KOMMERSANT. The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the second largest lender in the UK, announced the entry into the Russian banking market, the newspaper wrote. RBS is to commerce business in Russia through ABN Amro it picked up a year ago. At the same time, RBS is going to remove the brand of ABN Amro not only in Russia, but also in the other 24 European countries where it holds the Dutch bank’s branches.

RBS representatives from the London office said in an interview with the newspaper that the bank is set to roll out both retail and investment areas of business. «The Russian market is of extreme importance to RBS, it will take steps to take deeper roots via ABN Amro’s Russian division» — RBS PR manager Linda Harper noted.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is in the Top 10 of the world’s banks and is No. 2 lender in the UK. In 2007, RBS earned net profit of €7.7 bln (an 18% increase) and assets stood at €1.9 tln as of December 31, 2007. As of yesterday’s close, the market cap of RBS came to $81.5 bln. For the record, RBS snapped up 38.3% of Dutch lending institution ABN Amro in 2007.

Initially RBS planned to break onto the Russian market not through the acquisition of a Russian bank, but via the establishment of its own structure from scratch. According to representatives from a big staffing agency, this winter the bank hunted for top managers for a future investment banking division. At that time RBS entered into an agreement with investment company Renaissance Capital on joint cooperation on the Russian investment market. Unfortunately, all these projects failed to get off the ground.

Notwithstanding quite a long history of the ABN Amro brand in Russia, RBS is about to roll out Russian business under its own brand, Linda Harper said. According to her, the rebranding campaign will cover all 24 European divisions of ABN Amro that were assigned to RBS. ABN Amro confirmed the fact of the rebranding campaign, but declined to disclose any exact timing for its completion.