Clearing house(redirected from clearing houses)
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CLEARING HOUSE, com. law. Among the English bankers, the clearing house is a place in Lombard street, in London, where the bankers of that city daily settle with each other the balances which they owe, or to which they are entitled. Desks are placed around the room, one of which is appropriated to each banking house, and they are: occupied in alphabetical order. Each clerk has a box or drawer along side of him, and the name of the house he represents is inscribed over his head. A clerk of each house comes in about half past three o'clock in the afternoon, and brings the drafts or checks on the other bankers, which have been paid by his house that day, and deposits them in their proper drawers. The clerk at the desk credits their accounts separately which they have against him, as found in the drawer. Balances are thus struck from all the accounts, and the claims transferred from one to another, until they are so wound up and cancelled, that each clerk has only to settle with two or three others, and the balances are immediately paid. When drafts are paid at so late an hour that they cannot be cleared that day, they are sent to the houses on which they are drawn, to be marked, that is, a memorandum is made on them, and they are to be cleared the next day. See Gilbert's Practical Treatise on Banking, pp. 16-20, Babbage on the Economy of Machines, n. 173, 174; Kelly's Cambist; Byles, on Bills, 106, 110; Pulling's Laws and Customs of London, 437.