The Second World War - Passbooks
BMB in the World War
During the Second World War, the BMB was obliged by the exigent circumstances to introduce a number of changes to deal with the problems that arose. The main problem was the reduction in the number of staff caused by the call-up of male members of staff for active service - a problem that was dealt with by the combination of branches.
A lesser problem was the limited availability of paper. Rationing of paper was quickly introduced after the commencement of the War and further restrictions were applied after Norway was invaded by Germany in 1940 and the supply of wood pulp was drastically reduced.
On January 18th 1943 the Bank's Chairman (Alderman O Morland) stated that:
the practice of issuing new pass books when a depositor transfers from one branch to another should be abolished in the interests of paper economy, and the original pass book should be used at the new branch, with appropriate alterations in title of branch and account number.
The passbook illustrated here is an example of this economy measure. The depositor (Mrs E M Stark) transferred her account (Number: P 25471) from Kings Heath branch to Springfield branch on January 12th 1945.
It appears that after the staff at Kings Heath had closed the depositor's account, which had a balance of 30. 2s. 1d., they forwarded the passbook to Springfield branch. At the receiving branch, the transferred balance was re-entered in the passbook on the next day. A new Account Number was then allocated (AB 22922) and the front cover of the passbook was amended.
The account was eventually closed on January 29th 1947. The passbook was then stamped to encourage the depositor to bring the book back if she wished to reopen (renew) the account, in which case the passbook could be used again.