RBS takes control of dividend payments
Ulster Bank owner Royal Bank of Scotland has taken control of its dividend payments in a sign it is moving closer to privatisation.
The bank - which is 73% owned by the taxpayer - has paid the Government £1.2bn to bring to a close the Dividend Access Share scheme (DAS), which gave Her Majesty's Treasury a priority over dividends.
The DAS was enforced by the Government in 2009 after the bank received a £45bn bailout in the wake of the financial crash.
The Government aims to sell its stake in RBS over the next five years. Shares were down 2%. Group chief executive Ross McEwan said: "This is another important milestone in our plan to resume capital distributions to our shareholders, and represents one less hurdle in our path to build the number one bank for customer service, trust and advocacy."
RBS has racked up its eighth year in a row of annual losses.