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BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, Issue 15673, 11 December 1914
BANK OF NEW ZEALAND
HALF-YEARLY • MEETING. (By Telegraph.] The half-yearly meeting of shareholders was held at the head of the Baalc Wellington to-day.. Mr Harold Beauchamp, chairman of director# presided. Tho Chairman said : This being tho half-yearly general meeting, we have no wconnts to submit to you, and ithe only ictual business to bo transacted is tho election of a rep eaentative of shareholders on the beard and the declaration of on interim dividend. —Board of Directors. — It is with deep regret that we< have to record the death of our late colleague, tho Honorable Thomas Fergns, which took place on September 30. Mr Fergus was. as von know, only a comparatively ■ recent addition to our number by appoint ment of the Government, but since his accession to tho board he had displayed such a lively interest in the business, and had assisted in onr deliberations with SO much ability and business acumen that we had formed high hopes of his future services. Efidowcd with wide experience and matured judgment, his removal from onr councils, when little past the prime of life, is greatly to be deplored. ’ The board have fittingly recorded upon their minutes a resolution of appreciation of the late gentleman’s nerviccs to the Bank, and nf sympathy ■with his relatives in their bereavement. As to your own representation on the board, the retiring director on this occasion is Mr William Watson. He is the only candidate for the seat that is becoming vacant, and as be is eligible for reappointment I have mueh pleasure in declaring him duly elected. —New Capital.— Of the total issue of 75,000 new ordinary shares of £6 13s 4d each, there ■ remain now only 559 shares unapplied | for. Of these 301 a*-© the result o> El ‘ holdings, of which there were no fewer than 602. In respect of each oi these, there was an odd share that could receive no allotment, as the principle of the new issue was one new share for every two old shares held. Of the shares actually offered to proprietors on l y 25S thnefo?"e remain unsubscribed. Th> hoard have decided to offer the wne’e 559 shaves te the share’i uders at present, on Gw register for sale by tender Circulars on the subject have’bsen sent out simultaneously in the colonies and in London, so that our proposals are known to you. As mentioned at our last meeting, the majority of shareholders elected to pay all instalments in full. The amount then paid was £410.592; the amount now paid up is £457.926, showing an increase to date of £47,334. with of course an increase of relative premium passed to credit of reserve fund to the extent of 50 per cent. —i.e., £23,667. —The Financial Crisis.— In view of the disaster which has overtaken the financial world since last we met you—a disaster which was inevitable upon the involvement of the leading nations of the world in the deplorable war which is still in progress—yon will naturally look_ to me for some indication as to tha immediate consequences entailed, and the probable future effects upon the Dominion and upon the Bank in particular. Immediately upon its becoming known that our Mother Country was involved in the struggle the New Zealand Government, with commendable promptitude, took the special steps which became necessary to protect the financial situation in the Dominion. A Bill enabling bank notes to be proclaimed legal tender was passed through Parliament, and a proclamation issued making bank notes legal tender on and after August 6 last. The proclamation has been renewed, and it will no doubt be found desirable to keep it in force until the war is over. The object is not so much to provide currency facilities as to enable the banks to protect the gold reserves of the Dominion. The Government further assisted in this direction by legislation prohibiting all export 'of gold, except such as is specially sanctioned hyt the Minister of Finance. The legal tender note proclamation has resulted in an increase in our note circulation by roughly half a million 1 pounds. The increase is, however, no gain to the Bank, but rather the reverse. We have to hold gold or Government securities against every note issued, while at the same time we pay taxation to the Government on the circulation at the rate of 3 per cent, per annum. To this has to be added the cost of printing the notes and of administering the Note Department of the Bank, which makes the total cost of our note issue 4£-4£ per cent, per annum. It was not found necessary to proclaim a moratorium here such as was required in the United 'Kingdom. All that was needed was a provision for the protection of mortgagors, and of purchasers under “ Agreements for sale and ” with instalments of purchase money falling due. This provision was made by the Mortgages Extension Act, which prevents realisation by mortgagees or vendors under powers of sale contained in securities, except with the sanction of the Supreme Court. In London the position was