Bank of England £50 note
The Bank of England £50 note is a banknote of the pound sterling. It is the highest denomination of banknote issued for public circulation by the Bank of England; the current cotton note, first issued in 2011, bears the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and the images of engineer and scientist James Watt and industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton on the reverse. £50 notes were introduced by the Bank of England for the first time in 1725. The earliest notes were issued as needed to individuals; these notes were written on one side only and bore the name of the payee, the date, the signature of the issuing cashier. With the exception of the Restriction Period between 1797 and 1821, when the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars caused a bullion shortage, these notes could be exchanged in full, or in part, for an equivalent amount of gold when presented at the bank. If redeemed in part, the banknote would be signed to indicate the amount, redeemed. From 1853 printed notes replaced handwritten notes, with the declaration "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of fifty pounds" replacing the name of the payee.
This declaration remains on Bank of England banknotes to this day. A printed signature of one of three cashiers appeared on the printed notes, although this was replaced by the signature of the Chief Cashier from 1870 onwards; the ability to redeem banknotes for gold ceased in 1931 when Britain stopped using the gold standard. The £50 note ceased to be produced by the Bank of England in 1943 and did not reappear until it was reintroduced in 1981; these D series notes were predominantly olive green on both sides, with an image of Queen Elizabeth II on the front and an image of architect Christopher Wren on the back. As a security feature, this note had a metallic thread running through it, upgraded to a "windowed" thread from July 1988 onward; the thread is woven into the paper such that it forms a dashed line, yet appears as a single line when held up to the light. The series D note was replaced by the series E, beginning in 1994; this reddish note replaced Christopher Wren with John Houblon, the first governor of the Bank of England, on the reverse.
As an additional security feature, these notes had a foil patch on the front. The E revision series didn't have a £50 note; the current £50 note was introduced in 2011. It features two portraits on the reverse: engineer and scientist James Watt and industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton, along with the Whitbread Engine and the Soho Manufactory, Birmingham; the note has a number of security features in addition to the metallic thread, including motion thread, raised print, a watermark, microlettering, a see-through register, a colourful pattern that only appears under ultraviolet light. The current note is the first Bank of England banknote to feature two people on the reverse, the first Bank of England note to feature the motion thread security feature; this is an image in a broken green thread. The Bank of England has issued new £5 and £10 notes in polymer form. In October 2018, the Bank of England announced that the £50 note would be retained, with a new Series G polymer note planned to replace the Series F note at some point after 2020.
The Bank of England has a committee to consider nominations for the face of the new notes via public consultation. Peter Sands, an advisor to the British Government and former Chief Executive of Standard Chartered, has raised concern with the Bank of England over high denomination notes and their role in tax evasion, he claimed that scrapping the £50, other high denomination notes such as the CHF 1000 and $100, would reduce financial crime. Information taken from Bank of England website. Bank of England note issues Bank of England website
Ulster Bank is a large commercial bank, one of the traditional Big Four Irish banks. The Ulster Bank Group is subdivided into two separate legal entities, Ulster Bank Limited and Ulster Bank Ireland DAC; the Group's headquarters is located on George's Quay, Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland whilst the official headquarters of UBL is in Donegall Square East, Belfast, in Northern Ireland, it maintains a large sector of the financial services in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Established in 1836, Ulster Bank was acquired by the Westminster Bank in 1917; as a direct subsidiary of National Westminster Bank, it became part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group in 2000. It has 146 branches in the Republic of Ireland and 90 in Northern Ireland with over 1,200 non-charging ATMs; the Group has over 1.9 million clients. Ulster Bank was founded as The Ulster Banking Company in Belfast in 1836; the bank was formed by a breakaway faction of shareholders in the newly formed National Bank of Ireland, founded in 1835, who objected to the latter bank's plan to invest profits from the bank in London rather than in Belfast.
