Can I open an account at the Bank of England?

It wouldn’t have occurred to me but I just watched the 1960 movie The Day They Robbed The Bank of England and in one scene Aldo Ray approaches a cashier in the Bank and asks if he can open an account. The cashier replies, “To open an account at the Bank of England one needs a sponsor”. (The action of the movie takes place in the first decade of the 20th century). Is that right? And if not was it true at one time? I rather like the idea of having a bank card with Bank of England printed on it!

Isn’t the Bank of England more like the US Federal Reserve?

There is one in Arkansas that would probably let you open an account. :slight_smile:

No. It’s a central reserve bank, as Kimballkid notes. You can open one at the Royal Bank of Scotland, though. Or the Bank of India.

Or the “Bank of America” for that matter.

As mentioned here:

The wikipedia article says:

So presumably an early-20th century-set movie presumably could realistically show commercial banking at the Bank of England.

I figured he knew about that one. :slight_smile:

The movie the OP referenced was set in 1901, so that works.

An individual can’t open an account at the Bank of Canada either.

But can at the Bank of Ireland.

But an individual can open an account at the Royal Bank of Canada. :slight_smile:

Well, individuals can or could open accounts at the Bank of Ireland, the National Bank of Ireland, the Provincial Bank of Ireland, the Royal Bank of Ireland and the Union Bank of Ireland. But never with the Central Bank of Ireland.

That sounds pretty cool, but I’d rather have one with the South Sea Company printed on it. Too bad a few rotten apples had to spoil the whole thing.

Funnily enough I was at the Bank of England on Monday afternoon for a meeting and they do indeed have a service counter (two windows) where one can make deposits and withdrawals. I understand that Bank employees can bank there but mostly it’s large commercial accounts. I was told that before ATMs became non-bank-specific the Bank of England had one (1) ATM for its customers.

I’m pretty sure you can’t just walk in off the street and sign up for a checking account there but I haven’t actually looked to see what their criteria are. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if you still needed a sponsor though.

I heard a story from someone who works at the World Bank–she was once interviewing someone for a job, on the phone, who said “World Bank? I think I’ve used the ATM there.”

Why would you need a sponsor? Can I take it that retail banking is a loss-leader for the Bank of England and they really only do it for image purposes and to bring people in to sign them up for expensive loans and such, and so they need to limit the number of people buying their loss-leader?

I think it’s more that retail banking isn’t their main business. They have capacity to do a small amount of personal banking for staff, but they’re not attempting to compete with the high street banks and building societies.

Again this is only my personal view but I look at it like getting a British Library card (which I have one of, although it’s now expired) - in order to get an account at the Bank of England or a card for the British Library you have to have a specific reason why you need one and why that need can’t be met by your local branch of Barclays or your local library.

Apples, hell. May I interest you in a tulip…?