The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will become a name of the past for the majority of people across the UK, its chief executive said yesterday.
The bank is set to kill off the RBS retail brand for everywhere outside Scotland, using less-toxic local brand names instead. That will mean in England and Wales, all RBS banks, products and branding will be badged with the Natwest brand name. In Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Ulster Bank is already used, though it is unclear what will happen to RBS-branded outfits used around the world, including in the US, Australia, the middle east and Europe.
Ross McEwan also told BBC Scotland the bank would stop referring to itself as "RBS" and stick to "The Royal Bank of Scotland" where possible for its retail business north of the border.
The switch is thought to be largely cosmetic. "RBS" will stay the legal company name and the branding switch will have no impact on employees, who still work for "RBS". Nothing will change for investors either as the stock market listing will also stay under the "RBS" moniker.
McEwan said: "The RBS brand will end up becoming our investor brand and the one that are staff are employed with, because we are now becoming much more a bank of brands.
"As the bank itself became a global brand, RBS became the global brand. I'm now saying we no longer have global aspirations, we have local aspirations. Each one of those brands will stand for something quite different in their own comunities."
The government still owns a 73 per cent stake in RBS, which posted a £2bn loss in the first half of 2016. McEwan hinted the move is the latest step of the bank's bid to put its legacy and role in the financial crisis behind it, and hopes with new names it can build "a great bank for customers."