In New York are located the head offices of the two principal "commercial agencies " of this country; namely, Bradstreet's and Dun's. These agencies furnish subscribers periodically with books in which may be found the credit standing or rating of practically all the business men, firms, etc., who would probably need credit, not only throughout the United States, but in many other parts of the world as well. These publications are of great value to the banks, manufacturers, wholesalers, and others.
The amount of money loaned, or goods advanced, is generally dependent upon the rating of the borrower or purchaser in one of the " commercial agencies." The agencies will also furnish special reports to subscribers upon any person in any part of the territory covered. Besides all this, they furnish general information to the public regarding the number of failures during a certain period, crop and business conditions, etc. In fact, these agencies are to-day a great factor in banking and mercantile life.
There are many other smaller agencies each of which makes a specialty of some one industry.
The first mercantile agency was created in New York in 1841.