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
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own