National Westminster Bank Plc
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)
- Lord Alexander of Weedon: International Stock Exchange of the UK & Republic of Ireland, RTZ.
- Sir Micheal Angus: Whitbread PLC, British Airways, CBI, Leverhume Trust, Netherlands - British Chamber of Commerce, Thorn EMI.
- Sir Edwin R. Nixon: Amersham International, BCH Properties LTD, London Classical Radio, Partnership Sourcing, Royal Insurance holdings, UK Japan 2000, Westments.
- Roger Flemington: Lombard North Central PLC, Coutts & Co.
- The Hon. Sir Richard Butler: National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society LTD, Agricola, Avon Insurance, Barton Bendish Farms LTD, Butlers Peas LTD, County Nat West Group / Investment Management, Farmland investors LTD, Feruzzi Trading LTD, The Mathilda & Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology.
- Denes Child: Lombard North Central PLC, Channel Tunnel Group, Coutts & Co., Eurotunnel Developments, IBM UK Pensions trust, ICCH LTD, Investors Compensation Scheme LTD, Reheis Inc., Research Institute for Consumer Affairs.
- John Melborn: 3i.
- Albert Morris: APACS, BACS LTD, Centre File LTD, N.West Life Assurance.
- Sir Charles Powell: Matheson & Co., Jardine Matheson Holdings & Association, JIB Group PLC, Tiphook PLC.
- Martin R. Harris; De La Rue PLC, County Smaller Companies Investment Trust, County Nat West Group.
- Robin Herbert: Leopold Joseph & Sons, The Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, Federated Aggregates PLC, Foriegn & Colonial Smaller Companies PLC, Land Improvement group LTD, National Rivers Authority, Scottish Woodlands PLC, Union Discount Company of London.
- Sir Brian Kellet: Port of London Authority, Lombard North Central PLC, Unigate PLC,
- John Tugwell: N.W. Bancorp Inc.USA, NW Australia Bank LTD.
- Sir Anthony Pilkington: Pilkington PLC, Community of St. Helens, ICI PLC.
- Dr. William Quigley: Ulster Bank, Short Brothers PLC.
- Sir Geoffery Littler: County Natwest , Maritime Transport Services LTD, TR Europe, Growth Trust PLC.
- The Right Hon. The Baroness Young: Marks & Spencers PLC.
- Sir Ian Maclaurin: Tesco PLC, Guiness PLC.
- Martin Taylor: Hanson PLC, Vickers, Demos.