Home
 
 
Miscellaneous
 
Cash Difference - 1921
 
The following is a reproduction of correspondence in 1921 between Head Office and two branch officers regarding a cash difference amounting to 1/6d (7½ pence). The correspondence illustrates some of the bookkeeping methods of the Bank in its earliest days, and the conditions in which two members of staff were expected to work whilst manning a stand at a Bingley Hall exhibition.
At this date, the Bank's two most senior officers, who are involved in the correspondence, held the titles of Manager and Assistant Manager - these were amended to General Manager and Assistant General Manager in later years.

From: F Ellison

Assistant Manager

May 30th 1921

To: Mr J Kesterton

Hay Mills branch

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Sir,

On the 14th instant you forwarded a credit note No. E1132 from the Exhibition to Ward End Branch, for credit of Mr William Edward Cole 1/-d.

The entry on your counter sheet for this item is 1/-d., and this agrees with your cash book; the amount, however, entered in the pass book is 2/6d. Kindly let me have your explanation of this.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Dear Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 30th inst., I am sorry to learn a mistake has occurred in respect to the account of W E Cole, Ward End.

I have some recollection of this account, and now believe the amount entered in the Pass Book is the correct one, I had some difficulty with the person – a young man about 20 years of age I believe – and at last he agreed to open an account with a shilling. The entry on the credit slip was first made and afterwards, I think, he altered his mind & paid 2/6, I must have failed to note this on the credit note.

I suggest I see the young man, ascertain the facts, & explain the matter to him, when if the above surmise is correct an amended book may be issued to him showing 1/- as final deposit, the 1/6 to be paid in to his account at Ward End.

Yours faithfully,
 
 
 

Dear Sir,

Re A/c W. E. Cole

I have received a report on the discrepancy which has been discovered on this person’s account, and your letter of the 31st May is before me.

It will scarcely be appropriate for you to see this depositor on the matter, nor can the procedure indicated in your letter be followed. The entry in the pass book is a receipt in law so long as the proper signatures are there, which I understand to be the case. The depositor’s right to claim 2/6d. cannot be questioned.

I am having the matter further investigated, and will write to you in due course. In the meantime, will you please say whether your cash was correct at the end of the day in question?

Yours faithfully
 
 
 
Dear Sirs,

I have received a complaint that on the 14th May 1921 an account was opened at the Exhibition in the name of William Edward Cole, 17 Monk Road, Ward End, and registered for Ward End Branch, account No. 105, with a deposit of 2/6d. initialled by both of you, but the credit note sent to Ward End was only for 1/-d.

On looking at this credit note, No. 1132, it is significant that the entry of 1/-d. on the credit note opposite the word “amount” did not pass through a carbon copy, and the copy of the credit note distinctly proves that this entry of 1/-. was made afterwards.

The counter record, apparently kept by Mr Kesterton, shows 1/-d. clearly, but looking at the sheet, I do not think it can be accepted as the original sheet for the day. It would appear to me to have been fair copied.

The Cash Book record is by Mr Smith, and is quite clearly 1/-., and would appear to be written up from the credit book or counter record. I cannot understand how the cash in hand or balance brought forward comes to be in Mr Kesterton’s handwriting. Either the Cash Book was Mr Smith’s, and should have been dealt with by him, or it was Mr Kesterton’s, in which case the counter record is the other party’s.

There is no analysis of cash given, which both of you know is the recognised practice in the Bank. Had this been done, it might have been possible to trace this matter to a settlement more easily.

I shall be glad to have your report on this matter as early as possible, with an explanation of how you came to balance on that particular day. The books and documents can be seen on application to Mr Ellison.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Dear Sir,

Re A/c W. E. Cole

In reference to your letter of the 1st inst. I note your disapproval of my suggestions for remedying this mistake. I would like to point out that I have made no suggestion questioning “the depositor’s right to claim 2/6d.”

