TSB College (continued)

Arthur Dethan died in 1976, and his position as Principal of the TSB College was taken by Eric Hateley, B.SC (ECON), FIB, DMA. An Obituary was published in the SBI Journal:

SBI Journal – May 1976:

Obituary: A W E Dethan, MBE, FSBI

Principal of the TSB College 1966-1976


The untimely death of Arthur Dethan came as a great shock, not only to his wife, Lucille, and family, but also to his many friends and colleagues in the TSB organization. He will be sadly missed.


Arthur commenced his career with the Jersey Savings bank in 1936, where he made his mark very quickly. Just before the German Occupation of the Channel Islands he was sent, with the bank records, to the National Debt Office in London. After a short time there he joined the Army and saw service in various spheres including Iceland and Burma. On demobilization, with the rank of major, he resumed his career with the Jersey Savings Bank.


Arthur was appointed Assistant Actuary in 1950 and played a leading part in the development of branches and the general expansion of the bank. It was initially through The Savings Banks Institute that he became more widely known on the mainland, particularly by his contributions at vocational schools – both educationally and theatrically. When he became a member of the Institute Council it was only natural that he should be given the Chairmanship of the Vocational Schools Committee. By now it had become obvious that Arthur had a flair for education and training. As Principal of the first pilot training school at Scarborough (1963) for its full term of thirteen weeks, and for part of each of the two subsequent schools, he assisted greatly in the efforts being made to convince the banks that a permanent residential training centre was needed and could be run successfully.


When in 1966 the banks gave unanimous approval to the purchase of premises in Solihull for use as a training college it was obvious that Arthur should be invited to become the first Principal. The acceptance of this invitation and, furthermore, the acceptance by Mrs Dethan of the post of Lady Superintendent, was a stroke of double good fortune for the banks. I know that this statement will be endorsed by the many Trustees, the several thousands of students and other visitors to the College during its first nine years of existence, who have enjoyed the comforts provided and benefited from the various training sessions.


In many ways Arthur Dethan was ahead of most of his bank colleagues in his view of the type of training that TSB personnel required, to enable them to meet the challenge of the future (and this even before ‘Page’). It must have been a source of gratification to him to find his views becoming widely accepted accompanied by increased financial backing which made possible the installation of up to date training aids and equipment. Under his leadership backed by the enthusiasm and skill of his assistants, Eric Hateley and Roger Cawse, the College has been able to gear itself to a standard of advanced training for management needed to meet the challenge facing TSBs as they prepare to become the ‘Third Force in Banking’.


In addition to his job as Principal, Arthur served on various national committees and was also a member of the Education Committee of the International Savings Banks Institute.


As readers of ‘College Notes’ in the JOURNAL will know Arthur’s spare time was mainly devoted to gardening and golf. In the case of the former he was ably assisted by Lucille who also has ‘green fingers’. The greenhouse, flower beds and floral decorations give ample evidence of horticultural success. At golf, as with all his pursuits, perfection was the aim. When in form, his opponents – as the writer well knows – were made to suffer. Fortunately for me he occasionally had his ‘off’ days.


Arthur will be greatly missed in the TSB organization. He had so much to offer in his particular sphere. I valued my association with him over many years and my wife and I enjoyed greatly our friendship with Arthur and Lucille and family – including five grandchildren of whom ‘Grandpa’ was so proud. I know I speak on behalf of his large number of friends and colleagues in expressing our sincere sympathy to his family. We shall miss him too but always be grateful for the contribution he made to trustee savings banks.




Eric Hateley continued the tradition of providing material for the SBI Journal, under the title College Comment.


SBI Journal – January 1977:

M42 Motorway opens

One final note of cheer for the New Year for those coming to the College by road who dislike the thought  of facing Birmingham traffic - the new section of M42 motorway is now open. There is an access point less than a mile away from the College on the A34, and this new road links up with the M6 and M1 at Coleshill (Junction 4 on the M6).


SBI Journal - December 1977:

Maintenance of standards


Let us look forward

I should have found these last words for the JOURNAL easy to write. Here was a golden opportunity to look back upon the past, to reminisce, to eulogise and to leave everyone happy. And yet there is something that keeps coming back in my mind! At every turn these days I find people talking about standards. The great debate on education was a direct result of peoples' concern about educational standards. The concern of the public with vandalism, and with the recent publication of the divorce statistics reflect public concern with social standards. Those of you are members of Rotary Clubs will know that the 'Bedworth Report' has the courage to put into print the disquiet felt by many members of the public on falling standards.


At the College, we too are concerned with standards - rightly or wrongly my staff and I see our task as one not of maintaining standards but of improving them. It was, then, with a great deal of disquiet that one of our courses ended recently.


The course itself was a great success. It was a course where everything was right - the content, the visiting lecturers, the mix of students and the atmosphere. We came to the last session and the subject of banking examinations cropped up. Without exception the students thought that it was essential that the examinations be built into a promotion plan.


They felt that without such a plan, standards will fall, 'extenuating circumstances' will become prevalent, and we shall have a hotchpotch of regional patterns of ability and standards.


Those of us who argue for national standards are not blind to the faults of the education system or to the problem of examinations. No-one is saying that the qualification of AIB is the sole criterion for promotion, obviously there must be others - ability and personality being just two. Because someone is 'good at taking exams' does it necessarily mean that he will be a good branch manager? Of course it does not. On the other hand, if there is any point in the very existence of the banking qualification, then surely it ought to be that that standard is the MINIMUM rather than the maximum that is required for promotion. It seems to me to be essential that if standards are to be improved - that young people are to be given incentives - then a national agreement is vital. I know that these words will strike dismay into some. All the reasons for not being 'qualified' will pour out. But let us look at other professions such as medicine or law. Here the qualification is the minimum requirement, and other attributes are built onto that base.


Stand up and be counted

These are my views and you may write me off as a crank and a 'fuddy-duddy' - much the same as the authors of the Black Papers on education have been written off. But haven't we as a nation come to our present position because people are afraid to stand up and be counted? All the alarm that parents have now about the educational standards of schools would have been unnecessary if only they had taken an interest and voiced their opinions before it was too late.


I mentioned earlier the 'Bedworth Report' which puts in print the views of the Rotary Club of Bedworth on law and order. The very act of printing their views has caused dismay to some who believe that it is not the task of Rotary to get 'involved'. Of course we must get involved - if we believe in standards then let us say - even if it is old fashioned and we may be called reactionary.


Sir Keith Joseph said some time ago when talking about politics that there was no 'middle ground'. From the other side of the fence, the late Aneurin Bevan said' If we walk in the middle of the road, we get run over'. As long as I am at the College I can assure everyone that standards will be maintained and standards of social behaviour befitting bank officials will be expected.


Perhaps it is appropriate that I write these words in this, the last issue of the JOURNAL. For throughout its history, the qualities I have been writing about have been the primary aim of the Institute. I am sure that in this issue many other far more eloquent people than I will be writing in praise of the Institute, its work and its officers. But you will all agree that the Institute has raised the educational standard of our staff. It has knitted together staff from all over the country and has made all of us believe that we belonged to a national rather than a parochial organisation. The College was the brainchild of the Institute and its officers are carried on in the work of the College.


So let's end, not on a note of passive resistance - not with the sounding of the Last Post - but with a clarion call of Reveille.


1978 Programme

By the time these words go into print, our 1977 year will be almost completed. It has been a challenging one - we had some successes but we would be first to admit that we have also had some disappointments. However, as Lyndon B Johnson once said 'We cannot recover the past, we can only win or lose the future'. I am determined that the future will be won! But I am the first to admit that the role of the College will be changing in the future, and that the task of the newly-appointed head of Education & Training will be to co-ordinate the work of the central college and the regional training programmes. At present the College gets excellent support from most regions, but there are some that do not support us. The danger here is that staff tend to get an insular approach. This was brought home to me recently when someone went into a branch of a region that does not send staff to the College and the Manager told her that he did not know that we had a College! Presumably he does not know that we have a JOURNAL either!


Over the last two years I have been able to maintain a very close and helpful link with the regional personnel managers - they have told me what they want from the College and how the College can help them. There is, however, one worrying thing that seems to be cropping up again lately. This is, that staff are coming on courses without knowing the objectives of the course or the reasons why they are attending.


To remedy this, I have this year designed the prospectus so that the target groups of students and the objectives of the course are clearly shone. Copies of the prospectus are available from the College for anyone interested.


In the meantime, for the benefit of staff who have not seen the prospectus, I am listing the programme of courses for 1978.


Perhaps I should end by re-phrasing the ending used by a regular broadcaster on radio 4 'If you have been - thank you for reading'.


Autumn Examinations

I have just received the pass lists for the Autumn Examinations of The Savings Banks Institute. Naturally, I was interested in those who took the Monetary Theory and Economics papers, and I am delighted to say that the intensive courses of one and two days that we held at the College seem to have been helpful. The national pass rate was 22.5 per cent for Economics and 32.2 per cent for Monetary Theory. Of those who attended refresher courses, the pass rate was 66.6 per cent for economics and 83.8 per cent for Monetary Theory. I take no credit for these results, only pleasure that the College and its facilities can help staff in such a way.


