Friday, 31 October 2008

The way we were

One of my grandfathers was Provost of Annan. He served on the Audit Committee of the Annan Savings Bank, which was founded back in 1835. In 1875 the Annan Bank incorporated the remaining 28 accounts of the neighbouring Ruthwell Parish Bank, which was the world's first savings bank.

I recently dug out my copy of the 1967 Annual Report of the Annan Bank. Let's have a look at an extract from the Auditors' Report:

We have examined the Depositors' Accounts in the Books of the Savings Bank and have checked the same with the List of Depositors' Balances, which amount with interest to £1,678,456. A copy of this List certified by us is open to inspection at the Savings Bank by Depositors for the purpose of comparing the amounts in their Pass Books with their balance shown on the list.

During the year we have visited the Savings Bank in business hours and have compared 2,321 Pass Books with the relative Depositors' Accounts in their Ledger and found them to agree.

In all 6,216 accounts were open, so over one third of customers' Pass Books were actually verified individually by the Auditors. Not quite like today, I think.

And what about the Bank's investments, which totalled £1,828,753?

Certificates or other evidence representing the whole of the Investments held by the Savings Bank as at 31st January, 1967, have been produced to us and found to be in order.
The Bank's investments were extremely conservative. There's no mention of derivatives or the like, although one does wonder whether it was wise to have as much as £1,000 tied up in "Office premises, furniture and equipment."

Isn't it time for prudent and cautious local bankers to make a comeback?

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comment made on previous template:

Andrew Duffin
Is THAT why there's a museum of savings banks signposted off the A75 near Ruthwell. 
We always have a laugh at that, thinking it must be the most boring museum in the world, but perhaps in light of recent events there are learnings to be had!

4 November 2008, 12:30:02 GMT