A NatWest Bank sign is erected at 250 Bishopsgate in London, on Oct. 7, 2017. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP)

RBS changes name to NatWest in bid to shed legacy of bailout


LONDON -- The majority state-owned U.K. bank RBS announced a name change on Friday as it tries to leave behind its near-collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

The bank said it will now be known as NatWest Group Plc, shedding the 300-year-old Royal Bank of Scotland name.

The Edinburgh-based lender said 80% of its customers bank with NatWest, which RBS bought in 2000, rather than through RBS branches. RBS also owns Northern Ireland's Ulster Bank.

The British government spent 45 billion pounds bailing out RBS after the 2008 crisis, and still owns a 62% stake in the bank.

Since the crisis, RBS has dramatically scaled back its global aspirations.

Chairman Howard Davies said that "as the bank has evolved from the financial crisis and the bailout, we have focused on the NatWest brand."

"We have exited a lot of the international business which were not profitable. That was branded RBS and that's gone," he said. "It really makes no sense for us to continue to be called RBS. It was designed for a global group of brands, which we no longer are."