This section is from the "Practical Banking" book, by Albert S. Bolles.
This official ranks next to the paying teller, and usually succeeds him when he is promoted.
The accounts of a bank may be divided into the following classes: general accounts, individual accounts, banks and bankers' accounts, city dealers' accounts and collection accounts. The general accounts are such as stock, expense, bills discounted, profit and loss, cash, interest, exchange and some others.
The receiving teller receives all kinds of money and checks from the depositors. The book in which these deposits are entered is called the Receiving Teller's Cash Book. He has two books of the same kind for alternate use by the teller and the bookkeeper.
The original entries of individual deposits are made by the receiving teller, and the other entries are made by the note teller. The latter also receives the money paid for notes lodged for collection. Both clerks are receiving tellers, the receiving teller is called the second teller, and the note teller the third. This rank they hold in the order of promotion.
The deposits of merchants consist of the various kinds of money and checks already described, and other documents representing money. The depositor is required to state the details of his deposit, and a form is given him to fill up, which saves labor in making the necessary statement. This blank is called a deposit ticket. A teller will not receive money without it. The practice is different in country banks, as will be hereafter shown. If his cash does not prove at the end of the day, he re-examines these tickets and generally can find out where the error is. After proving his cash, the tickets are put into a bundle and marked and stored for future reference.
A bank located in a large city has an exchange drawer or rack which is divided into numerous boxes. The checks of neighboring banks received for deposit are assorted, and those on each bank are put into their own box.
The footings of the checks thus received are copied on the gen eral list, and added together constitute the deposit teller's portion of the exchange which goes to the Clearing-house.
There are no complex calculations in the accounts of the receiving teller. His duties are simple, and a high order of intelligence is not required to fulfill the duties of the place. Most of the deposits, especially in the banks in the large cities, consist of merchants' checks, which are given in discharge of obligations or purchases. Some of these are certified before deposit and some are not. Whenever the depositor is well known, his checks are received without previous certification. But in other cases a certification is required.
The reader should not confound the business of certifying with that of over-certifying. There is no legal objection to certifying a check to the amount of the depositor's balance. The National banking law prohibits the certifying of checks only in excess of the depositor's balance. The former kind of certification is very necessary. Many persons whose financial standing is not known give checks outside the banks on which the checks are drawn. When, therefore, the check of an individual bears the certification of the bank on which it is drawn, it will readily pass in making payments, or be taken on deposit in any bank. But the check of an unknown person would be received with hesitation. It might be good, and it might not be. The certification of a check by the bank on which it is drawn adds much to its negotiability.
The receiving teller of a bank may have reasons for requiring checks to be certified of which the dealer may be ignorant and perhaps cannot be informed. Sometimes a very considerable degree of tact and caution are necessary in determining when certifications should be required. Dealers should not be offended unnecessarily, yet the safety of the bank must be regarded at all times. To protect it, and to retain the friendship and good will of dealers, is sometimes a difficult thing to do. Some persons are richly endowed with tact and power of discernment; they always know what to say, and how to say it, when to be silent and not excite distrust or arouse the ill-feeling of dealers. By other persons such a knowledge of men and things is never acquired, though their knowledge in many ways may be great and useful.
The receiving teller should know the condition of all accounts. To do this he must ask the bookkeepers what is their average run; he should personally examine the ledgers, and also the deposits and checks, and make all other inquiries of persons in the bank or elsewhere who are likely to throw any knowledge useful in his department of the business.
The receiving teller should examine the signatures, endorsements, dates, and other features of checks, the same as the paying teller. Dealers who are perfectly honest may be cheated by others, and deposit fraudulent or "kiting" checks. The depositor should endorse his name below all others on the back of each check. The receiving teller should notice especially this last endorsement, for it is the key to discovery if anything wrong should appear in the future history of the check. At times, when checks are rapidly received for deposit, it is impossible to examine them carefully, and hence the greater need of looking at the endorsement of a depositor. When checks are finally paid where they are made payable, errors are sure to be detected, and of course the bank receiving them ought always to know from what source they come, in order to know what to do with them should any imperfection be discovered.
Reclamations between banks occur daily. Checks are dated ahead, or the dates are obscure or omitted. They lack intermediate endorsement, or they are endorsed by attorney without adequate proof of his authority. The sum in the body of the check may not correspond with the figures below, or may be entirely wanting. Checks sometimes are paid without signature. The paying teller recognizes a familiar style of writing and the omission of the name may not be detected. Sometimes they are thrown into the wrong box, and are taken to the wrong bank. These and many other errors happen. As soon as discovered the checks are sent back to their proper places for correction.
Merchants sometimes keep accounts with more than one bank. This is done for several reasons. One reason is to obtain larger discounts. Some persons think that greater secrecy can be maintained than by doing all their business with one bank.