Our history

The world first saw the name NatWest Markets in 1992. But first, let’s journey back a little further to understand our history & heritage.

1968-1970: Three was the magic number

Back in the 60s, 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 through a lineage of prestigious constituents, dating back to the 1650s. The statutory process of integration was completed in 1969 and National Westminster Bank commenced trading on 1 January 1970, with the three-arrowheads symbol as its logo.

Interesting fact

The three blocks in NatWest’s logo represent the three merged banks. They even made it to the top of the NatWest Tower.


1970-1979: Going global and the tech takeover

Technology started to change the way we bank and NatWest led the way in its introduction. Their first credit card, ‘Access’, became available in 1972, followed closely by computer linked ATM service tills in 1976.

The time was right to shift focus globally. We invested in life-changing projects, like the channel tunnel. And a group venture to extract oil from The North Sea inspired ongoing energy exploration.

Then came the expansion into three continents. Our retail unit moved into several European countries and bought the National Bank of North America with 144 branches in the state of New York. We created an International Banking Division to serve large companies in the same continents as well as reaching over to the Far East.

1980-1988: Prime property and deregulation

Attention soon turned to property. Our merchant arm of the business, County Bank, later renamed County NatWest and then NatWest Investment Bank, invested in builds that would transform communities up and down the country: Most notably, Billingsgate Market in London and the MetroCentre in Gateshead. In 1981 we moved into the securities business.

It was at this time that banks and their services were being steadily deregulated, prompting the ‘big bang’ of 1986 opening up the square mile to more international banks, screen based trading and a financial services boom.

1989-1999: The creation of NatWest Markets

Enter NatWest Markets - NatWest’s corporate banking and investment arms came together under the single name.

We set up a base across the pond and bought US bond dealer Greenwich Capital Holdings Inc. Our global fixed-income business was then renamed Greenwich NatWest.

Meanwhile, outside the US, our FX and money markets business was renamed NatWest Global Financial Markets.

2000-2008: The arrival of RBS Prime property and deregulation

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 kept their retail presence but NatWest Markets was rebranded RBS Corporate Banking & Financial Markets.

At around the same time, global economic powers started to shift. RBS faced stiff competition to stay current. And in an effort to turn the tide the Group led a consortium to buy Dutch bank ABN AMRO. But it proved an untimely deal. In 2008, the global financial crisis brought the banking industry to a near standstill, and the subsequent bailout resulted in the UK government taking ownership of 78% of the Group.

2009-present day: Getting back to our founding principles

We’ve spent the past five years transforming our business in the UK’s biggest corporate turnaround.  In 2016, our retail brand, NatWest, also became the brand name for the business we’re doing with private banking customers, business customers and large corporates in Western Europe.  

The same year, with the start of separating the ring-fenced and non-ring-fenced activities of RBS Group, we relaunched our brand name NatWest Markets to be the name for our business with corporate and institutional clients.

NatWest Markets’ DNA is made of:

Relationships built on colour, content and ideas

We’re very proud of the strong partnerships we have with our clients around the world. Our ability to anticipate the broad range of risk management and financing challenges they face means we are able to tailor solutions to help them address those challenges. Our teams in Europe, the US and Asia have had real success building client trust by consistently and proactively providing them with relevant market colour, content and ideas, backed up by seamless trade execution and delivery of innovative solutions.

We’re also supporting our clients through the uncertainties of Brexit. When the UK leaves the European Union (EU), our plan is to continue to work with our European Economic Area (EEA) clients from our bank in the Netherlands, NatWest Markets N.V..

Our people

We’ve demonstrated our ability to attract talented, diverse, driven people, and we’re committed to helping them reach their potential. The results from our 2018 employee survey were the best we’ve ever reported. All key measures have improved and the majority of our scores are now above the global financial benchmark. Our strong results were also echoed in this year’s Banking Standards Board assessment which showed that, across a range of measures, we’ve made more progress than our peers.

A simpler business

As the world around us changes, we’re changing with it. We’re embracing the power of new technology so we can better deliver insights and solutions to our clients, drive cost efficiencies and increase profitability. By continuing to automate and simplify our business and its processes we’ve radically improved our operating model.

We’re still on a journey, creating a new business that's very different from that of the past, and we look forward to writing the next chapter of our story with you.