Hi All This could really be in the Coffee Lounge, but while I had this sent to me from a mailing list I wonder if anyonce can tell me why it does really take 3 days to clear a cheque when the $ have been stripped out of the payers acct the same day ? Today, the first in a new series aimed at explaining banking procedures, entitled "What On Earth Just Happened To My Money?" This week: Deposits When you hand your $50 note over to the unfailingly chipper counterwallah,he or she (it's so hard to tell these days) first checks to make sure that it is genuine by holding it up to a special light. This allows them to see any tell-tale signs of forgery such as the Queen winking, or wearing a tie. The note is then placed in a drawer. When the bank closes, all of the notes taken that day are gathered together, bundled into sheathes and bound with cotton, dyed with an ochre powder found only in the Indies. These are packed into the leather saddlebag of that branch's rider. At the stroke of midnight by the town hall clock, the bank doors fly open and the rider charges out. These riders, incidentally, are all able to demonstrate direct descendence from the great Khans of Asia. Well, they have to, because only those of true Mongol blood know the precise routes across the Steppes and along the old Silk Road which they must follow. Stopping every 25 miles for fresh horses at yurts bearing the bank's logo, the riders take dry food and hopless ale from the attendant mute eunuchs (especially employed as their minds are less likely to wander from the job in hand). Turning down through Samarkand, the riders head for Tibet, where their horses are abandoned in favour of the members of the bank's Himalayan Logistics Unit, or "sherpas". These sturdy fellows, resplendent in the company livery of dark blue blazer, polyester slacks and name badge, heave the sheathes of cash high into the mountain range, to a secret entrance. Here they leave their cargo and ring a prayer bell to indicate its arrival. Mountain dwarves take the money in and down to a vast central cavern, hung all about with abaci and hourglasses. Your personal abacus is moved across to the tune of £50 and a scribe scratches acknowledgement on a small clay tablet, which is wrapped with hundreds of others in a hogskin shammy and left at a wayside shrine for the riders to take on into China. When they reach Canton, the bundles of tablets are stored at the bank's hong on the shores of the Zhujiang before being taken down-river in chop-boats to waiting clippers of taut rigging and high renown. (Names such as The Cutty TSB and Spirit of ABN Amro - queens of the sea, both). The clippers then undertake the murderous passage across two savage oceans, by way of Cape Horn, back to Portsmouth, where a clerk sends the packages on to your bank branch for recording. And that's it. At least, I assume that's what happens. Otherwise, I really can't understand why in the age of the computer it takes four whole working days for the money to get into my account.