The founding directors of the bank were John Heron, Robert Grimshaw, John Currell a linen bleacher from Ballymena, James Steen, a Belfast pork curer. In 2002 three Ulster Bank employees were arrested on charges of money laundering; the three were responsible for the destruction of old banknotes at the bank's former Waring Street cash centre. Between November 2001 and February 2002 they were accused of stealing £900,000 of used banknotes designated for disposal; the money was placed in various bank and building society accounts. On 23 January 2004 the men were jailed for two and a half years for the theft of £770,000. Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr criticised the bank's security measures during the trial. In 2003/2004, Ulster Bank Group purchased First Active, Ireland's oldest building society, for €887 million. In 2009, the First Active branch network and business of several hundred thousand savers and borrowers was merged with Ulster Bank, the brand name was retired in 2010. In June 2012 a computer system failure prevented customers from accessing accounts.
Initial estimates that the problem would be sorted out within a week were wildly optimistic with thousands of customers still unable to access their accounts into late July 2012, with ongoing issues still not resolved by mid August 2012. This RBS / NatWest / Ulster Bank issue has proved to be one of the largest IT failures the world has known. Ulster Bank has set aside £28M for compensation to customers. In March 2014 it was reported that the RBS Group was considering merging the bank in the Republic of Ireland with some of its rivals in order to reduce its holding. RBS Group's annual results for 2013 revealed Ulster Bank had operating losses of £1.5 billion and accounted for a fifth of the parent group's total bad debt charges. In October 2014 RBS confirmed it would retain Ulster Bank following improved market conditions in Ireland. Ulster Bank provide a full range of banking and insurance services to personal and commercial customers. In Northern Ireland the bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Ulster Bank Limited is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the British Bankers' Association. In Ireland, the bank is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland; the bank provides Visa Debit cards to customers with their current accounts, having issued Maestro and Laser debit cards to NI and ROI customers in addition to other financial services. It launched 15 new commitments to its retail customers in September 2010. Ulster Bank is used by RBS to deposit funds invested through the popular Royal Deposit Plan. From 1968 until 2005, Ulster Bank's logo was three chevrons – identical to that of the National Westminster Bank, its owner; the bank changed to the RBS "daisy wheel" logo and typeface style in October 2005. The bank is one of the four banks. In common with the other Big Four banks of Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank retains the right to issue its own banknotes; these are pound sterling notes and equal in value to Bank of England notes, should not be confused with banknotes of the former Irish pound.
Ulster Bank's current notes all share the same design of a view of Belfast harbour flanked by landscape views. The principal difference between the denominations is their size. Notes incorporate the RBS "daisy wheel" logo, having incorporated the NatWest chevrons until 2006. 5 pound note, grey 10 pound note, blue-green 20 pound note, purple 50 pound note, blueIn November 2006 Ulster Bank issued its first commemorative banknote – an issue of one million £5 notes commemorating the first anniversary of the death of former Northern Irish and Manchester United footballer, George Best. This was the first Ulster Bank banknote to incorporate the RBS "daisy wheel", the entire issue was taken by collectors within hours of becoming available in bank branches. In 2019, Ulster Bank will be issuing a new series of banknotes printed in polymer, will be replacing its paper equivalents in circulation. On 8 February 2008, Ulster Bank Group Chief Executive, Cormac McCarthy, announced a three-year sponsorship deal worth over £1m for the Belfast Festival at Queen's.
It was hailed as a "new dawn" for the festival, suffering unde
Danske Bank (Northern Ireland)
Danske Bank UK is a commercial bank in Northern Ireland. Northern Bank was one of the oldest banks in Ireland having been formed in 1809, formed part of one of the Big Four banks in Ireland. Northern Bank took on the name of its parent company Danske Bank as its trading name in November 2012; the bank is considered one of the leading retail banks in Northern Ireland with 44 branches and 3 finance centres. Danske Bank is one of the four commercial banks in Northern Ireland which are permitted to issue their own banknotes. Danske Bank UK is a standalone business unit within the Danske Bank Group and operates under a UK banking licence. Northern Bank was founded in Belfast in 1809 as the Northern Banking Partnership; the bank expanded across Ireland, opening its first branch in the south in 1840. In 1965, the Northern Banking Company Limited was acquired by the Midland Bank, a London-based bank which had acquired the Belfast Bank in 1917. In 1970, the Midland's two Northern Ireland subsidiaries were merged to form Northern Bank Limited.
