Banks of England, Ireland, and Scotland

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Banks of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Founded in 1694, the Bank of England was a private company, the first to offer services in England. By the 19th cent. it had become the central bank and the currency manager for the state, although these powers were not formally enshrined until the Bank Charter Act of 1844. In 1946 it was taken into public ownership, and in 1997 the Labour government gave it the important task of deciding the national rate of interest.

The Bank of Ireland was created by legislative charter of the Irish Parliament in 1783. Although it dominated banking in Ireland during its first half-century, its position was never that of a central bank. It continues to function as a commercial bank whose head office is in Dublin.

The Scottish Parliament in 1695 licensed a partnership to establish the Bank of Scotland with the intention of providing coherence for the finances in Scotland. However, the bank ran into difficulties which encouraged others to set up competing banks. After the Act of Union in 1707 the Scottish financial system was linked to that of England although the Bank of Scotland together with other Scottish banks retains the right to issue its own banknotes.

Ian John Ernest Keil

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