RBS finally closes its ‘bad bank’ – report

Royal Bank of Scotland has closed the “bad bank” it set up to sell unwanted assets nearly 10 years after RBS was rescued in a £45 billion bailout by the UK taxpayer, according to a Reuters report.

The closure of its Capital Resolution division is considered by analysts to be an important milestone on RBS’s road to recovery.

RBS shares have risen about 23% this year, helped by the bank’s return to quarterly profitability.

The report said its balance sheet is around £1.5 trillion lighter than when it began selling off assets in 2008.

Last week, the UK government said it planned to sell £3 billion of RBS shares in the next financial year to commence a reprivatisation of the bank, still 71%-owned by UK taxpayers.

Reuters said RBS announced the bad bank closure in a memo on Thursday to its 80 remaining staff.

“The closing of Capital Resolution is a key moment for RBS,” said RBS CEO Ross McEwan.

“It has taken nearly 10 years to undo the consequences of the global ambitions pursued by RBS in the run-up to the crisis.

“We have gone from a bank with a balance sheet bigger than UK GDP to the smaller, safer bank we are today.”

RBS said it had folded the remaining £23.1 billion worth of unwanted assets back into the bank to be sold or disposed of, including a £7 billion stake in Saudi Arabian bank Alawwal, Reuters reported.