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HSBC's history in Wales can be traced back to the 18th century.
The Wealth of Wales
The story begins in 1752 when the Banc y Llong, reputedly the first bank in Wales, opened in Aberystwyth.
This was an era of new opportunities: roads and canals were constructed, which opened up the country's abundant coal and mineral resources to industrial development. The arrival of the railways in the 1840s led to large-scale development of the Welsh industry.
The First Banks in Wales
Banking developed alongside industry. HSBC's earliest predecessors in Wales include the North Wales Bank (or Sankey & Co), a partnership formed in 1790 between coal and lead industrialists in Holywell.
On a larger scale, the Swansea Bank was launched in 1872 by local industrialists who realised that the existing banking arrangements were too limited to provide for Swansea's rapid expansion. It proceeded to open branches in the developing ports of South Wales. After extending its operations to Cardiff in 1889, it was renamed the South Wales Union Bank.
1762 Banc y Llong founded in Aberwystwyth.
1790 The North Wales Bank (Sankey & Co), founded in Holywell.
1803 The Old Merionethshire Bank (Williams & Son), founded in Dolgellau.
1808 The Kington & Radnorshire Bank, founded in Kington and Knighton.
1822 Douglas, Smalley & Co, founded in Holywell.
1847 The North & South Wales Bank, founded in Liverpool.
1847 Cassons & Co, founded in Porthmadog.
1872 The Swansea Bank (renamed the South Wales Union Bank) founded.
1877 The Bala Banking Company, founded.
1892 The Metropolitan Bank, founded in Birmingham in 1829, gained representation in Wales.
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The Wales Bank
In April 1836 a new banking venture was launched. The North & South Wales Bank (or 'Wales Bank') was established by a group of manufacturers, merchants and businessmen who recognised the need for a bank which provided for the whole of Wales. From its head office in Liverpool, the new bank immediately began to establish a branch network in Wales. Within a month it had acquired the North Wales Bank and the business of the former Banc y Llong and had opened branches in Porthmadog, Ffestiniog, Dolgellau, Welshpool, Newtown and Bishop's Castle. From this base it steadily expanded.
The Metropolitan Bank of England & Wales
Meanwhile the expanding coal and metal industries in South Wales needed increasing sources of capital and the Metropolitan & Birmingham Bank took up the challenge. The move into South Wales was an ideal opportunity as Birmingham industrialists enjoyed historic connections with the coal and metal industries there. By the end of 1893 it had 36 branches and 31 sub-branches which spread throughout South Wales and reached as far north as Llangefni and Llandudno. In the same year it changed its name to the Metropolitan Bank of England & Wales.
Banking in the 20th Century
The Wales Bank and the Metropolitan Bank dominated Welsh banking into the early twentieth century. The Wales Bank continued to expand its branch network by opening in new areas and in 1904 it reached its furthest point south when it opened a branch in Carmarthen. By the end of 1907 the Wales Bank had a network of 84 branches and 24 sub-branches. The Metropolitan bank also continued to expand its business, opening a total of 10 new branches between 1900 and 1910 and acquiring Davies, Banks & Co of Kington in 1910.
However, the two Welsh banks could not compete with the larger, London based banks that were rapidly acquiring nation-wide coverage. In November 1908, the Wales Bank merged with the London, City & Midland (later known as Midland), which was part of one of the largest banks in the UK. The Metropolitan Bank followed suit in 1914.
Today, Midland is called HSBC Bank. It is a principal member of the HSBC Group, one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations, with more than 5,000 offices in 82 countries and territories.
HSBC is proud of its Welsh history and looks forward to continuing its long relationship with the communities of Wales.
Banking and financial services provided to businesses which operate in local communities in Wales.
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Banking and financial services provided to people who live in local communities in Wales.
Contact us today to see how we can help you and your family achieve your financial goals.