RBS losses narrow to £2bn - but litigation costs mount

Old courtroom sketch

Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) has said losses narrowed to just under £2bn last year - an improvement on its £3.5bn loss in 2014, but still its eighth consecutive year of losses.

The figures

RBS said its loss attributable to ordinary shareholders hit £1.98bn last year, down from £3.47bn in 2014.

Total income fell to £12.92bn, from £15.15bn last year, while pre-tax profits fell from £2.64bn last year to a loss of £2.7bn in 2015.

The bank said it had been hit by higher restructuring costs of £2.93bn, up from £1.54bn last year, and a jump in litigation costs, which rose from £2.19bn in 2014 to £3.57bn in 2015. Ouch.

The good news for RBS' few non-government investors was its plan to sell a dividend access share worth £1.2bn.

Why it's interesting

Like other lenders, RBS has been hit in recent weeks by a huge selloff in the banking sector. Shares have fallen 19 per cent, to 244p.

That caused George Osborne to delay a planned sale of RBS's taxpayer-owned compadre, Lloyds - and while he didn't say as much, expectations are that any sale of RBS, which was looking increasingly likely, may also have been delayed. The Treasury started selling off its shares in July, releasing a £2.1bn stake and cutting its share of the bank from 81 per cent to 73 per cent.[custom id="108]

Full story: RBS losses narrow to £2bn - but litigation costs mount: City A.M.

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