Part of the wider Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS Group) alongside NatWest and Ulster Bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was founded in 1727 and is currently one of the most important financial institutions in the UK.
The bank’s head offices are currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and with Ross McEwan as CEO, the business continues to go from strength to strength.
RBS are one of the few banks in the UK to create and issue their own banknotes. This comes from Scotland still not technically accepting paper money as ‘legal tender’, instead only accepting them as ‘promissory notes’ (essentially, a legally binding IOU letter) – and thus, there being no central government production of notes. However, despite these notes being legal tender across Britain, they are only issued in Scottish branches of RBS.
As the banking world has become increasingly competitive, RBS have developed a number of strategies in order to be able to continue to compete. One of the main methods of doing this has been to diversify – offering an increased number of different loan, mortgage and investment options. Another technique has been that of increased sports sponsorship, with the RBS Six Nations perhaps being their most notable advertising deal, with their ongoing deal with Andy Murray being another.
Like most banks, RBS were hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis – but public confidence in them was arguably hit harder in the fallout from it. Having been given a large government hand-out and recorded losses of £1.1 billion in 2010, they still gave out bonuses of around £1 billion to some of their highest earning employees – leading to outcries from a public who are still feeling the pinch as a result of the credit crisis.