The pound (symbol: £; banking code: GBP), divided into 100 pence, is the official currency of the United Kingdom. The term “British pound” is also used when it is necessary to distinguish the unit of currency from others that have the same name. The slang term “quid” is very common in the UK.
The pound was originally the value of one Troy pound of sterling silver (hence “pound sterling”). The currency symbol is the pound sign, originally _ with two cross-bars, then later more commonly £ with a single cross-bar. UK notes come in denominations of £5.00, £10.00, £20.00 and £ 50.00. Coins in the UK come in denominations of 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1.00and £2.00
In finance, the exchange rate (also known as the foreign exchange rate, forex rate or FX rate) between two currencies specifies how much one currency is worth in terms of the other. For example an exchange rate of 0.6981 pound (GBP,,£) to the United States dollar (USD, $) means that GBP 0.6981 is worth the same as USD 1. The foreign exchange market is one of the largest markets in the world. By some estimates, about 2 trillion USD worth of currency changes hands every day.
British banks have introduced new regulations about opening new bank accounts. Security procedures have been implemented, which can lead to delays for immigrants who try to open an account on arrival. It is very difficult to open a UK bank account whilst you are overseas.
Because it may take you some time to open an account once you arrive in the UK, it is a good idea to open a bank account in your home country that has a UK branch, or keep your existing account open at home until you are able to open a bank account in the UK.
This way, you will still have access to funds. You will probably have to show proof of your UK residence, in the form of a utility bill, in order to open the account. The following is a list of banks in London with very large branch networks and good experience with international customers:
1 Churchill Place
London, E14 5HP
Barclays is a UK-based financial services group, with a large international presence in Europe, the USA, Africa and Asia. It is engaged primarily in banking, investment banking and investment management. In terms of market capitalization, Barclays is one of the largest financial services companies in the world.
Lloyds TSB Bank plc
The origins of Lloyds Bank stretch back to 1765, when John Taylor and Sampson Lloyd set up a private banking business in Birmingham, England. Two sons of the original partners followed in their footsteps by establishing a bank – Barnetts Hoares Hanbury and Lloyd – in London’s Lombard Street. Eventually, this became absorbed into the Lloyds Banking Company.
By the early 1990s, Lloyds Bank had offices in 30 countries, from Argentina to the USA. In New Zealand, an already commanding presence as the National Bank of New Zealand was further strengthened by the 1994 take-over of the Rural Bank, making it the leading provider of agricultural finance.
NatWest (owned by Royal Bank of Scotland)
NatWest Customer Relations
Overseas callers should dial 00 44 207 649 9315
In March 2000, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group completed the acquisition of NatWest in a £21 billion deal that was the largest take-over in British banking history. NatWest is now part of a financial services group which is the second largest bank by market capitalization in the UK and in Europe and ranks fifth in the world.
HSBC Bank USA, N.A. (847) 564 5000
HSBC – North America
2700 Sanders Road
Prospect Heights, IL 60070
HSBC Group Head Office
Address: HSBC Holdings plc
8 Canada Square
London E14 5HQ
Overseas callers should dial 00 44 207 991 8888
HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises over 9,500 offices in 76 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.
Abbey National PLC
Abbey National House
2 Triton Square
Abbey is the sixth biggest bank and the second largest provider of mortgages and savings in the UK.
PO Box No. 5
Following the merger of Halifax and Bank of Scotland on 10th September 2001, HBOS has 22 million customers. With assets of over £540 billion, it is the UK’s largest mortgage and savings provider as well as being a major player in the provision of new current accounts and credit cards in the UK.
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