When RBS reported fourth-quarter 2011 results even worse than the already dire consensus estimates of analysts, the tedious row over its investment bankers’ bonuses broke out again in the UK media, alongside detailed estimates of just how much money UK taxpayers have lost by investing in the bank’s equity.
At a recent dinner the mood was unforgiving among bankers who have worked for RBS when talk turned to the bank’s identity when it eventually emerges from a three-year restructuring now on track to take five years.
One speculates that, with the former chief executive recently stripped of his knighthood, it might not be long before the Windsor family decrees that RBS can no longer be the Royal bank of anywhere. Another suggests that, with a vote on Scottish independence looming, a move might follow to remove Scotland from the name.
Could it be called simply The Bank? A third banker points out that the Bank of England might have serious objections to this as that is the standard shorthand among gilts traders and others in the City for the UK central bank.
There’s not a lot left. Let’s just hope that members of enduring post-punk band The The haven’t been turned down for a loan or mis-sold insurance recently.