A customer entering London Charing Cross branch, c.1918 © RBS

Supporting customers

The war placed immense strains on bank customers. Our banks worked hard to meet their changing needs.

Temporary branch set up by National Provincial Bank of England to serve customers at army camps, 1914 © RBS

Customers on active service

Customers, new and old, found their banking requirements changed significantly when they went into uniform

Explore this topic

  • Customers in uniform

    • Customers on active service
    • Banking in wartime
    Banks offered special services to meet the needs of customers in uniform
  • Imprisoned or interned customers

    • Banking in wartime
    • Customers on active service
    Customers imprisoned or interned overseas needed special support
  • Military pay agents

    • Banking in wartime
    • Customers on active service
    Some banks specialised in serving customers in the army or navy
  • Government contractors

    Workers in a shell filling factory © IWM Businesses undertook government contracts for everything from uniforms and boots to tents and medical supplies
  • Other business customers

    Inside Nottingham Thurland Street branch, c.1915 © RBS Even customers in sectors not directly connected with war work were significantly affected by war conditions
  • Farming customers

    Detail from a poster advertising war savings certificates, 1919 © McLean Museum and Art Gallery, Inverclyde Council Farming underwent a lasting transformation in the course of the war
  • Coping with government controls

    Manual of emergency legislation, 1915 The government relied on banks to exert influence over the financial affairs of the population
  • Enemy connections

    Treasury circular advising banks on how to handle accounts of alien enemies, 8 August 1914 © RBS Some customers were affected by Trading with the Enemy laws, which placed controls on people connected with enemy nations
  • Branch networks

    Cash in transit from Hertford branch of London County & Westminster Bank to its sub-branch at Buntingford, c.1914. It was taken by wheelbarrow to the railway station. Branches opened to serve new factories and camps, while others closed amid diminished local need and staff shortages
  • Branches in continental Europe

    Barcelona branch of London County & Westminster Bank, c.1917 © RBS One of our banks expanded its existing European business during the war, to support customers with international ties
  • The customers’ view

    The counter in National Provincial Bank of England's Hendon branch, December 1914 Much changed in banking during the war, and banks depended on the understanding and support of customers