RBS: From Brussels With Love

Royal Bank of Scotland, bailed out by British taxpayers in 2008 and still majority owned by Her Majesty’s Government, has made progress toward recovery. But it’ll be people in Brussels, not George Osborne, who decide whether it’s done enough. RBS is half its 2008 size, the capital base is above the industry average and it’s one of a few banks to have quit entire business lines. Dividends should really be around the corner, one-off costs and litigation charges notwithstanding.┬áBut there’s one hurdle left that depends on EU regulators rather than cutting cost: the Brussels-imposed separation and sale of the Williams & Glyn consumer bank by the end of 2017. RBS is now warning of the “significant risk” it will miss that deadline; and incur penalties that could include the EU taking over the sale process.

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