5. Wherever a bank is established, the public are able to obtain that denomination of currency which is best adapted for carrying on the commercial operations of the place. In a town which has no bank, a person may have occasion to use small notes, and have none but large ones; and at other times he may have need of large notes, and not be able to obtain them. But where a bank is established there can be no difficulty of this kind. The banks issue that description of notes which the receivers may require, and are always ready to exchange them for others of a different denomination. Banks, too, usually supply their customers and the neighbourhood with silver; and if, on the other hand, silver should be too abundant, the banks will receive it, either as a deposit, or in exchange for their notes. Hence, where banks are established, it is easy to obtain change. This is very convenient to those who have to pay large sums in wages, or who purchase in small amounts the commodities in which they trade.
6. By means of banking there is a great saving of time in making money transactions. How much longer time does it take to count out a sum of money in pounds, shillings, and pence, than it does to write a draft. And how much less trouble is it to receive a draft in payment of a debt, and then to pay it into the banker's, than it is to receive a sum of money in currency. What inconveniences would arise from the necessity of weighing sovereigns. What a loss of time from disputes as to the goodness or badness of particular pieces of money.
Besides the loss of time that must necessarily occur on every transaction, we must also reckon the loss which every merchant or tradesman, in an extensive line of business, would certainly sustain in the course of a year from receiving counterfeit or deficient' coin, or forged notes. From all this risk he is exempt by keeping a banker. If he receives payment of a debt, it is in the form of a draft upon his customer's banker. He pays it into his own banker's, and no coin or bank notes pass through his hands. If he draws bills, those bills are presented by his banker: and if his banker take bad money it is his own loss.
7. A merchant or tradesman who keeps a banker saves the trouble and expense of presenting those bills or drafts which he may draw upon his customers, or which he may receive in exchange for his goods. He pays these into the hands of his banker, and has no further trouble. He has now no care about the custody of his bills - no anxiety about their being stolen - no danger of forgetting them until they are over-due, and thus exonerating the endorsers - no trouble of sending to a distance in order to demand payment. He has nothing more to do than to see the amount entered to his credit in his banker's books. If a bill be not paid it is brought back to him on the day after it falls due, properly noted. The banker's clerk and the notary's clerk are witnesses ready to come forward to prove that the bill has been duly presented, and the notary's ticket attached to the bill assigns the reason why it is not paid. But if any endorser of the bill has given a reference in case of need - that is, if any endorser has written on the back of the bill that some other party will pay it in case the accepter does not, then the notary takes the bill to the referee, and procures the money from him.
This circumstance alone must cause an immense saving of expense to a mercantile house in the course of a year. Let us suppose that a merchant has only two bills due each day. These bills may be payable in distant parts of the town, so that it may take a clerk half a day to present them. And in large mercantile establishments it would take up the whole time of one or two clerks to present the due bills and the drafts. The salaries of these clerks are therefore saved by keeping an account at a banker's. Besides the saving of expense, it is also reasonable to suppose that losses upon bills would sometimes occur from mistakes, or oversights - from miscalculation as to the time a bill would become due - from errors in marking it up - from forgetfulness to present it - or from presenting it at the wrong house. In these cases the endorsers and the drawers are exonerated; and if the accepter do not pay the bill the amount is lost. In a banking-house such mistakes are not so likely to occur, though they do occur sometimes; but the loss falls upon the banker, and not upon his customer.
8. Another advantage from keeping a banker in London is, that by this means you have a continual referee as to your respectability. If a mercantile house in the country write to their agent, to ascertain the respectability of a firm in London, the first inquiry is, Who is their banker? And when this is ascertained, the banker is applied to through the proper channel, and he gives his testimony as to the respectability of his customer. When a trader gives his bill, it circulates through the hands of many individuals to whom he is personally unknown; but if the bill is made payable at a banking-house, it bears on its face a reference to a party to whom the accepter is known, and who must have some knowledge of his character as a tradesman. This may be an immense advantage to a man in business, as a means of increasing his credit; and credit, Dr. Franklin says, is money.
9. The keeping an account at a banking-house enables a trader not only to give a constant reference as to his own respectability, but it also enables him to ascertain the respectability of other persons who keep bankers. There are numerous cases in which a trader may wish to know this. A stranger may bring him a bill, and want goods in exchange: or he may have drawn a bill upon a customer, and wishes to ascertain if this bill would be paid before he gave him any further credit. If this bill is not made payable at a banking-house he can obtain no information. But suppose the bill is made payable at a banking-house; even then he can obtain no information unless he himself has a banker. If he take the bill to the banker's, at whose house it is made payable, and say, "Gentlemen, I will thank you to inform me if the accepter of this bill be a respectable man - may I safely give goods or money in exchange for it?" they will reply, "Sir, we never answer such questions to strangers." But if the holder of this bill keeps an account at a banker's, he has only to ask his banker to make the inquiry for him, and he will easily obtain the most ample information. Among nearly all the bankers in London the practice is established of giving information to each other as to the respectability of their customers. For as the bankers themselves are the greatest discounters of bills, it is their interest to follow this practice; and indeed the interest of their customers also, of those at least who are respectable.