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It was a very good year…

We live in cynical times, where life is lived at an infinitely quicker pace than it was only fifty years ago.  In these days of mass bank branch closures, this might seem hard to believe -  but in 1959 banking really is looked upon as a public service, and the HARD SELL of banking ‘products’ is yet to be inflicted on customers.  Bank accounts are mostly the preserve of the well-heeled male: businessmen, judges, politicians, celebrities, but NOT, for the most part, the ordinary man or woman in the street.  So Martins begins to target women in particular, with the idea that they will deposit the housekeeping money given to them by their husbands, and then use a chequebook to buy for the home.  In this lovely piece from Martins’ 1959 Annual Report And Accounts, the innocence and sheer optimism of these times shines through as we invite you to consider opening: An Account at Martins Bank…


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1960 98 Colmore Row Exterior MBL Booklet.jpg MARTINS BANK has a long tradition of courteous and efficient service to its customers and embraces within that service the many aspects incorporated in modern banking practice, together with a particular under­standing for the needs of the individual whether he is an industrialist with widespread interests, or a private customer with a modest account. To achieve this, the Bank has its organisation divided into Districts administered from DISTRICT HEAD OFFICES in Liverpool, London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne. There is a General board of Directors in Liverpool and Local boards are maintained also in each of the other districts.  In the Spring of this year a further District Head Office for the South-West will be set up in Bristol. Each District General Manager is familiar with the special problems of the area which he covers and this specialised knowledge of local affairs and conditions is at the disposal of the Bank's customers and correspondents, and thus ensures promptness of decisions in financial matters.

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Today, as always, much of the Bank's business consists of holding money for customers and honouring their cheques; during the past twenty years this service has been extended to thousands of customers who once would never have thought of using a bank at all. Nevertheless this service is only one side of the Bank's activities. Allied to it is the day-to-day business of providing finance by means of loans and overdrafts for a great variety of projects and transactions. And it is not only to help industry and commerce that the Bank advances money; it can be said that all sections of the community have ready access to overdraft facilities. The private customer of quite modest means may borrow either on overdraft, usually against approved security, or he may make use of the Personal Loans Scheme, where normally no security is required; the latter Scheme is intended to provide loans for a wide variety of items of personal expenditure, a car, furniture, domestic equipment and so on.

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Specimen £2 Travellers Cheque.jpgIn the wider field of trade the Bank fulfils its traditional role of negotiating and discounting bills and arranging credits for its customers and those with whom they trade. It gives invaluable assistance to importers and exporters by arranging for the collection of their money at home and abroad and helps them with Exchange Control formalities. These services are provided by our special Overseas branches at Gracechurch Street, London, and at Liverpool and Manchester and are easily accessible through every one of the Bank's branches throughout the country. Moreover, through its INFORMATION SERVICE and from reports on all aspects of trade and commerce obtained from its correspondents throughout the world, the Bank assists customers in establishing business connections and will make introductions in Commonwealth and foreign countries.

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Specimen £2 Travellers Cheque BlankedFor travellers abroad, either on business or holiday, the Bank supplies foreign currency and travellers' cheques and will also obtain passports. At home the Bank arranges for its customers to cash their cheques anywhere in this country where there is a bank. These are just a few of the services which the Bank provides. There are others, perhaps less obvious, which have grown up as the need arose. Income Tax, now payable by so large a percentage of the population, brings its own problems and the Income Tax Department of the Bank is available to help private customers in dealing with their affairs.

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1959 Executor and Trustee New  MBAAdministration of estates and trusts requires expert attention and the Bank's specialists in the Executor and Trustee Department will act on behalf of customers either alone, or if preferred, with another person appointed by the customer. In addition, customers may safeguard their valuables by depositing them with the Bank. Moreover, in selected areas night safes are provided to enable the customer to deposit overnight his day's takings, after the bank is closed. As a further service, any of the Bank's branches will arrange the purchase or sale of stocks and shares, making the financial settlement through the customer's account.  Martins Bank is still expanding. Many new branches are appearing throughout England and Wales. The buildings are light and airy and modern, and yet great care is taken to ensure that they blend with the character of the locality. One example of this careful planning is provided by the premises of our new branch at BANBURY , which, it is said, lends distinction to the street in which it stands as well as providing pleasant surroundings in which all the varied business of banking can be transacted.


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1955 Mobile Branch at City of Leicester Show MBM-Sp56P38Drive-In BranchesAnother example of the modern approach is at Leicester, where, in an era of an ever-increasing number of cars, provision is made for a DRIVE-IN BRANCH.  There the motorist turns into a covered lane, to find a cashier summoned to the window auto­matically as the car crosses an invisible ray; and then without leaving the driving seat he may cash his cheque or pay in money for credit of his account. The special facilities which the Bank provides at agricultural shows and other events are a familiar sight and last year the trailer caravans, each of which is a MOBILE MARTINS BANK could be seen at over eighty shows and other gatherings all over the country. Especially where personal services are involved a degree of human understanding and individual attention is essential. Often we hear it said " Martins Bank is such a helpful bank " and, indeed, our staffs are trained in this tradition, working to provide a great public service.