Who can open an account with the Bank of England?
Members of the public cannot open a bank account with the Bank of England.
The Bank of England’s customer banking activities enable the Bank to fulfil its responsibilities as the central bank of the United Kingdom. This involves providing wholesale banking services to the UK Government, overseas central banks, and, where there are financial stability reasons to do so, certain other financial sector firms.
Our approach is not to compete with commercial banks. As we are a central bank, banking with us differs in several ways from banking with a commercial bank:
- Our services are close to credit-risk free – in other words, the risk of us defaulting is close to zero.
- Our services are unlikely to be adversely affected by volatile market conditions.
- We are not motivated by profit.
So we offer banking services to key links in the economy – the Government, central banks and some financial sector firms – because this contributes to the stability of the global financial system.
What types of banking services does the Bank of England provide?
- sterling call accounts and payment services
- fixed-term deposits
- foreign currency payments
- securities settlement and custody
- gold custody services.
Banking for the UK Government
We were originally founded in 1694 to act as the Government’s banker and debt manager.
Today, the Government’s retail banking services are provided by commercial banks and managed by the Government Banking Service. We provide wholesale banking services to the Government.
We provide the Government with foreign currency accounts and payment services, and securities custody and settlement services. This includes acting as the Debt Management Office’s settlement agent for its securities activities. We also act as the Treasury’s agent in the day-to-day management of the Exchange Equalisation Account, which holds the UK’s reserves of gold, foreign currency assets and International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights.