A new direction
RBS will be a smaller, simpler and smarter UK focused bank that puts the needs of its customers at its core.
We want our customers to trust us more, and to do more business with us which, in turn, will improve the performance of the bank.
By 2020, we aim to be the number one bank for customer service and the most trusted bank in the UK.
We will put customers at the core
We are announcing a series of changes to the services and products we provide to UK personal and business customers.
- We will stop offering different rates to customers online or in branch. Customers should be able to bank with us in the way that is best for them and not pay more for doing so
- We will stop offering deals and products to new customers that we are not prepared to offer our existing customers. We have banned teaser rates on any product. This means, for example, that we will no longer offer 0% balance transfers for credit cards. These changes will start from mid-March
- We will put hundreds of business bankers back on the high street in our branches to help small businesses open accounts, apply for loans, and get the help they need
- We will stop confusing our customers with complicated language they cannot understand. By the end of this year we will be able to explain all of our personal and SME charges on one side of A4 in simple language
- By the end of this year we will halve the number of personal and SME products on offer. We will make it easier for customers to choose a product that suits their needs best, rather than the needs of the bank
- We will make all but the most complex small business lending decisions in five days, not five weeks
- We will cut how long it takes to open a personal current account from five days to next day by the end of this year. Last year we reduced the time it takes to get a debit card to three days. And now, by the end of this year, you will have access to Mobile Banking and Online Banking within one day. We will also improve the process to open a personal current account online so customers can upload their identification, such as their passport, and open their entire account from home
We will be a much simpler bank for our customers
We will move from a bank with seven divisions and seven support departments to a bank with three customer businesses – personal, commercial, and corporate – supported by one shared support structure. By removing complexity and connecting the businesses we will be able to improve the things that matter to customers.
Personal & Business Banking
This business brings together personal customers with smaller business customers, so that we can better serve their needs. This will see business managers back on the high street. It will be led by Les Matheson and build on the progress already being made to simplify banking for personal customers.
Commercial & Private Banking
We are the biggest bank for UK business, and our ambition is to be the best. We know how important businesses and business owners are to the UK economy. They create wealth and jobs and we are placing them together to allow us to meet the financial needs of both. Alison Rose, previously Head of EMEA for Markets & International Banking, will become CEO of this business.
Corporate & Institutional Banking
In recent years we have narrowed the focus of our markets business. We now have a range of products that are well placed to serve the needs of our largest corporate and institutional clients, both in the UK and internationally. This brings UK corporate, international banking, and markets customers together in one place. Donald Workman, who has most recently been working as the bank's Head of Asia, will become Executive Chairman of this new business. Donald has extensive experience across the breadth of this new business.
Chris Sullivan will become Deputy Chief Executive. Chris has been with the bank for almost 40 years and will use his skills and experience to oversee the restructuring of the bank so that it works to the benefit of customers, before retiring next year.
We will be smaller
We will cut our cost base as we move from a structure fit for a global titan to one better suited to a first-rate UK bank. Our cost to income ratio has soared to 73%. We have set out targets today to achieve a cost income ratio of around 55% by 2017 and a longer term target of around 50%. This year that will mean cutting around £1bn of operational spend on things that don’t help our customers.
We have shrunk the investment bank by three quarters since 2008 and, as a result of today’s structural changes, we are going further to reduce Risk Weighted Asset intensity as part of our capital plan – this will result in our Markets business shrinking further. Once the re-sizing is complete we will have a Markets business that achieves acceptable returns while reinforcing our position as a strong corporate bank.
We will be a more UK focused bank, with UK assets increasing from 60% to 80% of our total business.
We will be much smarter
These changes will allow us to invest in technology. We have made progress over the last year in improving the resilience of our systems and our investments over the next 12 months will maintain that focus. Once we have a resilient base, in the following two years we will seek to make progress in building an agile and flexible technology platform that makes banking easier for our customers.
