Lloyds, RBS CEOs reassure staff on strength after Brexit vote

Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:55pm EDT
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By Sinead Cruise and Andrew MacAskill

LONDON (Reuters) - The chief executives of Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L and Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L moved to reassure thousands of workers that their state-backed companies would weather the turmoil sparked by Britain's decision to quit the European Union.

In separate memos sent to staff on Tuesday, Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta Osorio and RBS CEO Ross McEwan thanked staff for executing contingency plans effectively in the wake of Friday's historic result and for keeping focus on customers while sterling, stock and bond markets plummeted.

But RBS boss McEwan warned staff that Britain's decision to leave the EU has caused a range of economic uncertainties "in the short, medium and long term". RBS said on Friday it had no current plans to change where or how it operated following the vote..

The lenders -- both part-owned by the UK government since taxpayer bailouts in 2008 - saw their stock prices plunge in the two trading days following Friday's result, as investors rattled by talk of a deep recession and a string of earnings downgrades dumped bank stocks in droves.

"We did what we do best on Friday," Horta Osorio said in the memo.

"We had robust plans in place for either outcome, and I have been immensely proud of everyone who ensured that they were delivered smoothly," he said.

Horta Osorio, who is Portuguese and has led the bank since 2011, said the bank's low-risk lending approach and historic brands had put Britain's biggest mortgage lender in a position of strength "to weather turbulence in our sector and the wider market".

McEwan, a New Zealander, noted that the result had rippled beyond markets and into "everyday exchanges between colleagues, friends and family" but called on RBS employees to remember how diversity was a major contributor to the bank's success.   Continued...

A woman uses a cash machine at a Lloyds Bank branch in central London, Britain February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Paul Hackett