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British Multinational Banking, 1830-1990$
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Geoffrey Jones

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206026.001.0001

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Banks and Governments

Banks and Governments

Chapter:
(p.103) CHAPTER 4 Banks and Governments
Source:
British Multinational Banking, 1830-1990
Author(s):

Geoffrey Jones

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206026.003.0004

This chapter explores the role of government in the history of British multinational banks. Before 1914, in most countries banks were free from government intervention. There were almost no restrictions on fund flows across borders. Moreover, foreign financial institutions faced few discriminatory laws. Later on, the government provided business opportunities for British overseas banks. They acted as state banks, government bankers, and as currency agents. They issued paper currency of a variety of countries. Furthermore, British overseas banks were drawn into a symbiotic relationship with the Foreign Office and British diplomats felt obliged to become interested in the banks' loan issues and other activities of different countries. British multinational banks were private sector institutions before 1914, but governments became a part of their existence — a source of restrictions, business opportunities, sustenance, and frustration.

Keywords:   government, intervention, restrictions, foreign financial institutions, laws, private sector, Foreign Office, diplomats

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