Father of the Savings Banks. Born in Lochrutton, Kirkcudbrightshire, the son of a Minister. In 1810, Duncan founded the world's first commercial savings bank in Ruthwell (Dumfries and Galloway), where he was Minister of the parish, which was based on the principles of mutual co-operation.
He was also involved in the restoration of the Ruthwell Cross, an 8th Century Anglo-Saxon cross, which had been smashed following the Reformation. His interest in Geology led to the discovery of fossil footprints near Lochmaben. He was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1840, but left for the Free Church following the Disruption of 1843.
His name is remembered in Henry Duncan House, the Edinburgh headquarters of the Lloyds TSB banking group in Scotland.