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British banks falling behind global rivals after years of poor results, study warns

By Ben Woods

British banks are failing to keep pace with their international rivals after seeing their profits slip by more than a fifth, a report has found.

The UK's banking giants have seen their combined profits drop by 22% between last year and this year, while French lenders boosted their financial performance by 30%, according to The Banker's latest ranking of the Top 1,000 banks.

The study said the British fall was driven by a "weak performance" from Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

It also warned that the outlook for UK banks now looked "even more uncertain" following the vote to leave the European Union. It said that UK banks now provided 2.6% of world banking profits, compared with 10% a decade ago. China, meanwhile, has seen its contribution soar, stepping up from 4% to 32% over the past 10 years.

Brian Caplen, editor of The Banker, said: "While the advent of challenger banks is a healthy sign, they are still very small.

"The real story of UK banks this year is restructuring, downsizing and falls in profits.

"They are much less significant in global terms than before the global financial crisis."

The research revealed that HSBC, which was the world's second largest bank 10 years ago, was now the only British bank in the global top 10, placing ninth.

RBS has now lost money for eight years on the trot, falling from third place in 2008 to 19th this year.

Barclays also slipped from 13th to 17th.

Belfast Telegraph

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