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AGGREGATE STATEMENT OF LIABILITIES AND ASSETS, ETC. — Concluded.
It will be observed from the foregoing table that the aggregate amount of deposits is $399,995,569.81, an increase of $6,975,707.73 during the year. This large sum is represented by 1,214,493 accounts, an average of $329.35 to each depositor.
This increase in the aggregate of deposits is much smaller than that reported in 1892, and the falling off is undoubtedly due to causes arising from the financial panic which has swept over the country during the year. Many deposits were withdrawn for investment, many were withdrawn through fear, and some were withdrawn to meet the actual demands of subsistence.
The number of deposits made during the year was 1,101,410, a decrease of 73,885; the amount deposited, $75,727,471.03, a decrease of $6,808,063.12.
The number of withdrawals was 953,053, an increase of 132,915, and the amount withdrawn, $84,403,075.29, an increase of $10,744,837.36.
The amount withdrawn exceeded the amount deposited by $8,675,604.26.
Dividends to the amount of $15,655,565.81 have been credited to depositors, an increase of $1,033,771.24 during
The total assets of the one hundred and eighty-five savings banks are $424,579,334.38, an increase of $8,681,174.94.
The increase and decrease in each particular item of assets may be observed from an inspection of the foregoing table and from the table of comparative aggregates on pages 624 and 625. A few only call for special comment here. It will be seen that the investments in bank stocks has increased but $59,092.15, as against an increase of $636,910.41 in 1892. This small increase is greatly below the average increase for the last ten years.
The amount loaned upon mortgages of real estate is the largest item of the assets of the banks, being $173,950,578.00, and is about forty-one per cent. of the total assets. The increase for the year is $8,095,941.62.
The decrease in the amount of real estate held by foreclosure is $279,140.85.
These results are gratifying and worthy of mention; for while a good real estate loan is a safe and valuable security for savings banks to hold, nothing requires more prudent care, good judgment and foresight than the valuation of real estate upon which mortgages are to be made. The good management of the banks seems to indicate that this principle has governed in the selection of real estate loans; for the amount of real estate now held by foreclosure is less than for any year since 1875, and the amount so held has been reduced yearly since 1879, when it amounted to $9,222,345.71.
Loans on personal security have decreased $5,345,825.04. This result is undoubtedly due to the calling of loans on the part of the banks when they became due, during the panic, and it is a good illustration of the familiar principle that when money is needed to pay depositors the loan account is reduced. Loans on personal security are authorized only when the funds cannot
be advantageously invested in other investments, and as compared with the other assets of a bank are on short time. It is natural then that they should be among the first to be availed of by the banks when it is necessary to provide the means to pay depositors.
From the annual reports of the one hundred and eighty-five savings banks we compile the following statements :
Number of loans of an amount less than $3,000,
* Averaging $2,768.21 each.
NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL. Almost every bank has some provision in its by-laws requiring notice of the intention of the depositor to withdraw his deposit ; but the length of time required in the notices varies widely in different banks. Since it is undoubtedly true that no institution which invests its funds in mortgages and other time loans can meet all its obligations at a moment's notice, the object of such a by-law is obvious, namely, to enable banks to turn their assets in time of great financial disturbance without loss. In requiring such a notice a bank is enabled to fix the amount of money which will be required to pay depositors from day to day, and thus ample opportunity is afforded to provide the means of payment. During the financial crisis of the summer and fall many banks availed themselves of the right to require notice of withdrawals under their by-laws.
One effect of this action was that it determined in many Cises what the object of withdrawal really was. In cases where the money was needed to fulfil contracts, or for actual subsistence, the time limit was not insisted on, and the much-needed relief was furnished without loss of time. In cases where the depositor sought to withdraw his money through fear or for purposes of investment the full time was generally insisted on, and in a very large number of such cases it was noticed that before the expiration of the time limited the notice was withdrawn.
The experience of the banks, however, developed the fact that hardly any two by-laws requiring notice were alike, and that in some cases amendments were required. The suggestion is made whether it may not be desirable for the banks to take some action looking to uniformity in such by-laws, to the end that time limit may be made the same in all the banks.
The amount placed to the credit of guaranty fund during the year is $1,197,367.77. The total fund is now $15,743,022.40 or 3.9 per cent. of deposits. Several banks have accumulated this fund until it has reached the limit of five per cent. required by law before it is available to pay losses, and the question has arisen as to whether it is necessary to add further to it. The Board believes that the object of this law was to create an emergency fund, which should be maintained at five per cent. of deposits and held to meet losses, and that whenever it falls below five per cent. of deposits, whether from the payment of losses or from the increase of deposits, it should be restored in the same manner as it was originally created, by semi-annual additions out of the earnings of not less than one-eighth por more than one-fourth of one per cent. of deposits. Any other construction of the statute would enable a bank to build up its guaranty fund to five per cent. of deposits and never increase it afterwards. It would be practicable for a bank of small deposits, by persistent effort, to raise its fund to the required amount and never add to it more, no matter how large the deposits might afterwards become. The result would be a bank with large deposits and disproportionately small guaranty fund. This course, however, would not be maintaining the fund at five per cent of deposits. The limitation in the statute is one which has reference to the time when the funds may be used and not to the limit of accumulation of the fund.
By the terms of the statute this fund cannot be used until it has reached five per cent. of deposits, when it is available to pay losses from depreciation of securities or otherwise. The term “ otherwise” is broad enough to cover losses of any kind; but although this fund may be used to pay losses of every description, and without questioning the right of banks to use it at all times for that purpose, the Board believes it to be wiser and better to charge off losses, as far as possible, from the undivided earnings, and to preserve the guaranty fund for extraordinary emergencies. This course has generally been followed by the banks, and its tendency is to maintain the fund and to strengthen the standing of the banks.
Stockbridge Savings Bank. This is the only bank in the hands of a receiver. The order of court appointing a receiver was passed April 10, 1891, and since that time two dividends amounting in all to fifty per cent. have been declared. The receiver's administration of the