Britain’s biggest banks will reveal annual results this week amid fears of more job losses and as the sector continues to pay for past scandals.
Aside from the beleaguered Royal Bank of Scotland, all of the main lenders are expected to show solid profits, with surging stock markets helping those with investment banking operations.
Ulster Bank owner RBS is likely to take the shine off progress elsewhere in the sector when it reports on Friday and is expected to announce another round of job losses as it remains deep in the red for the ninth year.
Reports suggest boss Ross McEwan will outline yet more cost cutting, which is expected to see him swing the axe on the workforce once again.
Analysts are expecting eye-watering annual losses of £6.1 billion, which would be one of the group’s biggest losses since its government bail-out.
The group revealed recently it had set aside another $3.8 bn (£3.1bn) ahead of an expected fine from US authorities, which will be included in the bank’s results for the fourth quarter of 2016.
It had already sunk into the red by £2.5bn for the first nine months of 2016 and the provision will see full-year losses widen substantially, adding to the losses of more than £50bn notched up over the past eight years.
It has been a difficult past year for RBS, having failed Bank of England stress tests late in 2016, while also facing more controversy over its treatment of struggling businesses and seeing Santander ditch talks to buy its Williams & Glyn branches for a second time.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has already said the Government does now not expect to offload its 72% stake until after 2020 and the bank has many hurdles yet to clear.