Neville Chamberlain and
the Bank's First Committee
Although the Bank came into existence on September 1st 1919,
the Committee of Management was not formally constituted until
Birmingham City Council held a meeting in November of that year.
The responsibility for setting up and managing the new Bank
was therefore delegated to the Committee of the 'old' Bank -
the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank, which did not cease
to exist until November 17th 1919. This Committee had been
appointed by the City Council at their meeting on November 9th 1918,
and was constituted as follows:
          The Lord Mayor (Alderman A D Brooks)
          Alderman Neville Chamberlain (Chairman)
          Alderman J H Lloyd, JP
          Alderman W E Lovsey, JP
          Alderman T O Williams
          Councillor C T Appleby
          Councillor J Beard
          Councillor E Hallas
Councillor Hallas, having been elected a Member of Parliament, resigned from the Council, but was in due course elected to the Bank Committee as a non-Council member, and in July 1919, the committee was enlarged by the addition of the following members:
          Councillor J Fryer
          Councillor R R Gelling
          Councillor C Keatley
          Councillor N Tiptaft
At the Council meeting held on November 10th 1919, the following individuals were elected to be the Bank's Committee for the first year of operation, 1919/1920:
          The Lord Mayor (Alderman W A Cadbury, JP)
          Councillor C T Appleby (Chairman)
          Alderman J Beard
          Neville Chamberlain, MP (as a non-Council member)
          Councillor J Fryer
          Councillor R R Gelling
          Eldred Hallas, MP (as a non-Council member)
          Councillor C Keatley
          Alderman W E Lovsey, JP
          Councillor Mrs C E Mitchell
          Councillor N Tiptaft
          Councillor G Ward
          Alderman T O Williams
(The membership of subsequent Committees is shown separately in tabular format.)
Thus, Neville Chamberlain, the principal instigator of the establishment of a municipal savings bank in Birmingham, continued his membership of the Committee of the Birmingham Corporation Savings Bank through to the Birmingham Municipal Bank. This position ceased when Mr Chamberlain was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, and consequenly, he felt it desirable that he should resign his membership. Accordingly, he wrote to the City's Town Clerk in a letter dated September 25th 1923:
Dear Town Clerk,
As you are aware, I have been a member of the Committee of the Municipal Bank ever since its foundation, the committee having been good enough to co-opt me when I ceased to be a member of the Council.
Owing to the increasing number of my parliamentary engagements, I have for some time been unable to attend meetings of the committee. Some months ago I suggested to the Chairman that I ought to hand in my resignation. At his request, however, I agreed to postpone any action at least until November.
My appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer now raises the question afresh. In my present capacity, it may very well fall to me to make decisions which materially affect the operations of the Bank; and it is clear to me that I could not remain a member without grave impropriety. I desire, therefore, that my resignation should take place at once, and I accordingly ask you to receive it and to place it before the committee at the earliest possible moment.
In thus severing my official connection with the administration of the Bank, I should like to convey to my colleagues my deep admiration for the manner in which the affairs of the Bank have been directed since its foundation. It has now established itself solidly as one of the most valuable institutions in the town; and it has set an example which may have a far-reaching influence upon the lives of future generations in other great centres of industry as well as our own.
I leave the committee with a happy confidence in the security of the Bank; and of the even greater possibilities for usefulness that lie before it.
Believe me, dear Town Clerk,
Yours very truly,
Mr Chamberlain's resignation was accepted by the Committee passing the following resolution:
RESOLVED: That this committee learn with much regret of the resignation of their colleague, the Rt Hon Neville Chamberlain, MP; they record their sincere appreciation of the valuable service he has unselfishly rendered in connection with the formation and management of the Municipal Bank, and realise that his appointment to the high office of Chancellor of the Exchequer necessitates the severance.
However, during the short period of Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Government (January 22nd to November 3rd 1924), the Committee took steps to co-opt Mr Chamberlain as a non-Council member of the Committee. This new period of membership was to be short-lived, as following the appointment of Mr Chamberlain to another office in the Conservative Government of Stanley Baldwin (Minister of Health), he again submitted a letter (dated November 14th 1924) of resignation:
 Dear Councillor Appleby,
Now that I have again accepted office in His Majesty's Government, I feel I ought not to retain my membership of the Bank Committee, as although my connection is not as close as when I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, it is nevertheless possible that questions affecting the Bank might arise for Cabinet decision.
I therefore ask you to be good enough to accept my resignation, but I need hardly say that I shall at all times retain my interest in the Bank, and my desire to be of service whenever possible.
Yours sincerely,
The Bank year 1924/1925 was the last one in which Neville Chamberlain served on the Management Committee. He continued to be involved in politics at a national level, culminating in him becoming the country's Prime Minister in 1937. However, his relationship with the Bank did not cease, as the following list of the branch openings etc that he was involved will show. He also corresponded with the Bank's General Manager, J P Hilton.
          Opening of Sparkbrook branch: July 25th 1921
          Opening of Rotton Park branch: June 16th 1923
          Opening of Edmund Street Head Offices: July 6th 1925
          Laying of Foundation Stone for Broad Street premises: October 22nd 1932
          Opening of Broad Street Head Offices: November 27th 1933
Following Mr Chamberlain's appointment
as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1923,
a banquet was held in his honour.
A report of this dinner was filed in the
Bank's collection of Press Cuttings
Neville Chamberlain leaving Sparkbrook
after the opening of the Bank's first
permanent branch: July 25th 1921