While the deposit banks form the main banking network in this country, in terms of numbers they are only a small part of the bank population. At first sight the remaining banks are so heterogeneous a group that it would be wrong to give them all one label, but in recent years most of them have been drawn into a secondary banking system in which, despite their different origins and geographical interests, they compete for similar types of business. All these banks have one factor in common: they do not attempt to compete with the deposit banks for the business of transmitting payments, although all of them have a proportion of current accounts among their deposits. Because the current accounts are such a small part of their business, these banks can concentrate on the financial intermediary side of banking, and they can do so relatively untrammelled by the rigid ratios of deposit banks or by the self-imposed conventions about the types of business which it is proper for them to undertake. They have the same obligation to behave with extreme prudence, but the criteria by which prudence is judged are different.
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