Royal Bank of Scotland posts narrowing annual losses

A logo of a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in London, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016.  Royal Bank of Scotland, which is around 73 percent owned by the taxpayers, racked up its eighth year in a row of annual losses, and Shares plunged 9 percent in London on the news. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

State-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday announced a 43-percent reduction in annual net losses to around £2.0 billion ($2.8 billion, 2.5 billion euros).

The loss after tax stood at £1.979 billion last year compared with a net loss of £3.47 billion in 2014, RBS said in an earnings statement.

RBS, bailed out at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, continued to be hit by hefty costs linked to legal action it is facing over US mortgage-backed securities and to compensation due for mis-selling an insurance product.

Total litigation and conduct costs increased to almost £3.57 billion last year, while the bank warned of possible further financial hits.

“We continue to deal with a range of uncertainties,” RBS said in its outlook, noting that “substantial incremental provisions” may be added to the group’s balance sheet in 2016.

It pointed also to uncertainties surrounding the June referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

RBS is around 73-percent owned by the British government after the vast state-rescue.

Shaun Curry

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