RBS. I mean where do you start?
Pre 2000, RBS was a dull retail bank. I had an account there because it was one of the first to have internet banking. It was Scottish so had to be a safe bet given my perception of the Scottish love for protecting cash.
And then Gordon Brown decided he wanted RBS to be the biggest bank in the world and so helped his chum, Fred Goodwin, in that quest. Retail bankers became structured product experts, dabbled in exotic derivatives and played around with its balance sheet like a child with OCD in a candy store. It lent to overvalued real estate, private equity, anything with "high risk" written all over it. Its systems (excel mostly) were never enhanced and the dour buildings and depressed staff just took their bonuses and kept their heads down.
The FSA who regulated it didn't really regulate it and when it sanctioned the buy out of ABN Amro for silly money at the top of the market it spelled the end and it did. You know all this anyway.
The recently published report is a farce. But it is history and nobody learns from the past. If they did we wouldn't have had Madoff for starters.
And yesterday I learned more staff were being let go. Projects half complete and control processes run by less staff.
At least the Irish banks blew up in spectacular style. RBS just ended up lining the pockets of a few MDs.
Ivy Leaque shun IBs and Consultancy firms (bloomberg)
FSA in a coma (independent)
RBS to rebrand into "Perfumes R Us"