I cannot call to mind any difficulty about the correctness of the cash on the date referred to.

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

Dear Sir

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter addressed to Mr A J Smith and myself.

I am arranging to meet Mr Smith at the first available opportunity – Tuesday afternoon next – and will forward reply as soon as possible thereafter.

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 

Dear Sir

I beg to acknowledge your letter of the 2nd inst addressed to Mr Kesterton & myself, re the a/c of William Edward Cole, 17 Monk Rd, Ward End. I shall be seeing Mr Kesterton on Tuesday & will then forward you a joint reply.

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

Dear Sir,

Re A/c W. E. Cole

In reference to your letter of June 2nd I desire to say the mistake in question is entirely of my own making and that Mr Smith is in no way to blame. It is true he signed the Pass Book, but this was of course at my request, and was necessary in order to conform to instructions & regulations. Mr Smith never saw the amount paid, but had a right to accept my representation that this was the amount paid to the account. I therefore suggest that I must take the responsibility for Mr Smith’s signature as well as my own on the Pass Book in question.

I have already expressed the opinion that Mr Cole paid 2/6d., in view of the information you now supply, I must modify my suggestion as to the cause of the mistake, and now suggest I omitted to insert the amount on the credit note for the reason of the indecision of the depositor on the question of amount at the time of the deposit, and, finding this out later, I inserted on the credit note 1/-, being at that time, from the cash in my possession, satisfied this was the amount paid.

Having regard to the fact that 2/6d was inserted in the pass book, and having some impression that the original amount mentioned – 1/- - was, during the course of making out the pass book, altered to 2/6d. I have no reason to doubt that the mistake is with the Credit Note and not with the Pass Book.

As I have already said in my letter to Mr Ellison, I am exceedingly sorry the mistake has arisen, but in view of the fact that I have been concerned in the opening of 2347 accounts at Bingley Hall, I trust the virtue of my work there will not be submerged by a solitary blunder.

The question of the general management of the Exhibition are dealt with by Mr Smith and myself below.

Yours faithfully

J Kesterton

 

Dear Sir

In reply to your letter of June 2nd, we venture to submit that it is based on the assumption that the Exhibition Branch was an ordinary Branch of the Bank; we contend however that it was an extra-ordinary Branch for the following reasons:

1)    Every depositor had to be secured by personal canvas – in an ordinary Branch every depositor walks in unapproached.

2)    No repayments were made, as at an ordinary Branch.

3)   The available space for dealing with depositors was about 5 ft square, because although the office was larger than this, the door being in the centre precluded the use of more than one corner of the room.

There was only one table for the reason that another would not have improved matters.

There was no room for two officials to be in the Bank at the same time when deposits were taken, & there was no room on the one table for the use or display of the several documents of the Bank – e.g. Credit Books (two) counter sheets, Cash Book, etc.

We had no voice in the design or construction of the office & were not disposed to complain, being prepared as always, to do the job & accept the conditions laid down for us.

On your first visit to the Exhibition Kesterton expressed to you the opinion that the office provided at the prior Exhibition was more convenient.

4)    An ordinary Branch has one person in charge & an assistant, in this case we were jointly in charge, a position we accepted fully & approved.

5)   Having regard to the limited space & the accessibility of the table drawers, we considered them unsafe & unsuitable for cash. With the experience of former Exhibitions we decided that the place for cash was our pockets. These provisions are uncalled for in an ordinary Branch.

6)    We were not supplied with a safe – so there was no question of keeping the money in a safe. After the opening of the Exhibition however a Safe Maker offered to place one at our disposal for advertisement purposes, allowing us full use thereof. Kesterton reported this to the Assistant Manager who gave the requisite permission. We found it very useful for keeping the books & materials.

Again on your first visit Kesterton pointed out to you the above facts & said, “up to now we have taken the money home, as at former exhibitions. What do you say? Shall we continue as before, or shall be leave it in the safe.” Your reply was – “Take it home certainly.”

This again is a difficulty not met with at an ordinary Branch.

7)    In an ordinary Branch you will under no circumstances permit one person to remain in charge – but here when Smith was too ill to attend Kesterton reported the matter at once to Mr Ellison who in his presence came to you in your office & returned with the message that he must carry on alone. This he did Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Monday. On Tuesday & following days he had the assistance of Mr Heath.

We think you will agree that though the idea was to make the Exhibition Branch as nearly

as possible an ordinary one, an idea we endeavoured to carry out as far as possible, there

were essential differences that could not be overcome.

The facts being as stated we had to make what appeared to us the best arrangements for

overcoming the difficulties.

These arrangements were:-

To fall in with your decision to give us joint control of the Branch & arrange as nearly as possible an equitable distribution of the duties & responsibilities. Each of us, it was arranged, should deal with the person we secured, receive the cash & account for it at the end of the day. Next morning from the credit notes the Counter Sheet was made up by Kesterton & taken to Head Office, & the Cash Book was made up from Credit Books by Smith.

Kesterton on most occasions paid into Bank, hence was in a better position to place balances in Cash Book than Smith.

The analysis was made up by Smith, & we are quite satisfied that there was no attempt by one to override the other, & that the work of each was as nearly equal as possible, although no special efforts were made in that direction.

We note in the first paragraph of your letter of June 2nd you say we both signed the pass book – naturally we should, & if Kesterton took the deposit & signed, that would be sufficient evidence for Smith to countersign, & Vice Versa.

On the occasion of one of your visits when Smith was alone, he received a deposit of £10 & asked you to countersign, which you did without counting or seeing the money.

We think these statements answer the points of your letter, except perhaps an analysis of the cash which it was quite impossible to make at the Exhibition as in its early days the lights were turned out while we were counting & adjusting the cash. Besides as no cash was left at the Branch, no analysis of same could be made. Further all our actions could be observed outside even with the door shut, as there were plain windows in the door, & we tried to avoid attracting any possible attention as to our disposal of cash at the end of the day. The Cash Book too was from time to time taken to Chief Office, & up to March 31st was audited & passed without any complaint being made.

Our aim always was to give the best service to the Bank to secure as much business as possible, & those who saw us work would testify we succeeded to a surprising extent under adverse circumstances.

The mistake which has happened is we venture to suggest a simple one & was the outcome of the difficulties enumerated. The amount claimed is admitted. We accept your description of the books & documents in question, & do not desire to avail ourselves of your offer to us to inspect same, & for which we thank you.

Yours faithfully

 

 

Dear Sirs,

Re W. E. Cole

I am in receipt of your joint report on the above case, together with Mr Kesterton’s covering letter, for which I am obliged.

The second paragraph in my letter is now answered satisfactorily by Mr Kesterton.The third paragraph is cleared up by your joint statement that the counter record is a fair-copied record, and not the original, as I surmised. This is anything but a correct procedure, and it is against what I directed should be done.

The fourth paragraph is answered jointly to the effect that the cash book was made up by Mr Smith, but the balances inserted by Mr Kesterton. There can be no justification for such a procedure either at the Exhibition or anywhere else, where two officers are on duty, and I am astonished such a course should have been followed. Obviously, when only one officer is present, he must deal with all records; but such a position did not exist on the 14th May.

The fifth paragraph, dealing with analysis of cash, is important, as this case proves. Had my instructions been carried out there should have been corroboration as to cash in hand at the end of the day.

My letter was written with the object of ascertaining the facts, in order to satisfactorily clear the matter up. Mr Kesterton’s letter admitting the error is generous on his part, but the mistake is, nevertheless, a joint one. Neither of you tell me whether you were over in cash on the particular day, a circumstance both or either of you ought to be in a position to state. As the position now stands, there is a shortage of cash to account for of 1/6d., and although I understand this amount has been tendered to another officer of the Bank (who, I may add, has no jurisdiction in the matter) it is not my practice to accept settlement in that manner. Either the money was genuinely over on the 14th May or it was not. If over, it is a failure on your part to account for it; if not over, then the inference is that the money was not taken and the Bank are the losers by an over-statement in the pass book.

