RBS profit halves as it takes £802m hit, scraps Bó

NatWest-RBS CEO Alison Rose

Royal Bank of Scotland Group said on Friday its operating profit before tax fell to £519 million in its first quarter, down from just over £1 billion for the same period of the previous year.

RBS, which will change its name to NatWest Group plc later this year, took net impairment losses of £802 million, with £628 million of this “in respect of a more uncertain economic outlook.”

However, the RBS results beat analyst expectations partly due to a 9% rise in income from the group’s investment bank NatWest Markets. RBS shares rose about 5%.

RBS is still 62% owned by UK taxpayers following its £45 billion bailout in the 2008 financial crisis.

RBS CEO Alison Rose said: “Every person, family and business has been affected by the current situation and normal business activity has been severely impacted.

“We are putting our purpose into action and I am proud of how we have responded, providing our customers, communities and colleagues with the support they need.

“Although the outlook remains extremely uncertain, we approach the crisis from a position of strength, with confidence in our balance sheet and focus on our strategic priorities.”

RBS also said it will wind down its Bó personal digital account business.

“RBS will bring Bó, our personal digital account, together with Mettle, the digital bank for SMEs,” said RBS.

“As a result, RBS will wind down Bó as a customer-facing brand.

“The technology used in Bó will be integrated into Mettle as it is developed.”