An English and Scottish surname, Banks, refers to someone who lived on the slope of a hillside or by a riverbank. It is a northern Middle English word, spelled 'banke'. It is believed to originally be a Danish word.
In England, most people with the surname Banks live in the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire and in the greater London area.
In United States most with this surname live east of the Mississippi River, especially Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and New York.
In 1880s most with the surname Banks were laborers and farmers.
Famous: Tyra Banks (fashion model, actress, businesswoman), Ernie Banks (Major League baseball player with Chicago Cubs from 1953-1971), Elizabeth Banks (actress), Leslie Esdaile Banks (writer), Joseph Banks (British explorer and naturalist of 18th century), Russell Banks (fiction writer), Donald Oscar Banks (20th century Australian jazz, concert and commercial music), Lain Banks (fiction writer of Scotland), Lynne Reid Banks (20th century British writer), Monty Banks (early 20th century comedian and film director) and Nathaniel P. Banks (politician and governor of Massachusetts from 1858 to 1861).