Risk-taking is both a central and an inescapable aspect of modern-day commercial banking. However, up until now, the story of how banks coped with and managed risk in the past has remained largely untold. This paper goes some way to redressing this notable blind spot in the historical literature by providing a detailed investigation of how one major British commercial bank—Barclays Bank—went about the inherently risky process of providing loans to small and local businesses in the period between 1900 and 1980. Ultimately, what it shows is that, despite the many advances made in accounting and bookkeeping during this period, interpersonal relationships and local connections continued to fulfil a key role in most lending decisions taken during this era.
- Commercial Bank
- Local Business
- Local Branch
- Head Office
- Loan Application
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Hollow, M. (2017). Investigating Attitudes to Risk in British Banking: A Case Study of Barclays’ Branch Banking System, c. 1900–80. In: Schönhärl, K. (eds) Decision Taking, Confidence and Risk Management in Banks from Early Modernity to the 20th Century. Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42076-9_8
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