natwest logo

It is probably true to say that the NatWest bank is a household name the length and the breadth of the country. As the biggest commercial and retail bank in the UK, it has maintained a presence on many a high street - as one of the "Big Four" British banks - and it continues to trade under the same name despite takeovers and the financial crisis that saw many UK banks bailed out through the use of public funds following the financial collapse of 2008.

History

NatWest can trace its origins as far back as 1650 and the founding of Smith's Bank of Nottingham.

It was not until 1968, however, that the name of the National Westminster Bank saw first light, following the merger of the National Provincial Bank (which was founded in 1833 and originally named the National Provincial Bank of England) and the Westminster Bank (which was founded in 1834 and originally named the London County and Westminster Bank).

Financial deregulation in the 1980s marked the beginning of a period of uncertainty and controversy for NatWest. Its diversification away from personal banking and financial services such as insurance into the high-risk world of securities was widely regarded as less than successful. Expansion strategies were eventually reversed through the divestment of certain operating activities.

By the end of the 1990s the NatWest bank was the subject of hostile takeover bids from both the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), with the latter finally winning out in early 2000 as the largest takeover in British history.

Financial difficulties on the commercial banking and financial securities front, however, seemed never far away and in 2008 the UK government bought a share of up to 58% in the Royal Bank of Scotland to prevent its failure.

Personal banking services

Through all the expansion and contraction of its operations in international markets, the controversies of takeovers and government funding, however, NatWest continues to service some 7.5 million personal customers across a network of approximately 1,600 branches in England and Wales.

Landlord insurance

Included amongst those services to individuals and small businesses, of course, is insurance for landlords, the owners of buy to let property and residential management companies.

NatWest maintains a network of specialist advisers to landlords looking to protect their investment against the risks of fire, storm damage, flooding or escapes of fuel or water. Insurance also takes into account the need for adequate compensation in the event of loss of rental income following any insured event.

Equally important is likely to be the need for cover against the landlord's liability for personal injury or other loss suffered by a tenant or visitor to your let property or passing member of the public.