Andrew Smith Michie

Andrew Smith Michie (1844-1936) was a banker. He worked for National Bank of Scotland and, later, The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Background and early life

Andrew Smith Michie was born in Hawick, Scotland, in about September 1844.

National Bank of Scotland

In 1859 – at the age of about 15 – Michie became an apprentice in the Hawick branch of National Bank of Scotland. In 1862 he transferred to the same bank’s Edinburgh head office, where he worked as a bill clerk.

In 1866 Michie transferred to National Bank of Scotland’s London branch. When the bank had opened this office less than two years earlier, it had been the first Scottish bank to establish a presence in London.

The Scottish banks had a particular advantage in this area. By law, English provincial banks had to stop issuing banknotes if they opened a London office, but Scottish banks could enjoy both a banknote issue and a presence in London, without having to choose which was more important to them.

In 1871 Michie became accountant of the London office.

The Royal Bank of Scotland

In the 19th century it was relatively unusual for workers to move from one Scottish bank to another, but in 1874 Michie left National Bank of Scotland to join The Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Royal Bank at that time was preparing to open its first branch in London. It needed staff who were familiar with the varying demands of England's and Scotland's significantly different banking systems. Unable to find such expertise among its existing staff, it turned to Michie, recruiting him as deputy manager of the new London branch.

Michie and the rest of the staff of the new branch started work on 4 August 1874, and the branch itself opened its doors for the first time nearly a week later, on 10 August.

In January 1889 Michie left London to become sub-cashier of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Glasgow office. In July 1890, he became cashier there.

Publications

Michie wrote numerous magazine articles on banking subjects. In 1882 he published a revised, edited and updated version of James William Gilbart’s influential work The History, Principles and Practice of Banking.

Family life and appearance

On 22 May 1872 Michie married Jessie Fraser, daughter of Arthur Fraser, who was chief cashier of National Provincial Bank of England. They had two sons, Arthur and Charles, and a daughter, Agnes.

A biographical sketch of Michie published in 1904 described him as ‘in stature above middle height, with iron-grey hair, light blue eyes, good building and square shoulders.’

Retirement and death

Michie retired on 11 June 1910. He returned to London, and died at Rowledge, Surrey, on 11 February 1936, at the age of 91. His obituary in the Bankers’ Magazine noted ‘Scotland has lost the ‘father’ of the banking profession.’

Related publications and online sources

  • Biographical sketch in ‘Moneta’, Scottish Banks and Bankers (Edinburgh, 1904)
  • Obituary in Bankers’ Magazine, 1936