Royal Bank of Scotland is calling time on its recent checkered past, rebranding as NatWest and setting out new goals to become a 'purpose-led bank' focused on enterprise, learning and climate.
The plan to ditch the bank's three-centuries old name comes as the majority Government-owned institution reports profits of £3.1 billion for 2019, nearly double the £1.6 billion seen the year before.
RBS has spent the past ten years attempting to recover from the aftermath of the financial crisis, when its ambitious attempt to become a global bank unravelled dramatically, leading to a taxpayer-funded bail-out by the UK Government.
The rebrand was announced by the bank's recently appointed chief executive Alison Rose in an effort to sweep away the legacy of its association with the financial collapse.
NatWest is the biggest consumer-facing brand within the RBS group, accounting for 80% of its profits. Under the new strategy, Rose has pledged that NatWest will be "honest and fair with customers and suppliers; a good citizen; a guardian for future generations; and a responsible and responsive employer".
On climate change, the bank intends to reach net carbon zero by the end of the year, stop lending to coal companies by the end of the decade, and half the cimate impact of its financing activities within ten years.
At the consumer front-end, the bank is promising to simplify "business lines and business models that are too complex and generating too little return".
Says Rose: "In recent years we have dramatically increased the focus on innovation across the Bank. This has positioned us well with partners, opened up new income lines and helped improve our time-to-market in a number of critical areas. There is an amazing opportunity for NatWest to use its brand and market presence to connect new technology solutions with the problems that hold back potential in the personal, professional and business lives of our customers.
"This must, however, also be matched by the financial discipline to call time on ventures that don’t deliver and that can’t deliver a big enough impact for our customers and investors.
"By simplifying our innovation focus, and being disciplined on the internal allocation of capital, we will strengthen the core of the Bank. By making smarter investments in services for our customers we will deepen our leading positions in personal, business, commercial and corporate banking."