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Our heritage

On 11 March 1879 a small group of bank workers joined together to set up the first Institute of Bankers in England, with a commitment to provide leadership on banking practice that was accessible to everyone that worked in the sector.

They put in place a formal qualification to achieve recognition for bank workers’ skills and expertise. This was recognised by the industry and help workers develop careers in the sector. They also set up lectures, educational resources and meetings to help bank workers continually develop their knowledge and network with others.

The Institute quickly became central to the banking community in England and Wales and its influence spread around the world. That work continues today.

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


  1879 the Institute of Bankers was established with 1000 members from all over the country and including members in foreign and colonial 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; and 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, as well as enhancing 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.

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