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Hours of Business - 1919 to 1931

                                                                                    HOURS OF BUSINESS.

 

The question as to whether extended hours of business could with advantage be adopted, has been referred to by Members of the Committee from time to time, particularly with regard to the afternoon hours. The [General] Manager has looked into the matter, and submits the following report for the consideration of the Committee:-

 

1. The general practice followed by Savings Banks in this country is to afford facilities on two evenings of the week, as well as reasonable day-time facilities.

 

2. Unlike the great Commercial Banks, who have regulated their hours in the main as to conform to a general standard of opening and closing hours, Savings Bank hours have been largely determined by local conditions.

 

3. The great majority of Savings Banks only have one office in a Town, but there are a few who maintain branch offices, and a comparison can be drawn between such Banks and our own. Such a comparison is indicated by the list attached hereto.

 

4. The present hours were fixed at the time of establishing the Bank on the 1st September 1919. It should be stated that no complaints have reached the Manager from depositors in respect of the hours. In fixing the hours the Committee were influenced by the experience of other Banks, and by anticipating what might be considered suitable to the hours of shopping, etc. locally.

 

5. Dealing with the question of the day opening hour, which is at present 10 o'clock, all Savings Banks adopt that hour, and it is advisable to adhere thereto. Commercial Banks open at 9.30, and to obtain money therefrom, which at times is necessary, means that our Banks must open at a suitable later hour.

 

6. As regards the closing hour, at present this is 2.30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 1 o'clock on Thursdays and Saturdays. The reason for the 1 o'clock closing on Thursday is that on that day there is less business to be transacted than on any other day of the week, and for that reason Thursday was adopted as the Staff half-holiday. This is a satisfactory arrangement. Closing at 1 o'clock on Saturdays is also a convenient and suitable hour of closing, and no gain would result by prolonging that period. The 2.30 closing was adopted so as to enable Branches to pay in to the Commercial Banks to which they are attached before such banks closed at 3pm. Arguments have been advanced that remaining open until 3pm would result in more money being taken, it being put forward that 2.30 is too early for a housewife to reach the Bank after the mid-day meal. Whether this be so or not, the suggestion is one which might be considered; but the Manager does not consider it would be advisable to extend beyond 3pm. If 3pm closing were decided on for the four days of the week, it would mean keeping money overnight at the various offices and banking the same on the following morning between 9.30 and 10 o'clock.

As regards evening hours, the Manager is of opinion the present hours 5.30 to 7.30 are not as convenient as 6 to 8 would be. Records show that 5.30 to 6 is either too early or too inconvenient for the majority of depositors, while 7 to 7.30 appears to be a period of much pressure which might be relieved between 7.30 and 8pm. The Manager thinks this alteration might be made with advantage.

 

8. The question of adopting uniform hours has been discussed with Savings Bank officials of experience, and a unanimous view is held that it is a mistaken policy to have different hours for different branches, and that such a policy was abandoned years ago because of the dissatisfaction and misunderstandings which resulted.

 

9. The suggestion which has been made to close down the offices for ˝ hour mid-day for banking purposes is one which the Manager feels would be detrimental to the Bank. There would be some ground of complaint if, between the short hours of 10 to 3, there was such a break. A depositor might arrive at the branch a few minutes after such closing period, and have to wait ˝ hour for the office to re-open. It would tend to make the Bank unpopular.

 

10. Several experiments have been tried with evening Branches as regards days and hours. Opinions vary as to the most suitable days and hours, but the Manager is convinced that it is a mistake to have three evening openings per week, and that the sooner this arrangement is altered the better. Three evenings per week is a tie on the Staff, and difficulties of supply constantly occur. Instead, however, of being open from 6 to 7.30, it would probably be more acceptable to fix the hours at 6 to 8pm on Saturdays and Mondays.

 

11. If fresh hours of business are decided upon, the Manager suggests that the arrangements should come into force on the 1st April 1922.

 

12. The Manager would respectfully remind the Committee that the Staff are not able, throughout the year, to have "week-ends" like other departments get, owing to the Saturday evening openings, and he feels sure that this fact will not be lost sight of by the Committee in considering the question of hours of business.

December 7th 1921.

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Hours

 

MANCHESTER AND SALFORD SAVINGS BANK:

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 12.30

27˝

6 to 8

 

 

 

6 to 8

 

4

 

31˝

SAVINGS BANK OF GLASGOW:

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

30

6 to 8

 

6 to 8

 

 

 

4

 

34

EDINBURGH SAVINGS BANK:

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 12

27

 

6 to 8

 

 

 

6 to 8

4

 

31

COVENTRY SAVINGS BANK:

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 1

10 to 3

10 to 3

28

 

 

 

 

 

6 to 8

2

 

30

BIRMINGHAM MUNICIPAL BANK

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Hours

Present Hours:

10 to 2.30

10 to 2.30

10 to 2.30

10 to 1

10 to 2.30

10 to 1

24

5.30 to 7.30

 

 

 

 

5.30 to 7.30

4

 

28

Proposed Hours:

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 3

10 to 1

10 to 3

10 to 1

26

6 to 8

 

 

 

 

6 to 8

4

 

30

 

The report was approved, the hours of business were not amended, and the matter was not considered again until June 11th 1923 when the General Manager once more presented a report to the General Purposes Sub-Committee:

 

HOURS OF BUSINESS

Memorandum by General Manager.

