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World War II - Savings Campaigns
 
BMB in World War II
 

A number of savings campaigns were held during the Second World War that heavily involved the Bank. This involvement included the whole of the staff in the branch network encouraging depositors to save; staff performing additional duties in relation to specific campaigns; and the use of the Broad Street Head Office - both as a means of displaying patriotic posters, and for the holding of meetings etc.

Details of the Bank's involvement are described in a contemporary newspaper article, and a number of reports to the Committee of Management, that are reproduced below.

Images of the events described can be accessed by the individual links. There are additional images at the foot of this page.

 

Birmingham Post - October 5th 1940: Birmingham War Weapons Week

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Sir Ernest Canning, presiding at a meeting of the General Committee of the Birmingham National Savings Committee at the Council House, Birmingham, yesterday, announced that Solihull is going to work in co-operation with Birmingham in the savings campaign.

He stressed the importance of doing everything possible to establish an increasing number of savings groups, particularly in factories, and to get increased amounts from people who are already in the groups. A wide appeal was being made to institutions such as building societies and banks in command of large sums of money and also industrial firms to help during the Birmingham War Weapons Week from October 14 to October 19. In addition to investment in National War Bonds, it was urged upon companies and firms, as well as individuals, to deposit with the Government as a loan without interest, amounts that would provide for taxation or super tax, or a reserve against emergencies.

The Dunlop Rubber Company (Ltd) has promised an amount of £500,000 as a loan without interest, which is a splendid start to the campaign. Again, many men, especially those in advanced years, accumulate cash against payment for death duties. Here is a splendid chance of lending to the Government without interest. Any amounts notified will be treated confidentially and announced anonymously.

"I think we can say that by Monday we shall be on the way to £2,000,000, and by the time the Lord Mayor opens the campaign he will have in his hands a substantial amount towards the £8,000,000 aimed at."

The Birmingham Municipal Bank had been giving the Committee great help. He hoped the Bank would induce its depositors to invest extra money, not only during War Weapons Week, but until the end of the war. The Bank was one of the greatest movements for thrift we had in the city. He was hoping a joint scheme would be worked out whereby savers in groups where there was a deduction from pay could say whether they wanted the money invested in certificates or transferred to the Municipal Bank. It was possible to get a very largely increased amount of savings from working men and women today. That must be the aim of the Committee right up to the end of the war.

Alderman Harrison Barrow, chairman of the Bank Committee, said money was coming in very well to the Bank. In August the increase in deposits was very much larger than for some time, and the September figures were up heavily. Bigger money was coming from bigger wages and from the increased number of people in employment. The Committee had already got £2,500,000 from the Bank in one way or another.

Dr P Innes reported on the progress of the savings movement in the city schools. As far as the higher education institutions were concerned he said there was not a single one that was not interested in the movement. There were 450 elementary school departments, and of these there were very few that had not taken up the movement. Junior and infant schools had surpassed themselves in some cases. A great debt was owed to the teachers who had taken up the movement most heartily.

Sir Ernest Canning also commended the work of the teachers. He suggested, in regard to the poster exhibition at the Royal Society of Artists' rooms, that a poster competition for Birmingham schools should be organised and a display held about May next.

Councillor L G H Alldridge reported on the work of organising street savings groups. He said they were organising groups throughout every street in the city, which would mean between four and five thousand groups. Some two or three hundred had already been started. It was hoped to get a voluntary organiser for each municipal ward. Twenty such organisers were still required and as many street collectors as possible. He believed street groups would bring in cumulatively large sums of money.

Another speaker said one street group had raised £48 in a week.

Councillor John Fryer urged that the activities of works savings groups should be followed up.

Sir Ernest Canning said that up to date 3,426 such groups had been formed. Returns so far received showed that of 50,000 workers only 46 per cent were in the savings movement. Its success rested almost entirely on the attitude taken by the employer and the management.

The Lord Mayor outlined a suggested programme for War Weapons Week.

Preparations are reaching an advanced stage, and there will be a display of military, naval and Air Force services such as has never before been seen in the city. The arena will be situated on the lawns near the Hall of Memory, and all traffic will be diverted from that part of Broad Street to enable as many people as possible to congregate there. Each day's proceedings will start with a march of mechanised troops of all kinds from a different suburb, and Army, Navy, and Air Force representatives will be supported by the Home Guard and the civil services, male and female. Arrangements are also being made for the presence of some of the leading military bands, who will not only march in procession but also play at stated intervals in the arena. It is hoped that a distinguished visitor to the city will formally open the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Sir Ernest Canning is making a great endeavour to persuade companies and firms, as well as individuals, to subscribe to National War Bonds; and the president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce is making a similar appeal to every member. Encouraging promises already have been received, and notwithstanding the shortness of funds in consequence of taxation, there is every prospect that many large sums will be subscribed.

It is to the small but numerous private subscriber that the committee looks for most of the money, however. The working man does not always realise how generous are the terms offered him by War Savings Certificates. The rate of interest and the freedom from income-tax make these such a good investment that it has been found necessary to restrict the amount invested by the individual to £500. This should prove to those working men who are earning high wages how desirable it is, in their own interest, to invest their money to such advantage.