of course different. It was, as a-matter of fact, very serious—far more serious than we at this distance and in our circumstances can possibly conceive. All the delicate financial machinery daily in operation there was thrown suddenly out of gear; the complex monetary organism whose vitality centralises in London was for the moment paralysed. For a few days all was confusion. With the Bank rate at 10 per cent, the money market was dead; the Banks were temporarily closed—the statutory Bank Holiday on the 3rd August having been extended over the 4th. sth. and 6th idem; trade, shipping, and commerce all at a standstill;' tho British Government, hankers, and financiers conferring as to the best means of meeting a crisis quite unprecedented in the history of the world'. A moratorium was proclaimed, and. to assist in conserving the gold reserves of the country. Government Treasury notes for £1 and 10s each were authorised to be made legal tender. Postal notes were also made legal tender. The Banks were supplied with notes bv the British Treasury. paying to the Treasury for the accommodation a tax equal to the Bank of England rate during the time that the notes are used. The Banks reopened on 7th August, but were unable to immediately resume discounting nr the buying cf bills of exchange. Then a measure of relief came. It was announced on 13th August that the Bank of England would give assistance under the guarantee of the British Government. by discounting approved bills of exchange accepted prior to 4th August, 1914—i.e., approved pre-moratorium bills —without recourse to the holder. Thereupon » rush to the Bank of England with bills for discount set in, prompted bv a desire not only to obtain the financial accommodation required, but also to get rid of all liability on tho part of the holders of the bills. For a time it was a physical impossibility for the Bank to deal with the whole of the bills presented daily. But gradually the mass of business was disposed of. The streams of finance began to flow again in their accustomed channels, though in greatly reduced volume. Business began to assume again a more normal aspect, and national credit was in a large measure restored. The Bank of England'return as at sth August disclosed the extent to which its resources had been 'enoroa shed upon in the early days of tho crisis. The reserve, which at 22nd July stood at £29,297.051. showing a proportion to liabilities of 52 per cent., had shiunk at,sth August to the dangerously low figure of £9,966,649, showing a proportion n liabilities of only 15 per cent. At tho commoneomont of , August tho suspension at tho Bank Act ‘ had boon openly talked of as a probable contingency; but the measures edopted to strengthen the poriteoa promised to prove efleitjve, ana rssort to tnat ex tremity was unnecessary. The Bank rate, which nad been raided from 3 per cent, to 4 per cent, on 30th July, end further * increased to 8 per cent, on 31st July and to 10 per cent, oh let August, was, on tho resumption of business alter the enforced holiday, reduced to 6 per cent..
and on Bth August to 5 per cent., at ■which rate it still stands. The cordial support accorded to the Pan It of England has been one of the most noticeable features of the crisis froma banker’s standpoint. The Bank return published on 26th November shows that the Bank’s deposits at 25th _ idem amounted to £176,154,000, and its reserve to. £55,358,000, showing a proportion to liabilities of 51.60 per cent. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking In the British House of Commons of the importance to the nation of preserving a strong financial position by conservation of the gold reserves of the country, made use of these memorable words: I think it is vital that it should bs made clear to any individual and to the nation at large that any man who at the present juncture selfishly hoards gold is inflicting a great injury on the nation. In this tremendous struggle finance is going to play a great part. It will bo one of the most formidable weapons in this exhausting war, and anyone who, for selfish motives of greed or through excessive caution and cowardice goes out of his way to attempt to withdraw sums of gold and to ap propriate them to his own use—let it be clearly understood that ho is assisting the enemies of his native land, and he is assisting them more effectively probably than if he were to take up arms. The warning has, I think, not been lost upon the British nation. Specie payments were never at any period of the crisis suspended, and there is no reason to apprehend that hoarding of gold to any appreciable extent has taken place. The British public have freely placed resources at the disposal of the Bank of England, and the national financial position has thereby been greatly strengthened, _ Owing to the disastrous drop in the prices of all securities, it was found necessary to close the London Stock Exchange. The American and colonial Exchanges and the Continental Bourses also closed. Soino have since reopened, but the London Stock