RBS expected to swing back to profits in the first quarter after 18 months of losses

Jasper Jolly
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Royal Bank Of Scotland Loses Over ?1.5bn In Half Year After IT Meltdown
RBS may be returning to a sunnier results climate (Source: Getty)

Royal Bank of Scotland is set to swing back into quarterly profit for the first time since 2015 when the bank reports its latest figures on Friday.

Analysts expect the bank to report a profit of around £50m to £70m, a big improvement from the £968m loss recorded at the same point last year.

The bank reported a £7bn loss for 2016 as a whole in February, while the last time RBS reported a quarterly profit was the third quarter of 2015.

Read more: RBS shares rise as Philip Hammond admits it may be sold at a loss

Any rise in profits would likely be welcomed privately by the Treasury, after chancellor Philip Hammond admitted last Wednesday the government could sell off its vast stake at a loss.

At the height of the financial crisis the government was forced to bail out RBS to the tune of £45.5bn. The government, which still owns 72 per cent of the bank, paid 502p per share, but shares closed at the end of last week at only 239.8p.

However, there is still some uncertainty over the fate of its Williams & Glyn branches. In February the government announced RBS may not have to sell the branches as previously required by the EU under state aid rules.

Read more: Former RBS boss Goodwin to appear in court

RBS will also be forced to contribute to a fund boosting competition among challenger banks, which could weigh on future earnings.

Meanwhile RBS faces a shareholder court case. Investors allege the bank's management misled them in 2008 over a £12bn fundraising.

The performance of RBS contrasts with Lloyds, which reports its latest figures on Thursday. The government’s stake in RBS’s rival stands at less than two per cent, and the sell-off in shares has made back all of the £20.3bn spent in the original bailout.

Santander and Standard Chartered announce their figures on Wednesday, while Barclays reports on Friday in a bumper week for bank results.

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