London's claim to be the leading world banking centre rests on a group of some 600 ‘money market’ banks. They have all sorts of origins, ranging from the historic house of N.M. Rothschild to the Republic Bank Corporation of Dallas, or, indeed, the Moscow Narodny Bank. What they have in common is that they are all involved in money market banking, an activity which has grown since the early 1960s. This involves borrowing huge deposits from companies and financial institutions like pension funds – typically £1 million to £10 million at a time – and re-lending them in equally massive chunks, either to other companies, to countries, or on the money market. Through the money markets the banks lend any spare funds to other banks, and borrow other banks' funds when they find themselves short.