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Scotland’s Banking pioneer, Henry Duncan, is celebrated on St Andrew’s day by nationwide book donation

1st December 2017


To mark St Andrew’s Day, TSB Bank announces plans to donate a new book that celebrates the life of Reverend Henry Duncan to every library across Scotland.  Banking pioneer Henry Duncan was the man behind the savings bank movement in the UK. 

Over the coming months, 490 libraries [1] will receive two free copies of the book Minister of Money written by Professor Charles Munn.  Also launched to the general public today, Minister of Money (Birlinn Ltd) is a biography of Scotsman Henry Duncan – documenting his many achievements as a parish minister, anti-slavery campaigner, poet, author, newspaper founder, political lobbyist and educator.  But most notably, Duncan’s lasting legacy is as the worldwide founder of the first self-supporting savings bank, encouraging the poorest to save for times of hardship.

Today, author Charles Munn and local TSB Bank Manager, Richard Merry, gifted the first book to the Dumfries Ewart Library at the Savings Bank Museum in South West Scotland, which was Duncan’s original Ruthwell Parish Bank back in 1810.

Commenting on the Scotland-wide book donation, John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in the Scottish Government, said: “Henry Duncan was a remarkable man who has left a lasting legacy in Scotland and indeed, the wider world.

“The great compassion he held for those facing hardship led him to found the first ever community savings bank and the world we live in today would be completely unrecognisable without his contribution.

“I welcome the gifting of these books to libraries around the country, which will allow more people to learn about his life.”

Richard Merry, TSB’s Ayr Bank Manager, says: “Reverend Henry Duncan wanted to serve local people in his community, and this was the sole purpose when he established the world’s first Trustee Savings Bank in Ruthwell, Scotland.

“This is exactly what we set out to do when we launched TSB back onto high streets right across Britain in 2013.  I’m proud that Henry’s life-long vision continues to live on within TSB.”

 “I’m thrilled to be able to celebrate his life and achievements by donating the first library book so that people can enjoy reading about this incredible man.”

Charles Munn, author of Minister of Money, says: “Reverend Henry Duncan’s legacy stretches across the world.  He may justly claim to have created the first ‘thrifty Scots’ but within a few years of him setting up his bank in Ruthwell in 1810 savings banks were being established in the rest of the UK, Europe, USA and many other parts of the world.  And he spent the rest of his life providing advice and guidance to anyone who asked for assistance in setting up a savings bank.”

TSB as we know it today is a “new” bank with a mission to bring more competition to UK banking – and ultimately make banking better for all UK consumers.  The Bank has an absolute belief that banks should be there to serve the local communities in which they operate – not the other way around.

This approach to banking isn’t new – Henry Duncan did exactly this in 1810 in Ruthwell in Dumfriesshire when he established the first self-supporting Savings Bank.  This approach to banking flourished and led to thousands of savings banks being established – not only here in Scotland but across the world.

It is Henry Duncan’s original vision for banking that has guided how TSB has been established, and how TSB is trying to bring local banking back to Britain.

[1] This figure is according to the Scottish Library and Information Council:


Notes to editors


TSB was built to bring more competition to UK banking and ultimately make banking better for all UK consumers. TSB only serves local customers and local businesses, to help fuel local economies, because communities thriving across Britain is a good thing for all of us.

We have a simple, straightforward and transparent banking model and make clear on our website how we operate and make money. We offer the products and services people tell us they want, with none of the funny stuff people normally associate with traditional banks.

Our five million customers appear to notice: TSB is Britain’s most recommended high street bank and was recently identified as one of the top 10 big companies to work for.

For further information about TSB Bank plc, please visit our website

Minister of Money

Minister of Money: Henry Duncan, Founder of the Savings Bank Movement by Charles W Munn is published on 30 November 2017 by John Donald, an imprint of Birlinn Limited. It contains a foreword by Dr Paul Pester, Chief Executive Officer of TSB.

Birlinn Limited is one of Scotland’s independent publishers, established in 1992.  Based in Edinburgh, it publishes Scottish and general interest non-fiction, literary fiction, poetry, sport and children’s books across five imprints.

Contact details: Kristian Kerr, Publicity Officer at Birlinn Limited.  Tel: 0131 668 4371 Email:

Biography of Charles Munn

Charles W.Munn was Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland, 1988–2007. He is currently Director of the European Financial Planning Association, a Member of the Professional Standards Board of the Chartered Insurance Institute, and Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee of the World Mission Council, Church of Scotland. He has a special interest in business ethics and has written articles and reports on this subject.  He is author of a number of books on banking history, co-author of Ethics, Integrity and Reputation and is a regular public speaker on the ethics of banking and investment.