RBS – Inside The Bank That Ran Out Of Money

by Lisa McGarry

Three years ago a venerable and internationally renowned bank was saved from extinction by a £20 billion bailout from the UK Government. It was a humbling moment for Royal Bank of Scotland and a disaster for the thousands of employees forced out of work as the institution began a fight for life and a significant milestone on Britain’s journey into recession.

This film gets the inside story of the institution’s fall from grace from key executives at the top of the organisation who held senior positions at the bank before the crash. They discuss the culture of RBS, its strategy as it became a truly global organisation and the mistakes that triggered a rapid decline.

They examine the bank’s acquisitions and operations in the United States – once at the vanguard of its expansion but later figured prominently in the story of the organisation’s collapse through its catastrophic involvement in a sub-prime property market.

RBS’s enthusiastic pursuit of Dutch-based banking group, ABN Amro, also comes under the microscope. The company’s decision to apply a relatively light approach to due diligence backfired when the scale of the acquired group’s problems became known.

The documentary also features footage from Sir Fred Goodwin’s final meeting with shareholders when an investor invited the former Forbes Global Businessman of the Year to apologise. Broadcast cameras were not allowed into the meeting but the documentary has obtained footage of the humbling moment for the outgoing chief executive.

Contributors include former RBS chief executive and chairman, Sir George Mathewson; former RBS director Gordon Pell; Iain Robertson, RBS’s former Head of Corporate Banking; and Sir Peter Burt, who was chief executive of Bank of Scotland when it was outbid for the National Westminster Bank.

Monday 5 December
9.00-10.00pm
BBC TWO