Page last updated at 15:00 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 16:00 UK

RBS: 'We've learned our lesson'

RBS sign
Royal Bank of Scotland was bailed out by the UK government

The Royal Bank of Scotland has insisted to MSPs it has learned its lessons from the financial crisis.

The bank, now 70% owned by the taxpayer after a UK government bail-out, vowed to mend its ways, while insisting it was on the road to recovery.

RBS's comments came in a submission to the Scottish Parliament inquiry into the banking crash.

Holyrood's economy committee continued its probe by taking evidence from the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston.

Although control over the financial industry lies with the Westminster Parliament, the sector is a significant part of Scotland's economy - employing an estimated 90,000 people and making up about 7% of the economic output.

Robert Peston
If, essentially, taxpayers had not provided a blank cheque to the banking system, there would not have been a bank standing
Robert Peston
BBC business editor

As well as RBS, the Treasury also stepped in help the takeovers of the collapsed Dunfermline Building Society by Nationwide and HBOS by Lloyds TSB.

Despite a positive outlook, RBS warned the cost of credit meant it was not yet making enough profit from to return to "stable and sustainable" banking.

And the bank said that, since last October, it had identified about 800 "roles" in Scotland which were no longer required - but did not give an overall figure for job losses.

"At RBS, responsibility for our mistakes and our part in the crisis has been allocated and accepted," the submission stated.

"Apologies have been given and the relevant leaders have left the business."

Meanwhile, Robert Peston said the inability of banking chiefs to act in the ongoing row over bonuses was "pretty odd".

"If, essentially, taxpayers had not provided a blank cheque to the banking system, there would not have been a bank standing," he told MSPs.

"In those circumstances, many people would say it's extraordinary that bankers should be talking about receiving bonuses."

His comments came after Chancellor Alistair Darling promised new laws within weeks to crack down on bank bonuses driven by "greed and recklessness".

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