Williams & Glyn's Bank

Williams & Glyn's Bank Limited was established in London in 1970, when the Royal Bank of Scotland merged its two subsidiaries in England and Wales, Williams Deacon's Bank Ltd. and Glyn, Mills & Co.[2] In 1985, Williams & Glyn's was fully absorbed into the Royal Bank of Scotland and ceased to trade separately. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group was renamed NatWest Group in 2020.[3]

Williams & Glyn's Bank Limited
TypeSubsidiary undertaking
IndustryFinancial Services
Founded1970 (1753 as Glyn, Mills)
Defunct1985 (dissolved at Companies House in 2021[1])
FateMerger with parent
SuccessorNatWest Group
Headquarters1 Princes Street,
London EC2R 8PB
ProductsBanking and Insurance
ParentNatWest Group


Williams Deacon's Bank and the Manchester & Salford BankEdit

The London private bank of Williams Deacon & Co can date its history back to 1771 when the partnership of Raymond, Williams, Vere, Lowe and Fletcher was first recorded. It ceased payment in 1825 and was reconstituted with different shareholders as Williams, Deacon, Labouchere & Co, before finally becoming Williams Deacon in 1882. It was acquired by the Manchester & Salford Bank in 1890.[4]

The Manchester & Salford Bank was founded in 1836 as a joint stock bank and became a substantial force in Lancashire banking and by 1890 it had over 45 branches. In that year it acquired Williams Deacon, primarily to obtain the latter's seat on the London Bankers' Clearing House. The registered office was moved to London but the head office remained in Manchester. The bank also changed its name to Williams Deacon & Manchester & Salford Bank, shortened to Williams Deacon's Bank in 1901.

The enlarged bank continued to expand but its commitment to the declining cotton industry after World War I, exacerbated by the effects of the Great Depression, stretched its own finances and, encouraged by the Bank of England, Williams Deacon's was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1930.[4]

Glyn, Mills & Co.Edit

An early Williams & Glyn's Automated Teller Machine.

Glyn, Mills & Co. was founded as the private bank, Vere, Glyn & Hallifax, in the City of London in 1753 by Joseph Vere, Richard Glyn and Thomas Hallifax. The Vere family interest ended in 1766; William Mills joined in 1772; and when the last of the Hallifaxes departed in 1851 the Bank became known as Glyn, Mills & Company.

Acquisitions included Currie's in 1864, Holt & Co. in 1923 and Child & Co. in 1924. Child & Company, founded in the 1580s, remains part of RBS Group Wealth Management today.[5] In 1923, it also acquired the private military bank Holt & Co. founded in 1809, which continued to trade separately until merged into the Drummonds Bank business in 1992.[6][7]

In 1939, the bank was purchased by Royal Bank of Scotland, which became known as the Three Banks Group.[8]

National BankEdit

The National Bank of Ireland was founded in London in 1835, becoming The National Bank Limited in 1859. The bank's core Irish business was divested to the Governor and Company of the Bank of Ireland as National Bank of Ireland in 1966.[9] The remaining branches in England and Wales were acquired by National Commercial Bank of Scotland (itself formed by the 1959 merger of National Bank of Scotland and Commercial Bank of Scotland), although they continued to trade separately.

In 1969, National Commercial Bank merged with the Royal Bank of Scotland and, in 1970, the National Bank branches became part of the newly formed Williams & Glyn's Bank, consolidating their interests south of the border.[10] In 1972, Williams & Glyn's and five other banks formed the Inter-Alpha Group of Banks, of which RBS Group remains a member, to exploit opportunities in the then European Economic Community.[11]

Proposed revival of the brandEdit

In 2000, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group acquired National Westminster Bank in a hostile takeover.[12] In 2009 it was announced that all 311 Royal Bank branches in England and Wales together with the seven Scottish branches of NatWest were to be divested by the troubled group, possibly under the dormant Williams & Glyn's brand, to comply with European Union state aid requirements.[13][14] The process was expected to take up to four years to complete.[15][16][17][18]

