The school savings bank plan was originated in 1876. In 1915 the American Bankers' Association began an active campaign to put savings banks into the public schools and inculcate the habit of economy in the minds of the young. Banks in various cities have co-operated by supplying the initial expense money and offering certain services. The Board of Education of New York City created the office of Supervisor of School Banks in its Bureau of Audits and Accounts. The duties of the office are to encourage thrift among children and parents, to enlighten the people as to the purposes and advantages of school banks, to install new banks and instruct teachers in charge of the work, to get the co-operation of the savings banks, to obtain uniformity and efficiency in audit and school reports, to prepare reports on condition and progress for the Board of Education, and to make suggestions for improvement and provide for future growth.

The banks are usually installed in the basements of the school buildings and are equipped with fixtures resembling those of regular banks. Deposits are received usually twice a week, before and after school hours. The work of the various departments of the bank is co-ordinated with the classes in English, advertising, drawing, salesmanship, and statistics. Regular officers whose duties resemble those of the officers of regular savings banks are elected from the senior class. Every student serves in each of the departments during his school life.

Albany, Rochester, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Paterson, and other cities have systems in operation. In certain states the state universities and bankers' associations are acting as propagandists of the idea. Various states have passed laws correlating these school savings banks and the local savings banks.