Tuesday, October 1, 2013

News: Williams & Glyn's set to return to Rotherham's High Street

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Williams & Glyn's, a bank brand that has been dormant for nearly 30 years, will soon return to Rotherham's High Street under a deal signed by The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS).

The historic bank building on the High Street in the town centre is one of over 300 branches in the UK that RBS must sell after a European Commission ruling following its 2008 government bail-out.

RBS agreed a £600m pre-IPO investment at the end of last week with a consortium of investors led by global financial services specialists Corsair Capital and Centerbridge Partners.

The deal paves the way for a initial public offering and the selling of shares as the brand is separated from RBS and operates as a standalone "challenger" bank.

John Maltby, CEO designate of Williams & Glyn's, said: "Williams & Glyn's will have unique advantages. It will combine the heritage of an established bank, a strong national customer franchise and an experienced and committed team with the agility, motivation and growth opportunities of a challenger. Williams & Glyn's will commit to the highest standards of banking ethics and business conduct while providing increased customer choice in the UK Banking market."

The Rotherham branch has its history in the Sheffield & Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Co Ltd (1792-1907) which was a past constituent of RBS. The bank was established in 1792 by famous Rotherham steelmakers, the Walker brothers; along with Vincent Eyre, agent of the Duke of Norfolk, the principal landowner in the area; and William Stanley, a local businessman described as a "gentleman well-known and much respected at Rotherham."

Walkers, Eyre & Stanley was renamed Walkers & Stanley in 1829 and in 1836 the business was sold for £27,000 to a new joint-stock company, Sheffield & Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Co. The bank grew rapidly but the business was not without problems. Major accounting deficiencies were discovered during the 1840s and bad debts soared during the local commercial depression of the late 1870s.

In 1907, with a paid-up capital of £256,000, the bank was acquired by Williams Deacon's Bank Ltd of London and Manchester. This was later acquired by RBS and amalgamated with other acquired networks to form Williams & Glyn's Bank in 1970.

The Grade II listed building that stands at the foot of Rotherham's High Street today was built in 1892 possibly on the site of the "OLD BANK / FOUNDED 1792" as the sign above the doorway reads. The impressive building is notable for its polished granite columns.

Last year the branch was due to be acquired by Spanish bank Santandar, but the delayed deal to buy 316 RBS branches collapsed. Rotherham branches at Wickersley and Swallownest are also included in the sale with William & Glyn's set to launch in 2015.

RBS website

Images: Rotherham Archives and Local Studies

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