RBS lost more than any other bank

Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland lost more money than any other bank in the world last year, a leading industry journal declared today.

RBS's overall losses of £36 billion during a disastrous 2008 put it at the top of a list compiled by The Banker magazine, ahead of ailing US giant Citigroup.

The bank is now 70%-owned by the taxpayer and in the process of shedding tens of thousands of jobs.

RBS came under more fire this week after details emerged of a £9.6 million pay and shares package for new chief executive Stephen Hester, who is charged with turning around the ailing business.

RBS was sent plunging to its UK record losses by a mammoth write-down on its acquisition of Dutch rival ABN Amro at the top of the market in 2007, as well as soaring bad debts.

The bank's overall statutory losses stood at £40.7 billion in February, but this now stands at £36 billion due to conversion effects from the US dollar.

Former chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin, who oversaw the bank's ill-fated expansion programme, agreed last week to give up part of his controversial £703,000 annual pension.

HBOS - the bank which lost almost £11 billion last year and had to be rescued from nationalisation through a takeover by Lloyds TSB - is sixth on the list of losses.

US investment bank JP Morgan topped the list of the world's strongest banks by tier one capital - a key measure of their financial strength.

On this measure, HSBC was third overall - but also the highest-ranked bank not to receive any kind of state aid.

HSBC's pre-tax profits slid to 9.3 billion dollars (£6.5 billion) in 2008 but it called on investors for a UK record £12.5 billion in a rights issue earlier this year to strengthen its finances.