Video: Ross McEwan speaking at The Trampery, 27 February 2014
There’s a neat symmetry between monetary policy in the US and the UK. The US Fed, like the Bank of England, is being scrutinised for signs it’s about to start raising rates. But both institutions have domestic concerns – low inflation, as well as global ones – China’s slowdown. So both are holding off from rate hikes, for now at least.
All news and opinion
There are 27 comments add yours
- That's all wonderful, but what are you going to do about the annoying sales pitches that I'm put through _EVERY_ single time I call you? I've lost count of the number of times I've had to tell a salesperson no, I don't want a premium bank account; no, I don't want a credit card; no, I don't want a loan. I told a different person exactly the same thing last time I called a week ago and (surprise surprise) I haven't changed my mind since!
- A McCann
- Please stop asking me to bank using technology - I bank using pieces of paper and people. Branch assistants asking if I bank online (probably not otherwise I wouldn't be there...). Floating customer service staff asking if they can help (yes get behind the counter and shorten the queue). You continue to run a widespread branch network which is excellent. Don't cripple it by seeking 'better customer outcomes', just have trained staff, manning counters and helping customers. Thank you.
- John Willo
- If 'moving to one shared support structure' and 'further investment in technology' means wasting more millions on the FiRST Programme we shareholders can expect even worse results in the future. If common sense prevails Project Cook will bin FiRST to enable a focus on achieving actual results in 2014 and 2015 rather than spending obscene amounts of money on US software vendors with large client entertainment budgets.
- Eddy Weatherill
- Only a bank could have survived to this point with so many 'own goals'. To gain back the trust of customers this bank needs to take a serious look at every person employed and remove all who have endorsed 'rip off the customer' practices - including GRG and 'Specialist Lending' groups, set up to 'fleece' business customers already struggling to survive. - Eddy Weatherill, chief executive, Independent Banking Advisory Service
- Talk talk talk. Its not a bank anymore its a government institution. They have no idea how to be commercial and only know how to increase costs and reduce efficiency. Would you buy share sin the government? No? Then dont be stupid enough to buy shares in this travesty
- Mike Mumford
- I challenge Ross McEwan to publish my political cartoon print: John Bull's Manifesto to turn around and face the people. My 8 points are directed at our politicians and equally reflect on banker's too. We can both change these objectives and they compare our results. My tip for you is to think much more about the loyalty to it's customers and not treat its self like Royalty, above moral laws.
- Steve Penney
- What consideration is being given to the honest hard-working counter staff that are 'busting a gut' already to provide an honest efficient customer experience. Investors in people do just that, not continually hound them and pressurize into targeting sales yet rewarding them pitifully. The investment in these branch/counter staff should be acknowledged far better and supported, particularly bearing in mind the hostility and abuse they face on a daily basis.
- A Wilcox
- I have banked with Natwest then RBS for over 40 years and have looked at what has gone on regarding the wholesale mismanagement of this company over the last 8 years or so. You say no more hidden problems to come. If Scotland votes for independence and the head office remains in Scotland I will be leaving.
- I think it is only fair to acknowledge that RBS is taking concrete and major measures to support its new structure and approach. This is the first time I am reading specific, basic actionable steps that the non banker can actually relate to. I agree that the constant in branch 'selling' of products needs to be addressed and perhaps RBS can create a less intrusive/more thoughtful way of connecting customers with what is offered in the branches.
- Robert Beney
- Mr McEwan been a customer of Nat West for 60 years, my father 80 years, my grandfather first customer of Beckenham branch Westminster bank. I disagree that you will make RBS better without rebranding. RBS is as bad a name now and always will be. I suggest you take all the good bits and call them Nat West which has not been tarnished and move to London.The resultant bad bits will remain RBS > and leave in Scotland. Brand is everything,I know!
- Bill Ossenfort
- I not very pleased with the bank anymore period!
- Anthony Smith
- I am outraged that RBS is still giving bonuses to its top executives when I as a pensioner has not received one penny since the big crash in the way of share dividends. I was left Nat West shares by my parents which then was a good bank. I hope that Scotland will share the losses when they get independence.
