A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 119: Banking on the Frontier
Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran
Saturday morning and I had a small touch of a hangover, nothing breakfast and coffee wouldn’t fix. I planned to start with banking this morning and move on to the other shops from there. While the building still said ‘Second National Bank of the United States’ the actual institutional was now ‘Bank of St. Louis’ and it was owned by a group of state businessmen with the backing of the Bank of NY(BoNY). This was all in a time prior to the FDIC so trusting a bank meant trusting the people who ran that bank and having BoNY to guarantee deposits really helped.
The bonus was that they still had the 2nd Bank vault which wasn’t insubstantial even if this was just a wood frame building. I learned that I could deposit much of my gold and silver in ‘security deposit’ and when I started to discuss the size of account I intended to create the bank manager suddenly became my clerk. I had to wait about a half an hour for him to show up but I was assured that he was rushing to get here. I was provided with hot coffee and left to wait in the manager’s office, they didn’t have a conference room so major meetings were held down at the tavern I had visited last night. Yes the entire thing was third world and rinky-dink; welcome to the frontier.
While waiting I decided I could start my own local rinky-dink bank just to make things easier on myself. We still needed the east coast connections so the St. Louis bank had to be part of my plan in the early going, however creating my own connections at BoNY and other banks would help. I might be forced to take a trip back east, Michelle was going to take on a lot more responsibility if I was going to winter over on the East coast.
None of the current banks out here would survive to make the modern world but BoNY and Union Bank of Boston(State Street) would and I wanted to get my main deposits there eventually. Moreover I wanted them to back the local bank I planned on starting.
The managing partner eventually showed up begging apology that he had been at a meeting with several large banks from back east. I took this as good news and made polite. I discussed a deposit and safety box with him and seriously asked how much that could convert to USD immediately. Well he started hemming and hawing about St. Louis Dollars. I had to specifically point out that I had specifically said ‘US Dollars’ and wasn’t interested in locally sponsored currency. It all hardened my resolve on starting up my own bank.
I eventually got him to commit to tendering to me in USD and I agreed to take some of his local dollars for local spending so long as I got a 1:1 rate when I redeposited them later in the week. If they didn’t convert directly at local stores I wasn’t going to be a happy customer. That fully settled and put on paper I promised him thirty thousand in bullion within the next two hours and needed five thousand in dollars to spend. I also needed an insured safety deposit box. I handed him a thousand in bullion and signed the papers and left to the boat.
I brought help and security from the boat as we toted 120lbs of gold back into town. We had four men toting bullion and eight armed guards surrounding them. We also carried 100lbs of silver to go into the safety vault as well. It was a lot of money but not all of it, I still had a deal with Leavenworth in process and a lot more for my upcoming bank back home. My bank had to have it founding on something and gold would be the backstop for now.