The UK banking sector is the third largest in the world after the US and Japan. In addition to having one of the largest commercial banking industries, the UK is also a major international center for investment and private banking. Banking in the United Kingdom can be considered to have started in the 17th century. The first activity in what later came to be known as banking was by goldsmiths who, after the dissolution of English monasteries by Henry VIII, began to accumulate significant stocks of gold. The banking system in the United Kingdom has historically been one of the most stable in the world.
The banking sector in the UK is made up of variety of institutions supervised by the central bank, the Bank of England. Itis responsible for maintaining overall stability of the financial system as a whole. However, for the general public and many businesses, banking services are provided by commercial banks, which have branches throughout the country. Merchant banks specialize in services for companies and corporate customers.
There are some large banks in the UK. Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services, with an extensive international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries.
HSBC Bank plc is one of the major clearing banks in the United Kingdom having more assets than any other bank. The business ranges from the traditional High Street roles of personal finance and commercial banking, to private banking, consumer finance as well as corporate and investment banking.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has grown from small beginnings nearly 300 years ago to become one of the largest financial services groups in the world. RBS is one of the world's top 10 financial services groups and a leading provider of personal, business and institutional banking services. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Personal Banking businesses provide customers in the UK and overseas with a comprehensive range of banking services - from everyday accounts to mortgages, loans, investments and insurance.
The Bank of Scotland is a commercial and clearing bank based in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a history dating to the 17th century, it is the oldest surviving bank in what is now the United Kingdom, and is the only commercial institution created by the Parliament of Scotland to remain in existence. It was also the first bank in Europe to print its own banknotes. The Bank of Scotland continues to print its own sterling banknotes. Since 19 January 2009 the Bank of Scotland has formed part of the Lloyds Banking Group. Bank of Scotland offers its customers a wide range of financial products and help.
Abbey is the sixth biggest bank and one of the largest providers of mortgages and savings in the UK. Since 2004, Abbey has been part of the Santander Group, the seventh largest bank in the world by profit. The company provides retail banking for consumers and businesses, wealth management, and brokerage services. Abbey has more than 700 branches throughout the UK.
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