More jobs set to go as RBS posts £7bn annual loss

RBS is still in the cold while rivals have begun to show a return to profit
RBS is still in the cold while rivals have begun to show a return to profit

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has reported a £7 billion annual loss and announced a major cost-cutting drive expected to result in large-scale job losses.

The taxpayer-backed bank, owner of the Ulster Bank, has racked up nine consecutive years of losses and this figure represents a hefty increase on the £2 billion loss the lender reported last year and is one of the group’s biggest since its Government bailout in 2008.

Chief executive Ross McEwan has ordered a £2bn four-year cost-cutting drive, expected to result in significant job losses and branch closures.

It will include £750 million of savings this year, but Mr McEwan refused to be drawn on how many jobs would go.

He said: “There will be job-losses that we will have to go through to get this business back into shape.”

“I will not give job numbers out, I’ll talk to staff first before anyone else. The £2bn needs to come out and will be broad-ranging - people, property, across the board.

He also addressed speculation surrounding his own position.

When asked if he expects to be at the bank next year, the New Zealander said: “I hope so. We have done a lot of hard work, and I sense this bank is on the turn. It’s my strategy, I’d like to see it concluded.”

The lender, which is 72% owned by the taxpayer, has been stung by billions in restructuring, conduct and litigation charges.

Friday’s figures take into account £10bn in legacy costs, including £5.9bn on conduct charges and a £2.1bn restructuring hit.

The group revealed recently it had set aside another £3.1bn ahead of an expected fine from US authorities, linked to the sale of mortgage-backed securities, which was included in the bank’s results.