Exchange etill remains closed. Consequently dealings in stocks and shares were and are practically at a standstill. Tho British Government, however, having, through the medium of the Bank of England, relieved the situation by the discount of mercantile bills, have now turned their attention also to the assistance of lenders npon Stock Exchange securities; and, with a view to avoiding the necessity for realisation of securities on a large scale, have agreed to make advances to certain classes of lenders, to enable them to continue their_ loans on such securities until the end of the war. In consideration of lenders agreeing not to press for payment of loans on Stock Exchange securities, or to reouiro deposit of further margins to cover, for one year after the conclusion of the war the Bank of England will advance to the lenders to tho extent of 60 per cent, of the value of .the securities held for any advance. Interest to be at the rate of 1 per cent, above tho Bank of England rate, with a minimum of 5 per cent. This arrangement will no doubt afford a further large measure of relief to bankers and others who may have advances current npon such securities. The Bank of New Zealand, fortunately, is little concerned in business of this class, as it has been against our policy to undertake it. Viewing our general position, we may be said to have come through the crucial stages of the crisis with the minimum of inconvenience and loss. The foresight of the London hoard had anticipated the financial difficulties that would arise upon the declaration of war, and consequently, when tho crisis was precipitated, we were in the comfortable position of holding a very large balance of cash at the Bank of England. Moreover, conformably with our policy, the London portion of our business is invariably conducted with a view to ready convertibility, and our advances there are made upon such highclass security that, immediately upon the Bank of England opening its doors to the discount of bills, the greater' part of our resources there became liquid. We therefore had not. at any time the slightest trouble in meeting all our commitments and providing for all requirements. As a matter of fact, we did not avail of the British moratorium, but met all cur liabilities as they nintuted; and as far as we can see at present tho losses that we are likely to sustain on our purely London business are practically nil. There has been, of course, a temporary depreciation in ths value of all investment stocks hold, and while our present intention is to make fall provision for tiie shrinkage in value as soon as the resumption of market quotations enables us to assess the amount of it, we in no sense regard it as a Ice?, for we feel confident that when tho existing troubles have passed away tho British Empire will emerge greatly strengthened in credit and reputation, and in other ways materially benefited, so that the market prices ot all her securities may then be expected to take a steady upward course. That the Bank should be able to weather eo severe a storm with practically no damage is, I am sure you will agree, conclusive testimony to the soundness of the business we transact; and the wisdom of our policy in this respect has in tho recent upheaval been mad© more abundantly evident than ever before. It affords rno much satisfaction to be able to emphasise the fact in so complete a manner, because it has become the fashion in seme uninformed quarters to denounce that policy in somewhat strong terms, and to suggest that the largo amounts we sometimes show aa being held by the Bank in London are in speculative investments attended with very considerable risks. Had such been the case, you . may depend upon it onr position at the present time would have been verv different from what it actually is, and the effects of the trouble would have been fell in this Dominion much more keenly than they have been. x\s matters stand, however, the command of financial facilities at such a time has enabled us to carry on our business with tho smallest measure of disorganisation and the minimum of inconvenience to our customers. Naturally we have had to observe a restrictive policy in the matter of advances, otherwise commitments might have been incurred which would have absorbed our liquid resources to an extent that would not, in the circumstances, have been prudent; but we have done our best, within safe lines, to meet all reasonable demands. In point of fact we believe that we have succeeded in meeting all legitimate requirements; and I have little doubt that onr customers generally recognise this, and are satisfied. The same remark applies in the .case of tho other banks in the Dominion, each and nil ot whom have apparently done what they could to ease the severity of the pressure. A comparison of tho average quarterly returns at 30th September with those at 30th June last shows that the aggregate deposits of the public had been reduced during the quarter £504,000, and the aggregate advances increased by £525,000, representing over £1,000,000 in all—our own share in which amounts to about £690,000. Too much stress cannot be placed upon the magnificent service rendered in the relief of tho position by the Britiah Government, who faced “the crisis in a courageous and statesmanlike manner, and with prompt and firm determination .threw the whole strength of the country’s resources and credit to the support of its finance. 