Even then the native banks had not begun to trade. They were simply pressing the dealers to sell as much as they could and return the amounts due to the banks. What with the fall in exchange, the heavy competition among foreigners and the large cargoes remaining in the hands of merchants, prices were dropping fast; the Chinese dealers became panicky, as they usually do when prices fall, and commenced to sell at any price. The native banks, in most cases, had no other security for their loans but the goods bought with them. They were anxious to prevent the loss, if possible; and the only way open to them was to take over all the cargoes and sell them themselves. That would certainly have proved an ideal plan, if there were any means of stopping sales by foreigners, even for a short period. The dealers, now rid of the heavy liabilities they were under for a long while, were quite ready to take up fresh business, on the basis of reduced values, which had been brought about on account of competition and heavy decline in foreign exchange. The native banks that took over the goods from these dealers did certainly not bargain for this; they expected that the capacity of the dealers for business was for some time at least considerably reduced and that they could use the dealers themselves to sell goods whenever favourable opportunities arose. Merchants, both foreign and Chinese, were year after year hoping that the fall in exchange would prove temporary; also that the new foreign merchants would soon realize that the capacity of China was overestimated and thus competition would be reduced. This has remained the hope of everybody engaged in Chinese trade for the past thirty years, in spite of the fact that there has never been a vestige of the signs of its fulfilment.* There was, therefore, some excuse for the hope of the native banks, that were then heavily saddled with merchandise, that there must be at least a slightly more favourable turn in the state of affairs. What actually happened was that the dealers began to do business quite as heavily as before; that new native banks arose to accommodate them and that the foreign merchant himself was willing to grant the dealers greater facility than was ever offered them previously. The native banks that came into being as a result of the new turn in business were not all untrustworthy; some of them were quite as good as the older and creditable banks. As a matter of fact, however, the really strong banks that opened business on this occasion were started with a view to do business in commodities, with banking as an auxiliary business.