Royal Bank of Scotland has officially changed its name to NatWest Group, relegating the 300-year-old brand in the wake of the financial crisis.
The company confirmed the change in a statement on Thursday, saying the paperwork had been lodged with Companies House in Edinburgh. The bank’s ticker on the London Stock Exchange will change from RBS (RBS.L) to NWG later on Thursday.
RBS first announced plans to change its name in February, part of a push to distance the bank from its financial crisis legacy. It marks the first time RBS has changed its name since founding in 1727.
RBS became synonymous with excess and risky dealmaking during the financial crisis. Former chief executive Fred Goodwin, who led the bank up to the crisis, was stripped of his knighthood in 2012 for his role in the 2008 crash.
The RBS brand will remain on the high street and customers who bank with either RBS or NatWest will not see a difference in service.
“Although there will be no changes to our customer brands, it's a symbolic moment for our colleagues and stakeholders,” chief executive Alison Rose said in a statement.
The name change represents an inauspicious end to the historic Scottish bank’s attempts to become a global superpower. RBS was briefly the biggest bank in the world after a series of takeovers in the 2000s but was forced to seek a government bailout in 2008. The taxpayer still owns over 60% of the bank and the share price has never recovered.
“The bank has changed fundamentally over the last decade and now is the right time to align our Group name with the brand under which the majority of our business is delivered,” Rose said.
NatWest was created in 1968 through the merger of regional banks. RBS acquired it for £21bn in 2000 through a hostile takeover.
“While what we are called is important, it's how we do business that defines us,” Rose said. “In these most challenging of circumstances, we have put in place extraordinary measures to support our customers, colleagues and communities throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“Further tests are sure to come. However, by establishing even deeper relationships with our customers and partners and building on the strong foundations we've put in place over the past 10 years, NatWest Group will help the people, families and businesses we serve to recover, rebuild and, ultimately, thrive.”
The change of name comes ahead of half-year results for the bank next week. Natwest Group will publish six monthly figures next Friday.
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