 

The Committee will recall that consideration of this matter, arising out of the visit of the Deputation to various Scottish Savings Banks, was adjourned so that the General Manager might approach the London Joint City & Midland Bank on the question of receiving Bank moneys after 3pm on certain days of the week.

 

The reason for this request arose out of the proposal to keep the Municipal Bank open until 3 o'clock on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

 

The General Manager has conferred with Mr Ashton Smith of the London Joint City & Midland Bank on the subject, but the latter does not feel able to put the proposal forward. It appears that the Bank staff organisations are very much against any extension of existing hours, and unless the official hours are extended he could not agree to money being accepted from the Municipal Bank and dealt with after 3 o'clock. To accept the money in sealed packets or in locked bags would not meet the case of our Bank, even if Mr Smith could persuade the Manager to take such packets or bags in, which is very doubtful, and at certain branches there is no accommodation for services of this nature.

 

The reason why depositing merely for sage custody will not meet the case is that it would involve our Branch Managers attending the following morning to put through the transactions. As the Banks do not open until 9.30am, and our Bank opens at 10 o'clock, it would be impossible for the Branch Manager to be at his own Branch in time to open it, except in one or two cases. In any event, as the Branch Manager holds the keys of the Bank it would mean he would have to go first to his own Branch at 9 o'clock, then go to the Joint Stock Bank for 9.30, and back again to his own Bank for 10 o'clock, or as soon afterwards as possible. This is too cumbersome a method and, for obvious reasons, cannot be recommended. Moreover, there is not the same necessity as formerly existed for making a request to the London Joint City & Midland Bank for reception of money for safe custody. Out of 16 Daily Branches at present in use, efficient strong rooms have been provided in nine cases, and as time goes on others will be provided. The remaining seven daily branches are provided for in other ways, and as far as possible strong rooms at other branches are used.

 

The General Manager therefore recommends the Committee to dismiss the suggestion of keeping open to 3 o'clock as indicated until such time as the Joint Stock Banks extend their closing hour, in which case the Municipal Bank might reconsider their hours.

 

Assuming that the Committee are agreeable to the recommendation of the General Manager, the Committee are invited to consider and finally agree upon the hours of business which at present are as follows:-

           Mondays                    10 to 2.30 and 5.30 to 7.30

            Tuesdays                  10 to 2.30

            Wednesdays            10 to 2.30

            Thursdays                  10 to 1

            Fridays                      10 to 2.30

            Saturdays                  10 to 1 and 5.30 to 7.30

 

To assist the Committee in reaching their conclusions the General Manager offers the following information and submits his views for consideration:-

 

Mondays.       The staff commence at 9 o'clock and generally cease at 3.15, commencing again at 5.15 and finishing at 8 to 8.30 in summer, but often 9 o'clock in winter. Business is heavy throughout this day and posting, except at the smaller branches, has to be postponed to the following day. I could not advise any alterations as regards day hours, but the Committee decided that the evening hours should be fixed at 6 to 8.

 

Tuesdays.     The staff commence at 9 o'clock and continue until 3.15 or until the posting is completed, which frequently means 4 o'clock. This day is becoming more generally used than formerly and is rendered heavier by School Savings bank work and other extraneous duties such as Water Accounts, Rates, etc. I think existing hours are satisfactory.

 

Wednesdays.           The staff commence at 9 o’clock and continue until 3.15 or until the extractions for the week are completed, which often means 4 o’clock or later. This day shows a tendency towards increased business but is quieter than Tuesday. I do not think an alteration is called for.

 

Thursdays.    The staff commence at 9 o’clock and continue until 1.30 to 1.45. Business on this day is quiet at all our offices and the day was selected as the staff half-day holiday. The fact that the staff cannot get away before 1.30 means that it is 2 o’clock at the earliest before they reach home and , in many cases, 2.30. Allowing half-an-hour for a meal it means 2.30 or 3 o’clock before they can begin to enjoy their half-day. Again, assuming that an officer has breakfast at 8 o’clock and reaches the Bank by 9 o’clock, it is 2.30 before the next meal is taken. This is admittedly too long to go without food.

This hardship, I think, may be relieved without any detriment to the Bank by earlier closing. It is quite common in Savings Banks to fix the hours on the early closing day at 10 to 12, and if these were adopted with our Bank it would make an appreciable difference to the staff. I recommend the Committee to make this alteration.

