Handsworth Branch
Newspaper Report re Opening of Handsworth Branch -
May 17th 1924

Birmingham Post – May 19th 1924


An important stage in the development of the Birmingham Municipal Bank was reached on Saturday, when a new branch was opened at Handsworth by Councillor Appleby, the chairman of the Bank Committee. The building is the first erected by the Corporation for the purposes of a branch bank and occupies a prominent position at the corner of Soho Road and Grove Lane. It also has the unique distinction of being the first Municipal bank in the country. Other permanent branches in the city have been made possible by adopting and altering existing buildings. The Lord Mayor (Alderman T O Williams) was unable to attend the opening in consequence of the visit to the city of Prince Henry, and Councillor Poole presided in his absence.


Councillor Poole said the progress of the bank had been phenomenal. The inner district of the city was interested in the institution on account of the assistance given to persons who wished to purchase houses, and in that connection over 2,000 mortgages had been granted. The bank thus assisted in a small way to relieve the congestion in districts like St Paul’s and St Mary’s. It was well that depositors should know that their money was not used for bank buildings. The cost was met out of revenue or profit. Councillor paid a tribute to the services rendered by Councillor Appleby and the staff of the bank.


Councillor Appleby said the building was the first that had been erected in the country for the purpose of a Municipal Bank, and his colleagues on the Bank Committee had paid him a great compliment in asking him to take part in the opening ceremony. The amount of deposits at the bank was over £400,000, but there were others factors which were expressive of the real success of the institution. The bank was established over four and a half years ago, and there were to-day 140,000 accounts.


During the year just ended the number of transactions exceeded 800,000, and the amount of the turnover in that period was upwards of £4,250,000. He was glad to think that £1,250,000 represented increased deposits. That was expressive of the continuous development of the thrift movement inaugurated in 1919. The fact that there were 140,000 depositors showed they were catering for those whom no adequate provision had previously been made. Handsworth was particularly interested in the activities of the bank in regard to housing, because in the vicinity a number of municipal houses had been erected, and the bank provided an opportunity for persons to purchase those houses. The bank advanced 80 per cent of the current value of a house, and, further, in order to assist the great scheme of tenant ownership, advances of small sums were made to meet any deficiency on the capital of a would-be purchaser, thus enabling him to complete the purchase. Hundreds of houses erected under the 1923 scheme of the Corporation had been purchased by persons largely through the assistance afforded by the bank. There were schemes under consideration for the development of the bank on the service side, and he thought the time was not far distant when the bank would take a live part in the public work of the city, and thus be of assistance to the citizens and a source of economy to the ratepayers. There was another development upon which he placed great importance. He saw no reason why every wage-earner in the city, should not have a banking account, and he wanted to see the time when they could say to their respective employers: “Instead of paying my money on a Friday night, pay to the credit at the bank.” If that could be brought about, there would result a great social movement, far reaching in its effect upon the lives of the humblest workers.