31 MAY 1930, Page 39

Finance—Public & Private Banking North of the Tweed lions even

farther than those of the English joint stock banks. One institution—the Royal Bank of Scotland— celebrated its bicentenary • two years ago, while just recently the centenary Banquet was held in Glasgow of the Union Bank of Scotland. On that occasion the Chairman, the Duke of Atholl, K.T., in the course of his speech, referred to the fact that his institution now stood with only three Others as Scottish Banks which had not surrendered their independence throukh the absorption by English institutions; And certainly, while, as I shall endeavour to show by a brief reference to-the most recent reports of some of the leading Scottish banking institu- tions, one and all can produce excellent results over recent years, the independent institutions seem to have sacrificed nothing in the way of business activities by retaining their independence and, therefore, their more modest dimen- sions.


Referring to some of the leading institutions in alpha- betical order, it is good to note that after -a brief re- actionary period of a few years ago the results announced from year to year by the Bank of Scotland have shown progress in activities, with a consistently strong balance- sheet. A year ago, that is for the period 1928-29, the dividend was raised from 17 to 18 per cent., and the increase was maintained for the past year, while £117,500 was added to the reserve and £80,000 to premises account, the balance carried forward of £172,456 being well above the total for the two previous years. The cash position was also a strong one, while there was a rise in the holding of investments, the gain being entirely in British Govern- ment Securities, while the Bank's total reserve of £2,272,000 is well in excess of the whole of the paid-up capital. A feature, too, has been the steady increase in advances, the present total of £17,852,000 showing an increase for the year of about £600,000, while as recently as 1925 the total of advances was only £12,726,000, and in the year preceding it was only £9,534,000. It is some years now since the present general manager (or rather Treasurer, as he is styled in the case of the Bank of Scotland), Mr. George J. Scott, was manager of the office in London, but his reputation always ranked high in London, and it has been consolidated during the period that he has been Treasurer of the Bank of Scotland.


The British Linen Bank, which is now, of course, closely associated with Barclays Bank, has consistently paid dividends of 16 per cent. for some fourteen years, and that is the rate of the distribution for the year which has just passed. During that period there has been great expansion in the bank's . business and general activities, and last year a further £50,000 was transferred to the reserve, and £50,000 to the pension fund, so that the reserve fund now stands at nearly £1,900,000, as compared with the total paid-up capital of 11,250,000. The actual total of deposits in the last balance-sheet of £26,811,000 showed a small decrease as compared with the preceding year, but bills discounted and advances totalled £14,208,000, being practically unchanged from the previous year, while the balance available for distribu- tion, including the amount brought forward, was rather greater than in the previous year.


Another bank which has become' associated with .an English institution—the Midland Bank—is the Clydesdale, and it should be noted that in the case of all those Scottish banks which have joined forces with the English " Big Five," separate reports are still issued, and, in many other ways it is clear that the individuality of the- banks' h-as been maintained. In the case of the Clydesdale, the profits for the past year totalled £331,684, as compared with £340,136 a year ago, but including the larger balance brought forward the total available for distribution was actually higher than a year ago at £424,054. The dividend of .18 per cent. is maintained, and there were large alloca- at £28,625,000, but so far from advances having declined there was a small increase, the total being just over £16,000,000. The cash position was also a strong one, the total of cash and money at call being well over £7,000,000. It should be noted, too, that, both as regards the British Linen Bank and the Clydesdale, the old forms of control are carefully preserved, the head offices remaining in Scotland and with general managers quite distinct from the London managements and boards.


During the past year the Commercial Bank of Scotland has enlarged its paid-up capital by £500,000, and premiums on the new issue having amounted to £750,000, that amount has been added to the reserve, in addition to another £50,000, so that the total reserves of the bank now stand at no less than £2,800,000, as compared with a paid-up share capital of £2,250,000. The deposits, too, increased from £33,834,000 to £35,229,000, but in this case it must be noted that the balance-sheet was made up to last October, and the declining tendency noticeable in banking deposits throughout the kingdom was less marked at that time than it has been since. Advances expanded from about £16,000,000 to over £16,800,000, and in many directions there were signs of activities having increased. The net profit, moreover, rose by about £28,000, so that in spite of the enlarged capital the dividend on the " A " and " B " shares was main- tained at 16 and 10 per cent. respectively. The combined capital and reserves now amount to £5,050,000, represent- ing a fraction over 18 per cent. of the liability on deposits and note circulation combined. This increase contrasts with a decline in the capital ratios in some of the English banks. The bank has owed much to the energies of its Chief General Manager, Mr. Alexander Robb, who now has as his assistant Mr. J. M. Erskine, for some years well and favourably known as Assistant Manager in the London Office.


