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RBS to exit Greek shipping portfolio

Royal Bank of Scotland is winding down its Greek operation and is putting its $5 billion shipping loans portfolio up for sale. Part of a wider strategy by the bank to shrink parts of its international business, the decision comes as Greece makes a final attempt with international creditors for a bailout and to prevent a financial meltdown in the country. For decades, RBS has been a top lender to the global shipping industry and its Greek office – with an estimated 60 staff members – has played a pivotal role. RBS is downsizing its corporate and institutional banking business in the Middle East, Africa, parts of Europe and Asia as the lender, majority owned by the British government, focuses on its home market. British bank Lloyds Banking Group has also been exiting the ship finance sector and sold $500 million from its remaining ship finance portfolio in April last year. Greek ship owners are among the country’s wealthiest tycoons and the sector has been a major market for shipping banks despite tough conditions.

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