THE consolidation movement among British banks in recent years has left no town of any size without the direct services of one or more among the five dominant joint-stock banks. The principal purpose of these amalgamations has been to meet the larger credit needs of British industries. In broadening their clientele, the "Big Five" have found it both natural and necessary to offer a wide scope of foreign facilities in the interest of their patrons, and the most significant developments in this field are to be seen in the quietly expanding operations of the great banks.
The attention hitherto devoted in popular discussion to public guarantees and advances, and to numerous new and struggling institutions, obscures the constant adaptation of tried British agencies to post-war conditions. Each wellestablished bank is feeling its way under the pressure of immediate service for its clients; and the steps taken by the "Big Five" are of interest to all banks as a body of sound principles is being hammered out from current experience, In what follows a brief description will be given of the different policies pursued, the present range of services offered, and the boundary lines between the joint-stock banks and the private bankers who continue so strong a factor in foreign trade financing.