The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, founded in 1727, is one of Europe’s leading financial services groups. By market capitalisation it is the second largest bank in the UK and in Europe and ranks sixth in the world. In March 2000, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group completed the acquisition of NatWest in a £21 billion deal that was the largest takeover in British banking history. The enlarged Royal Bank of Scotland Group has a market capitalisation of £49 billion as at 30th July 2004, compared with £19.7 billion immediately after the takeover. It has more than 22 million UK personal customers, 2,273 UK branches and total assets at 30 June 2004 of £519 billion. The Group employs over 125,000 staff worldwide.