RBS reports first quarter profit


Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is 84% owned by the taxpayer, has today proved it is on the road to recovery after reporting operating profits of £713 million in the first three months of the year, compared with a £1.35 billion loss in the same period a year earlier.

After one-off costs, which included £500 million paid into the Government’s insurance scheme for bad debts, the bank posted a pre-tax loss of £21 million.

Meanwhile, the bank said bad debts fell 14% to £2.7 billion from the previous quarter, to £2.7 billion.

Stephen Hester, the bank’s chief executive, said: “The year has begun for RBS broadly as we had expected. Economic recovery is benefiting our customers and thereby ourselves.

“However, we remain conscious of the economic imbalances still to be tackled globally and the risk of specific events such as those affecting Greece with the associated danger of contagion,” he added.

The bank is the midst of a five-year strategic plan to return the part-nationalised bank to normality and Mr Hester said the plan is “on track“.

Today’s results are a significant improvement on the £24.1 billion loss it reported for 2008 – which represented the largest annual loss in UK corporate history.

The news comes just a week after banking giant Lloyds, also part-owned by the taxpayer, said it had returned to profit during the first quarter of 2010, as a result of a reduction in bad debt.

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