It’s us little people who are gonna be fucked again, here, isn’t it…


So what? Well I’ve banked with RBS for 20 years, for my sins. This last year of fucktitude not withstanding, they’ve been pretty good.

And now the EU wants to fuck everything around, which will no doubt cause some hassle for me, whether it’s losing access to branches, or worse, my account being moved to NatWest (and going back to square one with the ‘how long have you been with your bank?’ question, not to mention the persistently inferior NatWest customer service ethos).

Royal Bank of Scotland could be made to sell more than 300 branches by the European Commission as a penalty for receiving billions of pounds of state aid. Negotiations between the Treasury, the Commission and RBS, which is 70 per cent owned by the taxpayer, were last night intensifying.

The Government is understood to back a plan which would involve RBS giving up its 312 branches under the RBS brand in England and Wales. It would keep its NatWest branches.

RBS has made plans to re-brand its RBS network south of the border under the Williams and Glyn’s name, a brand that disappeared from the high street 24 years ago.

Neelie Kroes, EU Competition Commissioner, may want to push RBS even further. Although her term of office expires at the end of the month, the Commission can continue to make decisions on state aid after that date.RBS’s 30 per cent share of the small business banking market has come under intense scrutiny by Brussels.

Why is the EU having to step in an do this? Why didn’t the UK competition (M&M) people speak up when all this shit was happening last autumn? I certainly had concerns that these problems would emerge.

And if you’re with Lloyds (and probably HBOS), you’re gonna get the same fucktwattery coming your way.

Lloyds Banking Group, 43 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is under pressure by the Commission to shrink its share of personal accounts, where it is the No 1 operator in Britain with 22 million customers.

Because we all know what that means – it means millions of people who have banked with LTSB/HBOS for years are going to get letters saying ‘we no longer want your custom’ – and naturally it’ll be the least revenue-rich customers.. OAPs, students, low paid etc. We’ve been moving back towards a situation in which a significant minority can’t get a bank account at all – without which you’re pretty much fucked in this day and age. This cannot possibly improve things.

As an aside, it may probably won’t interest you to know that LTSB/HBOS (Lloyds Banking Group as they are now) are going through a business integration and rationalisation process at the moment. I’ve long believed this to be a dangerous strategy, in light of the competition implications of the blizzard of consolidation that occurred last year. Which is why the altogether more sensible Nationwide Building Society isn’t doing any integration of the other building societies they acquired last year – they’re ring fencing it all, realising that the costs of integration are not defrayed by sufficient benefits, given the likelihood that these mega-banks (and building socs) are inevitably going to be broken up again at some point.



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