Bailed out: Royal Bank of Scotland is set to announce losses of £3.5bn on Friday. It is worth £26bn – and the Government paid £45.5bn
(Bloomberg) — Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Britain’s biggest government-owned lender, posted a wider full- year loss than analysts estimated after writing down Greek debt and compensating customers who were improperly sold insurance.
The net loss for 2011 was 2 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) compared with 1.1 billion pounds a year earlier, the U.K.’s second-largest bank by assets said in a statement today. That was worse than the 1.1 billion-pound median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The government was forced to rescue RBS at the height of the financial crisis, injecting 45.5 billion pounds of taxpayer money into the lender, making it the costliest bailout of any bank. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester, 51, has shrunk the bank’s assets by more than 600 billion pounds to 1.66 billion pounds and cut more than 35,000 jobs since he took over from Fred Goodwin in 2007. Hester said earlier this month that restructuring RBS was equivalent to defusing “the biggest time bomb in history.”
The company took a sovereign-debt impairment of 1.1 billion pounds, writing off Greek government debt as part of a European Union agreement.
RBS’s loss would have been narrower if it hadn’t had to set aside 950 million pounds to compensate U.K. customers who were improperly sold personal-loan insurance.
RBS’s results were also affected by rising borrowing costs as the bank weans itself off low-interest government loans and takes on costlier funding in wholesale markets. The bank opted in December to go the European Central Bank for an emergency 5 billion euro loan as its own costs of borrowing reached an unsustainable level, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The government was forced to rescue RBS at the height of the financial crisis, injecting 45.5 billion pounds of taxpayer money into the lender, making it the costliest bailout of any bank in the world.
–Editors: Keith Campbell, Francis Harris.