The Royal Bank of Scotland was founded by Royal Charter on 31 May 1727. The new bank opened for business in Ship Close, Edinburgh in December 1727 and immediately began issuing its own Bank Notes, a practice that continues today. On the first anniversary of its foundation the bank invented the overdraft and its first branch was opened in Glasgow in 1783.
The present Royal Bank of Scotland was created through a series of mergers and acquisitions, including Drummonds Bank in 1924, Williams Deacon's Bank in 1930 and Glyn, Mills & Co in 1939. Both Glyn, Mills and Williams Deacon's Bank continued in business as separate entities and, together with The Royal Bank of Scotland, traded as the Three Banks Group until 1970 when the two London clearing banks combined to form Williams & Glyn's Bank Ltd.
In addition, in 1969, The Royal Bank of Scotland amalgamated with National Commercial Bank of Scotland. Sixteen years later, in September 1985, the business of Williams & Glyn's Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland were merged.
During the 1980's the group diversified, setting up an innovative car insurance company, Direct Line, and acquiring Citizens Financial Group of Rhode Island in the USA in 1988. Both were to prove highly successful ventures.
Direct Line is a leading provider of car insurance in the UK, Spain and Italy and also provides other insurance services such as home insurance and travel insurance.
Citizens Bank has grown over the years and is now the 8th largest commercial banking company in the United States by deposits. It has more than 1,600 branches and approximately 3,200 ATM's across 13 states and employs some 26,000 people.
In 2000 the Royal Bank acquired National Westminster Bank plc, in the biggest takeover in the history of British banking, to create a huge Group, with a highly diversified portfolio of services for personal, business and corporate customers. NatWest's retail bank continues to operate as a distinct and separate brand on the High Street.
In 2005 the RBS Group opened its world Headquarters at Gogarburn on the outskirts of Edinburgh. It has operations in more than 30 countries and is one of the top 10 banks in the world by market capitalisation with more than 40% of its income generated outside the UK.