Westminster Bank was a British retail bank which operated in England and Wales from 1834 until its merger into the National Westminster Bank in 1970. Considered one of the Big Five, it expanded during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and took over a number of smaller banking companies. In 1834, the London and Westminster Bank was the first firm founded under the auspices of the Bank Charter Act 1833, which allowed joint-stock banks to be established in the capital. For various reasons, the press, private banking concerns, the Bank of England were so hostile to the Bank Charter Act that London and Westminster's management was concerned with defending the company's right to exist rather than setting up an extensive branch network; as a result, the bank opened only six London branches in its first three years and no additional offices were established until nearly 20 years later. London and Westminster made its first acquisition in 1847, when it bought Son. In about 1870 it acquired Unity Joint-Stock Bank, mergers with Commercial Bank of London and Middlesex Bank had been arranged in 1861 and 1863 respectively.
By 1909 London and Westminster had acquired 37 branches in and around London. Yet, despite this expansion effort, the bank felt the effects of competition from provincial banks like Lloyds and Midland; these two banks had established large regional branch networks and were encroaching upon the London market. In order to meet this challenge, in 1909, London and Westminster merged with the influential and prestigious London and County Bank, which had seventy offices citywide and two hundred in rural counties; the Surrey and Sussex Banking Company had been established at Southwark in 1836 and soon had branches in places like Croydon, Brighton and Woolwich. It was renamed the London and County Banking Co. in 1839. By 1875 it was the largest British bank; the resulting entity was named the London Westminster Bank. Prior to the merger and County had taken over the business of the following banks: In 1913, the bank formed a subsidiary, London County and Westminster Bank, which opened branches during and after World War I in Bordeaux, Lyon and Nantes.
The bank itself directly established offices in Madrid, Antwerp, Brussels and Valencia. These operations were converted into a foreign bank in 1920 and renamed London County Westminster and Parrs Foreign Bank, becoming Westminster Foreign Bank in 1923 and International Westminster Bank in 1973. All the Spanish branches were closed in 1923–4 due to deteriorating economic conditions in Spain and discrimination against foreign banks. Control of the remaining branches was exercised from London, although between 1940 and 1944 contact with them was lost due to the German occupation. Birkbeck Building and Freehold Land Society, formed in 1851, developed a large deposit-taking business that developed into banking activity. Cheque books were issued from 1858 and by 1872 the business was trading under the title of Birkbeck Bank. In 1910, when its balance sheet totalled £12.26 million and it had 112,817 accounts, the bank experienced a run. Continuing rumours about its financial position and a climate of depreciation in gilt-edged securities, led to a suspension of payments.
The Bank of England provided support for the immediate payment of 10 shillings in the pound to depositors, but as most of its deposits were held as long-term securities the bank lacked liquidity and went into receivership. In 1911 its goodwill and premises were purchased from the receiver by London County and Westminster Bank. In 1917, bank officials decided to acquire the Ulster Bank, with 170 branches throughout Ireland, in 1918 bought Parr's Bank, with over 320 offices throughout England; these purchases Parrs the fifth-largest bank in England. The Parr's name survives in the Bloomsbury, Parr's Branch of National Westminster Bank at 214 High Holborn, London, WC1. During the economic difficulties of the late 1920s and early 1930s, the bank kept tight centralised control over the continental branch of the business to avoid the dangers of too rapid an expansion in unfamiliar markets, but this policy stunted Westminster's international operations, it did mean that the bank escaped the bad debts and currency fluctuations that plagued many other banks between the world wars, allowing the domestic side of the business to grow steadily.
The bank continued to expand through acquisition, namely: Paid-up capital rose from £9 million in 1923 to £40.5 million in 1935. By 1939 there were 1,100 branches and at the time of the merger with National Provincial Bank in 1968, Westminster had 1,400 branches in England alone; the portcullis used by the bank was one of the familiar badges of King Henry VII and derived from the arms of the royal City of Westminster. The present National Westminster Bank continues to use the portcullis in its common seal; the merger of Westminster and National Provincial Bank, announced in early 1968, shocked the British public and banking community. Although the Bank of England had indicated a willingness to allow mergers as part of a rationalisation process, no one had believed it would permit mergers among the largest and most influential banks; the District Bank, Natio
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
National Bank of Scotland
The National Bank of Scotland was founded as a joint stock bank in 1825. Based in Edinburgh, it had established a network of 137 branches at the end of its first hundred years. In 1918 the bank was bought by Lloyds Bank, although it continued to operate as an independent institution until 1959, when it merged with the Commercial Bank of Scotland to become the National Commercial Bank of Scotland. Ten years the National Commercial Bank merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland. In December 1824, The National Bank of Scotland announced that funds had been raised for the formation of a new bank in Edinburgh, it was followed by advertisements from the Scottish Union Banking Company and the Scottish Union Commercial Banking Company stating that they were to follow suit. Negotiations followed whereby the promoters of the latter two banks agreed to join in with the promoters of the National Bank. In March 1825 the National Bank was formally constituted with a nominal capital of £5 million under the chairmanship of the Lord Provost, Alexander Henderson of Press.
The Bank opened for business in the October and began to issue its own notes. It obtained a Royal Charter in 1831; the "National" in the Bank’s title was no accident. "From its inception the policy of the Bank was directed towards the establishment of a branch system throughout Scotland." By the end of its first full year there were 13 branches. It was the first Scottish bank to open an office in London. From 1885 to 1914 it was second only in size to the Bank of Scotland. Although most of the increase in branches came from new openings, there were some small acquisitions including the Commercial Banking Company of Aberdeen in 1833, it was the National’s failure to buy the Glasgow & Ship Bank in 1843 that prompted the opening of the first branch in Glasgow. A Bank of Glasgow company was formed in 1843 and was acquired by the National in 1844 but the evidence from Checkland was that no physical presence had been established and it was no more than a paper transaction prior to a pooling of resources.
The banking industry was continually afflicted by crises but there is no indication in the histories of anything other than stable financial progress. A table published in 1898 saw annual published net profits between 1864 and 1896 remaining within the range of £100-200,000. In the early twentieth century the English banks were beginning to look north of the border and in 1918 Lloyds Bank acquired the National Bank. Lloyds allowed the National to continue operating independently until 1959. At that point the Commercial Bank of Scotland approached Lloyds with a view to a merger. Lloyds agreed to dispose of its 100% holding in the National Bank and the two Scottish banks merged to become the National Commercial Bank of Scotland; the National Bank became the first commercial bank in the world to offer a mobile banking service, established on the Isle of Lewis in 1946. In 1947 a new headquarters building was opened in St. Andrew Square, designed in an American-inspired style. National Bank of Scotland cheque, The Glasgow Story The National Bank of Scotland, bankingletters.co.uk "National Bank of Scotland Ltd, Edinburgh, 1825-1959".
RBS Heritage Online. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc. Retrieved 2010-04-16
Sabadell Solbank was a Spanish bank owned by Banco de Sabadell, which focussed on retail banking for Europeans living in the coastal areas of southern Spain. In 2014, it was integrated into the parent company. Banco NatWest March S. A. was formed as a joint venture between Banca March S. A. and National Westminster Bank in 1985. In 1989, NatWest purchased a controlling interest, changing its name to Banco NatWest España S. A. in 1990. In 1996, Grupo Banco Sabadell acquired Banco NatWest España for £123m, integrating it with its Banco de Asturias subsidiary to form Solbank SBD S. A. in 1997. In 2001, Solbank SBD was absorbed into Banco Sabadell, with its branches continuing to operate under the Solbank brand for marketing purposes. Banco Halifax Hispania S. A. U. was established in 1993 serving about 50,000 British expatriate mortgage customers. In 1997, the Halifax Building Society demutualised and, in 2001, it merged with the Bank of Scotland to form HBOS. In 2010, following the acquisition of HBOS by Lloyds TSB Group, Lloyds TSB Spain and Banco Halifax's 28 branches became Lloyds Bank International S.
