UK bank RBS logs falling profit on competition, Brexit

The logo of the Royal Bank of Scotland is seen at an office in London February 6, 2013. — Reuters pic
The logo of the Royal Bank of Scotland is seen at an office in London February 6, 2013. — Reuters pic

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LONDON, April 26 — Britain’s state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland said today that first-quarter net profits sank 12.5 per cent, hit by fierce competition in the mortgage market and ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

Profit after tax slid to £707 million (RM3.78 billion) in the first three months of 2019, down from £808 million a year earlier, RBS said in a statement issued one day after chief executive Ross McEwan decided to resign.

Turning to the overall outlook, it warned that Brexit would make the group’s performance “challenging”.

“While we retain the outlook guidance... we recognise that the ongoing impact of Brexit uncertainty on the economy, and associated delay in business borrowing decisions, is likely to make income growth more challenging in the near term,” RBS said.

RBS had revealed yesterday that McEwan will step down after having steered it to a strong financial position over the last five and a half years.

“This is a solid set of results set against a highly uncertain and competitive backdrop,” McEwan said today.

“We continue to support our customers through this Brexit uncertainty while investing and innovating in digital services to meet rapidly changing customer needs.”

The Edinburgh-based lender is still 62.4 per cent government-owned after its bailout at the top of the global financial crisis.

New Zealander McEwan has been at the helm since 2013 and helped guide the financial services giant to a steady recovery with a drastic restructuring after the dramatic bailout during the 2008 financial meltdown.

The 61-year-old has a 12-month notice period and will remain in the position until a successor has been appointed. — AFP

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