This section is from the "Practical Banking" book, by Albert S. Bolles.
If you are a stranger to the officers, and wish to open an account, get some respectable person who is known to them to introduce you either to the President or Cashier. Do not ask him to vouch for anything beyond your integrity and fairness in dealing. Tell your own story about capital, business, property, and other matters which pertain to your commercial prospects—and exaggerate nothing. There is no humbug that will recoil upon yourself so surely as an attempt to palm off big tales on a bank officer. Your deposit-tickets, your checks, your bills receivable, your endorsements, and your ledger account, make together a history that dispels all shams, and leaves little to say. A man who begins with an exaggerated account of himself is measured by it afterwards, and appears relatively small.
Borrow no money of your neighbors to swell your first deposits. This is a common practice, with the idea that it will make a favorable impression on the officers. They see through it at once, and take it as a proof of weakness.
Never try to bargain for special indulgences, such as the certification of your checks before your deposit is made, or the discount of your paper by the officers without its submission to the Board of Directors. The character of your account will settle these matters much more satisfactorily to all parties.
Let your intercourse with the officers be candid and courteous, and be sparing in your personal solicitation for discounts. Choose the earlier hours of the day for your interviews, and especially avoid the last hour before three o'clock.
Write your signature with the same freedom that you do in your own office, and never vary the style of it.
Teach your clerks to use always the deposit-tickets furnished by the bank, to examine the date and endorsement of every check, and also to see that the writing of the amount corresponds with the figures. Instruct them to learn and to follow the rules of the bank with respect to getting checks certified before deposit.
Make your deposit as early in the day as possible. If you are accustomed to have many checks, or large packages of bank bills, it is better to make two deposits—one at an early hour—than to hand in all at once just at three o'clock. Never change checks with other people merely to make larger figures. It causes needless labor to the bank clerks, makes you responsible for the debts of others, and is a real prejudice to your credit.
Never try to put in your deposit before those in advance of you, but take your place in the line, and wait your turn patiently. Never make deposits without your bank-book, if you can help it. Avoid all unnecessary conversation with the clerks, especially with the tellers.
Never get angry if the paying teller examines your account before certifying your check; nor if he keeps you waiting a few seconds before he can pay it.
Make it an invariable rule to give checks only out of your own check-book, and at your own office. When you want the endorsement of the person to whom you give it, if he wishes to draw the money, let him endorse the check in your presence, and write your own name below his signature, to assure the teller that it is right.
Never give out checks dated ahead. When you have need to cut checks out of the end of your check-book, mark in the margin what they are for—to supply duplicates, or otherwise. Keep your check-books out of the sight and reach of strangers. Never give a stranger a check unless you have some evidence that he is not seeking it for fraudulent purposes. Never draw checks against your account, on the ground that you have sent some abroad that will not return immediately. Always consider a check paid when you give it out.
Never attempt to pay a note with an uncertified check, at a bank where you keep no account. If you make your promissory notes payable at a bank, give the paying teller a list of them on Monday morning for the current week.
When you want notes discounted, offer them on the regular days, and in good season for the clerk's convenience. Never call on bank officers to discount notes between the board meetings, if you can wait until the following discount day. Do not put off the offering of notes for discount until the last day of your need. It is better to keep from ten days to a fortnight ahead, and to let your balances remain in the bank until you require them. The loss of interest is very trifling at best. You lose more by anxiety and unfitness for business.
When you want your bank-book balanced, or entries made in it, apply to the bookkeeper early in the day. Never ask a service of him later than one o'clock if you can wait till the next morning. Do not allow your book to run too long without being balanced, and when balanced, examine your canceled checks without delay.
If the bank ledger shows a larger balance in your favor at any time, than your own check-book, acquaint the bookkeeper with it immediately. As you value your credit with the bank, never take advantage of deposits wrongly entered to your account, but let your dealings be strictly honorable.
If you have any cause of complaint against the clerks, state it directly to the officers. The clerks act under their instructions, which they dare not disobey.
The bookkeeper is the proper person to apply to, to know if collection notes are passed to your credit.
The collection clerk will inform you of the maturity of notes for a future time. In the case of discounted notes apply to the discount clerk. The discount clerk, or the collection clerk, will commonly tell the exchange or charges for collecting foreign paper.
When you have notes to send abroad for collection, deposit them in ample time for deliberate record and transmission by the bank.
If the drawers of any notes lodged as collateral to loans or discounts should fail, do not wait for the bank officers to discover it, but substitute good notes for them without delay.
The observance of these rules, and such others as may be suggested by your own observation, will be a great economy of time to yourself as well as to the bank clerks, and promote your real credit with the institution.