June 26, 2012

World's oldest banks: in pictures (10pics)

The Italian government has said it will provide the world's oldest bank with up to €2bn to cover a capital shortfall. Here, we take a closer look at the lenders that have lasted.

Halifax Bank of Scotland

Founded 1695

The Bank of Scotland was established by the Scottish government to support Scottish business, and 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a nominal capital of £1.2m Scots (£100,000 sterling), gave the shareholders limited liability, and in the final clause (repealed only in 1920) made all foreign-born Proprietors naturalised Scotsmen "to all Intents and Purposes whatsoever"

Bank of England

Founded 1694

The Bank started life as the Government's banker and debt-manager, with 17 clerks and two gatekeepers. In 1734 the Bank moved to Threadneedle Street, gradually acquiring land and premises to create the site seen today

Coutts UK

Founded 1692

The bank which was to become Coutts & Co was originally known as Campbells Bank. It was formed in 1692 by a young Scots goldsmith-banker, John Campbell of Lundie, Scotland. He set up business in the Strand, London, under a sign of the Three Crowns. Today, the Coutts logo still has the three crowns, and its headquarters is still in the Strand. The picture shows a diamond-encrusted elephant in the window of Coutts bank

Barclays Bank

Founded 1690

John Freame and Thomas Gould started trading as goldsmith bankers in Lombard Street, in the City of London in 1690. They moved to premises bearing the sign of the Black Spread Eagle in Lombard Street in 1728

Sumitomo Mitsui

Founded 1683

Shogunate granted Mitsui Takatoshi permission to act as a money changer in 1683. He then developed a new system of inter city loans. Mitsui Bank was established as a private bank (capital stock: ¥2m) in 1876

C Hoare & Co

Founded 1672

The bank was founded in 1672 by Richard Hoare at the sign of the Golden Bottle in Cheapside. In 1690 he moved the business to new premises in Fleet Street, still within the City of London

Sveriges Riksbank

Founded 1668

The Riksbank's antecedent was Stockholms Banco, which collapsed as a result of issuing of too many notes without the necessary collateral. Its founder, Johan Palmstruch, was considered responsible for the bank's losses and condemned to death. He later received clemency

Berenberg Bank

Founded 1590

The origins of Berenberg Bank go all the way back to 1590, when brothers Hans and Paul Berenberg established their firm in Hamburg. It is now the oldest private bank in Germany

Banca Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Founded 1472

The bank was established on February 27, 1472, by the General Council of the Republic, for the purpose of granting loans to “poor or miserable or needy persons” at a minimal interest rate

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