1 The deadlock was in that way quickly ended. As a consequence of what tho Government did, and is doing, trade in Britain is again active, and unemployment and distress is at a minimum—much below even what the most sanguine optimist would have regarded as possible in so short a space of time and in the face of such adverse conditions. Meantime the war drags its weary length along. As to the outcome of it. all of us, of course, have only one hope and one belief—-namely, that the cause of right and freedom, in which our Empire has taken up arma, will, nay must, in the and triumph. The solidarity displayed by every parties •f the Empire in sacs a grave oriel* has been at enee an inspiration and a source of confidence. In the f&ee ef the common enemy, political differences, and internal dissensions have disappeared, and the whole Empire is now united as it never was before. I do nqt ovorlok the treasonable conduct of’a small and contemptible section of the South African Beer populace, who, by
tho influence and support of the enemy, were induced to raise tho standard of revolt; but wo can afford to ignore thorn as we take a wide review of the many peoples claiming one sovereignty under the British flag, and now loyally co-operating in strenuous endeavor and’firm determination to see the struggle through to a satisfactory conclusion. That that conclusion may soon be reached is the fervent wish of us all, and that as the result of this stupendous lose of life and treasure there may come tho growth of a saner and happier international' sentiment, which shall decree that in this twentieth century of Christian civilisation there shall bo no recnirleeccnce of such military and naval development on tho part of any nation as shall place the peace of the world again in jeopardy. The British Empire’s present experience is fraught with an important economic lesson for ourselves, and for every other component part of the Empire. Tho most cursory reflection will serve to show that the bloated and hypertrophied military, system of Germany,' which has for years been tho monace of the civilised world, has drawn the means of its sustenance and development largely from the British Empire itself. The ports of this Empire the world over have been freely open to German merchandise ; the unsupectiug Britisher has traded with the German, and British money has found its way into the Gorman Exchequer and helped in the construction of the huge fighting machine which the German war oligarchs have now turned against ue in a mighty effort to bring about our Empire’s destruction. This is, I think, at the moment generally well recognised. The feeling is expressing itself in the prevailing prejudice against German goods and all things German. But people have short memories; and when the present struggle and the racial animosities that it has evoked, have passed into history, there is a danger that this important point may be lost right of. and that w© may fall back again into the old groove and bo found c a earing acain in tho foolish business of nourishing the enemy ■•bat has injured us. The remedy for this is to turn our attention promptly and resolutely to the do clopment of trade within the Empire, and in that way assist and benefit our own kith and kin. Let both the State and the individual, in every quarter of the Empire, seek thus to encourage the growth of tho Empire’s own. industries and commerce. Let us ns far as possible, buy in tho Empire’s markets, so that no alien and hostile race shall ever a win enrich itself at our expense, and develop its baleful strength, as in this case, through our follv. The change thus necessitated in our methods of obtaining supplies of manufactured articles to meet our requirements may afford opportunities for the establishment and encouragement of new local industries in the Dominion, by which our own people may be benefited. Any such movement, if based upon sound economic principles, uhould commend itself to our cympathy and support. It is impossible to arrive at any trustworthy conclusion with regard to the duration of the ptesent momentous struggle. When experts differ it would be presumptuous for a tyro to attempt to prophesy. But I may observe, in passing, that if the eupply of soldiers were tho only consideration, doub*l«ss Germany would be able to prolong tho war for an indefinite period. 