International Westminster Bank Ltd

International Westminster Bank Ltd (1913-89) was a past constituent of NatWest.

Brief history

This overseas bank was formed in 1913 as London County & Westminster Bank (Paris) Ltd, a subsidiary of London County & Westminster Bank. It had a paid-up capital of £200,000 and was wholly owned by the parent bank. Branches were opened in Paris (1913), Bordeaux (1917), Lyons (1918), Marseilles (1918) and Nantes (1919).

In 1920 the bank was converted into a foreign bank and renamed London County Westminster & Parr's Foreign Bank Ltd. At this time a number of Spanish and Belgian branches, originally opened as London County & Westminster Bank branches, at Madrid (1917), Barcelona (1917), Antwerp (1919), Brussels (1919), Bilbao (1919) and Valencia (1920), were transferred to the foreign bank. The bank was renamed Westminster Foreign Bank Ltd in 1923. All the Spanish branches were closed in 1923-4 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.

After the war the bank changed little until 1961, when it was given a restricted licence to deal in deposits and started Euro-dollar operations. In 1963 the bank was given authorised bank status and established a London branch. By 1967 the bank had a staff of over 500. In 1968 Westminster Bank merged with National Provincial Bank to form National Westminster Bank and thereafter Westminster Foreign Bank became part of the new bank’s International Banking Division. Branches were opened in Nice (1970) and Frankfurt (1972). By 1972 the bank’s deposits exceeded £900 million. Its main operations in London were four-fold: taking deposits for fixed periods of short or medium term from banks and individual and corporate customers; taking deposits against issue of its own negotiable certificates of deposit; placing funds with banks; and making loans to commercial customers directly or through consortia.

The bank was renamed International Westminster Bank Ltd in 1973. In 1982 its Frankfurt office was merged with Global Bank AG to form Deutsche Westminster Bank and in 1988 National Westminster Bank SA was incorporated in France and took over the bank’s branches in France and Monaco. In 1989 International Westminster Bank was merged into National Westminster Bank plc by Act of Parliament as there was no longer any advantage in operating separately.

Summary of our archive holdings

Our archival records of International Westminster Bank Ltd have the reference code IWB.

For help understanding words used here, check our glossary of banking record types (PDF 24KB).

Corporate records

  • papers re establishment 1913-4
  • register of directors 1913-21
  • foreign business committee minutes, 1913-39
  • daily committee minutes, 1913-69
  • certificat de constitution/articles of association 1913-71
  • directors’ meeting minutes, 1913-(1985)
  • certificates of incorporation 1914-23
  • staff committee minutes 1914-39
  • annual general meeting minutes 1914-58
  • premises committee minute book 1915-38
  • special papers re administration 1920-68
  • change of name papers 1923
  • annual reports 1928-68
  • war procedure books 1939
  • report re war conditions 1940-1
  • scrapbook re assistance to prisoners-of-war 1944-6
  • telegraphic code leaflet 1953
  • annual general meeting minutes 1959-(1985)
  • reports on bank’s activities 1967-75

Financial records

  • annual accounts 1915-39
  • papers re increase of capital, 1917-20
  • general ledgers 1920-64
  • balance sheets 1921-50
  • accounts published in Moniteur Belge 1928-39, 1946-59
  • annual reports 1941-69

Customer records

  • cheque books 1910s-24
  • specimen cheque forms n.d.

Head office branch records

  • Spanish branch opening and closure papers 1917-23
  • reports re branches 1921-30
  • branch statutory statement notices 1922-3
  • authorised signature books 1923-38
  • branch statistics 1955-68

Staff records

  • procedural notices and instructions 1918-31
  • staff magazine c.1920-57
  • staff circulars, 1921-30
  • authorised signature books 1922-3
  • staff lists 1928-40
  • football club photograph 1929

Property records

  • papers re Paris premises 1917
  • branch photographs 1919-89
  • branch plan, Nantes 1920, 1940
  • premises ledger 1930-73

Marketing records

  • war bond posters 1910s
  • presscuttings re branches in France and Spain 1922-5
  • brochures: services in France and Belgium 1926, Nice office opening 1970, bank services 1970-3
  • advertisements 1930s, 1970
  • presscutting re capital increase 1970

Branches records

  • selected records