"Financing projects from £50,000 to £100 million"

New RBS chief hints at more lending for businesses

New RBS chief hints at more lending for businesses

The new boss at the Royal Bank of Scotland has hinted that he wants to grow the bank's lending to small businesses during his tenure.

Ross McEwan admitted in a speech to 300 staff in London that the bank had become too difficult to deal with, adding that he was determined to ‘make it easier’ for commercial and retail customers to work with the bank.

The business community has optimistically seen this as a sign that the lender will increase its provision of commercial loans to small businesses.

The New Zealander vowed to ‘obsess about customers’, as the bank continues to repair its reputation in the wake of the Libor, PPI, and hedging swap scandals.

He said that the lender, still 81% owned by the state, carried “a greater obligation than any other bank to build a business that supports its customers”.

The bank launched an ‘RBYes’ campaign in May to persuade consumers that it was still willing to lend. It is set to continue that mantra by providing support for the Government’s Help to Buy guarantee scheme, which is being accelerated by three months.

But outgoing boss Stephen Hester faced criticism for not doing enough to support small firms, something which could be improved, McEwan suggested, by simplifying the bank’s operations.

“We have too many processes that get in the way of people simply trying to do the right thing for the customer”, he said.

“An early priority, therefore, is to figure out the best way to simply things. We know that we could be smarter with our resources.”

RBS recently agreed a deal to offload 314 branches to a consortium led by the US-based Corsair Capital. The deal, worth an initial £600 million, will see a return to the high street of the old Williams and Glyn’s brand.

RBS is committing a large sum towards a new IT system, after difficulties with the existing system were identified as the principal reason behind the collapse of deals to offload the branches last year.

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 10:06
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