RBS first-quarter earnings down 12.5% amid Brexit worries

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LONDON (AP) — Royal Bank of Scotland says first-quarter earnings fell 12.5% as economic uncertainty linked to Brexit curtailed lending.

Net income dropped to 707 million pounds ($912 million) from 808 million pounds in the same period last year as businesses delayed borrowing decisions. Britain’s government owns 62.4% of RBS following a taxpayer-funded bailout during the global financial crisis.

RBS warned Friday that uncertainty over Britain’s pending departure from the European Union “is likely to make income growth more challenging in the near term.”

CEO Ross McEwan says the bank will “continue to support our customers through this Brexit uncertainty while investing and innovating in digital services.”

McEwan on Thursday announced that he was stepping down after 5 ½ years in which he streamlined operations and focused on the U.K. and Irish markets.

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