It was reported in The Times at the weekend (1st May 2016) that the Royal Bank of Scotland are seeking to ditch the RBS brand in a move designed to draw a line under the bank’s recent history – which has been characterised by a series of fines, mis-selling scandals, and a government bail-out.

Further to that, RBS is still associated with the leadership of Fred Goodwin, and the bank is keen to further distance itself from his tenure.

As The Times reports:

“Royal Bank of Scotland is to ditch the RBS brand in an attempt to break with its toxic past.

The bailed-out lender will remove the RBS branding from more than 500 branches in England, Scotland and Wales.

More than 300 outlets in England and Wales will be rebranded as Williams & Glyn branches. RBS also owns NatWest, which has more than 1,000 branches south of the border. In Scotland, the RBS brand will be replaced with the full name, Royal Bank of Scotland. Ulster Bank, also owned by RBS, will be unchanged in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

RBS plans to sell or float the Williams & Glyn operation by the end of next year. The renamed branches will be part of the sale.

The high street makeover is the latest attempt by the Edinburgh-based lender to close an ignominious chapter in its 289-year history.

RBS was brought to its knees in the financial crisis and rescued with a £46bn taxpayer bailout in 2008. Since then, it has been fined hundreds of millions of pounds for Libor and foreign exchange rate rigging, and the mis-selling of insurance products.

Fred Goodwin, its disgraced former chief executive, championed the RBS name as he expanded its operations around the world. He believed that the Royal Bank of Scotland brand was too parochial to achieve his global ambitions.

Since the bailout, Goodwin’s successors — Stephen Hester and Ross McEwan — have scaled back overseas operations. The bank’s loan book, once more than £2.2 trillion, has been slashed in half.

The bank’s board has for years debated whether to kill off the RBS brand. One adviser said it had become “toxic” over its association with Goodwin. However, the bank has stopped short of changing the corporate name. It will continue to be called RBS on the stock exchange.

The overhaul of the branch network is a central plank of McEwan’s plan to revive the lender and deliver a return for the taxpayer.

Results last week underlined the scale of the task facing the New Zealander, who took charge in 2013. RBS reported a £968m loss, pushing its accumulated losses since 2008 to £51bn. McEwan also warned that RBS might miss a deadline to spin off Williams & Glyn — a sale imposed by Brussels after the state rescue. It is expected to beg for more time.

‘We are no longer a global bank with ambitions to be the biggest’ said David Wheldon, chief marketing officer at RBS.

Results from a recent survey highlight the confusion over the bank’s high street chains. The Reputation Institute said last week that RBS was the most unpopular bank, six places behind NatWest.