RBS Swings to $34 Billion Loss in 2008

The U.K. bank swung to a loss of 24.1 billion pounds ($34.3 billion) in 2008, the largest loss in U.K. corporate history.
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Updated from 2:35 a.m. EST

Royal Bank of Scotland

(RBS) - Get Report

swung to a loss of 24.1 billion pounds ($34.3 billion) in 2008 after booking massive writedowns in the period and impairment charges of 8.1 billion pounds.

The 2008 loss, the largest in U.K. corporate history, was narrower than the loss of 28 billion pounds analysts had expected.

The bank reported 2007 earnings of 7.3 billion pounds.

The U.K. bank said Thursday it plans to shift 240 billion pounds, or 20%, of its funded assets to a noncore division and plans to dispose or run down those assets over three to five years.

The restructuring will leave the bank centered on Britain, with smaller, more focused global operations.

RBS also said it plans to cut more than 2.5 billion pounds from its cost base and will have access to the U.K. government's "asset protection scheme."

Britain's second largest bank, which has already been part-nationalized under bailout packages worth more than 20 billion pounds, said it will offload 325 billion pounds of toxic assets into a government insurance program.

Revenue in 2008 fell 15% to 25.87 billion pounds.

RBS CEO Stephen Hester -- who replaced Fred Goodwin after he resigned in the wake of the once strong bank's financial downfall -- said the bank is "charting a path to standalone strength."

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