No 10 and Chancellor back RBS
Downing Street and George Osborne have backed RBS despite the bank reporting a pre-tax loss of £5.16bn for 2012.
The loss posted today by RBS follows a series of huge fines over the Libor scandal and mis-selling PPI and interest rate swaps. However, stripping out one-off payments, the bank actually posted a profit of £3.5bn.
In a statement, George Osborne today insisted RBS was now a "stronger and safer bank".
Downing Street also defended the bank after it paid out more than £600m in bonuses.
The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said: "Bonuses are very significantly down from 2010... RBS is heading in the right direction." He added that there had been "clear signs of restraint and responsibility" from the bank.
The spokesman refused to be drawn on whether the Government would sell its shares in the near future, after top executives at RBS this morning played up the possibility.
Chief executive Stephen Hester said privatisation was now "a light coming down the tunnel much closer to us and within reach within not too distant a period".
Chairman Philip Hampton said it "would be nice to think that that [privatisation] could be done by 2014".
But the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman insisted: "There is no timetable for the disposal of the Government's shareholding in RBS."