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British BankingContinuity and Change from 1694 to the Present$
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Ranald C. Michie

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198727361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198727361.001.0001

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Choice and Connections, 1825–1914

Choice and Connections, 1825–1914

(p.90) 4 Choice and Connections, 1825–1914
British Banking

Ranald C. Michie

Oxford University Press

Despite the rise of a small number of large joint-stock banks in the nineteenth century there remained a considerable diversity within British banking. In the market for savings, savings banks and building societies provided stiff competition. For lending to the business community, numerous merchant banks and other types of finance companies were especially active. Foreign banks were active in London, competing for both savings and loan-making. Banks actively co-operated both through the operation of inter-bank clearing and lending to and borrowing from each other, accessing the money market to employ idle funds and obtain temporary loans. The banks, collectively, thus provided their own lender-of-last-resort facilities, relegating the Bank of England to a residual but still important role. Through the connections between British banks and those from around the world, London became the centre of the global payments system in the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   savings, loans, finance for business, money market, Bank of England, lender of last resort, merchant banks, savings banks, building societies

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