This extended co-partnership bank with unlimited liability was established in Dundee in 1763 by George Dempster of Dunnichen, MP for the Fife Burghs, to provide banking facilities for local merchants and manufacturers who were experiencing problems in securing loans from the banks in Edinburgh. Styled George Dempster & Co, and also known as Dundee Banking Co, it had 36 partners, largely local merchants, and a nominal capital of £12,600 divided into 63 shares of £200 of which ten per cent was paid up. The bank issued notes (£30,395 was in circulation at the end of 1764), lent money and discounted bills and in 1764 the co-partnery was extended to include 24 new members.
For many years it was Dundee’s only bank and survived the financial crisis of 1772, despite the collapse of its Edinburgh and London agents. Its note issue (£32,000 by 1768 and £61,000 by 1800) was successful and to extend the circulation the bank had opened branches in Brechin, Arbroath, Forfar and Kirkcaldy by 1793 (those in Brechin and Kirkcaldy were later closed) and also began to accept deposits in 1792.
In 1838 it acquired Dundee New Bank, and the services of its able manager, Charles William Boase, who subsequently stabilised Dundee Banking Co’s operation by building up large balances of call money in Edinburgh and London. In 1857 branches were opened in Lochee, Alyth and Broughty Ferry. In 1864 the bank was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland. At that time it had a paid-up capital of £100,000, deposits of £722,219, note circulation of £53,943 and four branches. Dundee Banking Co was the last surviving Scottish provincial banking company.
- The Royal Bank of Scotland in Dundee (Edinburgh: privately published by the Royal Bank of Scotland, 1994)
- CW Boase, A century of banking in Dundee; being the annual balance sheets of the Dundee Banking Company from 1764 to 1864 (Edinburgh: R Grant & Co, 1867)
- SG Checkland, Scottish banking. A history 1695-1973 (Glasgow: Collins, 1975)
- IM Kennedy, ‘Charles William Boase’, Scottish Bankers’ Magazine, 1956, vol.47, p.223-229
- CW Munn, ‘Dundee Banking Co’, Three Banks Review, September 1980, vol.127, p.41-56
Summary of our archive holdings
Our archival records of Dundee Banking Co have the reference code DU.
For help understanding words used here, check our glossary of banking record types (PDF 68 KB).
- sederunt book 1763-77
- notes issued at branches book 1805-36
- banknotes 1816, 1826, 1859-63
- passbooks 1825-41, 1861-2
- petty cash book 1838-41
- private book 1838-57
Summary of archive holdings elsewhere
- Dundee Central Library Local Studies Department: Contract of co-partnery and list of partners 1826-58 (Ref: Lamb Collection)