A. U. In April 2013, Lloyds Banking Group reached an agreement to sell the Spanish operation to Banco Sabadell, with the Lloyds Bank name used under temporary licence; this bank was renamed Sabadell Solbank S. A. U. in November 2013, before being integrated into Banco Sabadell on 15 March 2014. International Westminster Bank RBS International Halifax Bank of Scotland International Official website
International Westminster Bank
International Westminster Bank Plc was a wholly owned subsidiary of National Westminster Bank and its predecessors from 1913 to 1989, with branches in London, France and West Germany. At the peak of its operations during the 1980s, the bank had a multi billion pound deposit base, principally through its London office, which administered the commercial loan and deposit book on behalf of National Westminster Bank's International Division; as such, it engaged in wholesale fixed term deposits with other banks and some individual private customers. The bank was formed as London County and Westminster Bank Limited, it was renamed London County Westminster and Parr's Foreign Bank Limited in 1920 and Westminster Foreign Bank Limited in 1923, before assuming its final identity as International Westminster Bank Limited in 1973. Westminster Foreign Bank was granted a limited deposit licence in 1961, enabling it to start trading in the Eurodollar market, its London deposit dealing desk was merged with National Westminster Bank's foreign exchange dealing desk in 1979, to form a combined trading operation named World Money Centre.
This was located at 52-53 Threadneedle Street. The London branch of International Westminster Bank, at 41 Threadneeedle Street, continued to handle the back office settlements for the World Money Centre. In 1982, much of the London branch was relocated to NatWest's Drapers Gardens tower in nearby Throgmorton Avenue; the branch moved to its final location at the Kings Cross House tower block, 200 Pentonville Road, in the mid 1980s. In 1980, National Westminster Bank acquired Global Bank AG. In 1988, International Westminster Bank's branches in France and Monaco were incorporated into National Westminster Bank S. A. After 80 years, NatWest announced its exit from French retail banking in 1993; the only remaining branch was the London office. Due to changes in international bank taxation arrangements, the bank's ongoing existence no longer offered any commercial advantage. In 1989, International Westminster Bank Plc was merged into National Westminster Bank Plc by a Private Act of Parliament; the bank opened the following branches between its formation in 1913 and its closure in 1989: London Paris Bordeaux Lyons Marseilles Nantes Madrid Barcelona Antwerp Brussels Bilbao Valencia Nice Frankfurt During the existence of International Westminster Bank, the parent National Westminster Bank operated a number of domestic banking subsidiaries incorporated overseas.
National Westminster Bank USA was formed in 1983 from the 1978 acquisition of the National Bank of North America. Following the 1988 acquisition of First Jersey National Bank, National Westminster Bancorp, Inc. was formed as a US holding company for National Westminster Bank USA and National Westminster Bank NJ. In 1995, the subsidiaries were amalgamated into NatWest Bank, N. A; the Bancorp business was sold to Fleet Financial Group in 1996. National Westminster Bank of Canada, was formed in 1982, providing domestic and international banking services through its branches in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver; the Canadian operation was sold to Hongkong Bank of Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings in 1998. The bank's reputation and long-standing involvement in meeting the financial needs of Australian enterprises were factors which led to NatWest Australia Bank Limited obtaining a trading bank licence in 1986; the retail banking assets and liabilities in South and Western Australia were sold to Challenge Bank and in Sydney and Brisbane to the State Bank of New South Wales for an undisclosed amount in 1993.
Banco NatWest España S. A. was formed in 1990 by acquisition of the controlling interest in Banco NatWest March. The Spanish operation was sold to Banco Sabadell in 1996. National Westminster Limited was formed in 1974, providing short and medium term loans in Hong Kong dollars and foreign currencies, foreign exchange and deposit taking facilities; the Coutts Group was formed in 1990 from Handelsbank NW in Zurich and NatWest International Trust Holdings to give Coutts & Co. opportunities in more jurisdictions. NatWest International Trust Corporation Limited, known as National Westminster Jersey Trust Company Limited from 1969 to 1988, became Coutts & Co Limited in 1991. RoyWest Banking Corporation Limited in Nassau, Bahamas was jointly owned by National Westminster Bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Montreal Trust Company. Formed in 1965, to undertake mortgage and international investment banking in the British West Indies, it became RoyWest Holdings Limited when the bank increased its shareholding in 1977 NatWest International Trust Holdings Ltd. in 1987.