1 cannot, however, help that the hues economic and financial difficulties, which Ge nr any must shortly have to face, will prove a very import ant factor in tie-; to mining the duration of the war. Finnn- I cially and economically she and her ally have for some time been practically isolated from the rest of tho world. Her commerce is dead, her industries are at a standstill, and the enormous amount of capital sunk in both commerce and industries is totallv unproductive. Ths economic waste from this source alone must be comething appalling. But when we add to (this the cost of the maintenance of her immense armies in the field—the pay and tho provisioning of_ tho soldiers, the enormous necessary supplies of ammunition, guns, and other weapons of war, etc., etc. —it forms that sooner or later an end must bo reached by the process of internal exhaustion. Surrounded on all sides by enemies, and with her seas closed by hostile fleets, outside supplies in the quantities required would seemi to be' quite unobtainable. It will interest you to learn that, according to the Gorman Year Book for 1915, the imports into Germany in 1912 totalled £534.570,000 These came principally from the limited States, Russia, Great Britain, France, and India, .and were represented in great part by foodstuffs. These sources of supply are now, of course, absolutely cut off. Further, her export trade, which in 1912 amounted to £447,300,000, is also completely paralysed. Already wo hear that tho German people are beginning to stagger under the stupendous burden imposed upon them. It was announced only a few weeks ago that the bankruptcies in Hamburg alone since the opening of the war showed deficiencies aggregating £25.000.000. The partial success of Germany’s hist war loan is reported to have* been achieved only by commandeering tho resources of the banks, I mans- of which, if there be truth in j the rumor, must be now practically in a bankrupt condition. Gold have j ceased throughout tho country ; an inconvertible paper currency in notes of the Reichsbnuk is the legal tender medium, and is rapidly depreciating in value. A couple of months ago these notes were at a discount of 55 per cent. Some traders had declined to receive them in payment, and the German Government bad in consequence taken steps to dose their shops. Anv sane ruler would see that all this is tha “writing on the wall” which rpells in largo letters disaster and misery for the Gorman, nation ; hut the dangerous monomaniacs who at present guide tho destinies of the unfortunate German people are ontented bv an irfestible craving for martial g'ory, and are blind alike to the criminal wickedness of their conduct and to tho absolute futility of their aims. They fail to roe that the’whole civilised world must, if nceessarv. take up arms in self-defence for tho purpose of curbing a vain and covetous nation which, by means of* the military ascendency and superior brute force which it believes itself to possess, and tho application of scientific ingenuity to the production of the most powerful and destructive implements of war, is seeking to lay the world at its fret. A policy barring such a goal before it must assure its own final and everlasting defeat-. A few weeks ago a well-informed and reliable London financial journal, when discussing from the financial standpoint the in.probability of a greatly protracted war, remarked as follows ; According to a Swiss computation, there were in Europe at tho cud of Avgust about 20,400-000 men actually under arms. At tho beginning of October Germany (on the same authority! had under arms 27 army corps of her regular troops and an equal number of reserves, making a total of 54 army corps, say 2,160,000 men. Of those. 24 army corps were in France, 6 in Belgium ana Alsace, 13 in East Prussia, and 11 between Thorn and Cracow. There are. in ndditiin, assumed to be 1,500,000 Landsturm and volunteers serving in the interior, while 600,000 fresh recruits are reported to be in training sufficiently advanced for them to be ready for service in November. Even the neutral States, it was estimated, had mobilised more than 2,000,000 soldiers on a war footing. For each soldier, including initial and' consequent expenses, ten thillings per dav is usually counted in an estimate. This gives a total daily war expense in Europe of over ten millions sterling (or an annual outgo of, say, £3,650,000,000).. Of this Germany would provide for some £2,200.000 “per day, .Austria for £1,600,000. Russia for £2,100,000, and France for £1,600,000. Even Switzerland wa« then spending some £60.000 daily, and Holland probably £IOO,OOO. Certainly if inane# i» the main nerve •f modern war, tki> Armageddon cannot last many months. My opinion is that the end will come sooner than has been expected, and possibly with a dramatic suddenness that will astonish us. In pleasing contrast with the crippled condition of Germany's war fiuar.ee, as evidenced by the condition© and result* of her last loan flotation, there cam© to us a few days ago the gratifying news of tho
