RBS CEO will enact Brexit plans by March 2018 if no sign of a deal

FILE PHOTO: A woman shelters under an umbrella as she walks past a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland in the City of London, Britain, September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland Chief Executive Ross McEwan said the company will enact its Brexit plans by the end of March 2018 if no clarity emerges about Britain’s ability to retain access to the European single market when it leaves the EU.

The state-owned bank is in discussions with the Dutch central bank to use the Netherlands as its trading base in the European Union once Britain leaves the bloc.

“By the end of the first quarter of next year if we don’t know what the banking arrangements with Europe look like we will have to start activating our plans,” McEwan told LBC radio.

McEwan said the bank serves 250 large corporates in Europe and has tens of thousands of British customers who are depending on the lender to be able to access Europe’s markets without disruption.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill