Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, a holding company, is a global banking and financial-services group. Nationalized in all but name, the bank is majority owned by the U.K. government following what was the largest corporate loss in British history in 2008. RBS's two principal subsidiaries are the Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and National Westminster Bank PLC.
The 300-year-old bank foundered amid the credit crunch and an ill-timed acquisition of ABN AMRO Holding N.V. in what became the largest and perhaps the worst deal in banking history. RBS led a consortium that included Banco Santander SA and Fortis Bank Nederland in a seven-month takeover battle for the Dutch banking giant. The Netherlands government replaced Fortis as ABN stakeholder when it aquired the struggling Fortis's Dutch business in 2008. RBS has been unloading Asian assets acquired in the deal.
The company has undertaken a strategic review to cut expenses by 10% to 15% in the next three to five years and may cut up to 9,000 jobs. (Ousted CEO Fred Goodwin's cost-cutting earned him the nickname: Fred the Shred.) It also plans to focus on its core businesses, such as its NatWest U.K. retail unit, its insurance business, and parts of its U.S. retail operation, Citizens Financial Group Inc., as well as investment banking in areas such as Hong Kong. The bank lost hundreds of top investment bankers to rivals in the upheaval. It planned to withdraw from half the countries it operated in, including parts of Eastern Europe, and pull back, sell or wind down several businesses.
Despite the bank's troubles, its core business remains strong. The bank aims to return to standalone strength in the next three to five years.
Even as it trimmed staff on a global basis, RBS has been beefing up its U.S. investment bank. It added about 100 employees in 2009 and is still growing.
The bank's U.S. staff recently moved into a sleek new headquarters in Stamford, Conn., just off I-95. With room for 1,000 traders, its trading floor is the world's second largest -- UBS AG, located just across the street, has the largest. The glass-sheathed steel structure has 11 stories, a rooftop garden over a parking garage, a gym, an indoor cafe and receptionists clad in tartan-plaid blazers.
The new HQ reportedly has helped to boost morale, which has been a problem. Given the uncertainty around its stock after its bailout, share-based compensation has had less appeal to bankers. RBC cut its investment-bank compensation-to-revenue ratio to 27% from 76% in 2009.
As a ward of the state, RBS cut way back on holiday parties in 2009. Its contribution: about 10 pounds ($16) per employee -- enough to buy a pint of lager, a refill and a side of potato chips.
The firm offers a slew of tips for job seekers. A sampling below:
-- On online applications, cite specific examples of your professional style, explaining your role and impact on the results.
-- On personality assessments, always go with your gut reaction; don't try to outsmart the test.
-- In preparing for in-person interviews, practice examples to cite when answering questions and pace your answers.