Under Midland's ownership, Northern Bank shared the Griffin logo. In 1986, Midland re-organised its British and Irish operations, as part of this process it separated its Northern Bank branches in the Republic of Ireland and transferred into a newly formed company called Northern Bank Limited. Midland Bank ran into severe financial difficulty as a result of its 1981 acquisition of Crocker National Bank in the USA and was forced to divest itself of assets to restore stability. In 1988, Midland sold off its subsidiaries, namely the Clydesdale Bank in Scotland, Northern Bank Limited and Northern Bank Limited, all of which were acquired by National Australia Bank. After this, Northern Bank Limited was renamed National Irish Bank; the Northern Bank brand name continued in Northern Ireland, but a new logo was introduced, a stylised "N" in a hexagon shape. In 2002, the bank's logotype was changed to match that of the National Australia Bank. In December 2004, the Denmark-based Danske Bank Group agreed to acquire Northern Bank and National Irish Bank for £967m.
The sale of the two banks marked National Australia Bank's exit from the Irish banking markets. Don Price remained as CEO, but was replaced by Gerry Mallon in June 2008; the acquisition was completed in 2005 and Danske Bank invested £100m in Northern Bank. As part of this process, National Irish Bank was separated from the Northern Bank and given its own dedicated management team. Both Northern & National Irish Bank migrated over to Danske Bank's technology platform with a centralised contact centre set up to deal with all incoming calls to the branches of both banks. From April 2006 the two banks adopted new corporate identities which were based on a variation of the Danske Bank logo. On 1 June 2012, brand separation between Northern Bank and National Irish Bank was reversed, with the two banks merged under the Northern Bank management team. On 19 November 2012 the bank formally dropped its Northern Bank name and began trading as Danske Bank; the first Danish branding was unveiled with new signage at the company's head office in Donegall Square.
Since the rebrand, cheques issued by the bank bear the legend "Danske Bank is a trading name of Northern Bank Limited". Danske Bank continues to issue pound sterling banknotes in Northern Ireland, notes issued since 2013 now bear the Danske Bank brand name. In 2008, Northern Bank embarked on a £3m investment programme to upgrade facilities at three of its Northern Ireland branches; as of November 2015, Kevin Kingston is CEO of Danske Bank UK, having been Deputy CEO. Stephen Matchett is Managing Director of Strategy & Corporate Development. Shaun McAnee is managing director of Corporate & Business Banking with responsibility for corporate banking, FX markets, specialist business, regional business centres, agri-business and business acquisition. Richard Caldwell is managing director of Personal Banking & Small Business incorporating branches, mortgage business, private banking, customer contact centres and small business. In common with the other Big Four retail banks of Northern Ireland, Northern Bank trading as Danske Bank continues to issue its own banknotes, a practice, abolished in England and Wales in the early Twentieth Century.
Danske Bank notes are pound sterling notes and equal in value to Bank of England notes and should not be confused with banknotes of the former Irish pound, a separate currency, replaced by the Euro in the Republic of Ireland in 2002. Following the acquisition of Northern Bank by Danske Bank, banknotes issued since June 2013 now bear Danske Bank branding in place of the Northern Bank name. Older banknotes bearing the Northern Bank name are still in circulation and continue to be acceptable for payments as they are withdrawn. Danske Bank has ceased issue of £50 and £100 notes and will in future only print £10 and £20 notes. Danske Bank does not issue £5 notes, but a special commemorative £5 note was issued by the Northern Bank to mark the Year 2000. Uniquely among sterling notes, this was a vertical polymer banknote, printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company on Australian synthetic polymer substrate instead of paper, making Northern Ireland the only part of the UK to have issued a plastic banknote prior to Scotland & England issuing the £5 polymer notes in Autumn 2016.
It is the only one of the bank's pre-2004 notes still in circulation. A
Bank of England £10 note
The Bank of England £10 note known as a tenner, is a banknote of the pound sterling. It is the second-lowest denomination of banknote issued by the Bank of England; the current polymer note, first issued in 2017, bears the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and the image of author Jane Austen on the reverse. The final cotton paper note featuring a portrait of naturalist Charles Darwin, first issued in 2000, was withdrawn from circulation on 1 March 2018, thereby replacing the cotton with a more fit material. Ten pound notes were introduced by the Bank of England for the first time in 1759 as a consequence of gold shortages caused by the Seven Years' War; the earliest notes were handwritten, were issued as needed to individuals. These notes were written on one side only and bore the name of the payee, the date, the signature of the issuing cashier. With the exception of the Restriction Period between 1797 and 1821, when the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars caused a bullion shortage, these notes could be exchanged in full, or in part, for an equivalent amount of gold when presented at the bank.
If redeemed in part, the banknote would be signed to indicate the amount, redeemed. From 1853 printed notes replaced handwritten notes, with the declaration "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ten pounds" replacing the name of the payee; this declaration remains on Bank of England banknotes to this day. A printed signature of one of three cashiers appeared on the printed notes, though this was replaced by the signature of the Chief Cashier from 1870 onward; the ability to redeem banknotes for gold ceased in 1931 when Britain stopped using the gold standard. The £10 note ceased to be produced by the Bank of England in 1943, it was not until 1964 with the advent of the series C notes that the denomination was re-introduced; these brown notes were the first £10 notes to feature an image of the monarch on the front, unlike the previous'White' notes they had a reverse. The C series was replaced by the D series beginning in 1975, with the new notes having a portrait of Florence Nightingale on the back.
The tradition of portraying historical British figures on the reverse continued with the E series, first issued in 1992, with an image of Charles Dickens appearing. Series E notes are multicoloured. From series E onward Bank of England £10 notes feature'windowed' metal thread; the revised Series E £10 note was introduced in 2000. It features a portrait of Charles Darwin on the back as well as an illustration of HMS Beagle and images of various flora and fauna; the note features a number of security features in addition to the metallic thread, including raised print, a watermark, microlettering, a hologram, a number ten which only appears under ultraviolet light. The F series £. In December 2013 the Bank of England announced that the next £10 note would be printed on polymer, rather than cotton paper; this followed the announcement in July 2013 that Charles Darwin would be replaced by 19th Century author Jane Austen on the next £10 note, which would enter circulation in 2017. The decision to replace Darwin with Austen followed a campaign to have a woman on the back of a Bank of England banknote when it was announced that the only woman to feature on the back of a note — prison reformer Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note — was to be replaced by Winston Churchill.
Images on the reverse of the Jane Austen note include a portrait of Austen commissioned by her nephew, an illustration of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Isabel Bishop, an image of Godmersham Park, a design based on Austen's 12-sided writing table as used by her at Chawton Cottage. The note includes the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”, said by Austen's character Caroline Bingley, who in fact has no interest in reading and is attempting to impress Mr Darcy. Winchester Cathedral, where Austen is buried, is depicted in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back; the note with serial number AA01001817 was donated to Winchester Cathedral, marking the year of Austen's burial, 1817. Source: Bank of England Bank of England note issues Bank of England website Polymer ten pound note website
Bank of Ireland
Bank of Ireland Group plc is a commercial bank operation in Ireland and one of the traditional'Big Four' Irish banks. The premier banking organisation in Ireland, the Bank occupies a unique position in Irish banking history. At the core of the modern-day group is the old Bank of Ireland, the ancient institution established by Royal Charter in 1783. Bank of Ireland is the oldest bank in continuous operation in Ireland; the history is. 1783 – 25 June 1783, the Bank of Ireland opened for business at Mary's Abbey in a private house owned by one Charles Blakeney. 1808 – 6 June 1808, Bank of Ireland moved to 2 College Green. 1864 – Bank of Ireland first pays interest on deposits. 1926 – The Bank of Ireland took control of the National Land Bank – a friendly society. 1948 – The Bank of Ireland 1783–1946 by F. G. Hall was published jointly by Hodges Figgis and Blackwell's. 1958 – The Bank took over the Hibernian Bank Limited. 1965 – The National Bank Ltd, a bank founded by Daniel O'Connell in 1835, had branches in Ireland and Britain.
The Irish branches were acquired by Bank of Ireland and rebranded temporarily as National Bank of Ireland, before being incorporated into Bank of Ireland. The British branches were acquired by Glyn's Bank. 1980 - The first Pass card and machine were open known as ATM. 1983 – Bank of Ireland Bi-Centenary. A commemorative stamp was issued; the Bank commissioned the publication of "An Irish Florilegium". 1995 – Bank of Ireland merge First New Hampshire Bank with Royal Bank of Scotland's Citizens Financial Group 1996 – Bank of Ireland buys the Bristol and West building society for €882m, which keeps its own brand. 1999 – Merger talks with Alliance & Leicester were held and called off. 2000 – It is announced that Bank of Ireland is to acquire Chase de Vere. 2002 – Bank of Ireland acquires Iridian, the US investment manager, which doubles the size of its asset management business. 2005 – Bank of Ireland completes the sale of the Bristol and West branch and Direct Savings to Britannia Building Society.
2008 – Moody's Investors Service changed its outlook on Bank of Ireland from stable to negative. Moody's pinpointed concerns over weakening asset quality and the impact of a more challenging economic environment on profitability at Bank of Ireland. A share price collapse followed. 2009 – The Irish government announces a €7 billion rescue package for the bank and Allied Irish Banks plc in February. The biggest bank robbery in the history of the state took place at Bank of Ireland at College Green. Consultants Oliver Wyman validated Bank of Ireland's bad debt levels at €6 billion over three years to March 2011, a bad debt level, exceeded by €1 billion within a matter of months. 2010 – The European Commission orders the disposal of Bank of Ireland Asset Management, New Ireland Assurance, ICS Building Society, its US Foreign Exchange business and the stakes held in the Irish Credit Bureau and in an American Asset Manager followed the receipt of Irish Government State aid. 2011 – The Securities Services Division is sold to Northern Trust Corporation.
2013 – Bank of Ireland more than doubles interest rates on mortgages tracking the Bank of England rates, citing the need to hold more reserves and the'increased cost of funding mortgages'. Described by Ray Boulger of broker John Charcol as'having shot the reputation of its mortgages to smithereens' the bank continues to offer competitive mortgages through the Post Office. 2014 – Regulation of the bank will transfer to the European Central Bank. 2014 – Enters marketing alliance with EVO Payments International and re-enters the card acquiring market. BOI Payment Acceptance launches in December 2014; the Bank of Ireland is not, was never, the Irish central bank. However, as well as being a commercial bank – a deposit-taker and a credit institution – it performed many central bank functions, much like the earlier-established Bank of Scotland and Bank of England; the Bank of Ireland operated the Exchequer Account and during the nineteenth century acted as something of a banker of last resort. The titles of the chairman of the board of directors and the title of the board itself suggest a central bank status.
From the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922 until 31 December 1971, the Bank of Ireland was the banker of the Irish Government. The headquarters of the bank until the 1970s was the impressive Parliament House on College Green, Dublin; this building was designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce in 1729 to host the Irish Parliament, it was the world's first purpose-built bicameral parliament building. The bank had planned to commission a building designed by Sir John Soane to be constructed on the site bounded by Westmoreland Street, Fleet Street, College Street and D'Olier Street. However, the project was cancelled following the Act of Union in 1800, when the newly defunct Parliament House was bought by the Bank of Ireland in 1803; the former Parliament House continues today as a working branch. Today, visitors can still view the impressive Irish House of Lords chamber within the old headquarters building; the Oireachtas, the modern parliament of the Republic of Ireland, is now housed in Leinster House in Dublin.
In 2011, the Irish Government set out proposals to acquire the building as a venue for the state to use as a cultural venue. In the 1970s the bank moved its headquarters to a modern building on Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2; as Frank McDonald notes in his book Destructi
The Royal Bank of Scotland £1 note
The Royal Bank of Scotland £1 note is a banknote of the pound sterling. It is the smallest denomination of banknote issued by The Royal Bank of Scotland; the current cotton note, first issued in 1987 bears an image of Lord Ilay, one of the founders of the bank, on the obverse and a vignette of Edinburgh Castle on the reverse. The £1 note is the smallest denomination of banknote issued by The Royal Bank of Scotland; the bank ceased regular production of £1 notes in 2001. In common with a number of other banks in Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland has retained the right to issue its own banknotes, it first issued notes in the same year the bank was founded. The issuing of banknotes by Scottish banks was regulated by the Banknote Act 1845 until it was superseded by the Banking Act 2009. Scottish banknotes are legal tender and as currency are accepted throughout the United Kingdom. Scottish banknotes are backed such that holders have the same level of protection as those holding genuine Bank of England notes.
In 1727, the Royal Bank of Scotland began issuing twenty-shilling notes. Early banknotes were monochrome, printed on one side only; the first twenty-shilling notes were dated 8 December 1727 and were hand-signed by a bank cashier and given a unique number. The cashier added by hand the equivalent value in old Scots pounds — a currency, abolished 20 years earlier in the Acts of Union 1707 which united the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. Twenty shillings was equivalent to £12 Scots; the bank continued the custom of including the value in old Scots pounds until 1792 to encourage acceptance of its banknotes. This series of banknotes was the first British banknote to have a royal portrait, as they featured a vignette of King George II, who had ascended to the British throne earlier that year. At the time, printing portraits was a difficult and expensive process, including a likeness of the King served as an effective anti-counterfeiting device; the banknotes were held at the bank in bound bundles, similar to modern cheque books.
When issued, the cashier would cut the note out with a wavy line. The Royal Bank's 1826 issue of the £1 note displayed much more intricate detail as printing processes were improved by the introduction of steel plates, it the first British banknote to be printed on both sides; this issue featured a portrait of King George IV, this was the last standard-issue Royal Bank of Scotland banknote to depict a reigning monarch. It was issued after the controversy of the Bankers Act 1826, in which the British government attempted unsuccessfully to prohibit the issue of low-value banknotes; the Royal Bank of Scotland's 1832 issue of £1 notes established the design for all the bank's £1 note issues for 136 years. It featured the bank's name surmounted by the Royal Arms of Scotland, in which the heraldic supporters of The Lion and the Unicorn flanked a portrait of King George I, commemorating his royal assent for the formation of the bank in 1727; the note featured illustrations of the allegorical figures of Britannia, looking out over the seas, Plenty, holding a cornucopia.
This design remained unchanged with only minor alterations. In 1968, the Royal Bank's £1 note design underwent its first major change to match the 1966 £5 note issue. For the first time, Royal Bank notes no longer bore a royal portrait, it was the Royal Bank's first full-colour note, bore the bank's coat of arms and included a steel security strip. The Dale Series was short-lived; these notes were the first Royal Bank notes to conform to the banknote colour conventions across the UK, so that all £1 notes were coloured green. The front of the note featured the coat of arms of the Royal Bank of Scotland, on the reverse was an illustration of the Forth Road Bridge. In 1987, the Royal Bank issued its Ilay series of banknotes, named after Lord Ilay, first governor of the bank, whose portrait appears on the front of all the notes; the illustration is based on a 1744 portrait painting of Lord Ilay by Allan Ramsay. Other common design elements include the bank's coat of arms and logo, the facade of Dundas House, the bank's headquarters in Edinburgh, a pattern representing the ceiling of the headquarters' banking hall, an image of Lord Ilay as watermark.
All of the Ilay series notes feature a castle on the back. On the reverse of the £1 note is an image of Edinburgh Castle and the National Gallery of Scotland.£1 notes are now used. The Royal Bank was the last bank in Scotland to issue £1 notes, stopped production in 2001. In 2015, a new series of polymer banknote was introduced by the Royal Bank, replacing its Ilay series £5 and £10 notes. Information taken from The Committee of Scottish Bankers website. Design elements on the Ilay Series £1 note In 1992, The Royal Bank of Scotland issued the first special commemorative banknote in Britain and in Europe; the first commemorative £1 note was issued to mark the European Council Summit, held in Edinburgh on 8 December 1992. Since the Royal Bank has issued a number of c
Bank of Scotland
The Bank of Scotland plc is a commercial and clearing bank based in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a history dating to the 17th century, it is the fifth-oldest surviving bank in the United Kingdom, is the only commercial institution created by the Parliament of Scotland to remain in existence, it was one of the first banks in Europe to print its own banknotes, it continues to print its own sterling banknotes under legal arrangements that allow Scottish banks to issue currency. In June 2006, the HBOS Group Reorganisation Act 2006 was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, allowing the bank's structure to be simplified; as a result, The Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland became Bank of Scotland plc on 17 September 2007. Bank of Scotland has been a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group since 19 January 2009, when HBOS was acquired by Lloyds TSB; the Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland was established by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland on 17 July 1695, the Act for erecting a Bank in Scotland, opening for business in February 1696.
