While the City, analysts, shareholders and the taxman’s coffers applauded the RBS’s record £7bn profit, consumer groups, politicians and union representatives condemned the results as ‘profiteering’ at the expense of debt-ridden consumers.
A cross-party Treasury committee report spoke of banking ‘practices that [could] lead users to sleepwalk into financial disaster’ (The Guardian, 16 February), while the Consumers’ Association highlighted banks’ need for greater ‘social responsibility’. The Independent, however, proved wary of the critics’ emotive appeals, pointing to the ‘favourite national sport’ of ‘bank bashing’ (17 February).
RBS chief Fred Goodwin was unrepentant, asserting that he was ‘not shy about having made a profit’ (FT, 19 February). He was not alone in highlighting that ‘big numbers are not always bad numbers’ (The Scotsman, 20 February) and ‘Record RBS profits power sharp FTSE rise’ (FT, 19 February).
Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek by NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com