Last year we set ourselves an ambitious set of long-term goals, including a stated ambition to be number one for customer service, trust and advocacy. I joined RBS about nine months ago now and my focus for 2014 was to deliver some of the more immediate financial commitments. This meant I had to ensure we delivered on cost savings totalling £1 billion and improve our core capital position. We’re on track to deliver our cost savings and we’re doing a much better job with our core capital position than the market expected.
There were a number of strategic events in 2014 which are indicative of the progress being made. The IPO of our US bank, Citizens, raised us around $3.5 billion in the biggest ever US bank IPO. We put our international private banking and wealth management activities up for sale, and our ‘bad bank’, RCR, did a great job of running off some of our riskiest assets. We’ve made good on our promises for 2014 and this has positioned us very well from a credibility perspective as we move into 2015 and beyond.
Our financial foundations are deeply connected to our customer facing franchises; we can’t get away from that. Over the next year, the overriding priority for Finance continues to be making RBS stronger and safer. But in addition to building on recent progress made in this area, we’re undertaking a major piece of work to improve the quality of management information we provide across the businesses. When complete, I hope colleagues on the front line will have the right tools to make informed choices on how and where to invest to make us a much better bank for customers.
I get to spend a lot of time with investors in my role, and I’ve seen a real change in their attitude towards us over the past nine months. Our share price appreciated more than any other UK bank last year because investors have faith in our long term strategy for this bank and how well we’re executing against that strategy. We need to continue to build on this and create a great bank that delivers value for both customers and shareholders.