The Kings Heath branch of the Birmingham Municipal Bank entered into possession of its permanent quarters on Monday afternoon, when the formal opening took place. Rather more than two years ago the branch was opened in rooms hired at Kings Heath Institute, being afterwards removed to a small shop in the High Street. An adjoining shop was also acquires by the committee of management, and the premises were reconstructed for the purposes of a bank. The building presents a pleasing appearance, with a front elevation of Hollington stone, while the interior is substantially equipped, the fittings being of mahogany.
Prior to the opening, Councillor C T Appleby, the chairman of the committee of management, entertained colleagues of the committee and officials to tea at the Parish Hall, during which he took the occasion to tell of the achievements and aims of the Municipal Bank. He laid emphasis upon the advantages it possessed in affording depositors facilities of paying their rates through the bank, which was a great convenience to the ratepayer, and a very great source of economy.
It was also hoped that the wage-earners would use the bank very largely, and that as a result of its conveniences it would lead to reducing the system of credit trading which was now unfortunately so common. If it did that it would have done something to stabilise the financial condition of the country, and promote better conditions amongst the working classes. There was, in his opinion, a great field for development in municipal banks, and he regretted the actions of Parliament in refusing similar powers to other towns.
The opening ceremony then followed. The company included Councillor and Mrs Appleby, Miss Turner, Miss Oddy, Councillors H Higgins, Parnell, J R Stevens, J Fryer, Messrs F H C Wiltshire (Town Clerk), J P Hilton (manager of the Municipal Bank), F Ellison (assistant manager), E H Viney (branch manager), George Ward (an original member of the committee), and G McMichael (architect), etc. The door was opened by Councillor Appleby with a bronze key, handed to him by Councillor Parnell on behalf of the Committee of management, Councillor Parnell expressing the hope that the residents of Kings Heath would justify the faith they had put in them by opening that branch. Up to the present the branch had only been open three days a week. The new bank would be open every weekday. He congratulated Councillor Appleby on the outcome of his work for the Municipal Bank, the success of which was mainly due to him.
On entering the bank Councillor Appleby unveiled a bronze tablet commemorating the opening of the branch.
Councillor J R Stevens, in moving a vote of thanks to Mr Appleby, said one could not sit on the committee without feeling he was the master of his job, and knew it through and through. The greatest testimony of that fact was the success of the Municipal Bank during the few years it had been in existence.
Councillor Higgins seconded, and said Mr Appleby was thoroughly competent, and the bank had made wonderful progress under his presidency.
Councillor Appleby, in response, said the bank sprang from nothing, two-and-a-half years ago, to a deposit of nearly two millions, with 75,000 depositors, with 1,000 depositors at Kings Heath, but he hoped to see that number trebled, with the enlarged facilities now provided. The difficulty was in obtaining suitable premises. There were twenty-four or twenty-five districts in the city where they were looking around for developments of the bank and its ramifications.
The work of reconstruction was carried out by Messrs Baker and Son, Sparkbrook, to the plans of Mr Gerald McMichael, ARIBA. The handsome tablet was the work of Bronamel Company, Brearley Street (Messrs Ed Bird and Horace Lowe).
The stone work was carried out by Messrs Wragg Brothers, Kings Heath.