Banking News

RBS looks to axe thousands of NatWest jobs

RBS looks to axe thousands of NatWest jobs

(23 January 2020 - United Kingdom) Royal Bank of Scotland is considering cutting thousands of jobs at NatWest as its new chief executive prepares to shake up the taxpayer-owned lender.

Under Alison Rose who last November became the first woman to run RBS, bosses are working on "Project Tusk" to slash costs.

One scenario being discussed by Michael Geslak, director of transformation, and finance director Katie Murray involves 3,700 retail banking job cuts at NatWest, which would save £120m.

RBS said it "did not recognise" the figures. Sources emphasised that no plans had been finalised and said cuts would not be announced at the bank's fullyear results next month. RBS has 65,000 staff, about one-third in retail banking. Ms Rose, was deputy chief executive of NatWest and RBS's head of commercial and private banking before replacing Ross McEwan in the top job. Ms Rose is paid a £1.1m base salary, Mr McEwan, earned a total of £3.6m in 2018, including bonuses.

Rose was widely tipped to make changes to NatWest's smaller investment bank but is now looking at costs across the whole of RBS, which are higher than at rivals such as Lloyds Banking Group.

The investment bank, NatWest Markets, was heavily scaled back under McEwan after being ramped up by Fred Goodwin before the financial crisis. Two bosses of NatWest Markets, chief executive Chris Marks and finance director Richard Place, quit last month.

Last week it emerged that Mark Bailie, once a contender to replace McEwan, was poised to quit as chief executive of Bo, RBS's digital bank, plunging its future in doubt. The launch of Bo, which cost £100m and has 170 staff, caused internal rows over whether building a rival to fintech start-ups was worthwhile.

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