Royal Bank of Scotland returned to profit in the final months of 2010 and said its turnaround plan is ahead of target.
But its results were worse than expected due to loans not being repaid, particularly in Ireland, and there was a drop in earnings from its investment banking division.
RBS, rescued with 53 billion euros of taxpayers’ money during the financial crisis, lost 1.3 billion euros for all of last year. In 2009 it made a loss of 3.6 billion pounds.
The British government owns an 83 percent stake in RBS and at the moment the taxpayer is sitting on a paper loss of more than 3.5 billion euros.
Stephen Hester, chief executive of the partly nationalised bank, complained about political pressures, such as calls by politicians to curb bonuses. He said that could hold back recovery efforts as the bank was used as a “political football.”
“It’s a tough thing for us, it can feel pretty beleaguered working at RBS with external and internal pressures, that’s one of the handicaps we work with,” Hester told reporters.
Hester said he would take up his 2.35 million euro bonus.