The United Kingdom might take up a small area on the world map but on the contrary, it is a very powerful nation in the world. Throughout the years this nation has cemented and dominated itself in various sectors and among them is banking. Banking in the UK is a mighty force behind the curtains with a lot of cogs are gears in motion due to which the citizens have an efficient financial system. The banking system in the UK strengthens the economy and drives it forward making it the fifth-largest economy in the world and the second-largest in Europe. Let’s find out more about the banking system in the UK in the following blog.
History Of The Banking System In The UK
In the early days of the establishment of banking gold was used transactionally for which the financial institution would provide an equivalent bill of trust and instruction of return said gold. This philosophy is still being implemented in banking today with notes and coins. The Bank of England was founded in 1694 and primarily associated itself with providing financial services to the government. Conversely, the Bank of Scotland was established to help Scottish businesses in the subsequent year.
18th century started seeing more services offered by banks and with the advent of industrialism, more merchant banks started emerging. Leading up till the 20th, banking in the UK experienced a lot of ups and downs with the Bank of England gaining more supervisory control over banks in the UK. Few banks also started gaining market dominance in the 20th century which eventually lead them to be the Big Four. Modernization and innovation bought out the biggest changes we see today with the proliferation of digital banking. Banking system in UK will see more changes in the future to provide safer, easier and better banking to the people.
Essential Functions Of Banks In The UK
The UK financial system structure is of such vital importance for the daily functioning of the nation that even a slight mishap can be catastrophic. Banks in the UK have a fixed set of functionalities that every citizen relies on. There are many other secondary functionalities that people may utilise but not be a priority to all.
- Safekeeping Money – The very crux of a bank that people have been availing since ancient times is safekeeping money. People can safely deposit their savings at banks which also can be liquidated at the comfort of the depositor.
- Lending Money – Besides deposits, banks also lend money in the form of loans so that people can accomplish their goals. There are various types of loans that banks offer with varying interest rates on them. These loans can be paid back to the bank in convenient monthly payments.
- Help in Payments – Banks also provide debit and credit cards for those seamless and instantaneous payments. Due to these cards, people can easily conduct huge payments even if the funds aren’t available at the moment. This is possible through a very secure and sophisticated banking system in UK.
Top Banks In The UK
There are certain banks in the UK that dominate the market with some of them even having international branches. These banking groups have established a name for themselves with huge years of experience and trust.
- Barclays – This bank is a financial powerhouse not only for the UK but for the world. Its downfall could disrupt the world’s economy devastatingly as stated by the Financial Stability Board. Barclays has its headquarters in London and branches all across the globe. The bank provides multiple financial services to small, medium, and large businesses in the UK.
- HSBC – HSBC or Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation is another such bank that empowers people all across the globe with their financial solutions. Their emphasis and focus are on Wealth and Personal Banking, Commercial Banking, and Global Banking & Markets. It is listed on the London, Hong Kong, New York, and Bermuda stock exchange with over 182000 shareholders.
- Lloyds Banking Group – A favourite among the citizens of the UK which has been providing financial services since 1765. Lloyds Banking Group is home to 65000 employees and has a customer base of 30 million customers. Its main headquarters is in London while the European union HQ is located in Berlin.
- NatWest Group – This bank was founded in 1968 and has been running strong since then. NatWest Group is located in Edinburgh Scotland with many subsidiaries under it scattered throughout the globe. This leading UK bank has been providing financial solutions to all kinds of businesses and individuals.
1. How does the British banking system work?
In the UK, the banks effectively help the country’s economy with a series of banks some of which dominate the market space.
2. What is the currency used under the UK financial system?
The currency used in the UK is The Pound Sterling or GBP. The notes are called pounds while the coins are called pence.
3. What are the mains banks under the banking system in UK?
There are four major banks in the UK that dominate the market. These are Barclays Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and NatWest Group.
4. Who controls the banking system in UK?
The banking system in the UK is regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority. This institute works independently from the UK government.
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