By Y. C. Jao
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Extra info for Banking and Currency in Hong Kong: A Study of Postwar Financial Development
9 Under the National Government, the Bank of China and the Bank of Communications were two of the four banks (the others being the Central Bank and the Farmers' Bank) that formed what may be called the 'central banking group'. The Bank of China can trace its origin to the Ta Ch'ing Bank under the Ch'ing Dynasty. It acted as the de facto central bank during the republican era before 1928. In 1928 a new charter was granted which specifically designated it as 'a bank of international exchange' whose primary responsibility was the custody of foreign exchange and the develop- Banking Structure and Operations 39 ment of international trade.
However. they were required to liquidate their open positions every fortnight, and to submit monthly balances of open positions to the authorities. Then one year later, following the British decision to widen the band within which sterling could fluctuate (which in tum was the result of the American announcement to suspend the conversion of foreign official dollar holdings into gold), further relaxations were made. On 10 September 1971 the authorised banks were notified by the Exchange Control Office that the limit on open positions in each foreign currency was raised to HK$2,000,000, and that they were no longer required to liquidate such positions every two weeks.
Embargo and the world trade recession respectively. By the same token the sharp rise during 1969-72 is attributable not only to business boom, but also to the rather frenetic activity on the stock exchanges. When we come to the credit function, differences become much more significant as between the major groups, since this function is not only influenced by management policy, but also by tradition. We have already mentioned the real-bills doctrine (the commercial loan theory of banking) as having traditionally a strong influence on 'sound banking'.