Big Five

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Big Five

 

the five largest private joint-stock commercial banking monopolies of England—Barclay, Midland, Lloyds, Westminster, and National Provincial Bank.

From the beginning of the 20th century these banks constituted the center of English financial capital. Members of the boards of directors of the Big Five were also on the boards of the largest industrial monopolies and were associated with the government. In 1959 members of the boards of these banks occupied more than 1,000 posts on boards of other joint-stock companies. In 1967 the Big Five concentrated nearly 90 percent of all the monies on deposit in all the banks of the United Kingdom (nearly £10 billion) and had almost 12,000 branches. The largest banks in the countries of the vast British Empire and in other countries dependent on England belonged to the Big Five or were under their control. In 1968 the Westminster and the National Provincial united under the name National Westminster Bank, and Barclays merged with the sixth largest, Martins Bank.