The Union Bank of Scotland was established as the Glasgow Union Banking Company in 1830. It was the first of a number of joint-stock banks set up in the city at that time.
The Bank’s business grew rapidly between 1836 and 1843, primarily as a result of amalgamations with other Scottish banks. In consequence of these mergers, the Bank changed its name in 1843, becoming the Union Bank of Scotland.
The name change reflected the Bank’s new national status, both in terms of its geographical reach and its impressive balance sheet. The 1850s were a period of expansion for the Bank. By 1857 the Union Bank of Scotland had 97 branches – more than any other bank in Scotland. A London office was opened in 1878.
In the 1920s the Bank was in financial difficulties. Its fortunes were inextricably linked with the rise and fall of heavy industry. It had lent extensively to this sector, which lurched from crisis to crisis for much of the inter-war period. Despite these troubles, a grand, new head office was opened in 1927 at 110 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow.
The Union Bank of Scotland merged with the Bank of Scotland in 1955. The St. Vincent Street building became Bank of Scotland’s chief office in Glasgow. Today, the Bank of Scotland is part of the Lloyds Banking Group.