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The Exeter Bank story

  May 11, 2016    General News    mike last

One of our aims when starting Exeter Finance was to create a local ‘bank’ in Exeter that would make local decisions, and perhaps one day be able to call itself a bank, taking deposits as well as lending money in the South West.

This possibility is still some way off because the cost of obtaining a banking licence and the regulatory compliance involved means that we would have to be a reasonably large business to justify the costs involved.

In the past there have been a few smaller banks in Exeter including The Exeter Bank set up in the Cathedral Close in 1769. This was in the building that is now the Café Bar at The Royal Clarence Hotel. The Exeter Bank was set up by four founding partners – it was not a subsidiary of another bank. In fact, at the time there was no other bank in Exeter.

The Exeter Bank then issued its own bank notes in 1791 in £5 and £10 denominations. These were effectively loan notes – the depositor gave in gold or silver to that value in exchange for a paper note. The holder of the note could then go into the bank at any time and ask for the value back in gold or silver.

The Exeter Bank grew and opened a branch in Exmouth in 1896 and then one in Budleigh Salterton. The Exeter Bank merged with another local private bank, the City Bank, in 1901. The bank moved to a single building called the City Bank building (now the Jack Wills clothes store) opposite the west main entrance to the Exeter Cathedral.

Through a series of mergers, the bank became part of the National Provincial Bank in 1918 and eventually the National Westminster Bank.

Who knows, maybe one day Exeter will have its own local bank again!

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