Lloyds TSB Savings Banks Museum, Ruthwell uk Savings Banks Museum uk, Ruthwell
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Lloyds TSB Savings Banks Museum, Ruthwell

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Savings Banks History

savings banks founder - henry duncanIt was the wish of the Rev Henry Duncan to do something of real and lasting value for the under-privileged that led to the beginning of his savings bank movement.

He believed deeply in the dignity of the ordinary working man. Wherever he saw injustice he worked and spoke against it. Despite the appalling poverty of the time, he was totally against the introduction of a poor rate - something he fought against all his life, believing subsidies were degrading and did nothing to create a spirit of pride and independence.

Despite his successful efforts at revival, he was not satisfied that the Friendly Society was the total answer to the relief of poverty. Drawing on the experience gained during the three years he had spent working in Heywoods Bank in Liverpool, and with his knowledge of savings schemes already tried but found wanting, he concluded that a savings bank could only succeed if it were self-supporting and based on business principles. He succeeded in gaining the backing of the heritors or landowners - who must have welcomed the idea that the poor might no longer need their support. Realising the value of publicity, six months before he opened his bank, he founded a local newspaper, The Dumfries & Galloway Courier, in which he published his proposal for a parish bank in Ruthwell.

ruthwell parish bankOn 10 May 1810 in the Society Room in Ruthwell he put to his parishioners his ideas for a parish bank. The established banks needed £10 to open an account; in Ruthwell sixpence was enough. The deposits were placed with the Linen Bank in Dumfries and received 5% interest. Members received 4% interest - on whole pounds. The surplus provided a charity fund, tiered interest for long-term savers and a sum for administering the bank. All the administration in Ruthwell was done by the Minister himself. Instead of taking any remuneration, Henry Duncan used the money due to him to build another school in the parish.

Within five years of the bank opening in Ruthwell, there were savings banks throughout the UK; the following year they spread to Europe and the United States. During that first year the total savings amounted to £151. Ten years later in the United Kingdom the total had reached over three million pounds.

By 2002 there were 109 savings banks organisations in 92 countries.

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