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Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced that it made a pre-tax loss of £2.2 billion in the three months to the end of September; the result compares with a profit of £1.9 billion in the same period last year.
The group’s impairment charges remained high, at £3.3 billion for the third quarter, with impairments and credit market writedowns concentrated in its Non-Core division.
However, writedowns are still rising at its Ulster Bank and RBS Citizens lending unit, in the US.
The bank has achieved £45.5 billion of new lending to UK companies so far in 2009, reflecting a
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5% third-quarter increase in lending to small and medium sized enterprises, compared with the second quarter.
The group’s Core Tier 1 capital ratio declined to 5.5% at the end of September but plans agreed with the Government and participation in the Asset Protection Scheme will take the ratio to “well above” its 8% target.
The same plans will see the taxpayers’ stake in the business increase from around 70% to 84%.
The lender described the third quarter as showing “a number of encouraging trends” but says it remains cautious about economic prospects “as the recovery seems likely to be slow and unemployment continues to rise”.
In other RBS new, the group is about to embark on a programme of disposals that will satisfy EU competition rules, given the extent of its state support.
The banks looks set to sell 318 branches across the UK, including its NatWest brand in Scotland.
The group’s Direct Line and Churchill insurance businesses, Global Merchant Services, RBS Sempra Commodities and card payment units are also expected to be auctioned off.
The White House said that President Obama would sign the measure, which passed after weeks of delay the day before a monthly labor report comes out.

Commerzbank has released its financial results for the third quarter of the year.
The German bank saw its operating profits rise by €345m from the previous quarter to €122m.
However, it incurred a net loss of just over €1bn, largely due to the €904m costs of integrating Dresdner Bank and goodwill impairments.
Chairman Martin Blessing has stated that the core German business is profitable, but warned that the bank would end 2009 in the red for the year as a whole.
Although the world economy is performing better than earlier expected the operating environment remains
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The bank will benefit from a predicted 2% increase in German GDP in 2010, should the forecast prove accurate.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced a further 3,700 UK job losses hours before the details of its latest £33.5 billion bailout were revealed.
The group, which will see the taxpayer’s interest rise from 70% to 84% with the latest round of support, is cutting its workforce by 14% having already announced around 16,000 job losses worldwide since the start of the credit crisis.
According to a report in Scotland’s Daily Record, 650 jobs in the region will go over two years, with losses coming from the bank’s 4,400-strong Scottish branch network.
The news comes a
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longside proposals for RBS and Lloyds Banking Group to be broken up to comply with EU competition rules.
RBS is expected to sell 318 branches across the UK, including its NatWest brand in Scotland.
The group’s insurance business, which includes Direct Line and Churchill, its Global Merchant Services and Sempra Commodities units will also be auctioned off, as will its card payment business.
In other banking jobs news, HSBC has announced further staff cuts of 1,700 as it overhauls its branch management structure and consolidates payments and card services operations in Birmingham.
Legislation introduced in Congress on Tuesday would guarantee five paid sick days for workers sent home by their employers with a contagious illness.

The Government has announced that it intends to increase taxpayer support to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group by £33.5 billion and £5.7 billion respectively.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling has also reassured Britons that the break up of both banks, as demanded by the EU Competition Commission, is in the best interests of the taxpayer, the banks themselves and the UK economy.
The latest bailouts total £39.2 billion, which when added to last autumn’s rescue package increases the level of government support to both banks to around £76 billion
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Lloyds, which is currently 43.5% state owned, has confirmed that it intends to raise £21 billion (partly through a £13.5 billion right issue) and will stay out of the Treasury’s Asset Protection Scheme.
The government will however, take up £5.7 billion of shares from the rights issue to maintain its 43.5% holding.
RBS looks set to sell 318 branches across the UK, including its NatWest brand in Scotland.
The group’s insurance business, Global Merchant Services and RBS Sempra Commodities units will also be auctioned off, as will its and card payment business.
Lloyds will sell at least 600 branches: expected disposals include Lloyds TSB in Scotland, the group’s Cheltenham & Gloucester mortgage lending business, and Intelligent Finance.
As previously announced, large established UK financial institutions will be excluded from the bidding.
According to a BBC report, insurers Allianz, Generali and Zurich could show an interest, together with Tesco and Virgin Money, both already widely tipped as bidders.
Swiss investment bank UBS has reported its third quarter results, which include a loss of CHF 564m.
The loss is less than that recorded in the second quarter (CHF 1.4bn) or the first (CHF 2bn).
The loss was due to substantial accounting charges which totalled CHF 2,150m, meaning that without such charges the bank would have turned in a profit of some CHF 1,557m.
The firm’s capital position was also enhanced during the last quarter, with BIS tier 1 capital ratio standing at 15%, and UBS has also reduced its risk exposure.
The bank’s cost reduction plan continues,
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with headcount reduced by 2,783 to 69,023, with a 2010 target of 65,000.
Group CEO Oswald J. Grübel has said that the last six months have been spent addressing the most critical problems the bank faced.
More recently improvements have been visible in the firm’s performance, and the emphasis on risk reduction and capital strength continues as previous measures begin to bear fruit.
A new online service offers free help to keep homeowners safe from a form of fraud known as “house theft.”

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