Royal Bank of Scotland profits triple

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LONDON (AP) — Royal Bank of Scotland's first-quarter profit more than tripled as the one-time global powerhouse benefited from efforts to transform itself into a smaller institution focused on Britain.

The bank said Friday that net income rose to about 1.2 billion pounds ($2 billion) from 393 million pounds in the year-earlier quarter, a better than expected result. RBS lost 8.7 billion pounds in the fourth quarter last year.

Shares rose 11 percent on the news to 333.80 pence.

Britain's government saved RBS in 2008 with a 45 billion-pound bailout after its move to become the world's largest bank through a massive spree of debt-fueled acquisitions. The rescue left the taxpayer with an 81 percent stake.

CEO Ross McEwan says RBS is focused squarely on earning the "trust of our customers."