Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group has said it plans to change its name to NatWest later this year.Read more
Royal Bank of Scotland
Another quick check on the London markets now. RBS shares are still down more than 6%, which remains the worst performance on the FTSE 100 today.
The second-biggest faller on the index is now healthcare firm NMC Health, which is London-listed but actually operates in the United Arab Emirates. Its shares are down 5% today after it was announced that executive vice-chairman Khalifa Butti Omeir Bin Yousef had resigned from its board, adding to fears over its financial health.
Overall, the FTSE 100 is down 0.14% at 7,441.
At least one branding expert is sceptical about RBS's decision to change its name to NatWest Group.
Gary Bryant, executive director of strategy at global branding and design agency Landor, says brands that change names need to "bring something fresh to the market to justify the change".
He adds: "This doesn’t seem to be the case for RBS, which appears to be looking to escape its past. No matter what brand is created, customers have long memories and today’s news is likely to be seen as an exercise to plaster over the cracks.
"The bank is also sacrificing an incredible amount of heritage with this re-brand to NatWest Group. Royal Bank of Scotland was founded in 1727 and it seems foolish to want to throw this history away.
"Let’s also not forget the cost implications. Refitting an entire branch network, signage systems and all other branded touch points will cost a significant amount. Will shareholders and customers, not to mention taxpayers, feel this is where money is best spent?"
Shares are down 6% at RBS, even though it announced a jump in profits.
The market is "requiring some convincing" despite the strong numbers, says Neil Wilson at Markets.com.
"The task for Alison Rose is now to create a new legacy-free bank in her image.
"The renaming of RBS to NatWest is more than a name change: the bank is seeking to move on and put the past misconduct-ridden days behind it.
"A PR stunt it may be, but it shows us the direction that new boss Alison Rose is seeking to steer. Renaming it is only the start."
RBS chief executive Alison Rose discusses how the bank has changed since the 2008 financial crisis.
BBC Radio 4
RBS boss Alison Rose says it is "a very different bank today," to the one bailed out by taxpayers during the financial crisis.
"The bank that was bailed out, was bailed out to save the economy at that point, for different reasons," she told Simon Jack on the Today Programme.
"The bank we are today is very different. We're much smaller, we're much more safer, we're much more focused, we're a retail commercial bank and my focus is on ensuring that we are a safe, secure and smart bank for the future."
On the name change to NatWest group, she said:
"Royal Bank of Scotland is our brand in Scotland, it's an incredibly important brand for us, and has been around for 300 years, and Natwest is the brand our customers know us as in England and Wales."
New RBS chief executive Alison Rose has used its 2019 results to set out a new strategy including a plan to rename the bank after its biggest brand NatWest.
Royal Bank of Scotland has reported profits of £3.1bn for 2019, nearly double the £1.6bn in 2018. It also announced a dividend of 8 pence for the fourth quarter.
Ms Rose intends to cut down under-performing investment bank NatWest Markets by reducing its risk weighted assets from 38 billion pounds to 20 billion pounds.
The bank also pledged to "at least" halve the climate impact of its financing activity by 2030.
BBC Radio 5 Live
Ahead of RBS's full year results there are rumours that it could expand investment banking operations in Poland to save money.
Jane Foley, senior FX strategist at Rabobank, points out that many traditional banks are feeling the pinch.
"It's up against a lot of pressure from challenger banks, while interest rates have been so low which makes it difficult to make a profit, so those cost savings are not going to go away," she told Wake up to Money.
RBS remains majority- owned by the UK government, but good results could mean it sells down some of its stake.
"This could be the third consecutive time they have made a profit. Q3 wasn’t good for RBS, but that was because of write downs due to RPI, which they won’t have now. It could tee up the new chancellor to suggest we sell some of those shares."