ROYAL Bank of He highlighted a lack of trust in the banking sector as a whole.
This should hardly come as a surprise to him, or to any of the other top brass in the banking sector.
After all, we cannot even trust the banks to tackle the bonus culture that played a huge part in the financial crisis and ensuing downturn.
The 81%-taxpayer-owned RBS yesterday unveiled bonuses of pound(s)576 million for 2013, as it reported a pre-tax loss of pound(s)8.2bn. This bumper bonus pool was down 15% from pound(s)679m in 2012, but that is hardly the point.
News of the latest bonus bonanza at RBS followed
At the height of the global financial crisis, there had appeared to be a glimmer of hope that governments of the major nations might do something about the damaging bonus culture in banking. But this was a mirage.
Five years later, the argument from the banks remains as circular as it is familiar as it is tiresome. Each bank argues there is a market rate for bonuses, and that it must pay at least this to ensure it recruits top talent.
But no-one appears willing or able to move the market rate.
It is now clear there is a lamentable inevitability when it comes to bonuses. They will continue as before, whether a bank makes a profit or a whopping loss and regardless of the justified incredulity among much of the population about why the self-styled Masters of the Universe in the financial sector feel so entitled to a bonus for doing a day's work.
He is to be commended for not mincing his words on this score.
In late January, RBS announced fresh exceptional charges totalling about pound(s)3bn, described as "provisions for litigation and conduct-related matters".
These provisions are aimed at covering litigation for mortgage- backed securities, and redress for customers claiming they were mis- sold payment protection insurance or interest rate hedging products.
In its full-year results statement yesterday, under the heading of "key points", the bank declares: "RBS announces a refreshed strategic direction with the ambition of building a bank that earns its customers' trust by serving them better than any other bank."
Fine words indeed, if the corporate jargon is removed.
RBS, in its heyday, was renowned for its customer service in the personal banking arena.
But times have changed, and matters will not have been helped by the massive cost-cutting programme which has been going on since RBS's near-collapse and taxpayer bail-out in the autumn of 2008.
He said yesterday: "I will deliver a bank that is number one for customer service in every customer category we compete in, from personal banking to support for big
So just how does
People could be forgiven for thinking RBS's statement of intent on customer service implies a need for extra resources, maybe even more staff. So the approach outlined by
RBS declared it expected its underlying cost base would be pound(s)1bn lower in 2014.
So, basically, it would appear that
He has made it plain he is a big fan of technology, having talked about the appetite of RBS customers to do their banking on mobile phones on their way into work in the morning.
In an interview with The Herald last April, when he was head of RBS's
To be fair to
ROYAL Bank of
He highlighted a lack of trust in the banking sector as a whole.