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Bank of Scotland

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Type  Public limited company
Products  Financial services
Credit card support  00 44 1733 574121
Founded  17 July 1695
Number of employees  20,000
Industry  Finance and Insurance
Customer service  00 44 131 339 2573
Headquarters  Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Motto  Decisions Well Made
Bank of Scotland

Divisions  Halifax Birmingham Midshires Intelligent Finance Clerical Medical
Website  www.bankofscotland.co.uk
Parent organizations  Lloyds Banking Group, HBOS

The Bank of Scotland plc (Scottish Gaelic: Banca na h-Alba) is a commercial and clearing bank based in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a history dating to the 17th century, it is the fifth-oldest surviving bank in the United Kingdom (the Bank of England having been established one year before), and is the only commercial institution created by the Parliament of Scotland to remain in existence. It was one of the first banks in Europe to print its own banknotes and it continues to print its own sterling banknotes under legal arrangements which allow Scottish banks to issue currency.


In June 2006, the HBOS Group Reorganisation Act 2006 was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, allowing the bank's structure to be simplified. As a result, The Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland became Bank of Scotland plc on 17 September 2007.

Bank of Scotland has been a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group since 19 January 2009, when HBOS was acquired by Lloyds TSB.

Royal bank of scotland for scotland notes tv ad 2016 short


The Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland was established by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland on 17 July 1695, the Act for erecting a Bank in Scotland, opening for business in February 1696. Although established soon after the Bank of England (1694), the Bank of Scotland was a very different institution. Where the Bank of England was established specifically to finance defence spending by the English government, 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 £1,200,000 pound Scots (£100,000 pound sterling), gave the proprietors (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". John Holland, an Englishman, was one of the bank's founders. Its first chief accountant was George Watson.

18th and 19th centuries

The Bank of Scotland was suspected of Jacobite sympathies. Its first rival, The Royal Bank of Scotland was formed by royal charter in 1727. This led to a period of great competition between the two banks as they set to drive each other out of business. Although the "Bank Wars" ended in around 1751, competition soon arose from other sources, as other Scottish banks were founded throughout the country. In response, the Bank of Scotland itself began to open branches throughout Scotland. The first branch in London opened in 1865.

The bank also took the lead in establishing the security and stability of the entire Scottish banking system, which became more important after the collapse of the Ayr Bank in 1772, in the crisis following the collapse of the London house of Neal, James, Fordyce and Down. The Western Bank collapsed in 1857, and the Bank of Scotland stepped in with the other Scottish banks to ensure that all Western Bank's notes were paid. See Credit crisis of 1772.

20th century

In the 1950s, the Bank of Scotland was involved in several mergers and acquisitions with different banks. In 1955, the Bank merged with the Union Bank of Scotland. The Bank also expanded into consumer credit with the purchase of Chester based, North West Securities (now Capital Bank). In 1971, the Bank agreed to merge with the British Linen Bank, owned by Barclays Bank. The merger saw Barclays Bank acquire a 35% stake in the Bank of Scotland, a stake it retained until the 1990s. The merchant banking division of the Bank of Scotland was relaunched as British Linen Bank (now known as HBOS Treasury Services).

In 1959 Bank of Scotland became the first bank in the UK to install a computer to process accounts centrally. At 11 am on 25 January 1985 the Bank introduced HOBS (Home and Office Banking Services), an early application of remote access technology being made available to banking customers. This followed a small-scale service operated jointly with the Nottingham Building Society for two years but developed by Bank of Scotland. The new HOBS service enabled customers to access their accounts directly on a television screen, using the Prestel telephone network.

International expansion

The arrival of North Sea Oil to Scotland in the 1970s allowed the Bank of Scotland to expand into the energy sector. The Bank later used this expertise in energy finance to expand internationally. The first international office opened in Houston, Texas, followed by more in the United States, Moscow and Singapore. In 1987, the Bank acquired Countrywide Bank of New Zealand (later sold to Lloyds TSB in 1998). The Bank later expanded into the Australian market by acquiring the Perth-based Bank of Western Australia.

