Inside RBS, The Bank That Broke Britain

Ian Fraser

The fall of RBS has been one of the most catastrophic events of the on-going global financial crisis. This book reveals new and never-revealed-before details about how Fred Goodwin brought the biggest company in the world to the very brink of ruin.
Date Published :
June 2019
Publisher :
Illustration :
8pp color plates
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ISBN : 9781780276045
Pages : 608
Dimensions : 7.7 X 5.1 inches
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For a few brief months in 2007 and 2009, the Royal Bank of Scotland was the largest bank in the world. Then the Edinburgh-based giant - having rapidly grown its footprint to 55 countries and stretched its assets to £2.4 trillion under its hubristic and delinquent former boss Fred Goodwin - crashed to earth.

In Shredded, Ian Fraser explores the series of cataclysmic misjudgments, the toxic internal culture and the 'light touch' regulatory regime that gave rise to RBS/NatWest's near-collapse. He also considers why it became the most expensive bank in the world to bail out and why a culture of impunity was allowed to develop in the banking sector.

This new edition brings the story up to date, chronicling the string of scandals that have come to light since taxpayers rescued RBS and concluding with an evaluation of the attempts of the bank's post-crisis chief executives, Stephen Hester and Ross McEwan, to dismantle Goodwin's disastrous legacy and restore the damaged institutions to health.

About The Author

Ian Fraser is an award-winning journalist, commentator and broadcaster who writes about business, finance, politics and economics. He has written for titles including The Economist, Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Independent on Sunday, the Herald, Sunday Herald, BBC News, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Accountancy, CA Magazine and Citywire.


Shredded is a magnificent book. I regard it as one of the best investigative books of the past decade

- Eamonn O'Neill,, BBC Radio Scotland

Impeccably researched and hard to put down at any point - The author pulls no punches

- Philip Augar, Financial Times

I don't think I have ever read such a perfect morality tale for our times

- Iona Bain, FT Adviser


- Tom Harper, Independent on Sunday

A rattling good read. Hubris, nemesis. Truly shocking

- Paul Rogerson, Law Society Gazette

Combines Greek tragedy with real-life events that have affected us all. It's hard to put down

- Devraj Ray, Mortgage Strategy

Ian Fraser has produced a genuine page turner

- Alex Marsh, Pieria

Magisterial - the most detailed catalogue to date of the errors and misdemeanours leading up to RBS's 2008 collapse and the failure -- in Fraser's view -- to reform the bank in its aftermath

- Colin Donald, The Herald

The best financial book I've ever read. Thank you, Ian, for a public service

- Simon Bain, The Herald

The definitive text. I'm thinking of Barbarians at the Gate about Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and RJR Nabisco. An instant classic

- Max Keiser, The Keiser Report

A model of the journalist's craft, Zola-esque in its broad and unsparing study of corporate hubris and nemesis and haunting in the questions it leaves in its wake

- Bill Jamieson, The Scotsman

You should absolutely read Ian Fraser's Shredded. It is probably the definitive work on the British and Irish banks in the Great Bubble and the ensuing Great Financial Crisis

- Alexander Harrowell, The Yorkshire Ranter

A manual for understanding banks, the financial crisis, and also corporate greed and hubris

- P.C. Dettman

Engrossing, fascinating and appalling - a fast-paced and sickeningly-depressing exposition of what can go wrong when corporate governance fails

- Ruth Bender, Cranfield University

Nearly six years after the bailout, Shredded reminds us how much of banking reform is still a work in progress

- Nick Dunbar,

Not just the definitive book on the collapse of RBS but one of the best five books on the great financial collapse which changed the history of the 21st century. Ian pulls no punches in his conclusions

- Russell Napier, CLSA

The definitive account of the RBS fiasco. It's an engaging tale of how self-serving bank executives systematically broke the rules, lent with astonishing recklessness, abused customers and got suckered by Wall Street - before dumping their mess on the tax

- Yves Smith, author of Naked Capitalism

This book should be posted through the letterbox of every taxpayer in Britain

- David Mellor, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury

"A brilliant investigative documentary…The behaviours which precipitated the global financial crash were visible at RBS to those who peered inside at the time. Ian Fraser’s second look is a no less damning indictment of unreformed banking practices left unhindered by failed regulatory bodies. Shredded is an essential manual for anyone in British politics."

- Alasdair Clark, Review Common Space

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