The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is one of the world's leading financial services providers and one of the oldest banks in the UK. Following the takeover of National Westminster Bank in 2000, the Group has continued to grow its business around the globe and, in addition to its strong UK presence, it has offices in Europe, the USA and Asia. By the end of 2002, it was the second largest bank in Europe and the fifth largest in the world by market capitalisation.
The Royal Bank of Scotland itself was founded in Edinburgh, by royal charter, in 1727. It merged with National Commercial Bank of Scotland in 1969 and registered in England (No 90312) on October 31, 1984. During the 1980s the Group diversified, setting up an innovative car insurance company, Direct Line, in 1985 and acquiring Citizens Financial Group (established 1828) of Rhode Island in the USA in 1988.
During the early 1990s the Royal Bank refocused on its core business of retail banking, acquiring the private bank of Adam & Company (established 1983) in 1992. It launched Direct Banking in 1994, which quickly became Britain's fastest growing twenty-four-hour telephone banking operation, and in 1997 announced the UK's first fully-fledged on-line banking service over the internet, as well as joint financial services ventures with both Tesco and Virgin Direct.In 2000, the Royal Bank acquired National Westminster Bank plc, in the biggest takeover in the history of British banking, to create a huge Group, with a highly diversified portfolio of services for personal, business and corporate customers.A full range of personal and corporate banking services are provided under The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest brands.
In addition, the Group also includes:
- Ulster Bank: provides banking and financial services to customers throughout Ireland.
- Coutts Group: the international operator in the private banking sector, with offices throughout the world.
- RBS Insurance: incorporates some of the best known insurance brands including Direct Line, Churchill Insurance, NIG, Devitt, Green Flag, UKI Partnerships and Inter Group.
- Citizens Financial Group: includes Citizens Bank and Charter One Financial. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, it operates in 13 US states.
- Within the Retail Direct division are consumer brands such as The One Account, Tesco Personal Finance, Direct Line Financial Services, Lombard Direct as well as MINT, Streamline and WorldPay.