Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Thrift Pay Out: Banking in Hereford, England

While I was enjoying an early morning pint during my never ending ale drinking session in Hereford, England I discovered a very fascinating concept: the Thrift Pay Out.

I noticed over the course of the weekend people kept on giving my friend money to hold on to. I found this very odd, I know she is quite good friends with a lot of the men and woman that frequent her pub but it was happening quite a bit, then on the Sunday my friend set up a table in the pub with a money box, her laptop and a box of recipe cards. She was basically acting as a bank working out of the pub. She informed me that this was an old tradition that most pub did in smaller towns. She had a thrift pay out in the pub that she own with her husband and as far as she could remember her mom’s had one as well in her pub. The recipe cards had the person's name and account number and there she recorded their transaction, as well as on a excel file on her computer.

The clients who this unique non-bank, banking system are employees, regulars and well anyone in the community who want to take advantage. People are able to deposit as much as they want every Sunday and it is saved until two weeks before Christmas. Although some people in recent time have been using it like a bank, withdrawing as well as depositing. The employees of the pub have the amount they want deposited subtracted from their weekly wages so they are not noticing the missing the money and right before Christmas they get their thrift pay-out.

The concept has become even more popular in the last few years with the economic crisis and people’s mistrust in banks and corporations. Perhaps those 99% people should do a bit more creative thinking, less sleeping in tents in front of Saint Paul’s and learn a lesson from the pubs of English villages. Some may think the villagers are a bit behind the times but we may need to look to the past to solve problems of the present and move forward to the future.

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