Independent British retail banksThe table shows the main independent British retail banks, in order of market capitalization. The list is quite short as British banking has been highly consolidated since the early 20th century. Unlike some other major economies, the UK does not have a major stratum of independent local banks. The list shrank further during 2008: Northern Rock was nationalized by the UK Government (now owned by Virgin Money), followed by Bradford & Bingley; Alliance & Leicester was acquired by Santander, who own Abbey. Lloyds TSB plc announced, on 18 September 2008, a confirmed agreement to take over HBOS plc.
The retail and commercial banking markets are dominated by HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Spanish-owned Santander (most of these companies operate more than one banking brand in the UK). The fifth major UK-based bank, Standard Chartered, operates primarily in Asia and Africa.
There are a number of banking businesses owned by retail groups, such as:
The other main class of consumer financial service organisation in the United Kingdom is the building society, but the building society sector is much smaller than it used to be as many major building societies demutualised in the 1980s and 1990s and there has also been ongoing consolidation via mergers between societies. Halifax (now part of Lloyds Banking Group) and Abbey (now owned by Santander) were the two largest building societies. The remaining building societies which demutualised have all subsequently lost their independence, either through nationalisation or acquisition by other banks. See Building society for a list of the remaining building societies. Out of the remaining building societies, only Nationwide would be large enough to appear in the above table if it were a bank.
UK retail banking brands owned by foreign banks