Our history

In March 1879, a small group of bank workers came together, united by a commitment to provide leadership on banking practice that would be available to everyone working in the sector. They set up the first Institute of Bankers in England and Wales.

They organised networking meetings, lectures and other educational resources to help bank workers develop their knowledge. They established formal qualifications – recognised by the industry – and helped workers develop their careers. The Institute quickly became central to the banking community in England and Wales, and its influence spread around the world.

We have evolved with the financial services and banking industries and today we are known as The London Institute of Banking & Finance.


  1879 The Institute of Bankers was established with 1,000 members from all over the country, as well as members in foreign and other overseas banks. By the end of the year we had 2,000 members.
 1987 We gained our Royal Charter and became the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
 1993 We merged with the Chartered Building Societies’ Institute.
 1996 We developed the first professional award linked to a university degree.
 1997 Our name was changed to the Institute of Financial Services (ifs), reflecting a broadening of our services. The Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) was introduced  the first qualification for UK mortgage professionals.
 2001 The Institute of Financial Services became the first educational body in the sector to provide electronic assessment for its regulatory qualifications.
 2006 Members agreed proposals for changes to the organisation’s corporate governance and structure. Changes to the Royal Charter were approved by the Privy Council and the organisation was renamed the ifs School of Finance.
 2010 We gained Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) and established full-time degree programmes at our City of London campus. We also enhanced our professional qualifications and financial capability awards.
 2013 We were granted University College title and became ifs University College. Our university campus was opened at Lovat Lane in London for full-time students.
 2016 We changed our name to 'The London Institute of Banking & Finance' and opened the Henry Grunfeld Library at our campus in Lovat Lane.
 2017   We became an approved apprenticeship training provider and launched our first degree-level apprenticeship programme for the banking industry.
 2019  It’s our 140th birthday! To celebrate we’ve published a book, Banking on Change, launched two research centres and are fundraising to provide more scholarships and boost our outreach work.
 2020  The Covid-19 pandemic affected everyone around the globe in different ways. For LIBF it prompted a more rapid shift to providing more digital services, including remote invigilation for exams, and providing more digital content including webinars, podcasts and videos. Financial World magazine, our quarterly publication for members, went fully digital too. New qualifications launched included the Certificate in Retail and Digital Banking, and the Certificate in Protection. We also set up a Certified Fintech Practitioner course in partnership with LendIt Fintech.
 2021  We launched our new Centre for Governance, Risk and Regulation with an international network of experts and practitioners to offer training and thought leadership. To keep up with the increasingly complex nature of regulated advice, we launched a new qualification in retirement planning and a new professional recognition programme for mortgage advisers.

We are The London Institute of Banking & Finance, lifelong partners in financial education.