Royal Bank of Scotland has begun winding down its global shipping finance business, it said on Tuesday, ending efforts to sell it amid a worsening downturn across the freight industry.
Chief executive Ross McEwan is battling to complete a restructuring, which includes asset sales and thousands of job cuts, amid a low-interest rate environment that makes finding profitable new business tough.
“In line with the bank’s strategy to create a simpler, stronger, and more sustainable bank, better aligned to the needs of our customers in the UK and Western Europe, we are commencing the wind-down of our shipping business,” an RBS spokesperson said.
“We understand how difficult this will be for our staff and we will be offering support to those affected, including redeploying people in to other positions where we can.”
Shipping industry sources have told Reuters that RBS had been trying to sell its Greek shipping business, valued at around $3 billion, for over a year.