RBOS 'chastened' by first-half loss (RTE)

04 November 2011
British bank Royal Bank of Scotland has reported losses of £692m for the first half of 2008 - the first half-year loss in its 40 years as a public company. The loss was the second-biggest in UK banking history, but was not as bad as the £1.2 billion loss some analysts had feared.

RBS, which owns Ulster Bank and First Active, said it was hit by £5.9 billion in write-downs of the value of risky assets, due to the credit crunch. These were partially offset by an £812m reduction in the value of the debt it carried.

Chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin, who was forced to launched a £12 billion rights issue earlier this year to shore up the firm's balance sheet, said the loss was a 'chastening experience' that 'I and my colleagues regret very much'.

He said difficult conditions in financial markets 'look set to be compounded by a deteriorating economic outlook'.

The bank said bad debts on mortgages and other loans jumped 58% in the six months to £1.5 billion.

Ulster Bank contributed £376m to profits, up from £347m a year earlier, though in euro terms there was a slight drop to €486m. Loans to Ulster Bank customers grew by 26%, while