It is a commonplace that Scotland was the second
industrial nation achieving its industrial revolution hard on the heels
of England and adopting much English technology and expertise to push
forward its industrial development. What is not so clearly appreciated
is that Scotland was the first modern banking nation and that many of
the structures and techniques of banking were developed in Scotland
during the industrial revolution and subsequently adopted in England,
and indeed, in many other parts of the world.
Banking is a service industry and its development
must therefore be seen in relation to the demands being placed upon it
by the other sectors of the economy, i.e., by its customers. That
is not the whole story, however, for in addition to its role in
responding to outside stimuli the banking industry has often identified
potential new areas of business and possible new services before these
have been articulated by customers in the market place. In that sense
banking must also be seen to induce growth in an economy.
Many misunderstandings about banking have arisen
because commentators have not always been aware of the parameters within
which bankers must operate. The intention of this Handbook is to provide
for the general reader and the new entrant to the banking profession
some understanding of the evolution and present development of the
Scottish banking system.