Royal Bank of Scotland to disappear for customers outside Scotland

By Douglas Fraser for BBC

The brand RBS is to be reduced to a back office role, according to the bank’s chief executive.

Royal Bank of Scotland will disappear for customers outside Scotland.

Ross McEwan told BBC Scotland that the RBS brand was associated with the bank’s global ambitions.

It has retreated from them since it nearly collapsed eight years ago and had to be bailed out. During that time, brand strategists have used ‘RBS’ to protect other consumer finance brands.

It was backed with millions of pounds in sponsorship of international sport, from Six Nations rugby to Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

But now, it has been judged right to let more national brands come to the fore.

Royal Bank of Scotland will be used with Scottish customers, but will not be initialised.

In England and Wales, all RBS references, outside head office and the stock exchange listing, will be changed to NatWest.

The Ulster Bank brand is already used for customers in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

There are other, smaller brands for private banking, which will get more prominence – Coutts, Adam & Co, Drummond, and Holt’s Military Bank.

‘Local aspirations’

Mr McEwan was interviewed during a tour of customers and staff in Inverness-shire.

He told BBC Scotland: “The RBS brand will end up becoming our investor brand and the one that our staff are employed with, because we are now becoming much more a bank of brands.

“As the bank itself became a global brand, RBS became the global brand. I’m now saying we no longer have global aspirations, we have local aspirations.

“Each one of those brands will stand for something quite different in their own communities, and our staff will work with customers under those brands.”

RBS had already stated that it would not to continue its Six Nations sponsorship, and it has been raising the profile of different brands in its sports sponsorship.

“The time is right for us to move to the bank of brands, because underneath (we’ve been asking) how do we focus on making this a better bank for customers?” said the chief executive.

“It would have been very cynical three years ago if we’d said we’re going to be a great bank for customers and put those brands out there.

“But with the work we’ve been doing, focussing on the customers needs, not our own, I think you’re seeing a lot of change.

“We can bring those brands back up again, so I think the time is right.”

First appeared at BBC