Bank of Scotland
For over 320 years, Bank of Scotland’s focus has been on supporting the people, businesses and communities of Scotland.
Bank of Scotland history – key milestones
Bank of Scotland was founded by an Act of the Scottish Parliament on 17th July 1695. It is Scotland's first and oldest bank, and post-dates the Bank of England by just one year.
In 1696, Bank of Scotland became the first commercial bank in Europe to successfully issue paper currency. This was an invaluable service, given the unreliability of Scots coinage at that time. These first notes were issued in denominations of £5, £10, £50 and £100 - the first £1 note did not appear until 1704..
Under the terms of its founding Act, the Bank had been granted a banking monopoly in Scotland for 21 years. After this expired, a new bank was founded by royal charter, in 1727 - the Royal Bank of Scotland. There followed a generation of intense rivalry as the two banks competed to drive the other out of business.
Early attempts to establish a branch network proved unsuccessful. It was not until 1774 that the first branches were opened, in Dumfries and Kelso. Twenty-one years later, the Bank had 27 branches. This had risen to 43 by 1860, and 265 by 1939. Bank of Scotland opened its first permanent office in London in 1867.
The '50s also heralded the age of computerisation, which was to revolutionise British banking. Bank of Scotland was at the forefront. In 1959, it became the first UK bank to install a computer for processing its accounts centrally.
In June 1979, Bank of Scotland introduced its House Purchase Loan Scheme. Until then, mortgages had been largely the preserve of building societies. By 1987, Bank of Scotland had provided over £1 billion in home loans.
The revolutionary HOBS (Home and Office Banking Service) was launched by Bank of Scotland in 1985. It was the UK’s first electronic home banking service, enabling customers to actively manage their accounts from home, long before the internet was widely available.