Taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland has reported its first quarterly profit since 2015 - a year after a loss of almost £1 billion during the same period.

The lender, which is 72% owned by the government, announced a £259 million profit in the first three months of the year.


Profit recorded by RBS in the first quarter of 2017.


Loss recorded by RBS in the first quarter of 2016.

Chancellor Philip Hammond admitted last week the government is prepared to sell its stake at a loss to the public purse.

Shares are currently trading at around half the £5.02 rate in 2008 when the government bought the 72% stake for £45 billion at the height of the financial crisis.

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan, seen with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, said the lender has 'great potential'. Credit: PA

The latest quarterly profit bucks a poor trend of recent results for RBS, which has suffered staggering £58 billion of losses since being bailed out by the Government and last recorded a profit in the third quarter of 2015.

Friday's figures showed the core bank's adjusted operating profit also rose in the quarter, from £303 million to £1.3 billion, while RBS booked £577 million in restructuring costs.

In February, RBS reported a £7 billion annual loss and chief executive Ross McEwan ordered a £2 billion four-year cost-cutting drive, expected to result in significant job losses and branch closures.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said the government is prepared to sell its RBS stake at a loss. Credit: PA

To this end, the bank took £278 million in costs out of the business in the period.

Responding to the positive quarterly results, Mr McEwan said: "These results reflect very much what we talked about at full year.

"This bank has a very strong core with great potential, and we believe that, by going further on cost reduction and faster on digital transformation, we will deliver a simpler, safer and even more customer-focused bank, with a compelling investment case."