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The Page Committee to Review National Savings
Following the Government's acceptance of the Page Committee's views, the TSB movement began to implement some of the structural recommendations, ahead of the necessary legislation relating to other aspects of the four proposals. By a process of amalgamation, over 70 TSBs were reduced to 17 by November 20th 1976. At a local level, the three small TSBs surrounding Birmingham (Coventry, Walsall, and Wolverhampton) amalgamated to become TSB of the Midlands.

During this period between 1973 and 1976, the BMB was negotiating with HM Treasury regarding the transfer of its status to become a Trustee Savings Bank. The Bank's Annual Report dated October 1975 stated that: Assurances have been received from HM Treasury that it will be acceptable for the Trustees to be appointed by the City Council during the period that the Birmingham Bank remains independent. It was originally envisaged that the proposed TSB legislation would come into effect on 21st November, 1975, but in view of the congested Parliamentary legislative timetable, some delay has occurred and it is now intended that the Bill will be introduced early in the 1975-76 Session.

The TSB Central Board was established with representatives from each of the newly amalgamated TSBs, and recruitment of staff for its premises in London was begun. While the banks began to gear themselves for a wider range of services including personal loans, links were established with the various authorities, clearing houses etc, that were used by the clearing banks in London to facilitate those wider range of services.

It was agreed that the Ordinary Savings Account of TSBs (the equivalent of BMB's No 2 Department) would continue in its existing form, including the tax relief concession on the first 40 of interest, for three years. However, the investment of these funds with the National Debt Commissioners (in the Fund for the Banks for Savings) was to be run down over a longer period - to 1986.

The freeing of the TSBs from its historical monitoring and control by the Government was also staged over a number of years, with the authorities particularly concerned to see the banks building up their level of reserves. The Government did not wish to provide any fiscal support for the developing banks, but were keen to see that they progressed to the point where they would be able to compete on equal terms with the joint stock banks and other financial institutions. Building on the start TSBs had made in recent years in introducing approximately 700,000 cheque accounts, the Government envisaged that the greater freedom given to the banks, with some ten million customers, would result in a much wider sector of the community being able to take advantage of money transmission and related facilities. This new positioning of the TSBs was labelled as creating a 'third force in banking, a third force that was mutually owned'. It was generally assumed that the other 'two forces' were the clearing banks and National Savings.

The implementation of the recommendations made by the Page Committee was made by the Government passing the Trustee Savings Banks Act 1976. This was largely an amending and enabling Bill that built on the existing Trustee Savings Banks Act 1969. Consequently, the Act's amending clauses implemented the transitional controls referred to above. But a key clause in the Act empowered each Trustee Savings Bank to carry on the business of banking; it was this clause that enabled the banks to extend their services, including the granting of credit. (see Mortgage Lending as a TSB)

The final Annual Report of the Birmingham Municipal Bank, for the year ended March 31st 1976, summarised how these sweeping changes would bring about the most fundamental series of alterations in the Bank's history:
Following the publication of the Page Report on national savings which made far-reaching recommendations regarding the restructuring of savings banks, new legislation was introduced into Parliament removing many of the restrictions under which these banks have always operated and allowing them to extend their services, particularly in the area of credit. The main provisions of the Trustee Savings Banks Act, 1976 will take effect on 22nd November, 1976.
In order to make these new services available to customers of this Bank the Birmingham Municipal Bank closed its doors on 31st March, 1976 and on the following day a new bank - the Birmingham Municipal Trustee Savings Bank - opened for business. This new Bank will continue to provide all the services which the old Bank developed in addition to those to be available under the new legislation. To preserve the special relationship with the City, provision is made in the Act for the Trustees of the new Bank to be appointed and removed by the District Council.

As reported in the May 1976 edition of the TSB Staff Magazine Banknotes (under the Heading 'OPEN FOR BUSINESS: THE BIRMINGHAM MUNICIPAL TSB') the new Bank was the first TSB for 25 years:
 
THE FIRST NEW TSB - amalgamations excepted - since 1951 (Bristol) has come into being ... the Birmingham Municipal Trustee Savings Bank, a regional bank in its own right.
 
In a statement specially for Banknotes, its general manager, Mr J W Hoccom, says:
 
"On March 31, the Birmingham Municipal Bank, a striking and unique example of civic enterprise, ceased to operate as a department of the local authority and all accounts of its depositors were transferred to a new bank, the Birmingham Municipal Trustee Savings Bank, which opened for business on April 1.
 
"Both the change and the Council decision which initiated it are historic, when one realises the intense local pride felt for the BMB and its growth in less then 60 years from a modest beginning to a savings bank with over 70 branches in and around Birmingham, holding almost 140 million of the savings of local citizens in over 400,000 active accounts.
 
"The decision of the Birmingham Council to form a TSB to replace the BMB was taken after an intensive examination of the situation arising from the Government's acceptance in 1974 of the recommendations of the Page Committee in regard to TSBs.
 
"The Council felt that the Birmingham bank's depositors should be able to share in the wider facilities soon to be offered by the whole TSB Movement but which would be denied them if the BMB remained as a local authority department.
 
"It was also realised that the future progression of the bank depended upon its maintaining a competitive position in the savings bank field.
 
"It is interesting to note that the link with local government has been preserved by the provision in the TSB Act 1976 allowing for the appointment of all trustees of the new bank by the Council, a situation which comes close to the Page concept of depositor representation on Boards of Management of TSBs.The link is further reinforced by the retention of the word 'Municipal' in the title of the bank.
 
"The changeover to TSB status has been accepted by depositors with a minimum of comment or enquiry. The recent, highly successful TSB television campaign made a considerable impact in Birmingham, familiarised the TSB name and logo locally and no doubt contributed to what proved to be an almost uneventful change.
 
"One humorous note was struck shortly after April 1, when a lady depositor of long standing stated firmly that she wanted nothing to do with any new bank and preferred her account to stay as it was.
 
"When, in reply to the manager's question, she confirmed that she had seen the Gordon Jackson advertisements on television and was told that the bank was now a TSB, she replied: 'Oh, you're that one are you? That's all right, then!'
 
"Following the formation of the new Birmingham bank, one more step remains to be taken - to discuss with the TSB of the Midlands whether, in the interests of depositors, of both banks, they should amalgamate to form one unit, which would cover the industrial heart of the country, with a population of over three million, and which, without question, would have a significant growth potential when the new services come into operation."
 
 
A measure of how quickly the new Bank was able to introduce new products and services is the following comprehensive list that was attached to its Annual Report for 1981.
 
Miscellaneous
 
This Committee, under the Chairmanship of Sir Harry Page (the City Treasurer of Manchester - right) was appointed by the Government to review the country's National Savings. In its report, published in June 1973, the Committee made certain recommendations in relation to Trustee Savings Banks.

In the BMB's Annual Report dated August 1973, the Bank's Chairman (H McCallion) and General Manager (B P Hayward) referred to the Review as follows:
The report of the Page Committee states that the bank is closely comparable with a trustee savings bank and that, whilst there are essential differences, the bank should adapt any new arrangements proposed for trustee savings banks to its own operations where these may be appropriate. Much thought is currently being given to the provision of a comprehensive banking service including the granting of personal loans.
 
The Page Committee made four interlocking proposals relating to Trustee Savings Banks that would be the first steps towards the prime consideration of providing millions of depositors with comprehensive banking services: