The National Provincial Bank was a retail bank which operated in England and Wales from 1833 until its merger into the National Westminster Bank in 1970. The bank remains a registered company but is dormant.
The National Provincial Bank was organised as a joint-stock company in 1833. At the time, the Bank of England had exclusive statutory power to issue banknotes within a 65 mile radius of London. Although the bank’s administrative offices were in London, it decided to open its branches outside the 65 mile radius so that the bank could issue its own notes.
From the beginning National Provincial lived up to its name, serving provincial customers throughout England. The first branch of the bank was opened on 1st January 1834 in Gloucester. By the mid-1860s, National Provincial had acquired more than a dozen small banks and had established 122 branches in England and Wales. A London banking office was finally opened in 1866. Expansion continued with the take over of a number of London-based banking companies, as well as further acquisitions in the provinces.
In 1903 National Provincial merged with Union of London and Smith’s Bank, trading for a few years as the National Provincial and Union Bank of England, before the name was shortened to National Provincial Bank Ltd. in 1924.
In 1968 National Provincial Bank merged with Westminster Bank and the new company, National Westminster Bank Ltd., opened its doors for business on 1st January 1970. NatWest, as it became known, is now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.