All about Banks

  • Facts

    • There are only a small number of big retail banks

      In England and Wales, only 11 banks (five of which are very large) do nearly all the domestic banking business through more than 11,500 branches and agencies.

    • London is a global centre for investment banking

      Investment banking is largely concentrated in a small number of major financial centres, including London, New York City, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

    • Investment revenue
      Global investment banking revenue was at a high of US$84.3 billion in 2007. Since the economic meltdown many investment banks experienced losses.

Banks are companies in their own right. What they do lies at the heart of our financial system. The world of banking has become ever more complex and what happens affects all our lives, from the cost of our overdrafts to the wider state of the world economy.

Why do we have Banks?

Why do we have Banks?
Collectively banks carry out a wide range of roles from personal finance to arranging government loans and underwriting issues of bonds and shares. Find out how they evolved and why they play such a vital part in today's global economy.

Types of Banking

Central Banks
Central banks, such as the Bank of England, act as a regulator of their country's interest rates. Each country has a central bank. Find out why the Bank of England amasses reserves and how this allows it to intervene and support the UK currency and UK banks.
Retail Banking
Retail banks are the high street banks we are all familiar with. They take care of money deposited in them through savings and current accounts. They provide credit facilities through overdrafts, personal loans and credit cards. Find out more about their role.
Commercial or Wholesale Banking
Commercial banks provide services to businesses. One of their main functions is to provide loans that allow companies to grow and expand as well as manage their cash flows. They also take deposits and help companies when trading in other countries.
Investment Banking
Investment banks help companies and governments raise money. They do this by distributing and underwriting (guaranteeing) the issue of securities (bonds and shares). They then trade these securities in the markets. Find out more about how investment banks operate.

How Banks Earn their Money

How Banks Earn their Money
Banks are businesses: they have to earn money to pay for their overheads and business functions. Find out how banks earn their money and why some banks have found themselves in difficulties in the late 2000s.

Banks and Business

Follow our story of Butlers, its bank and supplier companies to find out more about:

• Getting a business loan
• Floating on the stock exchange
• Issuing bonds
• Benefiting from venture capital
• A takeover by another company
• A management buy-out
• Understanding forward contracts and options