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Metropolitan Bank.


Metropolitan Bank. ANNUAL MEETING. The thirteenth annual meeting of the share- holders of the Metropolitan Bank of England and Wales was held on Thursday, January 30th, at the Great Western Hotel, Birmingham. Sir Thomas Lea, Bart., M.P., occupied the chair, ai.d there was a very large attendance of shareholders. The report showed a profit upon the year's trade of £ 60,630 14s 8d.. and recommended the payment of a dividend of 12! per cent. The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report, said that it opened with the statement that the general business of the bank, except for the low value of money, had been satisfactory and progressive. The power of the bank had never been better there had been an increase of over 1000 new accounts during the year, and though the turnover on the old accounts until the autumn still showed signs of contraction an alteration took place during the last few months, and for the first time for some years most of their accounts exhibited an increase of business. This was confirmatory of the improved state of trade. He would also refer then to the figures in the balance- sheet, which showed an increase of L300,000 in money entrusted to them. They thus saw that they had the continued confidence of the public. They would ask how it was that, with so satisfactory a general business, they had a much less profit and proposed a lessened dividend. Thers were many reasons of a special character to account for this state of things, the first being the low value of money. When he was elected to the chair about nine years ago their cash amounted to £ 633,000. Two years ago it was L852,000, and this year £ 1,490,000. Not only had the rate been low for their surplus balances, but they had had much more money lying in London at merely nominal rates. It was doubtful if they had had an average of 1 per cent. for the money, and as the custom in the country had been to give 2 or 2! per cent, for deposits, it had been a positive loss. Had they employed the money or the surplus over LI,490,000 in their own business it would have yielded quite £ 15,000 or L20,000 more than it had done. It might be said that all banks were affected by the low rate, but in the case of their bank it had been aggravated by one special reason. During the past year they had been expecting the liquidator of the National Bank of Wales would make a call on the unpaid capital of that bank, and although it ought not to affect them, and they had no serious apprehension that it would, they decided to consult safety at the expense of profits, and make themselves so strong that if any local trouble should arise they could meet any calls at a moment's notice. Proceeding, the Chairman dealt in considerable detail with the bank's position in connexion with the purchase and liquidation of the National Bank of Wales (upon each of whose shares the liquidator proposed calling up a further £ 2 ios. out of the £ 10 liability). In conclusion, he thought that the National Bank had not proved to be a desirable acquisition, but it would yield them £ 20,000 a year profit yet, for which, with the expenses he had indicated, they would have paid £ 200,000. Mr Satchell Hopkins (Deputy-Chairman) secon- ded the resolution. He said The first figure shows that the amount due by the bank on current deposit and other accounts is £ 313,000 larger than it was this time last year. Now that shows the confidence of the public End our customers in the bank itself-a confidence which the board are determined, as far as in them lies, to deserve and to maintain. Then on the assets side it is a very favourable feature that our cash balances—the cash in hand, at call, and at notice is £ 150,000 more than it was this time last year, and that our invested reserve is £ 100,000 more also, making, if we take the two together, the bank stronger by about a quarter of a million of money— £ 250,000— than it was this time last year. Our bills of exchange, as you see, are rather less they are L92,000 less. The accounts due to the bank on current and other accounts are £7,000 less, and this notwithstanding that the number of our customers has very greatly increased. We have a very much larger clientele than we had a year ago our accounts are always being added to. We have large and important accounts brought to us constantly, and yet we have about on the whole £7,000 less on this account, which comes to practically the same amount. The other item —the bank premises and furniture in London and at Birmingham &c., has increased by £ 14,000. The sum of L298,443 represents freehold and leasehold premises at upwards of ninety branches in large and small towns in the best situations, and are of constantly but gradually increasing value. The only other item upon the balance- sheet that I need refer-to is the guarantee fund. We have already, as you have been told, written off £ 120,000 from the guarantee fund, but, notwith- standing that, our guarantee fund stands in a very | favourable position as compared with other banks. f I have had taken out for me the guarantee funds of the twelve principal joint stock banks, and I find that whilst the average of these twelve banks —the principal joint stock banks—the average of the guarantee fund is a little under 60 per cent, of their paid-up capital, onrs is over 74 per cent. It is exactly 74-21 per cent. of our paid-up capital, so that we are still greatly in excess of the average, and there are only two banks, I think. out of the twelve that exceed our percentage of 741 upon their paid-up capital. These same banks taken together pay an average of 12; per cent. profit. That is exactly what we are paying to-day, and on the whole I cannot help thinking that as times go 1 2 per cent. for a bank is a very 2 fair and satisfactory dividend. The report was carried unanimously. Messrs W. E. Warden and C. II. Williams (Wales) were re-elected directors, and Messrs Turquand, Youngs, and Co., auditors. Votes of thanks to the Chairman and directors and officials concluded the business of the meeting.

The Level Crossing at Llandudno…