The Royal Bank of Scotland RBS claims that it is committed to creating a stronger simpler, safer bank for customers and shareholders but somehow it just can’t seem to get round to doing it and in the end it can not avoid admitting that it has much to do to restore its stress resilience and has had to submit a revised capital plan to its regulators.
The statement which the bank has released this morning appears to have been written with the sole aim of making it unintelligible except to other bankers. Its promises about making things simpler are exposed as yet more empty, meaningless words. Let us hope it is more sincere about the stronger and safer bit.
Only a bank could be so arrogant as to address its shareholders, let alone its long suffering customers, with such nonsense as “As part of its Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process (“SREP”) the PRA has reduced the CET1 Pillar 2A component of RBS’s ICG from the previously disclosed 2.8% to 2.1% of RWAs.” . Further evidence as if more were needed that the banks think they are a law unto themselves and customers exist purely to do as they are told.
The Bank of England put it quite clearly in terms which are readily understandable “The stress test demonstrates that RBS remains susceptible to financial and economic stress,” Why does RBS try to obfuscate the issue. There can only be one reason, namely the hope that people who read the statement will either fall asleep before they get to the end of it or if they get to the end of it will not have an inkling that the bank has failed its exams but daren’t fess up that it is not strong, safe or simple enough.
It has failed to divest itself of Williams & Glyn, which it was ordered to do as part of the deal which enabled it to be bailed out by the taxpayer. It has made more promises about cutting costs and selling off more loan portfolios but it still warns that “additional management actions may be required until RBS’ balance sheet is sufficiently resilient to stressed scenarios”.
Basically the results of the Bank of England stress tests reveal that the UKs big banks are still uncontrolled, too big to tame and can get away with blue murder, compared to what would be allowed in any other UK industry.