Banca Creditwest e dei Comuni Vesuviani S.p. A. was majority owned by Credito Italiano with National Westminster Bank as a minority shareholder. It had around 30 branches in Rome and Naples. In 1973, National Westminster Bank acquired a minority interest in the Dutch firm F. van Lanschot, Bankiers B. V. From the early 1990s, until it sold its interest in 1994, NatWest was the majority shareholder. Lloyds and National Provincial Foreign Bank RBS International Sabade
Howard Davies (economist)
Sir Howard John Davies is the current Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland and the former Director of the London School of Economics. He teaches courses on the regulation of financial markets and central banking at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po, he served as the first chairman of the Financial Services Authority. Davies was chairman of the Phoenix Group and, until July 2015, chaired the UK Airports Commission. In February 2015 he was appointed Chairman of The Royal Bank of Scotland from September 2015. Howard Davies born in Manchester England, he was educated at Bowker Vale County Primary School and the Manchester Grammar School, where he was the founder Editor of The Mancunian, before going as an exchange student to the Memorial University of Newfoundland and, as a Postmaster, to Merton College, University of Oxford, where he gained a master of arts degree in modern history and modern languages. He edited the Cherwell newspaper in 1972. In 1979 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California where he obtained a master of science degree in management sciences.
Davies was employed by McKinsey and Company from 1982 to 1987 after working at the Treasury and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which included a posting of Private Secretary to the British Ambassador to France. From 1985–86 he was Special Advisor to Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson. From 1987–92 he was Controller of the Audit Commission. In 1992 he was appointed Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, a position he held until 1995, when he was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. In 1997 Davies was appointed Chairman of the newly established Financial Services Authority, serving until 2003. From 2003 to 2011 Davies served as Director of the London School of Political Science, he stepped down from the position on 3 March 2011 following concern over the institution's decision to accept funding from a foundation controlled by the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son and other LSE Libya Links. Davies was a non-executive director of GKN between 1989 and 1995, a member of the International Advisory Board of NatWest Bank from 1991-95.
From 1995–2004 he was founder Chairman of Employers Forum on Age, a body formed to oppose ageism at work. From 2002–10 he was a Trustee of the Tate Gallery, was a member of the governing body of the Royal Academy of Music from 2004–13, he is Patron of Working Families, a campaigning charity which supports the rights of parents in the workplace. In 2004 he was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of Merton College and became an independent Director of Morgan Stanley, where he chaired the Board's Risk Committee. From 2006–10, Davies served as a non-executive Director of Paternoster Ltd. Since 2003, he has held membership in the advisory board of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, since 2012, has chaired the Advisory Board of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, he has been chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland since September 2015. In 2009 Davies was appointed as advisor to the Investment Strategy Committee of GIC Private Limited known as Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
Two years he joined its International Advisory Board. He resigned from both positions in September 2012, on appointment to the chair of the Airports Commission. In 2010 he became a non-executive Director of Prudential plc, Chair of the Risk Committee. In 2011 he joined the board of the Royal National Theatre. From 2012 to 2015 Davies was a member of the Advisory Board of the SWIFT Institute. Davies is a Council Member of Economic Research in Singapore. Davies chaired the judges of the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2007, he was appointed Chairman of the Trustees of the London Library in November 2015. He features as a character in the David Hare play The Power of Yes which premiered at the London National Theatre in October 2009. Davies was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 2000. Davies has published four books: Chancellors Tales, with co-author David Green Global Financial Regulation: the Essential Guide Banking on the Future: the fall and rise of central banking The Financial Crisis: Who's to Blame" Can Financial Markets be Controlled?
