DEFINITION of 'High Street Bank'

High Street Bank is a term that originated in the U.K. that refers to large retail banks with many branch locations. The term "high street" indicates that these banks are major, widespread institutions, such as those found in the main commercial sector of a town or city. High street is roughly synonymous with the American term "Main Street."

BREAKING DOWN 'High Street Bank'

Major high street banks in the U.K. include Barclays PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS), Lloyds TSB Bank PLC, and HSBC Bank PLC. These large High Street banks typically offer a diverse selection of banking services, such as online banking, mortgages, and savings.

In addition to its retail services Barclays engages more broadly in investment banking, wealth management, and investment management. The institution serves more than 24 million customers and clients across personal, wealth and business units in over 40 countries. Barclays' primary listing is on the London Stock Exchange, with a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC was incorporated in 1984. Its headquarters are currently in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. The Royal Bank of Scotland provides a vast array of services to customers and clients. A taste of these includes savings, currency, fixed term and notice accounts; support with cash management; the extension of loans (personal, auto, debt consolidation, home improvement, small business, fixed and variable rate mortgage, and agricultural loans); and services as diverse as import and export, structured and asset, and invoice finance.

Many have historically considered Lloyds TSB Bank PLC as one of the "Big Four" clearing banks. Founded in Birmingham in 1765, Lloyds subsequently expanded via acquiring many smaller financial institutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In 1995 Lloyds and the Trustee Savings Bank merged. Together, they began to trade as Lloyds TSB Bank plc after 1999. Lloyds is both a retail and commercial bank with branches in England and Wales.

HSBC Bank PLC is one of the four major clearing banks in the United Kingdom, along with Lloyds. One of the largest international financial institutions in the world, HSBC in aggregate consists of 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories worldwide. Holding more deposits than loans, many consider HSBC to be less risky than other major banks. HSBC was able to fund its operations and generally maintain its share price throughout the credit crunch.

High Street Bank Versus Niche Bank

While the high street banks serve a range of customers across a variety of demographics, niche banks will usually target a specific market or type of customer. For example, the Reid Temple AME Church Federal Credit Union focuses on religious customers and has developed its schedule around church services on Sundays.

  1. Bank

    A bank is a financial institution licensed as a receiver of deposits. ...
  2. Lloyds Organizations

    Lloyds Organizations is an insurance syndicate that bases its ...
  3. Lloyd's Of London

    Lloyd's of London is a British insurance market where members ...
  4. Business Banking

    Business banking is a company's financial dealings with an institution ...
  5. Branch Banking

    Branch banking is engaging in banking activities such as accepting ...
  6. International Banking Act of 1978

    The International Banking Act of 1978 put all American bank branches ...
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    HSBC Looks to Free Up China Cash (HSBC)

    The bank wants to convince British regulators that its China investments are not as risky as they seem.
  2. Investing

    Lloyds Buys MBNA Credit Card Unit From BofA for $2.4B (LLOY.L, BAC)

    Lloyds is riding the diversification train to destinations outside of its comfort zone. But is the company taking on unnecessary risk?
  3. Investing

    Royal Bank of Scotland Struggles to Sell Assets (RBS, SAN)

    Royal Bank of Scotland can't sell its assets to fight enduring losses.
  4. Insights

    The Role of Commercial Banks in the Economy

    We interact with commercial banks daily to carry out simple financial tasks. That said, the function and creation of a commercial bank is anything but simple.
  5. Insights

    The 3 Biggest Canadian Banks (RY, TD)

    Examine some of the largest banks in Canada, which also rank among the largest and most important banks in the industry worldwide.
  6. Insights

    Which Are the World's 10 Largest Private Banks?

    Most of the largest private banking providers in the world are headquartered in Europe or the United States.
  7. Personal Finance

    The World's Top 10 Investment Banks

    These banks come out on top as measured by revenue numbers, global reach, employee headcount, income, and a number of other factors.
  8. Insights

    IMF: These Top 3 Banks Pose Global Financial Risk

    The IMF believes these three banks pose the greatest systemic risk to the global financial economy.
  1. What is the banking sector?

    Learn why the banking sector is a vital industry to our economy, what it does to drive the economic growth and understand ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the 9 major financial institutions?

    There are nine major types of financial institutions. Understand the major types of financial institutions that exist and ... Read Answer >>
  3. How does investment banking differ from commercial banking?

    Discover how investment banking differs from commercial banking, the responsibilities of each and how the two can be combined ... Read Answer >>
  4. What is the average profit margin for a company in the banking sector?

    Learn what the average profit margin is for companies in the banking sector, along with other evaluation metrics often used ... Read Answer >>
  5. What's the difference between investment banks and commercial banks?

    Understand the principal differences between investment banks and commercial banks, and the areas of banking services that ... Read Answer >>
  6. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the banking ...

    Find out which economic indicators are most useful for investors in the banking sector, especially those influenced by central ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center