Banking from the bottom up: the case of migrant savers at the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society during the late nineteenth century
Using the depositor records of Philadelphia's largest and oldest savings bank, this article reconstructs how transient workers during the late nineteenth century often used savings accounts to attain the economic goals of their migration. Displaying savings patterns that were active and short in duration, migrants seem to have used their accounts for targeted accumulation, eventually transferring their savings to family in their home country or withdrawing it before moving on. The existence of many such accounts conflicted with the ways in which savings bank officers and policy-makers had intended the institutions to be used, and eventually led to important changes in managerial practices. It is argued that the case of migrant savers illustrates the need to understand the institutional development of within the context of broad historical changes in household social and economic strategies.
Volume (Year): 9 (2002)
Issue (Month): 01 (April)
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