As described by J P Hilton, in his book Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank, 'for many years the Education Committee had conducted savings banks in the elementary schools of the city'. This scheme involved individual schools setting up 'Banks' into which scholars made deposits on a weekly basis. It was the general practice for the scholars to receive back their savings when they left school, but following the establishment of the Municipal Bank the scheme was amended to provide encouragement for the transfer of the savings to individual BMB accounts.
The School Savings Bank scheme was linked to the BMB in 1921, but resulted in very few accounts being transferred - only 1,395 accounts were transferred in the period up to March 31st 1927. Better results were achieved in the 1930s, with 80,786 accounts being transferred in the ten years ended March 31st 1939.
However, the scheme came under threat when the National Savings Committee approached Birmingham Education Committee with a proposal to sell National Savings Stamps in schools. A report to the Bank's Committee of Management, dated January 15th 1940, by the Bank's Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee summarised the position:
The arrangement at present in force for encouraging thrift amongst elementary school children is for the Education Committee to conduct school savings banks through the teachers and to bank the money received with the Municipal Bank. It is also part of the scheme that upon a scholar's account reaching the sum of £1, the amount is automatically transferred to a personal account of the scholar in the Municipal Bank. This system involves considerable time and much book-keeping. The National Savings Committee have approached the Education Committee for authority to sell National Savings Stamps in the schools. In the opinion of your Sub-Committee, this would "kill" the present scheme, and while they wish to give every assistance for coupon saving and for the sale of Savings Certificates, they feel it is most important that the connection between the scholars and the Municipal Bank should be maintained.
The General Manager has now prepared a scheme for the introduction of a coupon system of saving similar to that in force during the last War. Under this scheme, coupons of suitable denominations would be supplied to the teachers, who would issue coupons to scholars in exchange for cash. The scholar would affix the coupon to a card, which when completed would be taken by the scholar to the most convenient branch of the Municipal Bank, where it would be accepted as a deposit and credited to an account and entered in a passbook or used for the purchase of a National Savings Certificate. The only other work required from teachers would be to pay the money received weekly to the nearest branch of the Municipal Bank and furnish a weekly return showing the stock of coupons held and the sales during the week. The scheme would operate in the schools just the same as if National Savings Stamps were used, and it would preserve, during the War, the close connection which has existed for so long between the Bank Committee and the Education Committee. At the conclusion of the War, the Education Committee would be in a position to determine whether the system should be continued or the School Savings Banks revived.
The Chairman of your Committee and the Chairman of this Sub-Committee, with the General Manager, have been authorised to discuss the scheme with the Chairman and representatives of the Education Committee, and to settle details, including publicity, supply of literature, etc.
Your Sub-Committee recommend that the scheme, as above outlined, be generally approved, and the General Manager authorised to take any necessary steps to put the same into operation.
In addition to the scheme for school savings banks outlined as above, consideration has been given to reviving the coupon scheme of saving for the general public, which was the basis of the Corporation Savings Bank during 1916 - 1919. By such means further support could be given by depositors to the national savings effort. It is not suggested, as was formerly the case, that employers should be asked to make deductions from wages, but to arrange for coupons to be sold at works, factories, etc, and the co-operation of the Trade Unions in this matter would be sought. The coupons would be of suitable denominations up to 5/-.
Having regard to the arrangements made with the Treasury for excess deposits to be invested with the Government, there is no reason why the close contact of the Bank with workers which has existed for 20 years should not be further strengthened and by the means suggested additional support given to the Government in the National Savings effort.
Your Sub-Committee recommend that the scheme, as above outlined, be generally approved and the General Manager instructed to take any necessary steps to carry the same into effect.
The discussions with the Education Committee did not result in the Bank's scheme for scholars to save by means of BMB Coupons being implemented, as a report to the Bank Committee dated February 19th 1940 detailed:
After conferences between representatives of the Education Committee, the National Savings Committee and the Bank, it was decided not to adopt the scheme approved by the Bank Committee, but to further the Savings Campaign amongst school children for the duration of the war by means of the National Scheme, without abandoning the School Savings Banks system. An undertaking was given to have special savings books and cards printed for use in the Birmingham schools which would link up the Municipal Bank to the scheme; also that in literature used, the name of the Municipal Bank would appear in place of Trustee Savings Banks.
While your Sub-Committee regret that the direct contact of the Municipal Bank with the scholars should be thus affected, assurances have been given, both on behalf of the National Savings Committee and the Education Committee that, after the War, the schools savings should be operated through the Municipal Bank.
