Unfortunately, for RBS, the horse has well and truly bolted. The major problem at RBS was one of "culture", as set by the CEO and board...and as encouraged by Gordon Brown. There was a liberal dose of Scottish nationalism underpinning their behavior which, rather like the SNP today, blinded them to the sheer folly of their ways. When Goodwin joined RBS as deputy CEO in 1998, he had very, very little general banking experience, having only run a small (loss making) UK satellite business of NAB (true of his predecessor too). Three short years later, he was CEO of RBS, having acquired NatWest, a much larger bank. Moreover, Goodwin had almost zero experience of investment banking, a business that is complex and requires deep and detailed knowledge of markets and their risk management. He was a trumped-up accountant with an incredibly big ego and deep Scottish political connections which, at the time, meant deep connections into the heart of Westminster. Despite never having run an investment bank, under Goodwin RBS expanded its investment banking business at an unprecedented rate, almost entirely by acquisition. It paid far, far too much for low margin, high risk businesses. At the time, the overall market was their ally.....they were half way into the pre-crash bubble. Any fool can make money in a rising market. The measure of a good CEO is whether they can continue to make money during hard times. Inevitably, Goodwin failed. He simply didn't know what he was doing, but the internal culture prevented any dissent. To give you an idea of the level of expansion, prior to the NatWest acquisition, RBS went from being a sleepy, provincial high street bank to having a balance sheet in excess of £2.2 trillion, which was more than the entire GDP of the UK. The rest of the story you know. As of today, RBS is retreating from those same markets that it so feverishly entered. It's probably doing it too fast, shedding good assets along with bad. Dogma has again taken over, but in the other direction. We should be clear that the sole reason that RBS was "saved" is that the government of the time wanted to protect depositors, i.e. "mums and dads" with ordinary bank accounts. While I have some sympathy for that social position, it was adopted for political rather than economic reasons. The same is true for Northern Rock, whose depositors had the ingenuity to seek out the highest paying deposit accounts, but completely ignored the creditworthiness of the institution offering those same high interest rates. The "privatise the profits, socialise the losses" approach applied to both bank employees and to ordinary depositors. Indeed, the bias was towards the latter.