Prior to the establishment of the Birmingham Municipal Bank, the Committee of the temporary Corporation Savings Bank looked to the systems operated by existing savings banks for guidance on how the new bank should be set up. On May 5th 1919, the Committee was presented with a report by a Special Sub-Committee who had visited the Manchester and Salford Savings Bank. The Sub-Committee had inspected the system used by this Bank which was stated to be that used generally by Trustee Savings Banks.
Your Sub-Committee were courteously received by the Chairman of that Bank (Mr Francis Godlee) and the Actuary (Mr L D Stewart) who discussed matters of policy and explained the system of working.
1. Branch Bank Premises.
Your Sub-Committee found that the procedure indicated in Clause 3 of the draft scheme submitted by the Manager at the last meeting of the Committee was in agreement with the practice of the Manchester and Salford Savings Bank. When the Committee of that Bank consider it desirable to open a Branch Office, premises consisting of a shop front with quarters for a caretaker are secured on lease. At the expiration of the lease, if the business justifies it, the Committee either purchase the premises or build, generally the latter. Great importance is attached to the site of such premises; it is found advisable to secure corner premises on main roads, or at cross roads where there is a tram stop.
2 Days and Hours of Business.
These have been fixed to meet the circumstances of the locality, the guiding principle being the time when wages are paid at the works, etc. All Branch Offices are open during the same hours at Head Office.
3 Accountancy and Book-keeping.
The principle adopted to deal with depositors at the Counter involve depositors going before a Junior Clerk as well as a Cashier and your Sub-Committee are not impressed with this practice. The practice adopted at your own Bank is to be preferred, whereby the depositor is dealt with by one Cashier. The principle of comparing the Bank book with the Ledger on every occasion of withdrawal will be necessary when notices are done away with, and if every transaction of deposit and withdrawal passed through the ledger direct from the Pass Book, it would provide a double check on every entry.
The Cashier's book is a very simple form of entry of number and amount and is as much as a Cashier is expected to undertake in the way of clerical labour in addition to the entries in the Pass Book.
The Ledgers and daily check are identical with the system introduced by the Manager when the Ledger Cards were abolished.
Deposits are accepted at any Branch or Head Office but repayments are only permitted at the Office where the account is kept.
4 Self-contained Branch Banks.
Your Sub-Committee find that there are thirteen Branch Offices of the Manchester and Salford Bank, and the records show that the introduction of these Branch Offices have increased the business of the Bank considerably. According to the last Annual Report it is found that 43,500 accounts are kept at Head Office, and 94,000 at the Branches, the largest Branch having over 17,000 accounts. These Branches have been opened from time to time as the Committee considered desirable, the last being opened in 1911. These are worked quite independently of Head Office, but a systematic inspection and check by Head Office is maintained, in addition to a monthly audit. In the opinion of the Manchester people it would be a very unwise thing to introduce the keeping of Ledgers at one office in such a large area as Manchester, because of the constant necessity for reference to accounts while the depositor is present. Such a method would further involve an extra staff.