Who are Williams & Glyn's?
They may be almost unknown now, but Williams & Glyn's is hardly a wet-behind-the-ears youngster. Its history actually stretches back for over 250 years and the bank was a familiar name as recently as the 1980s.
What all of this means for you and me is that Williams & Glyn's takeover of RBS branches is more of a renaissance than a virgin birth.
Private equity groups including Corsair Capital, Centrebridge and RIT will spend £600 million on buying the branches and resuscitating the Williams & Glyn brand, with £270 million of that investment coming from RBS itself.
Why do RBS branches need to be sold?
RBS was bailed out by the UK government after the 2008 economic crash. One of the upshots of this saw the European Commission demand RBS Group reduce its presence on the UK high street.
This committed RBS Group to selling off hundreds of its branches, which the Commission hopes will encourage more competition in the banking sector and give consumers (you and me) a better deal.
Which branches are being sold?
In total, more than 314 RBS and NatWest branches will be transferred into the 'new' bank. This includes all 308 RBS branches in England and Wales, and all 6 NatWest branches in Scotland.
The RBS Group branch sale will go through sometime in 2015, with some customers being switched to Williams & Glyn's at the same time.
Which customers will be affected?
There are, of course, many details still to be finalised but we do know that the following customers will become Williams & Glyn's customers along with their branch:
If you have a Personal Banking account attached to one of those branches
If you have a Private Banking account attached to one of those branches
Certain Business and Commercial accounts attached to one of those branches
RBS and NatWest Direct banking customers
Certain "mid-corporate" customers
The transfer of these customers along with their branches should give Williams & Glyn's a 2% share of the UK current accounts market, and 5% of the small business accounts market.
You can check your statement to see if one of the above applies to your account(s); with the only exception being if you hold separate accounts in both England/Wales and in Scotland.
How will those customers be affected?
The bank is being created by RBS, but once the branches are transferred it will be a standalone bank in its own right. This means that they will be able to change their banking products on offer and your accounts could be affected, although in-branch the same staff will deal with your day-to-day banking needs.
For now, however, nothing is changing. The branch sale will take approximately 2 years and until then you can carry on using your RBS / NatWest branches and accounts as normal. You'll also keep your access to all RBS Group products and services until told otherwise.
Williams & Glyn's still has a number of regulatory hoops to jump through, among other things to ensure that your money is fully protected by the FSCS.
You can follow new Williams & Glyn's announcements via the RBS branch information website, and of course we'll update this guide as new information becomes available.
What are Williams & Glyn's plans?
The chief executive will be John Maltby, most recently of Lloyds Banking Group. Initially the bank will be fully owned by private equity firms, which include church-backed The Church Commissioners; however plans have already been announced to float Williams & Glyn's on the stock market by late 2015.
This will see the bank echo the corporate structures of many in the industry, and RBS' multi-million pound investment in Williams & Glyn's will get converted into shares -hopefully recouping some taxpayer money in the process.