Although the latest report of the National Bank of Scotland—which is allied with Lloyds Bank—made up to November 1st last showed a slight reduction in net profits, not only was the dividend of 16 per cent, main- tained, but some idea of the conservative policy of the bank may be gathered from the fact that the amount required for the dividend was twice covered by the net profit of £281,000. There was also a further allocation of £50,000 to the reserve and to pension funds, with a substantial increase in the balance carried forward to £73,766. Moreover, the activities of the bank appear to have increased during the year, the deposits advanc- ing by more than £500,000 to over £32,000,000, while ordinary advances increased by £760,000.


Under the able management of Sir Alexander Wright, who is now generally regarded as the doyen of Scottish bankers, few banking institutions have shown more remarkable progress during the past decade than the Royal Bank of Scotland, and during the past year the well-known London manager of the bank, Mr. William Whyte, has gone to the Head Office in Edinburgh as Sir Alexander's deputy. The latest balance sheet of the Royal Bank made up to the middle of October last showed a record total of deposits of £46,285,000, having risen during the year by about £1,600,000, while as compared with 1924 there is an increase of over £6,000,000. For the year there was an increase in the advances about equal to the gain in deposits, while--as compared with six years ako the advances have risen by over £8,000,000, and during the same period of six years the dividend has steadily advanced from 14f per cent. to the present level of 17 per cent. In this case, the paid-up capital of the bank is £2,500,000, while the " Rest " or reserve stands at £2,910,820.

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Finance—Public and Private

(Continued from page 921.) THE " UNION'S " CENTENARY.

In the Union Bank of Scotland, which has just celebrated its centenary, .we have another instance of the General Manager having been appointed from the London office,. Mr. yd, although gaining his early experience in Scotland having for some years been manager of the London office in Cornhill. The bank. has been fortunate. in its centenary year in being able to publish one of the best reports in its history., The deposits increased during the year by nearly £1,000,000 and now stand at £8,63,000, while advances expanded by no less than £4,500,000, and the present total of £14,602,000 compares with only £6,861,000 a year ago: The net profit was higher at £339,000, and in addition to maintaining its dividend at the rate of 18 per cent. the Bank recently gave shareholders a centenary bonus in the. form of new shares, a capital bonus of 10 per cent. in fully-paid shares being distributed together with subscription rights to a further 10 per cent. offered at £3 per £5 share to be paid up to the extent of £1 of capital: Moreover, the latest balance sheet indiCates that there should be no. difficulty in maintaining the dividend even on the enlarged capital, the balance carried forward on the present occasion having been increased from £100,743 to £135,045. •


There is one conspicuons ' of Scottish banking in recent years which is. boun to conunand attention, naively, the great expansion in advanees; and so far as may be gathered in advandea to 'industry: To some extent, of course, ' this experience has been general in the case of banks south as well as of those north of the Tweed, and no doubt some portion of this expansion must be attributed to aid which has been given to industries passing through difficult times, but in the case of the Scottish banks the movement also appears: to eXpress a' wider and more up-to,date conception of responsibilities of bankers towards' the trade of the country. An examination of Scottish banking reCords' over the past decade undoubtedly suggests that some of the banks -had become too much in the - nature of Trust companies with an over-partiality for investments, in securities as compared .withthe granting of free facilities to trade. In the case, for example, of the' Union Bank of _Scotland already referred to, the advances during 'the, 'past six years have been, more than dobbled, and `similarly in the case of the Royal Bank of Scotland, advances have risen from £14,000,000 to 122,000,000. In the case of: the Commercial Bank of Scotland, the- change has been less striking, but the advances during the six years have risen from about £14,000,000 to nearly £17;000,600: In -all ,respects,- however, Scottish. banking records, as I. stated at the beginning of this article, will bear -the: closest examination, and as Principal Rait obSerVed,; in proposing the toast of the Union Bank of Stotiarid,' Ltd., at the recent centenary banquet of that institution, " among - the formative influences responsible for the enormous expansion of Scottish _industry and commerce; in the. eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the banks f have occupied a great place." ARTHUR -W. KIDDY.