At the time the first editions of this work were issued. bonds of security for the officers and others were entered into by themselves personally, and by two or three sureties, either jointly or severally, for a specified amount, which amount was assessed in accordance with the importance and responsibility of the duties to be discharged. These bonds had for their general object the guarantee of the fidelity and honest conduct of such officers. But as of late years associations have been instituted for the special purpose of guaranteeing banks and other companies against loss sustained through the dishonest or faithless conduct of their servants, it is not now customary for banks to require two personal sureties from their officers, although it is still customary to require a personal bond from each. Indeed, the advantages afforded by the guarantee of a public company over that of private individuals are so obvious, that banks almost invariably prefer that of the former. There are now guarantee and suretyship associations in London and elsewhere; and as their charges are on the whole so moderate, and as they never refuse to entertain any application by any individual of ordinary integrity, there is every inducement for every bank officer to seek the intervention of such associations rather than trouble private friends.
It has also become a common practice with large banks
(see p. 16) to inaugurate guarantee funds of their own, thus obviating the necessity on the part of their employes of applying to personal friends or to the guarantee societies. It has been said that the charges of the latter are on the whole moderate, but still, as they remain the same from year to year, they are extravagant as compared with the rates charged by banks who have guarantee funds of their own, and whose sole object is, not to make profits, but to protect themselves at the least possible cost to their employes. It is usual in establishing a fund of this kind to institute it by a resolution of the board of directors, who also frame rules for its regulation. It is made compulsory upon everyone in the service of the bank to subscribe to the fund. The directors take power to rate every officer at such a sum as from time to time they shall see fit. The contributions on such rating vary in different establishments-in some it is as low as 2s. 6d. per cent., and in others as high as 5s. And in order to give solidity to the fund in its infancy, it is usual for the directors to grant a contribution of £400 or £500 per annum for the first four or five years. In some instances, it is usual for the bank itself to pay the subscriptions of those officers whose salaries do not exceed a certain limit-say £50. The account of the fund is credited with the contributions and debited with the losses, but the latter only to such an extent as the individuals causing such losses shall have been rated at. When the balance of the fund reaches a certain amount-an amount which in the opinion of the directors shall be sufficient to cover all possible contingencies of loss, say £10,000, then the older contributors may safely be relieved from all further contributions, so long, at least, as the maximum balance of the fund shall remain intact. Should the balance be. reduced by losses, then those contributors who may have been relieved, may be again required to contribute until the balance be again made up. It is the rule in some banks to draw the line of relief at those contributors who may have subscribed to the fund an aggregate amount of £1 per cent. on the highest sum at which they may at any time have been rated. Experience has shown that such a sum as £10,000 is ample to maintain as a permanent balance, and when the balance exceeds that sum, it is customary, in addition to exempting the older contributors, to transfer the surplus to the credit of another fund for the benefit of former contributors, or their widows, or other dependents in needy circumstances, or otherwise.