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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

178   STATE MONOPOLY  IN  BANKING

the cheque book, the custody of securities and any
other articles that the customer wishes to leave with
his bank ? At present the ease and quickness with
which these routine matters of banking are carried
out in England are developed to a point which is the
envy of foreign visitors. How would it be if every
cashier of every bank were converted by the process
of nationalisation from the kindly, business-like
human being as we know him into the kind of
person who ministers to our wants behind the
counters of the Post Office ? As it is, we go into
our bank, to present a cheque in order to provide
ourselves with cash for the daily purposes of life;
the cashier looks at the signature, recognises the
customer, hands him over the money. If that
cashier became a Government official how long
would it take him to verify the signature, to see
whether the customer really had a balance to his
credit, and finally furnish him with what he wanted ?
It is obvious that the change suggested by Mr Webb,
though it might work, could only work to the detri-
ment of the convenience of the public, and his
hopeful view that the elimination of the profits of
the shareholders would mean that these profits
would go into the pockets of the community in the
form of cheapened facilities for banking customers is
an ideal largely based on the assumption, that has
so often been proved to be incorrect, that the State
can do business as well and as cheaply as private
enterprise. It is much more likely that after a few
years* time the public would find the business of
paying in and getting out its money a very much