After the Bank Charter Act in 1833, English banks could branch nationally without legal or geographical restriction. Many new joint stock banks took this opportunity to branch and thus created the foundation for modern branch banking in the UK. Drawing upon a new dataset, this article maps the locations of joint-stock banks and their branches. Bank size and spread demonstrate that many branched vigorously but stopped at the creation of local or multiregional structures. Our research shows that branching strategies were influenced by ‘soft’ Parliamentary pressure (but not regulation), prominent branch bank failures and a lack of managerial expertise.
banks, strategy, branches, regulation, management