Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Roy Jenkins, who is chief guest at the bank’s celebratory banquet, sends this message:
I welcome the opportunity of this commemorative supplement to pay tribute to the achievements of the Birmingham Municipal Bank for two reasons. First, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I welcome the success of the bank in attracting and retaining savings on a large scale.
At the present time more than 50,000 employees are saving regularly through the bank by deductions from pay and the total amount of deposits by this method alone was more than £5m in each of the last three years. Total balances due to depositors in the bank have risen from a figure of £29m in 1939 to the present level of £96m.
We are not far from the day when the total will be more than £100m. This is a vital contribution to the long-term prosperity of the nation.
I am very glad that the bank will be participating in the new Save As You Earn Scheme which will start to operate in October. The Bank’s share in this great effort should be as important as it has been in the field of national savings in the past.
Second, as a Member of Parliament for a Birmingham constituency, I take a pride in the uniqueness of the bank and the range of services which it provides. It is the only bank founded under a local Act of Parliament. I am sure that its founders would be as proud to see the stability and performance it has achieved.
Stability does not mean that the bank has stood still. There has been a radical development in the services offered to depositors. In addition to a modern banking service with full current account facilities, it caters for the needs of house purchasers and long-term investors.
This shows that the bank is fully alert to the need to provide full modern facilities to the people of Birmingham and in this way plays a vital part in the economic activity of the region.
The bank has made an important contribution in the last 50 years to the prosperity of the city and the nation. I hope that this contribution will continue and increase in the future.
Congratulations on the first 50 years.
Best wishes for the next 50.
Message from the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman Neville Bosworth.
“The thought of a need of a bank, backed by the municipality, flashed across my mind one day when crossing Chamberlain Place.”
These were the reflective words used by a predecessor of mine, Mr Neville Chamberlain, who conceived the idea of establishing a Municipal Bank in the latter part of 1915 soon after he had become Lord Mayor.
With typical determination Neville Chamberlain saw his thoughts being translated into action only one year later - in 1916 the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank was founded (in a basement office in the Water Department) - and reaching their goal in 1919 with the foundation of the Municipal Bank itself.
From such small beginnings we have watched the growth of the bank, unique in the annals of local government administration, until it has a head office building worthy of its founders and 72 branches throughout the city to meet the needs of customers.
The Municipal Bank has its foundations well and truly set in one of man’s greatest attributes - that of thrift.
In the First World War it became clear that when hostilities were over there would come a period of readjustment when money would be tight. The Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank played its part in encouraging men and women to put aside weekly sums which, by investment in War Loan Stock, not only helped the war effort but provided that reserve of capital which all families need to have from time to time.
Similarly, during the Second World War the Municipal Bank played its part, not only by placing excess of deposit over withdrawal for investment in Government issues, but co-operating closely with the National Savings Committee in the sale of National Savings Certificates, Defence Bonds and War Bonds.
When Chamberlain returned to Birmingham in 1918, he set about the task of establishing the bank on a permanent basis.
So long as the city continued to flourish, so the Municipal Bank continued to provide service to its depositors, backed by the resources of the Corporation.
One of the greatest contributions the bank has made to the citizens of Birmingham has been, and continues to be, the provision of funds for purchases of houses. Children and young people have been encouraged to make regular savings to bank accounts to provide the necessary capital for home purchase.
In a city the size of Birmingham it is very necessary that facilities should be available to the citizens for the payment of accounts without having to travel to central points. In this context the Municipal Bank has been invaluable in providing a service, not only to householders but to other Corporation departments and nationalised boards, for the collection of rates, water rate and gas and electricity accounts.
The Municipal Bank has grown in size and status with the city and has become a way of life for many people of Birmingham.