My father, Tony Mason, who has died aged 86, was one of the last of the old-style branch bank managers whose mission was to look after their customers rather than increase company profits. When the nature of British banking began to change in the early 1980s he refused to push products – such as endowment mortgages – that he knew to be inappropriate, and was proud that he regularly came bottom of league tables of performance against lending targets.
The idea of such goals was anathema to him: he believed his purpose was not to lure customers into debt but to lend to people who really needed the money and had a plan to repay it.
Partly due to his lack of enthusiasm for the new kind of banking, NatWest offered him redundancy at the age of 56, and he jumped at the chance. With my mother, Christine, he subsequently enjoyed many happy and relaxed years of retirement as they travelled around their favourite parts of Britain.
Tony was born in Nantwich, Cheshire, to Francis, a booking clerk on the railways, and Mary (nee Hyde), a housewife. Brought up in nearby Alsager, he joined the old National Provincial Bank as a clerk after Crewe grammar school, working first in their Stoke-on-Trent branch and, after national service with the North Staffordshire regiment in Korea, at various other branches as he worked his way up the ladder.
By the late 50s he had moved southwards to Daventry, Northamptonshire, where he met Christine Kemp, a clerk in the same branch. They married in 1962 and moved around as promotions took him to branches in Bedford, then Rayleigh and Wickford in Essex, Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and finally to Luton, where he retired.
Tony’s good humour, honesty and conscientiousness were great assets for branch banking, but in another life he might have pursued interests in writing and acting. A keen amateur dramatist, he also had a talent for producing comedy scripts, born of his excellent sense of humour.
In middle age, after winning a TV Times competition, he received tuition from the comedy writer Brad Ashton and some of his material was used on radio. But gag writing was too precarious a living for a staunch family man, and so he continued in his day job.
In retirement golf was a consuming passion, and he remained fit enough to play right up to his death. He and Christine lived in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, from 1979 onwards, and as a supporter of Crewe Alexandra football club he monitored their fortunes from afar via match commentaries on his iPad, which he also used to keep in touch with world affairs.
He is survived by Christine, his children, Anne, Stephen and me, and his grandchildren, Evie and Ingrid.