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Introduction

The Bank of England, established in 1694.

A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits and recurring accounts from the people and creates Demand Deposit. Lending activities can be performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are highly regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are generally subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords.

Banking in its modern sense evolved in the fourteenth century in the prosperous cities of Renaissance Italy but in many ways was a continuation of ideas and concepts of credit and lending that had their roots in the ancient world. In the history of banking, a number of banking dynasties – notably, the Medicis, the Fuggers, the Welsers, the Berenbergs, and the Rothschilds – have played a central role over many centuries. The oldest existing retail bank is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, while the oldest existing merchant bank is Berenberg Bank.

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In the news

19 May 2020 – United Kingdom–Venezuela relations
The Central Bank of Venezuela launches a legal claim against the Bank of England, to try to force the British bank to release 930m ($1bn; £820m) worth of Venezuelan gold it claims it holds. (BBC)
1 May 2020 –
Lebanon's banking association rejects a plan proposed by the government to secure emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund, saying they were not consulted and the plan will "further destroy confidence" in the country's financial system. (Reuters)
20 April 2020 –
The Industrial Bank of Korea agrees to pay US$86 million and will enter a two-year deferred prosecution agreement to settle lawsuits with the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of New York over a 2011 scheme to help transfer US$1 billion to Iran. (Reuters)

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