In March 2010, it was reported that the group had issued a sales memorandum for the business, which would include 318 branches and around £20 billion in loans provided to small businesses and households. Following the deadline for initial bids on 7 April, Santander Group, Virgin Money, National Australia Bank, BBVA and the private equity firm JC Flowers were all confirmed to have submitted bids for consideration.[19] It was announced on 3 August that the Spanish Santander Group would pay around £1.65 billion for the branches, expected to be rebranded as part of Santander UK, in a deal set to be completed by December 2013.[20] Santander withdrew from the sale on 12 October 2012.[21]

In September 2013, the group confirmed it had reached an agreement to sell 314 branches to the Corsair consortium, made up of private equity firms and a number of institutional investors. The branches, incorporating 250,000 small business customers, 1,200 medium business customers and 1.8 million personal banking customers, were due to separated from the group in 2015 as a standalone business under the Williams & Glyn's name.[22] It was announced in 2013 that the new bank would be known as Williams & Glyn, owing to the difficulty of using an apostrophe in branding and website addresses.[23] The name Glyn is historically accurate however, as the bank was originally formed by merging Williams Deacon's Bank with Glyn, Mills & Co.

In August 2016, RBS cancelled its plan to spin off Williams & Glyn as a separate business, stating that the new bank could not survive independently given the exigencies involved in Brexit. It revealed it would instead seek to sell the operation to another bank.[24]

In February 2017, HM Treasury suggested that the bank should abandon the plan to sell the operation, and instead focus on initiatives to boost competition within business banking in the United Kingdom. This plan was formally approved by the European Commission in September 2017.[25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Registered in England and Wales under the Companies Act 1985, No. 952374
  2. ^ The Williams & Glyn's Bank Act 1970 (cap. 14), see HC Deb. 23 July 1970 Vol. 804 cc.758-60 for Royal Assent
  3. ^ Williams & Glyn's Bank Ltd, London, 1970-85 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Heritage Archives (retrieved 23 November 2009) Archived 4 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b A H Allman et al, Williams Deacon’s 1771-1970 (1971)
  5. ^ Child & Co, London, c.1580s-date The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Heritage Archives (retrieved 23 November 2009)
  6. ^ Holt & Co, London, 1809-1992 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Heritage Archives (retrieved 11 May 2010)
  7. ^ Holt's Military Banking Royal Bank of Scotland (retrieved 11 May 2010)
  8. ^ Glyn, Mills & Co, London, 1753-1970 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Heritage Archives (retrieved 23 November 2009)
  9. ^ Not to be confused with the present day National Irish Bank, formed in 1986 as Northern Bank (Ireland) Limited, the National Bank of Ireland was merged into the Bank of Ireland in 1969
  10. ^ The National Bank Ltd, London, 1835-1970 The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Heritage Archives (retrieved 23 November 2009)
  11. ^ The Royal Bank of Scotland Group The Inter-Alpha Group of Banks (retrieved 21 January 2010)
  12. ^ NatWest takeover battle BBC News, 11 February 2000 09:53 GMT
  13. ^ Announcement on the APS and State Aid Discussions The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Company Announcements, 3 November 2009
  14. ^ Scottish Branch Sale National Westminster Bank (retrieved 23 November 2009). In 1975 NatWest had been one of the first London banks to open a representative office in Scotland
  15. ^ Hill, Andrew Welcome back, Williams & Glyn’s, the SME’s friend The Financial Times, 13 October 2009
  16. ^ Dey, Iain RBS to relaunch historic Williams & Glyn's brand after 24 year absence The Sunday Times, 13 September 2009
  17. ^ Hosking, Patrick Williams & Glyn's bank could make comeback The Times, 15 September 2009
  18. ^ Mason, Rowena and Blackden, Richard New banks on the High Street: Williams and Glyn's The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2009
  19. ^ Harry Wilson (8 April 2010). "RBS offers loans to buy payment-processing arm". Daily Telegraph.
  20. ^ RBS sells 318 branches to Santander BBC News, 4 August 2010 11:40 BST
  21. ^ "RBS sale of 316 branches to Santander collapses". BBC News. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  22. ^ "RBS sells 314 bank branches to Corsair consortium". BBC News. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  23. ^ Slater, Steve (19 December 2013). "RBS's Williams & Glyn: shorter name as split takes shape". Reuters. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  24. ^ "RBS cancels Williams & Glyn project and loses another £2bn". The Telegraph. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  25. ^ "RBS plans: Williams & Glyn sale should be dropped, UK says". BBC News. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017.

External linksEdit