Question 333.— Is it optional with a bank to close at one o'clock on any other day than Saturday, in lieu of the latter day? Do not the provisions of the Bills of Exchange Act, respecting the hours at which bills may be protested, impose a duty on the banks as to the hour up to which they must keep open?

Answer.—Were it not for the peculiar relationship between a bank and its customers, whereby it undertakes to make payments on their account out of the moneys in its hands on presentation of cheques, it might be said that a bank is free to close its doors at any hour it may choose, but the fulfilment of this undertaking doubtless requires that a bank should be open at the usual hours unless it give reasonable notice to the contrary. But such notice having been given, we think it is clear that a bank may arrange to close on any day of the week at one o'clock, and we know that it is not an uncommon practice in the old country for banks to have their offices in small places open only on a certain day or certain days of the week.

As regards the Bills of Exchange Act, this has no bearing on the matter except so far as the hours fixed for the protesting of notes may be taken as indicating what is recognized to be the general practice as to the hours for keeping open. The Act, however, so far as this point is concerned, only refers to the hour before which a note cannot be protested—i.e., 3 o'clock, and that this does not affect banks directly is quite plain. Banks usually close at three, and although the practice of admitting notaries after three is a very general one, we do not think that if the notary found the office locked and protested a bill for non-payment, the bank would be under any responsibility in the matter. The most that could be said is that they had impliedly undertaken to be open till three o'clock on certain days of the week to make payments on behalf of their customers.