of the treasurer.
3d. Deposits in banks subject to check signed by the president, treasurer and secretary.
These together constitute the total cash account, and the possible transactions may be of the following kinds:
1st. Money received from the public and paid to one of these departments, or, in other words, an increase of the total cash with an increase in a department.
2d. Money paid to the public, and drawn for that purpose from one of the departments, or, in other words, decrease of total cash, and decrease of department cash.
3d. A transfer from one department of cash to another, or increase of one department and decrease of another.
By means of the inner columns of the cash book, which represent transactions with the public, and which, alone, find their way to the monthly cash, and the outer columns, which represent the various departments spoken of, all the records for a single day are made upon a single page. The possible transactions of a single day will be shown by an example, in which a page of the daily cash book will be shown, referring to the reports, documents and vouchers which form its basis. It will be seen that every figure appearing in the columns of the daily cash has its counterpart in two different documents or reports, and that these bear upon and corroborate each other. The only exceptions are the "vault" and the. "check list," which are merely suspended transactions; half-way houses where the Treasurer temporarily detains values.