More RBS job cuts expected as banks set to reveal annual results
Britain's biggest banks will reveal annual results next week amid fears of more job losses and as the sector continues to pay for past scandals.
Aside from the beleaguered Royal Bank of Scotland, all of the main lenders are expected to show solid profits, with surging stock markets helping those with investment banking operations.
RBS is likely to take the shine off progress elsewhere in the sector when it reports on Friday and is expected to announce another round of job losses as it remains deep in the red for the ninth year.
Reports suggest boss Ross McEwan will outline yet more cost-cutting, which is expected to see him swing the axe on the workforce once again.
Analysts are expecting eye-watering annual losses of £6.1 billion, which would be one of the group's biggest losses since its government bail-out.
The group revealed recently it had set aside another 3.8 billion US dollars (£3.1 billion) ahead of an expected fine from US authorities, which will be included in the bank's results for the fourth quarter of 2016.
It had already sunk into the red by £2.5 billion for the first nine months of 2016 and the provision will see full-year losses widen substantially, adding to the losses of more than £50 billion notched up over the past eight years.
It has been a difficult past year for RBS, having failed Bank of England stress tests late in 2016, while also facing more controversy over its treatment of struggling businesses and seeing Santander ditch talks to buy its Williams & Glyn branches for a second time.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has already said the Government does now not expect to offload its 72% stake until after 2020 and the bank has many hurdles yet to clear, with the US mortgage security mis-selling settlement still to be agreed and the deadline looming to sell off Williams & Glyn to appease the EU.
Fellow state-backed player Lloyds Banking Group, which reports on Wednesday, is instead expected to finally be free of its taxpayer support this year, with the Government having already whittled its stake down to less than 5%.
The group is expected to post pre-tax profits of £4.4 billion, which will be a sharp rise on the £1.64 billion haul for 2015.
Having already announced another 3,000 job losses at the half-year stage and a further £1 billion in its third quarter figures for payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling, Lloyds is not set to add to those at the full-year.
But attention may focus on its pay and bonuses, which are set to be revealed alongside the figures.
The group is expected to hike its total bonus pool to around £390 million from £354 million for 2015, although boss Antonio Horta-Osorio is reportedly set to see his pay package shrink by around a third from last year's £8.5 million.
This would be down to a cut to long-term bonus shares after last summer's Brexit vote hit the stock.
Thursday's figures from Barclays will see chief executive Jes Staley report back on progress of his plan set out a year ago to transform the bank.
He has been selling down and disposing of non-core businesses as quickly as possible to focus on US and UK operations.
The City is pencilling in profits of £3.97 billion, which would be a decrease on the £4.5 billion from 2015.
This comes after the group put by an extra £1 billion for the PPI scandal in the last six months of 2016 alone, although its investment banking business has been boosted by the stock market cheer since Donald Trump's election victory.
HSBC, which posts its figures on Tuesday, will reveal figures after recently adding to the job loss and branch closure woes in the sector.
It said in January it would shut a further 62 bank branches on top of the 55 closures announced last year, meaning a total of 117 HSBC branches will close in 2017.
The group also revealed another 400 jobs are at risk as a result of the branch closures and IT efficiencies.
City analysts forecast that its f ull-year figures will show HSBC made around 13.4 billion US dollars (£10.7 billion) of profit for 2016, down from 18.9 billion US dollars (£15.1 billion) in 2015.
The City will also be keen for news on who will replace group chairman Douglas Flint after announcing in March that the hunt had begun to find a successor ahead of his departure in 2017.