Edinburgh Savings Bank



Edinburgh Savings Bank Head Office, 1940
Edinburgh Savings Bank Head Office, 1940

Edinburgh Savings Bank was formed in 1836.  However, it was not the city’s first such institution.  In 1814, members of the Edinburgh Society for the Suppression of Beggars had established a savings bank. It was based on the Revd Henry Duncan’s business model.  Duncan had set up the world’s first self-supporting savings bank, in Ruthwell, Dumfriesshire, four years previously.

The earlier bank had initially proved very popular.  In its first year, it attracted more than 700 customers and £2,500 in deposits.  Four branches were opened in different parts of the city.

But the bank was unable to sustain this rate of growth, and, by the 1830s, deposits had fallen away. It was, to all intents, moribund when the new savings bank Act came into effect in Scotland, in 1835.

The Act allowed savings banks in Scotland to invest their funds with the Government at a favourable rate of interest. This was something that English and Welsh savings banks had been able to do since 1817. Encouraged by the change in legislation, a group of gentlemen got together to set up the Edinburgh Savings Bank. It was founded along the lines of the English savings banks, rather than adhering to the stricter rules which Henry Duncan had applied. Its trustees were convinced that their savings bank would enable the working classes to emerge from ‘the shadows of pauperism’.


The new bank made a steady start.  By 1849, it held nearly £300,000 in deposits.  It did not, however, open its first branch until 1870.  This marked the start of a period of expansion. By 1900, the Bank had six branches in Edinburgh and Midlothian, more than 80,000 accounts, and nearly £2¼ million in deposits.

Edinburgh Savings Bank's stand at the 1939 Highland Agricultural Show
Edinburgh Savings Bank's stand at the 1939 Highland Agricultural Show

Deposits increased further during the First World War; together with other savings banks, Edinburgh benefitted from the Government’s wartime savings campaign.

During the interwar period, a collection service for deposits was introduced, making it easier for customers to save regularly. After the Second World War the Bank continued to grow. In 1969 it expanded its geographical reach further, by merging with Dalkeith Savings Bank.

A Larger TSB Group

The TSB Act of 1976 led to a restructuring of the trustee savings banks. That year, Edinburgh Savings Bank became part of TSB South of Scotland.

Return to the TSB page.