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INTRODUCTION The role of banks has been and continues to be shaped by a number of mega-trends the globalization of financial markets the rise of non-bank competitors the ongoing evolution and implementation of new technologies and deregulation and disintermediation ie the movement away from the middleman role played by banks between depositors and lenders Ultimately as a direct result of the aforementioned trends many banks have decided to extend their business transactions across national boundaries in search of new business opportunities and higher profits However there remain a vast number of banks that for one reason or another have been reluctant to take their operations into the international market These banks though their reluctances can be justified to a degree are making a huge mistake A careful analysis of the progression of international banking through history and the costs to benefit ratio for a bank to expand on their domestic operations will reveal that operating internationally is no longer just an option for large domestic banks--it is a necessity International banking is the future and any bank that does not realize this before it is too late is history INTERNATIONAL BANKING A BRIEF HISTORY A brief look at the history of international banking shows that even throughout the ages it has been important for banks to branch out into the international market In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Italian operated banks in England like Bardi Peruzzi and Medici were the largest business enterprises in the whole of Europe In the following century The Fuggers of Germany had branches set up in seven different European countries From there the progression of the banking industry remained relatively static until the industrial revolution at which time the banking industry started to grow again along with most other industries in Europe and the newly formed USA Between the late nineteenth century and the First World War international commerce increased at a rate of over three percent annually for
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