Each week the Bank of England publishes a summary balance sheet showing its main assets and liabilities. It is known as the Bank Return and has three parts: the consolidated balance sheet of the Bank and the balance sheets of its Issue and Banking Departments.
The Issue and Banking Departments were created by the Bank Charter Act of 1844. These are not organisational units of the Bank, but serve to divide the note-issuing business of the Bank from its other activities.
The balance sheet of the Issue Department shows the value of banknotes in issue and of the assets backing them. The entire profit of the Issue Department is paid over to HM Treasury. All other assets and liabilities of the Bank are shown on the balance sheet of the Banking Department.
The format of the Bank Return has changed from time to time, most recently with effect from 24 May 2006, following the introduction of a new framework for the Bank’s monetary operations.
The Bank Return appears on Thursdays and shows the position at the close of business on the previous day.