[August 01, 2014] LONDON (Reuters) - Part-nationalised
British lender Royal Bank of Scotland said on Friday it had
placed restrictions on its lending in Russia following developments
The European Union cut off financing for five major Russian banks on
Thursday over Moscow's support for separatist rebels in Ukraine. The
measures aim to prevent Russian banks from raising money on Western
RBS said it had reviewed credit ratings, adjusted lending limits and
placed additional credit restrictions on new business in Russia. It
is also reviewing how it is exposed to the international sanctions.
RBS, which is 81-percent owned by the British government, said it
had reduced lending in Russia during the first half of this year by
100 million pounds to 1.8 billion pounds ($3 billion). That included
900 million pounds of corporate lending and 600 million of lending
RBS said nearly half of the bank lending was fully hedged. The bank
said its total Russian exposure, including assets held off balance
sheet for clients, amounted to 2.1 billion pounds.
RBS also said on Friday a vote by Scotland to become independent
from the rest of the United Kingdom could significantly increase its
costs and have a material impact on its business, repeating an
The bank said earlier in the year that it was considering its
options if Scots were to vote in a referendum on Sept. 18 to end
their 307-year union with England.
It has been careful not to enter the political debate over Scottish
independence, repeatedly saying that the matter is one for the
Scottish people to decide.
RBS said a vote for independence "could significantly impact the
group's costs and would have a material adverse effect on the
group's business, financial condition, results of operations and
It said that uncertainties resulting from a 'yes' vote would be
likely to significantly impact its credit ratings and "could also
impact the fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape to which
the group is subject".
Recent opinion polls have suggested Scottish separatists are closing
the gap on their unionist rivals, though a 'no' to independence
still looks more likely.
($1 = 0.5928 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Simon Jessop and Gareth