Royal Bank of Scotland grew into one of the world’s biggest banking groups through aggressive acquisitions, but overstretched itself when it tried to buy Dutch banking giant ABN Amro in 2007. The British government pumped 45 billion pounds (US$73 billion) into RBS to keep it afloat in 2008, leaving it 82 per cent state-owned. As of November 2012, the taxpayer faced a loss of 19 billion pounds on the investment.

While waiving bonuses for eight top executives for 2013, RBS is seeking shareholders' permission to pay employees bonuses of up to twice their base salary. Photo: EPA

Mortgage provisions push RBS further into the red

Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's biggest government-owned lender, is on track for its largest pre-tax loss since 2008 after setting aside a further £3.1 billion (HK$39.8 billion) for legal and compensation claims.