Cite JOURNAL ARTICLE
Universalbankentendenzen im britischen Kreditwesen
Credit and Capital Markets – Kredit und Kapital, Vol. 7 (1974), Iss. 4 : pp. 543–563
Horst-Dieter Schultze-Kimmle, Würzburg
Tendencies towards Mixed Banking Institutions in the British Banking System
For a number of years now, there have been steadily growing indications in Great Britain’s banking system of an evolution in the direction of a mixed banking system of German stamt. The original initiative for this process came from the City itself; it was given considerable impetus, however by the banking reform of autumn 1971. This reform enabled the clearing banks, which had been at a disadvantage in the competition with various domestic groups of institutions and also the foreign banks with offices in London, to engage in greater activity with respect to the formerly relatively neglected private customers and by numerous other diversification measures to steer a course towards becoming financial supermarkets. Of necessity, in the course of such endeavours, which were temporarily impeded by occasional backsliding in official liberalization policy, they increasingly find themselves at odds with other categories of institutions - such as the building societies, finance houses or imnerchant banks - which in their turn are also abandoning the classıcal-specialpurpose bank principle to a continuously increasing extent. Over and above this, the clearing banks must now face up, not only to these rivals and younger ones in the shape of the rapidiy expanding money shops, but also to an increasing extent to the continental banks, which in many instances offer a substantially more universal assortment and service. To improve their competitive ability and further the breaking down of the traditional system of division of labour, since early 1973 the Bank of England has been facilitating the exertion of influence, via acquisition of capital interests, on merchant banks with the coveted reputation of acceptance houses, so that the clearing banks can develop into “all-purpose” institutions, not only by the creation of new services ‘from within’, but also by way of specific experience and connections acquired through mergers and the purchase of interests. For all that, the British banking system is still burdened with divers specialization relicts which, however - at least that is the long-range prediction of the IBRO report - notwithstand ing the highly acute regulatory plans following the accession to the EEC, the change in government and the crisis phenomena in the secondary banking sphere, should be gradually eliminated.