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World War II - Combination of Branches
 
BMB in World War II
 
 
Branch Hours
of Opening
 
During the Second World War, the gradual call-up of male staff for active service caused severe problems for the Bank. One of the methods employed to overcome the shortage of experienced staff was to 'pair' less busy branches. Each combination of two branches, each opening for half a week, were staffed by the same personnel. It is not exactly clear as to which branches were staffed in this way, and for what periods the arrangements existed. The Bank's Annual Reports noted that the following branches were open on a restricted basis:
 
      Heybarnes: 1941 & 1943 to 1946
      Kitts Green: 1941 & 1943 to 1945
      Newtown Row: 1941 & 1943 to 1946
      Quinton: 1941 & 1942
      Wells Green: 1941
      Weoley Castle: 1941 & 1942
      Wheeler Street: 1941
      Brookvale: 1943 to 1945
 
However, various reports from the Bank's archives (reproduced below) seem to indicate that the arrangement was used more extensively.
 
 

Proposed Combinations of Branches for Staffing and Hours of Business

(Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee: July 15th 1940)

Your Sub-Committee have considered a report of the General Manager containing particulars of a scheme for combining branches so that two branches can be conducted by one staff.

Up to the present all branches have been maintained for the normal hours of business but owing to enlistment in HM Forces and the accelerated calling up of age groups, which is likely to continue, together with the additional duties performed by the staff in respect of Civil Defence, it is now inevitable that some modification in the existing arrangements should be made. The scheme prepared ensures all branches being maintained for 3 days in the week instead of the other alternative of closing some branches and merging the same with other branches. The division of hours of business recommended is as follows:

One Branch:

Saturdays                 10am to 1pm             =         3 hours

Mondays                    10am to 2:30pm        =          4 hours

     "                            6pm to 8pm               =         2 hours

Tuesdays                   10am to 2:30pm        =          4 hours

                                               Total                          14 hours

The Other Branch:

Wednesdays             10am to 2:30pm       =          4 hours

Thursdays                10am to 12pm           =          2 hours

Fridays                      10am to 2:30pm        =          4 hours

    "                             6pm to 8pm               =         2 hours

                                               Total                          13 hours

It will probably be necessary to revert to last Winter's policy of substituting Saturday afternoons for evening openings when Summer time ends, but the position will be met for the time being by the scheme for combining branches.

Your Sub-Committee recommend that the General Manager be authorised to gradually introduce the scheme for combinations of branches, as he finds necessary.

 

Hours of Business at Certain Branches

(Report by General Manager to  Bank Committee: October 21st 1940)

The arrangement for working two Branches with one staff was brought into effect in August, as follows:

                                                                      Open on

Newtown Row                     Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Wheeler Street                    Thursday, Friday and Saturday

 

Kitts Green                           Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Heybarnes                           Thursday, Friday and Saturday

 

Brandwood                          Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Billesley                                Thursday, Friday and Saturday

 

Weoley Castle                     Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Quinton                                Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Depositors at Brandwood complain of the inability to attend the Branch during the hours of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and ask for Saturday facilities.

This Branch, as well as Billesley Branch, is a fairly busy Branch, and although the experience of the present arrangements has only been a short one, I am of opinion that it would be advisable in these two cases to revert to full weekly hours of business instead of three days only, and to substitute the two smaller Branches at Wells Green and Tower Hill for opening three days in the week only.

 

Staffing of Branches

(Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee: January 19th 1942)

Your Sub-Committee have considered a report of the General Manager on the question of staffing branches consequent on officers being called up for active service.

After careful consideration your Sub-Committee have decided to continue the principle already adopted of pairing suitable branches so that two branches may be worked by one staff by opening for three days of the week in each case, and the General Manager has been authorised to make these arrangements in regard to the following branches:

Moseley and Brandwood

Oldbury and Smethwick

Halesowen and Quinton

Weoley Castle and Selly Park

Sherlock Street and Horse Fair

Bordesley Green and Little Bromwich

Brookvale and Short Heath

Hay Mills and Wells Green

 

Staffing and Hours of Business

(Finance & General Purposes Sub-Committee: February 16th 1942)

Your Sub-Committee have considered a report of the General Manager dealing with the staff problem consequent upon calling up of men and recommend as follows:

1 That the policy be adopted of 'pairing' smaller branches with larger ones, and fixing the closing hour of such small branches at 2pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays instead of 3pm. On these days staffs of the smaller branches, after clearing up their work, will proceed to convenient larger branches to help with the work at the closing hour of 3pm. This arrangement will avoid engaging 30 females to replace the men called up.

2 That the instruction given at the last meeting by Minute No 7173 for merging of branches be rescinded.