MUMBAI Feb 19 British Prime Minister David
Cameron says he wants state-controlled Royal Bank of Scotland
to speed up restructuring and has refused to rule out
giving the government's share in the bank to the public.
The government owns 82 percent of RBS after pumping in 45
billion pounds ($70 billion) of capital when the bank neared
collapse in 2008.
Speaking in India during a trip aimed at drumming up trade
and investment, Cameron made it clear he was keen to return the
bank to private ownership as soon as possible and wanted it to
step up its efforts to overhaul itself.
"It was a very badly damaged institution but I think they
are doing the right thing but obviously we want them to, where
possible, accelerate the adjustments that they are making in
terms of making it a strong organisation," he said.
When asked to comment on reports the government was
considering giving away its stake by 2015,
"These are all interesting questions for the future. The
first job is to turn around the performance of RBS and to
strengthen its balance sheet, strengthen its business and that's
what (RBS Chief Executive) Stephen Hester and his team are
"But I am keen to examine all possibilities for what we can
do to put RBS in time back into the private sector."
In October, RBS said it was preparing to sell the shares in
2014, one year before the next general election, with the timing
and sale structure up to the government. No share giveaway was
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in 2011 backed proposals to
give the public shares in part-nationalised banks because
taxpayer money had been used to keep the banking system alive.
At the time, the Treasury said it would "look at all
options", but critics dismissed the idea as a headline-grabbing