"Can you explain to the committee the constitution of the Provincial Bank?-I can. I may make reference to the annual reports of the institution, copies of which, I understand, were furnished to this committee. A report is made to the proprietors on the third Thursday of May in each year.
"By whom is that report prepared?-By a special committee.
"A committee of the board of directors?-A committee of the board of directors, whom it is my duty to attend on such occasions, and to be their organ in acting as the clerk of that committee.
"When that sub-committee has prepared the report, what further step is then taken?-It is submitted then to the general court of directors.
1 Mr. James Marshall was the accountant of the Provincial Bank of Ireland at its commencement, and in the year 1826 succeeded Mr. Thomas Joplin in the office of secretary. He retired in 1845, upon a pension of £1,000 a-year. The chairman stated to the General Meeting in 1846, that Mr. Marshall's salary was £1,200 a-year, but as £200 a-year was regarded as an equivalent for a house, the Directors considered he had retired upon full pay. The officers of the Bank subscribed to have his likeness taken, and an engraving was presented to each subscriber. After his retirement he became an auditor of an insurance office, and a director of the Oriental Bank. In the latter capacity he paid a visit to Bombay in the year 1847. He died in London on the 14tb day of January, 1852.
"Is it examined by them?-By the general court; it is laid before them, and every part of it is explained to them; and they have it in their power to examine any part, to refer instantly to the books, or the source from which it is drawn. The committee in making it up go very minutely to work, and examine very particularly.
"Then are the committee to understand, that before the report is laid before the proprietors, that report is first submitted to a select committee, reported by them to the general court, and approved of by the general court?-It is. It is. in the first instance, signed by the chairman of the committee when presented to the general court.
"When laid before the proprietors, is it laid before the proprietors on the responsibility of the court of directors? -Completely so.
"Just confine yourself at present to the constitution of the bank.-It may be here proper to state, for the information of the proprietors, the regulations which have been adopted, in the first place, for conducting business in a proper manner at the branches; and, secondly, for the control and superintendence which are exercised over them by the directors in London. First, as to the branches. For the due management of the business at each a suitable house has been obtained, and the following officers have been provided-viz., manager, accountant, teller, clerk, porter, all of whom find security for their fidelity. Where the scale of business requires it, the number of the inferior officers is increased, but there are only two principal officers at any branch-viz., manager and accountant; and for securing more effectually the proper discharge of the duties of all, and assisting the manager with advice and information, there has been appointed at each station a board of local directors, consisting, according to circumstances, of three, four, or five gentlemen of the first respectability in the place, who, in order to he eligible, must themselves have an interest in the establishment, by holding ten shares each of its stock. The duty of these gentlemen is to meet daily at a given hour at the bank's office, and, along with the manager, to judge of bills presented for discount, and of all applications for credits. For every act of business of this nature it is necessary that two local directors and the manager be present; and it is provided, that where applications for discounts or credits exceed, in individual cases, a certain fixed amount, or when the manager differs in opinion from the majority of the local board, the matter must be submitted to the decision of the court of directors in London. It is further the duty of the local directors to compare daily the vouchers with the entries in the cash-book, to count, at stated intervals, the cash in charge of the manager, and to certify the returns made periodically from the branch to London.
"Are the committee then to understand distinctly that the local directors, in the case in which the manager, who is the head officer of the society, differs with them, although he may differ singly, are bound to refer those cases to the London board before any decision is come to?-In every case.
"In another contingency it would appear, that where the pecuniary transactions in question exceeded a given amount, that, too, although the board might be unanimous, is brought under the consideration of the London board of directors?-It is.
"What does that sum generally amount to? Is it a fixed sum, or does it vary according to the circumstances of the different branches?-It has varied according to circumstances; but, generally speaking, from £300 to £500 is considered the extent to which anything in the shape of a credit, other than the discount of a mercantile bill, would go."