 

Fridays. The staff commence at 9 o’clock and continue until 3.15 or thereabouts. The leaving time depends very largely on this day to the extent withdrawals take place as the work attaching to these transactions is greater than for deposits, and Fridays seems a busy day for withdrawals. I do not think any change is called for.

 

Saturdays.    staff commence at 9 o’clock and continue until 1.45 to 2.15, commencing again at 5.15 and finishing at 8 to 8.30 in summer and 8.30 to 9 in winter. Since the closing hour was fixed at 1 o’clock on Saturdays, the Council House closing hour has been altered to 12.30. At the time I could not recommend the Bank to change from 1 o’clock neither can I do now, as the period 12 to 1 is a very busy one. The Committee decided that the evening hours should be fixed at 6 to 8.

 

If the previous decision of the Committee is followed the recommendations I make in this report are adopted, the hours of business will be:-

           Mondays                    10 to 2.30 and 6 to 8

            Tuesdays                  10 to 2.30

            Wednesdays            10 to 2.30

            Thursdays                  10 to 12

            Fridays                      10 to 2.30

            Saturdays                 10 to 1 and 6 to 8

 

I should also recommend the Committee to decide to have the hours printed or stamped on all pass books, so that depositors will know exactly what the hours of business are.

 

In order that the Committee may have the necessary information to enable them to determine the question of hours I have had taken out, in respect of all Daily Branches and Head Office, the number of transactions during the last six months. The average per day is given on the sheet attached. It will at once be seen that the suggestion as regards an earlier hour of closing on Thursdays cannot be a serious matter, and it also appears to prove that the business on other days justifies the present hours or their equivalent.

June 9th 1923.

 

Average Daily Transactions at Head Office and

Daily Branches from 1st December 1922 to 31st May 1923.

 

 

Mon.

Tue.

Wed.

Thurs.

Friday.

Sat.

Total.

Head Office

547

243

227

161

271

460

1,909

Aston

289

93

70

52

60

374

938

Aston Cross

140

41

36

22

29

185

453

Balsall Heath

219

66

53

37

41

258

674

Bearwood

88

31

27

17

21

137

321

Duddeston

227

58

47

31

35

297

695

Erdington

85

34

30

23

28

130

330

Handsworth

146

53

50

33

39

230

551

Kings Heath

104

34

33

27

32

162

392

Ladywood

202

73

57

39

38

213

622

Lozells

190

63

56

41

53

247

650

Rotton Park

161

44

40

26

31

192

494

Saltley

144

44

34

28

36

210

496

Selly Oak *

83

19

16

12

35

125

290

Small Heath

416

132

100

77

83

458

1,266

Sparkbrook

419

126

102

78

89

496

1,310

Sparkhill

77

24

21

13

17

115

267

Total

3,537

1,178

999

717

938

4,289

11,658

 

*Note: This Branch was opened as a Daily Branch on the 10th February 1923, and the figures cover the period from that date to the 31st May 1923.

 

363 RESOLVED:- That the General Manager's report be approved; and that the General Committee be recommended to adopt the following hours of business, the necessary alterations in the existing hours to operate as from the 1st September next; also to instruct that the hours of business as amended be printed or stamped on all Pass Books, and that the General Manager take any other necessary steps in the matter.

Mondays                   - 10 to 2.30 and 6 to 8

Tuesdays                  - 10 to 2.30

Wednesdays             - 10 to 2.30

Thursdays                - 10 to 12

Fridays                      - 10 to 2.30

Saturdays                  - 10 to 1 and 6 to 8 

 

The amended hours (reducing the total hours from 28 to 27) were duly introduced on Saturday, September 1st 1923.

 

 

                                                                                          continued ....

Rule 11 of the Rules of the Birmingham Municipal Bank, when established under the Birmingham Corporation Act of 1919, stated that:

 

The Offices of the Bank shall be open for the transaction of business upon such days and during such hours as the Committee of Management may from time to time appoint, but such offices shall not be open on any Sunday, Bank holiday, or public holiday.

 

At the time the Bank's first Annual Report was published in 1920 (right) the majority of offices were part-time or 'Evening Branches'; the latter were open for 4˝-hours per week: from 6pm to 7:30pm each Monday, Friday, and Saturday. Head Office and eight branches were open as 'Daily Branches' on six days with Hours of Business totalling 28:

 

           Mondays - 10.00 to 14:30 and 17:30 to 19:30
            Tuesdays - 10:00 to 14:30
           Wednesdays - 10:00 to 14:30
           Thursdays - 10:00 to 13:00
            Fridays - 10:00 to 14:30
           Saturdays - 10:00 to 13:00 and 17:30 to 19:30

 

Gradually, as business increased and permanent premises were found for the branches, daily working was extended to more offices. In these early years the question of the Hours of Business for Daily Branches was reviewed by the Bank's Committee of Management, and the Finance and General Purposes Sub-Committee meeting on December 12th 1921 received the following report from the [General] Manager: