The introduction: the interdependence between the architecture and history
In my opinion, numerous constructions reflect the march of history. The appearance and various external features of the buildings can provide the viewers with interesting details concerning the events the constructions experienced. For instance, the architecture of numerous banks reflects the atmosphere of the times it was built in, and allows to trace back the history of the construction. Those banks, which appeared in the 19th century, were made of strong materials to protect the building from robbery. The architecture instilled confidence into the clients of the bank. The customers were sure that their capital investments were out of danger.
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The thesis statement
“To understand the evolution of bank design, it is also necessary to grasp the fundamentals of America’s banking and financial history, which go hand-in-hand with the creation of bank architecture” (Belfoure 2005, p. 1).
The body: the Lloyds Bank building in Wolverhampton & Northern Rock
So, the fist image, which represents the Lloyds Bank building in Wolverhampton, leaves an impression that the building was constructed at the end of the 19th century. Generally, it is the architecture of the building, which causes such guesswork. As far as I know banking is an integral part of the history of the West Midlands, UK. It is placed “at the eastern end of Queen Square at the junction of Dudley Street” (The History of Wolverhampton. The City and Its People 2005, p. 1).
The street the bank is located on seems to be not only a commercial, but also a cultural center of the city. I suppose that the policy of the bank is based on competitive approach and changes of the external environment.
Looking at the image, one may affirm that the employees of the bank think about facilities modernization, and try to improve operational efficiencies of the organization they work in. In other words, innovation in organizational functions is one of the key aims managers want to achieve. As far as the bank is an important commercial center of the city, I suppose that the U.K. government provides it with financial support. “Lloyds is the largest U.K. retail bank and has comfortably the largest branch network, with about 3,000 outlets. Lloyds states that it serves over 30 million customers” (RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal 2011, p. 4). That allows me to make a conclusion that the bank tends to satisfy customers’ needs to increase income growth.
The architecture of the building reminds me of a castle. Most of the people know that the reputation of various organizations depends upon numerous factors, including the age of the building. For this reason, those constructions, which appeared more than a century ago are considered to be more reliable. So, enterprise risk management of the bank is considered to be appropriate. ‘Lloyds’ recent
moves to consolidate ERM will further strengthen its risk management and senior management’s oversight’ (RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal 2011, p. 4).
The second picture is a branch of Northern Rock. The bank is quite famous.
“Northern Rock was a “building society”—that is, a mutually owned savings and mortgage bank—until its decision to go public and float its shares on the stock market in 1997” (Shin 2009, p. 103).
The architecture of the bank seems to be modern. The building is mostly made of glass. Thus, I can make a conclusion that the bank has an appropriate security system. McAfee and Johnson (2010, p. 1) say that “Northern Rock is a commercial bank operating in the United Kingdom and is Britain’s fifth-largest mortgage lender”.
Generally, it seems that the policy of the bank is rather successful; however, the issue I am daunted by is a financial problem the bank faced some years ago. When analyzing the reasons of the problems, I’ve understood that it was probably a business plan of the bank, which wasn’t developed properly.
In my opinion, the bank’s policy is not related to the customer deposits. On the contrary, the bank may deal with the wholesale market. I suppose that the bank is also supported with governmental supervision of the UK, as the government of the country doesn’t want some unpleasant situations could shake the clients’ credit.
“Good architecture has long been said to be more than concrete and glass. At times, buildings, and the spaces within and around them, work so well in answering the needs of their users that they seem to be alive” (Designing Banks 2008, p. 1).
Belfoure, C 2005, Monuments to Money: The Architecture of American Banks. Web.
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Designing Banks 2008. Web.
McAfee, L & Johnson, N 2010, Part 5-IV: Major Financial Institutions in the Crisis: What Happened and Governments’ Responses. Web.
RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal 2011. Web.
Shin, H 2009, Reflections on Northern Rock: The Bank Run that Heralded the Global Financial Crisis. Web.
The History of Wolverhampton. The City and Its People 2005. Web.