Sir Fred Goodwin has reiterated Royal Bank of Scotland’s stance on acquisitions in America, saying there are no plans for further deals following last year’s purchase of Charter One Financial.
In an interview with news agency Bloomberg in New York, the Edinburgh bank’s chief executive said: “Organic growth is our number one priority (in America).” He added that he saw no American purchases “in the foreseeable future”.
In February, as RBS reported record annual pre-tax profits of £8.1bn, Goodwin said the bank’s enthusiasm for market extension was at an “all time low”. Instead he said he was hoping to pick up more business for existing branches across midwestern America, including cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Indianapolis.
RBS, which is Scotland’s biggest quoted company, picked up 1,400 branches in 13 northeast and Midwest states when it purchased Cleveland-based Charter One. Earnings from its American operations now represent 25 per cent of RBS’s income following 27 acquisitions since 1988.
Confirmation of the bank’s reluctance to make more major American acquisitions comes just weeks after RBS invested $1.6bn (£901m) in Bank of China, giving it a 10 per cent stake in the fast-growing economy’s second largest lender.
In the interview, Goodwin said he expected the investment to lead to a “broadly based venture”.
Goodwin also told Bloomberg he expected Britain’s economy to continue growing. While the “consumer is changing tack, there’s still growth to be had”, he said.