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Decimalisation: procedure re Cheque Clearance, etc
 
Article reproduced from the Savings Banks Institute Journal, January 1971
From the outset it is emphasised that the conversion to decimal currency should not be as difficult as many people would have us believe. The indications are that everything should proceed smoothly over the closed period, and, although a few hectic days may follow, business should soon revert to normal. No doubt, in several months' time we shall look back on D-Day as just a fading memory and wonder what all the fuss was about. Indeed, after digesting the mass of literature which has been produced on this subject over the past few years, one can be excused for thinking that the chief reason for introducing decimalisation was in order to boost the printing industry. Nevertheless, the successful completion of any major project, such as decimalisation, depends upon careful planning and those banks which have approached this problem in a professional manner and have prepared well in advance of D-Day are to be congratulated.
 
On the question of clearings and other internal procedures, the objective of the Association's Decimal Currency Sub-Committee has been to maintain normal procedures wherever possible and to keep special routines to a minimum in the interest of both staff and depositors. In this regard, the clearing arrangements over the closed period are summarised below:
 
(a) TSB Clearing Centre
TSBs will receive from the TSB Clearing Centre two credit and debit clearings over the closed period, dated Wednesday, 10th February, 1971 and Thursday, 11th February, 1971, respectively. The TSB Clearing Centre has prepared a memorandum on the procedure for dealing with these clearings and, no doubt branches have received details from their Head Office
 
(b) TSB Cheques
TSBs will receive from their local Clearing Bank the normal clearing of TSB Cheques on the morning of Thursday, 11th February, 1971 and possibly, a special clearing in the afternoon or evening. However, in some areas the special clearing may not be arriving at the local Clearing Bank until late in the evening and in these circumstances, will not be available until the Friday morning. The items included in these clearings will be debited to the TSB account in £sd form and no difficulty is expected with unpaid items which should be returned on Monday, 15th February, 1971 in decimal form.
 
(c) Bank Paying-In
The Clearing Banks have stated that they will be closing at 3:30pm on Wednesday, 10th February, 1971 and, understandably, they will be unable to accept any paying-in after this time as their first priority will be to collate and despatch all clearings. Therefore, in order to avoid large quantities of cheques being paid-in by TSBs just before the close of business, the Association has recommended that one paying-in be made at 2pm and another if necessary, at approximately 3:15pm, where this procedure is practicable. It is further recommended that TSBs confirm the arrangements locally prior to the closed period. Any items received after the final paying-in should be held over, converted and paid-in on D-Day; and this procedure should cause no major difficulty as the closed period is similar in practical terms to the 'closed period' at Easter in England (ie both of four days duration).
 
(d) Cheques
The published procedure for dealing with cheques drawn before and after D-Day is contained in the Decimal Currency Boards' booklet on Banking (paragraphs 19-31).
 
In addition, the British Bankers Association has prepared a set of internal instructions in chart form concerning cheques presented on and after D-Day and a summary is given at the end of this article for your information.
 
Branches, or Current Account Departments where appropriate, will have been advised by their Head Office of the arrangements for dealing with TSB cheques presented for payment with the amounts incorrectly converted.
 
(e) Ordering Decimal Coinage
Banks will, of course, require decimal coinage which will have to be ordered and collected before D-Day. Although coinage will be available from the Clearing Banks from D-Day, all banks will be extremely busy and, therefore, as a precaution, TSBs should order as much coinage as it is estimated will be necessary for the first week after D-Day, consistent with insurance and practical considerations.
 
(f) Inter-Bank Procedure
Although normal arrangements will be continued as far as possible around the closed period, a number of amendments are necessary and the recommended Inter-Bank procedure for the period 8th, 9th and 10th February, 1971 is outlined below:
i) Deposits - normal procedure to be followed if a deposit is received as a 'round pound' amount. However, if shillings and pence are involved, the deposit should not be entered in the passbook, and a credit note should be issued to the depositor. The passbook should not be retained and the deposit slip and covering cheque/TSB Draft should be forwarded to the parent office as usual.
ii) Payments - normal procedure to be followed but withdrawals must be restricted only to 'round pound' amounts.
iii) Transfers - normal procedure to be followed, but if the transfer is received after Wednesday, 10th February, 1971, the draft should be converted and the entry effected on Monday, 15th February, 1971.
iv) Post D-Day Transactions - if a passbook is presented for an inter-bank transaction on or after D-Day and the balance has not been converted, it should be forwarded for this purpose to the parent office and the transaction should not be entered. If a deposit is involved, a credit note should be issued to the depositor.
 
(g) TSB Unit Trust
It is not expected that any difficulty will be encountered with the transmission of Unit Trust moneys around D-Day. In simple terms, transactions will be in £sd form before the closed period and in decimal form after D-Day. However, further details on decimalisation matters relative to Unit Trust affairs are contained in a paper prepared by TSB Unit Trust Managers Ltd.
 
(h) National Giro
The National Giro Centre has prepared a memorandum on the procedure to be adopted over the Closed Period and branches should have received full details.
 

Although it is hoped that this information will be of assistance to members, by D-Day all staff should be familiar with every aspect of decimalisation. In addition, one point which must not be overlooked is that for the first few days following D-Day many depositors will be completely unprepared and confused by the changeover and it is vital that during this period all members, particularly those in contact with the public, remain unruffled and exercise the utmost patience. In this regard, the Association is confident that once again by your courteous service you will demonstrate to depositors the advantages of banking with their 'friendly local TSB'.
 

(Article by K W G Cherrett, Assistant Secretary, TSB Association: SBI Journal, January 1971, page 26)