Nat West has had quite a history of travelling banks. In November 1946, the National Bank of Scotland introduced a groundbreaking concept—the first mobile bank. This innovative banking solution was devised to address the challenge of providing financial services in remote areas with scattered populations that didn't justify the establishment of a physical branch. The concept of a "Travelling Bank" on the Isle of Lewis emerged as a solution, specifically aimed at serving the island's crofter-weavers who previously had to take significant time off to visit the bank in Stornoway, the largest town on the island.
Under the guidance of local agent Donald McIver, the new mobile bank, stationed at the Stornoway branch, commenced its operations on Tuesday, November 5, 1946. With an impressive network of branches spread across a wide geographic area, the National Bank of Scotland recognized the need for a mobile banking service to bridge the gap in remote areas. The mobile bank was on the road for nine days every fortnight, covering an average distance of 50 miles per day.
The origins of this innovative concept can be traced back to the Second World War when army field cash offices facilitated monetary transactions for military units and individual soldiers. The United States Army operated mobile pay offices from vans, and it was one such vehicle—a Studebaker van utilized by US military personnel stationed in Scotland—that the bank purchased after the war and transformed into a mobile bank on wheels.
Today, mobile branches are often called 'banks on wheels', to avoid confusion with mobile phone banking and Nat West currently stop in both Shepton Mallet and Glastonbury. Could a mobile banking hub be the solutions for Frome? I can already imagine it in carpark on Market Days and up at Marston Trading Estate on a Tuesdays.......