Hester stresses importance of technology in RBS rebuilding plan

Hester stresses importance of technology in RBS rebuilding plan

Stephen Hester, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has highlighted the important role of technology in the bank's recovery plan.

Hester was speaking at the annual Sibos event held by financial messaging network Swift.

In detailing the bank's strategy, Hester said that RBS had committed to the largest technology project in the bank's history - an investment of almost £6bn over five years that was announced in 2009. "You cannot generate shareholder returns without investing in technology," he told the audience.

Hester also stressed the bank's commitment to the payments business, highlighting it as one of the "customer-driven markets" that the bank is looking to focus on. "The payments business has a huge link to other parts of the bank and will produce stable revenue if we run it well. The key to our recovery will be to concentrate on the things we do well and do them even better."

Hester was "catapulted" into his current role back in October 2008, just after the bank received a £80bn bailout from the UK government. Prior to the financial crisis, and the bank's near collapse, it had grown to be one of the top three banks in the world with 200,000 employees, £2trn in assets and 40mn customers in 51 countries.

The bank has since shed around 40,000 employees but Hester insists that RBS will eventually recover and be able to offer the UK taxpayers a return on their £80bn investment.

Nevertheless Hester accepted that "bank-bashing" was an inevitable price of the financial crisis. "We have to deal with the reality first and the perception will then catch up. That is what we are doing at RBS."

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