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RBS boss hints at dividend return after 2013

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The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland has predicted the business may restart dividend payments to shareholders after 2013, by which time its restructuring phase should be complete.

Speaking to an audience of investors yesterday, Stephen Hester said RBS was on the way to becoming a “good” bank, adding it was on the verge of exiting the asset protection scheme, which insures its most toxic loans.

“Hopefully that is imminent,” he said, adding that once that had happened the bank would be able to “start articulating a dividend policy going forward”.

However, he also suggested the bank would still have to deal with problems  inherited when he joined the bank in October 2008, including the spectre of a fine for attempting to manipulate LIBOR, the Guardian reports.

“We have to all deal with the issues of the past and try and reduce the chance of them recurring and that will take a long time and, sadly, a lot of money as well in terms of past restitution,” he said.

“I hope by 2013 the restructuring phase should be largely complete and I hope that our ongoing businesses should be largely retooled and performing at least in line with competitors, with robust, enduring and valuable franchises at that point.”

RBS is currently 81%-owned by the taxpayer, having been bailed out in 2008 during the banking crisis.

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