NatWest ridicules Bank of Scotland over link with American evangelist

NATWEST, THE clearing bank, yesterday sought to regain the upper hand in its struggle to repulse Bank of Scotland's hostile pounds 22bn bid, issuing a second rebuttal of the predator's claims.

Sir David Rowland, NatWest's chairman and chief executive, raised the heat of the exchanges between the pair, attempting to ridicule BoS's ill-fated link-up with Pat Robertson, the US evangelist.

In an 18-page release that will be posted to NatWest shareholders today, NatWest argues that the pounds 1.015bn cost-savings promised by BoS could not be realised. "Bank of Scotland's plans reveal a dangerous blend of hubris and parochialism. In our opinion, these plans, particularly in the IT area, would require something akin to divine intervention to succeed - which the Bank of Scotland has sought in the past, without success."

Earlier this year, BoS said it would form a telephone banking joint venture with Mr Robertson but withdrew after the preacher described Scotland as a "dark land" dominated by homosexuals.

Ron Sandler, NatWest chief operating officer, said that yesterday's release put more flesh on its initial defence, which was released on 27 October. The NatWest release said that BoS had "hijacked" pounds 510m in cost-savings already set to be delivered by NatWest initiatives, including an 11,650 headcount reduction.

It argued that BoS had not taken into account the potential loss of business that could follow a BoS victory as operations were re-modelled. And it queried the proposed pounds 290m savings the Scottish bank promised to deliver in IT. "If they go slashing branches, I can tell you now that there will be substantial lost business," Mr Sandler said.

The document said that BoS's IT plans were vague, and had been formulated without comprehensive knowledge of the current NatWest system, undermining their credibility.

Mr Sandler said that the asset-disposal programme outlined by NatWest had attracted substantial interest. Bank of Ireland confirmed yesterday that it had put in a bid for Ulster Bank, one of the NatWest units on the block, in a joint approach with Irish Life & Permanent.

BoS quickly issuing an eight-page rejoinder. Peter Burt, group chief executive, stood by the pounds 1.015bn savings target, saying that it represented "the minimum we believe that we can achieve".

NatWest shares fell 18p to 1397p, while BoS ended 4.5p weaker at 727.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen within th...

Ashdown Group: Development Manager - Rickmansworth - £55k +15% bonus

£50000 - £63000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / D...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss