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1962 Westminster Bank Ltd

 

 

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Stock Code WES01

 
Company Westminster Bank was a British commercial bank which operated in England and Wales from 1834 until its merger into the National Westminster Bank in 1970.
Description Certificatefor 16 'B'  shares of 1 each. Vignette of arms of the bank and imprint of company seal.
Issued To Miss Mary Violet Altham
Issue Date 4th September 1962
Company Officers
 Duncan Stirling Director Printed Signature
 L R Murray Secretary Actual Signature
Size 24cm wide x 20cm high

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History
The Westminster Bank was organised in 1834 as the London and Westminster Bank, the first joint-stock bank in London. This firm was the first bank established under the auspices of the Bank Charter Act 1833, which allowed joint-stock banks to be founded in London. For various reasons, the press, private banking concerns, and the Bank of England were so hostile to the Bank Charter Act that London and Westminster's management was primarily concerned with defending the company's right to exist rather than setting up an extensive branch network. As a result, the bank opened only six London branches in its first three years and no additional offices were established until nearly 20 years later.
London and Westminster made its first acquisition in 1847, when it bought Young & Son. In about 1870 it acquired Unity Joint-Stock Bank, and mergers with Commercial Bank of London and Middlesex Bank had been arranged in 1861 and 1863 respectively. By 1909 London and Westminster had opened or acquired 37 branches in and around London. Yet, despite this expansion effort, the bank felt the effects of competition from provincial banks like Lloyds and Midland. These two banks had already established large regional branch networks and were quickly encroaching upon the London market. In order to meet this challenge, in 1909, London and Westminster merged with the influential and prestigious London and County Bank, which had 70 offices citywide and almost 200 in rural counties.

The Surrey, Kent and Sussex Banking Company had been established at Southwark in 1836 and soon had branches in places like Croydon, Brighton, Maidstone and Woolwich. It was renamed the London and County Banking Co. in 1839. By 1875 it had over 150 branches and was the largest British bank. The resulting entity was named the London County and Westminster Bank

In 1913, the bank formed a subsidiary, London County and Westminster Bank (Paris), which opened branches during and after World War I in Bordeaux (1917), Lyon (1918), Marseilles (1918) and Nantes (1919). The bank itself also directly established offices in Madrid (1917), Barcelona (1917), Antwerp (1919), Brussels (1919), Bilbao (1919) and Valencia (1920). These operations were converted into a foreign bank in 1920 and renamed London County Westminster and Parrs Foreign Bank, becoming Westminster Foreign Bank in 1923. All the Spanish branches were closed in 19234 due to deteriorating economic conditions in Spain and discrimination against foreign banks. Control of the remaining branches was exercised from London, although between 1940 and 1944 contact with them was lost due to the German occupation.
Birkbeck Building and Freehold Land Society, formed in 1851, developed a large deposit-taking business that developed into banking activity. Cheque books were issued from 1858 and by 1872 the business was trading under the title of Birkbeck Bank. In 1910, when its balance sheet totalled 12.26 million and it had 112,817 accounts, the bank experienced a run. Continuing rumours about its financial position and a climate of depreciation in gilt-edged securities, led to a suspension of payments. The Bank of England provided support for the immediate payment of 10 shillings in the pound to depositors, but as most of its deposits were held as long-term securities the bank lacked liquidity and went into receivership. In 1911 its goodwill and premises were purchased from the receiver by London County and Westminster Bank. In 1917, bank officials decided to acquire the Ulster Bank (which continued to operate separately), with 170 branches throughout Ireland, and in 1918 bought Parr's Bank, with over 320 offices throughout England.[8] These purchases made London County Westminster and Parrs (which became simply Westminster Bank Limited in 1923) the fifth-largest bank in England. The Parr's name survives in the Bloomsbury, Parr's Branch of National Westminster Bank at 214 High Holborn, London, WC1.
During the economic difficulties of the late 1920s and early 1930s, the bank kept tight centralised control over the continental branch of the business to avoid the dangers of too rapid an expansion in unfamiliar markets, but this policy stunted Westminster's international operations. It did mean that the bank escaped the bad debts and currency fluctuations that plagued many other banks between the world wars, allowing the domestic side of the business to grow steadily.

The merger of Westminster and National Provincial Bank, announced in early 1968, shocked the British public and banking community. In the late 1960s, the Bank of England tried to rationalise the banking industry through a policy known as competition and credit control, which aimed to put banks on a more equal and competitive footing and to improve control of the nation's money supply. Although the Bank of England indicated a willingness to allow mergers as part of the rationalisation process, no one had seriously believed it would permit mergers among the largest and most influential banks.
The District Bank (a 1962 National Provincial acquisition), National Provincial, and Westminster Bank were fully integrated in the new firm's structure, while Coutts & Co. (a 1920 National Provincial acquisition), Ulster Bank and the Isle of Man Bank (a 1961 National Provincial acquisition) continued as separate operations. Duncan Stirling, chairman of Westminster Bank, became first chairman of the fifth largest bank in the world. In 1969 David Robarts, former chairman of National Provincial, assumed Stirling's position. The statutory process of integration was completed in 1969 and the new company, National Westminster Bank Limited, opened its doors for business on 01 January 1970. NatWest, as it became known, is now part of the The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

source: wikipedia.org

 

 

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