Question: My Hiknow students Athena & Sophia both ask about related phrases used in our class "Negotiations II".
Unfortunately, the word "bank" can have so many meanings in English. Here are two pages with many meanings: Baidu, Word Reference.
Here it is being used as a verb, with a special rare meaning. In fact it is rare enough (compared to the many other meanings) that I can't find it in any (free) online dictionary, and my attempts to find a webpage explaining it are spoiled by all the other meanings of "bank".
So I will post my own explanation here.
This meaning comes from: "bank" (transitive verb) - to deposit (something like money or a cheque) in a bank (which is more secure than just carrying cash around, which might get stolen).
The sense of "make something secure" comes from how the verb "bank" is often used in gambling. I found an example of this use in an explanation of how to play Pai Gow poker (based on the Chinese game 牌九) on About .com.
During a game, a player can win money. But in some games that money is still at risk (the player might lose it)... until they bank it. When the player banks their winnings, the money is secure and cannot be lost.
So in the class on negotiations, "bank provisional agreements" = "make provisional agreements secure".
Negotiations can be very long conversations, involving many issues (e.g. price, delivery time, guarantees etc). On some issues, both sides can agree during the conversation. The advice is to make those spoken agreements on agreed issues secure.
If you do not make them secure, then later in the conversation, people might begin to disagree even on those issues.
So, how can we make provisional agreements secure? Write them down. When something is agreed in writing, it is hard to change your mind, get confused about it or disagree about it later..
So "bank" does not actually mean "write down", but writing them down is probably the best way to make provisional agreements secure.
In "banked agreement", "banked" is the past participle of the verb, being used as an adjective to describe the noun "agreement". A "banked agreement" is an agreement that has been made secure. It could be on a piece of paper, with the agreed issues written down on it.
* Even in gambling, the word "bank" can have many meanings. The last use of "bank" in that quote is a noun, meaning one player in the game who has a special role regarding the bets/money.
G.A.L.E.S.L. / joe3
Some tips and links on learning English.