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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

84          OUR BANKING MACHINERY

and finance, then perhaps, from the purely economic
point of view, the Socialisation of banking may be
justified. But we are a long way yet from any such
achievement, and if it is the case that the rapid
centralisation of banking power in comparatively
few hands carries with it the danger of an attempt
to nationalise a business which requires, above all,
extreme adaptability and sensitiveness to the needs
of the moment as they arise, this is certainly a
danger which has to be carefully considered by those
who are responsible for the development of these
amalgamation processes.

And now another great stone has been thrown
into the middle of the banking pond, causing an
ever-widening circle of ripples and provoking the
beginning of a discussion which is likely to be with
us for some time to come. Sir Edward Holden, at
the meeting of the London City and Midland Bank
shareholders on January 2gth, made an urgent
demand for the immediate repeal of the Bank Act
of 1844. This Act was passed, as all men know, in
order to restrict the creation of credit in the United
Kingdom. In the early part of the last century the
most important part of a bank's business consisted
of the issue of notes, and banking had been carried
on in a manner which the country considered un-
satisfactory because banks had not paid sufficient
attention to the proportion of cash that they ought
to hold in their tills to meet notes if they were
presented. Parliament in its wisdom consequently
ordained that the amount of notes which the banks
should be allowed to issue, except against actual