The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has said it is increasing its spending on IT, as it delivered a tough set of annual results that saw losses nearly double to £2 billion.
The IT investments are crucial in meeting regulatory changes – including meeting US governance and risk management requirements - while improving customer service and launching new banking products, RBS said.
RBS is spending £6 billion on technology and marketing, in an attempt to overhaul how it runs. It said today that its IT spending was aided by £3 billion cost cuts achieved since the start of the financial crisis – including from cutting staff.
Some of the changes have been in RBS Wealth Management, where the bank has established a single global technology platform. The platform was successfully deployed in Adam & Company last year, with Coutts following this year.
In both its wealth and GBM trading divisions, RBS said it had "overhauled IT systems to deliver improved service and efficiency". The investment had been "overdue", it said.
In the company's insurance division, Churchill, Privilege and Direct Line claims are now all being processed through a new claims management system.
RBS said it was also focusing on growing its mobile applications, with customers of its UK retail banking, Ulster Bank and US retail and business banking able to manage their money on their mobiles. Trading clients can also access analysis and commentary on the iPad.
RBS' iPhone app, which also serves customers of its NatWest unit, has been downloaded by one million customers.
RBS' loss was worsened by bad Greek debts, as well as payouts over allegations of missold payment protection insurance. Chief executive Stephen Hester said today that RBS was improving as a bank but there was "still much to do".