This section is from the "Practical Banking" book, by Albert S. Bolles.
Third.—The Savings institution does not hoard money.
Some men object to the Savings institution because it withholds money from circulation. This is an obvious fallacy. If the depositors in such institutions were to save an amount of money as large as they deposit, a great part of it would be hoarded. All who have acquaintance with Savings banks know this. If a panic comes upon the depositors in one institution, or in several, and money is drawn in large sums, much of it is hoarded and much of it is squandered. After the fright is over the identical money that was withdrawn and kept is often returned for deposit months after withdrawal. This demonstration of the disposition of saving men to hoard is always made under these conditions. The Savings bank encourages the habit of saving. Many of you, I have no doubt, were born and bred as boys on farms. You may still recollect the eager hunt for hens' nests in the hay mows, bays and scaffolds of the old weather-stained barns; you will recollect, too, perhaps, that the nests require the invitation of a "nest egg" to coax the fecund fowl to make her diurnal deposit in it. I think that men need such solicitation, too. The man who is profligate while he has nothing to "lay to," will often become stingily saving when he has a "nest egg" to win him from other temptations. Those who can do this, and would otherwise lay their gains in stockings, prefer the Savings bank, for money there makes money, which this class of men are quick to see.
The Savings bank invests its money. Its managers are, in theory, intelligent men, competent to make safe investments in solid securities. The genuine Savings bank is conservative, and does not encourage speculation, ballooning, and failure with disaster. It puts money into circulation, and does not withhold it. It adds substantially to the sum of active capital in the country, which is not less useful because it is permanently invested. These little savings, when gathered into masses and discreetly invested, serve great purposes. As the tiny streams which trickle from hidden springs upon remote hill sides flow together and make the willing power to turn mill wheels, or to furnish the water for the thirsty people of a great city, so these savings of humble people and of small owners, when aggregated, become available to build the mills, or to buy the wheels for the mills, or to lay the pipes to convey the water to the thirsty town, or to help the thrifty saver to rear his own house, or to aid the State itself when its financial burdens are too great to be discharged at once.
Fourth.—Why should any man become the manager of a Savings bank?
I have been asked this question often. The trustee cannot be paid. Why should a man do anything that will not pay him? I hope I have given some reasons why a Savings bank does pay the community in which it is placed. No man with capital can turn a deaf ear to the promise to save that capital from the moth and rust of taxation. You know that now. A host of Savings-bank depositors is a better class of citizens than an army of tramps. The self-sustaining person, who is self-respecting, too, is a safer neighbor than the vicious drone or the indolent beggar. The Savings bank is not a pauperizing charity. But it is a school, teaching the sound lessons of self-denial, of economy, and of sober industry.
Ill fares the land, to Hastening ills a prey, Where wealth accumulates and men decay,
says the poet.
But if wealth accumulates, and men and women grow stronger by its possession, and better in character and aspiration by the habits of saving, happy is the land where they dwell. There is no man who has capital, who is acquiring capital, that has not, in fact, an interest in the success of Savings banks, though he may not have seen this or felt it. You, gentlemen, give freely to support churches; you pay taxes to maintain schools, to watch criminals, to punish the bad. These things cost you money, and a good round sum, too. Have not you, has not every man who can do it, an interest in these institutions, which are saving in many senses?