Press Release

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group reports a first quarter operating profit of £713 million, compared with a loss of £1,353 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Key points:

  • First quarter net attributable loss improved to £248 million from a loss of £765 million in the
    fourth quarter of 2009.
  • First quarter operating profit(1) improved to £713 million compared with a loss of £1,353 million in the fourth quarter. After restructuring and other non-operating costs, and £500 million related to the Asset Protection Scheme, the Group recorded a loss before tax of £21 million compared with a profit of £134 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.
  • Operating profit before impairment losses, adjusted for fair value of own debt, improved to
    £3,557 million from £1,476 million in the fourth quarter of 2009.
  • Core bank operating profit improved to £2,272 million, compared with £1,183 million in the
    fourth quarter, led by seasonally strong trading results in Global Banking & Markets (GBM).
  • Net interest margin was 1.92%, up 9 basis points on the fourth quarter, led by increases in GBM and Non-Core.
  • Total Group impairments fell from £3,099 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 to £2,675 million in the first quarter of 2010, reflecting continued underlying improvement in the global economy.
  • Risk-weighted assets increased by 5% to £461 billion, principally as a result of the roll-off of ABN AMRO capital relief trades, as previously guided, along with the weakening of sterling.
  • Core Tier 1 capital ratio of 10.6% compared with 11.0% at 31 December 2009.
  • Deposit growth of £11 billion and the Non-Core run-off helped drive an improvement in the
    Group loan to deposit ratio to 131% from 135% in the fourth quarter of 2009. Core loan to
    deposit ratio improved further to 102%.
  • Continued good progress has been made against published key metrics in our Strategic Plan implementation.
  • Customer franchises remain strong: exemplified by UK Retail, which now serves over 12.8
    million current account customers and continued to grow its mortgage market share.

Stephen Hester, Group Chief Executive, commented:

"Last year we began implementing one of the most significant corporate restructurings ever
undertaken. We said the Plan would take five years to implement. We set out transparently where the milestones would be along the way. And we explained how, if implemented properly, the Plan would turn RBS from a problem into an opportunity for all our constituencies.

Today we show that we remain on track for the delivery of the Plan – we are doing what we said we would do. We have made good progress but there is still significant work to be done. I welcome the market's recognition of our progress to date, but the challenges we still face are real and should not be underestimated.

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 of the risk of specific events (such as those affecting Greece), with the associated danger of contagion. Certain sectors, like real estate, also face a longer term work-out and there are ongoing losses for banks to absorb. At present, global recovery is helping impairments fall a little faster than we expected, though lumpy events may well interrupt that trend. Our medium-term targets already factor in a normalisation of credit conditions.

RBS’s Retail and Commercial businesses are beginning to recover and should drive our growth over the next few years. While we have taken decisive management actions to improve these businesses, the pace of recovery will also be affected by the rate at which credit conditions change and when interest rates return to more normal levels, giving some relief to liability margins.

Global Banking & Markets, our investment bank, is on track with a seasonally strong first quarter, though significantly below the unusual conditions of a year previously. GBM was radically restructured 15 months ago and is the area with greatest people retention challenges, so we are pleased with progress in this important Division.

RBS’s risk profile continues to recover. We made huge balance sheet, capital and liquidity improvements in 2009 and these are now being extended through steady progress, in-line with targets, in Non-Core run-off and disposals. We are substantially improving the internal fabric and machinery of risk management. While not likely to be called upon, we also retain the valuable fallback protection of the Asset Protection Scheme and related contingent capital.

We aspire to be focused and purposeful in pursuit of RBS’s three principal goals:

  • to serve Customers well;
  • to restore the Bank to undoubted standalone strength; and
  • to rebuild sustainable value for all Shareholders and in so doing to enable the UK Government
  • to sell its shareholding profitably over time.

The first of these goals anchors all our efforts. We have renewed our focus on our Customers and how we serve them, and are investing in our businesses to improve service further. Our Customer franchises are solid and responding to these efforts though it will take time to raise customer service to the levels we aspire to.

We have already made significant progress in restoring the Bank to standalone strength through improvements in our risk profile and management culture. The job of rebuilding sustainable Shareholder value will take longer, and quarterly progress may not always be smooth. Volatility – of markets, of internal and external sentiment and outlook – is a fact of life. We will continue to try to steer a measured and determined course, rebuilding a reputation for delivery and with it the support of our people which is needed to bring about that delivery. Along the way, we are determined to support those who have supported us: to deliver for Customers, for the Communities we serve and for our Shareholders both public and private.

As covered more fully in my 2009 year-end statement, the regulatory landscape remains an area of focus, with a wide range of outcomes still under debate. The impact on economies as a whole, on banks in general and on RBS specifically is still uncertain. RBS welcomes and embraces change and reform and is actively participating to help governments and regulators calibrate measures, understand their consequences and consider timing. Shareholders and all our stakeholders need to be cautious as these issues, along with new taxes and other measures, are debated and progressed.

So, as 2010 unfolds we remain optimistic for RBS and the prospects of achieving the Plans laid out and our vision to restore RBS to an admired and high performing institution. Progress to date should give encouragement, but there is no complacency within RBS as we continue the work across our businesses."

Royal Bank of Scotland
Date: 07.05.2010

Get your content published on in just a few clicks.