Davies writes for The Financial Times, Times Higher Education, Project Syndicate and Management Today. Davies has two sons, he is a supporter of the Lancashire County Cricket Club. He plays cricket for Barnes Powerstock and Hooke cricket clubs. "Howard Davies resigns over'personal error of judgment' but says school's academic integrity is untouched by links with Libya". The Guardian. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2014. Davies' column archive at Project Syndicate. Business blog at Financial Times. Profile at Global Policy. Davies' profile at World Economic Forum. Davies' biodata at Debrett's People of Today. Works by or about Howard Davies in libraries
A merchant bank is a bank dealing in commercial loans and investment. In modern British usage it is the same as an investment bank. Merchant banks were the first modern banks and evolved from medieval merchants who traded in commodities cloth merchants. Merchant banks' purpose was to facilitate and/or finance production and trade of commodities, hence the name "merchant". Few banks today restrict their activities to such a narrow scope. In modern usage in the United States, the term additionally has taken on a more narrow meaning, refers to a financial institution providing capital to companies in the form of share ownership instead of loans. A merchant bank provides advisory on corporate matters to the firms in which they invest. Merchant banks were in fact the first modern banks, they emerged in the Middle Ages from the Italian grain and cloth merchants community and started to develop in the 11th century during the large European fair of St. Giles at the Champagne fairs; as the Lombardy merchants and bankers grew in stature based on the strength of the Lombard plains cereal crops, many displaced Jews fleeing Spanish persecution were attracted to the trade.
The Florentine merchant banking community was exceptionally active and propagated new finance practices all over Europe. Both Jews and Florentine merchants perfected ancient practices used in the Middle East trade routes and the Far East silk routes. Intended for the finance of long trading journeys, these methods were applied to finance the medieval "commercial revolution". In France during the 17th and 18th century, a merchant banker or marchand-banquier was not just considered a trader but received the status of being an entrepreneur par excellence. Merchant banks in the United Kingdom came into existence in the early 19th century, the oldest being Barings Bank; the Jews could not hold land in Italy, so they entered the great trading piazzas and halls of Lombardy, alongside the local traders, set up their benches to trade in crops. They had one great advantage over the locals. Christians were forbidden from any kind of lending at interest, since such activities were equated with the sin of usury.
The Jewish newcomers, on the other hand, could lend to farmers against crops in the field, a high-risk loan at what would have been considered usurious rates by the Church. In this way they could secure the grain-sale rights against the eventual harvest, they began to advance payment against the future delivery of grain shipped to distant ports. In both cases they made their profit from the present discount against the future price; this two-handed trade was time-consuming and soon there arose a class of merchants who were trading grain debt instead of grain. The buying of future crop and the trading of grain debt is analogous to the future contract market in modern finance; the court Jew performed underwriting functions. Financing took the form of a crop loan at the beginning of the growing season, which allowed a farmer to develop and manufacture his annual crop. Underwriting in the form of a crop, or commodity, insurance guaranteed the delivery of the crop to its buyer a merchant wholesaler.
In addition, traders performed the merchant function by making arrangements to supply the buyer of the crop through alternative sources—grain stores or alternate markets, for instance—in the event of crop failure. He could keep the farmer in business during a drought or other crop failure, through the issuance of a crop insurance against the hazard of failure of his crop. Merchant banking progressed from financing trade on one's own behalf to settling trades for others and to holding deposits for settlement of "billette" or notes written by the people who were still brokering the actual grain, and so the merchant's "benches" in the great grain markets became centers for holding money against a bill. These deposited funds were intended to be held for the settlement of grain trades, but were used for the bench's own trades in the meantime; the term bankrupt is a corruption of the Italian banca rotta, or broken bench, what happened when someone lost his traders' deposits. Being "broke" has the same connotation.
A sensible manner of discounting interest to the depositors against what could be earned by employing their money in the trade of the bench soon developed. Once again this developed what was an ancient method of financing long-distance transport of goods; the medieval Italian markets were disrupted by wars and in any case were limited by the fractured nature of the Italian states. And so the next generation of bankers arose from migrant Jewish merchants in the great wheat-growing areas of Germany and Poland. Many of these merchants were from the same families, part of the development of the banking process in Italy, they had links with family members who had, centuries before, fled Spain for both Italy and England. As non-agricultural wealth expanded, many families of goldsmiths gradually moved into banking; this course of events set the stage for the rise of Jewish family banking firms whose names still resonate today, such as Warburgs and Rothschilds. The rise of Protestantism, freed many European Christians from Rome's dictates a