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RBS to Halve its Technology Platforms

The cost-cutting move is part of an overall restructuring at the troubled bank.

RBS said it is planning to reduce the number of technology platforms it uses by 50 percent as it seeks to change its focus from a being a "global titan" to a "first-rate UK bank."

In a post on the RBS website, CEO Ross McEwan said the troubled bank is looking to simplify its products and services by moving from a bank with seven divisions and seven support departments to a bank with three customer businesses – personal, commercial, and corporate – supported by one shared support structure.

"RBS will be a smaller, simpler and smarter UK focused bank that puts the needs of its customers at its core," McEwan wrote. The bank had more than £8 billion in pre-tax losses in 2013, with McEwan saying the bank's cost-to-income ration soaring to 73 percent.

With a goal to reduce that number to 50 percent, McEwan said RBS is seeking to cut around £1 billion of operational spend "on things that don’t help our customers." That includes reducing the number of core banking systems from 50 to 10, and the number of payments systems it maintains from 80 to 10.

"These changes will allow us to invest in technology," he explains "We have made progress over the last year in improving the resilience of our systems and our investments over the next 12 months will maintain that focus. Once we have a resilient base, in the following two years we will seek to make progress in building an agile and flexible technology platform that makes banking easier for our customers."

Among other customer-centric changes RBS is planning is to cease offering different rates to customers depending on if they are online or in the branch; stop offering deals and products to new customers that the bank is not prepared to offer our existing customers; and make all "but the most complex small business lending decisions in five days, not five weeks."

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Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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