Despite the failure of any agreement to introduce BMB Coupons as a means of savings in schools, the Bank proceeded with the coupon scheme generally, commencing May 15th 1940. A tender was accepted from Messrs Goodman and Sons for the supply of coupons and coupon cards at a cost of £180. Coupons were sold in factories via agents, and over Bank counters. In the period up to March 31st 1942 sales were:
- via Agents: £37,397. 2. 6d
2 Supplies of coupon cards and coupons in denominations of 6d, 1/-, 2/6 and 5/- would be obtained from a selected branch of the Municipal Bank on requisition by the Heads of schools. Coupon cards should bear the name of the pupil and school. Requisitions may be confined to coupons of one or more denominations according to the requirements of the school
3 The scholar would pay cash to the Head, or the Head's representative, for the coupons required, and the scholar would affix them to the coupon card
4 When the spaces on the coupon card have been filled by coupons, the scholar would take the card to any branch of the Municipal Bank convenient to the scholar, together with his or her pass book, when the value would be credited to the scholar's account
5 Should a scholar wish to withdraw money represented by an incomplete coupon card, he or she would present such card at the branch of the Municipal Bank, together with his or her pass book, to receive the money
6 If the scholar wishes the value or part of the value represented by a coupon card to be used for the purchase of National Savings Certificates, that desire should be recorded on the coupon card. The Bank, on presentation of the card and pass book, would issue the Certificate direct to the scholar
7 For the purpose of records, Heads will be provided with a dual-purpose book containing duplicate forms (one for the Bank and one for the Head). It will be used (a) for requisitioning coupons and (b) for paying cash into the Bank. Space will be provided for these two types of transaction to be summarised so that the value of coupons on hand at any time can be rapidly deduced. No further records need to be kept and no further returns will be required from the schools either by the Bank or by the Education Department
8 Internal checking by the Bank will be reduced to a minimum. Heads will be asked to forward to the Bank in a special envelope the Record Book and coupons on hand at the end of the Summer Term each year
9 Coupons, coupon cards, dual-purpose record books and full instructions will be provided by the Bank, and will be obtainable from any branch
10 Provided all reasonable steps are taken, Head of Schools and their staffs will not be held responsible for the loss of coupons
11 It shall be optional whether or not Infants and Special Schools take part in the Scheme.
After consultation with teachers' representatives, the Bank agreed to include provision in the scheme for a 3d coupon, in addition to the 6d, 1/-, 2/6, and 5/- coupons.
In October 1947, the Chief Education Officer agreed to the adoption of the Bank's scheme and that the existing School Savings Bank would be closed. It was further agreed that the new scheme would commence on January 1st 1948.
The 'year-end' for the new School Savings Scheme was July 31st, to coincide with the end of the Summer Term. By July 31st 1949, 201 school departments had adopted the scheme. Coupons to the value of £28,978 were sold by teachers in the period January 1st to July 31st 1948. In the first full year of the scheme ( to July 31st 1949), 575,610 coupons were sold in the following denominations:
3d - 41,536
6d - 238,637
1/- - 190,784
2/6 - 85,077
5/- - 19,576
Total Value: £31,552. 19. 0d
The next six years saw an increase in sales by teachers that peaked at £58,314 in the School Year Ended July 31st 1955. However, a much lower figure was reported in the subsequent Annual Report:
The Education Department School Savings Scheme, through the medium of the Municipal Bank, is associated with the National Savings Movement and encourages thrift among the scholars. Since the resumption of the sale of coupons in the schools, the value of coupons sold by teachers was £22,763, and the Committee of Management wish to express their thanks to the teachers for the services they have rendered in connection with the scheme.
Sales over the next seventeen years varied between £26,373 and £36,721. During this period, School Banks and Term-End Savings Schemes became popular, and the values for these schemes were included in Bank reports for 1974 and 1975.
The Bank's Annual Report for the year-ended March 31st 1976 included the following statement:
In November, 1975, 50p stamp dispensing machines were installed in all branches and most full time public libraries and Housing Department rent offices in the City. The scheme was devised as a means of providing a simple instalment facility for the general public to make provision for the payment of any item normally accepted over Bank counters. To date over £300,000 worth of stamps have been sold.
The year-ended March 31st 1976 was the final year in which the Birmingham Municipal Bank was part of Birmingham Corporation. Thus the institute that began in 1916 (as the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank) based on coupons sold through employers, ceased with a facility that sold stamps through machines. The Birmingham Municipal Trustee Savings Bank continued to sell 50p stamps, but the scheme was short lived.
The following table illustrates the volumes of coupon sales in the period 1949 to 1975. The number of coupons sold was recorded up to July 31st 1955, and shows that the average sale was just over 1/-. The total value of coupons sold amounted to almost £1 million, and it is not surprising that a significant sum was never cashed, presumably due to coupons being lost or mislaid.
Year Number Value (£)
The following pages show related subjects:
the Birmingham Municipal Bank, and the Trustee Savings Bank)