In the news ... RBS

Bring us up to speed: Royal Bank of Scotland posted a pre-tax loss of £691m during the first six months of 2008, the second biggest loss in UK banking history. It is RBS' first loss in 40 years as a public company. The bank said it had been hit by £5.9bn of write-downs after the credit crunch cut the value of many of its mortgages and assets.

- The media reaction

Coverage across all the nationals included the headlines 'RBS slumps to one of biggest losses in UK banking history' in The Daily Telegraph and 'Credit crunch: RBS reports first loss in 40 years after £5.9bn write-downs' in The Guardian. The Independent ran with 'RBS posts first-ever loss after £5.9bn in write-offs'. However, most of the nationals said that the losses were far lower than expected, with some analysts originally expecting a loss of between £1.2bn and £1.7bn. The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, a former RBS employee, has also come out in support of the bank. He has insisted it is only a matter of time before RBS returns to being 'highly profitable'.

- Who are the PR players here?

The internal PR team at RBS refused to be drawn on how it has been dealing with the media reaction while the story has been breaking. The bank's internal team usually handles its PR activity.

- Anything to learn?

RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin brushed aside calls for his resignation. He insisted that the bank had 'moved decisively' and had drawn heavily on its shareholders for financial support. It is also not the only lender that has been forced to appeal to investors for extra cash. HBOS and Bradford & Bingley have also had to ask for help as a result of the current financial climate.

£5.1bn - Royal Bank of Scotland's profits in the first half of 2007.

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