Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is planning to go "local", instead of "global", by rebranding its branches outside Scotland with names that will connect with local customers. Like Ulster Bank is a name to reckon with in Northern Ireland, CEO Ross McEwan wants the branches in England and Wales to be referred to as NatWest in place of RBS.
According to Ross, the lender would change all RBS references, outside head office and the stock exchange listing, to NatWest, thereby reducing the brand to a back office for customers outside Scotland.
The CEO said to BBC that it was the right time for the bank, which once had global ambitions, to focus on its national brands. Using a unified RBS brand was necessary eight years ago when the bank collapsed and had to be subsequently bailed out by the government, but the scenario has changednow. This new move will also bring to fore other smaller brands like Coutts, Adam & Co, Drummond and Holt's Military Bank as these brands will now be given prominence in sponsorship programmes, which so far has been restricted to the use of "RBS brand".
"As the bank itself became a global brand, RBS became the global brand. I'm now saying we no longer have global aspirations, we have local aspirations," Ross told the paper during a recent tour of customers and staff in Inverness-shire. He added: "The RBS brand will end up becoming our investor brand and the one that our staff is employed with, because we are now becoming much more a bank of brands."
He said that his objective was to make each of those local brands to "stand for something quite different in their own communities".
"The time is right for us to move to the bank of brands, because underneath (we've been asking) how do we focus on making this a better bank for customers?" Ross said.
"It would have been very cynical three years ago if we'd said we're going to be a great bank for customers and put those brands out there. But with the work we've been doing, focussing on the customers' needs, not our own, I think you're seeing a lot of change. We can bring those brands back up again, so I think the time is right," the CEO asserted.