25 JULY 1931, Page 21


Judged On results, and from the purely banking point of view, the British system has proved itself to be far better than any overseas system, for this country has been entirely free from the banking troubles which have deve- loped in most other important commercial countries at one time or another since the European War.

It is only necessary to recall the banking difficulties reported from the United States, France, Germany, Spain and elsewhere during the past twelve months to demon- strate how remarkably free this country has been from banking trouble. This has been partly due, of course, to the existence here of an exceptionally strong Central Bank, working in close but free association with the banks, and with the highly organized money market. It may also be attributed to the fact that the British banks are so large that any losses they may sustain in one particular direction are not likely to affect their general position. But the soundness of British financial institutions is also due to the long banking tradition in this country, and to the suitability of British character for banking business. British bankers appear to display more confidence in times of stress and more caution in periods of boom than those of most other nations. This fact has been demonstrated many times since the begin- ning of the current century, and cases have occurred quite recently where British banks, generally under the lead of the Bank of England, have originated steps for tiding over financial difficulties on the Continent.

The fact that such assistance has been required and given is pretty conclusive proof of the soundness of our banking- methods. No one would attempt to maintain that banking in this country is incapable of improve- ment. Details of policy and administration might, perhaps, be changed with advantage ; but the broad lines on which our banks operate–appear to be better suited to this country than any system in operation elsewhere.