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James Moore: New RBS boss is free to focus on the customer

  • @TheIndyBusiness

Outlook Welcome to the jungle, Ross McEwan, who got his feet under the boss's desk at Royal Bank of Scotland just as the Bank of England promised stringent stress tests in its newly appointed role as a badass regulator.

Mr McEwan has a lot in his in-tray, not least finding out whether the Government is going to cut his bank in two over the next couple of weeks. (It won't, although he may lose Ulster Bank.) But he needn't worry too much (he admitted to trepidation) because the really hard work in fixing the bank has been done by his predecessor. The Augean stables are much cleaner and the various bits that have to be offloaded by RBS are works in progress. So all he's really got to do is make sure that what remains works properly.

That should be relatively easy, but most banks find it a struggle – just look at the complaints data published by the Financial Conduct Authority, or the workload of the Financial Ombudsman Service. It's true, having said this, that banks aren't the only offenders here – as anyone who has a mobile phone or broadband can testify. Providers are all moderately to completely awful.

Mr McEwan's challenge is to make a phone call with, or a visit to, RBS pain free. He will have gone a long way to restoring the bank's good name if he can pull that off. It will be good business too, because he will find that word will get around.

We'll see, however. He's been saying all the right things, but then again so have a lot of bankers down the years, to no great effect.