Annan is a town in Scotland. The Royal Bank of Scotland traces its heritage there back to 1812.
Our first presence in Annan
The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Annan branch was originally opened by Commercial Bank of Scotland in September 1812. Annan at that time was already an important centre, serving a wide surrounding agricultural district. After Commercial Bank of Scotland was founded in Edinburgh in 1810, a group of local merchants approached the new bank to suggest opening a branch in Annan. The new bank, keen to establish a branch network, quickly agreed.
Among those who had approached the bank was James Scott, one of the district’s foremost merchants and a former town provost. The other petitioners persuaded him to become the branch’s first agent (that is, manager). He held the post until his death in 1848.
The new branch thrived. By the end of its first year, it held around £25,000 in deposits. By 1830, that figure had reached over £100,000. Such growth demanded improved facilities, and in 1839 the bank moved from its original address on the south side of High Street to 52 High Street, where it has remained ever since. The current building was erected for the bank in the 1860s.
Annan Savings Bank
In 1835 a savings bank was established in Annan. The founders of Annan Savings Bank included Rev. Henry Duncan, creator of the world’s first savings bank in Ruthwell 25 years earlier, and his friend James Simpson, accountant at the Commercial Bank’s Annan branch. Through Simpson’s involvement, the Savings Bank and the Commercial Bank enjoyed a close relationship from the outset. From 1848, when Simpson became joint agent of the Commercial Bank branch, until 1969, the Savings Bank’s secretary was always the Annan agent of the Commercial Bank.
Twentieth century and beyond
Annan’s need for bank services continued to grow, and in 1909 The Royal Bank of Scotland opened a branch in Annan. Harder times came with the First World War. Men from Annan banks were among those who went away to fight. Among them, one man from the Royal Bank and three from the Commercial Bank lost their lives.
After the Second World War, Scottish banking entered a period of mergers. In 1959 Commercial Bank of Scotland merged with National Bank of Scotland. Annan, like all the branches of both banks, became part of National Commercial Bank of Scotland. Ten years later, that bank itself merged with The Royal Bank of Scotland. In Annan, the Royal Bank now had two branches, both located on the High Street, so in 1970 the two branches were brought together under one roof at 52 High Street.
In 1985 The Royal Bank of Scotland acquired Annan Savings Bank. The Royal Bank had continued the Commercial Bank’s long-standing relationship with the Savings Bank, and had provided it with computer services since the late 1960s. The acquisition was timed for the day after Annan Savings Bank reached its 150th anniversary on 31 January 1985. Thereafter it became a branch of The Royal Bank of Scotland.
In 1988 the Royal Bank refurbished its premises at 52 High Street, introducing the open plan office layout that was then just becoming popular. Upon completion of that work, the Bank’s two Annan branches merged. 52 High Street remains the home of The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Annan branch today.