Royal Bank of Scotland changes name to NatWest | Business

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The Royal Bank of Scotland officially changed its name to NatWest Group on Wednesday, removing Scotland from the name of the lender’s parent company for the first time since it was founded in Edinburgh in 1727.The banking group remains based in the city, and the name change will not affect RBS bank branches, most of which are in Scotland, or Ulster Bank sites in Northern Ireland.

The banking group announced the planned change in February when publishing its annual results.

He hopes the name change and other measures, including a focus on his environmental goals, will help him emerge from past scandals, including his near collapse in 2008, when he was saved by a government bailout. of £ 45 billion during the financial crisis.

The bank is still 62% taxpayer-owned, although the government intends to sell the rest of its stake by 2024.

Its chief executive, Alison Rose, called it a “historic day” for the bank, which has 19 million customers in the UK and Ireland, and said: “although there will be no change in our client brands is a symbolic moment for our colleagues. and stakeholders ”.

“Banking has fundamentally changed over the past decade and now is a good time to align our group name with the brand under which the majority of our business is delivered,” said Rose.

The name change was “almost inevitable”, according to Chris Carter, professor of strategy at the Business School at the University of Edinburgh, as “the dazzling days of the 2000s for the bank are now seen as a mishap”.

Carter sees NatWest Group as an “analog bank for the digital age” and believes it needs to change.

“For the name change to work, it must be followed by a real change. The bank must be clear: what does it represent? What makes it different? What parts of her story is she trying to promote? Why should people trust the bank? Carter said.

Tony Mackay, professor of economics at Inverness, believes the move is yet another example of what he sees as a decline in Scotland’s financial services sector.

“The change might not make a difference for bank customers, but I think it is a big blow to the reputation of the financial services industry in Scotland,” Mackay said.

Rose’s strategic overhaul includes environmental goals, such as halving the climate impact of its fundraising business by 2030.

The bank has appointed Nicholas Stern as an independent climate change advisor to help it achieve its goals and drive its environmental strategy. Its 2006 report helped pave the way for UK climate change law.

Lord Stern, who is chairman of the Center for Climate Change Economics and Policy, will spend eight days a year in the newly created role, initially for two years.

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Rose announced in February that NatWest Group would stop lending and offering underwriting services to all major oil and gas producers that do not have credible transition plans under the Paris climate accords.

The company also pledged to phase out funding for coal by 2030, which accounts for about 0.3% of the bank’s loans.

Stern said it was “of critical importance for financial institutions to address the climate emergency” and called for new investments following the coronavirus crisis to drive an “attractive new model of low-cost development. carbon emission ”.

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