Britain’s most loyal bank customer has been saving the pennies at his local branch for over 80 YEARS – and has still got his original passbook to prove it.
David Wheatley, 80, was just two months old when his grandfather opened the account for him at the West Bromwich Building Society in 1932.
Since parting with the deposit of five shillings (25p) he has saved up thousands of pounds to help provide for his family – all from the same account.
Mr Wheatley has even kept the original passbook he was given at the height of the Great Depression when the base interest rate stood at 6 per cent.
It is still in pristine condition to this day with entries written in ink and blotting paper inserted between the pages to prevent smudges.
The grandfather-of-four has since lived through five recessions and says he still chooses traditional saving methods over modern ones, such as internet banking.
And he still visits the branch on the High Street, in West Bromwich, West Mids., once a month to make regular deposits into his account.
Mr Wheatley, from Romley, West Mids., said: “I’ve stayed with them for so long because I’ve never had any problems with them.
“I kept the passbook for sentimental reasons because my grandfather opened the account for me as a present two months after I was born.
“I have continued the tradition and opened savings accounts for my own four grandchildren.
“I’ve had various passbooks down the years but this is the only one I have kept as a memento.
“It’s a lovely old one with the first entry for five shillings still in there along with many other entries, it has blotting paper between the pages which used to come in all books like that.
“It’s quite different to my current West Brom passbook – I’ve had around a dozen over the years.
“I stayed with them for so long because I am from West Bromwich and it’s a little bit of home for me to remember.
“I have no idea how much interest I will have accrued over the years but it must be quite a bit.”
David earned his money working as a sales rep for pub company Mitchells & Butlers for 10 years and before founding his own bicycle wholesale business.
He married his wife Shirley in 1957 and continued saving to raise the £2,000 deposit for the couple to buy their home which cost them a total of £4,375.
He added: “I realised in my late teens or early 20s that if I wanted my own home I would have to save regularly.
“I had a good job and was able to put down a reasonable deposit and get a mortgage with the West Brom because of the savings already set aside.
“I converted my savings account into the mortgage account and then when I had finished paying for my home I converted it back.
“I didn’t see any reason to change building societies, the West Brom has always been very good to me.
“There’s a bit of sentiment there as well, my book still reminds me of my old grandfather.
“I know times have changed but I still believe that saving is important at whatever age you are.
“People will benefit if they get into that habit of putting something by regularly.
“And it all started with this little book.”
Jonathan Westhoff, Chief Executive of West Bromwich Building Society, said: “As a building society we place a huge amount of value on the relationships we have with our members.
‘”We appreciate customer loyalty on all levels, but to discover that an individual has been saving with us for more than 80 years is simply amazing.
“It’s great that David still has his original passbook and continues to save with the society to this day.”