Former Banking Behemoth Ditches Its 300-Year-Old Brand
By Simon Clark
One of the world's oldest banks is moving away from a name that
stretches back almost three centuries.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC will alter its name in a bid to
move on from the legacy of the global financial crisis that saw the
U.K. banking giant receive a GBP45.5 billion ($59.3 billion)
bailout from British taxpayers to prevent it collapsing.
Under new Chief Executive Alison Rose, the lender will change
its name later in 2020 to NatWest Group PLC -- a more trusted
brand, the bank said Friday. Branches in Scotland will retain the
RBS bought London-based NatWest in 2000 and branches in England
still go by that name.
RBS was founded in Edinburgh in 1727 and was one of the largest
banks in the world by assets before the financial crisis. Under the
hard-driving leadership of Fred Goodwin, RBS expanded across three
continents until it crashed in 2008 with a GBP24.1 billion annual
loss, requiring a taxpayer bailout that saw the U.K. government
assume control. The government still owns 62% of the bank.
RBS executives have spent the last decade scaling back
operations by selling assets and cutting thousands of employees.
The bank's assets had shrunk to GBP723 billion as of the end of
2019, from GBP2.4 trillion in 2008.
"Since the financial crisis and the bailout we have focused
attention primarily on the NatWest brand," RBS Chairman Howard
Davies told journalists. "We have exited a lot of the international
business that was not profitable, and all of that was branded RBS,
but that's now gone, " he said. "So it really makes no sense for us
to continue to be called RBS, which was a concept designed for a
global group of banks which we don't any longer have."
Ms. Rose, who took over as CEO in November after working at the
bank for more than 25 years, announced the name change Friday as
RBS published its financial results for 2019. Net profit rose 77%
to GBP3.8 billion in 2019 from the year before and revenue rose 6%
to GBP14.2 billion.
RBS shares were down 6.6% in London trading after the bank
Write to Simon Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 14, 2020 06:23 ET (11:23 GMT)
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