26 February 2011

Coutts & Co

1970: The smart interior of Coutts Bank on the Strand in London. The aristocratic bank
has an illustrious history and counts the Queen among its customers.

Where do you bank? I generally do not like to talk about money, for the very simple reason that I discuss it all day long. I have spent almost my entire working life in a bank of one kind or another, apart from a brief period as a London hack, including stint at Punch. Growing up, Coutts & Co was the bank. As you know, I went to school in England with the sons and daughters of English actresses, American diplomats, European bankers, Egyptian exiles, New York stockbrokers, Persian princesses, and the odd African tribal chieftan's son or two. A cosmopolitan group. For them, Coutts, established in 1692, was the financial institution of choice. A Coutts card or cheque book was a mark of status to be whipped out at the crucial moment at weekend haunts such as Hackett, Henry J Beans, The Australian, and Scalini. Mere mention of the Coutts name takes me back. Have things changed? I understand profit is down at Coutts, now the wealth management arm of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), due partly no doubt to the economic crisis. Fortunately I can not say the same thing about my own firm.

5 comments:

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, my British bank account is held at Drummonds where members of my family have banked since 1724. popular belief is the reason the bank charges are so high is because we're still paying off the Prince Regent's overdraft...

GP said...

Never heard of them. Then again, I did not grow up in the circle of actresses, diplomats, exiles, and third world spawn. Banks & banking -- all things mechanic and hands on -- are beneath my station. Thank God there are people who will do things for something called money. Where would be without them. Perhaps without the odd thousand acres or so, I guess.

John said...

Drummonds is also owned by RBS as well as Coutts

Vernon said...

My customer for many years before I retired and the excuse for many London visits although my direct dealings were with the branch in south Florida.

They always served you tea upon arrival at their office in the Strand. They were known as the Queens bank although I am not sure if after Elizabeth or Victoria. Were mentioned in a few Gilbert & Sullivan tunes as I recall; they have not been the same since taken over by RBS.

Vern Trotter

Tabitha said...

My best friend banks with Coutts I'm rather jealous of her cards and cheque book. Oh to be part of a rich dynasty