NatWest Group plc
This page is about the history of the current NatWest Group plc, which has a separate history from the company of the same name which existed prior to 2000.
This company, originally called National & Commercial Banking Group, was incorporated on 25 March 1968 as a step towards the merger of the Royal Bank of Scotland and National Commercial Bank of Scotland, enacted in 1969.
With effect from 1 April 1969 the two banks merged to form the Royal Bank of Scotland, a subsidiary of National & Commercial Banking Group. The following year, the two banks’ subsidiaries outside Scotland – Williams Deacon’s Bank and Glyn, Mills & Co (subsidiaries of the Royal Bank) and The National Bank (subsidiary of National Commercial) – merged to create Williams & Glyn’s Bank.
Initially National & Commercial Banking Group was solely a holding company for the Royal Bank of Scotland and Williams & Glyn’s Bank, with no executive powers of its own. In 1976, however, the board concluded that a co-ordinating overview between the two banks would bring strategic benefits. They therefore created a new role: managing director of National & Commercial Banking Group. Its first incumbent was John Burke, who was already managing director of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In 1979 National & Commercial Banking Group’s name was changed to the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
In the years after NatWest joined RBS in 2000, the Group grew rapidly. In 2007 it was part of a consortium which acquired the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. Soon afterwards, a crisis in global financial markets and deteriorating economic conditions across the world weakened many financial services organisations. This situation was made worse for RBS by strategic decisions that were subsequently shown to be bad mistakes. RBS became highly vulnerable to the downturn and as a consequence became part owned by the government in 2008.
Since that time the Group has worked to rebuild resilience, trust and shareholder value. The business has been extensively reshaped to focus on serving our customers, championing potential today and for the future. In 2020 its name was changed to NatWest Group.
- The Royal Bank of Scotland: a History (Edinburgh: privately published by the Royal Bank of Scotland, 1998)
- M Pohl and S Freitag, Handbook on the history of European banks (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1994)
Summary of our archive holdings
Our archival records of NatWest Group have the reference codes RB, NG and NWG.
For help understanding words used here, check our glossary of banking record types (PDF 68 KB).
- directors’ meeting minute books 1968-(1985)
- balance sheets and reports and accounts 1968-(1985)
- minutes of the Scottish merger liaison committee 1968-9
- minutes and papers of the pre-formation liaison committee 1968-9
- minutes of the English merger committee 1969-70
- minutes of working parties 1969-70
- papers re computerisation, 1969-74