George Rae

(1817—1902) banker

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George Rae was born 9 May 1817 in Aberdeen, and died in Liverpool some time in 1902. He was educated at the Classical and Commercial Academy, Aberdeen, and after some further training he began his career as branch accountant in the North of Scotland Bank in 1836. He made great progress, and while still Young was attracted by the challenge of the new joint-stock Banks opening up in England in the 1830s. In 1839, age twenty-two, he joined the North and South Wales Bank in Liverpool, and within three years was manger of the Oswestry branch in Shropshire. Within another three years he had become general manager. In the financial crisis of 1847 he was forced to suspend payments, a chastening experience for the prudent Aberdonian. He then embarked on a cost-cutting exercise and was able to re-open in early 1848, but took some time to re-establish the bank's reputation. The bank then successfully negotiated the next two crises in 1857 and 1866 while others around them failed. Rae was responsible for the great growth of the bank, and became its managing director in 1865 and chairman in 1873. Poor health forced him to retire from both posts in 1898 at the age of eighty-one. By that time the North and South Wales Bank had become one of the largest of the country Banks. It was acquired by the Midland in 1908. Rae married twice: his first wife died in 1851, and he remarried in 1854.


From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Economics.

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