A controversial period in the Bank's history was the attempt in 1999 to enter the United States retail banking market via a joint venture with evangelist Pat Robertson. The move was met with criticism from civil rights groups in the UK due to Robertson's controversial views on homosexuality. The Bank was forced to cancel the deal when Robertson described Scotland as a "dark land overrun by homosexuals".

Formation of HBOS

In the late 1990s, the UK financial sector market underwent a period of consolidation on a large scale. Many of the large building societies were demutualising and becoming banks in their own right or merging with existing banks. For instance Lloyds Bank and TSB Bank merged in 1995 to create Lloyds TSB. In 1999, the Bank of Scotland made a takeover bid for the NatWest Bank. Since the Bank of Scotland was significantly smaller than the English-based NatWest, the move was seen as an audacious and risky move. However, The Royal Bank of Scotland tabled a rival offer, and a bitter takeover battle ensued, with the Royal Bank the victor.

The Bank of Scotland was now the centre of other merger opportunities. A proposal to merge with the Abbey National was explored, but later rejected. In 2001, the Bank of Scotland and the Halifax agreed a merger to form HBOS ("Halifax Bank of Scotland"). The headquarters was to stay in Edinburgh, and both banks' brands would continue to be used.

HBOS Reorganisation Act

In 2006, HBOS secured the passing of the HBOS Group Reorganisation Act 2006, a private Act of Parliament that would allow the group to operate within a simplified structure. The Act allowed HBOS to make the Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland a public limited company, Bank of Scotland plc, which became the principal banking subsidiary of HBOS. Halifax plc transferred its undertakings to Bank of Scotland plc, and although the brand name was retained, Halifax then began to operate under the latter company's UK banking licence.

The provisions in the Act were implemented on 17 September 2007.

Lloyds Banking Group

In 2008, HBOS Group agreed to be taken over by Lloyds TSB Group.

Corporate structure

The Bank has several brands including:

  • Halifax
  • Intelligent Finance
  • Birmingham Midshires
  • Bank of Scotland Corporate (including the former Capital Bank)
  • Bank of Scotland Investment Services
  • Bank of Scotland Private Banking
  • List of Governors of the Bank of Scotland

    1. John Holland 1696–1697
    2. David Melville, 3rd Earl of Leven 1697–1728
    3. Alexander Hume, 2nd Earl of Marchmont 1728–1740
    4. Charles Hope, 1st Earl of Hopetoun 1740–1742
    5. Colonel John Stratton 1742
    6. John Hay, 4th Marquess of Tweeddale 1742–1762
    7. Hugh Hume, 3rd Earl of Marchmont 1763–1790
    8. Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville 1790–1811
    9. Robert Dundas, 2nd Viscount Melville 1812–1851
    10. James Broun Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie 1851–1860
    11. John Campbell, 2nd Marquess of Breadalbane 1861–1862
    12. George Hamilton-Baillie, 11th Earl of Haddington 1863–1870
    13. John Dalrymple, 10th Earl of Stair 1870–1903
    14. Alexander Bruce, 6th Lord Balfour of Burleigh 1904–1921
    15. William Mure 1921–1924
    16. Sidney Elphinstone, 16th Lord Elphinstone 1924–1955
    17. Sir John Craig 1955–1957
    18. Steven Bilsland, 1st Baron Bilsland 1957–1966
    19. Henry Hepburne-Scott, 10th Lord Polwarth 1966–1972
    20. Ronald Colville, 2nd Baron Clydesmuir 1972–1981
    21. Sir Thomas Risk 1981–1991
    22. Sir Bruce Pattullo 1991–1998
    23. Sir Alistair Grant 1998–1999
    24. Sir John Shaw 1999–2001
    25. Sir Peter Burt 2001–2003
    26. George Mitchell 2003–2006
    27. Dennis Stevenson, Baron Stevenson of Coddenham 2006– 2007


    Bank of Scotland sponsored the Scottish Premier League from its inception in 1998 to season 2006/2007 when it declined to renew the deal in favour of investing in grassroots sport instead. Bank of Scotland also sponsors scottishathletics.


    Bank of Scotland Wikipedia