RBS CEO: 'Consumers and governments to share responsibility with banks for financial crisis'

14 July 2010

Consumers and governments are in part responsible for the financial crisis alongside banks, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Royal Bank of Scotland has claimed.

Stephen Hester made the comments during a speech at the annual meeting of the British Bankers’ Association.

“Everywhere it suited consumers to be able to consume more, to see housing values increase, to enjoy higher public spending based on buoyant tax revenues,” he said.

Mr Hester, who was quoted by Bloomberg, added: “It suited countries to be able to run big trade deficits and it suited investors to see rising asset values. No one, it seems, wanted to take the punchbowl away. Reforming the banks is necessary but not enough.”

The RBS chief added that the financial institution had performed well when providing loans to corporate clients, stating that up to £40 billion had been offered to new businesses during 2009.

Meanwhile, the bank, which is 83 per cent owned by the government after relying on taxpayer bail-outs to stay afloat during the global credit crisis, is currently looking for a corporate adviser to assist with the sale of its insurance division.

By Jim Ottewill

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