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Savings Bank (Fraudulent Withdrawals)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1947

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14.

asked the Post master-General if he is aware that public opinion has been shaken by recent disclosures of fraudulent withdrawal, from the Post Office Savings Bank; if he will state the amount of such fraudulent withdrawals for the last five years, individually; and if he will consult the Trustee Savings Banks as to the methods which they employ to prevent such frauds.

I am aware of public comment in the courts and elsewhere on the disturbing increase in fraudulent withdrawals from Post Office Savings Bank accounts. I should perhaps make it clear that a claim by an innocent depositor to replacement of sums fraudulently withdrawn from his account is always met. The totals of fraudulent withdrawals in the last five years are approximately:

£
194241,700
194331,000
194427,600
194535,300
194672,300

The great bulk of these frauds are by demand withdrawals. A depositor can, of course, withdraw on production of his book at any one of 18,500 Post Offices. The ledger accounts are necessarily centralised and cannot be referred to at the time of withdrawal. Close co-operation exists between the Post Office and the Trustee Savings Bank but, in regard to fraud the Trustee Banks, because of their localised conditions, are not, I think, faced with the same problems as the Post Office.