RBS bankers joked about crashing US housing market: sold a bundle of ‘total f***ing garbage’



Top executive in RBS’ US arm said it had sold a bundle of ‘total f***ing garbage’ Bankers also discussed ‘fraud that was so rampant’


Read: Britain’s worst banks named and shamed

Royal Bank of Scotland faces fresh embarrassment after it emerged its bankers joked about destroying America’s housing market before the financial crisis.

A top executive in the bank’s US division revealed it had sold a bundle of ‘total f***ing garbage’ sub-prime mortgages to investors but disguised the loans to ‘look ok’.

Bankers also likened mortgage trading at RBS to ‘organised crime’ and discussed ‘fraud that was so rampant’.

‘Total f***ing garbage’: What a senior RBS banker said of some sub-prime mortgages sold

The revelations marked another low point for RBS just a day after the bank was ranked the worst for customer service in Britain. Less than half of the taxpayer-backed bank’s current account customers said that they would recommend it to a friend or relative.


Chief executive Ross McEwan faced a further backlash this week when he said the bank could start shifting tens of billions of pounds out of Britain because of Brexit, even though it only survived because of taxpayer support.

The documents released by the DoJ, from internal phone and email conversations, revealed the attitude among senior bankers at RBS before the crisis.

A senior banker said the sub-prime mortgages were a product of a broken industry with lenders ‘raking in the money’ and lower-ranking staff who ‘don’t give a s*** because they’re not getting paid’.

Read: RBS and the bizarre case of £200m action group deal

One email sent to an RBS trader from a friend said: ‘I’m sure your parents never imagined they’d raise a son who would destroy the housing market in the richest nation on the planet.’

The trader replied: ‘I take exception to the word ‘destroy’. I am more comfortable with ‘severely damage’.’


Backlash: RBS chief executive Ross McEwan
Backlash: RBS chief executive Ross McEwan


Andrew E. Lelling, US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said: ‘Despite assurances by RBS to its investors, RBS’s deals were backed by mortgage loans with a high risk of default.’

Read: When will the bankers who’ve rigged our economy be held to account?

McEwan said: ‘There is no place for the sort of unacceptable behaviour alleged by the DoJ at the bank we are building today.’

The state-owned bank is still 62 per cent owned by taxpayers after the government was forced to fork out £45.5billion to bail it out at the height of the financial crisis.

Despite a number of share sales since, Britain is unlikely to ever recoup the investment.

A Treasury spokesman said this week: ‘The Government is not and should not be in the business of managing banks.’

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