Canada and the Canadian Question

By Goldwin D. C. L. Smith | Go to book overview

APPENDIX A
CANADIAN BANKS AND BANKING

By Mr. HENRY W. DARLING, Ex-President of the Toronto Board of Trade.

THE Canadian Banks hold their franchises by virtue of an Act of the Dominion Parliament, which expires periodically and has just been renewed, extending the Bank Charters for ten years from July 1891.

The Bank of British North America, and the Bank of British Columbia are incorporated by Royal Charters, but are subject to the provisions of the Canadian Act in all respects, except as to the double liability of their Shareholders. The system of Banking modelled upon the plan of the Scotch Banks with Branches, has proved admirably suited to the wants of a new country, and although the management generally has not been conspicuous for ability transcending that of all the other commercial enterprises of the country, the failures and consequent losses to the public have been neither numerous nor large. The tendency of the management is towards a legitimate banking business conducted upon well-established principles.

The provisions governing the creation of new Banks are not too onerous to prevent their increase as the needs of the country may require. Under the new Act the safeguards and restrictions are increased, and they are now severe enough to discourage speculative schemes, a substantial paid-up capital, and a contribution to the fund in the hands of the Government guaranteeing the circulation, being requisite before power to issue notes is granted.

The list of Shareholders published annually as a Government return, and presented to parliament, shows that the Shareholders are chiefly residents in Canada, with a few in Britain and the United States. The liability of the Shareholders in case of failure in a further amount equal to the amount of the shares held is no doubt a deterrent to foreign investors. The Banks are permitted to issue their own notes in denominations of $5 and upwards in multiples of $5 to the extent of their bona fide unimpaired

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