INTERNATIONAL DEPARTMENT - LETTERS OF CREDIT
"A Memorable Experience"
Submitted by Paul Comissiong, International Banking
years of service, in various capacities, at Barclays Bank International
sister is married to a nephew of Al Werner, a former Vice-President of
Manufacturers National Bank of
I can appreciate Dick Heiss' recollection which I quote......." In 1966, a major conversion of the Trust Accounting System took place, added employees and long hours. Fortunately, I was not a part of it." Well, I was a part of it and remember well that we worked on New Year's Day 1966 in an attempt to meet the conversion date deadline which, unfortunately, was not met.
1966, I was "rescued" by George Guiliani and Tom Ouellette as an opening in the Letter
of Credit Division of the International Department became available. Having
had various positions with Barclays Bank International, among them being,
Foreigh Exchange Teller, Branch Manager in
Bill Blomme became my manager sometime in the late 1960's and we worked together until he retired in 1992. His recollections, however, did not mention another critical aspect of the Letter of Credit operation and that is, the careful examination of documentation presented for payment under letters of credit.
An example of this is as follows:
Bank issued a letter of credit, through Manufacturers National Bank of
of the cows was effected, the required shipping documents were presented
to us at the
To our surprise, in about two weeks, we received a claim from the Italian Bank requesting a refund of the entire amount paid due to the fact that some of the cows shipped were not inspected by the buyer's named representative and that the Inspection Certificate for these cows was signed by an unknown individual. This is a legitimate discrepancy in the Inspection Certificate and was obviously overlooked by our Document Examiner. Clearly grounds for refusal, by the Italian Bank, to pay.
We had to
quickly get up to speed on the whole aspect of bovine exportation and
it was determined that once cows are inoculated for hoof and mouth disease
and are exported, they can never be returned to the
possible since the cows were inoculated.
determined that "our" cows were placed on board of the same
aircraft as another shipment of similar cows, however, bad weather was
experienced on the flight over to
In the meantime,
Bill Blomme and I drove up to the farm in Lapeer
to discuss the matter. We were met by the Italian Manager (who unfortunately
wore two hearing aids) at his offices which overlooked a large pasture.
As Bill would do from time to time, he allowed me to explain our position
to the manager and attempt to negotiate some
sort of settlement of the matter while he was attracted to the large picture
window and the pastoral activity beyond. There was a large bull doing
what bulls are known to do while in the pasture. Bill obviously found
this activity to be much more interesting than discussing the fate of
The manager admitted that five of the cows were not inspected by the buyer's representative and that was verified by us. An offer of a refund of the value of the five cows was made to the Italian Bank and this was accepted in final settlement of this transaction.
just one of many events which made my experience at the International
Department of Manufacturers National Bank of
I continued on as Letter of Credit Manager after the merger in 1992, then focused on the expanding Standby Letter of Credit operation and consultancy, retiring as Vice President in 1997.
Paul A. Comissiong