RBS set to exit Asia corporate banking operations: report

RBS is 81-percent owned by the British government following a £45 billion rescue operation after the financial crisis and is now under pressure to focus on loans to UK households and businesses and help support the country's economic recovery. -- PH
RBS is 81-percent owned by the British government following a £45 billion rescue operation after the financial crisis and is now under pressure to focus on loans to UK households and businesses and help support the country's economic recovery. -- PHOTO: AFP

Singapore (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland Group is preparing to withdraw from its Asian corporate banking business and put most of it up for sale, according to a report by Bloomberg citing a person with knowledge of the discussions.

Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan was to hold a series of meetings in Singapore on Monday to discuss ideas to scale back the British government-backed lender's Asian operations, the report said citing the person, who asked not to be identified because the meetings are private. RBS said last month that it's shutting its Japanese trading business.

In February 2014, McEwan, who has steered the bank back into profit this year after it made a loss of £8.2 billion (S$16.54 billion) in 2013, announced a series of cost-cutting measures and disposals.

RBS is 81-per cent owned by the British government following a £45 billion rescue operation after the financial crisis and is now under pressure to focus on loans to UK households and businesses and help support the country's economic recovery.

It has undergone a major restructuring in order to pay back taxpayers funds and eventually return to private ownership, and is stepping closer to doing both after it posted a 1.3 billion pound quarterly profit recently.

The bank's 2,000 employees in the Asia-Pacific region could be affected by the withdrawal, Bloomberg said, citing the person. "RBS would probably keep some operations in Singapore offering clients dollar, euro and yen fixed-income products,"the person added.

An RBS official declined to comment.