The Bank of France has a monopoly of the note issue privilege. The notes are a legal tender for all debts. They are secured by the general assets of the bank, but they are not given a prior lien on these assets. The law does not compel the bank to keep any specific reserve, but the bank has been conservative and has accumulated a large specie reserve of gold and silver. Besides its specie reserve the bank's assets normally contain large quantities of prime commercial paper. The issue of bank notes takes place ordinarily through the rediscounting of two-name paper, in large part of small denominations, to which the banking house that sells the paper adds a third name. The war had the effect of loading the assets with government securities. From time to time the government fixes a maximum figure for the circulation of these notes, but as the figure is usually raised in advance of needs, this is not a real restraint. While the bank may redeem in either gold or silver, a stubborn refusal to pay gold would create adverse public sentiment; the bank, accordingly, offers to make gold payments at a premium in currency when such concession seems advisable, and in this way it controls the exportation of gold and protects its reserves. The deposit business in France is very small indeed, but elasticity of both notes and deposits is well attained.