RBS posts profits for first time in 18 months

<p>The state-backed lender has recorded profits that are marginally higher than forecasted.</p>

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has today (May 3rd) announced its first profit in 18 months, while also revealing its restructuring process will be completed in 2014.

The bank made a pre-tax profit of £826 million in the the first quarter of the year, which compares with a £1.5 billion loss during the same period of 2012. These figures are slightly higher than had been anticipated, as analysts had predicted profits of £800 million.

Chief executive Stephen Hester has instigated a comprehensive restructuring process, leading RBS to shed around £900 billion in assets, refocusing its lending on UK households and small businesses.

"We expect to substantially complete the bank's restructuring phase during 2014. We are seeing the start of a pick-up in loan demand and have a strong surplus of funds ready and available to support economic recovery," he stated.

When the process is complete, the government may then be able to begin selling shares in the lender, as it is currently 82 per cent owned by the taxpayer. 

Following this news, traders reacted negatively, with RBS shares falling by 4.5 per cent in the first ten minutes of trading. 

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