National Westminster Bank Plc

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In 1968 National Provincial Bank (est.1833) and Westminster Bank (est.1836), merged as National Westminster Bank. Together these banks could trace their history back down the centuries to the 1650's.

The new bank developed the bank's first credit card, Access, in 1972, and early computer-linked cash dispensers, Servicetills, in 1976. Deregulation in the 1980s, culminating in 'Big Bang' in 1986, also encouraged National Westminster Bank to enter the securities business butu exposed its activitied in the 'Blue Arrow Affair'.

In 1987 NatWest's investment arm, County NatWest, covered up a failed issue of £873 million of new stock (intended to finance the takeover of Manpower Inc., another employment agency). The Department of Trade and Industry report into the affair was critical of the bank's management, and resulted in the resignation of several members of NatWest's board, including the chairman Lord Boardman.

County Bank, the Group's merchant bank, acquired stockbroking and jobbing firms to create NatWest Investment Bank. Meanwhile, the International Banking Division looked to provide international banking services to large companies and to focus on expansion in the USA, the Far East and Europe.

In the 1980s new services were developed such as telephone banking and touch-screen share dealing to assist the government's privatisation programme. The 1980's also saw the National Westminster Home Loans established in 1980 and the Small Business Unit in 1982. The Switch debit card extended the electronic transfer of money to point of sale in 1988. In the 1990s financial services markets world-wide underwent massive change and in response the bank refocused its activities, exiting from a number of markets and adopting the title of NatWest.

In March 2000, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group completed the acquisition of NatWest in a £21 billion deal that was the largest take-over in British banking history. NatWest is now part of a financial services group which is the second largest bank by market capitalisation in the UK and in Europe and ranks fifth in the world.

Problems hit the bank's London office, in 1993, when the NatWest Tower was devastated by an IRA bomb, and the bank vacated the building, later selling it in 1998.

Early 90s Board of Directors (after the Blue Arrow Affair)