Supporting the nation | RBS Remembers

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Supporting the nation

Throughout the First World War the British government asked much of all citizens, including corporate citizens. Banks had to take a vital role in financing the war and maintaining national economic stability.

Government domestic borrowing

The British government relied on banks to help meet the enormous financial cost of war.

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Government borrowing at home

Taxation alone was not enough to match wartime expenditure.

National war bonds

War bonds allowed the government to borrow on a continuous basis.

The national savings movement

The campaign to encourage savings continued long after the war.

War savings certificates

Savings certificates were designed particularly for small savers.

War loans

A series of national war loans, supported by Britain’s banks, was one of the most important sources of government finance.

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War loans

Banks supported and invested in all the war loan issues.

1914 war loan

The first war loan was a new departure for the government, banks and investors.

1915 war loan

The second war loan was aimed at individual investors as well as large institutions.

1917 war loan

The third war loan was also the biggest.


Banknotes became a vitally important part of Britain’s wartime economy.

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The first government banknotes

The government started issuing its own notes in August 1914.

Scottish banknotes

During the war Scottish banknotes became legal tender for the first time.




The longest bank holiday

The threat of war threw money markets into turmoil, and led to Britain's longest-ever bank holiday.


The role of gold

The war gave special significance to gold, and changed forever its role in the economy.


Bankers doing their bit at home

Bankers who were too old or infirm to join up found other ways to 'do their bit' at home.


Sharing our facilities

Banks lent premises and facilities to meet wartime public need.


Helping those in need

Charities strove to help the victims of war, and many banks donated time, money or equipment.


Investing in Italy

The government asked banks to help strengthen bonds with allies and reduce enemy influence in neutral nations. 


Tank Banks

Battle-scarred tanks toured the country to raise money for the war effort.

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