The courses have been experimental, but unlike many courses, their benefit can be measured. These results do, I believe, vindicate the experiment and prove the point that the expertise of the College staff must be used in every way possible to improve the knowledge of the staff and so give benefit to the banks.




SBI Journal - November 1970:

Everything changes ...

To write of two thousand students is to cast one's mind back to 1967 and even further back to the beginnings of the practical experiments at Scarborough in 1963. Compare the subjects taught and the teaching methods used and we can fairly claim that a revolution has taken place. In the early sixties we were offering what we called savings bank subjects almost solely. We read voluminous papers and occasionally used chalk. Some adventurous spirits went so far as to have charts. Today talk and chalk have largely been replaced by constantly improving technical use of the overhead projector and workmanlike and professional transparencies. The tape recorder adds a new dimension to our sessions in interviewing and public speaking. Tomorrow the videotape and television screen will provide substance as a means of personal development and to solve problems. We use the discovery method in groups so that, instead of hearing sadly the origins of TSBs, students find out for themselves about Duncan, write a short essay and read it to the whole course. Such a discovery project involves them in finding out about their own bank, its funds, branches, services and activities. This information they must embody in their written report. We even had a young group spend several sixpences telephoning the NDO to get the up-to-date figure for the National Debt (£33,000,000,000 was the answer). We use training groups to a limited extent to discuss human problems arising in the branch. We attempt role-playing in depth in selecting candidates for jobs. In short, we now include almost every new technique invented or shall include it as soon as we are given the money to buy the equipment.


Ten years ago we envisaged improving basic skills and widening learning horizons and we may be forgiven if we thought basic skills to be vastly the more important aspect of our task. If today we are tending to think more of educating than of the acquisition of primary and basic operating skills this may well apply the change which will be necessary for the College in these challenging and competitive years. Today we have to see the whole career of a savings banker laid out ahead of him as continuous and co-ordinated pattern of training and education. From his induction into TSB, his own bank, his acquisition of the basic knowledge of law and economics, his operating skills as a cashier using a terminal unit at his counter, his training for marketing our services, and finally his preparation for his ultimate goal whether this be in branch, executive, or top management. The pattern must be whole; it will be for him to succeed or fail.


So far as the College is concerned it may be thought that at a time when the increasing speed of technological change seems paramount in the thoughts of many people it role will be to preserve and foster concern for the individual banker, for his place in society, his motivation as a savings banker, his performance as a servant of the general public, his future; in fact, the spiritual rather than the material and practical aspects of his task. For it will be a poor world in the nineteen seventies if we minister only to the material and practice only the practical.


If, as now seems evident, we are moving rapidly towards training on a regional basis by the banks themselves. then clearly such training will no longer be necessary in due course by the College. We can therefore offer wider and much deeper courses for officers and executives in subjects which are treated in a merely superficial way so far. Communication and interviewing, method study, decision making and the solution of problems, overcoming resistance to change and the whole vast field of human endeavour as a member of the enterprise. To achieve this purpose the co-ordinated effort of regional training officers and the College must be be a first priority. Instructors, old and new, will need to have their knowledge updated frequently. Those concerned with management problems and human affairs will need to travel widely among the banks and their staffs to sift, analyse, and consider the information which will be available to them; they will need to use this material in their teaching for the preparation of lessons in depth cannot be undertaken lightly.


It could be that basic skills will be acquired from programmed learning. On the face of it such a method seems particularly suitable for teaching the operation of a terminal unit. Programmed learning supplements, not replaces, the teacher but its value lies in allowing individuals to proceed at their own personal speeds. The whole field of audio-visual technical equipment should be opened up to us. Our equipment should include: closed circuit television; filmed case studies; 'in tray' exercises; multi-channel trainers with reaction or 'feed back' sensors; sight and sound systems with the capacity for immediate play back; taped instruction; programmed learning; and television film cassettes filmed specially for us.


Teaching techniques will be refined, new ones as yet unrealised will be added as they are evolved. The whole purpose of the pattern for training and educating the human being must be to find the leaders of the future. We cannot train the few only, we must train all and educate highly those who are dedicated and show the spark. If, as this year's vocational school in Belfast suggests, savings banks are at the cross-roads, then certainty with the immediate introduction of the computer savings banks' staff are at the cross-roads.


Co-ordination of activities so far as training is concerned may be the first and necessary step towards preparing savings bankers to meet and fight successfully the growing competition which otherwise may lead to our demise as a national organisation.


SBI Journal - January 1971:


If all the places reserved has been filled, or paid for, in 1970 we should have had 608 students; instead we had 561 and our income was reduced by £2,700. We shall incur a loss whereas we would have made a small profit. Nevertheless, a Happy New Year to all.

Continued ....