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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

170    STATE MONOPOLY  IN BANKING

the net profits to reserve, and of the ordinary dividend
of 6 per cent., and by the Disconto-Gesellschaft and the
Dresdner Bank of 4 per cent., the directors receive
respectively 7 per cent., 7| per cent., and 4 per cent,
(the Disconto's personally liable partners receive 16 per
cent.) out of the remainder. The directors are bound by
law to supervise all the details of the bank's business,
and to keep themselves well informed as to its general
policy and methods of management. They are bound
by law to exercise the caution of a careful business man,
and are liable to be sued for damages arising out of the
crime or negligence of their employees. If cases of this
kind are seldom brought to public notice, it is not
because they do not occur, but because the directors,
as a rule, prefer to pay up for the laches of their em-
ployees, as they can well afford to do out of their profits,
rather than be haled before the Court/'

When Mr Webb comes to the question of the
dangers resulting from monopoly, he finds that they
lie chiefly in a restriction of facilities, and in raising
the price exacted for them, and that in both respects
the danger appears to be great. There is, he says,
every reason to expect that the banker, as the nearest
approach to the " economic man/' will take the
opportunity of raising his charges either by increasing
the frequency and the rate of the commission
exacted for the keeping of a small account, or by
reducing the rate of interest allowed on balances,
or adopting the common London practice of refusing
it altogether. " The banker, who is not in business
for his health, may be expected, on this side of his
enterprise, to pursue the policy of ' charging all
that the traffic will bear/ It would probably pay
the banker actually to refuse small accounts, and