Foreign Credit Facilities in the United Kingdom: A Sketch of Post-War Development and Present Status

By Leland Rex Robinson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I OUTLINES OF BRITISH CREDIT ORGANIZATION

THE financial system of which London is the center is a plant of slow growth whose roots reach back into the very beginnings of England's national trade. As handmaiden to her commerce, the credit structure of Great Britain has unfolded into many types of institutions whose several functions are the result of evolution rather than reasoned planning. It has, therefore, the flexibility natural in a fine division of labor, and the stability of a slow adaptation to changing world conditons.

Subsequent chapters, which outline the development since the war of foreign credit facilities in the United Kingdom, reveal few, if any, fundamental changes in the groundwork of British finance. Institutions long familiar are merged into others, new banks have been organized, and domestic and foreign connections developed. But whether these movements were inspired by government initiative, or due solely to private enterprise, they have not essentially altered the interrelations of the London money market, so well understood by those interested in banking but here sketched in a few bold lines to refresh the reader's mind.


I. THE BANK OF ENGLAND

The Bank of England remains the hub of the financial wheel although her total resources are far outstripped today by any one of the five great English banks.1 As is

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1
The "Big Five" are the dominant joint-stock banks emerging from the striking consolidation movement in the years 1917-1921. (See chap. ii). They are Barclays, Lloyds, London Joint City and Midland, National Provincial and Union, and the Westminster Bank.

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