Business: Bank Bonanzas

Despite the touted fiscal straits of Britain, news came last week that the "Big Five Banks" have opened an average of one branch bank each week for the past twelvemonth.

The "Big Five," progressive runners-up to the sacrosanct Bank of England, are, of course, the Midland Bank, with 850 branches; Barclays Bank (richest of the "Five") with 1,000 branches; Lloyds Bank, with 1,650; the National Provincial Bank, 1,125; and the Westminster Bank, 926. The value of the premises is estimated at $250,000,000.

Since the War, the "Big Five" have built 100 times as many branch...

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