Ross-on-Wye is a town in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1863.
National Provincial Bank of England
NatWest’s Ross-on-Wye branch first opened as a branch of National Provincial Bank of England in 1863. In February that year, rumours of fraud had forced two private banks in the town to suspend payments. A subsequent inquiry uncovered a £30,000 fraud by a clerk at one of them, Hereford Old Bank. The resulting bank failures left the residents of the town with severely reduced banking facilities. This situation attracted the attention of the directors of National Provincial Bank of England, which already had a number of branches in the area, and they agreed to open a branch in Ross to fill the gap that had been left. Suitable premises were found in Broad Street and the new branch opened on 14 May 1863 under the management of Mr Josiah Smith, who had previously been a managing clerk of one of the failed banks.
The new branch flourished, and in 1904 National Provincial Bank of England purchased the freehold of 15 Market Place.
Mergers and growth
During the early decades of the 20th century banks faced increasing competition and were forced to grow in order to compete. In 1918 National Provincial Bank of England merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank to form one of the emerging ‘big five’ high street banks, later known as National Provincial Bank.
In 1926 the bank bought 1 and 2 Gloucester Road, adjacent to Ross branch’s existing building. Initially rented out, these premises were later converted to provide the branch with additional space.