Although established soon after the Bank of England, the Bank of Scotland was a different institution. Where the Bank of England was established to finance defence spending by the English government, the Bank of Scotland was established by the Scottish government to support Scottish business, was prohibited from lending to the government without parliamentary approval; the founding Act granted the bank a monopoly on public banking in Scotland for 21 years, permitted the bank's directors to raise a nominal capital of £1,200,000 pound Scots, gave the proprietors limited liability, in the final clause made all foreign-born proprietors naturalised Scotsmen "to all Intents and Purposes whatsoever". John Holland, an Englishman, was one of the bank's founders, its first chief accountant was George Watson. The Bank of Scotland was suspected of Jacobite sympathies, its first rival, The Royal Bank of Scotland was formed by royal charter in 1727. This led to a period of great competition between the two banks as they tried to drive each other out of business.
Although the "Bank Wars" ended in around 1751, competition soon arose from other sources, as other Scottish banks were founded throughout the country. In response, the Bank of Scotland itself began to open branches throughout Scotland; the first branch in London opened in 1865. The bank took the lead in establishing the security and stability of the entire Scottish banking system, which became more important after the collapse of the Ayr Bank in 1772, in the crisis following the collapse of the London house of Neal, James and Down; the Western Bank collapsed in 1857, the Bank of Scotland stepped in with the other Scottish banks to ensure that all the Western Bank's notes were paid. See Credit crisis of 1772. In the 1950s, the Bank of Scotland was involved in several mergers and acquisitions with different banks. In 1955, the Bank merged with the Union Bank of Scotland; the Bank expanded into consumer credit with the purchase of Chester based, North West Securities. In 1971, the Bank agreed to merge with the British Linen Bank, owned by Barclays Bank.
The merger saw Barclays Bank acquire a 35% stake in the Bank of Scotland, a stake it retained until the 1990s. The merchant banking division of the Bank of Scotland was relaunched as British Linen Bank. In 1959 Bank of Scotland became the first bank in the UK to install a computer to process accounts centrally. At 11 am on 25 January 1985 the Bank introduced HOBS, an early application of remote access technology being made available to banking customers; this followed a small-scale service operated jointly with the Nottingham Building Society for two years but developed by Bank of Scotland. The new HOBS service enabled customers to access their accounts directly on a television screen, using the Prestel telephone network; the arrival of North Sea oil to Scotland in the 1970s allowed the Bank of Scotland to expand into the energy sector. The Bank used this expertise in energy finance to expand internationally; the first international office opened in Houston, followed by more in the United States and Singapore.
In 1987, the Bank acquired Countrywide Bank of New Zealand. The Bank expanded into the Australian market by acquiring the Perth-based Bank of Western Australia. A controversial period in the Bank's history was the attempt in 1999 to enter the United States retail banking market via a joint venture with evangelist Pat Robertson; the move was met with criticism from civil rights groups in the UK, owing to Robertson's controversial views on homosexuality. The Bank was forced to cancel the deal when Robertson described Scotland as a "dark land overrun by homosexuals". In the late 1990s, the UK financial sector market underwent a period of consolidation on a large scale. Many of the large building societies were demutualising and becoming banks in their own right or merging with existing banks. For instance Lloyds Bank and TSB Bank merged in 1995 to create Lloyds TSB. In 1999, the Bank of Scotland made a takeover bid for National Westminster Bank. Since the Bank of Scotland was smaller than the English-based NatWest, the move was seen as an audacious and risky move.
However, The Royal Bank of Scotland tabled a rival offer, a bitter takeover battle ensued, with the Royal Bank the victor. The Bank of Scotland was now the centre of other merger opportunities. A proposal to merge with the Abbey National was explored, but rejected. In 2