Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank
Part One: The History of Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank
Birmingham Corporation
Savings Bank

As mentioned in Chapter 8, the Bank received financial assistance from the borough fund, to the extent of 7,149 3s. 11d. That loss was shouldered without demur; the Council realised that it had been entirely brought about by the limitations imposed by the Treasury upon the power of investment, and by the low rate of interest allowed the Bank by the National Debt Commissioners.

The Birmingham Municipal Bank obtained a large clientele from the depositors in the temporary Bank, and received the immediate advantage of the transferred moneys of such depositors. This being so the committee felt there was a moral liability to make good the deficiency, although no legal liability to do so.

Accordingly, steps were taken to obtain the approval of the City Council to the whole amount being repaid to the borough fund from the surplus moneys of the Municipal Bank, and in due course such repayment was made as the balance sheets disclose.

We are proud to say that from the establishment of the temporary institution in 1916, right up to the present time, the Bank has not cost the ratepayers a single penny. That is an achievement which entitles us to take pride; it is a satisfactory position so far as the ratepayers are concerned, and it is no less satisfactory to the depositors in the Bank, most of whom are also ratepayers.


To close the history of the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank without an acknowledgment of the services rendered by the staff would be ungenerous. Working during a period of extreme pressure, under cramped conditions, in non-hygienic premises, and with the guillotine of the temporary nature of their employment always over them, they were really splendid.
The necessities of war conditions made it difficult to secure male help. No sooner did the opportunity occur of obtaining a man, than the military authorities stepped in and determined his fate otherwise. Recourse was had to the engagement of young girls fresh from school and other female help, and for the first two years this temporary Bank staff was largely of the gentler sex. Their adaptability for certain forms of clerical labour was proved during these years, and one can pay a high testimony to their qualities.
Two officers, however, deserve special mention, viz., Mr. A. J. Smith and Miss D. E. Blackwell. Both these officers commenced their service with the Bank on its establishment; the former is still an officer, and the latter was an officer up to June, 1926, when she resigned on marriage. Mr. Smith has always been an enthusiastic and energetic officer, ever ready to help, ever willing to discharge any duty he was called upon to undertake; a valuable and loyal colleague. Miss Blackwell coming to the Bank as the ledger clerk, rose to cashier and ultimately chief cashier. Exceptionally able, reliable and trustworthy, she was a splendid officer. The bigger the task the greater her determination to accomplish it.
The Bank's Balance Sheets for 1922 and 1923 show the following amounts debited to the Income & Expenditure Account against the heading 'Transfer to Borough Fund and Rate Account':
 1922 - 3,000-0s-0d
 1923 - 4,149-3s-11d
Press Cuttings