unqualified success of the first British war loan of £350,000,000, offered for subscription about the middle of November. Prior to that Ih© Chancellor of the Exchequer had been providing for requirements by the issue of six months Treasury Bills, of which about £15,000,000 fortnightly had been offered with fair regularity since the opening of the war. .A loan, however, was necessary for the purpose of funding these floating liabilities, and providing for further requirements. The loan has a currency of 13 years, the rate of interest 5j per cent., and issue price £95 per £IOO, which places the not yield (including redemption) at practically 4 per cent, per annum. Exceptionally liberal advantages were offered to subscribers. in that tho Government had concluded an arrangement with the Bank of England under which the Bank will advance against tho stock of the loan at any time during a period of three years from the date ot issue, at a rate of interest 1 per cent, below tho Bank rate for the time being, and up to the full usue price of tho stock—i.e., 95 per cent, of face value. It is understood that no less than £100,000,000 of tho stock was taken up before the public subscription lists were opened, and this no doubt contributed to the complct-a success of the issue. It is satisfactory to learn that the British Chancellor estimates that this loan will provide for all his requirements up to July next, by which timo let us hope that tho end of the war, if not actually reached, will be well in sight. —London Board.— You will, I am sure, feel with mo that a more than usually cordial recognition of tho services rendered by tho London Board to the Bank is called for on this occasion. It is not our custom to make such recognition at our half-yearly general meeting, out the circumstance# this year are exceptional. In conserving the Bank’s financial position and protecting your interests, tho local directors in London have passed through a most strenuous time; and tho easy position in which the Bank stands to day is largely tho result of their foresight and prudence in the conduct of our affairs in London. It affords me much pleasure to record our appreciation of tho exceptionally valuable character of their work during the half-year. 1 am also very pleased to announce that, since wo last met you, tho London Board has, been strengthened by the appointment of Sir James Mills. K.C.M.G., as a local director. Sir James’s name and personality is ] familiar to most people throughout tho length and breadth of the Dominion; and as managing director (until recently), and still chairman, of tho Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand, Ltd., he has been closely identified with the industrial and social development of the Dominion for very many years. I am sure you will agree with me when I cay that w© are fortunate in having secured a gentleman so well qualified to fill the peat of a local director in London. Sir James takefe the seat formerly occupied by the late Mr R. H. Glyn. —General.— Within ths Dominion the ill-effects of the state of war are not very apparent. Tho withdrawal of the Expeditionary Force of 10,6000 men has of course affected the labor market to some extent, and many businesses are working short-handed in order to keep places open for tho men or, their return. The industries of the Dominion are not likely to bo adveirelv affected by the war, but rather the reverie. Prices for our staple product;*—woo!, meat, butter, and cheese—sr© satisfactory, and a largo output is assured. It adequate facilities be provided for Lite conveyance of our product* to tho remunerative markets that are awaiting them, a prosperous season will bo experienced. Shortage of carriers was at one time apprehended, but the Government have now taken the matter in hand, and are understood to be making arrangements which will give ample provision for the expert of all produce available. Until January, at any rate, adequate shipping facilities appear to ho provided, and we are glad to have the assurance of tho Right- Honorable the Prime Minister, after communicating with the High Cont- ■ ir.u-sionor for New Zealand, that there Is little doubt there will ho no serious difficulty in providing thereafter insulated steamers for the trail?port of ail our produce for the remainder of the sea,*3o.. \ Given the maintenance of full chipping facilities and a continuance of good juices for our products, which seems likely, our exports for the current ycai may be expected to show a value wt least equal t-r> those of last s©a*on. which it will bn rimer. be 'cd, approximated £25,520,003. The Customs revenue of the Dominion has, so tar, been remarkably well maintained. This niainfenance ox revenue is somewhat contrary to expectation, us wo naturally looked for considerable diminution in tho volume of imports as a consequence of existing economic conditions. The dislocation of manufacturing indus- ; tries in the United Kingdom ai. l m other ' countries directly affected by tho war will i inevitably lead to a largely ieduced output of manufacture - ,, and the lessened expen diture of our people—both voluntary and conipubory—following upon tho st.ito cd war which exists a ml the eonecqueut financial stringency, v.ill result in a. substantial diminution of the demand fer supplies by wav of imports. Ths probability is that sufficient timo has not