When the Bank's Committee of Management decided that the BMB would need a design that would become known throughout the city, the students at the School of Art (right) were asked to submit designs. The Bank's Chairman  (Councillor C T Appleby) offered a prize of Five Guineas (£5.25) for the best submission, and the School of Art's director laid down three conditions for the design:

- entries to the competition to be limited to designs submitted by students attending the School of Art, or the branch schools;
- the designs to be suitable for reproduction, if desired, in enamel;
- the Bank to own sole rights to the design.

Britain's First Municipal Savings Bank relates what happened next:
A large number of designs were submitted, many showing marked initiative and ingenuity. The committee spent a considerable portion of one morning in examining and criticising the designs, and ultimately decided on the one submitted by Mr E G Barnes, which was duly registered.
His conception of a key with the simple but effective slogan "Security with Interest" appeared to meet the case. Little could he have thought that his design would be so prominently displayed and so well known as it is to-day. It explains in the simplest language what the Bank stands for. Other designs submitted had considerable merit, and were also accepted for propaganda purposes.

The logo was used extensively, including large versions that were fixed outside branch premises, and which were illuminated at night. In many of the pre-war photographs of branches, the key is hung at right-angles to the building's facade. Two exceptions are Aston Cross and Nechells, where the key is hung flat against the branch's facade at first-floor level; both of these branches also have the key design on window panels (a practice also adopted with the glass panels of the doors of the city's trams).

The externally affixed keys were removed from branches (possibly during the war?), but all branches came to have the design on their windows. It was also a feature of the internal decorations of the Bank's Head Office in Broad Street.

This information is courtesy of  and taken directly off the Birmingham Municipal Bank website.

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