Ross McEwan, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, said that the bank may have to turn away some business customers in case of a no-deal Brexit.
The bank has sent approximately 150 employees to Amsterdam in order to establish a new entity to act for its customers in Europe in the event if no Brexit deal is reached.
In an interview with the BBC, McEwan stated: “We’re having to put a number of our senior team and our systems and processes to move our European customers across into that entity for our markets business and our corporates.”
He said that the bank was “preparing for the worst” and still is not able to receive its licences for the operation yet.
He added: “If we don’t get the right licences, and we don’t get them in time, that could create major problems for our customers and for the bank.”
The RBS boss said that the failure to receive the appropriate licences by the time that the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union in March next year could leave RBS not being able to provide services to some of its customers in Europe.
He stated: “In the next couple of months, we’re going to have to make some decisions, to make sure we’ve got the licences and if we don’t, we’re going to have to think about which European customers we may not be able to bank.”
His statements come as RBS is starting its preparations to hold an extraordinary general meeting to win the support of shareholders for a share buyback that is aimed at reducing the stake of the government in the bank.
62.4 percent of RBS is still owned by the state still via UK government investments (UKGI). The UKGI is a legacy of the financial crisis when taxpayers bailed out the stricken bank.
A directed buyback – is when the bank would acquire shares from the government. It would coincide with a share placement by UKGI.
RBS would be required to get the move approved by the majority of private investors as UKGI would not be able to vote on the issue.
Once RBS receive the approval of shareholders, it would have 12 months to undertake the directed buyback.