Object 95: advertising leaflet, 1929
This pocket-sized leaflet provides an attractive pictorial reminder of how, several decades before the ATM was invented, National Provincial Bank was fully alive to the value for customers of being able to access banking facilities while they were on the move.
National Provincial Bank opened its first railway station branch in Waterloo Station in central London on 10 January 1924. The opening was keenly anticipated by The Times, which described it as 'the first bank to occupy premises within a railway station in this country.'
The new branch was established in part of the Southern Railway office buildings opposite platform 19. The doorway was monumentally impressive, but inside the branch was on a much smaller scale than normal. Equipped to deal with most kinds of banking business, it specialised in the exchange of foreign currency and the issue of travellers' cheques. It was intended to be particularly helpful to commuters who lived on the Southern Railway line and could pop in on their way home, and to overseas travellers arriving at Waterloo.
at Victoria the branch also offered a waiting room
The new branch was an immediate success and four years later a second station branch was opened in the Southern Railway offices at Victoria Station. Both branches operated as sub-offices to full branches nearby, but had much longer hours, staying open until six at night. At Victoria the branch also offered a waiting room for the use of bank customers. Soon afterwards, in 1932, RBS constituent Commercial Bank of Scotland followed suit and opened Scotland's first railway station branch in Glasgow's Central Station.
The fact that NatWest's pioneering station branch at Waterloo did not close it doors until the 1990s, when ATMs eventually began arriving in non-branch locations, demonstrates just how much this unusual service was appreciated.