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Banking in Scotland

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.

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