Savings bank
A savings bank is a financial institution
Financial institution
In financial economics, a financial institution is an institution that provides financial services for its clients or members. Probably the most important financial service provided by financial institutions is acting as financial intermediaries...

 whose primary purpose is accepting savings deposits
Savings account
Savings accounts are accounts maintained by retail financial institutions that pay interest but cannot be used directly as money . These accounts let customers set aside a portion of their liquid assets while earning a monetary return...

. It may also perform some other functions.

In Europe, savings banks originated in the 19th or sometimes even the 18th century. Their original objective was to provide easily accessible savings products to all strata of the population. In some countries, savings banks were created on public initiative, while in others, socially committed individuals created foundations to put in place the necessary infrastructure.

In 1914, the New Student's Reference Work said of the origins:
France claims the credit of being the mother of savings banks, basing this claim on a savings bank said to have been established in 1765 in the town of Brumuth
Brumath, also Brumpt, is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.-History:Brumath occupies the site of the Roman Brocomagus....

, but it is of record that the savings bank idea was suggested in England as early as 1697. There was a savings bank in Hamburg, Germany, in 1778 and in Berne, Switzerland, in 1787. The first English savings bank was established in 1799, and postal savings banks were started in England in 1861.

The first chartered savings bank in the United States was the Provident Institution for Savings in the Town of Boston
Provident Institution for Savings in the Town of Boston
The Provident Institution for Savings in Boston, Massachusetts, was the first chartered savings bank in the United States. James Savage and others founded the bank on the belief that "savings banks would enable the less fortunate classes of society to better themselves in a manner which would...

, incorporated December 13, 1816. The Philadelphia Savings Fund Society
Philadelphia Savings Fund Society
The Philadelphia Savings Fund Society , originally called the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, was a savings bank headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. PSFS was founded in December 1816, becoming the first savings bank to organize and do business in the United States...

 began business the same year, but was not incorporated until 1819. In 1818 banks for savings were incorporated in Baltimore and Salem, and in 1819 in New York, Hartford, Newport and Providence.

Nowadays, European savings banks have kept their focus on retail banking
Retail banking
Retail banking is banking in which banking institutions execute transactions directly with consumers, rather than corporations or other banks. Services offered include: savings and transactional accounts, mortgages, personal loans, debit cards, credit cards, and so forth.-Types of...

: payments, savings products, credits and insurances for individuals or small and medium-sized enterprises. Apart from this retail focus, they also differ from commercial bank
Commercial bank
After the implementation of the Glass–Steagall Act, the U.S. Congress required that banks engage only in banking activities, whereas investment banks were limited to capital market activities. As the two no longer have to be under separate ownership under U.S...

s by their broadly decentralised distribution network, providing local and regional outreach.
  • Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

    : see Caixa Econômica Federal
    Caixa Econômica Federal
    Caixa Econômica Federal , also referred to as Caixa or CEF, is a Brazilian bank. It is the largest government-owned financial institution in Latin America. It is the largest bank in Brazil and in Latin America by assets....

  • Communist Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

    : see Economy of Communist Czechoslovakia
    Economy of Communist Czechoslovakia
    In the mid-1980s, Czechoslovakia was the most prosperous country in the Eastern Bloc. Although levels of consumption were well below those common in Western Europe, inhabitants of Czechoslovakia enjoyed a standard of living generally higher than that found in most other East European countries...

  • Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    : see Sparkassen
  • New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

    : Savings banks ceased to exist in 1987 as an official type of bank, being replaced with registered banks (Grimes, 1998)
  • Norway
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

    : see Sparebank
    Sparebank is a Norwegian savings bank without external owners. The Norwegian sparebanks are a separate type of juridical entity that differ from commercial banks. There are a total of 123 savings banks in Norway.- History :...

  • Portugal
    Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

    : see Caixa Geral de Depósitos
    Caixa Geral de Depósitos
    Caixa Geral de Depósitos is a Portuguese state-owned banking corporation and the largest bank in Portugal.- History :*1876 — Caixa Geral de Depósitos was founded under the aegis of the Junta de Crédito Público....

  • Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

    : Traditionally, the Russian term sberkassa
    Sberkassa in the Soviet Union and modern Russia is a financial institution to store the savings of the population. The term is traditionally translated as savings bank, however sberkassas in the Soviet Union were not banks in the usual sense....

    (сберкасса, сберегательная касса) is translated as "savings bank". However sberkassas were not banks in the common sense. Initially they were the outlets of the only Soviet State Bank, Gosbank
    Gosbank was the central bank of the Soviet Union and the only bank whatsoever in the entire Union from the 1930s until the year 1987. Gosbank was one of the three Soviet economic authorities, the other two being "Gosplan" and "Gossnab"...

    until 1987 and Sberbank
    Sberbank Rossii is the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe. The company's headquarters are in Moscow and its history goes back to Cancrin's financial reform of 1841...

    (USSR Savings Bank) afterwards.
  • Spain
    Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

    : see Savings bank (Spain)
    Savings bank (Spain)
    In Spain, a savings bank is a financial institution which specializes in accepting savings deposits and granting loans. Their original aim was to create the habit of thrift amongst the very poor but they have evolved to compete with and rival commercial banks.Their trade association is the Spanish...

  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    : see Trustee savings bank
    Trustee Savings Bank
    The Trustee Savings Bank was a British financial institution which specialised in accepting savings deposits from the poor. They did not trade their shares on the stock market and, unlike mutually held building societies, depositors had no voting rights nor the ability to direct the financial and...

  • United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    : see Savings and loan association
    Savings and loan association
    A savings and loan association , also known as a thrift, is a financial institution that specializes in accepting savings deposits and making mortgage and other loans...

    , Federal savings bank
    Federal Savings Bank
    A federal savings bank is a savings and loan association federally chartered in the United States. They are chartered and regulated by the Treasury Department's Office of Thrift Supervision....

    , and Mutual savings bank
    Mutual savings bank
    A mutual savings bank is a financial institution chartered by a central or regional government, without capital stock, that is owned by its members who subscribe to a common fund. From this fund claims, loans, etc., are paid. Profits after deductions are shared between the members...

See also

External links

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