RBS profit slashed by virus provisions

RBS is the latest big bank to see earnings slashed by the global virus crisis.

On Friday (May 1) the UK lender said profits all but halved in the first quarter.

They sank to about 650 million dollars.

That as the bank set aside a billion dollars to cover an expected surge in bad loans.

For all that, it still beat forecasts.

RBS was helped by a 9% rise in income at its investment bank, NatWest.

That flowed from the frenzied trading caused by market volatility.

The division is still set to be scaled back though, after persistent losses.

RBS will also scrap digital bank Bo.

It has attracted just 11,000 customers following a launch in November.

Britain’s four biggest lenders - RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds - have now set aside over 8 billion dollars to cover loan defaults.

They’ve also committed to deliver over 400 billion dollars in taxpayer-backed loans for struggling companies.

RBS perhaps feels the most pressure, as it's majority taxpayer-owned.

That after it was bailed out by the state during the 2008 global financial crisis.

Friday’s numbers saw its shares up around 5% by mid afternoon.