The Royal family grows a little larger
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) operates in more than 50 countries, providing approximately 40 million customers with retail and corporate banking, financial markets, consumer finance, insurance and wealth management services. The company boasts more than 100,000 employees in the U.K., 26,000 in the Americas and 170,000 worldwide. But not long ago, it had a lot fewer insiders. From 1998 to 2008, the firm expanded rapidly, growing its international staff from just 30,000. During that time, it also grew its annual income, which swelled from GBP 3 billion to more than GBP 30 billion -- thanks in part to the 29 acquisitions it made during the decade. Today, RBS is also one of the top five banks in Asia for corporate and institutional customers.
In October 2007, after a long bidding war with Barclays, a consortium of banks led by the Royal Bank of Scotland was successful in acquiring Dutch banking giant ABN AMRO for a price tag of EUR 71.9 billion. The buyout was the largest financial services takeover ever and many at the time reported that the price was far more than ABN AMRO's actual worth. RBS' partners in the ABN AMRO buyout were Banco Santander and Fortis. These two banks have assumed much of ABN AMRO's European and international business, but RBS gained control of its Asian operations, extending the company's already significant presence there.