The Bank has been fortunate in many respects; in having the co-operation of employers, workers, and joint stock banks in 1916; in the ever-growing confidence of the people; in the enthusiasm of the City Council, whose members give it their active support; and in the constant and unstinted assistance received from the heads of Corporation Departments.
First amongst these must be mentioned the Town Clerk (Mr F H C Wiltshire) and the City Treasurer (Mr J R Johnson), who are brought into very close contact with it by virtue of their offices, the former acting as solicitor and the latter as treasurer of the Bank. The smoothness of the inter-departmental working is due in a large measure to the personal interest of these gentlemen, whose experience and wise counsel are always at our disposal. Nor must we forget the help and advice given in the early days by Sir Ernest Hiley (a former Town Clerk) and Mr T H Clare (a former City Treasurer). The assistance rendered by Mr Minshull (then Assistant Solicitor to the Corporation and now the Deputy Town Clerk) in connection with our earlier proceedings, should be acknowledged; and last, but not least, testimony must be paid to the invaluable services rendered to the Bank by Mr Arthur Collins, who succeeded Mr Clare as City Treasurer.
The success of the Bank is due, in no small measure, to the staff, and it is but right that tribute should be paid to their enthusiasm, efficiency and loyalty. From the highest to the lowest officer, they have one aim, viz, to give of their best in the interests of the Bank, and as an instance of the spirit in which they approach their task it may be mentioned that they take every opportunity, during the winter months, of improving their knowledge by special studies. These studies have been arranged in such a way as to enable them to obtain the certificate of an associate of the Institute of Bankers, the first officer to gain that distinction being Mr F H Whitehouse.
If mention is first made of the junior clerks, it is because they deserve it. Coming fresh from school with a desire to get on, one cannot help but notice their enthusiasm and watch with pleasure their progress and development. Much depends on these juniors; they are, as one junior reminded us at a staff dinner, the managers of the future. The female clerks are as capable a body of clerical workers as can be found anywhere and have their hearts in their work. It can be said of them that they discharge their duties with accuracy and give every satisfaction. The sterner sex are no less deserving of praise, and undertake their duties with enthusiasm. Those who are in charge of branches have their particular problems to deal with, but their ability and desire to please the depositors have earned for them high commendation.
The principal officers of the Bank have unfailingly demonstrated their efficiency. The working of a new institution, constantly expanding and reaching out in fresh directions, must necessarily present problems for which new solutions have to be found. That none has yet proved insoluble is the best demonstration of the competence of the principals. Mr F Ellison, the assistant general manager, came to the Bank in 1919 with a knowledge of savings Bank procedure, gained from a long experience with trustee savings Banks. His co-operation in the management of the Bank has been most valuable, and the writer is pleased to offer special testimony to the ability, enthusiasm, and sterling worth of Mr Ellison.
Finally, a word of appreciation is due to the writer's personal staff, who have so loyally and ungrudgingly given splendid service. The efficiency of this small band of officers has had much to do with the success of the Bank.
With all these advantages, the Bank ought to progress. It has the good wishes of people of all schools of political thought, and religious bodies; it is supported by organisations and clubs of all kinds. All this is as it should be, for the Bank aims at building up a more prosperous and contented people; it exists to develop habits of thrift, and to create a spirit of independence.
Just as the will found the way for the Bank to the Statute Book, so we have proved that where there is a will to succeed, success can be achieved; and just as Birmingham has succeeded, so any other town can do the same, provided it creates enthusiasm and secures the co-operation such as we have shown exists in Birmingham.
Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank
Chapter 28: Conclusion