In Praise of the values of Henry Duncan
Hardly a day goes by at present without some horror story emerging about banks, and how badly they have been managed. The British tax payer has bailed out banks to the tune of many £billions, but still the people at the top who have caused all this carnage walk away with golden handshakes valued at £millions. The first bank in this country to be bailed out has just paid its employees huge bonuses.... with the tax payer looking on in horror, amd being helpless to do anything about it.
As mentioned in a previous Blog, the Rev. Dr Henry Duncan set up the first Savings bank in a small village in the SW Scotland. The ethos of this was to promote thrift, and to have some money set aside to have reserves for a "rainy day". Savings Banks began to spread throughout Scotland, and in 1835 the Airdrie Savings Bank was set up. Airdrie is a small town NW of the area I write about. In 1985 the Trustees, (who are UNPAID) decided to opt out of becoming a part of a larger group, and stood alone, with 7 local sub branches.
Its 600,000 customers are mostly dealt with face to face, in the old fashioned way, loans are only given to those who can pay them back. There are no shareholders, .... the customer comes first.
No surprise then when the Royal Bank of Scotland has just lost £28billion, that this little bank has managed to post PROFITS of almost £1million.
No surprise also, that those who are disillusioned with the way other banks have been run, are now flocking to the Airdrie Savings Bank !
Yes Henry Duncan was so right, all those years ago when he set up the first Savings Bank in the village of Ruthwell in SW Scotland.