Jun
29
2012
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How do I start a bank and create money out of thin air?

moneybagsThe details differ from country to country, but you can create money out of thin air like this: First you get a banking license (i.e. permission from your government to be a bank), which is not easy. Then, you get someone to deposit money with you. Let’s say they deposit $10000. If the legal fractional [more...]

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Mar
16
2012
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Who should get a knighthood instead of Fred Goodwin (formerly “Sir Fred”)?

knight-and-pawnFred Goodwin, former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2004 for “services to banking”. A few years later, RBS was plunged into insolvency following unwise investments overseen by Goodwin, including the purchase by RBS of its rival ABN Amro for 49 billion pounds in 2007. The taxpayers [more...]

Jul
29
2010
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What is Britain’s newest bank?

piggy bankBritain’s newest high street bank has just opened. Metro Bank plc is the first new public bank to be created for over 100 years. The last public bank was the Co-operative (originally CWS Loan and Deposit Department) established in 1872. Metro Bank is completely independent and not associated with any other bank. The bank is [more...]

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Jul
15
2010
2

What is the National Savings and Investments?

piggy bankThe National Savings and Investments, also known as NS&I, is one of the largest savings banks in the United Kingdom, accounting for 10% of the UK retail savings investments market. It has 27 million customers and manages over £66 billion in investments. Unlike other banks which are ultimately owned by shareholders, the NS&I is an [more...]

May
24
2010
2

Is there a problem with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme?

bank of englandAs we have all seen recently, the banking system is unstable. In the event that a bank goes bust and the bank’s liquidators are unable to repay your money, then the government’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme is available as place of last resort. However, there is a potential problem with the scheme which one must [more...]

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May
24
2009
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What is phishing?

Phishing e-mailPhishing is a type of fraud in which people are tricked into providing information such as passwords, usernames and bank account data that can be used to gain unauthorized entrance to accounts. In one of the simplest and most common types of phishing, the scammer sends e-mails providing a link to a web site and [more...]

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May
24
2009
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How can I protect myself from phishing scams?

Online scammers want your money. Composite photo by D70focus. CC-BY.If you’ve ever received an e-mail asking you to enter account information at some rogue web site, you’ve been the would-be victim of a phishing attempt. Every hour, thousands of Internet users are targeted. While there is no way of protecting yourself 100 percent of the time from every possible Internet threat, there are some [more...]

May
16
2009
1

Is Scottish money legal in England?

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (artwork by eddiedangerous - CC-BY)The pound sterling (GBP) is the legal currency throughout the United Kingdom, and the Bank of England prints banknotes for this currency. Due to a quirk of history, three Scottish banks and four Northern Ireland banks also print notes denominated in United Kingdom pounds. Before 1844-45, each bank issued their own notes. The Bank Charter [more...]

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Mar
03
2009
1

Is “Quantitative Easing” the same as “printing money”?

Image by azrainman - CC-BYThe phrase “printing money” is loaded with all kinds of negative connotations. It’s something we associate with Robert Mugabe, destroying the value of Zimbabwe’s currency. But now “quantitative easing” is about to begin. How does that work, and is it really the same as printing money? Most of the money in circulation is not in [more...]

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Jan
30
2009
1

What is ethical banking?

Ethical Banking (photo by laurenatclemson - CC-BY)Ethical banking is a sector of the banking industry which takes ethical considerations into account when making business decisions. Sometimes it represents little more than a marketing catchphrase, but at the other end of the spectrum there are financial institutions whose entire reason for existence is to further a particular ethical goal. Ethical concerns may [more...]

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