A Banking Evolution
THE Bank of England is more than a corporation. It is a personality. The first of the modern banks, if a bank two and a quarter centuries old may be so called, it is also the most powerful. This standing does not come because of its resources, for even its large capital and surplus of £17,- 800,000 are exceeded or closely approached by those of several of the London joint-stock banks, which also have greater total resources. The Federal Reserve Banks of the United States have combined capitals and surpluses nearly double those of the Bank of England, and gold holdings nearly five times as large. Nevertheless the Bank of England has a prestige and a standing which is all its own, won by years of honorable and capable administration of the finances of the world's greatest money capital.
The Bank of England while privately owned performs all of the functions of a State bank. It also conducts a general banking business, receiving the deposit accounts of corporations and of individuals.
From 1844 until 1914 it possessed practically the sole right of note issue in England, but the Treasury, or currency,