- Daniel Hearsum
- Ross McEwan has set out a clear vision and strategy that makes common sense. Unless someone can put forward a better plan, then he should be supported.
- Tobias Mhando
- Your projections are practical considering the measures you have set at this point in time.
- Margaret Gillespie
- I think putting the customer at the heart of your business will benefit the staff and your customer. I worked in Financial Services sector for 30 years and my manager would always say " is it of benefit to the customer ? " If the answer was no then we did not proceed . Like banking Insurance also lost it's way when we forgot about the customer
- Dear Sir, I am am having great difficulty with RBS chennai. I tried several times over the phone and in writing to them to close my Bank account . Despite making so many requests, they called me over the phone even to my UK number and said they will attend to it . But after every month I get a statement. I am really worried and If I could get a reply from Ross McEvan. . I am really upset with your careless service. Thiru
- Not a single mention of your biggest business: NatWest.
- John Gilbert
- As a long-standing customer I get no benefit from being loyal despite giving the bank a lifetime of revenue and have lost touch with an individual who I can deal with. All major banks have become transaction based and lost the trust that relationships bestow. To succeed NatWest need a customer panel to guide in helping the bank make peoples' lives better and therefore improve their wider social impact. Floating off NatWest from RBS would also help restore full brand culture.
- Phil Whittaker
- Simple and smart with customers at the core of everything you do. It's the right vision and it will work if it receives 100% commitment from all RBS leaders. Ross, you know better than anyone that anything less will give a sub optimal outcome. You are the right man for the job - well done!
- David Hunter
- Great thought that customers matter. Great shame it does not translate to reality. As of last week on a call to RBS I was told: Branches no longer accept incoming calls from customers. Branch managers are "Too busy to meet with customers" Visit the branch and "Perhaps" an assistant could help.David A call centre or nothing!
- M D
- No business has value outside its human stakeholders: On the RBS Customers, I hear Ross and the surrounding parrots, repeating "how important they are" and "how the Bank needs to work with them in centre focus": Better late than never! On the RBS Employees, I read about "restructurings", etc: Will you rid the bank from the "Smiling Networkers", and keep the talent in? On the RBS Shareholders? Nothing. Interesting..... a Shareholder
- David Young
- Anyone who has been and has remained a faithful/loyal customer of The National Westminster Bank must regret like myself its takeover by RBS and can only hope that one day it will be restored to its former status as an independent bank free from the stigma which taints RBS,
- Mark Berry
- I had a business loan with the rbs that we never missed a payment when they realised they had no security for the loan they withdrew my company credit card and tried to bully us into signing our property over to them when we refused stating we had paid this loan for 5 years with no problems they closed our account an we could not get another bank account well done the RBS we have written to the Sunday times and they are taking up the story.
- Karl von Buren
- I have recently dealt with NatWest. The staff clearly dont understand the banks strategy. During the course of obtaining a "buy to let" mortgage I found the bank to be dishonest and lacking integrity. Despite the process going horribly wrong, the attitude was "thats the best we can do.....if you want to complain put it in writing". In the end I lost the property I was hoping to purchase. "The bank that earns your trust"......I dont think so
- Karl von Buren
- Further to my post of 4 June, I thought I would post an update. Well, a week has gone past but not surprisingly very little progress has been made. In fact, NatWest have now decided that, 8 weeks into the mortgage process, there is additional information that is required that they had originally "forgotten" . Professional incompetence of the first order. If anyone is reading this, I seriously recommend that you don't take out a mortgage with NatWest.
- Carole Winkler
- Perhaps you should start by not advertising services you cannot deliver. Although you advertise access to banking statements online, you are not delivering that in at least one instance, and everyone seems befuddled. Stop advertising online services until you have worked out the glitches.
- Chris Mounsor
- What do you make of the Times story today regarding the sale of irhp's to SME. Do you condone this sort of behaviour - or would you rather put right the banks misdeeds and act openly and honestly? http://t.co/O8NNMEONg6