"When a bank is first formed, they sometimes advertise for clerks; but this is usually for clerks of a higher rank, who have had some experience in the business of banking. When a bank is established, it has seldom occasion for new clerks of this class. A vacancy in one of the higher departments is filled up by the next clerk in rank, and so on in order, and the new clerk comes in as a junior. Applications for this post are usually so numerous that the only difficulty is in making the selection. Those recommended by parties known to the bank, as customers or shareholders, usually have the first claim. In some banks the nomination of the junior clerks is regarded as a portion of the patronage of the directors, upon the understanding, however, that they nominate none but such as are properly qualified, and who shall prove their fitness to the satisfaction of a committee of directors.
In making inquiries into the qualifications of applicants-it is necessary to ascertain, in the first place, their age. In London the age at which clerks are admitted into a bank is usually about nineteen. As their first duty is to collect payment of bills, it is necessary they should have arrived at a sufficient degree of strength to be able to make some resistance were an attempt to be made to rob them of their bill-case; and also that they should have arrived at an age to be conscious of the responsibility of their office. In the country parts of England, and in Scotland, clerks are taken at an earlier age; but the duties are different from those discharged by the same class in London.
Another consideration is the class of society from which clerks are taken. Candidates for the office of bank clerks are usually the sons of the better class of tradesmen, or of professional men, as clergymen, officers in the army or navy, or persons in the service of Government. During the last war, bankers' clerks were generally the sons of tradesmen, as the sons of gentlemen could easily find employment under Government. But now that places under the Government are not so easily obtained, members of what are called respectable families are found among the candidates for admission into the service of banks. Each class has some advantages. The sons of gentlemen have generally a better literary education, and have usually a more courteous address. On the other hand, they have no notion of business, and no business habits. They have been accustomed to go a-hunting and a-fishing with the sons of men of large property, and they look upon banking business as a drudgery to which they submit from necessity, hut which is much beneath the destiny to which they think they are entitled. On the other hand, the sons of tradesmen have been accustomed to notions of business from the ordinary conversation of their fathers' fireside; they know they must get their own living; they look upon their admission into a bank as a lucky event, and, consequently, apply themselves to their duties with heartiness and cordiality.
Another inquiry of those who are candidates for admission into a bank is, How they have been employed? Lads just come from school of course know nothing of the business of a bank, and, if taken at all, they should be taken upon trial for three or six months, so that their qualifications may be discovered before they are permanently appointed. Those who have been two or three years in a merchant's counting-house are generally found to be the most efficient. But to have been in the office of a stockbroker or a solicitor, or to have studied for one of the learned professions, is no recommendation. Clerks from country banks, and especially those from the banks of Scotland, when introduced into London banks, are at first usually considered to be slow.
It is also proper to inquire into the parentage of the candidate. For although honesty and dishonesty do not run in the blood, yet it is probable that religious and virtuous parents have given their children a religious and virtuous education; and a youth who has been accustomed to see examples of excellence at home, will be the most likely to exhibit those excellences in his own conduct. A high degree of moral principle is in itself a necessary qualification in a post of trust and responsibility, and it is usually associated with a cultivated and improved state of the intellectual faculties. - "If there be in the character