RBS boss warns of 'another decade of mistrust'

By Adam Parsons, business correspondent
The boss of RBS has told Sky News that it could take another decade for British customers to trust banks again.
Ross McEwan, the bank's chief executive, also said that the effects of the financial crisis had put Britain on the road to Brexit, because austerity had caused people to want to "change the way they think about things".Mr McEwan has been running RBS since 2013, and has been responsible for the bank's transformation - becoming smaller, and far more focused on its domestic market.But his job remains intrinsically linked to the financial crisis. RBS's biggest shareholder remains the British government, a hangover from the emergency bailout that saved RBS during the financial crisis. In many people's minds, RBS remains the great example of how a corporate body wreaked havoc.Mr McEwan's analysis of that time, when Fred Goodwin ran RBS, is succinct: "The problem was around trying to be the biggest instead of saying let's just be the best bank we possibly can."When the music stopped, Mr Goodwin was fired and stripped of his knighthood, and RBS nearly collapsed.
RBS boss warns of 'another decade of mistrust'

Mr McEwan has reshaped RBS into a different bank from the one that crashed in 2008
Mr McEwan told me there had been "a complete clean-out of the executive rankings" in British banking since the financial crisis, but admitted that the damage done to the public trust remained a painful legacy."You've had 10 years of ramifications of the largest global financial crisis since the 1930s, and the public has a long memory."People still have a distrust of many, many in the banking industry and I think it's going to take another five to 10 years for banks to actually rebuild the trust that we lost 10 years ago."The public were, quite rightly, very critical of the banking industry, because of what we did. I think the public will remain very sceptical about the interests of banks and bankers. It'll take some time to resolve that."It is the knock-on effects that have hurt so many people, not least years of austerity.So I asked him whether it would be fair to make a link between the financial crisis, and then to austerity and the discontent that shaped the outcome of the Brexit referendum.
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