elapsed to *nab!e these influences to make their effects appa-rect, and that snnis shrinkage in import? and incidents! revenue will be experienced I .tier on. if these forecasts bo rsaliecd. there will be, say a year hence, a much wider margin shown between imports and exports than ha? been customary in recent years. Tho Dominion's trade balance on ths credit side of the account will thus V© made a much mors substantial one. and we iJ'.all be in a position to mors ©arily provide for tho special outlay connected with the n.v I tionf.l war commit wonts, srd for private | benefactions, which have been on a c-tnt-I mendably liberal seals, i Tho circumstances all point to ths desirableness of discretion in the. matter of expenditure both public and private; and, whilst- the hoei ding of monev is to be most strongly deprecated, the husbanding of resources is' both highly expedient and commendable. In view of tho condition of th© money market, it is satisfactory to learn that the New Zealand. Government hav© completed arrangements for providing the fund? required to meet maturing loans and to carry on the necessary services of th© Dominion. The British Government have, we understand, intimated their readiness to assist the nation’s Oversea Dominions by advancing to them a portion, at any rate, of the moneys which they may require during tho currency of the war. In this respect the British Government have again shown a masterly grasp of tho situation, and have thus merited the unstinted confidence and support of the Empire' beyond the seas in this the greatest crisis of tho Empire’s histoiy. Our own Government are also to bo congratulated upon the prompt and unhesitating manner in which they pledged themselves to the support of tha Mother Country, and placed their resources in men and money at her disposal. These are times in which high statesmanship finds a congenial field, and in the years to come onr sons and daughters will, I doubt not, reap the rich harvest of the good Imperial seed which is now being sown. Meanwhile, tho value of money locally is above normal, and likely to continue so for some time. At Home the demand for cash and credit for tho financing of the war is enoymous. Long after actual hostilities have terminated tho huge liabilities which have accumulated will exercise a stiffening effect upon rates, and we therefore sen little present prospect, even under the most favorable circumstances, of any early easing in the financial position. Loan flotations on account of this Dominion, either loeally or on tho London market, are for the present quite out ef tho question. Looal bodies having schemes of loan expenditure in prospect should note this, and postpone for the present any active steps in the direction of the letting j of contracts which would involve heavy financial obligations. —Staff.— Largo numbers of our officers volunteered for oversea military service as soon as it became known that an Expeditionary
Force was being organised. Eighty-threo men wore accepted for service. This is equal to about 8 per cent, of the staff. As a holiday leave to the staff remaining on duty has had to bo suspended in order to ensure that the bank will have a sufficiency of men for tho transaction of its business. Th 6 terms of leave granted to the" volunteering officers arc six months on half-pay, with reinstatement in the service on return if physically fit for duty. Yon will, lam sure, concur in the board’s derision to deal thus liberally with men who have voluntarily placed their services at the disposal of the Empire in" its hour of need. —Deed of Settlement. — When we last met you it was our intention to have placed before you at this meeting the proposals for amendment in the deed of settlement, to bring it into conformity with the existing statutory position. The outbreak of war, with - its aenmpanying interruption of mail services and facilities for communication, convinced us that the timo at our disposal was inadequate to enable all formalities to be satisfactorily observed and the shareholders afforded a reasonable time to consider tho alterations to bo adopted. We therefore decided to delay submission of the proposals to you, and they are, accordingly, not being put before you at this meeting. The work is, however, well forward, and by the time tho next ordinary general meeting arrives we hope to be able to place out proposals before shareholders. —lnterim Dividend.— Our profits during the half-year are quite up to normal standard. Wo therefore purpose paying 6 per cent, ns usual, and a dividend at that rate—which, by the way, is equal to 12 per cent, per annum —is declared accordingly. It will be payable at Wellington to-morrow, 12th inst., and at branches on receipt of advice. New capital will participate proportionately, according to the amount paid up during the half-year and the date as from which tho amounts paid are entitled to rank as capital.
BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, Issue 15673, 11 December 1914
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