Mr Kesterton’s letter gives an account of the circumstances, which I can appreciate. The joint letter is a very poor explanation. It brings in so much that is not germane to the matter. The introduction of how the office was arranged, the question of a safe, the lack of furniture, what I said to Mr Kesterton or what he said to me, what Mr Smith did on a given day, and what I subscribed to by my initials – all these things are quite beside the business of W. E. Cole.

I have not the slightest doubt that both of you did your best under conditions which can never be ideal; but it is regrettable that more thought was not displayed in dealing with the books, which in the end constitute the vital part of your work.

I do not think I can arrive at any solution of the error than I have given above, and propose to ask the Committee’s sanction to the shortage being made good from the Bank funds.

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

Dear Sir

We are in receipt of your letter of the 9th inst, and regret our explanation of the measures we adopted to meet the difficulties enumerated meet with your disapproval.

We do not propose to deal with the points raised or the decisions you have come to, but we must beg to deny the statement in the third paragraph of your letter, that our joint statement states “that the counter record is a fair-copied record, and not the original.”

The counter records in your possession are the originals in every case, including that of May 14th.

Yours faithfully

 

 

Dear Sirs,

I am in receipt of your letter of the 13th instant which surprises me.

What you say with regard to the counter records renders the same absolutely worthless. You have completely justified my description of them being fair copies by your statement. In other words you have merely copied them from the credit advices and they are, therefore, not original counter records as understood in the Bank routine.

The procedure you adopted in this matter was quite wrong and contrary to what I laid down, namely, that the Stand at the Exhibition was to be conducted as near as possible to a Branch of the Bank. If either of you had desired to make an alteration in the procedure as regards the counter record or cash book, it was your duty to have first communicated with me, or in my absence, Mr Ellison. The counter records should have been made out at the time the transactions took place and from the counter record the credit advices should have been made out. That is the only procedure sanctioned, and the only one you should follow.

I have nothing further to say upon this matter, and the question is now closed, the Committee having decided to make good the shortage.

Yours faithfully

 

 

From: J Kesterton

Hay Mills branch

June 3rd 1921

To: J P Hilton, Esq

Manager

BMB

From: J Kesterton

Hay Mills branch

June 4th 1921

To: J P Hilton, Esq

Manager

B’ham Municipal Bank

From: A J Smith

Aston Cross branch

June 6th 1921

To: J P Hilton, Esq

Manager

H.O.

 

From: J Kesterton & A J Smith

B’ham Municipal Bank

Birmingham

June 7th 1921

To: J P Hilton, Esq

Manager

Birmingham Municipal Bank

 

From: J Kesterton

Hay Mills Branch

May 31st 1921

To: Frank Ellison Esq

Ast. Manager

From: J P Hilton

Manager

June 1st 1921

To: Mr J Kesterton

Hay Mills branch

From: J P Hilton

Manager

June 2nd 1921

To: Messrs J Kesterton and A J Smith
From: J P Hilton
Manager
June 9th 1921
To: Messrs J Kesterton and A J Smith
From: J Kesteron & A J Smith
Birmingham Municipal Bank
June 15th 1921
To: J P Hilton, Esq
Manager
B'ham Municipal Bank 
From: J P Hilton
Manager
June 20th 1921
To: Messrs A J Smith and J Kesterton
NOTE:
The career of A J Smith did not appear to suffer as a result of this incident. The Bank's records show him as the Manager of Lozells (at the commencement of the BMB on September 1st 1919), Aston Cross, Duddeston, Witton, Spring Hill, Wheeler Street and Nechells branches in the period to 1934. He was also picked out for special mention and praise in J P Hilton's book: Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank