RBS posts full-year loss of £2bn

RBS posted a new loss of £2 billion in 2015

The taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland has racked up its eighth straight year of losses, putting paid to Government hopes of privatising the bank in the short term.

RBS posted a new loss of £2 billion in 2015, exceeding analysts estimates of a £1.8 billion loss, though less than the £3.5 billion it reported in 2014.

Litigation and restructuring costs of £6.5 billion hit the banks profits, including cash set aside pay for US-imposed fines over mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities and payment protection insurance (PPI) payments.

RBS has not turned a profit since it was bailed out by the Government at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. It has spent £2.9 billion shrinking and reorganising the bank and £3.6 billion more on conduct and litigation.

It is still 73 per cent owned by the taxpayer. After an initial share sale of 630,000 last August came at a loss of £1.1 billion to the taxpayer, a further share sale looks unlikely.

“The UK government's decision to start disposing of its majority stake in RBS during 2015 was a significant step forward, and underlined the progress we have made over the last two years,” Ross McEwan, chief executive, said in a statement. “This is a tough but important part of our plan and we are determined to get through it as quickly as possible.”

George Osborne has already delayed a share sale in taxpayer-owned Lloyds this year after volatile stock markets contributed to his view that “now is not the right time”.

McEwan will not take a £1 million bonus for 2015. It is the third year Mr McEwan, whose basic salary is £1 million, has given up his bonus.

RBS shares fell up to 10 per cent to 218.3p when markets opened.