Royal Bank of Scotland chief Ross McEwan has hinted he plans to stay at the helm of the banking giant despite fevered speculation he could leave with the state-controlled lender's turnaround gathering pace.

The New Zealand banker, who took the helm at RBS in 2013, said on LBC Radio that he had a plan up until 2020, adding: "Job's not done yet."

When asked if he would be around for at least two years, he said: "I'd like to be around a little longer," the Daily Telegraph reported.

RBS cleared the final roadblock to restarting a dividend and returning to private hands this week when it settled a £3.6 billion ($6.9b) fine with US regulators for the part it played in fueling America's subprime housing crisis.

Advertisement

Despite being one of the largest fines ever incurred by RBS, it was smaller than the bank and investors had feared.

RBS had more than enough shock-absorbing capital set aside to pay the fine, leaving it with £4b of excess capital that it hopes to start returning to investors soon.

The Treasury is also expected to lay out plans to start selling down its remaining 71 per cent stake in the bank in the coming months, acquired when taxpayers bailed out the bank for £45b at the height of the financial crisis.

City analysts and media reports have speculated McEwan could soon leave with two of his top priorities close to being met.

"With the settlement almost complete and a return to dividends in sight, we expect RBS to confirm a successor to current CEO Ross McEwan in the second half of this year," UBS analyst Jason Napier wrote in a note yesterday.

On LBC today McEwan also hinted that RBS could pursue further rounds of branch closures.

Earlier this month the bank unveiled plans to axe 162 branches and 792 jobs, just five months after announcing it would slash 259 branches and 1,003 jobs.

"We'll have to wait until the end of the year to see what... footfall disappears when we move these customers out," he said.

Advertisement