Does RBS stand for Really Bad Stewardship?

The ongoing roll of news about the crushingly huge cost of RBS' liabilities - now 70% taken on by British taxpayers - continues today, dreadful revelation after dreadful revelation. Almost as worrying than the historic losses that taxpayers have inherited from Sir Fred "The Shred" Goodwin is the fact that the latest news also suggests that the bank's new, government oversight is full of holes as well.


With annual losses of £24 billion, RBS now hold the record for the biggest corporate loss ever filed in Britain. I'm guessing that's one certificate they won't be hanging on the wall of the office foyer. Not only are we picking up the tab for that obscenely costly disaster, but we are insuring hundreds of billions of pounds of other toxic loans against further losses.


RBS' previous management was clearly catastrophically bad - their decisions were appalling and they have dug an almighty financial hole that taxpayers are now expected to get them out of. Not that they were the only people in banking to get it wrong, but they are certainly in competition for the title of who got it most wrong.


Unfortunately, it doesn't end there - the transfer of control from the old RBS administration to the Government has not seen the end of poor decisions, it seems. As well as pouring yet more money in to RBS, on slightly confused grounds of trying to balance their books to a more sensible loan/asset ration and trying to get them to lend more money out into the economy, the Government appears to have okayed Sir Fred's obscene pension.


This is unbelievable. The Government are right to criticise the culture of rewards for failure, but by that token they should never have agreed this deal for Sir Fred. For that matter, if they want to criticise rewards for failure they should take a look at their own domain, too (HMRC, anyone?).


RBS under Sir Fred's management was a disaster which we are all paying for. Now the Government's in charge, the trainwreck continues. It appears the curse of incompetence moves with the brand name.

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