 

General Manager's Report, October 9th 1940: "War Weapons Week" - October 14th - 19th 1940

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In connection with the above the Chairman has approved of the hours of business at Head Office being extended on each day of the week until 6pm, for the sale of certificates, purchase of defence bonds and national war bonds, and for making increased deposits in the Bank.

As Solihull is joining with Birmingham in this savings effort, arrangements have also been made for the hours of business at the Solihull Branch to be extended likewise to 6pm each day.

The services of Mr Clamp (Publicity Officer) have been loaned to the National Savings Movement for this special effort, and he will afterwards work in close collaboration with the National Savings Committee organisers, whilst carrying out his duties for the Bank.

The use of the Committee Room has been placed at the disposal of Sir Ernest Canning and his colleagues in connection with this special war savings effort.

The Bank has agreed to take its place with Joint Stock Banks in providing staff to sell certificates, etc, on the grounds attached to the Hall of Memory.

The Chairman has approved an expenditure of £12. 10. 0d, for a streamer to be placed across the front of Head Office, urging people to save.

Branch Officers have been asked to urge depositors and others to make increased savings during this special week by one or other of the methods available.

 

Report of the Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee:"War Weapons Week" - October 14th - 19th 1940

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Arrangements were made for the hours of business at the Head Office to be extended on each day of the War Weapons Week until 6pm for the sale of Certificates, purchase of Defence Bonds, and National War Bonds, and for making increased deposits to the bank.

As Solihull joined with Birmingham in this Savings effort, arrangements were also made for the hours of business at the Solihull branch to be likewise extended.

The services of Mr Clamp (Publicity Officer) were loaned to the National Savings movement for this special effort, and he will henceforth work in close collaboration with the National Savings Committee Organisers, whilst carrying out his duties for the Bank.

Assistance has also been given to the campaign in other directions, such as providing staff to sell Certificates etc, in the vicinity of the Hall of Memory, street collections, etc.

 

Report of the Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee, Jan 19th 1942: Warship Weeks - Bonus to Staff

Your Sub-Committee recommend that a bonus of £50 be distributed amongst the officers concerned for extra work carried out during Warships Weeks, subject to the confirmation of the Salaries, Wages and Labour Committee.

 

General Manager's Report - July 16th 1943: "Wings for Victory" Week

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The Bank's contribution to the Birmingham effort amounted to £3,500,000, and £180,000 to efforts of adjoining Local Authorities where the Bank is established. The investment of £3,500,000 has been made in 2½% National War Bonds, 1952-54, on the advice of the Treasurer, and the investment of £180,000 has been made in 3% Savings Bonds, 1960-70.

A very heavy task fell to the staff during "Wings for Victory" Week and following week; long hours had to be worked to cope with the volume of business. Counting money taken at the Exhibition, Bomber site, and collecting boxes numbering over 4,000, was done by the staff of the Bank. Special appreciation of services rendered should be mentioned in respect of Mr Clamp, upon whom has devolved the major portion of organisation arrangements; and in respect of Mr Maggs and Mr Drover, who undertook the laborious task of de-soldering collecting boxes and the heavy task of transferring money from various collecting points to Head Office for counting, and subsequent transfer to Joint Stock Banks.

It should be mentioned that part of this collection was in connection with the Lord Mayor's effort for the RAF Benevolent Fund as distinct from the "Wings for Victory" effort.

Every help has been rendered to the Local War Savings Committee in providing facilities for meetings, hospitality, etc.

 

General Manager's Report - July 1944: "Salute the Soldier" Campaign

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The Bank's contribution to the Birmingham effort amounted to £3,500,000, and £180,000 to efforts of adjoining Local Authorities where the Bank is established. The investment of £3,500,000 has been made in 2½% National War Bonds, 1952-54, on the advice of the Treasurer, and the investment of £180,000 has been made in 3% Savings Bonds, 1960-70.

Once again, a heavy task has been undertaken by the Staff in connection with these efforts. The counting of money in 4,400 collecting boxes was done by the Staff, and involved a sum of £11,540. It is fitting that mention should be made of the services rendered by Mr Clamp throughout the Birmingham, Oldbury and Halesowen Campaign. The organisation of these Campaigns has centred around Mr Clamp, who has devoted long hours to the Birmingham Campaign prior to the Week's effort, during the Week, and in the winding-up operations. The laborious task of de-soldering collecting boxes and transfer of same from the receiving Depot to the Counting Room has fallen mainly upon Mr Maggs and Mr Drover, both of whom deserve mention for their services. Facilities were provided for Sub-Committees of the Campaign to hold meetings at the Head Offices; hospitality etc, was extended to those taking part in the Sunday Drumhead Service; and many other services were rendered by the Staff towards the success of the Campaign.

The photographs reproduced below were all taken at the parade as it passed the Bank's Head Office in Broad Street during the "Salute the Soldier" week.