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Grading of Branches &
Re-organisation of Senior Staff

On January 27th 1927, the General Manager presented the report reproduced below to the General Purposes Sub-Committee. In the report, the General Manager recommended a number of changes to reflect the growth and development of the Bank since its commencement in 1919. Three grades for branch managers had been introduced in 1923 when the General Manager had stated that the suggestion of grading according to the size of a Branch cannot be introduced with fairness to the officers, and the principle should now be accepted that this division of grading must be upon proved ability. No other influence, such as length of service, size of the Branch, etc, should be allowed to weigh. In the interests of the Bank the officers should be used in the positions for which they are best suited.

 

By 1926, the policy of not grading by the size of branch had been abandoned, and five divisions of the Branch Manager grade were introduced based on transactions. The report reproduced below now states that the Grading of Branches on the basis of the number of transactions is not satisfactory.

 

The latest report introduces the policy of recognising the passing of the examinations of the Institute of Bankers as being a requisite for appointment as a branch manager.

 

The report also recommends changes in the responsibilities and titles of the Bank's senior management staff. The misleading title 'Chief Clerk' is now to be used for Principal Officers at a lower grade, and titles more appropriate to the area of responsibility are introduced. A proper system for the supervision and inspection of branches is brought in, and the division of administration duties at Head Office is recognised.

 

The changes resulted in the following Senior Management positions:

 

  General Manager   J P Hilton    
  Assistant General Manager   F Ellison    
  Controllers of Branches   H Carver   F W Parsonage   H G Wright
  Branch Inspectors   S E Bennett   E Cheatle   J E Chapman
  Controller of House Purchase Dept   A S Taylor    
  Accountant   N G Yardley    
  Secretary   W Buxton    
  Chief Clerks   D W S Woodcock  A F Lambeth  

 

  

                                                       Grading of Branches and Re-organisation of Senior Staff

 

Certain anomalies have ari sen in connection with the Grading Scheme which it is desirable to remove, and the time has now arrived when, in the best interests of the Bank, greater advantage should be taken of the knowledge and experience of the Principal Officers of the Bank in securing efficiency in administration.

 

Grading of Branches on the basis of the number of transactions is not satisfactory. The opening of new Daily Branches affects existing Branches, some of which have dropped into a lower division as a result of the drop in transactions. The salary of the Branch Manager is governed by the division in which his Branch falls, and he therefore stands to lose financially from circumstances over which he has no control. On the other hand, a Branch which is developing rapidly advances from one division to another automatically, and such advance should carry with it an increase in salary to the Branch Manager which cannot really be justified. A still further objection to grading by Branches is that the most competent officer becomes a fixture at the Branch having the highest number of transactions, and advantage cannot be taken of such an officer to open a new Branch. It is desirable that the most suitable officer should be selected to open a new Branch, and recourse should not be had to a newly promoted officer.

 

I strongly advise the Committee to discontinue the grading of Branches and to grade the officers instead, making two divisions in the grade, the higher division for Branch Managers and the lower division for Clerks-in-Charge. The dividing line between a Branch Manager and a Clerk-in-Charge is the possession of a certificate as an Associate of the Institute of Bankers. The basic salaries for the grade are already fixed at 200 and 400 maximum, and these limits would continue to apply, but be divided as follows:-

 

                                                                                                                       Minimum       Maximum

             Higher Division (Branch Managers)                                                  300                400

             Lower Division (Clerks-in-Charge)                                                    200                 300

 

With regard to the Principal Officers, the best use is not being made of them owing to their designations, which, although quite suitable at the time the Bank was set up, are now inappropriate. The increasing number of Branches and additional work now undertaken calls for more experienced officers to supervise and control the Branches. The four Principal Officers in Grade A are designated "Chief Clerks", and "Chief Superintendent of Branches", and the three secondary Officers in Grade B "Superintendent of Branches" and "Chief Cashier". These designations have created difficulties from time to time, for example, the Certificate of a Chief Clerk is not accepted on Pension Warrants and similar documents, whereas that of a Branch Manager is accepted. Again, the signature of a Chief Clerk for securities is contested, but that of a Branch Manager accepted without question.

 

The trouble which has presented itself each year in providing relief officers during the holiday period, and the suspension for the time being of the internal check at Branches, are matters which should now be satisfactorily dealt with, and with a view to putting the Organisation on a more sound footing, and reducing the risks we have taken for several years, I make the following recommendations:-

 

(1) That the City be divided into three districts, and that Messrs Carver, Parsonage and Wright appointed to supervise and control the Branches in their respective districts, with the designation of "Controller of Branches".

(Note: At present Messrs Wright, Bennett and Cheatle are responsible for inspecting Branches, but the two latter have not sufficient knowledge and experience to assume control and give the necessary directions to the Staff.)

 

(2) That the designation of Mr A S Taylor be altered to that of "Controller of the House Purchase Department".

 

(3) That Messrs Bennett, Cheatle and Chapman be appointed "Inspectors" for the three districts, and be required to carry out the internal check at Branches leading up to the point at which the Official Auditors take over, and also to act as relief officers during sick or holiday periods.

(Note: At present Messrs Bennett and Cheatle, with the assistance of Miss Plant, have endeavoured to do this work, but it falls short of a satisfactory discharge of the duties, for reasons I have outlined above.)

 

(4) That the Accountancy and Secretarial work undertaken by Mr Carver, with assistance, be now separated, and that Mr Yardley, ALAA, take over the Accountancy, with the designation of "Accountant", and that Mr Buxton, ACIS, take over the Secretarial work, with the designation of "Secretary".

(Note: as there is no designation in the present grading scheme which would cover the cases of Messrs Yardley and Buxton, it is recommended that their status should be regarded as equal to that of a Branch Manager.)

 

(5) That Mr Woodcock should be appointed in place of Mr Parsonage (Chief Clerk), and that the duties which have been performed separately by Messrs Parsonage and Lambeth should now be discharged jointly by Messrs Woodcock and Lambeth, each of whom should be designated "Chief Clerk".

(Note: The present division of duties presents difficulties at meal times, in dealings with the public, and also in banking, and by appointing both officers as "Chief Clerks" there will be a desirable elasticity in working.)

 

While the re-organisation referred to does not call for any alteration in the salaries of Messrs Carver, Parsonage, Taylor, Wright, Bennett and Cheatle, it will be necessary to adjust the salaries of Messrs Lambeth, Woodcock, Chapman, Yardley and Buxton, and it is accordingly recommended that the salaries of the last named should be so adjusted that the minimum basic salary for their respective grades be reached by instalments spread over five years, commencing from the 1st April next.

 

January 10th 1927

 
Staff