10 things you may not have known about the bank you own:

We own 84% of RBS. They’ll be announcing their profits this week, and UK Uncutters across the country will be sitting in branches to remind everyone who it is that caused this crisis – and who is paying for it. But I thought I’d do a quick guide to some stuff you might not have known about RBS.

1) As of January 2009, the RBS group were (by assets) the biggest company on earth.

2) According to a report by CAS Business School expert Nick Silver, RBS is responsible for financing projects and companies delivering 3% of globl carbon emissions – more than the entire UK.

3) According to a 2008 report by War on Want, RBS were the main bankers to 4 major arms companies, including BaE systems.

4) The RBS group owns a bunch of companies, including:
NatWest
Ulster Bank
Direct Line
Citizens Financial Group
Coutts & Co.
Adam and Company
Child & Co.
RBS Securities
Churchill Insurance

5) RBS subsidiary Citizens Financial Group – itself the 8th largest bank in the USA, and is under investigation for its role in the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

6) RBS Subsidiary Coutts & Co; are private bankers to the mega-rich, who specialise in helping them dodge tax – as their website says::

“Our tax team works closely with your private banker to understand your particular situation so that you receive bespoke advice tailored to your circumstances.

Whether you are an entrepreneur selling your business, an executive with complex share schemes, a non-UK domiciled individual living in the UK or simply looking to structure your affairs more tax efficiently, the tax team can assist”.

Yes, that’s right, a bank that’s 84% owned by the government is specialising in helping the mega-rich avoid paying taxes to the government.

Other subsidiaries – Adam and Company and Child and Co – are also solely for ‘high net worth individuals’. Adam and Company also offer tax advice, while Child & Co seem to be so exclusive, that I can’t find their website!

7) In 2009 (after the bail-out) RBS provided tens of millions in finance for Irish Company Tullow Oil to explore for oil from an island on lake Albert, whose ownership is claimed by both Uganda and the DR Congo – a region that has seen millions die in a resource fuelled war in recent years. When oil was discovered, troops were mobilised on both sides and the media and human rights observers were not allowed access. Tullow’s partners, Heritage Oil, then (according to the UN) armed these troops with speed boats and land-rovers. Despite widespread outcry from human rights groups, publicly owned RBS co-ordinated another round of financing of nearly £1 billion for this project in 2010.

8. RBS are one of the main targets of the campaign against depleted uranium, because of their significant role in financing the stuff.

9) According to Amnesty International: “The Royal Bank of Scotland, together with other well known high street financial institutions such as Barclays and HSBC, are providing investment to the tune of around £800 million to the producers of cluster bombs”

10) Last year’s RBS Bonus pot was £1.3 Billion.

Yes, that’s right. This is the bank that the government owns 84% of – that we won 84% of.

Adam Ramsay

About Adam Ramsay

Adam is Co-Editor of Open Democracy UK and a green activist based in Edinburgh. He co-founded Bright Green in 2010.