Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) new CEO Alison Rose has revealed a new strategy including a planned renaming of the taxpayer-backed group to its biggest brand NatWest, as it reported a better than expected pre-tax profit of £4.2bn ($5.48bn, €5bn).
Rose’s strategy includes plans to cut back its investment bank NatWest Markets by reducing its risk-weighted assets from £38bn to £20bn.
Rose, who replaced former CEO Ross McEwan in November to become the first woman to lead one of Britain’s major banks, is hoping the rebrand will help rehabilitate the bank’s reputation after years of scandals following a £45bn taxpayer rescue during the 2008 financial crisis.
Trade Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC - RBSl CFD
The RBS brand will live on in Scotland, but the bank will stop using the 293-year-old name at group level and adopt the NatWest brand that grew out of National Westminster Bank, which was bought by RBS in 2000.
The payout will amount to £1bn, including a £600m windfall for taxpayers, who still own 62 per cent of the bank.
The British lender’s profit was 24 per cent higher than 2018 and above the £3.8bn average of analysts’ forecasts.
Additionally, RBS signalled it will slightly ease the overall pace of cost-cutting, to £250m of savings this year from £307m in 2019.
However, this will still likely result in further significant job cuts, after the group cut staff numbers by 3,000 in 2019.
The bank is also to stop financing coal power stations by 2030 and is aiming to make its own operations carbon neutral by 2025.
RBS announced a dividend of 8 pence for the fourth quarter.