April 14, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


James Alexander Robb (Minister of Trade and Commerce; Minister of Finance and Receiver General)



I am not sure about that,
but I find that on page 778 of the 1923 proceedings Professor Swanson said:
I think we ought to make a very careful detailed and comprehensive study of the American system and exactly the results that have been secured therefrom before we make such an experiment in Canada.
Then later on, at page 784:
I do noit think it is required in Canada. Our banks have the resources right now. It is not the case that we have not the money. No federal reserve scheme superimposed on our banks could increase the credit to a much greater degree than the banks can increase their credit right now. When a bank says
it is not able to extend its loan in an individual case, often it is because the security or the character of the borrower, either one or the other, is not up to par.
That was his opinion, expressed before that committee in 1923. But the Banking and Commerce committee, not satisfied with the evidence of Canadian bankers and economists, called before them a gentleman who is a recognized authority in the United States- Mr. John W. Pole, chief national bank examiner of the United States. Mr. Pole's evidence can be found at page 136 of the 1924 proceedings of that committee. I am not going to tire the House any more than to read the following:
The federal reserve system is admirably adapted to the unit system of banking, but for a very email number of banks with a large number of branches to attempt to adjust themselves so as to fit into' such a scheme would appear to be highly impracticable.
That is the opinion of Mr. Pole, and he continues:
Under the provisions of the Finance Act it seems to be quite possible for any bank in Canada whose assets would be of such liquid character as to enable it to take advantage of any facilities offered by the reserve system, to avail itself of equal opportunity offered by the Finance Act, the operation of which is easy and inexpensive and, judging from the manner in which it has been functioning, effective.
It is upon evidence such as this that I submit to the House that we should not allow the idea to go out that Canada has not a good banking system, and one which is suited to the needs of our country.
The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre referred to the Finance Act. For the information of the House it may be interesting to know to just what extent the Finance Act is required by the banks. I will place on Hansard a few figures to show the use of the Finance Act and to prove that it is not very much needed under our present banking system. The following table shows the maximum advances under the Finance Act in each of the years from 1918 to 1925 inclusive:
$116,500,000 001919
112,957,000 001920
123,689,025 001921
108,707,960 75
Then we come to 1922, and I ask hon. gentlemen to notice the drop:
$60,619,769 741923
40,020,000 001924
37,800,000 001925
30,400,000 00
According to the bank return of January 30, 1926, the advances totalled only $9,000,000, and that was during a period when there was some movement of crops.

National Banking System
Now, Sir, I do not wish to detain the House at any length, because I understand there are other speakers.

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